Our journey through some other Cyclades Islands continued.
Our next destination was the island of Folegandros. This tiny island which is composed of three villages and 400 inhabitants was really charming, relaxing and beautiful. We stayed in Chora, a village located on a high cliff over looking the sea. It was really something special.
During our trip, we have been really lacking with the planning on what we are going to do the next day. We really didn't check to see when the next boat to get us out of the island will be coming. It was Tuesday when we arrived and found out because of the low season we were in, that the boat would not come until Saturday. Oh well, it was one of the best things to have happen to us because it was literary being "stranded" on a beautiful island. The beaches here were rated Top 10 in the world by the Travel Channel.
In the island we met Michalis, a Athenian that came to work in the island for six months. He was kind enough to tell us all his preferred spots on the island. This included the beach of St. Nikolas which was his favourite. This required us to drive to a certain point and then hike for about 40 minutes. So, we follow his advice. There was one thing that he did forget to mention. As we came close enough to the beach, I looked down from the hill and I notice some people there. The odd thing was that none of them were wearing any clothes. So we made a very carefully planned decision to descend to the beach regardless.
You are probably asking: did you join the nudist? Partially. As fun as it may sound, I didn't see why I had to join this 50 year old men and women in their activities.
Our next and final stop was the big island of Santorini. What it difference it was. This is well visited island with lots of more tourist that the previous three islands. I guess we got used to the lack of tourist on the other islands. We should have come about 15-20 years ago to get a better sense of what it is like in the island without the tourist. But I can see why it is visited by so many.
The island was created by the eruption of the volcano in the area a couple of thousand years ago. We had the opportunity to take a tour to the center of the volcano and swim in the "hot springs" (they were about 10 degrees hotter than the surrounding water). We also visited one of the many wineries on the island. Santorini has very nice white wine.
Our stay in Greece is coming to an end with our return to Athens. This time we are happy to stay with Deby, Alex and their family. Deby was my neighbour in Israel. She is the daughter of friends of my parents and also was my babysitter when I was 3 years old. We are happy to be able to catch up and meet your family. Thanks for your welcoming stay.
In a few hours, we will be departing for Budapest, Hungary. Until then.
I can actually read Greek. I don't know what I'm reading but I can make it out. Turns out all the symbols we used in engineering were Greek letters... I guess my degree was good for something.
We arrived in Athens and went to meet our couchsurfing host, Ced. What an amazing guy! He took us out to a small taverna where we ate traditional Greek food and and tried a Greek alcoholic drink called reki. The next night we all went to a couchsurfing event which ended in very poor karaoke singing but much fun.
While in Athens we also managed to do some typical tourist things. We saw the changing of the guard at Parliament and saw the temple of Olympian Zeus. More impressive was the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Truly awesome! I've seen it in pictures and movies but they don't give justice to what's really there.
We are now island hopping through the Cyclades islands. The first stop was Syros. The town was cute but has little to do other than hang out with friends. Thankfully Nikolas, our couchsurfing host, offered us his friends. We spent two nights hanging out at port-side cafes, eating calamari and drinking ouzo at tavernas and dancing all night at a beach party.
We are now on our second island of Paros. The towns here look like what I imagined: white builgings climbing up the hill side along the sea. We rented a scooter and rode all around the island stopping at beautiful beaches to swim and soak up the sun.
So far, we really like Greece. The scenery is beautiful which captivates you. Also the people are incredibly nice. They are genuinely interested in helping you and getting to know you. We love all the people we've spent time with. And the food is the best...hmmm, gyros...