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Skint in Greece…..

Wednesday 23rd July

Up early this morning and Keith very kindly dropped us off at the harbour in Fethiye so we could get our water skiing boat across to Rhodes. The ‘Flying Poseidon’ took about 90 minutes to cross the water between Fethiye and Rhodes Town.
We disembarked the boat and headed off with rucksack into Rhodes town where we got breakfast and a cold drink whilst working out where the bus station was!

After sussing this out we headed over to the bus station and grabbed a bus to Archangelos where we would be staying for a week, it’s a small sleepy laid back town on the southern coast of Rhodes about 50 minutes bus ride from Rhodes Town. Unfortunately we had the pleasure of going through Faliraki to get there! Delightful….

After all the Faliraki mob left the bus we had a quiet and pleasant ride to Archangelos, asked for some directions to the apartment and wandered off into the hills to find it. We checked in and slept then early evening we got up, headed to the supermarket to buy stock for the fridge the we prepared salad for dinner and utilised the poor greek wifi before bed!

Thursday 24th July

Up at 8am, breakfasted on yoghurt and fruit before hopping on the bus to meet Emre, a turkish guy we met via Couchsurfing website. He was in Rhodes at the same time and suggested meeting for a days sightseeing together.
So we met at the Archaeological Museum and took a wander round taking in all the ‘Knights of St John’ items, mosaic floors and multiple pots from cemeteries over Rhodes! The building itself was amazing, a former hospital for the Knights which contains huge banquet halls, flagstone floors and fireplaces.

After this cultural stuff we were hot and hungry so stopped off for a quick gyros and coke on route to the Palace of the Grand Master, another amazing building. More rooms than you could shake a stick at…mosaic floors, inglenook fireplaces, flagstone floors etc

Again, after this cultural episode we had to stop for a drink and an ice cream by Socrates Fountain.

We then took a slow wander back towards the bus station with Emre, taking in the Temple of Apollo and the Gate of St Paul, before grabbing a cold drink on the harbour front, opposite the famous Rhodes windmills!

Kirsty and I then said Goodbye to Emre and jumped on the bus back to Archangelos where we popped in supermarket and headed back to the room to prepared tea and skype family and friends.

Good day today, seeing some of the old sights of Rhodes I have not seen since I was a child and meeting Emre who is like the turkish equivalent of Alexander the Great! Cool guy.

Friday 25th July

Today we had a well deserved lie in, a late breakfast of yoghurt and fruit and then walked 90 minutes to the beautiful Stegna beach. Very small, quaint, quiet beach nestled among the mountains. The water is turquoise and crystal clear, perfect for a swim!

We lazed on the beach and swam in the sea, popped over the road to a taverna for a spot of saganaki and salad before lapping up some more rays!

At about 6pm we left the beach and spent 90 minutes walking back up the mountain to Archangelos! Never been so tired and sweaty! Lol

Once back we did some dinner, showered and crashed out!

Saturday 26th July

Again, well deserved lie in today, after which we got breakfast then wandered down to the bus stop to get the bus to Lindos, which is a beautiful town nestled down the side of a mountain.

It was bloody hot and after the exertion of walking to and from Stegna beach we were suffering with heat exhaustion a bit. So we had a quick nosy at Lindos, grabbed a cold drink and the next bus back to Archangelos.

The evening was a lazy affair of preparing and eating salad for dinner and using the crappy wifi!

Sunday 27th July

Another lazy day, this is becoming a bit of a habit really! We had breakfast then jumped on the bus to Rhodes Town so Kirsty could get some presents and some shopping.

We wandered around the town, got what we came for, grabbed a cold drink and gyros and then headed back to the apartment for a nap before dinner, wifi and riveting toenail painting session! Well all these things need doing…..

Monday 28th July

We decided, against our better judgement, to walk back to Stegna Beach today. So after a late breakfast we hit the road and walked 90 minutes down to the beach. Once there we swam and lazed under the brolly listening to music and reading.

Lunchtime we popped over to another taverna for lunch before a few more hours on the beach.

At 7pm we left the beach, bought a Marc De Champagne Magnum (delish) and then started the long and windy and hilly walk back.

We did dinner, showered and went to bed shattered!

Tuesday 29th July

Well today was a napping kind of day! We got up, had breakfast, used the wifi, napped, walked to the post office and supermarket, grabbed some lunch the wandered back, had a nap, used the wifi, did dinner, used the wifi and bed! It’s a hard life this travel lark!

Wednesday 30th July

Today saw slightly more action. We checked out at 12, headed to the bus stop for the bus to Rhodes Town. Once we arrived we grabbed a gyros and walked miles around the harbour to the Blue Star Ferries office to pick up the tickets for our ferry. We literally walked from one side of Rhodes harbour to the other! I felt as though we could have bloody walked to Athens the distance we had to go!

Eventually we found the ferry, boarded, found some seats in the Air Conditioned lounge and settled down for the 18 hour trip.  We split our time wandering the ship, grabbing food, drinks, toilet visits, reading, listening to music and chatting.

Eventually we grabbed a space on the floor and settled down for the crappiest nights sleep under the coldest air con!

Thursday 31st July

I awoke at 7am, with ribs that felt cracked from sleeping on the hard floor! But still managed a respectable 5 hours sleep! Freshen up, grabbed an omelette for breakfast and waited for 9.30am to arrive and our arrival into Piraeus in Athens.

Upon arrival we hopped on a shuttle bus before walking to the metro station. We took the metro up to Omonoia Square and managed to check into the hostel early, thank god!

We slept until 2pm them went for a walk to the Monastiraki area so Kirsty could see the Acropolis and Parthenon. We grabbed a gyros in a cafe right underneath the Acropolis before walking to Syntagma Square to see Parliament.

After all that walking we headed to the supermarket to buy food for dinner and returned to the hostel to snack on our tzatzki and carrots! Who says backpacking and budget travelling can’t be fun! Living it up on carrots!

Friday 1st August

We spent the day roaming the streets of Athens, we wandered around Monastiraki and Acropolis area again then back across to Syntagma and back to the hostel for a nap!

In the evening we popped out for a cheese pie from an italian bakery in Omonoia Square.

Saturday 2nd August

Had a late start, walked over to the Museum and had a wander round before lunch and a nap back at the hostel.

In the evening we went for a walked around Athens at night, strolling down the beautiful streets of Plaka area and the Acropolis. We grabbed a drink and a pastry for dinner in Omonoia Square before crashing out!

It’s too hot to do much now! The heat zaps any energy we have! It’s not as hot as India but at 36 degrees feels like it!

Sunday 3rd August

This morning we got up early, had breakfast and whizzed round to the Parliament Building to watch the full changing of the guard. This involved a full military band, all the members of the guard and a couple of dudes dressed to the nines who shouted commands at them all! It was great to watch a bit of pomp and ceremony, much like being in England!

Afterwards wandered back to the hostel and chilled out under the air con as it was bloody hot.  We had a nap and went out in the evening to Monastiraki area for dinner.

Monday 4th August

We checked out of our hostel this morning as we would be spending the next week couchsurfing with 2 different hosts.

This morning saw us meet a lovely guy called Murtadha who contacted us through couchsurfing to say he was in Athens at the same time and did we fancy meeting for some sightseeing?

So we met, had brunch and then walked all around Athens taking in Hadrians Arch, Temple of Zeus, the Olympic Stadium and the National Park.

We grabbed an ice cream and drink and sat in the park for a while, out of the hot sun!

Afterwards we wandered over the Plaka area and Kirsty and Murtadha went up to the Acropolis, I sat in the shade in cafe reading a book! Having climbed up to the acropolis in May, I didn’t feel the need to do it again in 36 degree heat!

Once they had reappeared, red-hot and sweaty we wandered back to Omonoia, said goodbye to Murtadha and grabbed our bags and jumped on the metro, heading over to Nomismatokopio…the worlds longest metro station name!

We met our couchsurf host, Girish and headed back to his place.

The evening was brilliant fun….Girish helped up settle in and then took us upstairs to his friend, Vivek’s flat for dinner. With both of them being from India, dinner was an indian affair both the food and conversation! It was amazing, just like being back in India! Lol

I think there may have even been indian music thrown in for good measure!

Both guys are lovely and funny and like a comedy duo, kept us entertained all night!

Tuesday 5th August

We met Murtadha for late breakfast in Syntagma Square then took a tram for just under 2 hours to the beach.

We managed to find some sun beds and a brolly and lazed around on the beach until nearly 5.30pm, when we headed off back on the tram to Athens.

Upon arrival at Athens we said goodbye again to Murtadha and headed off on the metro to the station with the worlds longest name!

Popped into the supermarket, met Vivek and wandered back with him.

Girish let us use his washing machine, which was amazing! Such small things!

We then headed upstairs to Vivek’s for dinner, it was Vivek’s turn to cook. Last night we sampled Girish’s southern indian delights, tonight it was northern indian. My favourite!

Whilst dinner was being prepared Naman, another of Girish’s friends turned up and was chatting about our time in India….so what with our new indian friends, amazing indian food and indian music we were feeling like we were back there and not really in Athens at all!

Wednesday 6th August

Met Murtadha for breakfast in Monastiraki area, we sat around for hours using the wifi and drinking free tap water! Watching the world go by.

Kirsty and I then decided to head off to a cinema to see Hercules…spectacular failure! Walked for ages down past all the sex shops to the cinema to find it closed!

So walked back, stopped off for gyros the headed back to Girish’s to do the food shopping as it was our turn to cook.

It was a non indian affair of philly beef pasta and fruit salad! Seemed to go down well!

After dinner we watched the Inbetweeners movie, which still has me crying with laughter even after having seen it so many times!

Thursday 7th August

Lazy day today…we stayed at Girish’s whilst he went to work and we spent the day napping, watching films and wandering to the supermarket for lunch!

Evening time we popped up to Vivek’s kitchen for dinner which was an indian affair with a non indian twist! Pork Biriyani!

Friday 8th August

Another lazy day, napping, lunching and film watching.

In the evening we packed our bags and said goodbye to Girish and Vivek and headed off on the metro to our next couchsurf host, Moiz.  We arrived at Moiz’s at 10pm, chatted to him for a while and then crashed out asleep.

Saturday 9th August

Up early and out to catch the bus to Cape Sounion, which has a temple on the cliff edge overlooking the sea and a nice small beach. We got off the bus at the temple took a few pics and then walked 20 minutes down to the small beach.

We then lazed around on the beach until 7pm when we wandered back up to the road and got the bus back to Athens.  We grabbed dinner, wandered back to Moiz’s and went to bed.

Sunday 10th August

This morning we were up early and met Girish and Naman at 9.30am and jumped on a coach to the Loutraki Beach Club Hotel and Casino.

Upon arrival we then jumped in a cab and headed to the Corinth Canal which is stunning and also the site of a bungee jump platform!

Girish had decided that morning on the metro that he was going to do a bungee jump so as we were his support we were allowed to enter the metal mezzanine walkway right over the canal for even better pictures.

We cheered Girish on as he counted down from 5 and then leapt off the platform over the canal, his screams could be heard all the way down! Lol

Still he did it and has the t-shirt to prove it! Lol

After that excitement we headed to the casino for a bit of fun and free food.  We got €12 worth of money to play on the slot machines and I managed to win €25 euros, so that was a bonus! Didn’t fall into the casino trap and hit the cash in button as soon as I had won rather than fritter it all away again! Lol

Once the guys had lost all their money at Blackjack we headed to the buffet lunch and watched in amazement as Girish put away a bowl of soup, 3 plates of mains and a small plate of desserts…

We then hit the beach and had a quick dip in the pool which was like something out of ‘The only way is Marbs’! Loads of pretentious plastic people sitting around in designer gear chatting around the pool whilst loud banging dance music was drowning out their inane conversation! We had a brilliant time though and pratted around in the pool before strolling around in non designer gear and heading back to the bus stop for our bus back to our couch for the night! No 5 star all-inclusive beach club for us!

Monday 11th August

We said goodbye to Moiz and left early to grab breakfast before getting a bus to the coach station and then the coach to Patras on the west coast of Greece.

The bus took 3 hours and was not a bad journey, we met Panos our next couchsurf host and headed back to his unofficial residence next door to his office in a commercial office block! Lol

We unpacked, freshened up and then headed our for souvlaki with Panos…the best souvlaki in the west! We wandered back after dinner, chatted to Panos for ages about travelling and then crashed out for the night.

Tuesday 12th August

Today we had a lie in, which was immense. We then had a leisurely day of wandering around Patras, chilling in a cupcake cafe then popping to the supermarket before embarking in an afternoon nap.

Later in the evening we walked with Panos to an amazing restaurant on the beach overlooking the Rio-Antirio bridge, it took nearly 90 minutes to walk it but it was worth it! We were all starving by the time we got there!

We stuffed our faces with salad, tzatziki and chips before jumping in a cab back to Panos’s and crashing out.

Up at 9am, had breakfast then said goodbye to Panos and walked up to our hotel in the pedestrian area of town. We checked in early, slept until lunchtime and then wandered to the supermarket for lunch. We then chilled in the room watching cheesy tv and eating M&Ms under the air con! Heaven! Lol

The evening we popped out for dinner and an ice cream before bed!

Thursday 14th August

Today saw us leave Greece after 3 weeks, we went to the port mid afternoon and boarded our overnight ferry to Brindisi in south Italy.

The ferry was a ropey old thing that was filthy complete with cockroaches in the bar, grim toilets, no carpets, a duty-free shop that was closed and a restaurant that was supposed to open at 7.30pm but actually opened at 8.30pm.

The ferry company was Grimaldi Lines so I suppose the lived up to their names.

Anyway as evening approached we settled down on a row of chairs which was to be our bed for the night and tried to sleep! Somewhat painfully as armrests kept digging into us but it was better than the floor complete with cockroaches!

I actually managed to doze off for a few hours only to be woken by a loud bang, loads of people rushing through the lounge shouting and a guy walking around carrying a life jacket! In my half asleep state I briefly thought I was on the titanic but then realised we had stopped at Corfu or somewhere and loads of people had got on and were trying to race for seats! The guy with the life jacket had got it out of the cupboard and was going to use it as a pillow! Nothing like being prepared!

I then decided to pop to the loo still half asleep only to come across loads of people with dogs…totally weird night on the ship! Lol

Crept back into my sleeping bag and left the life jacket pillow guy and the dogs to it and will see what the world looks like in the morning upon arrival into Brindisi!

So our 3 weeks in Greece finally came to an end, we didn’t get to Sparta, Delphi or Olympia in the end due to a severe lack of funds…but we did meet a lot of really cool people through couchsurfing and made some amazing new friends.

Thanks goes to Murtadha for his company around Athens, Girish for letting us into his house for 4 nights, cooking for us and showing us promotional videos of Karnataka. Vivek for his amazing indian food and for letting us invade his house every night, Naman for organising the casino day, Moiz for letting us crash on his floor for 3 nights and Panos for letting us take over his bedroom for 2 nights and taking us out for amazing food.

We now have a couple of weeks in Italy ahead of us where we will be taking in the grimy southern city of Naples, Pompeii, Rome and all its historical treasures, Florence, Pisa and Milan.

Our trip is slowly coming to an end now and our banks are almost empty, so soon it will be back to work and reality…..

Still a couple of weeks left which we are clinging onto!

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