CraSh Williams' Blog

Posts Tagged ‘athens’

Nuts on Naxos

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on September 18, 2011

Naxos has been a pretty cool place, it has a nicer vibe than Milos and we’ve really enjoyed being here, it’s certainly a ‘bit’ cheaper which Shelley commented on Trip Advisor and is now in the middle of a long ‘discussion’ with several regular contributors! Apparently Milos does not receive a great deal of visitors due to not being on the ‘cruise-ship’ route and due to marketing, they’re very focussed on the American market – why this means such high prices is a curious one, the Americans’ have less money than anyone and if I were Mr. Milos I’d be aiming for Mr. European to come visiting!

The boat from Milos to Naxos is roughly a nine hour journey, taking in the Islands for Ios and Santorini along the way – as mentioned before, a mini-cruise in the Med, take a book to read and enjoy the sunshine. On arrival you’re greeted by the numerous guest house owners, lackeys and suchlike, all offering a place to stay. Having had our fingers burnt in Milos – the little old lady with more wrinkles than a pair of corduroy trousers, we were well prepared with questions. Such as – does the studio have an inside toilet or do you crap out of the window, is it on a hill and have you got a car to take us there.

Opting to go with Anna, we drove to a purpose built block and we quickly dismissed the first room shown – one tiny window, stuck in the corner of the block which really wasn’t for us. Nor was the second place, a nice enough room but below us were a group of Aussie girls, already on the sauce and to be honest, there’s only so much screeching you can put up with so we decided to continue our search elsewhere when Anna mentioned one more place, further in town with a great view and no Aussie birds beneath us…

With little hope that the next place would be the one, we jumped in the car and quickly arrived at the next place – a local street, kids tearing up and down on pushbikes, little old ladies chatting with other little old ladies… Entering the building we saw that the stairs were being used as a cupboard for fruit and vegetables and other odds and sods – it wasn’t looking too promising and only when Anna mentioned that this was her mums place, her father is a farmer (we could help ourselves to the fruit and veg) and the studio above had been recently decorated, that we started to get interested.

We took it straight away – we’ve a great studio, a massive roof terrace and what with being on a hill a superb vista of the town along with the sweep of the bay and Paros in the distance; it’s a superb place – ‘mama’ has provided us with a couple of lovely meals (we keep poking our heads around her door, saying hi and looking hungry in the hope of more home-cooked food!)

Whilst Sifnos is still the best place we’ve seen, Naxos has been pretty special. It’s got a great little centre, full of tavernas and numerous bars – whilst buying some provisions we asked the shop owner to recommend somewhere to eat, where he would go and he suggested a great little locals place just around the corner – we found the restaurant and to be fair the food has been the best so far, juicy pork-chops, great fish and good wine plus we’re paying ‘regular’ prices – the waiter has also taken a shine to Shelley and is constantly chatting to her, smiling and generally ignoring me – though it’s a small price to pay for such great food!

We’ve hired a scooter and toured the Island. We’ve seen a statue of Dimitris – and also a temple/structure older than the Acropolis, kite and wind surfers on one corner of the Island. Naxos also has numerous beaches which cater to nudists, though why is it all nudists seem to be middle-aged wife swapping types or single men walking up and down the beach, hands on hips with (if truth be told) not that much to be boasting about, it’s not like it’s cold here?

It’s been 6 nights now and thoughts of home and finding a job are things we’re starting to talk about, do we stay here for a further week, getting out kit off, joining the nudists? Or do we squeeze in another Island? Do we leave here and see a different country? Do we get a flight back to UK?

Decisions decisions!

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Striking out from Athens

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on September 10, 2011

Getting up early, we checked out of our hotel only to find there were a number of strikes taking place across Athens – the two relevant to us were taxis and metro – we’d only booked our tickets the night before and surely you would’ve thought that either the hotel or the ticket office were well aware of the impending strikes and what this would mean for someone needing to be at the port for 7.30am the following morning. But n0 – not one person mentioned this to us and only whilst checking out we got to find out this crucial detail!

We’d paid just shy of £100 for our ferry tickets and it was really beginning to look like we would be spending another night in Athens – a night neither of us wanted to do. Having no other option but to go out onto the street, I set about trying to find a cab – the receptionist told me I had no chance though undeterred, I stood outside trying to flag various cars down, I’d have willingly paid top dollar to get to the port. A Spanish couple came down, again in the same boat (we wish) as us – we were stuck, it was 6.45am and the boat was sailing in exactly 45 minutes…

A different group also joined us in reception only these guys had been told about the strike and were able to book a  cab – he turned up and hearing our plight assured us that we would indeed get to join our boat, I was dubious – Piraeus is a good a forty minutes return journey and we had forty-five minutes to play with and he’d just left with the first group.

At 7.05am – the cab driver screeched to a halt outside the hotel, us and the two Spainards piled in as the Kostas (cab driver) set off at break-neck speeds – listhening to loud classical music, he told me to put my seat-belt on and that he’d get us there with time to grab a coffee! We flew through town and true to his word, we just made it – it was one helluva of a ride and whilst we paid top dollar, we joined the ship and set sail for Sifnos – a three’ish hour boar ride from Piraeus…

Leaving Athens

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Goodbye Delhi, hello Athens

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on September 7, 2011

It was time to leave India, not only was there a terrorist attack earlier today, it also just being reported on CNN that there’s been 4.2 magnitude earth tremor in New Delhi! As for us moving on, I’m not sure whether the epic train journey from Varanasi back to Delhi played its part, but I was ready – for the first time ever, Delhi was starting to overwhelm me; too much noise, the constant beeping of horns, people barging past or pushing in front of you and general grime synonymous of India – it was beginning to wear me down.

Don’t get me wrong, this time around was probably my most favourite time in India – we certainly got to see a few more different places with Ladakh and Kashmir being truly memorable and riding the 1st and 3rd highest motorable roads in the World will live long in the memory. Seeing Amritsar and visiting the Golden Temple, to witnessing the Border Crossing at Wagah – a couple of days following both Pakistan and India’s independence. Varanasi was amazing – having heard so much about the place I really was expecting to be whisked back to the 15th century, true, the place was absolutely filthy (but so is every other old part of any Indian city) but the spiritual side was amazing and getting to swim in the Ganges was a great experience.

But there comes a time when you actually stop seeing what’s around you, losing the motivation to drag yourself out to experience something new – after ten months on the road there’s always an excuse to pass something by and over the last few weeks our thoughts are starting to return to friends we’re missing (and a particular cat,) food we wish to cook and eat plus getting back to the ‘real-world’ and the rat race!

Having no plans since being away, we made the decision to fly to Europe; choosing Greece as our stepping stone back to London, flying from Delhi via Bahrain before arriving in Athens – the difference between India and Greece is marked, whereas India has growth of 7%, Greece is having a nightmare with huge austerity cuts, protests almost every day – there’s tough times ahead for everyone.

We’re here for a good few weeks (no doubt adding lots of euros to the economy through quaffing lots of great wine) and planning to visit several of the Cyclades Islands. Tomorrow we take a ferry from Piraeus to Sifnos, a tiny little island with just over 2000 inhabitants. The holiday season is pretty much over and we’re hoping for a relaxed couple of weeks and seeing one or two more places before returning to London…

 

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