Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on September 21, 2011
Andrea, whom we met whilst aboard the Grande Francia continues his journey around the World (do look for two intrepid travellers in the video…)
It seems like a long time since we were aboard the ship, though we’re still talking about it – people we meet are always amazed when they hear about our leaving London aboard a cargo ship and our voyage to South America, following the coasts of France, Spain, Africa and Brazil – an awesome experience that still lives long in our memories. But alas, all good things come to an end and we’ve had a truly awesome time, met some wonderful people and experienced many highs and great times.
The whole adventure had been really special and we both feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to see the World – pretty much on our own terms, having no plan whatsoever, only to arrive in Buenos Aires and go with the flow. Argentina was superb, we wish we’d met our tango instructor sooner though know we’ll take it up when we eventually settle back in the UK. The friends we met whilst learning Spanish will remain good friends – some of whom are already planning to visit London later this year.
Machu Picchu was everything and more than we expected – at one stage we had no plans to see it, so very glad we decided to get to Lima and onto Cuzco – it was mind-blowing. Having no plan saw us leave South America to meet up with friends in SE Asia, Jamie and Lisa in Vietnam, our little holiday within our trip – Vietnam was such a beautiful country and travelling by train, north to south we pretty much saw all of it and so want to go back.
Whilst Phnom Phen wasn’t for us, the rest of Cambodia was – seeing the small river town of Kampot was a highlight with many drunken nights spent in the Rusty Keyhole, drinking cold beers and enjoying great food to meeting up with our friends Dave and Katie, en route to London having been to a wedding in Australia. Seeing Angkor Wat with them both – we couldn’t have hoped for two better intrepid explorers!
Thailand was everything we though it wasn’t – we were both expecting Bangkok to be a little bit like Old Delhi, ramshackle and broken, dirty and not really for us so imagine our surprise to see multiple high-rise office blocks on a par with New York – an incredible metropolis though it the places outside of Bangkok we truly enjoyed – visiting the Islands and being able to climb in Krabi, a longish term ambition of mine. To visiting the north, making friends in Chiang Mai and our nights inside Pinkys – a fine watering hole with some great characters though none more than Fon and Graeme – unfortunately the photo I have of Graeme is long deleted though the image has been burned into my memory!
Then there was India and our being spoilt rotten by Ram Mama and Madhu Mami, both of whom gave up their bed and fed us plenty of home cooked food, which after being on the road for so long was very welcome. Rather than visit the same places we opted to see more of the north and the foothills of the Himalayas. Having now been to Leh I can categorically say that this is my favourite place in India – riding our Enfield in the mountains, riding over the first and third highest motorable passes was a real highlight. Seeing Goa in a monsoon (and meeting our friend Tony from Chiang Mai, randomly paying for something in a supermarket) and for me bathing in Ganga Mata in Varanasi, for no other reason than, why not!
We’re now in Greece, have been for about two or so weeks – relaxing before we head back to London and finding somewhere to live, rebuilding our careers and planning the next stage of our lives with memories of this year shaping our future. It’s been a wonderful adventure and I couldn’t have had a better person to travel with, be with and to share all these wonderful times with than my wife and co-pilot Shelley, none of this would have been possible nor as much fun with out her – it’s been a blast babes x
Posted in Brazil, Buenos Aires, Cambodia, Delhi, Greece, India, London, Peru, South East Asia, Tango, Thailand, Vietnam | Tagged: angkor wat, Argentina, cambodia, Cargo Ship, chaing mai, goa, Grande Francia, greece, india, kampot, ladakh, leh, machu picchu, moto guzzi, peru, pinkys, rusty keyhole, shelleytravel, stelvio2stelvio, thailand, vietnam | 16 Comments »
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?
Posted in Greece | Tagged: acropolis, athens, cyclades, greece, ios, med cruise, naxos, nudism, nudists, santorini, sifnos, statue of dimitris, wife swapping | 4 Comments »
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on September 15, 2011
After Sifnos we boarded a ferry to Milos – the ferry being super cheap though slightly longer journey when compared to the cats though if truth be told, a much nicer journey. Sailing by day meant we were able to spend the crossing up on the deck (which you’re unable to do aboard the cats,) enjoying the sunshine and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. It’s quite a cool way to travel, the wind in your hair, sun in your face, passing by numerous islands – a mini cruise around the med!
Milos was so so, I believe Sifnos is rated the best Island of Cyclades which unfortunately we’d just left! As we left the ferry an old lady, dressed head to toe in black, with a face like a an over-ripe date approached us to see if we’d be interested in seeing her accommodation, initially asking for 40e we got her down to 25e.
Heading off in the direction of Milos‘s largest hill (a small mound really, though it was mid-day and we were fully loaded with berghans) she soon left us behind – her two/three minute walk was our ten minute blowing out of our backside trek! Eventually we arrive at a cute blue door and all seems quite promising – we’re above the port with a big church next to us, it was looking promising.
On entering the apartment we quickly stopped with Shelley bumping into my back – I could go no further in as there was a bed blocking my way. This was the room, it must’ve been all of a double bed with about a two foot gap around three of its edges, I’ve seen bigger wardrobes than this and not knowing the Greek for ‘…you’re having giraffe…’ she quickly realised we were not very impressed and promptly pulled some more keys out promising that the next place was even better.
Better in the sense that it has only slightly more space but with no window, just the door and also, neither a toilet nor a bathroom – she pointed around the corner, out of the main door to a side street which is where the bathroom was located! By this time it was sense of humour failures all round – the old lady was getting very animated by our real lack of interest and general feelings of hostility towards her – initially she was wanting 40e for these cupboards, it was a total joke so we left her there, this little old lady blasting out a 100 curses at us both, we headed back to the main part of town to dump the bags, grab a beer with one of us heading out to find some accom.
Heading out in a different direction I quickly found a stunning apartment – owned by an Austrian woman, she had a great little studio, overlooking the port on a quiet residential street for 30e – I quickly grabbed Shelley to check it out and being happy we checked in.
We stayed on Milos a couple of days, hiring a scooter we did a tour of the Island but pretty as it was we decided to move on, taking a 6 hour boat to the Island of Naxos, which is just after Santorini…
Posted in Greece | Tagged: cyclades, greece, greek islands, milos, naxos, sifnos | 1 Comment »