I write this from the decks of the Jerkic (say Yerk-ich) from Omis on the Dalmation coastline, where we are currently in the midst of a sailing tour. A town that has a long pirate history that I am unfortunately not discovering, due to the week long hangover that is the Croatia sailing tours! But that’s a whole separate post, for I have yet to tell you about our Greek escapades on the beautiful Mediterranean island Ios and our Athens adventure..
Getting to Ios turned out to be a drama in itself – the six hour ferry from Athens scheduled to depart at 330pm did not leave until 6pm, the huge almost galactic-looking catamaran not berthing until after midnight. We found a bench each under a tree in an unkept park near the port in Athens and spent a couple of hours looking for all the world like a pair of homeless people. Luckily our very kind host was there to meet us when we finally showed up in Ios as we were far too tired and cranky to attempt finding our way in the dark! Making us feel even more welcomed was the adorable homemade cookies and a jar of local oregano which grows in abundance over the island.
The first day we took in the beautiful white towns and explored along with the stunning beaches.
The second day saw us hiring an ATV which we used to explore the furtherest beaches of the island, poor Matilda as we dubbed her working like a Trojan to haul our not particularly petite selves up the mountains at 5km an hour!
This showed us views of the dramatic blue coast, the dust from the barren hillsides rendering the horizon hazy.
That night we drank far more than we (I) should and checked out the infamous bars and clubs. As it turns out a very poor idea as I then spent the rocking ferry ride back to Athens in misery.
Luckily we arrived at our Airbnb apartment in Athens with little trouble, the comfy couch, Tv with Netflix and efficient air conditioning a savour!
The next day, recovered and ready for action we wandered through the streets of Athens towards the Acropolis. Passing through the central market which was fantastic (Oh how I love a market!) and stopping along the way for sandals from a handmade leather shop (the first blow out of the trip was in Ios when my current sandals gave up the ghost – never mind! Any excuse for shopping!)
When we finally reached the Acropolis and saw the endless line stretching to the ticket booth it became clear that we were not organised nearly as well as we had been in Rome, and we had a several hour wait in the heat ahead of us if we wanted to enter. Daunted, we climbed a hill with a good view of it, declared it seen and traced our steps back to the market to buy fresh olives, bread, vegetables, feta and houlumi cheese, avocado and capsicum and tomatoes for lunch!
The next day we again headed to the port, this time bound for Hydra, an adorable island just off the coast of the mainland, a two hour journey from Athens. Instantly we were in love. Terracotta roofs clustered along the hillsides above the port, restaurants and bars and shops lining the promenade. Best of all is that vehicles are essentially prohibited, so the islanders employ mules to carry guests luggage and other loads to and from the port. Although I did start to feel sorry for them as the day wore on and the sun beat down.
After hunting out pastries at a bakery (line was out the door – always a good sign!) we started walking around the coastline, rounding the corner to views of the cliffs, dropping into azure sea. Shortly, it got too much to bear and we scurried down the steps to the tempting waves to join the others splashing around.
We later walked to another beach where you could hire sunbeds and umbrellas and order food, which we did for a while, before wandering back to look around town, finding gyzo for lunch (hard to believe we hadn’t tracked them down before!!) and setting off the other way around the island.
Unfortunately, the swimming spots on this side of the island proved elusive, and after my newly purchased jandals had worn away an excruciating blister on my toe we turned back in desperation to find one last swimming spot before the ferry returned to take us back.