A Travellerspoint blog

Fun and Frockling in Folegandhros

Festering and Blobbing Out

sunny 29 °C

At last we are in touch. We headed for Sikinos. A non-event, stayed one night and ready to go at the next available ferry. Its a volcanic island, a tiny port with one taverna, one shop and nothing else. We had to catch the bus up to the top to buy a ferry ticket, and hang around a compact little village waiting for the return bus 2.5 hours later with nothing to do! We headed to Folegandhros about 40 minutes on the ferry again 300 metres above sea level, we headed to the centre, a beautiful quaint pretty village set around two squares with overhanging almond, flowering judas and pepper trees and loads of tiny tavernas with friendly Greeks willing to tell us their life stories. We met one who was in love with a girl from Blenheim who worked for him 4 years ago, he pulled out her Xmas card to show us....he had it in his shop! The locals do not tout for business, so it was quite a change getting off the bus and having to look for accomodation without being hasselled. There were a few Athenians there with their summer businesses, there is not much on offer during the winter months and whilst we are early in the season, we could see workman everywhere quickly painting, and setting up their little shops. We had a very executive type studio overlooking the med and had great sunset views, very nice with a bottle of vino! You will find fata morgana on the website, its an amazing hotel/apartment complex with the pool hanging on to the cliff edge! The first day we walked for 1.5 hours and after a swim returned to the village and with a ravenous apetite we scoffed moussaka chips and greek salad and two cold beers (that's for Joe and Ange!). Just what the doctor ordered! Day 2, we walked for 2 hours along a windy treacherous donkey trail through barren volcanic rock leading to Agali beach and walked on further until we discovered a small stony cove where the water was just oh so clear, we swam and savoured the cool refreshing water. We spent an afternoon drinking oozo on ice and met up with kiwis, south africans (from Elisabethtown) and a Swede! Boy did that oozo have a kick to it! We decided we hankered after a sandy beach, and one where we didnt need an arduous trek to get to, so after a 6.5 hour ferry ride we arrived at Andiparos where awaiting us were golden sandy beaches, beachfront tavernas, fishing boats and whitewashed blue and white houses.....I think we've found what we were after! YASAS!

Posted by houghts 03:52 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Idling in Ios!

It's all Greek to me!

overcast 22 °C

Our last day in Santorini was quite special, we had a fabulous shared feast with Lois and Nancy, and spent our last night drinking on a roof top eating olives out of an ashtray (clean one) with Abbey and Gary from the UK - thanks for your version of a noy noy guys!! under a glorious sunset with views way across the caldera, a perfect ending to a fabulous stay. We realised as we descended down towards Athinos port in Santorini just how close to the clouds we were! The ferries are running so efficiently, you have to guess which one you have to catch, people everywhere, and you literally have to run on and run off at your destination. We had visions of a chug chug type that would meander slowly to the next island, arrive, engine off, and disembark at your leisure, no such luck mate! The engines remain running, and they get passengers on and off, cargo on, and just speed off immediately on departure time....we think Fullers could learn a thing or two!! We were quite nervous about finding a room, we were confronted by about 20 people throwing their room photos in our faces at the port, luckily we knew what part of the island we wanted to stay in and that eliminated most of the hawkers. We found a quiet spot behind the beach, Yialos, all self contained, balcony with view, it was a private hotel type of place, but we were the only ones there, $40 a night, so quite cheap compared to our $180 per night in Santorini! The port town of Yialos is quaint, several tavernas, most of them still closed, an odd internet shop and several travel agencies selling ferry tickets. Right behind us though, and its hidden from view from here, and a good 25 minute walk uphill, is the other village called Hora, and its full of irish bars everywhere, why is that? We need to find the history of this place, if anyone knows the irish connexion, let us know! We counted 12 nightclub/bars whilst sitting in a quiet lane eating our spinach pie! Most were closed though, the tourist season mustn't start here for another few weeks yet! The town is really pretty, narrow lanes, all painted squares, whitewashed, overhanging bouginvillia and vines, loads of shops geared up for the younger set (trendy jewellery, shoes, clothes, surfshop stuff etc). Quite a contrast from our neck of the woods here in the port town. Food wise a little disappointing, we had a deep fried meal of calamari and veges, but all deep fried and cooked by an english woman, gave us indigestion! but last night was great, we had appetisers of stuffed peppers (feta cheese and bacon), a beef and lamb stew (cooked slow in a claypot), meatballs (tasty as) and fresh vegetables (not fried or dripping in oil) but steamed! They gave us complimentary dessert of yogurt honey and sliced peel? and a liquer with honey and cinnamon, delightful, cheap E30 which included half litre of red wino as well, lovely! Weatherwise we had a hot sunny day here yesterday, we had our first swim in the Med. Koumbara beach, water temp was still a bit chilly, but crystal clear with fish at our feet! We lay under a tamarisk on the beach (shared with only two others) and a roaming dog! Temperate was around 28oC but today its overcast and a little windy, perfect for travelling! Next stop Sikinos, not sure about facilities there, so if all goes quiet with the Houghts, you will know the reason why! andeeo for now!

Posted by houghts 02:27 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

Spectacular Santorini

Sitting Back and Enjoying the View

sunny 25 °C

Great news, weather is hot, sunny, clear blue skies and warming up enough not to wear a cardigan. We hiked to Ia, its the northernest village on the island. We trod initially through little paved clifftop walkways leading past hundreds of holiday villas and homes (mostly unoccupied) and the path took us out to barren landscape dotted with the odd taverna. The volcanic slopes were hard work in parts to climb but as paused to take a breath, we were instantly invigorated by the view. Windy hilly tracks lead us to a cafe where we met a lovely English couple on their honeymoon (what is it with the Houghtons, we are attracting honeymooners..!!) Gary and Abbey from Manchester, whom we ended up sharing a delicious Greek lunch of shaved lamb, tszaki, moussaka and of course cold mythos beers! The walk took 2.15hrs so we were needing sustenance. Ia is just such a pretty village, super clean whitewashed cave houses everywhere, pristinly presented with every property looking toward the sea. There are a lot of resorts appearing there though, all with super duper infinity pool complexes and bars etc, most were empty, we both decided we're glad we are here now rather than in the peak season, wouldn't enjoy the crowds. We've used the public bus stood all the way back down the windy skinny road back to Imerovigili where we sat under the umbrella and enjoyed a quiet one or two. We bumped into Maurice & Sharon from Plan & Print Newmarket (they know Bev McCullough) who live in Howick, small world eh? We have discovered the Summer Lovers house where the movie was set way back in 1982, this was a dream of ours to see and we feel proud we managed to find it amongst 1000's of villas. Fira is the main touristy spot here, its where all the cruise ships dock so everyday all we see are tourists and accents, mainly American. we simply come here to use the services and then retreat back up the hill, an hours walk, along the cliff top back to our quaint little spot. We met up with Gary and Abbey and watched an amazing sunset from a cliff top restaurant, fantastic, and tasted merlot local wine (from a bottle, not the house stuff) which was actually quite palatable, enough so that we had another one...euros are spent like dollars, even though they are worth double, so for those contemplating a visit to Greece, we are finding it not as cheap as it once was, and certainly, not as cheap as Italy but that may be because we are in a touristy town. We leave for Ios tomorrow en-route to Sikinos next week. We hope you are all enjoying the long weekend back in NZ, and thank you to those leaving messages, great to hear Mike and Cam made it back safe and sound to Ireland, more good times ahead with them guaranteed! We are now off to meet our Amercian friends, Nancy and Lois, who are on a cruise ship and are due here for a couple of hours, so its off to the local taverna to do what the Houghtons appear to do best ..! Kalispera

Posted by houghts 02:03 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

Yasas Greece

Sunning it in Santorini .....er not really!

storm 15 °C

My first impression of Athens, since it had been 28 years since my last visit, was how westernised it had become, distinctly less Greek with prevalent English signage everywhere and more importantly the influx of european immigrants, particularly from Albania. Wow! They seem to be running the restaurants and businesses there. There is a lot of reconstruction going on in the city. We staggered up to the acropolis in the heat of the day, and marvelled at the pathenon, but its thirsty work looking at artefacts and the Greek beer "mythos" (to Joe the fix factory has closed down!) quenched us in a bar under the grapevines. There is a new part of the city, the Plaka, which is all for the tourists and every business seems to be run and serviced by the immigrants. We flew Aegean Airlines to Santorini on Monday, a non eventful flight took 30 minutes on a 737. We had never imagined for one single minute that it could possibly be raining cold and stormy here in Santorini....it certainly didnt in "Summer Lovers" but boy did we get a lightning show here last night, wow, fork and flash lightning, put the fear of god into Elsie, and we were wearing thick winter woollies....we kid you not! But compensated warmly with a truly delicious Greek meal of Noels favourite (yep you guess it guys, mousakka) and I had keftedes with greek salad (with caper leaves which Id never seen nor tasted and were huge like bayleaves) tasty, great service and atmosphere. The place is riddled with mainly American and Germans, we appear as the only kiwis, and not busy there is abundance of holiday accomodation everywhere. We are on the cliff top in a whitewashed apartment, blue shutters, just north of Fira, our little table overlooks the harbour where the enormous cruise ships anchor! The view is just oh so spectacular, we have toasted to our absent friends who we know just love Greece. A special hi to Les and Judy, we heard bagpipes in Athens whilst walking around the acropolis..."Scotland the Brave" We immediately thought of you! Weather is improving today, we are off to discover Ia (northern part of the island where we think Summer Lovers was filmed) and to enjoy another day of great Greek cuisine and hospitality. Steen eeyiasas!

Posted by houghts 01:30 Archived in Greece Comments (1)

Farewell Italy

Fond Memories of a Wonderful Country

sunny 34 °C

Sorry for delay but just nowhere had internet, not even at Roma airport!! Italy was kind to us, we appreciate their weird and wonderful ways ...they all think they are formula 1 drivers and we spied out many times speedsters at 160kph on the autostrade, and reckless overtaking on windy hilly narrow roads, and we're positive they prefer driving on the left hand side as they always seem to approach us on our side of the road! Their cars dont have indicator lights we are sure! Elsie so enjoyed the way foodstuffs were always wrapped in crisp paper and sellotape (cheese, pastries, meat, bread etc) and a receipt is issued for everything! The quaint little shops that had no signage and you managed to find the specific shop you wanted by simply by looking through the curtain at the door! The delicatesseans were just amazing, a vast array of cheeses, wines, salamis and antipasto...personally I'd never seen so much and all locally produced. Now to the bugs, we think they drove us out of Roccalbegna...the climax was when Elsie discovered the biggest centipede ever! It was in my trackpants, and I screamed...Noel thought I was exaggerating and being a puss! ...until he saw it! He reckoned it was a big fat jelly that wouldnt die when he stamped on it many times. The wasps like b52's, ants the size of peanuts, every creepy crawly insect you could imagine we saw!!! Snakes, scorpians, wasps, bees, huge flies, slater bugs, they were just so abundant and massive in size, we used up nearly a can of flyspray in 5 days!!! We thoroughly enjoyed the Moretti and Peroni national beers! Different prices at different locations! We feel accomplished, Noel at driving and Elsie at navigating, and dealing comfortably with the language. Our only 'heated moment' which nearly led to divorce was at Roma airport when we had to return the car to Avis. We could not find where to take it despite driving around and around and around and asking 3 lots of people, until the only place left to look was in a carparking building! I kid you not! Eureka, floor after floor of car rental places in a carpark building! No signage anywhere...but we made it safe and sound with car intact what more could we have asked for! We leave you behind Italy, with the warmest of memories and hope one day to return to your beloved country. Our next adventure begins in Greece so until then thanks for all your messages, cheeky as they are! Arrivedecci Italy and yasas Greece!

Posted by houghts 01:11 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

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