With over 200 inhabited islands, how do you chose which to visit? Planning any trip always requires a considerable amount of research, but planning a trip through the Greek islands brings this to a whole new level. After much consideration, we chose Naxos, Paros, Mykonos and Tinos. The mix of the 4 islands allowed us to see the touristy sites and famous white and blue villages, as well as the less discovered areas and small villages of this stunning country.
Athens is the starting place for most who travel to Greece and it was no different for us. A welcome return to Europe after spending several months gallivanting throughout Africa. A modern city coexisting with the ruins thousands of years old. Museums overflowing with artifacts that leave you mesmerized at the complexities of our history, the enchanting mythology of the Greek gods, humanity in the making. It also of course has some excellent local watering holes, and food so tasty you continue to eat long after you’ve undone that top button in your jeans!
A secluded house on the side of a hill was our first stop on the Islands. About 2km from the town of Naxos, we were able to easily walk to town and also free to disappear in our little piece of paradise overlooking the Aegean Sea.
Greece is just as I had imagined and the people I met were hospitable and friendly. A proud patriotic bunch really keen to share their culture and country to those willing to learn. The Aegean Sea though, that was cold as hell. I never imagined that the water could be soo cold. It’s a deceiving, clear aqua blue sea inviting you to take a dip, only to leave you traumatized and numb with nothing more than a toe dip. Granted I didn’t visit in the warmest month and I’ve been told that around August and September the water warms up a bit, and perhaps I’ve been too spoilt calling the Caribbean Sea my backyard for the last 5 years. But nonetheless, it was cold and I could not find the nerves to properly swim, I did however encounter a few insane individuals that did!
There is always something to do, wine to drink or food to eat while in Greece. The small islands are packed with local fishermen flaunting their fresh catch and the small local restaurants ready to cook it up. I enjoyed my time the most, in a small village called Arnados on the island of Tinos. Arnados I believe is the highest village on the Island, located about 10km away from the main town up a long winding road. Most times, it seems almost inhabited. The streets are quiet and almost empty, until you turn the right corner and realize that everyone has gathered at the same restaurant or bar for some dancing, singing and celebrating. Celebrating what exactly? that I never worked out, lunch time perhaps, or just life in general, but whatever the reason, I love joining in, drinking too much wine or whatever homemade petrol tasting brew and eating too much food. Everyone smokes and they smoke everywhere. Inside, outside, it makes no difference. But when you’re in Greece, even as a non-smoker, life is simply too good to even care.
A month in Greece went by in the blink of an eye… Another month has come and gone and my 13 months journey is shrinking more and more. I can now count on one hand the few months I have left. Time seems to speed up with every passing day when all I want to do is stop the clock, or maybe its just all a bit blurry from drinking all that ouzo?