Every travel guide we’d read urged us to reconsider plans to visit Greece in August. At the height of peak tourist season, we’d be hard-pressed to find any sense of solitude and were told we’d spend more time elbowing our way through crowds than enjoying the dramatic vistas. Of course this was not the kind of island escape we were after, but with long-term travel you sometimes just have to roll with the punches. We had thought only a week before that we’d be relaxing in Cyprus for 2 weeks, but so it goes. You’re going to be in some places at the ideal time and others, you might just be missing the boat.
With this in mind so began our two-week Greek Isle-hopping adventure. Leaving the shores of Turkey behind (more on Turkey adventures coming soon from my better half), we hopped on a ferry across the Agean Sea. Selected purely based on its geographic location, our first stop was the island of Kos, which sits right smack-dab off the coast of Turkey. The ferry ride over proved more memorable than anticipated as it gave us a good taste of what was to come. We found ourselves among tank top-clad, beefy men with sun-burnt, fanny-pack-toting wives running after their sticky, dirty-diaper wearing children. Get the picture? Glamorous, glitzy Greece it was not.
Arriving at the port we had a reservation at a little pension in town, but took a brief detour when we were stopped by a mother-daughter duo who were renting out, as they put it in their heavy English accent, a “super, super, super” apartment we just shouldn’t miss. Soon we found ourselves in the back of the car with a crazy 70 year-old Greek woman at the wheel. First we dropped off her granddaughter at her arts and crafts class (naturally) before winding around the coast a half hour a way to our destination: a super, duper dump. While staying in the Greek version of a trailer park could have provided some comical adventures, we opted out, resulting in quite an earful from our new Greek grandmother.
Arriving two hours later at lovely Pension Alexis, we were greeted on a leafy patio with open arms and two ice coffees by our gregarious hosts, Sonia and her sons. They showed us to our room and then on to the bathroom we’d be sharing with umpteen Italian families staying the place. Yep, here it became official: we’re in Europe and back on the Euro. Goodbye to the carefree budget days of Asia. Those days are long gone.
We spent two fine days in Kos, sampling as much Greek food as we could while squeezing in a few runs and bike rides along the harbor. We made our way to the rocky beaches covered in colorful umbrellas and confirmed our arrival to Europe with all the topless bathers. Although there was plenty of sun and beautiful water, we couldn’t help but hope the rest of Greece had more to offer. Shops selling postcards, key chains and magnets dominated the streets and all the 18-year old Brits and Germans here looking for a club scene must have been in hog heaven. There just had to be more…
For more on our Greek Isle hopping adventure, check out: