Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sailing into Greece

We left Turkey in the pouring rain, a miserable way to finish what had been an awesome country and an equally miserable way to enter the famous Greek Islands.  Our entry point to Greece was the small island of Kos, and a mere hour after leaving Turkey we exited customs and had made it to Greece.  Funnily enough on the way through customs we were greeted by a wall decoration depicting a half-naked bearded man sitting on a rock staring up at another half-clad man while seductively stroking his chest…. Yep, we were in Greece alright!

Our first mission was to get another ferry ticket, since in low season it wasn’t clear what ferries ran when and we had a fairly tight schedule to stick to and we needed to make it to Santorini.  The ticket lady explained that in off-season our best bet was to go directly to Athens and then work our way back, which would use up a lot of time and money, but there was a ferry leaving in 15 minutes bound for Syros, which was a good location for continuing onto Mykonos the next day.  We hurriedly bought the tickets and sprinted through the heavy rain back to the harbour and saw the last truck board the massive ferry.  

We made it just in time and were grateful to discover that Blue Star ferries are quite luxurious so we found a comfy couch and settled in for the 7 hour long trip.  Around 6 pm we pulled into Syros and went directly to find a ferry to Mykonos and learned that they went daily at 11.30 am and we could buy a ticket in the morning.  So that meant we had to find ourselves some accommodation.  It turns out that the Greek’s take the off-season very seriously and everything was shut except for one very posh hotel, Hotel Palladion 3.  The owner took some pity on us and offered us a very good room for 30€ which, even though it was above our budget, was a decent rate for a very nice hotel and we didn't have any other options. 

The weather worsened on the following day and when we went to buy ferry tickets we were told that the wind was too high so no ferries would be running.  Stranded on a Greek island! Things could be worse… So we set about exploring the town in the wind and rain.  We hiked up the nearby hill to the Ano Syros area which is the ‘Old Town’ section of the island and has some beautiful houses and a monastery on top and then continued over to the next hilltop which had a cathedral overlooking the town and harbour.  As we descended we found another huge cathedral and cautiously entered through the open side door. Our snooping paid off as it was amazing inside, one of the most elaborately decorated cathedrals we’d seen in a long time (or maybe we were just cathedral deprived after Turkey…)

The weather seemed to clear in the afternoon and we hoped that when we woke up the following morning we’d be able to set sail for the famous island of Mykonos.

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