LAST DAYS in ATHENS

Athens

 
Arrived back in the afternoon and met by our kind taxi driver Aristedes. He’s a big Greek man with a scraggly pony tail and a very kind attitude. 
 
Checked in and I have a room with a view. THE view in Athens – of the Acropolis.

My perfect Athens view from my room

Magic view. Up to the roof top  to drink –  the view and the wine. Jill’s not feeling too good with her coughing so we didn’t stay too long. We headed out for a short walk and a very touristy type dinner. Early night

 
THURSDAY
 
Up at a reasonable time and down to breakfast to find Jill not good at all and  has called the doctor to the hotel. So a slow start and then a little walk around the Plaka. She felt a bit better and we went along the streets towards Parliament to see the changing of the guards. Beautiful day. 
View form our coffee shop

 

Sadly Jill didn’t want to continue and returned to the hotel with Chris, so I went
exploring on my own. I found the upmarket area with the expensive shops and I did
some people looking – not shopping! 

Also found the local department store Aticca. It was a kind of upmarket department store spread over 6 floors. They put the men’s clothes on 1 & 2 and the ladies clothes on floors 4 & 5. So different in Australia where womens clothes are much more visible. Tried a few things on but didn’t buy! Then made my way, in a round about way, to the Acropolis area and wandered around, had a sandwich and got back to the hotel at 4 to check on Jill. She decided not to go out again. Sad news. 

So up to the roof top I went to drink – both the view and the wine and was joined by Chris. 

The perfect guard!

 

 

 

 Chris and I went out for a last dinner together and had what was probably one of the better dinners – certainly in Athens. 
 
Off to bed after packing. 
Jill and Chris are leaving at 5.45 am
I’ll be still asleep so we said are farewells tonight
It’s been a wonderful holiday having the “Wandering Wilsons” along on the holiday adventure. Swimming and island hopping. 
 
FRIDAY
 
Up and out and felt strange again by myself. Did more wandering and people watching and went to the jewellery museum. All of Athens is a jewellery museum from what I can see there are sooooo many shops! I had people making me all sort of offers and discounts. I kept saying – after trying things on. I really like it but I’ll have to bring my husband back to see it. He has the cash. That usually ensues a further discount. Pity it’s not going to happen! 
 
Picked up again by Aristedes, this time accompany by his wife Maria who became my best friend by the time we had detoured around the city on a little side trip. They provided water and a pastry this time and I was out at the airport in very good time. Worth the money. 
 
Went to the lounge, which involved practically walking back to Athens and waited for the boarding which was on time. Had a lovely flight with an air hostess who was so trim and beautiful I thought she might be an out of work actress. 
 
Now sitting in Paris waiting for my flight to Singapore where I will meet up with Narelle , my Sydney school friend. Fun times ahead!

LAST NIGHT ON SWIM TREK

Last night on the swim trek

Our last day (and night) of Swimtrek

A big swim (3km) including some great caves

… to here …
Sarah, Jill and Fran in fetching pink caps
… via here …
…. Pause here …

A smaller swim (2km) to finish off

Sarah’s 30th birthday map
… the last leg

“Presentation Ceremony” and final dinner

Our guides, Ricky and Emma – well done!
Steve graduates
Fran graduates
The Crew

BIG NIGHT OUT

WEDNESDAY

Great night last night on this gorgeous little island Koufonissi.. The little restuarant in a laneway back from the small port was really very good. The lamb! The salads! All delicious.
It was all drama though, with Tracey (another pink group member) really not well and had to see a doctor in town. Ricky, our lovely guide, took her and had to make a decision about what to do. She has some health problems and really needs to see a specialist. Poor lady has been trying to cope (and swimming quite well) but it really has to be dealt with. We the pink group members will miss her. Her friend Maryanne has stayed as travel  insurance wouldn’t cover her leaving.

After dinner some of the group headed home – sensible people – and others went to a nearby bar for one last drink. It belonged to a man we met on the beach this afternoon – nude – who was introduced to us as Arki’s brother! Turns out he is not Arkie’s brother but another very smooth talking Greek man. You know the type – beachy leathery, longish hair in a ponytail, think they are God’s gift to women. Lots of fun!

The next  morning we were slow to start. Tracey had left on the ferry at 6am and there was much discussion on where the swim would be. I decided it was too windy for me, and Jill agreed, so here we are doing our blog while the others are off sailing and swimming. Might regret it, but a day off from those distances is a treat …

We are having the afternoon off as a group. So a nice lunch coming up and an afternoon siesta.

Steve and the swimmers had a very rough, windy passage under sail back across to the Eastern coast of Naxos to find a sheltered swim. It worked well – about 3 km in the warmest and bluest of waters doing a coastal passage which was just great. More high speed, spray and  sailing back to port for the siesta!

Alas, no photos!

Swimming from Island to island

TUESDAY

Weather came up during the night which meant a change of plan. 
We packed the bus with bags and headed for the other side of the island. 
Most had to walk and myself, Dave from NZ and James went in the bus with Ricky to help with the luggage. Well I’m sure the men wouldn’t have volunteered if they had seen how far they had to carry everyone’s bags. That wasn’t in the brochure! 

 

 

 We loaded Ari’s boat carefully – he is very strict on this boat –  then we motored over to another island, stopped along the coast and swam from there, finishing with a small crossing. We  swam up to the most beautiful sandy  beach had morning tea and walked to our hotel.  Lovely morning swim.

 

Settled into our new hotel was easy . It’s really lovely, in a good position by the water, has a pool, coloured chairs and decorating ideas straight from a Greek magazine! 

 

 

A lovely lunch by the pool , followed by a bus ride across the island to a long beach with gorgeous turquoise water. Quite a number of people at the beach had unfortunately forgotten their togs – very European! We had found the nude beach. It was funny as we were putting on all our swimming gear. Wet shirt, wet suits, fins, goggles etc.
The water looked better than it was to  swim! We swam and swam to get around the majestic headlands and found the best caves to swim into. It was more challenging than it looked. But Ricky and Emma were there encouraging us all the way and we made it. Such a great feeling.

 

 

Back to the beach for a coffee before the bus arrived to drive us back.

 

Looking forward to dinner tonight.
We walked into the charming village and found the restaurant Ricky had arranged for us.
Great night, great food and a great nights sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Naxos to Schinousa Island: Let the Trek begin!

Naxos to Schinousa

Naxos to Schinousa: Let the Trek begin!

We allowed ourselves a little sleep in today at the Hotel Grotta – and despite the name, is very lovely to rest a while. It is still busy with tourists but the family who own it have all the tourists worked out and deliver the best breakfast we have seen.

We had to wait for a table for five, but when we sat down our tour guide, Ricky, came over for a chat. Good chance to get to know him. He’s young, friendly and he looks like fun.

After packing up we headed down the rocky path to the main town. I discovered the memory card on my camera had  locked and after Steve did a little panic blaming “you know who” we visited a camera shop where  they simply unlocked the card. Greek Tragedy over!

We wandered the port front, bought towels and had some lunch before it was time to head to the ferry.

The ferry was a two hour trip along the side of Naxos across a small channel and then we were landing at Schinousa Isand.


We were met by the “Lady of the House” the manger of the Iliovasilema Hotel. She loaded our bags with the ease of a weightlifter and we packed into the van and two minutes later
were walking into the cool shade of the hotel.

We got room 3 and the Wilsons got a room two along . The rooms are basic, comfortable  with  a view from the bedroom.
We met the group and started to make our assumptions about the personalities!
There are two women from Cronulla. A lovely NZ couple a little younger than us, a single delightful young man from England, a hairdresser. Another single man from England an actuary from Brighton, and a woman from Hamburg.
We went to the first night dinner to the Deli Bar with Ricky and Emma and it started out well until the fish soup was not a hit with some of the group. Oh boy!

It turns out one of the group has particular tastes and isn’t afraid to share!