Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 8 - Athens to Milos

I am having trouble with Blogger, so my posts have been inconsistent. Sorry about that.

We spent our last half day in Athens scrambling to find myself a patch with the Greek flag. In the past, I’ve collected pins with the national flags and pinned them to my backpack, and then proceeded to lose them all, which is a bummer, because the pins are cool, and we gotten them from some pretty cool places, but such is life. My new plan is to buy patches, and then sew them on. Problem solved, as long as I manage to actually sew the things on.

The city was really nice in the AM, again, not unlike NYC. Cool, quiet, and peaceful, though only a handful of vendors were open at that hour. The ones that were open were much less aggressive, and were even helpful in my quest to find a patch, steering me in the right direction. After about 15 minutes, N and I managed to score a flag, and then it was back to the hotel to meet R&A and await our cab.

We had two cabs (again!) coming to pick us up to take us to the harbor where we were to catch a ferry to the island of Milos. There are hundreds of islands, some big enough to have an airport, but most accessible only by boat. The ferries are actually fairly affordable, about $20 US, and they run regularly, though apparently they go on strike now and then, leaving you to scramble to find alternate transport.

The cabs were sensible enough to send the second driver home, so we all piled into the car and headed to the dock, where we got an interesting view of the city. It definitely gets a little rough and seedy towards the docks, and you could see a preponderance of sex shops and strip bars as you got closer to the water, not to mention people selling all sorts of stuff on the sidewalks. Not drugs, mind you, but the kind of stuff I kind of like, and one of the reasons I loved living in NYC. It’s like an open market bazaar, though quite a sight for the kids to see.

The ferry was huge. The company we went with was Agean, and they were slated to go on strike while we were in Milos, so the travel agent had to book us on an alternative carrier when we left for Sifnos in a few days. Either way, the boats are huge, and fairly comfortable inside. The ride was smooth, and there are food and drinks available onboard. There is even internet, though you have to pay for it. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

The ride was fun, the kids enjoyed it, and nobody got seasick. The ride was about 4 hours long, which wasn’t so painful because the kids got to explore the boat and there were even some interesting things to watch on the big screen TV. Since the boat was only about 1/4 full, we were pretty much free to roam about. Keep in mind, it is slow season, and things really start to cook around June/July/August, the busy season.

The harbor in Milos is called Adamas, and it’s the main part of the island where you can get a hotel, rent a car, and get all sorts of food. We were staying in the town of Pollonia, which is a little quieter and on the other side of the island, about a 15 minute drive. The cab picked us up and drove us over there, and like most cab drivers we’ve encountered, drove way too fast and nearly ran over about a dozen of the locals. From a passenger’s POV, it can be fairly entertaining.

The first thing that strikes you about the island is the beauty. The islands strikes me as a bit dry, not much in the way of lush grass or trees, and lots of scrub brushes, much like California. They have water shortages in Milos, and use desalination but still ask guests to conserve. The towns are the typical white-washed buildings and houses with the deep blue trim, just like you see in photgraphs. Really striking, especially against the backdrop of the ocean. They’re really nice to see.

We settled into our hotel and it was beautiful, and not really a hotel, actually. More like guest cottages, like visiting a friend. The owners are a really nice couple, Mika and Roula, and they were super friendly. The first thing we did was get on our swim suits and jump in the Mediterranean. It was cold.

They have had very unusual weather this year, and without exception, all of the locals we’ve talked to comlained about the cold. They say by Easter you can swim, but it was too cold when we had arrived. Not too cold for Vermonters, of course.

One last piece of interesting information. At the beginning of our trip, before we had even left the bus terminal at Dartmouth Coach, there was a travel article in the Valley News about Milos. Talk about coincidences, how cool is that?

We have three days hear until we head to Sifnos, so until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to RIC for the pics.

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