Thursday, Sept. 30
We’ve been in Greece for three days – three glorious days.
On Tuesday, we made the 30-second trek from the ferry port to our hotel. I learned a valuable lesson from our Istanbul experience – don’t book too far from your arrival point. We relaxed, walked around the island, ate and hung out at our rooftop pool.
(We’ve not given up on the hostel life just yet. The island only had hotels, so we unwillingly paid a little extra. We figured it would be a good time to celebrate our one-year anniversary, from a year ago, which we decided to save for our travels.)
Yesterday, we did a full day of sightseeing. We rented a car and drove around the entire island.
An important note: we tried to rent a moped for the afternoon because it was cheaper – 15 Euro instead of 25 – but because neither of us has our international drivers license, we weren’t allowed. While it was annoying, it was nice see that the Greeks actually follow their driving laws.
It took about four hours to navigate our way around the island, to the beat of some Greek techno music. The day included us getting lost, stopping to take some photos and picking olives.
For such a small island, the villages were very spread out – by at least a half an hour drive. Each village looked the same – a cluster of houses and churches on the side of the mountain, feeding down to the water. They were all orange, white and blue, the streets were tight and the locals had perfected the, “You don’t belong here,” stare. I think the words “rental car” on the side of our orange vehicle gave us away.
The roads on the island were bizarre. It was like driving on the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler, but on the width of the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver. If we weren’t on the twisty, paved road, we were on a dirt road, resembling a private driveway. The lack of sign postings made us question our direction the entire afternoon, but it also added to the fun.
I would have to say the best part of the day was picking up a hitchhiker. While driving down one of the dusty roads, an elderly man ran at us from an orchard, shouting. Matt thought he had been in an accident. I just thought he was nuts. We started inching away, but he shouted even more, this time adding some flapping hand motions.
We stopped and looked at him a little harder, judging the situation. He must have been 78 or older and was only carrying a bag of basil and a hat. I showed him a map because we couldn’t understand each other. He pointed to the next town, about five minutes away. We figured he was harmless, so we let him hop in the back.
This little old man didn’t speak a word of English. I don’t think I’ve ever been around someone who didn’t even know one word. But it didn’t stop him from yakking away in the back seat and moving his arms around to the sound of his own voice. We ended up dropping him off in front of a huge mansion. He made some thankful hand gestures (I hope they were, anyway) and he was off.
It was such a bizarre experience – we laughed about it for the entire day. So now we’re hoping that Karma is good to us, and one day if we need a ride, someone will take pity on us.
After some more driving, up, down and around the mountains, Matt and I pulled off to a beach for a nap.
When we got back into town we decided to book our ferry ticket to Mykonos for Friday. We had booked my sister’s flight from Athens to Mykonos that morning, scheduled to arrive Sunday at 6 a.m., so we figured we would go to the island a few days earlier.
We saw a large boat in the port across the street that said Mykonos, so we knew we would have no problems. We were so wrong. The boat is actually called Mykonos. It only makes the trip to the island twice a week because it’s the low season.
The next boat was on Sunday, and we wouldn’t arrive until Sunday night. I knew I couldn’t leave my sister on an island for an entire day by herself, after she’s travelled for two days to meet us. (She is literally leaving on Friday, has a full day lay-over in London, flies to Athens and is then taking a third flight to Mykonos.)
We visited the local ticket office repeatedly yesterday and today, trying to make a plan.
Thankfully, the man helping us was epic. Here are some of his comments that helped us through our frustration. (I’m going to go ahead and assume that most of these comments are directed at Matt, considering his blatant sexual preference and the fact that he couldn’t stop touching Matt’s arm.)
“You’re so beautiful, I want to slap you twice.”
“Tell your friend you are sorry and have a nice trip. You do not need to worry – you’re too young and hot. When you’re old and ugly, then you worry.”
“Because you are hot, I will help you. Ugly people, I do not help.”
“You’re so hot you can pay in ice cream.”
“Oh – you will love Santorini. There, you will fall in love with any ugly idiot beside you.”
Somehow, none of those comments were made in a creepy way. Instead, they were all cheerful, flamboyant and hilarious. In addition, he delivered them with one hand on his hip and a long cigarette in the other.
In the end, we sorted it all out and had a good laugh.