Tony & Cynthea Zurich, Turkey, Greece, Mallorca travel blog


Sunday 8th May

We didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, not because we were worried about the flooding at home, but because the wedding party was close by, and there is obviously no noise control here! One woman in particular had a very loud laugh, and she seemed to find lots to laugh about. The party finished sometime around 4am.

We head to the supermarket to get some fruit for breakfast, but both markets are closed, something to do with it being Sunday. Tony tries to translate a notice on the door of one of them that seems to give the trading hours as 4pm-6pm, so we figure we can get something then. It is another beautiful day here, so time to explore another beach. Platys Gialos has two buses back, 3.30, and 5.30, so we head there. The bus system here is different, you pay as you leave the bus, and they ask you what stop you got on at. We are taken on an island tour first, heading down to the beach we were at yesterday, so the trip takes a good 40 minutes. It is great to see the area, all the fences are low stone walls, and there are hundreds of them, all well maintained. Lots of goats and donkeys in the fields.

At Platys Gialos a few people get off, but like yesterday the place is pretty much deserted. We look for a market, but there is nothing to be seen from the bus on the way in. Along the beachfront are lots of taverns and rooms to rent, and one market, all are closed. We have an apple and an orange with us but we aren’t really hungry yet.

We walk the length of the beach, and back again. The beach changes quite a lot, the bus stop end has lovely sand, then heading to the marina it changes to pebbles, followed by a hard sandstone section, then more, larger, pebbles. The sandy beach has a bit of a drop as you get into the water, and then gradually gets deeper. The tavern opens and we check the menu but don’t really fancy anything, so we throw our towels on the sand and Tony heads in for a swim while Cynthea reads. A few of the people off the bus are scattered along the beach, but only one other is in swimming.

Tony gets out and reads for a while, before catching up on lost sleep. We both go back in for a swim around 2pm, the sand is hot under foot now, and a about half a dozen are braving the cool waters. We decide to take the first bus back at 3.30, so we can go to the supermarket. The main supermarket is still closed as we go past, so we decide to visit the mini market in town, but that is also closed. It seems that the hours on the shop door don’t relate to the shop hours, either that or they are on “island time”.

We go back to the takeaway for kebab and souvalaki with pita, and that is our meal for the day, much cheaper than the restaurant, very nice and filling too. We sit in the sun on the balcony and Tony enjoys a beer.

He looks at the trip diary and realises that the Europe section is getting big, and if he is going to split the “books” he needs to do it sooner rather than later. He checks that everything is backed up, makes a start. Unless we pay for a “premium” subscription we can only have one diary open for editing at a time, bugger. So that means the China diary needs to have all the Europe entries deleted first, a slow, slow process. A quick check that everything is ok, and the Europe book is started. Yippee for copy and paste! A few photos are also added, but those take a bit of time. Bugger, the China main photo was supposed to be us on the Great Wall, and Tony forgot to change it. Takes nearly three hours to sort through it, the frustrating bit was the maps, having to remember to change the location each page, and from time to time a the Zurich location is left, making a shambles of the map, but finally it is done. Even managed to find a map of the islands and add the places we have been to, so it doesn’t look like we are still on Santorini.

9th May

We are staying with Alex again tonight as Elena has gone back to Athens. He has a small flat that has a tiny kitchen, tiny lounge area (where we slept), one bedroom, and the bathroom has a shower, toilet and washing machine. We are to meet him at 2pm when he finishes school. We pack our bags and leave them at the hotel, and go for a wander around the town. Brunch is fruit from the market at the back of the hotel, and we have that in the square by the bus stop. There is a system of paths over the island, sometimes they even have a signpost. We walk a few minutes down the path that will take us to the beach we were at yesterday, but it is quite hot in the sun, so we don’t go too far. It is nearly 1pm, so we decide to head back to the hotel for a coffee, but when we get there the smell of the food makes us hungry. We can resist anything except temptation, and share a feta cheese pie (they are delicious), and some meat patties with tomatoes. We fire up the computer and talk to Margaret and Frank on Skype. Alex arrives and we have a coffee together before heading back to his place.

Alex has basketball tonight, so it is just us home for tea. We walk to town, just a few hundred metres, and call in at the ferry office to organise tickets for Milos and Athens. Bugger, there is another strike on Wednesday, and that will affect all the sailings for Athens out of Milos until the weekend. If we go to Milos as planned then the first boat is Thursday night and will arrive in Athens 3am Friday. We are not keen on that. The other option is to go to Athens at lunchtime, and Tony is not ready to leave the islands (in fact he feels like he will never be ready to leave the islands!). We decide to wait until tomorrow to book, and tonight will be checking for somewhere to stay in Athens. As we leave the travel agents the takeaway bar is across the road, so guess where we got tea from tonight, again…

Back at Alex's we are still trawling the net for a cheap bed. We can go couchsurfing, and Tony sends out a request to people on the “last minute” list, but we won’t have internet after 9am, so we will have to buy time on the boat as we head to Athens, or where ever we decide to go. The boat will get in about 6pm. We look at a couple of cheap options, they sound good but when we read the reviews we find the “quiet neighbourhood” is in Omonia. Alex tells us that the area we are looking at is dangerous at night, so we give those ones the flick. We had been near there the first visit, and it isn’t somewhere you would want to be after dark, and some parts you don’t want to be there in the day time either. There is a hostel in a more central area, still near Omonia, but not so rough, we hope! Trouble is we have to book first to get the proper address and phone number, and we have found that we get a better discount by walking in off the street. The summer season still hasn’t kicked off, and most of the time we can get the rooms at the low season rates. We take down a few details, and resign ourselves to leaving the islands.

Cynthea is teaching Alex calligraphy, he was impressed with the way she wrote in a book we gave him, and wanted to know how it was done. We haul off to our beads about 1am.

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