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

Tuesday 10 May

We are up before 8am and a quickly check of the internet, there is a reply from one person who we asked to host us at the weekend, before the ferry strike threw our plans, but they are not able to host us. We need to be at the travel agents around 9.30 when they open, and then catch the 10am bus to the port. There has been another change to the ferry schedule, no boat Wednesday or Thursday, the first one will now leave Milos around midnight Friday, and get into Athens about 5am Saturday. That is better than 3am. We decide to take the risk that a cheap bed will be found on Milos, and that the ferry schedule won’t be too screwed up when we want to leave. EUR8 ($15) each for the ferry ticket, it leaves about noon, and will get in at 1pm we are told, and we head outside to catch the 10am bus to Kamares.

We buy some fruit from the market at the port, and wait in the sun for the ferry. Tony checks a couple of internet pages that he saved to see what accommodation is about on Milos, only one has internet, and is about EUR18 per person/night.

We leave Sifnos on time, the wind is getting up a bit as we head out of the harbour. An hour later we are docking, but it didn’t sound like we are at Milos (even though the travel agent said one hour from Sifnos). After nearly getting off at the wrong place on the trip to Sifnos, we check and this is Kimolos, Milos is another hour away. Bloody travel agents.

The next leg of the trip is quite choppy, and there is a bit of a roll to the ferry as we head to Milos. Tony finds it difficult to walk in a straight line at times, and he hasn’t had a beer all day. The islands here are close together, Kimolos is impressive, and Milos is even more so with an obvious volcanic origin. There are hot springs on the island, so it is still active.

The island is much bigger than we expected, and we arrive at the port of Adamas to be greeted by three people touting their rooms. We had expected more, but then not that many people are getting off the ferry today. We ask the prices, and one has a room for EUR25 a night, not bad. But then there is another who is offering EUR20. We double check that it is not in the middle of nowhere, and that it is not a dorm. We are told that we can have a look, before we decide, it is only a couple of minutes by car. Hmmm, is that Greek island time minutes? We go with her (wrong way up a one way alley, no bloody names on the streets here either), and the rooms are indeed a couple of minutes away, just off the main street and easy walking distance to the shops, restaurants and cafes. There is no name on the building either, but the place looks tidy enough. No internet though, and not many places on the island have it. On the other islands the cafes and bars had free WiFi, but not so here it seems.

At the Moschoula we have a choice of rooms, the first two are downstairs, no balcony and a bit dark inside, one has a kitchen. Upstairs there is a communal kitchen in the hallway, both rooms have a balcony, so we take the one with the double bed and big balcony with morning sun. The room rate on the back of the door (all hotels in Greece must display the room rates in the room) shows a low season rate of EUR50 (75 in the high season). We double check the price is EUR20 ($38), and we are told yes, so we check it is for the room, not per person. The bathroom is tiny (1m x 1.8m!!), handbasin, toilet, and shower all in one – and again the shower head is not attached to the wall (what is with that?), nor is there a base to stop water going everywhere. The other thing we notice is that many handbasins don’t have a plug, makes it a bit difficult to shave. Sometimes Tony can get a glass upturned over the plug hole long enough to hold water.

We think we might be the only guests staying, there is a pool, but it is empty. There are a couple of dogs in the back, not sure of the breed, but they have a face like a bear, and black tongues (Is it a Chow?). Cynthea doesn’t close the pool gate behind her and the bloody dog takes off. Apparently it doesn’t understand “come back doggy”. But it is ok, and it doesn’t go far. Cats are everywhere here too. The kitchen has enough gear to actually cook something, so we head out for a wander, but it is after 2pm, so the supermarket is closed. We call into a bakery for a couple of pies for lunch, and Cynthea buys some biscuits too.

Once again there is a lack of proper tourist information, and most places are closed for the siesta. There is a tourist office at the port, but it looks like it hasn’t been open for weeks, we will need to come back later, much later. The bus timetable is hard to follow (all Greek to us!), but we finally sort something, not that there is a lot to work with. The bus leaves for the other beaches at 7am, and the next one isn’t until 2pm, returning at 5. It is a fair hike there if you miss the first bus, and long time to wait if you don’t like it when you get there. We wander the long way back to the hotel, Tony reads in the sun and Cynthea grabs forty winks.

At 7pm we head into town, the restaurants are all open, but we decide to head for the supermarket and will cook tea tonight. The market is small, but well stocked. We are managing to recognise a few food names in Greek, and if we are lucky there is an English translation too. We get two lots of pasta, sauce, mince, pork steaks and feta cheese, enough to make two meals. Fruit for breakfast again tomorrow. We leave the supermarket, and there is a souvalaki shop open across the road, we hadn’t seen that earlier or we might not be cooking tonight! There is no hot water at the kitchen sink, so we boil up a couple of pots for a hot drink and to do the dishes. The lights in the hallway are on a timer, so every now and then we are plunged into darkness while cooking. Tony uses the light on the rangehood as well. We eat on the balcony to the chorus of hungry cats wanting their share of pork steaks, tough titty, puddy tats, they will have a hard job getting up here.

In the bathroom there is no hot water to the handbasin, and Tony goes looking for the power switches (in a couple of other places we had to activate the boiler when we wanted hot water). But the only switch he found turned off all power, oops, we are still not used to the upside down switches here.

Wednesday 11 May

We missed the bus to the capital (it left at 6.45am, next one is at 2, silly bloody schedule), and the day is overcast, windy and cool. The sun appears briefly while Tony has breakfast on the balcony, and so do the cats. One is particularly keen to visit, she is sitting on the top rail of the balcony below, and next we know she has made the jump. Scrawny bloody thing, but it isn’t a stray, she was being fed next door, but didn’t stop her trying to scrounge a feed off us. She turns on the charm as only a cat can, but we have nothing for her. We both finish the books we are reading, and decide to go for a walk. Not great sightseeing weather, overcast and windy still, warm at least. There is an internet café along the road, but they want EUR3/hour, so we pay for the hour and do some quick emails and couchsurfing.

The ferries are on strike today and that has thrown the schedules all out of whack for tomorrow, there is only one, we think!, and it leaves for Athens at 2230, arriving at 5am. Guess it would save on a bed for the night. The travel agent reopens at 6pm, so we have to go back check that it is actually sailing, because yesterday we were told it was cancelled. The sailings for today have been corrected showing the changes, so just maybe the sailing is back on. We don’t trust the travel agents here, given the screwed up information we have been getting from some of them.

We ask about car hire for tomorrow, it is EUR25 for the day, not sure if it includes fuel and kilometres. It is a bit risky driving around here though, they tend to drive down the middle of the road at great speed, it is a wonder that there aren’t more accidents (bet most involve tourists!).

We need internet to check if we have a bed in Athens, and find that the restaurants do have WiFi, they just don’t advertise the fact. We order Greek salad (Tony just loves it), tomato and zucchini, and bread (comes toasted with herbs and olive oil, yum!), and we share as usual. Cats are everywhere again, and one of the customers has brought their tiny dog with them. It looks like a miniature sausage dog, he looks old. Very cute, he comes to see us and wags his tail, but gets no tucker from us either. He goes back under his table and next there is a yelp as one of the cats has a go at him. The cat wasn’t that big (small and scrawny like the rest of them here), but it still out weighed the wee dog. It was quite funny and we are all laughing.

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