1 July 2009
We (Charlie and I) bid our farewells to Finn and Cecilie and then made our way down to the ferry terminal. The ferry boats they use to island hop are something else and not anything like the ones we use in Washington. They are specially designed and highly manuverable cruise ships with space for vehicles inside. To dock, the ferry will head straight for the dock, and then, only minutes before docking, will execute a 180 degree turn and back in. It’s pretty insane. Several ramps on the back of the boat unseal and lower for passengers and vehicles alike to disembark. Within 30 minutes, an entire boat can be unloaded, loaded, and on its way again. Perhaps the only thing more impressive than the Greek ferry system is the Russian train system.
When we got in to Paros, we were inundated with people at the dock with signs for hostels, hotels, and camping sites. We had done our research and knew the price range for most hostels this time of year, about €20, give or take 5. Unfortunately, most of the hostels were full up, so we went with Hotel Francisco, at a ghastly €25/person/night (so far the highest we’ve paid for a room).
After settling in, we headed back into town to try and rent a scooter. We were able to rent a 50cc scooter with my Washington State Drivers License, and so off we went to explore Paros!
We made it to the back side of the island to one of the beaches, Charlie went for a dip in the Aegean Sea while I relaxed on my beach chair and edited photos. It was actually pretty awesome. Also, please take note of my amazing farmers tan.
As we rode back, we stopped on the side of the road to admire yet an other amazing sunset. It’s really too bad this was our only night on Paros.0
30 June 2009
Batteries fully recharged, we (Cecilie and the Three Musketeers) started the day early. The plan was to rent either two mopeds or one car, with the former prefered because it was cheaper (by just a couple of Euros). We walked into town and the consensues between Anthony (from ISTA), my understanding of Greek and European Union laws, and, most importantly, the rental agency, was that we would have to rent a car becuase I did not have an International Driving Permit.
So it was. We got some groceries for breakfast and lunch and were on our way to explore Samos. Pedro, who was the most flamboyant man I have ever met, had recommended some places to visit, and, with marked-up map in hand, we were off.
The first stop was to get some petrol, as rental cars, at least in Greece, come with an empty tank. We drove along the coast, eventually coming to the river where we could walk up to some waterfalls.
The walk quickly turned into a river excursion. Getting past the first waterfall with everyones bags was an interesting feat. The deep water at the bottom made positioning difficult. Charlie was able to climb to the top of the water fall and, with some careful positioning, the rest of us were able to pass our bags up to him before climbing up ourselves.
The second waterfall proved a bit more difficult and everyone, save me, dumped their bags in a small, dry rock cropping. I slipped the rain-jacket on my camera bag and prayed that I didn’t fall.
We wandered up the river more, passing three more waterfalls. We were able to jump off a couple of them, but the others were too dangerous to jump from, either because of proximity to other rocks or lack of depth at the bottom.
When we got back to the bottom, we were famished. We drove in search for a place to eat near the sea, such as a beach, and ended up driving to the end of a commercial pier, which was amazing! No one seemed to care (just try doing that in the US of A) and so we sat on the ledge of the breakwater, eating warm homemade sandwiches, throwing bits of ham, cheese, and bread to the schools of fish below our dangling feet. Afterwards, we dove off the end of the pier in the warm Aegean Sea.
It was picturesque.
We continued to explore the island of Samos. We drove up and over the island to the back side, stopping in a small town along the way to get some dessert.
Once on the backside of the island, I settled down for nap on the beach while everyone else walked around town.
Not wanting to miss another amazing sunset, we headed back for our side of the island and returned the car. We walked alongside the pier as the sun set in the distance. Another amazing day capped by another amazing sunset.
Back at the hotel, we all hung out – Cecilie and the Three Musketeers – one last time before heading off to bed. Charlie and I would have to get up early to make our sailing for Paros.0
29 June 2009
Well, last night I ended up not going straight to bed. First, I wanted to get some blogs posted (still playing catch, ugh). Second, Charlie needed to call his bank to get his withdraw limit changed. And then Caitlin1 called on Skype, so I had to let the two love birds talk.
In any event, I got to bed around 3am, just in time to get four hours of sleep. We woke up, packed, had a quick breakfast, and walked down to ferry. We went through customs easily enough and were off on the ferry to Greece.
I spent the first part editing photos on the outside desk, before getting tired and dozing off. I spent the last half wishing I had something more to eat. I did “splurge” on two sandwiches, a €1.80 ham and cheese toast sandwich for breakfast, and a €3.80 ham and cheese and lettuce sandwich for lunch. Neither were filling.
Meanwhile, Charlie had found Finn and Cecilia elsewhere on the ferry.
We disembarked in Samos and promptly found food and, with the help of Anthony and Pedros at ISTA, a hotel.
I ended up calling in a down day and spent the afternoon in the hotel room recharing my batteries, so to speak, while Charlie, Cecilie, and Finn went exploring.
We met back at the hotel for an amazing sunset dinner before heading to the roof to enjoy the evening. Charlie thought that we should come up with a name for our group. After some discusion, it was settled: Cecilie and the Three Musketeers (Finntaro, The Hawk, and Ferg).
Charlie’s girlfriend ↩
27 June 2009
Sleeping felt great. Waking up, not so much. But we had to get an early start on the day as we day yet another all day tour before we had to run to catch another overnight bus, joy! Shazia had left for Istanbul last night, so we made friends with Cecilie and Finn.
We’ve actually been “stalking” them since Istanbul where we both stayed at the Mavi Guesthouse. They booked a tour with Ali’s help as well, and we (unbeknownst to either party at the time) booked essentially the same tour all the way to Samos. The only difference was Cecilcia and Finn had an extra day in Cappadocia before their tour.
We started with some more rocks just outside of town, but today’s tour eventually took us down to KaymaklÄ± to see the KaymaklÄ± Underground City.
Being almost 50 meters down was a nice change of pace from the beating Turkish sun, although the cool relief did not last long.
We did a short (about 4 kilometers, or so) hike through Ihlara Valley and then stopped for a quick lunch over the river before finishing out our day. It wasn’t nearly as good at yesterdays buffet, but it filled the belly enough.
Funny picture of the day: What a bunch of tourist look like photographing a mountain in the middle of nowhere.
We finally headed over to Selime Monastery to finish up the day.
Getting back before our bus left had its moments of excitement. The bus was supposed to leave at 19:00 and our tour was supposed to get back by 18:30. However, we had a late start in the morning because they didn’t have enough seats and had to get a second bus for the tour. It was pushing 18:50 by time we got back to the hostel. Fortuneatly our bags were packed and ready to go. However, I needed to check my email to see if Ali had sent me any last minute information. Meanwhile, Charlie went to go take a shower after we decided that he was no longer allowed to ride next to me without taking one.
Ali actually ended up calling the Shoestring Cave and leaving a message. So I called him back. It was lucky I got a hold of him as there was a change of plans. It basically boils down to this: We were going to stay in Selcuk, which is about 25 minutes from Kusadasi, which is where we catch the ferry to Samos. The ferry leaves at 08:00 in the morning. Ali thought that he could get us a ride, but he couldn’t. So he’s going to have us stay at a place in Kusadasi instead so we can just walk to the ferry!
I wrote down all the contact information for our new hostel and was off running to the bus station with Charlie 45 seconds behind me. As it turned out, this bus didn’t leave on time and we had an extra several minutes to spare.
We took the short ten minute ride to Nevsehir, where it started raining buckets. As we arrived, the streets started looking like Venician canals. This was unfortunate for the sheer fact that none of us, save Cecilie, had any sort of rain gear. Finn used his backpack as a shield, I threw on my fleece zip-up, and Charlie just sucked it up.
Once we got on the bus, it was okay though. The AC was on, Charlie had take two showers, and we on our way to the cooler coast.0