Magical names that conjure up all sorts of beautiful images and thoughts. This was Mikes first visit to this wonderful region of Greece and I know it has not disappointed.
Our first stop was Mykonos. A beautiful little town nestled around the port and buzzing with tourists. Not surprising really when there were four big cattle carriers in town, oops I mean cruise ships. These multi decked ships carry thousands upon thousands of travellers and they all seem to descend at the same time. But at night, the ships leave and the place seems deserted - it's wonderful. Mykonos has many little back alleys, each flag stone of the footpath is outlined with white paint, add the glowing white of the buildings and the various shades of blue of the windows and doors, the bouganvillea adds a beautiful splash of colour, and I'm sure you get the picture. We wandered up to the iconic windmills one night along with thousands of others but it was almost impossible to get a decent image, yet next morning we almost had the place to ourselves. The ships had gone and the others must have still been in bed.
Our next island was Paros, a new island for me too and what a delight. It has all the whites and colours of Mykonos, the back lanes the great shops, the delightful tavernas but the best part was - no cruise ships, which in turn meant not many tourists. Such a relaxed and beautiful place, we want to go back again, but to stay for a couple of weeks and really enjoy the place. We hopped the local bus to the other end of the island one day and visited the second largest town, which is not as big as Avalon. We got talking to some fishermen and had the most beautiful calamari and mussels for lunch at an almost next to nothing price, all caught that morning. We were very sad to leave Paros.
Then it was on to Santorini. This is a stunningly beautiful place. We are staying in Thira the most central town on the island and have used the bus system to get around. Yesterday along to Oia, which like Thira is perched on the high walls of the volcano and the houses seem as though they will fall into the caldera thousands of feet below, they defy gravity. But as with Mykonos the cruise ships pull in early in the morning and the tourists arrive on mass. Yes, I know we are tourists too.
Today we bussed ourselves to the other end of the island to a little place called Akrotiri where there is to be found Greece's answer to Pompeii. This town was in existence seventeen centuries BC, that is until the volcano happened. Like Pompeii is was buried under mountains of lava and volcanic ash and it was not until the mid 1960's that work began to unearth the town. Although nothing like the size of Pompeii it is a remarkable site, we had no idea it was here.
Tonight is our last night, tomorrow we take a ten hour ferry ride back to Athens. We then have two nights in Athens before we fly back to Rome, hopefully Alitalia will not pull a strike. So one night in Rome then we fly over to Hong Kong for the final part of our mega adventure. (We could not fly to HK from Athens on Oneworld Frequent Flyer points, hence the trip back to Rome).
Then the adventure ends for us when we arrive home on or about August 17th. First stop for me - my hairdresser - I'm looking like a woolly mammoth.
Starting off in Sydney we head over to the US for a few days in Los Angeles, then Las Vegas and finally over to the Big Apple. Then off again, down to Cuba for about 18 days for some old cars, cigars and Baccardi. After that we head north, this time to Toronto in Canada for a whistle stop before crossing the Atlantic to the UK. One of the highlights there will be a week down on the Isle of Wight. Jetting off again we will then spend approximately the next two months driving around Italy and France. After all that hard work we journey over to Greece where we will island hop using the local ferry systems, with 3 nights on Santorini, 3 nights of Mykonos and 3 nights on Paros. Yep, we love doing the tourist stuff! Finally we begin the long haul home stopping off on the way in Honkers for a little retail therapy.