Friday, October 13, 2006

Greece

Last year two fabulous men took me out for an amazing Greek dinner in Toronto for my birthday. This year, I had to go one step further and actually go to Greece with two fabulous ladies. It was a wonderful holiday and a great last trip before I leave Europe in December.

Nikki and Liz on the plane. All set to go!

We arrived at 6 in the morning in Kos. Feeling very tired after an uncomfortable flight, we checked in and went straight to bed until about 11. Once we got up we sat through a very boring welcome meeting with our hotel rep and then strolled into Kos Town to scope it out. These are some fishermen selling their catch along the harbour.

An altar to Aphrodite amidst some ruins in the centre of Kos Town.

Hippocrates Tree. This tree is said to be around 700 years old, so it actually would have sprouted after Hippocrates time. He was born on Kos though and I think perhaps is said to have taught in the area that the tree is planted.

The view from our hotel balcony. We were staying in Lambi, which is a smaller town just outside Kos Town. It was reasonably clean and the staff were very nice so it met our needs. It wasn't too far of a walk into Kos Town, although as the week went on it seemed more and more arduous. When we first arrived at our hotel, not being familiar with the surroundings and the darkness, it did seem like we'd been plopped in the middle of nowhere given the big field and the incessant crowing rooster. But in the light of day, we were close enough to the beach, bars and restaurants; what more could we need!

The view to the other side with the mountains in the distance.

The first restaurant we went to for our first dinner in Greece was by far the best all week. It was a Fish House Taverna and was nestled away from the main street of restaurants that all looked the same with the same menus.



After dinner we hit a few bars in Bar Street, where they try to lure you with special drink offers. We then headed for Shenannigan's, an Irish bar we spotted that was supposed to have live Irish music. On our way there, Nikki got the silly poses of the week started, in front of a statue of Hippocrates teaching some pupils.




Yes, they were actually an Irish band. The keyboardist recognized us from the restaurant as soon as we came in (he had been eating there as well). Liz knew all the words to all the songs, the waitstaff and bartenders were very friendly, and we soon settled right in to Shenannigan's!

The next day we spent the whole day on the beach. We found a few sunbeds outside a taverna run by a guy named Pedros who insisted he would be marrying me. He was nice and harmless- until he started petting my hair. The hardest part of the day was I had to sit up at one point to reach my beer because the little table wasn't close enough to my sunbed. That evening we headed to the Blue Phoenix near the beach for dinner. We made friends with Simon and Jimmy, our waiters who joined us as we soon became the only people left in the restaurant.



Saturday we rented a car for the day to explore the island. We headed all the way south to Kefalos and stopped for a few pics of the view.

We then headed to Limonas where there was this beautiful cove and I had a good swim. With the exception of the few other people around, it felt nicely isolated.



We then headed to Paradise Beach, where we relaxed, sunbathed and swam a bit more. Do you see a pattern forming here in this vacation?

We headed back North toward the Thermal Springs. We got very lost on the way but eventually made it there nearing dusk.





Why is it I can never get a good picture of the moon? It was beautiful this night as we got ready to go out, and much looking larger than it appears.

We were in the mood for a break from the Greek food and a little Mexican Saturday night, so we headed for the one Mexican restaurant in Kos town. Once again, we were the only ones there so we had the full attention of the waiter, who gave us those silly hats to wear.

And Tequila shots which he had Nikki serving.



We headed back to Bar Street Saturday night and met up with Billy at the Wild Bull (we had met him a couple nights before). It was Greek night on Bar Street and most of the locals were out partying. Hence, we didn't recognize a lot of the music in the bars that night. I managed to stay reasonably sober, I think because I had been out all night the night before but Nikki and Liz tied one on pretty well this night.














Sunday we had another chill day on the beach and headed back to the hotel when it started to rain a bit. The rain stopped so while Liz had her nap Nikki and I hung out by the pool. We met a couple from Wolvo and started chatting with Paul and Ian, two blokes from Coventry. They joined us for dinner and then we inducted them into Shennanigan's.

They had karaoke going at Shenannigan's. I managed to get a couple of my songs in and we sang Love Shack and American Pie as a group. Quite a laugh trying to harmonize (if we even tried) with all five of us.

We were due to catch a boat to Nisyros Monday morning but we missed it. So instead we hopped onto a boat doing stops at Plati- a small island with only one house, Kalymnos- an island known for collecting and processing sponges, and Pserimos- an island with only about 20 inhabitants.

I was the only one to jump off the boat and into the water but Nikki did swim with me for a bit at Plati. The beach was actually really disappointing because there was trash left about but I just avoided looking at it and snorkeled for awhile along the edge of the cove.

We napped on the boat until we reached Kalymnos. It was a nice harbour town where we chilled and had a beer and bought a few sponges. Oh yeah, and Nikki got trapped in the bathroom at the bar. :-)




The harbour at Pserimos. The houses you see are pretty much the only houses on the island.



Monday night we went to a Greek night in Zia, a town toward the top peaks of Kos. They offer it as a package excursion, but we did it on our own with taxis and ordering off the menu instead of the set meal to have it a bit cheaper. It was pretty touristy but the dancing was definitely entertaining. All three of us were starting to feel the effects of the late nights so it made for a nice, chill evening. (We were in bed by 11p that night.)



The dancer is holding that table up with his mouth.

Tuesday it was onto another boat for a day of (mostly) shopping in Bodrum, Turkey.





We walked up a few side streets to see the ampitheatre, but we didn't have any lira to pay to get in once we got there.

Good views from the top, though!





We spent most of the day among the markets and Nikki got her bargaining hat on! She helped me snag a beautiful large tapestry for around 50 quid.

Artisans sewing rugs along the market.

Tuesday night we went to dinner and went to Shennanigan's one last time for our last full night in Kos. We were surprised to find the Rep Olympics going on with all the local reps split into teams with competitions such as karaoke singing and bull riding. Our friendly Kiwi waitress Vicki was there and still friendly as ever, as was Popeye, but the guys behind the bar seemed like they were finally spent for the season and the free shots did not come so readily. We still enjoyed ourselves though.





Wednesday we made the boat we had missed Monday and went to Nisyros.

Upon arrival we took a coach to the volcano on the island near where there is a large crater. The volcano is still active and there were a few small craters at the base with running lava (or mud, as it appeared to be).







There was a few crevasses around the crater and I took a little climb through one. The girls waited with their flip flops on. I wish I would have taken my camera back with me; it was a nice little open topped cavern of sorts as you climbed back.

View from towards the top of the opposite mountain.

Once we came back down we walked around the local town, which was very picturesque and what I imagine when I think of Greece.





We stopped at Mike's Taverna and had a fabulous lunch by the sea.







We had to catch our transport to the airport at 2:30AM so Wednesday evening we went for a low key dinner and had a couple beers before napping a bit in preparation for the trip home. On our way to dinner, we made sure to get a picture with the sing that should read Funny Land, but had been changed to Fanny Land. We're so easily amused!
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2 comments:

leslie said...

nikki sticks her tongue out in pictures more than i do!!!! : ) looks like an awesome trip... i'm sooooooooo jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

wot a holiday ay girlies?,
lis glad to c u av put all clean pics on there (like we got up to no gud anyways)
the lafs we had (take me bck there rite now)xx love ya nikki xx