Ivan's travels experiences from Crete to Santorini to Paros to Mykonos

Thursday 5th mileage total 1558Kms from start Day Nine of rental.

Well I did it, I found the road I have been looking for two days, at this point I decided it would be nice to have some one with me to share these successful moments, of course they could also do the navigating there by relieving me of some considerable stress, but more important than the little stress it would save me it would give me someone to blame when ever I get lost, now that makes sense.

Now of course it was raining today and on the last two days it was not, but while the road was interesting the villages were not up to the photographic standard that the first on I found way down that one way rough road several days ago.

It is interesting watching people on motor bikes and scooters, most have helmets, a lot carry them over their arm, with I am told their cigarettes and cell phone riding in side, the next group have their helmets on their heads but the strap is not done up, the next group wear their helmet correctly but usually have a female on the pillion with no helmet, of course they are going FAST, I would like a comment from one of the ladies out there as to why their species do this. I will not make all the chauvinistic comments that are possible for this situation but will patiently wait.

All the best part of today I drove thro very large vineyards, not sure if they grow the grapes for wine or raisins

As I visit these small villages I often hear a truck going thro the village with a loudspeaker blaring forth, these are itinerant traders, today there was a guy selling probably week old chickens, and there was someone else there with a panel van full of fabric and blankets and goodness know what else.

Visited a supermarket and it was packed with goods, almost like the old country store that sold everything, this had ever sort of product, packed to the ceiling,

I always see the tea or coffee shops packed with men of all ages, I assume they are putting things right with the world at a executive level while they leave the simple tasks to the women, I hope the women realize just how lucky they are that the men go to this bother for them.

Thinking again as I drive and I think of the people that I know who are bored with their job, their situation or whatever, they are in a rut and someone once told me a rut is a grave with the ends kicked out.

OK not every one can afford to wander around the world, but how much effort does it take to turn left one day instead of turning right as you always do, OK some smart arse will tell me if they do that the will fall into a river or whatever, at least that will wake them up!

Get up at 4am to see what the world is like, do something different, don't die of boredom, life is for living, life is a adventure, have a adventure everyday, go somewhere you have never been before, do something you have never done before, live each day you are lucky to have, one day your luck will run out!

Tomorrow I return the rental car, catch a bus back to the hotel, catch a taxi down to the port and see what boat I can get to where, it will be easy, I have been to none of the islands etc within say 200 kms of Crete so it will be easy.

Friday 6th
You may have noticed I had stopped talking about women's fashion, well I was in Crete which is part of Greece which apart from women over 40 all wearing black is not noted for much else, certainly nothing to talk about.

Well I returned the rental as planned, caught a bus back to the hotel then a taxi into the ticket office at the port, only boat leaving in the direction I wanted to go was to Santorini and that left at 8pm, so I had the rest of the day to fill in so sat and read a book, that was my relaxation for say a couple of weeks.

So the boat left at 8pm I and a lot of others had a good position lined up for the sunset, but as the boat got underway, oil and soot started to fall on the open deck and on reflection the sunset really was going to be a flop anyhow.

Now if you want to see womens fashion travel on a Greek ferry!!!!!

I had commented on not hearing in Crete, American voices, well there were some on the ferry.

While on the boat I saw a Greek Orthodox priest and asked him what the difference was between the Greek and the Russian Orthodox and he said, as if I was a idiot, none they are both Orthodox, I left it at that, but I am going to find out more, the crosses on their churches are different, the shape of the churches are different, the Greek has some pews where as the Russian has none, perhaps I will find out more in Russia.

The boat arrived at Santorini at 12 midnight so headed to the accommodation office and they said some rather nice words, it is still low season 30E. The owner was there to pick the people up so it was 1am by the time I was in bed. It is new motel about 10 minutes walk from town, was going to change hotels tomorrow but it is not worthwhile.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

The sun woke me up at 6am so I decided to get up at 7am, out to have breakfast then to walk into Fira or tried to, but took the wrong turning and after one hour decided to ask, yes it was the wrong was so back to the hotel, drop off a book I bought, drink some water and back, then the correct way into town, walked up to the highest point taking photos on the way, then down hill till I felt hungry, to a restaurant on the edge of the caldera of the old volcano, great view, a lot of American voices today as I walked thro town, but there were two cruise ships in today so they may have all come from them.

Then on to look at the shops, guys none of the shops are worth while going near, they all sell jewelry and women's clothes, so that will save you some time, carried on walking and taking photos and at about 2pm decided to wander back to the hotel.

Felt a bit tired, do not know why so rested for one hour then out to get a rental, while I was waiting for the rental guy to appear chatted to Jorg Neuschafer, who specialized in private tours for people, showing parts of the island off the beaten track that you would not normally see, he is from Heidelberg, but speaks English very well, a daily rate of 200E including transport for two people it sounds like a good deal.

Finally the car, being ready 60 minutes ago, I left the good chat we were having and headed off to Oia, the sunset town, or the town built around the legend that that's the spot to be for THE view, I understand there are many spots over the island that make great views, but with the hundreds of others (in the season there would be thousands) I lined up to get a view, however I decided to do it the civilized way from a restaurant table.

They did not have a great choice of food and I think that was down to the thinking that the "sunset people" did not spend money! Well there was nothing on the menu to spend money on, I asked when I was paying my account why they did not have a champagne dinner on the menu they said will the "sunset people" spend money on a champagne dinner? I said NO because you do not offer it. They did not even have champagne on the menu.

It is interesting that people in business think all of their clients are as mean as they are themselves, it has often been said that you should carry in your wallet the amount of money that will buy your most expensive product, now if that is a Rolls Royce, and that is what you sell on a daily basis, your credit card should have a limit on it that you could pay for that with your card.

This means of course if you adopt this policy then your price list is OK because you can afford to pay for anything on it yourself with what you have in your pocket and that makes you think totally differently.

It is interesting as sun sets on the old fort where the masses line up to photograph the sunset to see all of the flashes go off as the sun sets and they do their automatic photos.

As there is no phone connection in the hotel room or in the hotel AGAIN I stopped off in to an internet café to clear off the 74 messages, four for me and 70 for the trash bin.

Sunday 8th
Took the rental to the outer edges of the island, not much excitement, so I went back to Fira and returned the car, walked into town, sat in a bar and drank some expensive diet Coke, while I was there four Latin American looking girls came in and ordered drinks, they asked me to take their photo with their point & shoot, in talking they turned out to work for Continental Airlines, one must have been older than she looked as she was with them when they stopped flying to NZ. Asked how long I was away for & told them 6 months, three asked if I wanted an assistant, I said the usual perhaps, but there are conditions, that made them laugh, then the youngest said "what the hell" and started reeling off her qualifications, one of the others said she is giving you her CV. I must be careful in future, age does not always protect you!

After extracting myself from that situation, thought I would get a touch of reality, so I bought a English newspaper, that did it, and caught up with the news.

There was an interesting article about Poland joining the EEC and it was talking about the Polish Pig farmers in how they will get ¼ of the subsidies that the German farmers get and it will be 10 years before they catch up. They said that after two centauries of national disasters, the Poles knew they must seize the chance and lock themselves into the EU. It says that the Poles are still afraid of Germany and Russia and are worried about the instability coming out of the Ukraine. However all of this will be decided by a national vote.

It was interesting the bit about the Ukraine I did not pick that while I was there so it just shows you have to live there or beside them to find out things like that.

Its interesting the bits that you hear nothing of in NZ it talks of the "French Elvis" a 60 year old Johnny Hallyday and is being feted like a living god as he turns 60 this year, his face on every magazine, TV and bus stop poster. Is going to be doing a four country tour with his 28 year old wife, he has been on the music scene since he was 15 and is credited with bringing the French version of Rock and Roll to France and has been constantly in the limelight all of this time. First I have heard of him!!!…. wonder if the fact I do not speak French has anything to do with it? A friend reading this said he looks more like a Johnny Cash!

So back to life on Santorini, after finishing reading the paper, I decided time for dinner, to a restaurant in town that you would be able to see the sunset and sure enough at about 8.30 the sunset, and I made some more interesting photos.

Well that about it for Santorini for me, not much else to photograph, so I will wander down to the port at a reasonable time and catch the next ferry on to probably the next island. A four-day religious holiday coming up on Friday so that could be interesting if I try and move on over that time.

Monday 9th
Well the guy from the hotel that picked me up from the boat when I came in was going back down to the port to collect the next lot so I took a ride with him. When I arrived there the ticket office was closed and I saw another ferry coy further down the Wharf and was going to head in that direction when one of the local café keepers tried to be helpful, he said where are you going, I said I do not know where ever the next boat goes, he could not handle that and I had to repeat it several times so I left him with a bemused look on his face and fronted up to the ticket counter and said where is the next boat going, he said in five minutes we have a boat going to Paros, and as I knew that was a island where a lot of ferries came intro that sounded pretty good to me.

If was what they called a flyingcat and was a good fast trip and for 21E I thought was pretty good value, you get allocated seats and I found myself sitting next to three Aussies Shelia's two of them were nurses and the other was something in marketing, they had taken off 11 days to do the Greek islands and would be doing the Europe bit in a couple of months. They have been in London for 18 months and said while it is a lot of fun they could not spend the rest of their lives there because of the awful weather.

A comment was made about one of the islands being a "Party Island" and I asked why they were not stopping there, they told me at 26 they were too old, they can no longer party all night like a18 year old and live the next day. Funny I always thought it was well into the thirties before old age in that manner caught up with people! They commented that they thought the average age of the backpackers they met was about 22 years of age.

Told them I could not remember what it was like to be 26, one of them said some days I can't either! It was interesting one of their main topics of conversation was how they found accommodation for three nights for a total of  9E or how cheap the last meal was. (3E)

Well I arrived at Paros got off the boat and outside the wharf gates were about 20 people holding up signs for accommodation, I picked one, the price was right 25E
And off we went, was easy walking distance to town, no phone that worked in the room but I found a Internet Café that you could plug your laptop into, so for  3E a time I can access my emails, no it is not cheap.

Went for a walk thro the town and took 40 photos after editing and more sunset photos.

Yes I found a restaurant just a few paces from the sea and had dined with the waves rolling in and the sun slowly sinking with all sorts if interesting ferries giving interesting silhouettes against the sinking sun.

If I was to be in weather like this much more I will need another set of clothes as it is getting a bit warm in what I have with me, that could create problems on my next trip when I do this new packing for less weight.

It is interesting some of the locals that do not have a clue where NZ is, I mention Australia and then they think I am a Aussie….oh well!

Tuesday 10th
Woke up in a good mood this morning till I went to have a shower, the hot water I was promised "all day" evidently did not cover mornings. So I thought I will move out and move into the centre of town, they were not happy, offered to turn the power onto the hot water cylinder NOW. Seemed to think that I could forget a cold shower, well I needed one two days ago when that pretty Venezuela lass tried to pick me up, but that was two days ago and if I did not read about it in my journal I would have forgotten about it by now.

It is interesting how people in business want to correct things that go wrong AFTER they go wrong instead of making sure things do not go wrong in the first place. That is why it is so easy to be a success because not many people really try or know how to try!

So off out onto the footpath to wander my way into town, nice little walk, then I had to pass the ferry ticket office didn't I …..I thought why not, so in I went, where can I go now, 20 minutes you can go to Mykonos, (12E) well why not!

Had a window seat on the fastcat and I can tell you that one wave looks much like the other, very smooth crossing, however there was a young lady doing her best to loose it all, hate to see her on one of the rough Cook Straight crossing where I have seen a photographer turn green.

I think I have the nosiest hotel room in the world, will now go out and see if I can find another.

Wandering thro town looking at menus it appears as if the town its self is more expensive than most of the other islands I have visited.

Wednesday 11th
Moved to a boutique hotel in the centre of the old city, 55E, go there on the back of a three-wheeler truck with me on the back, it was interesting how it would just fit thro the narrow streets and just, with some trouble around the corners.

It is interesting trying to find you way thro the maze of streets going it all different directions, I am sure every time I get to the hotel it is by accident.

Dinner tonight at a seaside restaurant, with the waves breaking almost onto the tables, nice sunset, very commercial restaurant.

If you are looking at taking some one special to one of the Greek islands choose one of the small ones that have yet to get the hordes, and all the shops are for the tourists.

Will stay here for probably another couple of days with this religious holiday weekend but may wander on, on Sunday…

Thursday, June 12, 2003
Well this boutique hotel does allow me internet access via a telephone line that they use themselves, their minimum charge is for 30 minutes and I need 9 to 12 so it is interesting their thinking.

Went out on a bus ride to one of the beaches, not much to see, lots of umbrellas in the sun, so they can sit in the shade, in the sun. Some bodies were almost black with the continual exposure to the sun.

I have almost had this island life and if it was not for the religious holiday this weekend I would be out of here, looks like I will do one more island before I move on to somewhere on the mainland of Europe.

Sunset again over dinner, same location as last night, but not as good by a factor of about 10.

Friday 13
Oh Friday the 13th, and I did not realize, maybe that is why it has been so boring today, well it is a good excuse, but the real reason is that I have stayed on this island one day too long. It looks like two days are plenty for me, who does not swim, does not sit in the sun, not really a pub person.

Incredible amount of cigarettes being smoked by the Europeans, it is a very big change from the almost smoke free situation in NZ.

An interesting custom is to place the toilet paper into a special container rather that place it in the toilet pan to flush it away. There are large notices in most toilets to do this. Personally to the writer it is not a pleasant custom.

All of the restaurants have a "Cover Charge" of about 1E, when I asked what that is for I was told the tables, tablecloths, etc. Funny that is why I thought they charged 2 to 4 times the price for a can of Coke and why they charged enough to make a profit on all of the meals they serve!!!!

Spent some time with the owner of the hotel and it is interesting that the problems he has are more or less the same as photography, and the same no matter where you are in the world, you can reduce any of the business to several simple formulas.

Tomorrow morning so I will drift on to my last island tomorrow on the first boat out.

Went out and shot the sunset again, not much, however I saw a young Asian couple sitting by the edge of the ocean and as the sun was just starting to dip I asked if the would like a photo toasting each other as the sun set, the answer was YES, it appeared they were on their honeymoon, he was a pilot for Thailand airways, (looked like he should still be in school) she kept on saying "Thank you very much" so that is my good deed for the month.

Santorini Guide Jorg Neuschafer speaks German, English, Greek Website Email