Ivan's travels experiences To Syros then back towards Crete

Saturday 14th.
Down to the ticket office early, next boat going to Syros, but from other wharf, taxi there, I was on time but the boat 30 minutes late, arrived Syros, no accommodation in town, but there was some 15 minutes bus ride out, that is not much fun by yourself so into the ticket office there and boat to Athens in two hours, while I was waiting spoke to some young students from Tucson Az. Yes Jon, one of them had been photographed by you for their Sr. photo.

3 hours later I was sitting in a taxi going the twelve Kms into the city from the port.

Hotel started at  80 and came down to  60 and after I found across the road there was one for  45 so will wander across there tomorrow.

This is a BIG city, I hate big cities so I will do the sights tomorrow and head out somewhere, saw a travel agent advertising tours of the city for 65E and flights to Hamburg for 93E something wrong somewhere!

Sunday 15th
Checked out of the hotel this morning and they asked me where I was going, said I did not know and the guy I assumed was the owner told me the hotel across the road was very good and was only 35E, that was the one yesterday that quoted me 45E, so when I went to check in the quoted me 40E, spoke to someone that could speak English who said he would be over in a moment, I thought I bet it is the old guy, it was and he confirmed 35E, I assume there are not as many traveling which is why there is such a variation in prices. So the old guy owned both hotels!

Athens was SO HOT there, but seeing I was there I decided to see some of the old buildings! So I walked up to see the Acropolis, hell it was hot, then I remembered my resolution, which I broke, not to visit the Mediterranean in June or July, but to go north and to do the Med in the Spring or Autumn.

So I thought to hell with this heat so visited a travel agent to see if I could fly to Estonia, NO but she could get me to Stockholm, but that did not work as it was a return ticket and she could not get me back, I guess all the Swedes were heading to Greece to collect a bit of sunshine.

Back to the hotel to have another look for my return ticket to Munich, found it I was looking for the wrong place and the ticket looks like just a bit of paper, so tomorrow I will wander back to the Port, head out to the islands, probably dropping in on various ones on the way to Crete for the 25th. At least it will be a little cooler in the islands, I hope. From Munich I may play the "where can you send me", game again with the travel agents.

Last night I checked how long I had to fill in before I was due in Poland and it was six weeks, that made me a little depressed, WHAT could I do for six weeks? Well it is starting to slot together with the decisions that happened today, I do not know why I worry, things always work out!!!

The countries from Poland on in, my itinerary, are all of the ones that I need a visa for so I cannot front up early.

Monday 16th
Up at 5.30, taxi to the port, next ferry was to Mykonos, been there, but one trip I missed on the island so back for a couple of days. Seeing I did not know I was going there I thought I can not contact the Zorzis hotel I stayed at last so I would just take one other for the one night, wander down to Zorzis and stay the next night there. Well I chose one of the ones at the port, was told it was only a few minutes from town, got to the hotel and it looked like it was out in the sticks, but I thought I will be fair and see what the walk was like into town, left the luggage in the room and set off into town.

Well it was all down hill, it was so high up the town looked small, I timed my self and walking downhill it took 15 minutes, going back I shutter to think. Turned up at Zorzis and was asked, well, are you staying, well I thought of that long walk back up and said YES, so got the three wheeler porter, hell it was a long way back! Went to my room got my suitcases, left the key in the door hopped on the back of the 3 wheeler and arrived back at Zorzis.

Cleared my emails, did a small update to my web site to include Zorzis hotel, went for a walk to the port to have lunch, had not lunched there before, wonderful scenery lot of skin showing, just as well I am not sensitive about the amount of clothes these young pretty little things wear, as I have said before, It is a hell of a job but some one has got to do it.

Girls…. There were a lot of men, tall, brown, slim, bodybuilding types there, all walking around with out ladies on their arms, however the were holding hands with other men, tall, brown, slim, bodybuilding types.

Girls I did check out some of the jewelry and there were some real bargains there some were reduced from 12,000E down to only 4000E, this means you could pay for your plane ticket and hotel and still have money left over from what you would save.

Dinner again down at the port, terrible to have to look at all those brown bodies again, glad I did not have to do that when I was here last, it makes you forget to look at the food.

Yes it is cooler out here on the islands, good choice Ivan.

Wednesday 16th
Talking to the lass who does the first shift at Zorzis's, she is from the north of Italy, miles away from the sea, speaks English with a strong Italian accent, her normal job is a tour guide to the middle east for Italians. With the problems there this year she thought she would have a year off and thought it would be good to be able to swim in the ocean every day to have the same roof over her head for weeks on end, but no she can not wait till her contract finishes so she can be moving every day does not have to worry about washing and all of the other chores.

I was having her on, saying she parents will be wanting grand children etc, she said when she turned 23 her Grandmother gave her a photo of her at 23 with three children, as she is now 30 the message did not seem to be received the way it was intended. The way she say Ferrari with the Italian accent, would get the word banned in most countries.

So it was down to the wharf at 9am, the next boat was going to Paros, said "I've been there" they said well when you get there catch the next boat to Naxos, so here I am in a nice clean Studio 1.5 Kms from the centre of town at 20E a night, very small towels however a little larger than a small bath mat. The further you get from Athens the cheaper it gets it seems and the smaller the towels get?.

So I went out for a walk with my camera, walked for about three hours taking lots of photos, Naxos has an old fort in the centre of the town so I thought I would walk up the steps to the top, well it was very hot, and the three hours walk must have tired me a little as when I was almost to the top I did not lift my left foot quite high enough for my foot to clear the step and of course I am never walking slow.

Well it was interesting moving in what appeared to be slow motion falling forward to come to a rest on my left hand & right knee, but I slowed my fall, by rubbing my right bare arm along the roughcast wall. That must have done the trick as my camera did not get damaged. Interesting red graze on my arm however.

I think I will do another posting of clothes etc home, there is no indication I will ever use the tripod on this trip do I will have another repack of my suitcases and see if I can not lighten my load more.

Thursday 19th
Went on a tour around the island of Naxos today, was going out to the towns by bus, but saw the tour and thought that will kill all of the birds with one stone. It did, I was planning to walk around a lot of the villages but it is the wrong time of the year to do that it is so hot.

The guy that was the tour guide started off by telling us it was his first day and apologized for any mistake he might make, I thought how would we know if he had made a mistake, he would have been better to have said nothing, bit like a wedding photographer saying to the bride, "I am a bit nervous this is my first wedding" or a doctor say "this is my first heart transplant" no neither should say those things either should have he.

There was a German guy on the tour with his girlfriend, both in their late twenties I guess, she was dressed ten years at least older, (NOT fashionable) that is something you do not normally see! He was a nice good looking guy!

Today I say the ultimate stupidly, young lady was busy fitting a crash helmet to the rear seat and she was making sure it would not get in the way of the wheel. When both she and the guy who was wearing his helmet were happy she hopped on the pillion seat without the helmet and away they roared, if they had a accident I can just see her father asking the guy, why did my daughter not wear her helmet, "because it would mess up her hair" or some other ridiculous answer.

When there kids hire a scooter on some of the islands, the helmet is sometimes 5E extra, often they do not want to spend that money so for the sake of 5E they run the risk of being brain damaged for the rest of their life. If you are a parent reading this and you kid is heading off overseas on the smell of a oily rag, think about this, you have spent probably 10's of thousands getting them to this stage and the lack of a 5E note can wipe all of that out. Your move!

Friday 20th (to date I have been traveling 66 days and have 100 to go)

Pulled out all the things that I would not want on me travels and posted them home over 7Kgs that will make a bit of difference to the weight of the cases.

Apart from that a bit of a easy day today, bought a new pair of shoes last night and gave them the first wearing today, not as easy as last year in Paris were I was able to walk in the new shoes all day.

Caught up with the news as written in UK. They were saying M15 are predicting that a dirty bomb will be exploded somewhere in Europe on a regular basis over the coming years, guess people will become like the Israeli's and just go on about your life and hope you are not in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Makes one hopeful this is not imported into NZ with the people our soft government allows in.

Bought the UK Telegraph newspaper to read at the restaurant while I was waiting for them to set up for business for the night, when I had finished it I tried to pass it on to a English woman sitting by her self who was doing a crossword, she said NO the paper was too posh for her, she only bought the Daily Mail to do the crossword, I said does the Telegraph not have a crossword, she said I do not know I have never opened it!

Yes the class system is alive and strong in the UK they have their paper and we have ours! ……and never the twain shall meet, socially!

Did the sunset from the Temple of Apollo, with people standing on the stones with their back to the setting sun being photographed, sure would like to see some of those photos, managed to get a couple of photos that will do, then left the hordes to it.

Saturday 21st
Caught the fastcat to Paros, thought I will be able to take my laptop into the internet café there and do a download, however half way there I thought, you are going to have to go back the way you have just come to go to Crete, YES I was correct, after doing the download, I bought a ticket to Ios, via Naxos…Oh well, what else do I have to do?

Here I am on Ios, have looked around and decided to move on tomorrow, a Planned move, I will have to watch this planning!

Found a nice hotel? Two bedrooms four beds, 30E for one night 25E a night for two nights, good size towels, clean rooms, and a telephone that I can log onto the internet however there is always a down side it has a slow speed of 16.8 Kbps, if you have a slower connection speed I would like to hear about it.

Have TV news in English, which is good in away, however you find out things you may not want to know about Europe and their worries about pollution, it is like a lot of things you know it is there, but you do not always know just how bad the situation is, of course you need to offset the situation that only bad news is worth reporting, NO, there were some nice things reported….Oh well I can always go back to NZ.

Next stop Crete!

Sunday 22
Well the first boat bto Crete was at 16.50, so not much to do today except to sit in a café all day and read a book.

Spoke to a young Austrian, he was moving on because he said there were 300 Austrian's on the island and he did not come on holiday to be among people from home. He was due to go into the army in three weeks and this was his last burst of freedom for eight months. He was going mountain climbing on Crete and was joining the mountain division of their army, when he found out I was from NZ he asked about our mountains.

I spoke of how little it cost to fly to NZ, thinking how NZ'ers fly off at a very young age for their OE, I guess at the air cost as being 1200E and he thought that was a increasable amount of money. His job was in computer networking so he by our standards would, or should be very well paid, perhaps we all think the pay packet is better elsewhere.

On the boat I was sitting beside a Aussie working for a large accounting firm in Edinburgh, she was saying how the money she was paid did not go anywhere, sure she said she could move to London, get more money, have to share a flat with three others, but would not get much more.

My only thought is that the kids that go to London from NZ must live in atrocious conditions to save the money and eat very little.

It almost seems as if we are not so bad off in NZ after all with our NZ Peso.

Got into Crete at 19.30 and looked for a hotel, no office on the waterfront and no touts offering hotels just the same as Athens. Walked around about five hotels all either too expensive or full so I phoned the one I stayed at last time a 20E taxi ride out, and I figured that I would be saving money at that, and have internet access. Taxi driver tried to get 25E from me but I told him I would make his life hell, he walked off with 20E.

Monday 23
Into Crete today, walked for three hours trying to find a shop to sell me some machine screws, my suitcase was coming apart at the wheels and I thought I would have to drill and re-bolt it together, so I found a shop, then looked at how I was to drill the hole and gave up and went to come home with just the screws.

Showed the business card to the bus driver and he said next bus, next bus driver said OK to the card, the guy that took the money said OK, but I ended up in the next bay about 5 kms from where I should be, they dropped me off at the turnoff on their way back, so life is never boring.

Oh yes the Bus ride home, the Greek public transport system, the 48 seats were full, and I was one of 25 standing in the centre aisle, every time the bus went around a tight corner you heard part of the chassis rub on the road, eventually he has a bus officer ride with him on the bad bit going down hill to the "one bay to far" (for me) and he got out and guided him around the corner from in front watching the bus, yes! life is never boring!

Set the suitcase up to be fixed with my Swiss army knife and found, once emptied and the lining lifted, three screws had fallen out, so all the job turned out to be way to put the screws back in, tighten them, repack and decide well I had nothing else to do today anyhow, and who would have missed that bus ride!

Interesting when you talk to people what you find out, the lass that is part time at the hotel reception is French, from Paris, her grandfather lived all of his life in Paris and her grandfather walked all of the streets of that city with her as a child, showing her all of the interesting parts of the city. Being married to a Greek she misses the Paris she knows thanks to her grandfather.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003 Crete Airport

Yesterday I sent off the newsletter seven and if anyone asks why do you not send more visit with me when I am trying to get on line, I think I spent a total of three hours dialing up, redialing, waiting, being dropped off the connection and everything else possible. I like to think it was Greece and that it will not happen again but I am fooling my self.

Ended up have a rest day, if you can call the above "Rest" had a massive pain in my neck which has been slowly building up over several days, spent the day when I was not on line with a hot pack etc on my neck, caused I think by a pillow the wrong height, well I have always said a bit of pain lets you know you are alive, but I did not need that much. Cause of the neck pain well I would like to think it was looking at all the pretty girls but it is not that simple.

Forgot to mention that when I was on Mykonos I went off for the day to Delos, said to be the oldest complete city about, very interesting, would have been better f it had not been so hot, got a good series of photos however.

Funniest sight in Greece has got to be, me, when I tried on a pair of white cotton trousers along with the white cotton shirt (that I bought) it was a joke and the silly little girl told me how good I looked! I thought I better not buy them because of all the people that may wet their pants when they see me.

Arrived at the airport at 9.30 and found the plane is to depart 1930 hours, yes it was rescheduled so I have 10 hours to fill in! And it went via Kos which is a island I was going to visit and perhaps could have boarded the plane there, of course life is full of perhaps!

Sat beside a young guy from Munich and his girl friend, he works as a business consultant for a large coy, seems not to have the qualifications I would expect for a position like that, works almost 20 hours a day as part of his salary, was going to move to Greece in to or three years for more of a life style but in Greece the wages are 57% of the wages of Europe.

I mentioned NZ for the lifestyle he seemed interested but drifted back to his novel so I thought, yes, he is not a thinker, a thinker would have pumped me for all the information he could get so he would be able to see if there was any merit in him thinking about a future in NZ, but the novel had more drawing power.

Well we arrived in Munich at 23.15 collected the suitcase and headed to the airport hotel, on the way I looked at the advert for the last minute travel and most was for the Greek Islands, but I saw some possibilities at one.

At the hotel I was quoted 250E for the room, I thought well a taxi from & back to the airport, it is almost worth looking in to the city, then she reduced it to 190E, I thought what the hell! Gave her my name as I had stayed there before, she key it in and said "oh you are from Christchurch", "I've been there" and we spoke about that for a moment, then she handed me my room key and she said "I've given you a Suite, the largest in the hotel" so roll on more reception clerks that have been to Christchurch. The suite was massive the lounge had two lounge suites and a large desk, two monster bedrooms with massive beds and large bathrooms, kitchen and spare toilet of the entry hall, three TV's, the works and the sign on the wall says all this is your for 930E a night. Well it a tough life…. as I have said before!