Thursday, October 11, 2012

Greece - Part 2

Red sand beach Santorini
Last week in - Part 1 -  I talk Greece pre and post Euro and planning your trip.

Ferry arriving at Syros island
I normally rant about limited food options for vegetarians. Not in Greece I'm pleased to say. I ate really well. My choices were Greek salad, big bean salad, side dishes of feta blocks, yummy olives, creamy salads such as Tzatziki and smoked aubergine dip, spinach and cheese filo pastry pies, stuffed tomatoes and stuffed peppers, cheesy aubergine bakes and dolmades. There are also lots of Turkish food places where I ate falafel. Greek salads in Greece are not the Greek salads I have had before. No lettuce in a Greek salad. Bread is consdered extra, just so you know. And do keep an eye on what you order, bills can get a bit out of hand when you order in bits and pieces and sadly, it does happen that un-ordered items find their way onto your bill.

Our hire boat Medussa
Retsina - a type of Greek wine - is awful. But after a glass or two a person gets used to it. You may want to visit one of their vineyards to get a proper bottle of wine. Wine tastings come with feta cheese and olives and are worth trying. The Greeks aren't big on breakfasts. The most you will get is thick Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a stiff coffee which leaves a thick sediment at the bottom of the cup. They do sell Nescafe for the English who usually don't drink their coffee strong.

Shopping in Santorini
To get around you have to read Greek. All road signs, and they are not always present on the remote islands, are of course in Greek. The Greek alphabet is completely different to a European one with unique letters. Usually I can learn to say a few words in another language but I struggled with Greek. This is what the last two sentences would look like written in Greek - Συνήθως μπορώ να μάθετε να πω λίγα λόγια σε μια άλλη γλώσσα αλλά αγωνίστηκε με ελληνικά. Αυτό είναι που τα τελευταία δύο ποινές θα μοιάζουν με γραπτή στην Ελληνική -
See what I mean? Fortunately most Greeks speak English.

We hired a little scooter which is easy and common in Greece and followed the coastal roads. We did get lost a few times but somehow we always made our way back to the accommodation. Be warned - some of these bikes are not in good condition or particularly powerful. A couple of times I had to get off and walk up a hill because the bike wouldn't go. Accidents on these bikes are common. Here are links to maps  - Travel bookstore - and - map Greece.

Naxos beach
The first part of this holiday was a week of sailing around the Sporades Islands, next we did some island hopping in the south and we finished with a few days in Athens.

We arrived in Athens and headed straight to Skiathos for our boat. Due to mishaps and limited services it took a lot longer than we planned. When we finally reached our boat and bought provisions it was nearly midnight.

Enjoying retsina next to the ocean at Naxos
This was my first boating holiday ever and I was nervous. I had done a quick boat handlers course before this holiday just to make sure I had some idea what to expect. Fortunately my husband is an avid boatie and has done countless boating holidays both in Greece and other parts of the world. I could rely on him to know what to do. Novice sailors can sail in a flotilla where there is always someone on hand to help you with the tricky parts of sailing such as berthing, sorting out the sails, ropes and tying up your boat securely.

Next week in - Part 3 - I talk about sailing, the islands and Athens.

Relaxing on the boat at Mourtas
Visit the Greenie travel archives - here - to read about other holidays and trips.