he Greek Islands is a holidaying paradise for all sorts – young backpackers, honeymooning love-birds and retired ancients on all-inclusive boat cruises.
The lifestyle here is ultra lazy and utter indulgence – eating, sleeping, drinking and laying on the beach. It is easy to understand why the greek men have such voluptuous bellies!
Travelling on ferries from island to island you can see the white washed houses hugging the sides of the barren landscape; their blue shutters the only source of colour. The purpose of this uniformity was originally to confuse pirates as they sailed between islands – the repetition baffling their ability to locate themselves.
Of the 240 inhabited islands, we visited 4; Paros, Mykanos, Ios and Santorini.
Santorini was the most picturesque, romantic and expensive island in the family. Here, sunsets are treasured and the hilltop town of Oia boasts typical greek islands postcard scenery. Hundreds of people perched on ledges, sitting on steps, lying on terraces gaze out into the Aegean sea, their faces bathed in red light from the sinking sun. Drinking our take away bacardi’s in the twilight air, Em and i ponder why it is that sunsets are so encapsulating, electric yet soothing. As we walk back through the narrow winding streets, i feel weightless, cleansed, relaxed and fall asleep on the bus ride home.
For me, the greek islands felt like the Thailand of Europe. The most popular form of transport for tourists was scooters or quad bikes – which look absolutely ridiculous anywhere other than a farm paddock. Walking around our camp site every second person was limping, on crutches or bandaged up from ‘motofalls.’ Without a bike licence we could only hire quad bikes which we discovered have the power of a toy car and could only reach 19km/hr whilst going up hills! Very funny… but very annoying!
The Mediterranean cuisine is one to indulge in; greek salads, stuffed tomatoes, ratatouie, fried calamari and chicken skewers. But the most popular take-away delicacy (sarcasm) is the ‘gyros’ (which the Aussies would so properly pronounse ‘jieros.’) For 2 euro you can have a pita souvlaki with chips inside, and a delicious garlic breath to last all day. People poured out of the clubs at 7am and into the gyros shops for the ultimate drunken breakfast.
During the European summer, the islands of Mykanos and Ios are famous for their uncontrolled and reckless nightlife. Over these months thousands of tourists (mainly Australian and italian) journey over for their holidays.
Ios was entirely invaded by Australians… after 2 months away from the home land this was initially a tad exciting. But the novelty soon wore off as the bad occa accents, bonds singlets and rowdy bay 13 behaviour became embarrassing. Every Shazza and Dazza, Jacko and Patto had arrived from the land down under… wearing Australian flag board shorts, sporting southern cross tattoos and writing on each other in permanent marker. Vegemite was even on the menu in the hostel kitchen!!
The gorgeous little town which crept up a steep slope was saturated with bars. Dance, Rock, hip-hop, even traditional greek music filtered out into the alleyways – each venue with its own vibe, own drink deals, and own drunken dancers. Side by side they created a chain of drinking holes – filled from midnight until 5am when the clubs would start.
After a week here we had more than enough of cheap vodka, late nights and Australians for a lifetime…
We experienced Mikonos at its peak – During the Italian long weekend. Never ever before have ı seen a beach so crowded! We stayed in the camp grounds here – which was an affordable paradise for young travellers seeking the pleasures of the Mediterranean lifestyle without the cost. The beach Side institution consisted of bars, restaurants, a mini mart and convenience store… so conveniant there was no need to leave! Around the corner was the famous ‘paradıse beach’ whıch hosts gigantic dance parties on its shores. The music pumps all night long and into the morning – making it impossible to sleep even though we were over a kilometre away!
Being a hater of dance music I was super keen to skip the clubs – especially as drinks were 10 euro! (17 aussıe!) But Em dragged me there and I was taken back by the electricity and pulsing atmosphere. One place – ‘Cavo Paradıso’ was set high up on the point overlooking the beach below and had a swimming pool in the middle. Superstar dj’s spun tunes into the nıght air and thousand of people danced their hearts out and as the sun rose the shades came out.
During the day, the italians flocked to the beaches – their olive skin soaking up every inch of sunlight. Some of the most beautiful women i have ever seen, with long brown hair and skimpy bikini attire, their limbs stretching to the sun like felines at full moon. The men wore short shorties and lurked by the waters edge, flexing their muscles and loving every inch of their toned bodies.
But my favourite place to spend my time is by the pool – right on the cliff and overlooking the beach below. Groovy mellow tunes drift lightly into the sky, an aura of endless time and sunken moments. Day beds, bean bags and lounges scatter the timber decking and at sunset this place is rocking. Loungers dip in and out of the pool, the water disappearing over the waterfall edge…