First impressions of Mediterranean paradise!
We flew from an airport outside of Milan (Ryanair’s Milan-ish hub, Bergamo) to the Greek island of Kos with high hopes. See, the Greek Isles is a trip we’ve had in our sights for a long while now- around 5 or 6 years, and we’re finally here! It was really exhilarating to take the first step on to Kos’ ground.
We got off the plane after a scenic landing and quickly got our bags. Standing in an information line regarding buses (the next of which being 2 hrs later, ouch!) we met some people with whom we shared a cab in to town. Kos is a small island. The airport is only about 24 km from the main town and the cab ride was 32 euros (contrary to what the LP said, 22 euros; maybe we got ripped off). Anyways, we paid it because there were 4 of us and it wasn’t that bad.
We got off the cab with a reservation, but no address. With a very embarrassing understanding of Greek, we asked for directions and were kindly met. The people here are so FREAKING NICE! It’s great. They will literally interrupt whatever they’re doing to help you out. Most of them spoke some English too.
With a bunch of directions and about 45 minutes of walking around Kos Town, we were settled in to our very humble room and ready to take a stroll around.
Kos Town, I must say is a quite perfect touristy beach town. It is chill, pretty, full of laid back touts (compared to other places, at least), and there’s plenty to do. Kos has a lot to offer. There are scenic beaches that you can access with rented bikes, day trip boats for around 20-30 euros per person, shopping, and night life.
In Kos there are content tourists whizzing about on bikes, and taking in the Med air on chic terraces. The breeze is incredibly cool and refreshing. We’re really excited to get to the beach.
Like I said, we had a reservation when we got to Kos, but I don’t think we needed one. There is an abundance of accommodation here in Kos Town, pretty much everywhere you look.
Also, from Kos Town you can access other islands like neighboring Nissos or farther away, Santorini. Our first order of business was to buy our boat ticket there, actually; so, we went in to the first ticket vendor we saw. It was a neat little family owned place and the manager’s cute daughters greeted us in English when we walked in. The guy was super helpful, as we’ve found all Greeks to be, and before no time we had a ferry reservation for Santorini.
One of the things we were most excited about was the Greek cuisine. I have long had fantasies about meaty tavernas, chilled ouzo, and fresh baked baklava. So one of our first stops was to a humble taverna for a little snack.
We ordered a pork gyro pita (pronounced ghee-ro) and a Greek salad (which Linds had really been looking forward to); in short, they were completely amazing. The pure fresh-ness of the ingredients is a culinary dream. The full-bodied taste of all the components rivals Italian produce and cheese. It was really tasty and great.
The first day we wandered Kos and got oriented. We had the entire second day to enjoy Kos also, as our ferry to Santorini left at 8pm the following evening. So, we reserved our room for another half day (half the price and we got it until about 7ish), and hit the Greek roads on bike.
The feeling was pure freedom as rode and rode. The bikes were comfy beach-cruisers with 5 gears each and a cute (but very useful) bell. We rode past beaches and along vast farm lands reaching over the hills of the island. We finally found a relatively secluded beach and enjoyed it for a few minutes before returning home to get ready for the ferry.
It was a brilliant time, whirring about the Greek boardwalks with millions of other lobster-faced tourists like we were 15 again.
Never having ever traveled Greek Isles, we didn’t know what to expect from the island-hopping experience. From what we read in the LP, it was to be a junk ship type experience shared by commoners and farm livestock. This was a complete fiction as we boarded our Blue Star ferry.
The magnitude was what first struck us. The titan floated up to the dock speedily and a parade of semi trucks proceed to board and disembark (simultaneously, I think) the 3 floors of garage space on the boat. The passenger area was equally as impressive. The boat sported 3 or 4 very comfy and fairly priced lounge areas. There was wifi for a charge and plentiful electrical outlets.
The 4 hours flew by and we were in Santorini haggling for cab fare before midnight. Greece is already better than we ever imagined.
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Reflections on Santorini to come…