Welcome back folks! It’s been radio silence here on the blog while we were hosting some very lovely guests and doing some more traveling of our own! More on those lovely guests and other trips in a bit….but now lets take a quick flight across the Mediterranean to a little place we call Greece.
This trip has been LONG in the making….about a year in fact! It was the brain child of our friend Eva, a 110% full-blooded Greek, who wanted to share the glory of her motherland with a very lucky crew of Cal Poly folks. As the year evolved, the motley crew of friends spread out across the world and this trip quickly became a magical trans-global friend reunion.
The crew consisted of….
Eva! The Coolest Person I Know. Our fearless leader, trip planner, and orderer of amazing Greek food – IN GREEK. Eva knows about everything cool…. fisheye lenses for the iphone, wireless speakers, music the cool kids listen to, Apps, #hashtagging, snapchatting, you name it…..
Eva currently lives in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Chelsea! The Original Gangster. Chelsea is a child of the earth. She sees everyday as an opportunity to be awesome, see something cool, soak up some nature, laugh, and explore. She lived the better part of the last decade traveling around the US in a pimped out van with her bestie and 2 dogs (@silasthesprinter…or is it #silasthesprinter…..well, now its @mobileroamers… I’m clearly not cool enough to know how to keep track of her either).
Chelsea currently lives….somewhere…..maybe Tahoe City, CA
Ashley! The One Who’s Saving the World. Ashley caught the travel bug long ago and has no shortage of travel stories that will leave you wide eyed, amazed, and either laughing or partially in shock. She traveled to Greece from a compound in Afghanistan where she coordinates logistics for delivering nutritional aid to severely malnourished Afghani children….yeah….like I said, saving the world!
Ashley currently lives in Afghanistan.
Kathy! aka Docta J. When Kathy isn’t busy saving the lives of our beloved furry friends, she’s busy kicking ass in the mountains. Conquering trans-Sierra high routes, bagging mountain peaks, and taking names on a mountain bike are just a few of her skills. She somehow embodies equal parts hardcore and chill – making her the perfect addition to any Chasing Davis adventure! She can bag a peak with Matt in the morning and then power watch a season of Scandal with me in the evening!
Kathy currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah
Drew! The Race Car Driver – no seriously, he’s a professional race car driver. Drew drives cars really good and really fast! Drew and I share a fondness for taking naps and/or enjoying adult beverages while our significant others (Kathy and Matt) are off climbing mountains.
Drew currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah
And of course, Us. You know us.
We currently live in Tel Aviv, Israel
Okay, so now that you know who the players are, lets explore Greece!!
The first leg of the journey was girls only! Since girl-time is the best time, we opted to start a few days early without the boys. Ashley and Kathy spent the previous 9 days with us in Israel, so the three of us took a quick flight together to Athens. This gave us a day to explore the city before Chelsea and Eva arrived.
Matt and Drew met up in Athens a few days later and since I completely failed to capture the city – here are Matt’s pictures too 🙂
With all the ladies successfully together in Athens, we hopped on a ferry and headed for the island of Syros. Eva arranged a beautiful Air B&B for us and we slipped into Island Life quickly and efficiently.
Eva lived on Syros a few years ago while taking Greek lessons….although she seemed to know more about the beaches than the language…. just kidding Eva 🙂 Despite a little wind, we enjoyed some beautiful beaches, took our first swim in the sea, and enjoyed our first tastes of Tzatiki and fried cheese! YUM!
After bumming around Syros for 2 days, we embarked on our next ferry adventure to Mykonos! We didn’t know much before going to this island except Matt’s boss saying “What happens in Mykonos stays in Mykonos….”. Hmmmmm…..
So our Mykonos adventure started off quite comically….
We booked some spots at a beach hostel where we were greeted with a beautiful sun deck and infinity pool…okay, we can get on board with this….lets drop the bags and hit the pool!….oh wait……first, you have to wait an hour for the mandatory guided “hostel tour” to start – basically an idiots guide to living in a club med: “Here is where you buy (overpriced) food from 7am-noon and then you buy (really overpriced) food here from noon-midnight”….duh genius, it says it on the sign….”and here is the bathroom”….yeah, again “DUH”. Can we go to our room now?
Well, maybe we should have just stopped at the pool….we got to our “room” and were greeted by a canvas bunker about the size of a small box truck (I have been in larger bathrooms), and that might be generous. We opened the door to find 5 cots strategically arranged to provide about 15 square feet of communal space for us to try to function in. After countess butt-bumps, we quickly learned that changing our clothes or coexisting in the space was clearly going to have to happen in shifts. What was more frightening was that the boys would be joining us the next night and the plan was for Drew to stay in this room with FOUR girls while Matt and I move to another bunker. We knew pretty quickly that there was no way on Earth that was going to work….so Kathy and I thought – well, maybe the boys will share the double bunker and the girls stay in butt-bump bunker…eh, we’ll figure that out later. We were all in too much disbelief to actually get the situation on camera…but these sum it up pretty well (credit: here and here, respectively)
So instead of dealing with that reality….. we decided to soak up some sun, take a bus into Mykonos, and eventually made it back to settle in for our first night in the bunker. After the no longer comical butt-bumping and trying to figure out how to charge 5 phones off 1 outlet, we secured our metal door and took to our cots. What happened next is a confusing blur of hurricane winds, slapping canvas window flaps, rave music, and Ashley probably having flashbacks to Afghanistan…..
Upon waking….err….accepting sleeping was a futile mission, we found an Air B&B to relocate to…..and thankfully, the boys never had to know the glory of Paraga Beach Hostel. And on a much happier note, the boys arrived!!
Aside from the Hostel experience, Mykonos was a beautiful island. Kathy and Matt were brave enough to navigate the narrow roads in an over-crowded rental car (it was the size of a Mini Cooper and we fit 7 people in it) and got us to some exceptionally gorgeous beaches.
We walked the streets, visited the iconic windmills, and enjoyed more delicious food! Chelsea had no difficulty fully embracing vacation life by going straight for the waffle and ice cream for dinner….gyros are for sissies.
After failing to partake in any highly regrettable Mykonos shenanigans, it was time to make the transition from Island Life to Boat Life……I know…..Rough Life…..
The seven of us hopped on another ferry en-route to Paros where we would meet our Captain and Tortilla 39, our home for the next week. Due to some high winds, it took our Captain 14 hours straight of sailing from Athens to meet us in Paros. After hearing this and watching him try to dock the boat for about an hour due to rough water, we weren’t quite sure what to expect on this next phase of the journey! Regardless, we crossed our fingers and hopped on….well, almost!
Matt was the first brave soul to walk the plank, because obviously it makes the most sense to send the biggest person across first….hmmmm. Well, everything was going fine and he managed to safely ferry most of the bags across until the last bag…..and the plank broke! Matt pulled some super human feat of throwing the bag back to shore while he hurtled towards the concrete wall and into the water! Oh no! Luckily, he only sustained a few scrapes and quickly returned to his jovial self…… Who’s next?!
The plank was successfully repaired and we got anchored a bit better. At this point, the Captain fully realized he hadn’t acquired the most experienced crew, but nonetheless we sat down to discuss the plan! The Captain – exhausted from 14 hours of solo-sailing – opened with “well, with these seas…..its not 100% dangerous but its 100% not enjoyable”. So, collectively wanting to avoid anything unpleasant, we opted to spend the night in port, get settled on the boat, stock up on food and provisions, and work on finding our sea legs. The captain also gave us a lesson in tying knots and moving the bumpers so we could be somewhat useful in future boat dockings.
As we set sail the next day, we had no trouble getting right into the swing of Boat Life. The next few days were nothing short of amazing. Sun, swimming, boat jumping, beaches, dolphins, sailing. OH! and countless games of Liars Dice and Monopoly Deal – the best games ever!
We could get used to this….
In the evenings, we docked in ports and enjoyed exploring some of the smaller islands away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist stops. While we explored the shops, Matt would inevitably disappear with his camera and pop up in the distance on a jetty or up a hill.
After nine amazing days, our adventure unfortunately had to come to an end…but not without a little farewell excitement. So it went like this….we had a flight booked out of Athens but needed to get back there from the middle of the Aegean Sea (which turns out is really really big)…..and there was ONE ferry per day from a nearby island that would get us there in time….
So the Captain set the timeline and kept us on course to get to the port on time for the ferry…..but his focus on sailing slowly got more and more serious as he realized our timeline was a little tighter than we anticipated. Full sails ahead! As we approached the island, we also saw our ferry approaching the island from the other direction. What looked like “plenty of time” quickly turned into “OKAY – so we will pull close to the dock and you will JUMP and RUN!” The ferry was moving MUCH faster than us and was quickly docked, unloaded…..reloaded, and rapidly approaching its departure time. Our sweet little Tortilla 39 came barreling into the harbor as we got ready to jump ship and sprint onboard!
With what probably looked like the gusto of finalists on The Great Race, we sprinted down the port and frantically tried to figure out where to buy tickets and get on! “Matt! You get tickets! I’ll stall them!”….. luckily it all worked out and we made it on the boat with minutes to spare.
We quickly climbed to the top deck to wave goodbye to our friends who got to enjoy another week of Boat Life….lucky…..
A huge thanks to Eva for inviting us and planning an amazing trip!! We can’t wait for our next adventure!
(Photo Credit to our amazing friends too! Thanks Kathy and Chelsea for sharing your shots! …and Eva for letting me steal a shot off her FB page….)