Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Greece: Kamares Bonus Day

I should admit something about this trip.  We only made very loose plans for our visit.  And by 'very loose' I mean we only booked our flights and our first hotel in Santorini.  We researched hotels and ferries before the trip, but we waited to book anything else until we were actually on the islands.  Part of this was because the online ferry schedules were a pain and the other part was because we wanted to be flexible with our plans.

We originally planned to go to the island of Mykonos for a couple of days before getting back to Athens for our flight.  Island exploring and hopping ended up being more exhausting than we anticipated, so we cut Mykonos out of the itinerary once we were on Sifnos and planned to head straight to Athens.  We didn't realize, however, that the ferry to Athens was at 9.30 at night.  We had a whole day on Sifnos and no plans.

Not knowing what else to do, we decided to venture into unchartered territory, the top of the island.  The French couple staying at our hotel told us they spent sunset at Agia Simeon, which was beautiful.  Figuring we had the whole day, we decided to make Agia Simeon our destination.

Agia Simeon, way up on the mountain

The French couple said they took a car to the top, so, of course, we thought we could just walk the eight kilometers.  We had walked so much this trip, what was another five miles, right? Wrong.  So very, very wrong.

Proof Agia Simeon was 8 km

We started up the steep road to Agia Simeon and quickly realized that this hike was unlike any others we had encountered in Greece.  The inclines were severe while shade and breezes were nonexistent.  We were smart enough to bring water with us, but we quickly had to ration it so that we didn't run out before we headed back down.

Stopping in the only shade on the way up

This was taken about half way up

Along the way, we came across a different church, where we were tempted to throw in the towel and head back down.  Still not sure why we didn't do that.

My legs and patience were pretty much spent at this point, so when I saw the ridiculously steep hills below I wanted to cry.  They were at least a twenty percent grade (the treadmill in our gym is a ten percent grade and was a walk in the park compared to these, I tested it when we got back).

We powered through and finally saw Agia Simeon in front of us.

We were so happy to make it to the church.  And to find shade and a place to sit.

Yay shade

Smiling through the pain in my legs

We made sure to make the hike worthwhile by photographing anything and everything of interest in the area.


Another church in the distance

Brian made these panoramic shots once we got back home.  You can see almost the entire island from this spot on the mountain.  

This bird was painted on the ground, no idea why.

We eventually ventured inside the church and were treated to some beautiful biblical scenes depicted on the walls and ceiling.

Not a bad view from inside

Agia Simeon showcased the iconic blue features for which the Cyclades islands are known.

We took a few more pictures before starting our very long descent back down the mountain.

I can't believe he wore pant and long sleeves.  It was so hot!

We managed to make it back down without passing out and/or just rolling into the ocean, but we were exhausted and dehydrated.  I declared I could not walk another step once we made it back to town, so Brian graciously fetched us some much needed water while I took a cold shower.

We spent the afternoon cooling off, eating ice cream, and buying a few more souvenirs.  Since our ferry left so late, we grabbed dinner nearby.  We were so happy we did, because this ended up being our favorite dining experience of the entire trip.

We started with saganaki, a hard goat cheese fried in olive oil.  The oil was still bubbling when they brought it out and oh my goodness did it taste good.  Brian got some meatballs while I got a chickpea soup for our main course.  We finished things off with baklava and our first and only foray into ouzo (licorice flavored liqueur).

We gathered our stuff from our hotel (who kindly let us keep the room until our ferry left) and headed down to the port to catch the ferry to Athens.

Chimney piece lit up for night

We were on a speed boat and were expecting to make it to Athens in time to catch the metro to our hotel.  The ferry was late, so we ended up having to take a cab instead.  Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but our cab driver was an idiot.  He had no clue where our hotel was, even after giving him the address and multiple cross streets.  He drove around in circles for over an hour (at one in the morning), and then charged us for his ignorance.  I would have argued with him, but I was exhausted and just wanted the hell out of his cab.

We take on Athens next!

1 comment:

  1. Man ya'll did a lot of walking in Greece! All the pics are gorgeous though, so ... possibly worth it. :)


data:newerPageTitle data:olderPageTitle