The second week of August in Greece is the time of year when all the city centres are deserted and the buzz and hustle moves to your nearest beach. Greeks and tourists from all over the world board the ferries and embark to their hard-earned summer holiday in the sun.
For us, we were going to spend a week on an island hopping sailing and cycling cruise in the Ionian sea. Setting sail was just the beginning of great travel experience.
Actually, even before the boat left the port of Piraeus, our funniest encounter up to now happened. Let me start from the beginning though.
Our lovely partners from the Island hopping team invited us to join their cruise in the Greek islands of the Ionian sea. We boarded with Lea the ‘Panagiota’ a wooden sailing comfort yacht which is 19ft wide and 75 ft long at the port of Piraeus and met with the crew, our three tour guides and our co-travellers. All of us made it to Athens from Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Bosnia and England.
As we were having our glass of wine on the deck and waiting to depart, a group of 3 tourists from China rushed onboard asking to meet the captain and demanding to know the price of the boat so that they can buy it. The boat is indeed so impressive that at every port, we are greeted by a few ‘local paparazzis’!
After a lot of sign language and a face to face discussion with the captain, the potential buyers left and thankfully did not get to buy the boat on the spot..
Back to the sailing and cycling part of the holiday. I should have mentioned that this was my first time on a sailing boat. Up to now, my anti-sickness pills were my faithful companion on any boat journey at sea. For this reason and given that the holiday involved daily cycling trips of about 35km, this trip was starting to look like a serious challenge.
On the first day came another dilemma. Do I use an e-bike or a normal road cycling bike during our week’s trip? Well…, I have to admit that I went for an e-bike after not too much contemplation since I thought that a bit of an electric support kick can’t hurt. And it didn’t. Especially when cycling up Aegina island to the temple of Aphaia at 2pm under the burning August sun; the e-bike proved to be extremely useful!
And then there was the sailing through the Corinth canal, one of the trip’s highlights. Inspired by the Ancient Greeks and Romans and built only a few hundred years ago, crossing it by boat was simply spectacular. The photos speak for themselves.
As I ‘m writing we are sailing to the Ionian sea and ready to be amazed by the islands and azure seas of this part of Greece.
Our first stop will be Ithaca. I cant wait to see the place Odysseus called home and went through so many hardships to come back to.