I tossed and turned all night and realized sometime after 2am that it was pissing rain and we were set to head out on a boat to the islands in 5 hours. Later, we got up and quickly showered and dressed, checked out and were given two apples for the journey. We walked through the empty, wet streets at a little after 6am, the only sound being my obnoxious rolling suitcase. We arrived at Thissio station and realized the metro ticket machine only took coins…we only had bills. Angry at myself for the discomfort I was feeling after noticing a homeless woman set up a few feet from us, a wave of panic came over me and stayed until I saw a shallow light appear in the ticket office a few minutes before opening. We grabbed our tickets, validated them (always, always validate) and hopped on the first train of the day headed to Pireaus.
We arrived here to a sort peaceful frenzy of fellow ship passengers. Luke guarded our bags as I ran to the most brightly lit bakery for Americanos and sandwiches for the 8 hour journey. A bit later we boarded…board early to get a decent seat…you will be stuck with your choice for the duration. We elected an outside seat partially protected by a plastic shield because the indoor economy, as always, was so packed it gave me claustrophobia I never have. The ferry was much nicer than I expected, the only gripe I have being the huge number of smokers that congregated in our enclosed area. We settled in, more so after I changed into pants and a long sleeved shirt in the surprisingly clean bathrooms, and tried to enjoy the ride despite being tossed about by the stormy sea.
We passed through Paros, Ios, Naxos (which we return to in a few days for the best chunk of our trip) and at this time the sun breaks free from the dismal clouds and we relocate outside to enjoy the rest of the ride. The view on a sunny day is incredibly beautiful and at this time the oh my god I’m in Greece feeling takes hold. A couple hours later we spot Oia (pronounced Ee-a) and I’m in paradise. We arranged a car to pick us up and for 12 euro a person it was well, well worth it. The car winds up the tricky road giving no mercy to those bound for motion sickness. We arrive in Oia about 25 minutes later and take a sharp right and follow the lone road into farmland, the location of our perfect studio at Ecoxenia.
Our small, family run hotel is so wonderful I could cry…that and I’m still exhausted. The grounds are those of dreams, the view, too. We’re guided to a tiny stone dwelling that is the office. Inside, the proprietor Christopher introduces himself and we sit down for a glass of wine and a crash course on the island, what to do, and where to get the essentials. He follows a 30 minute list of recommendations with Or you could sit on your balcony and relax…as you like. This man is my hero.
We unpack a bit and take in our new surroundings. It takes effort to leave. We journey up the road 20 minutes to Oia town, started by how rural it is just short walk away. We’re surrounded by farms, dogs protecting their animals, and make our way up.
The town is the place of dreams and lives up to every expectation you have and description you’ve read. We arrive just in time for the sunset and surprisingly there are no crowds to watch. We wander through the stone streets, closed to cars and anything with a motor. We end up at Roka, a restaurant recommended to us but whose ambiance far outdid the food. But in the end, who really cares?
We’re in love, on and with Greek Isles, and are unimaginably happy… and so damn grateful.