A lot of adventures, a lot of mishaps, a lot of gelato
After sleeping through the bus ride to the Italian coast we hopped on an overnight ferry to take us to our next stop: Patras, Greece.
While staying on a ferry overnight might seem quite boring I was actually really looking forward to having hours of uninterrupted sleep and just relaxing after the last few weeks of constantly being on the move. We settled into our cabin and went up on the deck to watch the sunset, relaxed listening to the seventies and eighties playlist consisting of Queen and Bonnie Tyler, before heading to bed and sleeping for 12 hours.
I woke up feeling refreshed and energised as we docked at Patras, excited to finally be arriving in Greece. The coast of Greece looked amazing as we docked, and the water looked so blue, just like in Sardinia. We immediately hopped on the bus and headed towards Athens, stopping at the Corinth Canal that cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland.
Once we arrived in Athens we had a driving tour around the city, stopping at the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus, where we received a lesson in Ancient Greek mythology from our guide, Katy. All the old and ancient architecture in the middle of city is pretty amazing, and it reminds me of Rome in the sense that the place is steeped deep in history. Travelling through Europe has made me realise just how young Australia is as a country and how little history we have in comparison. We checked-in to our hotel and packed a small bag to bring with us to Mykonos, where we will be staying for the next few days.
The next morning we arrived in Mykonos, settling into our cabins at the Paraga Beach Hostel, which is a youth hostel set within walking distance from Paraga and Paradise beaches. The hostel has a camping vibe to it, and had a great restaurant and bar next to a swimming pool. It has a great atmosphere and is really good for meeting other young travellers, but if you are looking for a good nights sleep in a comfortable bed then it is probably not the place for you! Once we settled in we started the day with a mojito from the hostel bar and it was only uphill from there: beach, bar, pool, on repeat.
One of my main loves in life is music, and I have been singing and playing guitar and piano since I was little, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out that night the hostel was having a karaoke night. They provided two guys to play guitar and box drum and had a list of songs they could play. What ensued was probably one of the most fun nights of my life, where I ended up on top of the bar singing The Cranberries, Doobie Brothers, Adele, and got everyone singing along. I have always been quite shy performing but I think after a few free shots with one of the hostel owners Susie, who said she was my ‘Greek Mumma’, loosened me up and I was able to just have fun. I also ticked off one of my goals on my music bucket list: to sing ‘What’s Going On’ by the 4 Non-Blondes for a karaoke night. So thank you Mykonos!
We finished up at 3am with a moonlight beach swim and got given a free bottle of vodka by my Greek Mumma for winning the karaoke night.
The next morning we woke up with sore heads and decided a refreshing morning swim at Paradise Beach would do the trick. Just a note that Paradise Beach was the original nudist beach of the island and some people still adhere to that dress code, or lack thereof seems a more correct statement! We then headed on a bus into town and had a great lunch at Little Venice, where we met Petros the Pelican. Petros is somewhat of a celebrity in Mykonos, who was named after the original mascot of Mykonos, a pelican named Petros who died in 1986. We tried to get some pictures with him but he tried ot snap at me so I think he wasn’t too fond of me!
We then headed back to the hostel where we chilled at the bar and I had a great time chatting to my Greek Mumma, Susie. Turns out she was a tourist from Britain who came to Mykonos and fell in love with the island and just stayed there. I loved hearing her story of how she just left her home to start a new life with no promises it would work out, I love the spontaneity of it. She also told me to not hold Petros trying to snap at me against him because he is suffering from depression because his pelican girlfriend recently passed away and pelicans mate for life. Poor Petros.
We relaxed by the bar all afternoon before having a beach party with our Topdeck group before walking to Tropicana, one of the weirdest and craziest nightclubs I have ever been to. The music was pumping, men were dancing around in gold g-strings, there were naked men drink stirrers, and at one point I found one of my friends sitting on the bar with a watermelon on her head. We are still unsure how she got her hands on a watermelon in the first place! I even got to use my nearly fluent Italian on a couple of Italian boys who were saying some very questionable things to a couple of my girlfriends and I thinking we didn’t understand. Oh I understood, and I let them know it, they scarpered away pretty quickly after that! We headed back quite early in the morning with sore feet and proceeded to sleep.
I woke up a few hours later and went for a swim on the beach and relaxed on some sun chairs just admiring the view. It had been such a whirlwind last couple of days that I hadn’t really had the chance to take in the stunning views from our campsite. Once the girls woke up we planned to go to Delos but it turns out the ferry doesn’t run on Mondays unfortunately. Travel tip: If you are planning side trips make sure to check the opening days of transport, museums, shows, etc. We all thought the ferry would obviously be running because it was a Monday, but we were wrong. So do your research! We proceeded to head into town and have a lovely lunch by the windmills and explore the main town, which was filled with little laneways, artisan shops and crisp white buildings.
After our time exploring we headed back to the campsite and relaxed by the pool with our fellow Topdeck gang before breaking out my vodka winnings and celebrating our last night in Mykonos together with Spanish dancing, cocktails and chatting with my Greek Mumma. I also had a hilarious language mishap with one of the bartenders, who was from Slovakia. He was asking me about my travels and I was telling him all about my time in Naples being a third wheel and that is where I lost him. The rest of our conversation was him confused and constantly asking why I was a wheel and why did I think I was a wheel because I am a person. The more I tried to explain the more confused he got, until eventually I think he thought I was crazy and it was best to leave me to my own devices. I guess the phrase ‘third wheel’ doesn’t have a Slovakian translation!
The next morning we got up at 5:30am to catch our ferry back to Athens, and watching the beautiful sunrise over the island was the perfect way to say goodbye to Mykonos. Mykonos was such a crazy few days, but I absolutely loved it. It was good to let my hair down for a few days and let loose and create some fun memories with my friends and the rest of the Topdeck crew just as the tour is ending. Plus I got to meet some wonderful people as well, which is what travelling is all about.
After arriving back in Athens the girls and I spent the rest of the day exploring. We went to the National Archeological Museum of Athens and saw some amazing statues.
We then walked up to the Acropolis, a group of ancient monuments and buildings, including the famous Parthenon. There is a lot of construction happening at the moment around the Acropolis to maintain the buildings so we were not able to walk through a lot of it, but it was still pretty spectacular to see and we had a stunning view of the whole city.
After we stopped for a spot of dinner we headed back to our hotel in Athens to have one final send-off with the rest of our Topdeck gang for our last night. We are finishing up here in Athens whilst the rest of the tour are heading to Eastern Europe. I had such an amazing time on the Timeless Trail Topdeck Tour and it was so wonderful getting to meet so many fantastic people that were complete strangers and became awesome friends. I am sad to be leaving my Topdeck family but I am so glad I got to meet them all. I had the best time and Topdeck were top notch, so organised and provided such a great trip, I highly recommend them.
Next stop with the girls: the beautiful Santorini.