There is a quote: “Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea” And sailing across the Aegean sea to reach Greek islands is certainly one of those checklist stuff we read everywhere “100 things to do before you die”
We were in group of three and have been backing across Europe from last 40 days. Divided continent in 4 phases: Northern Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark), Central (Germany, Czech, Hungary, SLovenia, Slovakia, Crotia), Southern (Italy and Greece), Iberian (Spain). We were in our 3rd phase i.e. Italy and 3 Alexanders were in full preparation to invade Greece.
We had Eurail passes for 3 months which also included almost free Ferry services(10 euros) from Bari (Italy) to Patras (Greece). Had overnight journey from Milan to Bari. After 45 days, we were quite used to such long journeys. We also gained expertise in several odd things like eating McD burgers at the slowest pace to pass around our nights at stations in cold European weather.
Reached Bari around 8 am and first usual thing we did – Find a McD or McCafe (Savior or 4th friend). Necessities done (Nice feeling) and Cornetti plus Cappuccino (Heavenly feeling)
There are certain ferries available but we boarded “Superfast Ferries” as it was in collaboration with Eurail pass. Advised to book your tickets 15 days in advance. Whenever I used to see my globe, my eyes used to get stuck at Mediterranean sea and today I had to spend my night amidst the roaring waves of Mediterranean. Certainly Thoughts become things
Reached Patras after a night’s journey. Via Taxi reached Patras bus stand where we booked tickets for Athens. Across coastline, it was a beautiful journey. And It was mathematics all around as P is written as π ; A as @, B as Beta β; it was fun to judge my secondary school knowledge
Spent 3 days in Athens and visited Acropolis, Parthenon, Syntagma Square, Temple of Olympian Zeus and Police station (as my friend lost his wallet and we had to lodge complaint). Europe (Greece, Turkey) with an Asian feeling starts as you sail across Mediterranean as I could see the street vendors culture selling spices etc. across Athens.
Its time to make move towards Greek Islands. We zeroed on to Santorini being the most picturesque island. Booked Bluestar ferry tickets through some random agent in Athens. Advise: Prefer to book at the port itself, you will land up saving around 20 euros.
Ferries towards islands start from Piraeus which is around 14 kms from Athens (easily accessible via metro). Boarded around 6 am in the morning and sailed across Aegean sea for 8 hours to reach the blue and white heaven named Santorini.
Santorini is famous for dramatic views, stunning sunsets from Oia town, the town of Thira and naturally its very own active volcano. We stayed in Fira, cliff perched town featuring all that Oia offers.
Took a self drive car on rent. It was cheap (around 24 euros for 24 hours) if you have credit card and passport. Only issue I faced – Its left hand drive in Europe unlike right hand in India but could manage due to roads being driver’s paradise (beautiful, silent running in parallel to the blue coastlines)
There are naturally fantastic beaches such as the beach of Perissa, maybe the best beach in Santorini, the black pebble beach of Kamari, white beach and red beach.
And in the end I will say.. We are Indians and emotions, feelings, soul searching , peace matter a lot to us. Somebody has said in perfect words – “To travel is to take a journey into yourself”
Spent three days there in Santorini and then took ferry back towards Italy and its time to switch moods from peace to party. Boarded flight from Pescara (Italy) to Spain and 4th/last phase of our journey begins.