Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TPThursday: Circling the Cyclades

Die-hard travelers like us aren’t content to be preparing for the next trip, we must be thinking about future journeys as well.  (From a practical standpoint, if you plan to use frequent flier miles, you need to be planning ahead!)

Our travel compass for our next year is pointing towards Greece.  And with so many favorite islands there, it is going to be difficult to narrow our focus to visiting just a few of them. 

As our planning discussions pick up momentum, Joel started talking frequent flier mile seats and I pulled out photos from our first journey there ~ when we circled Greece’s Cycladic Islands:

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We are agreed that as much as we love cruises, we prefer Greek ferries to cruise ships when it comes to experiencing the islands. Modern ferries, such as this NEL Lines fast boat, in the harbor of Naxos Island can’t be beat for comfort and convenience.

Spending an evening at a Greek taverna, savoring good food and drink, isn't possible if you are racing back to a departing cruise ship. Why visit Greece if you can’t have some taverna evenings, right?

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Traveling by ferry is as casual as life itself. We love waiting for a ferry departure. We sat at this small café in Mykonos watching the cruise ship in the distance to pass the time. No stuffy airport waiting rooms nor long security checks here.

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Our days went far too quickly - no matter which island we were on.We were easily entertained just watching the daily rituals of the island fishermen as they off-loaded the day’s catch and began preparing the boats for the next morning’s departure.

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By now you know we prefer the off-the-beaten-path back roads and villages.They just offer so many unexpected experiences. . .I mean, how often back home does a passing herd of goats block your route?

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By taking those off-the-beaten path routes we found beaches like this one. . .

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. . .and sunsets so stunning that they seemed surrealistic.

If You Go:

Map picture

Our first trip to Greece took us to four islands in the Cycladic group, Siros, Mykonos, Paros and Naxos. It’s so easy to succumb to the spell of any one of them that it is difficult to move on to the next. . .until you get there and you find yourself not wanting to leave that place either. We made advance reservations for hotels on our first two islands because we were there during the Easter Holidays (when everyone on the Mainland heads to an island). The other two we booked upon arrival.

If you’ve been reading the TravelnWrite Facebook page you know I’ve been including updates from fellow travelers who’ve been visiting Greece this year or who live there – all are reporting calm and serene environments and business as usual. (Novelist Bill Kitson has a guest post on TravelnWrite about his recent stay in Crete.)

Thanks for stopping by on this TPThursday. Hope you’ll head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos and travel tales. And then come back again!

22 comments:

  1. I too am looking at Greece for part of our trip next year. Every time I read about an island I want to go there but it is not making the choice any easier. You have just reinforced that I definitely must get off the beaten track but still be able to catch the ferries to move around!

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    1. We will go back to Crete - no doubt in our minds there. Just would love to return to Symi (near Rhodes) and Poros which is absolutely in the opposite direction. We might just have to stay long enough to do 'em all!

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  2. Lovely pictures! What great memories you had on these islands already. My brother has been posting Greek island pictures during his brief visit this week and I'm jealous. What a great itinerary you'll have next year.

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    1. Yes Mary, when it comes to Greek Islands, it is impossible not to have a great itinerary no matter which direction you choose.

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  3. You're so fortunate to be there during Easter. In all my trips to Greece, I still haven't quite managed that feat.
    And your friends in Greece may assure you that Greece is calm and welcoming to travelers, but it is worth noting they also desperately need our money. The owner of the sailboat that we used to circle the Cyclades stays in touch and has told us heart wrenching stories about the economy's effect on his Greek wife's family. Always a great place to visit, but definitely not a nice place to live right now.

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    1. Guess it depends on the place and circumstances. Bill Kitson, the novelist from England who wrote the guest post, is a regular to our favorite village in Crete. There, he said, the guests continued to pour in even as the 'low season' began, new wi-fi is available and the restaurants thriving.

      For an interesting perspective on Greece, read Jeffrey Siger's (New York attorney who moved to Mykonos for a good portion of each year who writes novels set in Greece) take on a variety of Greek issues when he contributes to the 'Murder is Everywhere' blog each week.

      Unfortunately too many travelers are fearful of going there because of the economy and they shouldn't be.

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  4. We visited Mykonos and Santorini while on a cruise last summer and it was just enough of a taste to fall in love and want to go back. When I get back to the Greek Islands it will be to see them in exactly the way that you describe.

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    1. If you do, hope you'll write about them so I can live vicariously through your travels.

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  5. Wonderful pictures of your trip to Greece! I'm with you, I'd prefer spending time in a taverna than rushing back to dine with a few hundred or thousand of my best friends. Looking forward to hearing about your next trip!

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    1. Our next trip will begin in a few weeks! We are off to the land of Dolce Vita, pasta, wine, olive oil. . .can you tell I am excited to be heading back to Italy?

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  6. Count me in two as one of those travelers who would want to see the Greek Islands at my own pace. The thought of a lovely B&B or boutique hotel, a great meal though I'll pass on the retsina, and a gorgeous sunset and your trip is sounding mighty good to me. I too am in the early planning stages and I must say I get a lot of pleasure out of that.

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    1. I am with you on the retsina, but there is nothing like a chilled Greek white wine with a bit of salad, fresh made bread and moussaka to end a good day of explorations.

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  7. I love the way you describe ferry travel and it looks like you were really able to explore the islands like a native. I look forward to traveling like that someday.

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    1. I am certain that someday you will be traveling like that Jessica!

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  8. I so want to go back to Greece. Your photos make me want to hope on a plane tomorrow. I know that I wouldn't take a cruise. It would definitely be the ferries.

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    1. It is funny how a photo can spark that travel bug itch, isn't it? Hope you get there one of these days!

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  9. A really interesting post from Matt, with some very useful insights. Noted for a future trip, then!

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    1. I've put the list Matt provided in our futures file as well. Thanks for visiting Andrew!

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  10. Nice plan - I've just finished reading 'Song of Achilles' which is a perfect inspiration for some island hopping around antiquity.

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    1. I will have to read that as well - sounds like our kind of book. Thanks for visiting and for the suggestion!

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