My turn – same trip – man’s eye view:
Hot it certainly was! At times reaching 35 degrees or more (in Milos).
Had a brilliant time and like Christine, rarely tempted by the netbook. Wi fi was available almost everywhere usually in the reception area for the rooms. Island hopping feels slightly different to 30 years ago, now much more sophisticated with better facilities – electricity for one thing! However, this slow evolution has taken little away from the experience. You still bump into the same people on different islands, slow ferries with baking hot decks , though many travellers are tempted now by the fast speedrunners that get you there in half the time but at some cost both financial and in terms of being warmely closeted in a comfortable a/c lounge with wi fi and live television. Sometimes that suits – for instance getting from Piraeus to Santorini, that could save you almost five hours or so of travel. However, where is the great thrill of the boat arriving at different islands and the excitement of disembarkation watching people movement and searching the island ports for clues as whether they offer anything different. For instance, we had always been put off Ios, the party island, but seeing it from the top deck of a ferry, it looked a real possibility for the future. Folegandros, however, one of our favourite islands now after this trip, looks dull from the featureless port – big mistake.
A quick appraisal of the islands we visited.
Sifnos – deliciously verdant with a wonderful bus service and some great beaches – the port Kamares has grown into a place to stay.
- Milos with its 87 official beaches has masses to offer. Not so scenic as Sifnos but lots of places to keep you busy. If you want your own private beach where you can find total solitude and great swimming often just a few minutes walk from your accommodation, then this is the one.
- Klima on Milos is the place I would stay to write a book – it is the most dreamy delightful traditional Greek fishing vilage (set in aspic )- ok full of cats (therefore few birds) but nowhere is perfect! Pollonia is the ideal fishing village to stay in and eat at in the evenings.
The Chora at Folegandros is a delight. Set precipitously and frighteningly on the top of a mountain it has a really magical atmosphere. Certainly not one for those with vertigo. Beaches are rough and ready and no beach umbrellas.
Syros is noisy and sophistocated. Kini and Vari beaches are lovely but keep away from the English hordes at Galissas. Darts and Guinness, would you believe? Ermopoulis, with its delightful classical Square is architecturally magnificent and very lively. The area around Aghios Nicolaos stands out for sheer dramatic scenery, as does Ano Syros set in the hillside. However, the Greeks do love their noisy dirty motorbikes and scooters which here hardly adds to the Greek island experience. Perhaps if there is one island we might have changed for another, it was this one.