Explore's Teresa Mozley travelled on our Greek Island Cruise holiday earlier this year and, although Mother Nature ensured the trip didn't go exactly as planned, thanks to Tour Leader Thanos, she still had a brilliant holiday.
"We stepped off the plane at Athens airport into a ferocious gale – and that set the weather pattern for the week. Our ferry sailed from Rafina (the last one before the ports were closed due to the wind), we were met and driven to the boat where it was moored in Karistos harbour. Once on board, we were welcomed by Thanos our tour leader, and Vangelis the skipper. From that moment, we had a fabulous time - regardless of the weather! For two days a Force 9 gale blew and we could not sail. No matter, the sun was out, there were beaches, and Thanos organised plenty of on-shore activity.
By day four Peter the cook had been able to re-join us from Athens as the ports were open again, and we were finally allowed to leave Karistos by the harbourmaster for the 2½ hour trip to Marmari. More of a white knuckle ride than a calm Aegean cruise, but we were all good sailors, and no-one was seasick. The wind blew for the rest of the week, so although we always sailed, we did not get to all the sites mentioned on the itinerary.
But … we had an amazing time. Evia is lovely and so are its people, but this trip was made, above all, by Thanos. There is nothing that has happened on Evia in the last 3,000 years that he does not know about, and he knows the names of every plant, tree, bird, fish, and can tell all about them. He gave us short talks on history, culture, politics, wildlife, religion, architecture, cooking, food and drink, wine-making … there is nothing he does not know about, and brings everything alive for his listeners. He also appears to know absolutely everyone who lives on the island … and they all seemed very pleased to see him wherever we went! He took us to great restaurants; he recommended tavernas, cafes, ice cream places, coves, walks, all of which were wonderful.
It is so hard to pick out highlights – walking up to Castello Rosso high above Karistos, with the remains of its 13th century Venetian castle, and its tiny church; the ancient olive trees, 2518 years old and flourishing – the oldest on the planet – at Panagia, the lovely snorkelling cove at Zastani, sunset over the bay of Marathon, the walk above the beautiful valley of olives at Nea Styra. We watched Greece play Germany in the Euros on the widescreen TVs which were outside every cafe, and were sad with the Greeks when they lost.
Usually when I go on holiday, by the last couple of days I am just beginning to look forward to seeing my home again – but not this time. I would have liked a few more days! But maybe better not – on the final morning I put on my travelling clothes which I had not worn since the journey out eight days earlier – and could barely do them up! Peter’s fabulous breakfasts and lunches, and some great food every evening in the tavernas, had taken their toll. But it was worth it!"
For a relaxing holiday cruising round the island of Evia accompanied by Thanos join our Greek Island Cruise.