abu dhabi sunshine

life, times...and opinions from Abu Dhabi

Friday, August 25, 2006


Having been on a boat for far too long and not getting proper sleep for 3 consecutive nights, I completely crashed throughout the 4 hour boat trip to Spetses...seriously, I don't think I'd ever slept so soundly outside a bed!

M and I got off the ferry at Dapia in Spetses, the island's tiny 'capital'. The island was bustling...we were approaching August 15, a big Christian holiday, and definitely a big holiday for the Greeks. It seemed like half of Athens was on Spetses during that long weekend!

(Water taxis at Dapia harbour)

We struggled a little to find a hotel, but ended up staying in a really shitty hotel room for another 50 euros a night. There was no natural light at all in that room...it was awful, but surprisingly, we spent the most time indoors in that room! I think we were just completely spent from all the excitement of the 2 weeks that had gone by.

Anyway, we put our bags down and crashed for a good 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Once up, we headed out to explore the town...and it was really tiny, with motorbikes and scooters everywhere. There are no cars allowed on Spetses, and you needed a motorbike license to rent scooters...so we were a little screwed!

Pine-covered Spetses really is not your stereotypical Greek island. Its architecture is Venetian-influenced, so that was quite a change from all the white and blue domes from everywhere else. We crashed early that night after dinner on the harbour.

Next morning, the two non-athletes rented bicycles and headed for Vrellos beach. The uphills were quite a struggle, and in the midst of the midday Greek sun, there were many a time I thought I was going to die on the spot. We stopped off at another beach on the way to Vrellos and chilled for a while. Vrellos wasn't too far off, and we could hear the music pumping from way up the hill!

Typical young hangout with a bar, good house music and loaaads of Greeks getting away from the big cities for the weekend. We cycled back at the end of the day through the woods, had a shower, went out for dinner and settled on a beach-side bar for drinks.

A nice young man came to chat to us, telling us he worked there and that they would be having a karoeke night later on. Turns out he was a Canadian from Toronto, and since M and I both lived in Montreal at one point, we bonded a little with karoeke man. We eventually headed up to the karoeke bar, drank way too much, danced our hearts out again...and ended up singing Summer of 69 with the Canadian!

One song lead to many others...We sang I will Survive with 2 Greek guys, Wake me up Before You Go Go with a German, a Serbian and a Frenchman, and for the grand finale, a group of us sang Can't Take my Eyes Off You. We of course made complete fools of ourselves, but it was the most fun I'd had in a while!

The next morning was naturally a little rough, but M and I managed to get our butts on a little boat excursion to a couple of beaches. The day was quite uneventful as M and I took turns falling asleep in the shade...by the end of the trip, we were hiding from the sun, it was just too hot!

Back in Dapia that evening, we hopped on a horse-drawn carriage to go to the Old Harbour for dinner and drinks. The place was lovely, but we ate at the most expensive restaurant we'd been to in 2 weeks and had really shitty food. We headed to a club afterwards but I could hardly keep my food down, so we left and walked back to our hotel for some much needed shut eye.

(Old Harbour)

Our last day in Spetses was also very chilled out. We had a late breakfast, shopped around for last minute gifts in the afternoon, had an early dinner and headed back to the hotel to pack our stuff and sleep some more. I know, lazy...but things had winded down nicely by then.

The next morning it was off to the port for our boat to Athens, and I can't say we didn't leave heavy-hearted. We got to Athens airport 5 hours before our flight as there was no way we were going to lug our backpacks around a very hot Athens, and besides, it would have only made the goodbye to Greece that much tougher...

It was my first trip with my friend M and it was really quite the experience. I was a little apprehensive before leaving...new place, no fixed itinerary, possible fights from spending too much time together. But I was incredibly pleased with the way things turned out between us and the things we saw. A lot of times I would sit there with incredible views before my eyes and think of Abu Dhabi and how far away it seemed.

It's hard to imagine that such beauty exists in the world when you're living in a place that's mostly devoid of any soul...but I count myself lucky that I'm able to see the world at all.


At 9:42 PM, Blogger Jin said...

Welcome back Sky! Your photos are stunning & your holiday made a lovely read! I've been to Greece (but not the Islands) & did more of the museum & architecture tour, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found Greek women to be right bitches & so unhelpful, particularly at the airport!

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Mise said...

I spent a month in the Saronic Islands, mostly in Spetses in 1986. By coincidence I was reading the John Fowles novel, 'The Magus' while I was travelling around. Fowles taught in the college there in the 1950s and he used Spetses as the setting for part of the book. I was really into Fowles then, and it was a strange experience to be reading the novel, trying to separate fact from fiction, and trying to spot the various locations that he mentioned.

I hired a moped ...much easier on the hills! :-D

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regards from Canadian Karaoke guy in Spetses! Friend sent me the link. Thank you for the mention.

Come back to Spetses! Summer of '69 is indeed a song to remember, hope 2006 was too!

See karaoke photos here:

Wishing you the best
Steven Kokkas


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