Browsing Category

Greece

Europe, Greece, Sailing, Travel

Sailing the Greek Islands – Arrival and the Boat

January 2, 2017

When I first told people that I was going to sail the Greek Islands, they thought I was going on a cruise, but they were wrong! Inspired by sailing up the Nile in Egypt, I decided to find another sailing adventure. I wanted to be close to the water and for more than a couple of days. After doing some research, what exactly I wanted out of the trip. I wanted a private cabin charter in Greece. Is that all Greek to you?

Basically, I wanted a small sailboat, not a cruise ship. I also wanted my own cabin. After looking at some budget options, I decided that going with a more expensive charter with some meals included and a tour guide was more my sailing style. Ultimately, I booked with Poseidon Charters for this sailing adventure. Then the long wait for the trip began!

Arrival in Athens

The start of the two-week sailing trip begins in Athens. Most charters will leave from Athens, but some have options of leaving from one of the Greek Islands. Three years ago, I had a trip planned to Athens, but I had a medical emergency and it was canceled, so I arrived a day early so I could do a quick stop at the big attractions. I did the usual Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, Agora, Acropolis Museum and some people watching.

Sailing the Greek Islands

Sailing the Greek Islands

I would say the best part of Athens was meeting a cousin I had never met before! Yes, I had to go all the way to Athens to meet my American cousin. She was there starting a semester abroad, and we thought we should meet up. She lives in Nebraska and given how little I am in the US now; this made sense. Unfortunately, we are not related on the Greek side, only the German side so I am still not Greek! We also didn’t have the good sense to take pictures of this epic meetup, so we will just have to remember that it happened.

Boarding the Boat

I will admit that getting to the marina and finding the boat made me nervous. Yes, even after all these trips, I still worry about some things. The best way for me to get to the marina was to take the tram, but the tram wasn’t close to my hotel and dragging my suitcase across ancient streets and summer tourist crowds was not appealing to me. I also wasn’t too keen on taking a taxi in Athens as I have heard of people being scammed. I can be very firm, so I decided to let the hotel call me a taxi and they estimated it should be €15 to the marina. They gave the taxi driver directions in Greek, and I prayed I would make it to the correct Marina! Even though he didn’t speak a word of English and my Greek is zero, I made it, and he got a big tip from a grateful tourist.

The charter company had sent good directions, but arriving at the marina, I became worried as there were hundreds of boats. I walked down the pier looking for the name of the boat. It was all the way at the end due to its size. Arriving early in case of taxi mishaps, I had about an hour and a half to kill.  I took off to buy drinks for the happy hour aboard the boat as alcohol is not provided by the charter company.

Sailing the Greek Islands

Life Aboard the Sailboat

Once I returned to the boat, most of the other passengers had arrived and we were allowed to board. As I hadn’t seen my cabin yet, I was anxious to see what my home for the next two weeks would look like. I had been told the cabin was on the short side. This turned out to be just fine for me since I am short. The bonus was that it was wider than the other cabins and I was able to stand up in part of the cabin. I did, however, have to shower sitting down.

Sailing the Greek Islands

The first night we went to dinner near the marina and then slept on board in the harbor. We left early the next morning after a wonderful breakfast of greek yogurt, fruit, boiled eggs and granola; this would become the standard breakfast for the whole trip.

After leaving the harbor of each place we slept at, we would usually leave early, motor out till we found some good wind and raise the sails. Then we would head to the swim stop.  Some days this was on an island and other days it was off-shore somewhere. We would then have lunch aboard the ship. Lunch was usually something light and quick as sometimes we were underway while eating lunch. Other days we had more elaborate lunches, like the day we had spring rolls! The captain had brought the rice sheets all the way from Canada. Still not sure how he rolled all of them with the rocking back and forth.

Sailing the Greek Islands

After lunch, we would head to our next port, which is where we would anchor for the night. People have asked if we slept in hotels on the islands and the answer is no. We slept on the boat. Given the unpredictability of weather, there is no guarantee of what islands we will sail to, so you can’t make a hotel reservation in advance. Only one island was a guarantee, Ios, as that is where the second-week passengers get on. Not everyone did two weeks like crazy me!

Sailing the Greek Islands

After arriving at the next island, we might have time to sightsee if we arrived early enough and then we would usually go to dinner as a group. If we didn’t have time in the evening, a few places were closer together and we could go sightseeing in the morning. One night we didn’t anchor at a marina and we slept in a bay. This was my favorite night. We had a barbecue, stayed up watching the stars and a thunderstorm in the distance and I awoke to a stunning sunrise.

Sailing the Greek Islands

In the next post, I will talk more about the itinerary and what I did all day! There will more posts about specific islands later too, so stay tuned!

Have you gone sailing on a vacation? Tell us where and if you liked in the comments!

Sailing the Greek Islands
Egypt, Europe, Greece, Italy, Middle East, Packing, Travel

My 2016 Year in Review

December 19, 2016

I know the general consensus from the world is that they would like 2016 to be over. While I agree some awful things are happening in the world, I would like to focus on the good things of 2016. This year I am going to tell you all the good things, not just the travel things. Here is my 2016 year in review!

January

As usual, I was looking to plan a trip right when I returned from my trip home. I quickly decided, with the help of my Mom, to head to Egypt in February! Not sure why it took me so long to decide to go there as I had wanted to go for a long time.

February

My trip to Egypt was the second week of the month, and I loved every minute of it. Seeing the pyramids was an experience I will never forget. It just baffles me that humans made them. Sailing up the Nile was another experience that I truly enjoyed. I can sit and watch the water go by for hours and not get bored. Not only that I got to see the sun set and rise over the Nile. Here is the video from that day.

 

I started working out with a personal trainer. This set me up to lose four clothing sizes over the next several months! If you follow me on Snapchat, you probably saw lots of snaps of me on the treadmill and pictures of the sunrise over Doha.

March

One of my friends invited me on a Dhow boat cruise, which I had only done once before. It was a warm day with great company. I met new people and watched the lights come on in Doha as the sun went down. I also took one of my favorite photos of the year that day!

 

April

A paper I wrote was accepted to be presented at a conference, and the conference just happened to be in Slovenia! Slovenia is by far the most beautiful country I have been to so far. I got to see much of its beauty because I drove from Ljubljana to Radenci, where the conference was being held. Not only was it beautiful, but the food was also amazing. Most of it was local, and you could taste how fresh it was.

I treated myself to a staycation at the W Doha. Staycations may become my new obsession! I felt totally relaxed after the stay, and there was no stress of having to travel anywhere.

SONY DSC

May

May was a month of prepping. By now I had lost all the weight and desperately needed new clothes. I was heading to Italy for a month at the end of May and had nothing to wear! Not that I am complaining. A good friend went with me to try on clothes, and it was a good thing she did as I would have left with clothes slightly too big because I wasn’t convinced yet that I had lost so much weight.

At the very end of May, I left for a month in Italy. Believe it or not, this was for work. I was taking a course on bookbinding and bookbinding restoration. The first weekend though was spent with my friends in Italy. They just happen to live close to the course and it was great to start of my trip with them. They live in a small village and when I arrived the Infiorata was happening.  Such a neat experience.

7 Unique Italian Things to do During a Summer Visit to Italy

June

June stands out as one of the best months as I finally discovered Florence! The second weekend in Italy, I headed to Florence for the first time despite having been to Italy twice before. I fell in love right away. So much so that I went back the next weekend. I enjoyed just walking around and looking at all the amazing architecture. It was like walking through an outdoor museum.

GPSMyCity

The fourth weekend I was in Italy, I spent it exploring more of Umbria. This was when I discovered the lovely towns of Assisi and Gubbio. I recommend you drive to these towns to see the wonderful Umbrian countryside.

July

Right when I returned from Italy there was a holiday in Qatar and headed to Oman. Every summer Oman has a monsoon season which, as you can imagine, is rare in the Middle East. For three days I didn’t see the sun!

 

August

In August, I need to attend a conference in the United States. I decide to combine the work trip with a visit home. This time I decided not to take a direct flight from Doha to Dallas. I wanted to fly business and the only way I could afford it was to fly American Airlines with a stop in London. Even though I prefer to go direct, the layover was short and it was nice to get a break from the plane.

I spent about a week with my family. I did my usual see doctors and get a haircut routine. It is always great to spend time with my family even though it was short.

The conference I attended was in Atlanta, and one of my good friends lives within driving distance. I hadn’t seen her in 3 years, and she volunteered to drive down for the day to see me! We spent a day catching up at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens seeing the Chihuly Exhibit.

 

September

The sailing trip up the Nile in February inspired me to find a sailing cruise for later in the year. So I headed to Greece the first week of September to sail the Greek Islands for two weeks.  I know you may be wondering, why haven’t I seen a post on Greece yet!? They are coming, I promise. I took several blogging breaks this year and happy to say I think it has improved the blog post quality and I am motivated again.

 

October

I hadn’t planned on going anywhere in October, but I found a conference I wanted to attend. The conference just happened to be in Florence! I was thrilled. The conference was being held in the Uffizi Gallery Library. While most of the time was spent at the conference, I got to stay in my favorite Florence hotel. I also got to wake up in Florence on my birthday!

November

While I didn’t travel anywhere in November, I had three Thanksgivings! It was great to catch up with old friends and make new ones. One of these Thanksgiving was an invite to the Four Seasons Doha to taste their Thanksgiving buffet. It was a beautiful meal offered at their Italian restaurant, El Teatro.

December

The first weekend in December, I was invited by the Intercontinental Doha the City to enjoy a staycation! The room offered a stunning view of downtown Doha. I really enjoyed watching the lights come on as the sun went down from the couch.

InterContinental Doha the City

Now I am back home again enjoying time with family. We are having the usual crazy Texas weather where it is 70 during the day and then drops 50 degrees in one day. My parents have a fireplace and I am loving the fire. Christmas celebrations at our house include getting presents and stockings from Santa. Our Christmas tree has a train around it and elves climbing the side.

This will be the last official blog post of 2016 as I will take the rest of the year off to enjoy being with my family before heading back to Doha.

What was your best memory of 2016? Share with us in the comments.

%d bloggers like this: