Last Updated on November 19, 2020 by Tamara Bee
2 Days In Athens + Crete And Rhodes, Greece
2 Days In Athens + Crete & Rhodes (Travel Podcast Episode 4)
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Welcome to Episode 4 of Many Roads Travelled : (Solo Female) Travel podcast …Let the adventure begin!
Did you miss episode 1? If so here it is!
The podcast that takes you on epic adventures around the world via public transport or hitching! So if you love solo female travel, adventures, or just travel in general then come along for the ride!
This series is about my 16 month, 30k mile road trip from Paris to Cape Town way back in 1993/94!
Not to worry though as I give you up to date tips throughout the episode.
What Is This Travel Podcast Epsiode About?
In episode 4 we cover another 1000 miles in our 30k mile road trip to Africa taking us to 2350 miles covered so far.
I talk about what we did for 2 days in Athens & what happened after we got busted by the Greek cops!
As well as 2 stormy ferry crossings from Pireus, Greece to Crete and then the ferry from Crete to Rhodes.
Sleeping in a cave in Matala Crete for 2 nights-magical and finally yacht hitching to Marmaris Turkey from Rhodes.
My 2 Days In Athens
Where To Stay In Greece
What I Did In Crete & Rhodes
Subscribe To My (Solo Female) Travel Podcast So You Don’t Miss A Mile
Transcription For 2 Days In Athens + Crete & Rhodes Travel Podcast Episode 4Click Here For Full Transcription
You’re going where?
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Are you crazy Aunt Tam? Make sure you subscribe…
Thanks Shae… are you interested in traveling? Are you a solo female traveler who would like some tips and inspiration, or what about travel adventure? Well, welcome to Many Roads Travelled, I’m Tamara. And that is what I want to do for you. Is take
you on the road with me from the comfort of your chair or bike or car or wherever you may be. And we’re going to start with my 30,000 mile road trip to Africa
way back in 1993. So before the internet, Google Maps, and cell phones, when traveling really meant you’re traveling on your own.
Alright, without further ado, Let’s hit the road.
Welcome to Episode Four. Today’s episode we’re going to be finding out what happened to us after we got busted by the Greek cops on the ferry coming over from Italy. As well as what to do, (or what we did) for two days in Athens, as well as going to Crete and Rhodes. So far, Casey and I, who’s my friend who I left with, whose trip it was, & somehow talked me into going on it.
We’ve traveled now about
1500 miles on our 30,000 mile road trip to Africa. And today’s episode, we’ll be covering another thousand miles. All right. So let’s pick up where we left off on the last episode, if you haven’t heard that yet, or caught that yet, then I really recommend going back probably to episode one so you get the backstory and all that jazz. So you come on the trip the whole way. Another reminder, this was in 1993! All right, so as you may or may not know, we got the ferry from Brindisi, Italy, to Patras, Greece on our way to Athens. So we had a beautiful night’s sleep probably the best we had so far. We’ve probably been on the road at this point for about 10 or 11 days or so. But on our way out after I think we’re on the ferry for like 11 hours, we got busted by some Greek Dude, I think he might have been the captain. I don’t know.Also is it was in January, so offseason as well. Very cold. So he starts like, you know, shouting at us. “What are you doing in first class, you only have a second class ticket?” And we honestly didn’t know that we were like, “Sorry, we really didn’t know that… But hey, we’re here
onow. Can we just go?” ” No, well you owe me 9000 drachmas.” Of course, drachmas don’t even exist anymore. But it was about 45 US dollars at the time, which is like a full day budget for us pretty much. And I kind of called his bluff and said “Then call the cops, we didn’t know it wasn’t like the signs were posted…Well, you know when they say it’s all greek to me, well it really was! So we dock & the cops come on board & confiscate our passports! We’re like what? And they said “We are not going to give them back to you until you pay this fine for the changes in ticket price.” So we’re like Alright, sowe get out our traveler’s checks, (I think they exist but you know, people don’t use them anymore. Because remember there’s no ATMs back in 1993 either.
See how easy traveling has become these days? So as I’m signing my check the Greek Captain He says I don’t like your signature. I was like, (because I don’t know if it matches exactly my passport signature, but I’ve always had doctors writing).
So I was like, well, it’s me. There’s my name on my passport, you know? “No, no, not the same.” So I said, “well then just stick it up your ass.” Because that’s what you know. And he was like, well, he just lost it lost his mind.
The cops didn’t speak any English. So he starts telling the cops who knows what, I’m sure much, much worse than what actually had happened.
So then I tried to backtrack and I was like, “No, I said, this will be your last (as in last check) I’m writing you. So the cops are like, right, we’re arrested. Well, he tells us the cops said we’re arresting you for swearing. I said “But ass means donkey!”
that didn’t work.
Oh my gosh. So we
get hauled to the police station.
Casey, like they literally went through Casey’s bag like they went through everything! I think they just opened mine. That was it.
But they took everything out of Casey’s bag just went through the whole thing. Finally accepted our checks, got our passports back. And then of course, we have to walk like at least a kilometer back to the harbor in order to get a bus to get to Athens. So we did that.
Get on the bus and then Casey’s… Oh, I think we got to Athens in a few hours. So we get to Athens. It’s really cold. We’re walking around. And Athens like, it’s huge. So even back then there was like 4 million people. But it was so polluted like, Oh, I just remember it was so hard to breathe. It was so polluted. Anyways we find a hotel. It’s been a super long day.
We grab something to eat. And then just as we’re getting ready to go to sleep,
Casey’s like, Oh, shiiiiit I’ve left my camera and my Swiss Army knife on the ferry.
I was like, oh, what
Casey, what are you like?
So basically, that ended up being a very costly ferry ride! Thank goodness we at least got a good night’s sleep out of it, so no camera or swiss army knife for Case.
Anyway so next morning we hit the town of Athens because we have no money again! We have to change traveler’s checks and you can only do that in banks. Some, posh hotels do, but they charge you more for fees.
So we traipse all through Athens finally find one bank that’s open so we get some money. And then we’re like, okay, let’s just get to the Acropolis.
The Acropolis is in the city center of Athens and it’s set on this limestone big hill so you can see it everywhere from Athens. So we walked there and I guess nowadays I don’t know if they were pedestrianised back then but I don’t think they were that’s probably why it was so polluted. But now they are pedestrianized.
So there are two main roads you can walk up to get up there. And I guess the Acropolis is from 4000 – 3000 BC they reckon people lived there. So it was used for for many, many years, thousands and thousands of years.
So there are two main roads you can walk up to get up there. And I guess the Acropolis is from 4000 – 3000 bc they reckon people lived there. So it was used for for many, many years, thousands and thousands of years.
was something like 540 BC because people used to live up there as well. But the Delphic Oracle, she proclaimed that the Acropolis was only going to be for Gods. So then the Parthenon,
built to honor Athena, who is the patron of Athens.
So that was around
because they got destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC, I believe.
And so that’s when they rebuilt it from then on & basically into what it is now. And at the time it was apparently like the most beautiful structure temple in ancient Greece. So it still is the most preserved or definitely most preserved and well known of the Greek dynasties.
So, you walk up and you come up through the archway, which is very impressive, and then you get up to the the Parthenon. And, yeah, it’s just again, mind blowing, you know, especially for two Canadians who don’t have much
especially at the time, much history, like for historical or old buildings kind of thing coming from Canada.
Yes, we spent a few hours up there and if you want a little tip, go to there’s a Greek flag and go there and that’s kind of the best views of the Parthenon from up there, but also of all of Athens. Like I said, Athens is huge. It’s like 4 million people back then. So it’s I’m sure bigger now.
And then there’s there’s two,
like amphitheaters. And the theater of Dionysus is the older one.
And that’s on the southern slope. And then there’s a slightly younger one, which is, I think, built in 161 AD which could still seat 5000 people.
And that’s the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
So then when you’re coming down, you could go to the Acropolis Museum, which is what we did as well. So there’s lots of cool stuff in there. And I guess with all of actual original parts
of the Acropolis are being moved into that museum as well as I guess the London British Museum must mean the British Museum …anyway a museum in London lol. So now that’s why they’re still doing like rebuilding it and stuff like that because they’re replacing it
not the original
to keep that preserved, I suppose.
Anyway, so after the museum we head back into Athens.
We grabbed a bite to eat & a couple of beers, Amstel beers, and we bumped into this American guy Dave, who we kind of kept bumping into since Brindisi, Italy. So we had a couple beers with him. Hit the hay, we’d asked to exchange rooms because our room on our first night, there was no heat. Again like no heat on the ferries or trains in Europe in January. I don’t know why but there wasn’t. So we’re like, could we have a different room that has heat and they’re like, okay, yeah, they moved us, but it didn’t have heat either. So we were freezing, so not a great night’s sleep.
So anyways the second day we decided, okay, let’s go see the temple of Olympian Zeus.
So we walked through the,
I think its called the National gardens, which was pretty. So we walked through there to get to the Zeus temple. And of course, being us. We got there, like 10 minutes before it closed.
I don’t know what we do. That happens to us a lot.
But yeah, walked around there, which was really cool. And it was just amazing. So they’re is about 15 columns left now. But when they built it like it’s, they wanted it to be the biggest temple in the world, whether it was or not, I’m not sure. But right now there’s only about 15 columns left. But it was really amazing to think because no concrete was used, right? So they cut the marble in such precision and just stacked it. And then when I was there, I’m not sure if it’s still there, I imagine so, but there was one column that had fallen it was just like a domino effect. So you could see the different pieces of marble. But it’s incredible that over you know, 2000 years that even 15 columns are still standing. But yes, it was cool. And then we walked to Hadrian’s arch. And then behind Hadrian’s arch. I found this two seater marble table. So i said “Case, let’s get a selfie.”
So it took me about five attempts to get us on this marble table which then I think we got yelled at because A) probably weren’t supposed to do that and B) they were closed.
And unlike in Paris when we got locked in the Pere Lachaisse cemetery. We didn’t want to get locked in anywhere again.
again, we had no idea what we’re doing. Basically where we’re going from Athens like, we want to get to Africa & that’s all we knew!
So this American guy, Dave we bumped into him again. And he’s like, well, maybe you should go to Crete. We’re like, Okay.
We can do that.
So we went back and got a taxi with Dave to Pyrius is where you get the ferries to Crete and probably other islands. Remember it’s January, so not a lot were running.
So we get to Pyrius.
There is a ferry leaving that night at 11pm to Crete. So great get tickets for that. Didn’t go in any compartments- no first class! Didn’t have any seats basically. But there’s like a bar and restaurant, which is great. So we had a few beers. And then I just pulled out my sleeping bag and laid on the restaurant floor. But there were other people doing that too, wasn’t just me. But then the weather changed, so it was really rainy and quite windy. So it was pretty rocky, but I don’t know, maybe those beers. I just slept till 6am but I guess Casey and Dave like didn’t sleep at all or hardly at all. Which is rare coz I’m not a great sleeper. So that was quite a rare thing.
We docked and we got to Iraklion Crete, which is the capitol. Again no idea what we are doing. The weather was absolutely crap, like I said rainy and cold still.
So Dave is like “Well, I’m going to
if you guys want to come we can share a taxi to the bus station & go together.”
We’re like no idea what that is. Okay, sure we’ll go so it was only a couple hours bus ride. I think it’s about 70 k South from Iraklion. I’m not sure on the south could be East I don’t know. It’s about a two hour bus ride put it that way.
So we get there and it’s like, oh my god, like we are in bum [email protected]#$
nothing here. Nothing’s open. It’s very, very tiny.
And like I said in January, crappy weather. We find one little restaurant that’s open, Dave, he decides to take off. He’s like, well, “I’ve heard about these caves. So I’m gonna go try and find the caves”.
Casey and I were like cold and hungry. So we’re like, “Okay, well, we’re gonna go in this little tiny restaurant, see if they have any food”, which was
not much put it that way.
So again, we’re like, what, what are we doing? So, we decided let’s just have something to eat, cups of tea and then let’s just drop our bags here and go find these caves and just check those out. Because there was not I don’t think there was anywhere to stay anyway, so I don’t think we really had too much of a choice. Or if there was one, I think one place or that bar/ restaurant said they had two rooms and they might be able to rent us one room but they wanted, extremely a lot of money for it.’s
Okay, let’s go check out the caves. So we walk along. It was so windy and I have windophobia so I really don’t like the wind. I don’t know if windophobia is a thing but I don’t like really strong wind, it freaks me out. So almost being blown away and trying not to have a panic attack. It’s actually a beautiful beach really, a lovely sandy beach kind of like a cove. And that Yeah, you just see all these caves from limestone and there’s some big ones and then there’s like smaller ones and yeah, it was cool.
So we walk up there, climb up there and in the cave the winds gone like it’s it’s like oh, wow, this is actually quite nice. So we’re like okay, “David, do you mind if we share your cave?” Because it was quite big. He said “Yeah, sure.” So we went back get our bags and then come back kind of get set up, get our sleeping bags out and everything like that, it was actually really really nice. It had stopped raining was still quite windy but not too bad in the cave.
So then we went back into town a little bit later, grabbed some dinner, had a couple beers, then came back to the caves. We had a bonfire in the cave. It was just so cool. I was just thinking, how old are these caves? Like we had no idea, the history of them or anything like that. So I’ve looked up today, even now, after all these years, I’ve never even looked it up. And yeah, they’re from thousands of years ago, and some of them were used for cremation, some of them were homes, like people lived in them. But it was in the 60s 70s that the the hippies kind of took over that part. And I mean, even , Joni Mitchell was there, Bob Dylan, Joan Baetz. Yeah, I guess it was a really big hippie commune in the 60s and 70s and people just hung out in the caves and peace & love. But then the Greek government I guess they were quite strict in the 70s and they kicked them all out. So nowadays, you can’t sleep in the caves anymore.
So I think you can go visit them that they’re more now an archaeological site. But no more sleeping in the caves. I’m sorry. I really so wish I was one of my regrets. I wish I would have brought a Thermarest. I didn’t have one of those and Oh, I wish I had one of those many times throughout that trip! Casey did which is really annoying. So I just had my sleeping bag and sleeping on a rock floor like no tent or anything like that, just not great. It was quite cold. So the chill just went through my bones.
Although I did meet my little friend, I met a three legged cat, very sweet, orange and white cat, who I named Poseidon and he just followed me around for two days like he was so cute and slept in the caves with us and everything. So at least I had Poseidon. The next day, it was sunny. It was like, oh my gosh it’s great. So I got up on the rocks, right at the very top of the cliff and just laid in the sun, which was really nice, even though I was wearing two tops, jacket, jeans and pair of tights.
It was still cold but it was nice to get the sun on my face.
And then we went back into town & had something to eat. And then that night we had a massive bonfire in the cave and it was just incredible. Just like I said like thinking back to how many people have stayed in this cave or what went on it? Yeah, it was really it was beautiful. And it was also full moon that night. So the moon was actually casting shadows and just looking over the sea, and it was our two week anniversary there too. Yeah, I just I still remember it so well it was just it was really magical little moment. And also it was really nice to get out of the big cities for a break, you know, just two days in the wilderness and hey, living in a cave. It’s pretty cool. So we decided to leave the next day. So yeah, we spent two nights there. So we get back on the bus, back to Iraklion, the capitol of Crete. And the weather, like, I really hated Iraklion.
I’m sorry, every Iraklion who’s out there.
But just the weather was crap again, l when we got there. It was really cold, really windy, really raining. We went to the ferry port and we waited there for four hours. And then they said, because you have to get the ferry that comes from Athens to Crete. Because then we decided, well, actually we found out because we wanted to go from Crete to Turkey. But then we found out no because it’s January there were no ferries going to Turkey at all.
So then we thought, well what about Rhodes because it’s like 10 miles from Turkey so surely there’d be something going from there right? And we didn’t really want to go back to Athens, we didn’t know what we we were going to do if we had to go back to Athens. Maybe have to go all the way around the top by land to Turkey, I didn’t know. So we just took a gamble. We’re like, okay, we’re gonna go to Rhodes. So after waiting for 4 hours for the ferry to come from Athens. No ferry. No ferries are leaving Athens because the weather’s too bad.
So we had to spend another night in Iraklion
in the pissy cold weather.
Oh, there we go. So we find a hotel. That’s when I realized I’ve lost my sleeping bag!
See Greece was not good to us. I am oh my god I’m so pissed off at myself because I either left it on the bus from the caves or 1 of the taxis that we took from the bus station. I was so annoyed with myself because it was a nice compact little sleeping bag but still warm.
So yeah, so we’re not having any luck in Greece.
The caves were great, but that’s about it. So next morning, we walk around, we go to the bus station, & go to the taxis, to see if anyone had turned in my sleeping bag. No. So then we hit the market. We buy a gaz stove and I found a new bag, but it was a lot bigger like two or three times the size of mine when it was packed up. But for another sleeping bag for another 50 bucks. So I was just not happy.
And the thought we might have to stay Iraklion another night! Yeah, we’re not in the best moods!
Anyways, so we go to the port and they’re like nope, the boat is gonna leave the ferry is gonna to leave Athens so it should be here by about 7pm. Oh at least some good news right. All right, we can get the hell out of Crete!
So the ferry didn’t cut about 830pm but it was we got on it
and yeah bought our tickets to Rhodes. Again same kind of situation,
same kind of thing a bar restaurant. But then the weather just came like once we set sail the weather just got really really really bad like I thought we were gonna be in a hurricane or something. It was ridiculous. I almost puked several times because it was so wavy like it was ridiculous. I was in my sleeping bag and I was being rolled from one side of the bar to another! Like this is ridiculous. There were people puking left, right and center. Oh my god. So I ended up taking two long tables and flipping them on their sides and kind of enclosing myself in a corner. So at least I wouldn’t be rolling like 50 feet.
Oh gosh, so we didn’t get much sleep that night.
So we got to Rhodes at about I think is about six, seven in the morning.
Oh, but I loved Rhodes. I have to say Rhodes is so pretty. Like you come into the harbor. It’s got white walls. There’s a castle there actually. And then the whole town is walled and it’s white. It’s beautiful. And there’s palm trees. And there’s a lighthouse and some windmills and Oh, it was just like, oh, and the sun came out. It was like what? So yeah, so happy days!
And then we’re like, Okay, you know what, we’re finally gonna get to do what I originally was wanting to do before I got talked into this trip. We’re gonna do some yacht hopping! Especially after we found out that it was 50 US dollars departure tax & 25 US dollars for the ferry to go 10 miles! I’m like “That’s ridiculous!” So we dumped our bags and then just go to the harbor and just start looking for what looks like nice people on their boats.
And we met this British couple. They’re about middle age and they were really sweet. So we’re chatting, oh my god, my dad’s English. I’m half English, you know, blah, blah.
And they’re, so we tell them, “Is there any way we get to Marmaris Turkey? It’s only 10 miles. Do you know anyone that might be going or willing to take us and they said well, we might actually so come back, later in the day. Okay, cool.
So, we walked around the old town which I said it’s really pretty. It’s cobblestones, and like all white, and we even found reindeers like, it was weird but real live reindeers were in Rhodes. So yes, we grabbed some some, probably some kebabs or something like that and then went back to find the British couple and they had found an American couple with this Aussie chick, Faye. She was on their boat too. I don’t know if she’s working there for the summer or something like that. So they had agreed they said, Okay, we’ll take you to Marmaris tomorrow for $30 US each. We’re like, that’s awesome. Cool. I mean, it’s better than $75 each and we get to go on a private boat. So yeah, they’re like okay, well set sail at 9am. So get here before that and we’re good to go. So we did that we found a hotel, crashed, got there at 830am and set sail at about nine and it was a beautiful summer, oh no it wasn’t summer, I think it’s February 1st by now. But it was beautiful and sunny and blue skies and no wind. It was lovely.
Yeah, so that was about a couple of hours we chatted with them, and I was like ooh I can really get into
being a boater, the boat lifestyle is pretty cool.
And then we finally are leaving Greece. Woohoo!
But you’ll have to find out.
in the next episode what happens in Turkey! So see you next Thursday.
But of course before we go, you know what time it is and now it’s time for Tam’s Top Tips.
Okay, so my three tips for Greece or Athens. So for Athens, I would definitely get, you can get a combo pass which is good for five days and you can go to seven or eight sites. So basically for 30 euros you can go to the Acropolis, ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Hadrian’s library, Temple Olympian Zeus, Karamakiosa and Aristotles school and you have five days to do all that.
I mean like two days is plenty for Athens to be honest. If not, then it’s depending when you go winter or summer it’s either 20 Euros for the Parthenon, in the summertime it’s 20 Euros or winter it’s 10 Euros. So it does work out better for the 30 combo. If you’re seeing more than that, come over to my website. It’s still under construction, but there’ll be a blog posts with more like if you wanted a guide. I don’t need a guide personally but if you wanted a guide Cool, you learn more about the history and also how to get the combo passes like where to go the best place to get them. And also the great thing about that you get to jump the queue. So that’s tip #1.
And as always, for any European cities go in the offseason or at least the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. Too many people otherwise and it’s too hot.
So tip #2 for Athens is yes for the Acropolis, I would suggest going either for sunset because it’s open till 8pm because it’s the doors closed at 730pm. The doors closes at 730pm but it’s open till 8pm so probably get there at 6pm would be nice.
Or go in when it first opens at 8 in the morning.
Whatever you do,
don’t go midday, it’s just way too hot, especially in the summer. You’ll just melt and loads of people and tour buses and nah! So like said go early or go later.
And tip #3 for Greece is do your yacht hopping around the islands like I highly recommend that
You know, you get to meet people you
might have to pay or work or whatever, but that’s cool.
Yeah, definitely I wouldn’t mind seeing some more of the Greek islands to be honest. But I loved Rhodes.
So yeah, and then for solo female travelers, I didn’t again have any issues except for the cops obviously that one time. But yeah, I felt safe. Even in the caves. Yes, obviously I was with with two guys in there. But I think even if I would have been on my own because there was nobody there in the whole town, so it would have been fine as well. But just use your common sense. You know, like in Athens, there’s dodgy neighborhoods like any big city. And if you’re concerned at night, just grab an Uber or taxi. You’ll be fine.
Okay, so until next Thursday
where we’re going to be in a new country and a new continent.
Turkey, which I love Turkey. Please, download, subscribe and leave me a rating, that would be awesome or review or comment like hey if you ever met me on any of my trips, give me a shout out be great to say hi. And like said you can get to the website ManyRoadsTravelled.com once I get my butt in gear and get that sorted, which I’m definitely working on it. But you’ll find more details about today & an Athens 2 day intinerary. Okay, I think that’s it. So until next time,
Safe travels… one road at a time.