The Cote d’Azur is as beautiful as it is described. All the rich and beautiful flock from all parts of France, Italy, pretty much of all Europe for a slice of paradise. It’s known as a rich person’s haven, and its not hard to believe when you go around via public transport. The homes are gigantic and complete luxury. We arrived very tired (what else is new?) And made our way to Nice old town where we met our Italian host Alessandro. We walked back to his place in the harbour and met his friend Marta then headed to Cap Ferrat. This was a really nice spot with excellent beaches. Taking the bus is the easiest option, but it doesnt come very often and is often full so you have to wait. After wandering near Paloma Beach, someone suggested going to Eze. This is a village up in the mountain I’d already heard as being charming. The bus didn’t work out so someone had the bright idea of climbing up a path of death up the mountaim to the top. NOT FUN. When we finally did make it up the 1500 ft we were rewarded with a cute stroll in the town and nice views of the coast.
I was dead on my feet by the time we took the bus back down to Alessandro’s so we stopped and got ingredients for pasta. Alessandro gave me a heaping bowl of pasta… just sauce, olive oil, parmesan and pepper… it was too good. We stayed in our first night and had drinks with neighbours.
The next day Marta, Mady and I climbed castle hill and got some nice views over Nice. We hung out at Castel Beach in town the rocks were way too hot…skip it if you go. In the evening we went to Garibaldi square for cocktails (smoothies) and were taken to a pizzeria run by two guys from Naples. Really good! Alessandro’s neighbour Melchior is a musician and had a friend performing jazz that night so we went to check it out.
Mady and I had really wanted to rent a moped and were all ready to go the next day when the store owner asked us if we’d ever been on one. When we said no he said he could not let us go because roads are dangerous and drivers. The day before, two tourists had exited the building and collided with a wall 200m away. Ouch.
Crestfallen, we took the bus to Monaco and checked out the casino from the Bond movies. We werent overly impressed and decided to train to Antibes. This was worth it- cute markets, pretty little lanes and a nice beach for a sunset dip. On our last night Alessandro took us on a laaaaaate night walk to some special views. It was quite something, being at a table with people where English, French and italian were being interchanged fluidly. I highly recommend couch surfing to anyone as you come out with unique memories and stories. Thanks Melchior, Marta, Alessandro!
From Nice, our travel day was quite a doozy. We got to the aiport early and flew to Nice FCO. We had to rent a private taxi for 50€ to get to Rome CIA. Our driver barely spoke English, but called us beautiful, and said our names were really Marcella and Christina. We got to the airport in decent time but Mady’s phone died just as she went to show her pass…the woman at the desk was completely rude and twenty minutes later we had hurtled our way through security…only to see our flight had a two hour delay. We love you, Ryan air…
We finally got into Athens at 2am and met a french couple at our bus stop who thankfully had GPS on their phone. We walked to Pella Inn together and I passed out at 4am. There was a cool guy from Mexico named Raul in my room who had quit his surgery job to travel and take a different path. He claimed work was all he’d known so far and this was our time to explore. Agreed! We took a bus from Athens to Rafina port and waited for our ferry at a little bistro. We got 1L of wine for 7€!! Don’t worry. We drank very responsibly.
A long ferry ride later and we were in Mykonos. Apparently considered the party and gay island, our hostel fit this description. Everyone was beautiful and ripped. I would say most men were gay, Italian or total bro. Haha. My room faced Paradise beach where all the clubs were so music pumped all night and I never really slept. We didnt want to shell out for DJ gigs so it wasnt really our thing.
I couldnt find Madyson day 1 so I met a nice girl from New Orleans and her friends Jai (Singapore) and Veljko (Serbia). We all bussed into Mykonos and I got pictures of the windmills… we missed our bus back and instead transferred to Paradise. The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging by the beach and we sampled some rather overpriced but yummy grilled octopus. Jai and Veljko were too really cool guys who talked about eastern europe (like Macedonia) and gave me a real hankering for Euro trip 2.0.
When Mady finally found me she had turned to wine in lieu of paim meds since she had badly cut her foot snorkeling earlier that day. I’m glad to say its finally healing now. We spent our second day going to different beaches in the area, like Elia, but with M’s foot we felt it better to hang out by the pool at the hostel. If you go to Paraga, be aware of what you get. The hostel common areas are cool, but its always loud, and expensive. You have to buy your water and are restricted to the expensive food they have on location since its fairly removed from other towns. Also be cautious at night. Without giving too much detail, we wandered to Paradise Beach at night after a few drinks and encountered some really forceful and agressive men. People tend to hook up everywhere at night and I think some people feel they can force it out of people, or get too hot blooded after drinking. One of the guys from Madys room found us and thanks to him we were fine. Do not wander alone!
I must say I was happy to make it to Perissa Beach in Santorini. Its a lot more chilled here. The beach is gorgeous black sand and is fronted by a massive mountain that kind of reminds me of Uluru. We met a musician from NZ named Jesse in our dorm who hung out with us for the day. Look up Jesse Will on facebook for his page. Really cool guy!
Yesterday was a highlight of the trip for me. We rented an ATV and explored the island on our own. This is a must so! We went to Fira, Oia and red beach. Some of the roads are simply stunning as you pass between water on both sides. Oia provides all the gorgeous landscapes you see on TV when Santorini is mentioned. I really loved wandering there, surrounded by the impressive contrast of white and blue. Today we are going to take it easy and maybe hang by the beach again…we found a vegetarian place called Tranquilo that sources local food from Greece and its become our foodie home. I had halloumi for the first time in ages. Love it!!!
Crazy to think we have 2.5 weeks left. I miss my own bed and family, but it will be sad to see the adventure end. I’ve felt so happy and at peace these past 6 weeks and I feel so blessed to be traveling again. I have serious plans to look into Scotland, or Vancouver, or just another trip… the bug has bitten!
Much love from Santorini!