Hop on, hop off

Once again we discover Greece's world of islands. This time we are on the way to the Cyclades, where hardly any tourists stay at this time of the year.


The Greek islands are calling one last time. We have one week until we meet our parents in Crete. Actually, we wanted to reach Crete via various islands, but since the ferries don't all run anymore due to the off-season, we have to go back to Athens and from there to Crete. A bit of a shame, but we have about seen enough of the Greek mainland and still decide to go to the Cyclades archipelago.

First stop is Syros, 84.069 km² in size and barren. We have no real plan, the island is simply on the ferry route and we figure there is something to discover everywhere. There's not much to say about Syros. The island is not very hilly, barren, has beautiful beaches that are completely empty due to off-season and a pretty Venetian-style main town. We spend a day on a beach with an abandoned bar (cheers to off-season). We are woken by gunshots, hunters with their hunting dogs looking for ducks. Otherwise we enjoy an unhurried day, build sand castles which delight the walkers, read, film and watch the jellyfish which make bathing impossible. Shortly before continuing our journey to the next island, we learn from a local that the ferries will be on strike for 2 days. Nice to know for us, we adjust our plans accordingly.

The next island is Mykonos. Since the Instagram age at the latest, the island with the blue and white houses has become incredibly popular. We would never go there in high season, the island is completely overcrowded and a huge party mile. It's completely different in November. A few tourists stray onto the island, during the day sometimes a cruise ship docks and washes ashore a few Europeans. For us, there are more typical English tourists to observe than Instagrammers, as it would probably be in high season. It is tranquil and quiet in the village, most of the shops are closed. Due to the strike, we have two days on the island. We drive to the eastern end to a beautiful quiet beach, pitch the tent and cook dinner. Unsuspecting, we lie down in our beloved tent and look forward to a quiet night without dogs barking or noisy cars. But we are wrong. Later in the evening, a strong wind picks up and it doesn't get any less. It rattles our tent and the fluttering makes sleeping impossible. The gusts get stronger, we tether the tent again, but sleep is still out of the question. Finally, in the middle of the night, we move the whole tent, including all our belongings, into a wind-protected corner. The effort is worth it, we reach the realm of dreams after all. We had been told that there is often a lot of wind in the Cyclades in autumn/winter, and now we were able to experience it. The next day we fight our way back to the main town, the wind is sometimes a help, sometimes our biggest enemy. Mykonos is also very barren and the whole island is littered with hotels. Sadly also a reality.

The main town is actually very photogenic and we stroll through the alleys with our cameras. White houses with blue, red, green railings adorn narrow streets, the dark blue sea lashes against the houses and the white windmills tower over the village and bear witness to earlier times. It was nice to see this island in quiet times, because we certainly won't be returning there any time soon.

The strike is over, the ferry takes us back to the mainland. In Athens we have just over an hour, we get tickets and look for the ferry that will take us to Crete. We are glad to reach the ship in time and spend a sleepless night on board. Crete is waiting, and with it the reunion with our parents and the last kilometres on our bikes.