Summer in Europe Part Four: Budapest (again) and Greece (Athens, Ios and Santorini)

So from Tomorrowland we flew back to Budapest, very pleased to be back at Wombats, one of the best hostels I’ve stayed at! We got a late night meal and a couple of drinks at a bar across the road and then headed to bed.

We decided to have a relaxing day the next day with a trip to the Szechenyi baths. There are so many pools, saunas and steam rooms for you to relax in. I can imagine it would be best in the winter when it would be snowing.

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That night we decided to join in on a pub crawl. Along with the Canadian national dragon boating team and many Australians we made our way to several different bars and then to a nightclub. The group weren’t the most exciting and once we got to the final bar Cam and I realised we had lost everyone else but it was allgud, we just got drunk us two and had a great night!

The next day we went for a walk up to the Castle District over the chain bridge. Taking the cable car up there were great views over the city. We watched the changing of the guard and had a look around. It’s quite a large area up on the hill and it has incredible views of the Danube to the ‘Pest’ side of the city. It was so so hot so we decided to head back after a while. We headed to the movie theatre to see a movie but realised none had english subtitles… That night we went to Szimpla Kert, its one of, if not the, oldest ruin bar in Budapest. We got a few drinks and ended up chatting to two guys from Israel and Brazil. Made for some very interesting conversation and was a great last night in Budapest.

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The next day we were heading to Athens later in the afternoon. In the morning we returned to one of the best Mexican places for lunch and then headed to the airport in a taxi with a crazy driver. We arrived in Athens late at night and had a long, confusing journey to get to our hotel in Piraeus – at the port. Once we finally got there we found a cute little restaurant serving the best Greek food and then headed to bed late.

The next day we had a lazy day in the hotel room for the majority of the day as it was so hot and we were exhausted. When it was cooler in the evening we headed into the Athens city centre to see the Acropolis. Even at 6pm it was still blazing hot, but it was great going at that time as there were no queues at all! We had a good look around everywhere but to be honest we enjoyed the Forum in Rome much more than the Acropolis. The Acropolis seemed to be more about places of worship etc whereas the Forum told stories about how people actually lived in that area so many years ago.

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We headed back to our hotel on the metro and returned to the restaurant from the night before. We ordered lots on the menu because it was so cheap and I think the waiter liked us because he gave us free wine at the end of our meal too. We headed off to bed because we had an early start the next morning on our ferry to Ios.

We picked up our tickets and got on the ferry. It was pretty packed with tourists and Greeks alike, school holiday time meant they were all going away on holiday. We got off at Ios while the ferry continued on to Santorini.

At Ios we were staying at the infamous Far Out Camping. They offer a pickup service from the ferry so we hopped on the van and headed to the accommodation. Ios is pretty small. The main part of the town has lots of little restaurants and shops tucked away but Far Out Camping was a bit further down the road on the beach.

This was probably mine and Cam’s worst accommodation for the time we were away. Being used to the luxury of double rooms with air-con (lifesaver), here in Ios we were in a kind of bed tent thing. Pretty much a canvas tent over steel rods. The bedframe was steel and had the thinnest mattress ever and our tent was right next to another so we heard pretty much everything that happened in there, which wasn’t that great!!

Far Out is a pretty crazy place. Everyday is pretty much the same. Wake up late, get some food and spend the day by one of the pools or head over the road to the beach and lie on the loungers.

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Then at around 5ish the music gets turned up and everyone gets dancing. The first night we were there we bumped into Abby and Sarah which was such a coincidence! We knew they were going to be in Ios around the same time as us but not 100% sure on dates. After drinking lots of strawberry daiquiri we hopped on the bus up to the main town where all the bars and clubs are. We first checked out Abby and Sarah’s amazing accommodation compared to ours and got pretty jealous and then headed to some bars. The first bar was awesome because you could buy straight spirits and mixers there and make your own drinks and then leave your leftover spirit there with your name on it and pick it up or drink it there the next day. The rest of the night was a bit blurry for me, we did go to another bar and then it must have been home after that.

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So yea, the next few days weren’t that eventful at all to be honest! We just lounged around all day everyday. We played some beach volleyball, read some books, did some swimming, sleeping, went out for dinner and lots of drinking! We also found a really cool bar down the road which had shisha, hammocks, pillows, board games, was very weird haha.

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After four nights we were more than ready to head to our next destination, Santorini. On to the boat and only an hour to get to the next island. Santorini has to be one of my favourite places I went on my whole trip overseas.

From the very second we got there the place was stunning, but oh my god, so hot!

We took the bus from the ferry terminal into town. The views were breathtaking, and its amazing how these buses get round the tight corners on this steep hill. Once we were in town we caught a cab to our hotel as it was waaay too hot to figure out where we were or where to go. We were staying at Hotel Anatoli, an amazing place in the middle of Fira, through all these alleyways. It had air-con and a pool so we were set!

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The first day we arrived we set off to get some food. We found a restaurant and sat upstairs overlooking one of the main roads. This road was tiny and there was busload after busload heading down it. Too hot too finish our meals we headed back to the hotel and planned the next three days.

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The next day was probably one of the best on our whole holiday. Santorini is a pretty big place and to see everything you need to rent some form of vehicle. Campbell and I opted for a little Peugeot baby! We started off the day with a traditional Greek breakfast at the hotel and our car arrived just after we had finished. We started off with a trip to Red Beach. Stopped for a beer at a little bar overlooking the sea and then walked up to the lookout over the beach. The beach was packed and we were dying for a swim but decided to save it for the next beach.

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So we headed to Perivolas (the quieter version of the over-touristy black beach Perissa) where we had lunch and a swim.

Then up to the highest point of Santorini and had a lookout over the sea and the islands.

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We also stumbled upon Santos Winery as we came down the hill so we stopped there for a bit of wine tasting and nibbles while overlooking the most incredible view. By this time we were pretty exhausted so we went back to the hotel for a rest and some dinner.

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To make full use of the car we booked ourselves in to the Kamari open air cinema. They play English movies which is great and they decorate the place amazingly. The movie we saw was pretty weird but was such a cool experience watching it outdoors in Greece.

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The next day we had to give back the car 😦 but we had more things planned. We went on a boat tour out to the volcano island and to the hot springs. The walk up the volcano was pretty difficult because it was soooo hot!!! Everyone was dying. Thankfully once we were back on the boat we got to have a swim stop in the hot pools which are full of this mud that’s meant to be great for your skin.

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Back to the port at Fira and we got a ride up the hill from the donkeys and then got some gyros for dinner. Those things are lifesavers, so cheap and such a good meal!

Campbell was pretty tired so he went back to the hotel for a rest and I stayed in town and had a look around all the shops.

That night we took a bus to Oia to see the ‘infamous’ sunset. We had a fabulous meal at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the islands before we made our way down to get a good view. By the time we walked down the place was packed! We finally found a spot but to be honest it wasn’t as fantastic as the hype made it out to be… After it was over we battled our way back through the crowds, got an ice-cream and headed back on the bus to Fira.

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Later on we had to book accommodation for our last night in Athens after Santorini and before we headed back to London. As we checked our bank balances we realised that we had come to the very end of our money. We were very lucky that we had managed to get this far over the past five weeks!

With only a little bit of cash our last full day in Santorini was spent eating 3 euro gyros for lunch and dinner… and just sitting by the pool the whole day. Can’t complain!!

We finally came to the end of our time in Santorini and had to make our way back to Athens. Because we had booked our ferry tickets too late they had run out of seats in economy class and we had to ferry back business class, we weren’t complaining. Unfortunately, because we had booked so late, we were in seats quite far away from each other! And another setback was that one of the three engines had broken down… So what was meant to be a 5 hour ferry ended up stretching out to about 8 hours. With seas quite rough, lots of people were sea sick. We were sooo pleased being in business class because it was a lot less packed and much cooler compared to the economy section.

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Finally in Athens, we had ended up booking our hotel in a bit of a dodgy area just because it was the closest we could get to the airport. We were only there for about 12 hours and for about 18 euros between us it was fine!

The next morning we metro-ed to the airport. Finally got on the flight after what seemed like forever and made our way back to Stansted. With some BK at the airport we got on the bus and headed to my cousins place.

So mine and Cam’s five week trip was over!!! Went so incredibly fast but it was the most amazing time. We did some pretty awesome things and saw some of the most beautiful places. I’m so glad we spent a decent amount of time in each place, really makes a difference.

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