We're so thrilled to have 16 days for this island hopping trip and also to be here at the time of year. I haven't been to Greece in spring for many years but remember the abundance of beautiful flowers - heaven!
This year we plan to travel from Lavio Port to Kea and then around to Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos and Syros and then back to Athens for a few days.
A straight forward flight from Manchester to Athens - just how I like it!
We need to catch a bus to the port of Lavrio. Instead of catching the bus right outside the arrivals terminal as we would to catch the bus to Piraeus, we cross the road towards the Marriot Hotel. (don't cross the road - the bus stop is on the left.) After about 20 minutes a bus arrives - we travel to Markopoulo which is about a 10 minute journey where we change to catch the bus to Lavrio. A great way to check where you are so that you don't miss you stop is by using an app with offline maps and GPS capabilities.
To be sure you're getting off at the correct stop it's always worth asking the driver to give you a shout. Markopoulo is a bit of a nondescript bus stop so it would be easy to miss.
The bus to Lavrio stops at the same place where we disembarked. The journey to Lavrio takes about 45 minutes and the journey takes us through a couple of pleasant towns. It's so good to be in the sunshine!
Lavrio is the final destination and the bus stops in a small square. We can see the harbour through the trees so head off in that direction. Once on the sea front we get our bearings. The port is about a 10 minutes walk to the left through what feels like a semi industrial area - not much to see down this end and nowhere to leave your luggage so if you have some time to wait - stay in the town. We have a couple of hours before the ferry departs so we decide to have a meal and choose a little taverna called Petrino. The food is simple but as the first Greek meal for a year - every mouthful is relished. The holiday has begun!
This also gives us the opportunity to ask if we can leave our cases in the restaurant whilst we have a wander around which the owner agrees to obligingly. Unfortunately we don't have enough time nor a method of transport to travel beyond the town. There is an amphitheatre which is apparently the largest and the oldest in Greece but the taverna owner tells us that it is too far to travel to without a car if we have a ferry to catch. The town is small and compact and we easily kill a few hours wandering around.
Eventually it is time to walk to the port. It felt a bit of a trek in the midday heat.
The Marmari Express eventually arrives. The activity is a fraction of the scale that you would see at Piraeus but still a great place to people watch - meeting and greeting or saying goodbye.
We go out to the small deck. What would have been a really pleasant journey was somewhat marred by the most horrendous display of dog barking I have ever seen. There must have been about 10 dogs on deck all snarling and snapping at each other - the noise was unrelentless! Thank heavens it was a short trip! (Since when did the Greeks become such animal lovers? Or are they security dogs? Not sure)
As the sun began to set, the Marmari Express arrived into deep horseshoe shaped port surrounded by soft undulating hills.
We had booked a room at the United Europe which seemed to be located close to the port but also a good price. We had found accommodation on Kea to be quite expensive but the United Europe was one of the cheapest we could find. It was a bit of a gamble as there were no reviews for the United Europe on Trip Advisor but had been mentioned in Matt Barrett's travel guide which was good enough for me!
It took us a while to get our bearings but United Europe was indeed a short walk from the port. We had been emailing Despina beforehand and when we knocked it was she who answered the door and showed us to our room.
The room was basic and clean with a small kitchenette. There was a small balcony overlooking the hills and a lemon tree close enough to pick for gin and tonics! We were very exhausted and went straight to bed without unpacking! We're here!
Packing hints and using technology _ think last year using snitch eetc.