After the power outage situation, which I did get blamed for – Joe thought I had been getting up throughout the night and turning the fan off because of my “hate of moving air” – we got packed up and checked out of our Airbnb. The challenge was where to put our stuff between checkout at noon and our ferry which wasn’t until 1900. As we were getting ready we could hear Giannis, our Airbnb host checking some other people in next door. Joe made me go outside and ask him where we could put our stuff. I didn’t want to – it seemed like a long shot and he was busy – but I did it. He could not have been nicer about it. Acted like of course we could stash our stuff at his place. It was just around the corner and we dumped it there before taking off for the day.
First was breakfast at Egoist, one of the restaurants facing the water on the main port town road. I got eggs and sausage and Joe ordered a complicated breakfast of muesli, yogurt, honey, marmalade, fruit, and juice. Joe stole a piece my sausage.
“That sausage is delicious.”
“I did. That’s how I know it’s delicious.”
We worked our way around breakfast and discussed the plans for the day. I suggested we do a bay-facing beach today because yesterday we did all sea-facing beaches. Joe was skeptical.
“Why do you want to do a bay-facing beach?”
“Look at this,” I waved my hand at the scene before us. Mountains surrounding a vast pool of blue water. “You don’t think this is pretty?”
“Sure, but it’s a boat toilet. It’s where the boats poop.”
Fair enough, Joe. We landed on Sarakiniko which is the definitely the most well known beach on Milos. Once again, beach is probably not the right word. It’s a low lying area of pale stone completely unlike any other on the island.
When we got there, right away we saw this.
And people were jumping off of it. Like it was nothing. And it was massive. 20 (no), 40 (yes), 100 (no) feet in the air. It quickly dawned on us that, whether we wanted to or not, we were about to face a test. Maybe it wasn’t what we’d set out for, maybe we hadn’t prepared for it, but it was here. The yes-or-no answer to the question, “Are you cool?”
It threw us completely out of whack. We could barely talk to each other. It took us 10 minutes to decide on a place to put our towels. We just kept wandering around mumbling about the particulars of what jumping would be like.
“See they’re going off in the middle. That’s probably the best spot.”
“I just need to know where to land. That’s what I’m worried about.”
We thought about escape. We don’t have to do it, we told each other. It would be fine if we didn’t, no one would ever even know it was there.
“Let’s just get in the water, swim around a little bit and then decide.” Joe, ever the voice of wisdom.
So that’s what we did. We finally settled on a towel spot, dropped our shit and got into the water. It was nice, calming. We started swimming out toward the cove mouth, getting closer and closer to inevitability. When we got to the place where you get out of the water to climb up to the precipice, and where we could no longer take the cries of the doubters ringing inside our own heads, we got up there and
Joe followed close behind. And then once you’re down you immediately become an expert. We were in the water dispensing wisdom to people who were like we had been, frightened and uncertain, just a few seconds ago.
“It’s scary, yeah, but you got it.”
“You go off right there, and then you can see where you’re supposed to land.”
“It stings a little.”
There’s an incredible camaraderie amongst those in the water below, initiates and hopefuls alike. Everyone was rooting for each other. You can do it, but no shame if you can’t. Everyone has to answer their own question.
We didn’t stick around for too long that. We knew what we needed to know, and we had other beaches to see. People kind of stopped jumping, too, adding a sense of rarity to what we’d accomplished. We left pretty pleased with ourselves, Kings of Sarakiniko.
Next up was Firopotamos, the number one beach on the feelgreece.com blog that I’d been working off of this whole time. This was a gorgeous if cramped beach.
An isolated little cove on the northern shore of Milos. The water was clear and shallow. Great bodyfeel. The cove is ringed by little bungalows and topped with ruins.
They might not have been ruins. Could have just been an old fallen down house. Looked ruinous though. Only real drawback to Firopotamos is that the trailer guy ran out of beer. Must have been an especially hot day, but still. You’re a beach trailer. Stock up.
We hung out here until about 1400 and then headed back to Adamantas to eat lunch and drop off the bikes. We rode through Plaka looking for a place to eat, but didn’t find anything. Joe set his scooter down on a hairpin turn, but it was a very gentle set down. Then when we got back to Giannis’s place to pick up our stuff, I burned my leg on the pipe, but it was a gentle burn. We did pretty good but got nipped at the very end. Bike drop off went fine though. Again, the advantage of having the scooters with some existing scars.
We took our packs and sat at a table at Yankos All Day and stared at each other for hours.
“Is it weird that we take these trips together?” I asked Joe.
“No. It’s a little weird that we’re on this particular trip because of the vibe that Greece is putting out.” He nodded his head towards the other tables in the restaurant. All couples.
Joe went and printed the ferry tickets. Then we went to a bench near the dock and sat there for an hour.
I should tell you that when we went to Vietnam, other than the one drunk Australian in Da Nang, we didn’t really make any friends, and making friends seems to be a big part of other people’s travel experience. You meet people on the journey and swap stories – where are you from, where are you going, what’s cool, what isn’t – and despite being fairly personable dudes, we really hadn’t broken through in Asia. So we felt a little pressure to reach out to people on this trip and we seem to be doing a bit better. So far we’ve got the Brody’s, Liz and Bailey, and this cat.
Finally we walked to the ferry waiting area and waited some more. Joe went wandering and saw the fishermen on the pier feeding fish to these island cats.
FINALLY the fucking boat arrived.
The ferry stop was divided into two sides, each with its own gate. We were in front on the left. They only unlocked the gate on the right. We went from first to last but no big deal, we have assigned seats. Everybody’s gonna get on the boat. What I don’t appreciate is being told to hurry up by the boatpersons. YOU are late. WE are all standing in a line that is going as fast as a line goes. There’s no sense telling the people in the back of a long line to hurry up. Hurrying up would me shoving or cutting. Probably a language thing.
Other than that it was a nice smooth ride, the wind has died down finally, and we got to Santorini at about 2130. Even at night you could tell that Santorini is a little different from Milos. Santorini is vertical.
We found our guy holding the sign for Pension George who thought he recognized Joe for a second. He put us in his van and ascended the mountain via a road with enough hairpins to secure a.. uh, a hairdo that requires a lot of hairpins, help me out here ladies. Ok I think I got it, a road with enough hairpins to secure a messy updo. Eh?
Anyway we got up to the town and our driver started explaining where some things were but even delivered in perfect English it would have been hard to remember. He got to the hotel and showed us to our room. He wears a few different hats. Driver, reception, bellman. He was walking down this dark hallway towards our door and all of a sudden he just stops. We were behind him so we stopped too. He was just standing there, stock-still, in a dark hallway with his back to us and the only light was coming from his phone so he was kind of glowing. It was terrifying. He was going to turn around and not have a face or something. Just checking on the room number.
We got in, flopped down and watched Greece’s Next Top Model until we fell asleep. Starting fresh today!