Always with a sense of adventure but without much common sense we decided that travelling to the Greek islands was a great idea, especially if we didn’t book any accommodation, then we were free to stay where we wanted.
I’d been to the Army and Navy Stores to buy a lightweight red rucksack and matching sleeping bag. My friend however who had connections with Blackhill Cubs and Scouts was kitted out free of charge.
Oblivious to our limited knowledge of Greece – I had a children’s book of Homer’s The Iliad and Odyssey, a couple of LP’s by Demis Roussos and Nana Mouskouri, and we’d seen Jason and the Argonauts three times – we felt well equipped for our trip!
Meeting in the travel agents in Middle Street we booked our flight to Athens deciding we’d make a plan when we arrived.
Consett Bus Station was damp and dark at 6am as we waited for the first bus to Newcastle shivering in our holiday clothes. As a last minute decision I’d pushed my alpaca jumper in, just in case!
A blanket of scorching dry air greeted us as we walked across the tarmac. Bamboozled by the strange signs we followed the crowd consulting our Greek phrase book and map. Miraculously we reached the port of Piraeus and in the blistering heat bought tickets for the nearest island of Poros.
I’d noticed a policeman in a glass fronted kiosk and attempted to ask him, ‘Where is the boat?’ – ‘ ópou eínai to skáfos?’, but my sweaty fingers slid down the page. It only made sense later why he was pointing to the bench on the pavement opposite, I’d been reading, ‘Eímai ptóma stin koúrasi ‘ – ‘I’m absolutely knackered’.
I know he wasn’t amused, when overcome by heat and frustration I deposited my breakfast up the side of his kiosk.No matter the vibrant blue Aegean welcomed us and under a cloudless sky we drank in the atmosphere and the ouzo on our first boat trip.
Poros was a small beautiful island and we were excited to land. However we didn’t anticipate our first night’s accommodation would be on a flat roof in our sleeping bags with only the white billowing washing blowing on the clothes line for cover.
Deciding the island didn’t offer the nightlife we were expecting, and now a dab hand with the phrase book we set off for Mykonos as we’d heard it was more lively.
The distinctive white windmills welcomed us and luckily we found accommodation with a mother and daughter who gave up their bedroom and slept in the walk in cupboard in the kitchen.
The island was vibrant and busy so we showered and changed for our night out. My friend had designed and made her own summer dress but mine was from Top Shop.
In a lovely restaurant while eating peppered steak and drinking wine the owner noticed my friend’s back was very red and proceeded to lather it with the yoghurt he’d brought from the kitchen telling her she must look after her fair skin.
Creased with laughter we moved on to a bar next to the beach where we met with a couple of people who were planning a midnight swim. Of course thinking this was a brilliant idea we agreed as we didn’t know what skinny dipping was! Returning to the bar we sampled the local wine and spirits enjoying the lively music and Zorba the Greek entertainment, then went onto a club to dance the night away.
It was only when we sneaked into our bedroom in the early hours; looking in the mirror, we realised, we both had our dresses on inside out!