Adventures in Greece cruising the Mediterranean on our boat Matilda. A few days swimming then back to Ermioni to prep for a visit to Athens.
We spent the start of the week at Kyparrisi, a small tourist town with a stunning beach, crystal clear water, no ferry and almost no tourists. We chose to anchor out again and enjoyed a peaceful couple of days relaxing and swimming.
Rosie has come to very strongly associate the tender and the paddle board with a trip to shore and (hopefully) playing with the ball. On Monday as Karina was packing to head to shore, Rosie hopped in the tender and was standing excitedly at the front when she fell in to the water in her excitement! She took one look at us on the boat, decided we were too slow and headed off to the shore (about 150 meters away). As I was hopping into “Tilly” to go fetch her, she decided after about 10 meters of swimming to come back instead.
After a couple of relaxing days, we decided on Tuesday to head back to Ermioni early so we could get an inside berth (safer). Our friend Dimitris was going to watch the boat for us while we went back to Athens on the ferry Wednesday evening.
We needed to head back to Athens for a couple of reasons. The main one is that our temporary captains licenses are expiring soon. Because there is no permanent one ready yet, we needed to get the temporary renewed which has to happen every two months. Very annoying.
We also had a long list of shopping to do that we couldn’t easily accomplish on the islands, and of course, our friend Camille is having a birthday party.
It would be possible to bring Matilda to Athens, but the cost in time, fuel, berthing costs and the difficulty in finding a berth here mean a €26 fast cat ferry ride is much simpler.
Wednesday during the day was spent on chores (washing the boat, doing the washing, adding extra lines to make sure Matilda stays safe while we are away, bringing things inside…) while we waited for the ferry to arrive in the evening.
The ferry is very fast — 4 times faster than Matilda and it was a fun experience. Rosie had a great time watching out the window before eventually curling up on our lap and going to sleep. Overall it took about 2.5 hours to get back to Athens with a couple of stop offs for passengers at Hydra and Poros.
Arriving in Athens was exciting. Everything felt both very familiar but also new all over again. It’s pumping with tourists which we haven’t really experienced and there were far more shops open than when we left in May.
Ours has probably been an unusual visit compared to most tourists. The things we’re interested in are now is the food and items we can’t buy in remote towns. I mean, the Acropolis is OK but have you tried dumplings before? After 3 months of mostly just Greek food as an eating out option, we’ve been taking full advantage of it all!
After a day spent shopping on Thursday, we had several chores on Friday. When we tried to renew the captains license the woman behind the counter objected because it wasn’t actually expired yet (5 days to go)! We complained because a) are we really supposed to be illegally on our boat once the license expires before we can renew and b) this was the main reason we were here! Another woman behind us seemed to understand and yelled at the woman behind the counter in Greek for a bit. Eventually she just rolled her eyes and processed the license. The lesson here is that when dealing with Greek officials, a bit of polite stubbornness will get you a long way.
We’re staying at another property owned by Live In Athens (who we stayed with in Psyrri for the first 8 months or so) and it’s been a great experience. Rosie seemed to feel immediately at home, possibly because a lot of the furnishings and smells (cleaning products) are familiar.
She has an amazing memory. When we were walking around Psyrri she definitely remembered where the old apartment was, constantly pulling in that direction and when we walked past, stopping at the door and staring at us as if to say “don’t you know this is home?”.
We passed Hadrian’s Library, a rather sub-standard ruin if we’re honest in the center which has previously always been empty and we couldn’t believe that there were people visiting it! It was almost full, we’re used to there being no one around. The tourists make a real difference — Plaka which I’d enjoyed as being quiet and charming, is now full of hoards of people, tourist shops and in reality, is fairly unpleasant now.
Amongst our shopping purchases — decalker / descaler for the coffee machine, a very large battery pack for charging electronics, a cheap acoustic guitar for those evenings on the boat, lots of coffee beans from our favorite roasters, green and red curry as well as udon noodles and some golden syrup!
We also met up for drinks with a Bulgarian and Russian couple we met in an expats group who had expressed interest in coming for a cruise with us. After a nice chat we decided to invite them to share a few days aboard with us this coming week.
Of course on Saturday evening we went to Camille’s birthday party. It was great fun catching up with a lot of the people who we know here in Athens, many of whom we haven’t seen now for several months.
Upcoming plans this week — cruising to Spetses and Dhokos then back to Ermioni where we’ve been planning with the local Raymarine dealer for some significant electronics upgrades! The gear we have on our boat works ok now, but it’s already 12 years old. We figure we’ll probably have Matilda for 3 — 5 years, by which time the gear will be 15+ years old and well past it. We may as well upgrade it now and get the benefit of it for ourselves too. It’s actually exciting because unlike other times where we’ve been forced to fix things because they are broken, this is a real quality of life one that we’ve chosen to do for ourselves.
Want to see where we are now? Check us out on NoForeignLand https://www.noforeignland.com/boat/matilda
Until next time!
Tim and Karina