alonissos, greece - beach, taverna, retsina, repeat

The hardest part of living an ocean away from your best friend is the distance: WhatsApp messages delayed by hours, the months (and months and months) that pass between seeing each other, never being able to shoot the shit over round (and round and round) of prosecco. The best part of living an ocean away from your best friend is when she agrees to fly to Europe to get drunk on huge beers at Oktoberfest in Munich, cruise around Paris flirting with waiters, and vacation on a remote Greek island.

Skopelos, Greece

Our week in Greece started at a beer garden at the airport in Munich. We'd spent the day driving from Switzerland to Munich and killed an hour downing sausages, pretzels and beer (though I'm sure I had Prosecco, let's be real). Our flight was delayed an hour -- and we looked at each other, morose, because we would inevitably miss our ferry from Skiathos to the island of Alonissos.

"We are ready to go, but Greece isn't clearing us to take off," our pilot announced, "because they only have spots for two planes to land. And they are full."

As our plane was about to touch down in Skiathos, we saw the big ferry headed out from the port. Damn.

We missed our ferry, and had the night to ourselves in Skiathos. We got a room and headed out for dinner.

Dining out in Greece

I ordered mussels, a salad, and baked cheese. Just for myself. Each item was maybe 3-5 euro. When presented with three gargantuan plates, I said to Alex, "So, this isn't Switzerland." (Land of 18 franc plates of tiny portions of crappy food.) Yes, I ate it all.

Skiathos, Greece

The next morning, we set out to catch our ferry to Alonissos.

Skiathos, Greece

Skiathos, Greece

Skiathos, Greece

Skiathos, Greece


Skiathos, Greece

Ferry to Skopelos, Greece

Two hours on a boat with incredible views and blues all around = absolute heaven.

Ferry to Skopelos, Greece

Ferry to Skopelos, Greece

Booze always required on a boat. No exceptions.

Ferry to Skopelos, Greece

Ferry to Skopelos, Greece

Two hours and three stops later, we were in Alonissos. Andrew & Nicole met us at the port (thank you!) and took us to our new home.

Alonissos, Greece

Alonissos, Greece

Which had a rather insane view.

Alonissos, Greece

Alonissos, Greece

And we met & greeted the very lovely, generous, kind, brilliant family that housed and fed and entertained us for a week.

L to R: Michelle, Frederique, Nicole, Vion, Lauryn, Susan, Andrew

Minutes after arriving, we threw on bathing suits and hit the beach.

Alonissos, Greece

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Alonissos, Greece

Gossiping with this babe with our feet in the Aegean Sea - absolutely unparalleled.


Retsina Greek wine

A quick drink at the taverna before heading home, to swim at the house's private slice of the sea at sundown.

Alonissos, Greece

Susan leads the way down the 200 stairs to the water.

Alonissos, Greece

And shows me the best spot in all of Greece -- that big flat rock out in the water at the right side of this picture, the best sunbathing/napping/reading/reflection point in all of Greece, forevermore known as 'Big Rock.'

Alonissos, Greece

Skinny dipping in the Aegean. Things escalated quickly.

Alonissos, Greece

Alonissos, Greece

Alonissos, Greece

Sunset in Alonissos, Greece

Made it back upstairs to watch a glorious sunset, our first in Greece.


And hoofed it to Liza's for the world's best mojitos.



The next morning's planning meeting. "What should we do today, guys?"

Beach in Alonissos, Greece

The answer: beach. Taverna. Retsina.

Beach in Alonissos, Greece

Beach in Alonissos, Greece


This was my first time snorkeling. The water is so shockingly blue and clear, you see straight to the rocky bottom. I had a blast with my borrowed mask, swimming with the schools and screaming 'Under da Sea' from Little Mermaid, as one must do.

Beach in Alonissos, Greece

Beach in Alonissos, Greece

Beach in Alonissos, Greece

Beach in Alonissos, Greece

Beach in Alonissos, Greece
 
Beach in Alonissos, Greece

See that group of rocks there on the right?

Beach in Alonissos, Greece

I made it out there despite having the swimming skills of a Ford F-150. After a little sunbathe, I climbed up the taller rock to the right and jumped off -- my first jump!

And a new passion for wanting to climb everything in sight and jump off it into the sea was born, and this passion would continue well into the summer. (A million thanks to Sam in Barcelona for sparking that fire, and for invaluable lessons about hand & foot holds.)

Taverna in Alonissos, Greece

When I made it back to shore, there was talk of a lunch break. The two sweetest words in the English language.

Taverna in Alonissos, Greece

At (almost) every beach, there is a huge shady area packed with tables, serving octopus, fish, meat, and fresh Greek specialties.

Taverna in Alonissos, Greece

We ordered bites for the table to split: grilled octopus (I am incapable of resisting this on a menu), Greek salad (in Greece, this is never served with any kind of lettuce), fresh olives, tzatziki, and red meat.


Or, if family style isn't your thing, you can go Lauryn's route and just order half a humongous watermelon for lunch.

Taverna in Alonissos, Greece

Mid-day bottle of retsina not optional.

[A note about retsina Greek wine: a Greek waiter once responded to a retsina order, 'Are you sure? People react very strongly to it... they love it or hate it. I hate it. It is dirt.' Heads up.]


Completely stuffed and half drunk, we stumbled home. And some of us, who cannot bear to be out of the water when it is so clear and so blue and so beautiful, waddled down for another sunset swim from Big Rock.

Alonissos, Greece

Alonissos, Greece

Alonissos, Greece

I can't say enough about the wild, raw, incredible beauty of Alonissos. We went in early July and had whole beaches, coves, and tavernas all to ourselves. No overcrowded streets packed with tourists and tourist crap; no jammed beaches full of Germans; no plastic bottles and garbage floating around in the water; no overdeveloped Boardwalk or coastline.

The people we met were light-hearted and friendly, and extremely happy to see us (and, considering current economics, extremely happy to take our cash).

Alonissos was pure heaven.

More posts from Greece coming in the next couple weeks!

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