We had loads of fun camping at the Benicassim music festival, then sneaking to the fancy hotel to sleep by the pool during the day. We were the world's worst booze smugglers, but they didn't seem to care...
After 2 months on the backpacker circuit, it was a bit of a shock to hit the Greek Islands - and the British package tourist circuit. There are whole towns given over to Irish pubs, full English breakfasts and the obligatory sun loungers…… We did our best to avoid the masses by heading for the smaller islands, and the quieter towns on the big islands.
After Rhodes we headed to Karpathos, where we met fellow travellers Guy and Hannah - they were easy to spot as they were the only other backpackers on our boat. We ended up spending 4 days hooning around on scooters and a jeep, as well as drinking far too many cocktails by the waterfront.
Next was Crete, and the tiny town of Kato Zakros with its single street and lounger-free beach. We even summoned up the energy to hike 15km through Samaria Gorge, which required a 5am start to beat the heat - not something we’re used to these days. Thankfully we’re now back to the normal routine of waking up when it gets too hot to sleep, and heading straight for the beach!
After visiting beautiful but busy Santorini, and spending a few days on Naxos, we decided we needed to get away from the masses again, so we visited the tiny island of Schinousa - population about 190.
This place was seriously small, just a single street with a few cafes and restaurants - it was narrow so people had to move their chairs around when cars came down (luckily not too often). Each morning we would walk to the beach, which we usually had almost all to ourselves, then hang out there til it started to get dark.
Istanbul has lived up to all our expectations - it’s got everything - great food, amazing architecture, buzzing markets and genuine hospitality. We spent spent 5 days chilling out here and loved every minute of it. We've spent endless hours playing backgammon and eaten our body weight in fish sandwiches and kebabs.
Perfect day trip fodder from Istanbul was the Prince’s Islands. We borded the ferry to students with bongos and guitars and locals belly dancing all the way there, it was really cool being the only foreign spectators on the boat.
Next we went to Selçuk to visit the ruins at Ephesus. We were kindly adopted by a Turkish family who picked us up by the side of the road, showed us round all the local sights (He was a fireman and apparantly gets free entry - cool for us!) and took us to his mates restaurant for some yummy pide. If we carry on like this, we’ll be rolling out of Turkey!
After Ephesus we spent a few lazy days by a lovely lake in Egirdir, then went across to the fantasty rock structures in Cappadocia, where we stayed in a cool cave pension. We spent lots of time hiking through the valleys with their crazy formations, and visited an underground city which was 8 storeys deep.
We swapped our cave house for a tree house at Olympos, before taking a 4 day yacht cruise to Fethiye. Our fellow sailors were a lovely bunch from all over the world, and we quickly bonded during lazy afternoons, playing backgammon, swimming in beautiful bays and eating chef Fatima’s delicious home/boat cooking.
Today we took a 4WD up a steep dirt track and hopped off a 2000m cliff!