So much has been written about the Greek Islands – millions of words, mainly of praise; which alone, is one small indicator of just how beautiful and crammed with history these islands truly are. Also, the crazy thing is that you can go a second and third time and still see it all as if you were seeing it for the first time. That’s something you hardly ever say about any place in the world – except here in the Greek Islands, magical, memorable, mythical.
Why does one go to the Greek Islands? To relax, to soak up the history and live an enchanted life for a few days – it’s like nothing else you ever experienced. You can tell me you’ve seen the bluest seas off the Cote d’Azure in Monaco; you can go on about the bluest seas off the coast of Italy and Spain and I’ll see you all those wonderful oceans and raise you the most amazing, clearest turquoise waters around the Greek Islands!
Whatever your ideal way of relaxing, you get to do it there – especially if you charter a yacht! Not just a yacht but a Captain and his crew. Now you’re beginning to talk about absolute freedom. No strings attached has a good sound to it. Chartering the yacht, hiring the Captain and his crew and reaching an agreement on the details of your trip will have to be dealt with but that’s minor compared to the results.
You will need to think if you require provisions on board, i.e. will you be eating on board some nights because then you must buy what you’ll need for cooking purposes and also what you’ll be cooking. Maybe you will you be eating out occasionally – or even all the time?
Further, Charter Companies have different sets of itineraries for you to choose from or you can do as you like and the Captain takes his orders from you daily as you decide where you want to be and what you want to do.
Lastly, you can take lessons and learn to become sufficiently qualified to be your own Captain – however, this will take several days or more, and might not be what you had in mind. At which point, we’re back to a Charter holiday.
You’ll probably see celebrity couples incognito, relaxing for a few days away from their adoring but tiring fans. More likely than that you’ll see the wives of celebrities getting a tan the natural way, lying around on the top decks of the yacht they’ve chartered, drinking champagne and discussing their next shopping trip or nightclub hop.
Yachts and Greek Islands seem to attract a huge amount of celebrities as there are more opportunities for privacy and that helps these super famous celebs get some real rest and relaxation in more private settings – which is exactly the freedom they constantly seek.
Imagine what your holiday will be like. All crew members are very well connected and are dedicated to looking after you and giving you the best service possible. They know the best places to shop – no matter what you’re looking to buy. They know the best places to eat – depending on what you want on your menu – and so on. It’s the very height of luxury know that all they want to do is make you happy!
You can read about finding new places to explore every day. Think of the isolated beaches; those hard to find hangouts where you can do as you please all day without being watched. It’s like having you own personal playground on the water; because some adventures can only be accomplished on a chartered yacht.
Again, try to imagine a tour tailored especially for you, so that you can enjoy that feeling of being alone in your own world completely surrounded by ocean. 636
Discover all that your new world offers. Maybe a private harbor surrounded by never-ending ocean; perhaps being by yourself on a secret waterfront. Leave the real world behind, on an adventure created only for you. Develop a route that only you can change. It’s your quest on your terms – no compromise!
Some of you are having cocktails in the hot tub from where you can check out some others serenely balancing through a sundeck yoga lesson. The message therapist who worked on you this morning comes to mind because you feel so much more relaxed now. The diving instructors are incredibly helpful and several of you have snorkeled in those clear turquoise waters for a few hours whilst the fitness folk have made good use of the knowledge of the personal trainers on-board.
Actually, you suddenly realize, that’s what it is; the moment you step on board, your life changes and your new world makes way for you and your desires. You can feel the stress leaving you in the first few minutes of boarding; while the crew members fuss over you, making you feel so special and important. We all want to do different things with our new found energy and most of the morning is spent doing just that.
We’re now moored out in the bay, not far from one of the islands. No-one has yet asked the name of the island – we’ve been too awed with the wonderful views that we forgot. We were travel weary on arrival and happy from the wonderful greeting we got from the Captain and Crew. After a full morning of activity but we’re being made to feel special and that feels good.
You can hear the wives laughing, clinking their champagne glasses while planning a shopping trip. The kids are beginning to burn from the hot sun and are happily covering each other with sun cream, giggling and pushing each other in their excitement. The guys are sitting with their beers doing a lot of remembering when and planning for now. All the time the crew have been mentioning siesta but who’s listening; that’s for old people, so everyone continues drinking, snacking and playing in the midday sun.
It’s great to see everyone having such fun but the crew shake their heads – they know their guests are in for a bit of a rough night tonight!
After a while, a few people doze off, – the Grandparents are first and they made a smooth exit to their cabin. Later, more fell asleep until the passengers were all in the land of nod. The crew had earlier put up sun covers to protect their passengers. Now they look up and hope that will be enough as they clean up the glasses and food and then set to work preparing things for the evening.
The yacht is moored several islands away from Corfu which is the largest of the islands in this immediate area. James Bond remembers it well! If you looked carefully you would see a small island with a beach full of sparkling white pebbles – what a sight!
Gradually we all woken and after a few minutes of stretching and yawning we realised the plans we’d made for ‘our first night on the town’ will have to wait for another night because none of us had an ounce of strength left.
The crew had anticipated this and brought out a wonderful spread of meze they had prepared earlier as we slept. We ate, drank and found our cabins very quickly; thanking the Crew along the way. The Captain took the yacht into harbor and arranged for an overnight mooring. Some of the passengers were already asleep by the time the yacht dropped anchor and settled down for the night.
Some of us stopped off at the main cabin (the parents) just for a quick discussion and to wind up the night. It’s there we mentioned that we’d noticed that fish-fingers had been put on the kids’ places instead of calamari. We were grateful for that. We noticed even the Grandparents had requested fish fingers. We felt we were in very good hands. And when sleep arrived it was without any worries.
The following morning, we discovered we were not far from Corfu. In the past we’d heard a lot of good things about this particular island so, we decided to use Corfu – one of the larger islands – as our base for the next few days. Apparently, there was a lot to do on Corfu to keep us all occupied.
We walked around the old town and the Castle. To our surprise there were cricketers on the Green! This is probably the only place is still played and they really enjoy it. Sit back and relax at one of the many inviting cafés.
Have a Greek coffee and sit and sip it while you enjoy the scenes which are priceless. Don’t be alarmed if someone pops out of the shadows and asks to read your cup. The cups are demi tasse size (tiny) and the coffee is thick and sweet. When you have finished drinking it they will swirl whatever is left in the bottom of the cup. I think it’s three swirls one way and then three the other way. That person will then sit or stand near you then they will tell you your fortune.
It’s an experience…and sometimes they are even right! This is not really the right region for this. The Crew tell us we need to get nearer to Turkey for that.
We could have sat and enjoyed ouzo and meze but moved on instead and shopped for a few basic things we realized we needed and a few more things the Crew had mentioned and then the few members of the Crew said there was nothing else we all came back to the yacht, hollering as we got nearer. I realized they were going to take to this list a duck to water.
After a brief breakfast we went our separate ways for the rest of the morning. The Dads went off to do some serious fishing, and the Mom’s went off to a beauty parlour for facials, nails and a little shopping. The kids went off with the Moms but they had seen a movie house that was working and they went off there to watch movies all morning
The men returned having caught nothing but sunburn; the ladies had fared better with their facials and nails and had bought some rather nice evening clothes.
After a little swimming and ball playing in the water, then a light lunch on board, everyone was ready for siesta. So, we all went to our cabins to sleep for a few hours. Corfu is famous and one of the reasons is because their food is heavily influenced with Italian flavours. We listen to all the things there is to do but we’re going out own way and enjoying what we want so we’re taking our time and having fun.
That night, the women got all dolled up and we went into Corfu to eat at a popular taverner.
We sat at one side of a very long trestle table and ordered our food. When the other guests’ food arrived, they chatted for a while to let it cool down and then all set to it with their hands. When our food arrived some of us tried to do similarly but failed miserably and eventually sent for forks.
After a while the men adjusted their belts, the kids were over full. The women tried to remain elegant but they were also stuffed to the gills. However, they had discovered Ouzo and that was going to be a firm favourite. You discover things like this when you’re trying to tell the men to get into the fender (to take us to the yacht) and they’re calling out things like not with some Ouzo. Oh well, Ouzo firmly on board we returned to the yacht feeling we’d had amazing day.
Yes, as we pass the two beautiful beached of Porto and Braghini, it would really matter where a person chose to drop anchor here with the smell of wild Thyme permeating the air. Everywhere you wander in these islands, you are surrounded by that amazing smell of the wild Thyme and sometimes people even go there to experience it because it’s very therapeutic.
Somebody mentions water skiing and suddenly we’re all interested. Grandparent to watch, parents to try and laugh and enjoy. Children have the best time ever. They think, Aunt (that’s me) might shock us all and do it well or sit there making pseudo encouraging comments whilst sucking lemons! Coffee and facetiousness – but she’s nice with it.
The entirety of the morning is taken up with waterskiing near Meganissi – a jewel of an island. When we finally pack in the water sports and go gently gliding by another island, we discover it is called Ithaka, then at the end of the island are two more beaches with white, sun bleached cliffs going into the turquoise water at a sharp angle.
Apart from natural beauty, limestone cliffs, craggy mountains and gorgeous beaches, Kephalonia is renowned for its food, the local wine – Robola – and the lively, hospitable and slightly whacky locals!
You could, if you wanted to, spend the night at Fiscardo, a picture-perfect colorful fishing village; a great opportunity to enjoy a lovely dinner at Tassia’s, a fish restaurant that is known the world over for its cuisine and for its charismatic owner. All evening I was expecting Rick Stein to walk through the door!
I’m told that visiting Keftalonia without swimming at Myrtos beach (an absolutely stunning white beach) is like commiting a crime. Plus, there are beaches nearby that are windsurfers’ paradises – so now you know.
Returning to Corfu – which has been our base for the last three or four days – we tick off our list the cricket Green, First Greek coffee and Ouzo. We’ve check out the old town the beautiful garden and statues; and we’ve stuffed ourselves like little piggies on the Italian influenced food. We’ve inhaled the wild Thyme and now we’re being wooed away to another part of the islands.
Lying on my bed I idly check out my light and realise it’s on a gimble. Not so in the main and family rooms but bedrooms and may bathrooms and kitchen, it’s all gimballed. I stretch out and stare at the gimble. I can hear the crew softly talking in the background somewhere. Their tone is positive and comforting and they seem to like us. Everything’s silent and you can hear the water – that’s incredible! The oak timbers are smooth and almost have a sheen on them and I notice everything is clean – both front and back, top and bottom!
The yacht and everyone on it, sleeps. Then we hear some alarming sound that wake us and confuse us – what could they be? We’re all up – except the Grandparents – and now we start seeing evidence. The two older boys – in their mid-teens – have been gone for several hours and on a table, lying on its side it an empty ouzo bottle.
Ouzo is a clear liquid with a lovely aniseed flavour. When you add anything to it, it turns cloudy. Many people like to add a lemony flavoured cool drink to it. Myself I feel you lose the aniseed flavour, so I’m happy just to add water. I really enjoy a couple of drinks of Ouzo but, I have to tell you it’s quite strong and can have a terrible effect on a couple of young boys! They were as drunk as skunks.
My Sister In Law didn’t want the Grandparents to know (they were already laughing about it in their bedroom). She felt it degraded us as a family. She also told my brother and I that she felt the Captain and Crew would laugh at us and order us off the yacht – oh dear! My Brother said he would explain it to her so, he sat next to her and very slowly he explained. He said, “Firstly, I’m paying, Secondly I’m paying, Thirdly, I’m paying. What’s wrong with you woman? Do you think they don’t want my money? “See? Fixed!” and he walked out to join the rest of us.
Somewhere, nearby some people in a toilet were ‘barking at the ants’, in pain, vomiting and half crying. We opened the door and those two idiot nephews of mine rolled out. They were clutching at themselves and saying how ill they were. The Crew were trained in first aid but to be sure, after their ministrations they still transported the two drunken offenders to the local hospital facility on the mainland.
The boys are returned to us with a clean bill of health – apart from a ginormous hangover. I suggest some punishment should be given seeing as how that hospital trip was going to cost a ridiculous amount. My brother (their father) caught his breathe when I mentioned money and handed them over to the crew for a full 24 hours’ duties.
The crew member who took them over had an evil glint in his eye and later after only a few hours when I passed them, they were begging him to let them sleep. They were even trying to bribe him (on hearing this my Brother could not stop laughing); but they got extra punishment added to that as bribery is seen as another sin. My brother laughed, shook his head and said a sincere thanks to the Crewman. “Keep ‘em going My Son “ he smiled, slapping the Crewman on the shoulder and shaking his hand. “don’t worry Sir, I got a couple of my own” he winked.
Those boys have never been the same again around booze; I’m happy to say.
Along our way to Rhodes we stop at tinny islands fully of antiques, and a tiny island known only for its wild nightlight. However, jet setters do wild and crazy things while they’re partying and I’ll hear about it, even, maybe watch it for a while…but that’s as far as it goes with me.
We continue our journey buy art and jewellery and relaxing so well. Eventually we get to the Byzantine area. If you want to walk then wear robust flat shoes when you step ashore.
Magnificent views, steep hills, amphitheatres in the ground high above the ports
You can now start to feel the Turkish pull across the waters. Rhodes is very close to Turkey – especially the port of Mamaris in Turkey where we are going. the most beautiful, interesting part of the Turkish coast is there for you to explore. Natural beauty and human interference blend in the strangest of harmonies. We arrive at Mamaris, a really pretty harbour with the Magnificent castle for all to gaze up at.
Finally we arrive at Rhodes and dock, mooring in the harbour as arranged. The sounds, colors and smells of the Turkish bazaar, are now left behind as we sailed across to one of Greek’s larger islands called Rhodes – although it’s much closer to Turkey, it’s, the largest and, historically, the most important of the Dodecanese. It boasts an abundance of beautiful sandy beaches, wooded valleys and ancient history.
All this in combination with significant tourist infrastructure all add up to making Rhodes probably the most revered destination to see. There are busier islands although Rhodes still has its share of tourists. However, you can stay away from the boisterous tourists and choose to enjoy the best it has to offer.
After siestas and a light meal you can go ashore to the atmospheric Old City, a maze of cobbled streets that will transport you back to the Byzantine Empire; The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, a fine example of gothic architecture with a rich history of residents.
Don’t forget to do some shopping. If there’s a pair of shoes you want but they don’t have them in your size or preferred design, don’t worry they will make them for you and have them ready the next day!
Jewellery also, Greek enamelling is one of the rarest types of enamelling which is still done today by hand of course, so this type of jewellery isn’t cheap but, the Greeks are the only people in the world who still do this.
Whilst drinking your demi tasse of coffee, here someone will probably read your coffee cup and the best thing to do is just let them. They don’t always ask for payment but are offended if you don’t let them read your cup. They mean you no harm – in fact quite the opposite. Also, I’m not talking about tramps here – these are cultured people who are interest in that sort of cultural pursuit.
We’re back on the yacht now and it’s almost bedtime.?
My brother and the Captain are deep in conversation. Are we going home tomorrow? Are we exploring more islands? If we extend our holiday then for how long will we extend it for?
We’re staying another couple of days based at Rhodes. When everyone hears the news, they are happy and during talks they decide they would rather stay on the yacht any day compared with staying in an hotel. Clearly the Charter Yachting Holiday has won hands down!
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