July 20 - second last day
From Ballos we went to Pythagora via Vathi,the main town. Here we did some shopping which was not as high quality as I remember it to be. More cheapish tourist stuff.
Our last booked accommodation was the Fito Bay Hotel . Bit tricky to find as no signs but I knew it was at the end of the airport runway so shouldn't be too hard to locate. It was quite interesting being that close to the airport. There are not many flights so planes were more of a novelty than a nuisance. We even saw a couple of fighter jets circling over. Samos is so close to Turkey that you can see it from some parts of the island.
The hotel was very calm and relaxing. Staff were lovely and helpful. The girls had a sofa bed which turned into quite sturdy bunks rather than usual double bed. Cassie loves the whole resort thing, nice pool, fantastic breakfast with lots of fruit, yoghurt and mix of Greek and western food.
The beach was long, sunbeds everywhere, which of course have to be paid for but we tried out another beach called Glicorisa - "a beach for everyone" according to the signs. An English bloke we met in Balos said it was the best beach on Samos, and he should know it was his 7 th time on Samos. The beach was located on a pretty, enclosed cove so sheltered from the wind, small pebbles and sand so easier to get in and out of the water, reasonable snorkelling but almost whole beach taken up by umbrellas and sunbed. So we paid our €6 and found our spot, enjoyed the Eurovision type music piped out and soaked up the sun. Stan bought a snorkel so had a good explore. Unfortunately water just a couple degrees bit chilly to spend long in there. Pity as the clearest water I've ever seen. Maybe because not a lot of sand?
The Thursday night we ate at the port area in Pythagora, full of restaurants, yachts and shops. Another late night as its so easy to wander the vibrant streets on a balmy night with shops open till 11 - 12 pm.
Friday morning we went to some ancient tunnels built as part of an aqueduct in 500 BC to provide water from a natural spring to the town. Amazing, no machinery, no pumps for ventilation, oils lamps for light and 2 teams started af either end many Kms apart and met in the middle. It took 10 years to complete and at one time used as a shelter / hideout for the Samians from invading armies.
Friday night we met with Stan's cousin Robert, wife Georgia, son Dimitri ( who according to the girls drives like their cousin Jason and used quite a bit of the speedometer, they had quite a thrilling trip to the restaurant) and daughter Nelli. It was interesting to find out more about how people live on the island and differences to how we live.
Today, Saturday, effectively our last day, Stan, Cassie and I had a dip in the pool and ocean before breakfast. Packed for the second last time and head to the airport.
Stan had given Cassie lots of grief for yet again sacrificing another pair of scissors to security when they were detected in her pencil case a couple of flights ago. Yes, it's happened almost every time we have flown in the past, we remember on the first leg then forget on the next one. This time he was the "potential terrorist" carrying a jar of jam and a 750 ml bottle of Samos wine he had intended to give to his uncle. Mind you on our trip here he wanted to bring 3 x 1 litre bottles of water on board. Very funny except I was looking forward to the wine.
On Saturday we drove to Chalikida, about 1 hour away, to meet with uncle Niko and auntie Vicky and daughter Penny who is about our age. They were very welcoming. Vicky made her famous moussaka, the best Stan's ever tasted. Then late night promenading at vibrant seaside town eating traditonal souvlakia at local dinner time of 10pm.
Just when we were all settling into this routine and feeling like we are on holidays - nothing beats a bit of sun and surf. Holiday over far too quickly yet our time in London seems ages ago.
Total travel time of 30 hous from Athens airport to touching down at Melbourne airport, stopping in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. Girls managed to score some "seatbelt toys" on 2 of the 3 legs - excellent!!!
Arrived in Melbourne at 1 am Tuesday to be greeted by my sister Lucy , Jason and Hayley - such a wonderful surprise. Then we caught up with Stans folks, finally slipping into bed at home at 5am. Slept till 1.30 pm. Best sleep I've has in weeks.
It's freezing, we have no milk or fresh food, there is about 15 loads of washing, back to work on Wednesday ........but we have some fantastic memories and experiences to look back on. We are very very lucky indeed.