Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Turkiye/Greece 2015 - Kos & Kalymnos

At the very beginning, I actually wanted to go to Santorini. Heck, the whole idea of my Turkey trip is actually because I wanted to go to Santorini. Turkey was just a gateway since flight tickets to Athens was more expensive than to Istanbul. So I built my itinerary based on the idea.
The plan was: Istanbul > Denizli >  Bodrum > Kos >Santorini. 
And maybe Paros or Mykonos. Fethiye is not in the picture yet.

But after researching, Santorini is 5-6 hours boat away from Kos and the whole expenses going to Santorini is quite expensive for a backpackers budget. And there's not much I can do there other than wanting to witness the Blue Dome view at Oia and sunset from the caldera at Imerovigli. I can climb at Kamari though but if climbing is what I want to do, I better go to Kalymnos which is 30minutes boat away from Kos. And there's not many beaches there in Santorini since the place is elevated and the beach and sea are down below. If I want to go to both Kalymnos and Santorini, it'll get more complicated since the boat times doesn't suit my schedule so I have to reduce days at other places and spend more at the other where I don't intend to. Plus the flight back to Istanbul through Athens will cost me another day for transiting in Athens at NIGHT. Not day, I couldn't find DAY transit in Athens at the time. Going back through Kos back to Denizli airport is certainly not an option since I have to endure 5 hours boat and 5 hours bus again. Normally in most of my travels I don't really like to go back the same way I came. I always like to find a different route so I can discover more places.
(This is before I figured out about Dalaman Airport, but still its 2hrs 45 minutes from Bodrum)

I have no issue with 5-6 hours boats since I've done the 8hours one in El Nido - Coron. But I think Santorini is a place i'll go when i'm older. Not 80 years old older but like I dont know, 35? 40? When I'm not on backpacking mode and I want to just, relax.
For now I wanted adventure. So I dropped Santorini and plan other things for Greece.

After that I stumbled upon article about the less known beautiful island in Greece - Ikaria. It's 3hours boat ride from Kos. But again, timing is off. Ferries going to Ikaria from Kos available only twice a week and none of the days match my timing  to go there.
So again I dropped Ikaria, and then I found Rhodes. But Bodrum to Rhodes is a bit far hence the tickets were a bit pricey, and I should take a boat from Marmaris to Rhodes to get cheaper price. But from research there's nothing in Marmaris that I can do or like. \
Then I look for Fethiye to Rhodes. There are one mosque in Rhodes that I wanted to visit, and there's one beautiful lagoon or some sort that I can go as well. But then same issue arises, conflicting ferry dates.
There I got stucked again, until I stumble upon something in Fethiye that makes me feel OK to not go to Rhodes - Paragliding.

So I decided to just go climbing in Kalymnos and go through Kos, since there are no ferries departing from Bodrum to Kalymnos at the time.

Day 4 - 6th Oct 2015 (Tuesday)

From Bodrum, I took a ferry that departs from Bodrum Port(Bodrum Castle). And go through the custom checks. (Return tickets Bodrum-Kos are booked online a month before.) I arrived in Kos 45minutes later and go through customs again.

And Kos island is indeed beautiful.
Granted I din't spent much time in Kos, but I can feel the essence of the small island and really glad I went there.

I was actually super rush in Bodrum since I had a misunderstanding with the bus operator in Denizli that told me bus from Bodrum to Denizli is only 4 hours. In the end, the bus reached Bodrum around 3.45pm and I've to run like hell with my backpacks and all from the Bodrum Otogar(bus station) to the Port which was supposed to be a 15minutes walk. But I ran, so I managed to reached the ticket counter in time before my ferry departs.

Ferries departing from Bodrum Port to Kos Island. 
View of Bodrum Castle from my ferry.

Maria Star ferry, arrives at Kos Port.

So after I got off my ferry at Kos port, meet a nice custom official that lightens up once he sees my Malaysian passport and says he knows my birthplace Kuala Lumpur and spent 30 seconds talking about Sepang circuit, KL tower and stuffs,  I walked along the Kos castle into the Kos town to wait for my bus to my hotel in Marmari.

I really fell in love with the small town, I took my time searching for the bus station to just take a 360 degree view of my surrounding. People walks, ride bikes, kids playing, people having tea at the beautiful cafes. Tell me this is not a small town where people can relax.

But as you know when I'm travelling alone, I have this 'travelling chicken' attitude where I will try to get to my hotel room before dark, furthermore I don't really know the location of my hotel yet. So I reluctantly move on to the bus station ignoring my desire to just sit back and take a break at one of those pretty little cafes admiring the small town for an hour or so.
The bus cost 2.1Euro and it took about 25minutes to get to Marmari.

I checked in Summer Village Hotel and call it a day.

My room, the bottom unit.

I love Summer Village's garden environment.

The Entrance

I even got the hotel's fridge magnet when I checked out. 
Free souvenir. Yeay!

I'm very proud to see that Summer Village uses ABB MCB. (^_^)

Day 5 - 7th Oct 2015 (Wednesday)

So the very next morning, I woke up around 6am, get out from my room at 7am to catch my 8.10am ferry to Kalymnos. One thing I had not foreseen is that Summer Village hotel is a bit far off from the main road. The receptionist said  if I wanna go to the main road to take a bus to Mastichari Port (where the ferries departs to Kalymnos) on foot is very far it will took me almost half and hour to get to the main road. So I have to take a cab which costs me 16Euro since I don't have that 30 minutes to walk and at the time it's already 7.15am.

And another thing that I failed to do was to convert my money properly. At the time, I only have USDs with me for some reason, and no money changer at the hotel so I have to ask the cab driver to pay him in USD. But of course they will charge more, so after speaking with the boss through his phone, he agreed if I pay 20USD. I know it's really a waste of money, but I'm desperate to get to Mastichari and someone has to learned a hard lesson for not managing money wisely before going abroad. So 20USD gone just like that.(T__T)

But to ease my tense a little, the cab driver Michalis, who speaks like 30-40% English, was quite a nice man. He tries to speak with me as much as he could, telling me stories about him a 34 year old guy, with 2 kids, a girl of 8 and a boy of 3, his 29 year old wife, his home in Pyli.then he asked about me and where I came from and even tought me some of the Greek words.

I list some here for future reference.

Yes - Nai(neh)
No - Ochi(oshi)
Good - Bravo (more to 'well done!')
Good Morning - Kalimera
Good Afternoon - Kalispera
Good Night - Kalinychta
Thank You - Efcharisto
You're welcome - Parakalo 

I thought Greek is easier to learn since I know these words on the second day I'm in Greece but I didn't even know how to say 'Thank You' in Turkish until now. 

So anyway, the ride from Marmari to Mastichari only took around 10-15 minutes and the ferry ticket booth hasn't even opened yet, so Michalis asked me to have a coffee with him and his fellow cab drivers at this restaurant just opposite the pier while waiting for the departure time at 8.10am. The lady who owns the restaurant was very friendly and speaks perfect English with an Australian accent, she asked me which kind of coffee I want and how I wanted it, so I asked for Greek coffee with sweetener. She sometimes will come to our table and pretend to listen to what the cab drivers were saying and teasingly comments on their pronunciation. 
The other cab drivers are younger and speaks better English, so I had a decent Q&A session with them about Malaysian culture and religion, Greek football (Olympiakos just beaten Arsenal in Champions League couple of nights before so there's a story there).
One of them Nektarios asked if I had a boyfriend. (I said yes though to avoid further trouble) and Michalis showed me pictures of his kids.
He even paid for my coffee. Well I just paid him 20USD for a 10 minutes cab ride so a 1.5Euro coffee won't matter much does it?:P

Not the usual coffee I had in Malaysia of course.

So at 8am all of them asked me to get the ticket at the booth, and after saying thanks to the nice lady owner of the restaurant, saying goodbye to Michalis, and Nektarios saying that he will come to Malaysia to ask me to ditch my boyfriend and married him, I went off to the ferry.
(The tickets are also bought online prior to the trip, I just need to take the official tickets at the booth)

It was only a 30minutes ride to reach Kalymnos.

Kalymnos however, is entirely different thing. The whole island is dedicated for climbing. And according to my guide Tania, you couldn't even spend your entire lifetime to climb all the routes in Kalymnos. It's a climbing heaven, all climbers around the world will go there to climb for weeks or month. I feel stupid going there to climb just for a day.

After arriving, I took a bus from Kalymnos port (Pothia) to Armeos Village where I will meet LoreDana and Tania to climb. It cost 2Euro and around 25minutes.


Armeos Village is somewhere nearby Mirties. And Pothia is Kalymnos Port.

I met this Italian girl I knew from Climb Kalymnos forum, LoreDana and she introduced me to our climbing guide Tania Matsouka, a Cyprus born but now staying in Kalymnos to do what she love most, climbing.

Hiking in my Converse.

LoreDana and me on our hike up.

As I reached Armeos Village at around 9.30am, we did a little hike to the climbing spot. Granted its a little hike, but me having not warmed up or anything for days prior to the climb, lose my breathe for a while there. How embarrassing.

See that kid over there, he climbs too.

Telendos Island as seen from Kalymnos. 
Its a 10 minutes boat ride away and its part of the climbing spots in Kalymnos as well.


The kids is already on the rock.

Groups of English.

Boss is here. Making rounds of spot checks i think.
Goats there aren't very friendly, we weren't allowed to even make eye contact. He will just raid your bags if he thinks you got some food in it. 

Setting up the gears with our instructor Tania. 

She is a very experienced climber, she has been climbing for 12 years and she shares a lot of knowledge with me and LoreDana.

This is my second time doing lead climb, and my very first time on the rock.
What a great feeling. I can't Thank God enough for this opportunity.

Some warming up routes. 

Trying the Insomnia route.

And then Yo-Yo route.

The Kalymnos Climbing guidebook. Tania's copy.

Me and Dana are roughly newbies in climbing. We both has just been climbing seriously for a year and we both having trouble finding (girl) friends to do this back home. We have more or less the same level in top rope, so Tania chooses those routes above according to our level of experience.

We both have no trouble doing lead on a 5C. I don't know how hard rock climbing would be compared to top roping indoor, so I just follow whatever Tania suggested given I only have one day.
If I had more days, I would love to try more than 5C. I believe Dana thinks the same.

If you can see there's a guy there on the edge doing multipitched climb.

Other angle from my Yo-Yo route, taken by Dana.

Some guy attempting the cave. I believe the cave are 8A or something.

Dana on the rock.

During our hike down.

So we settled at about 4pm and hiked down back to Armeos village. Dana and Tania were both staying on the Island while I need to take a bus back to Pothia to catch my 6pm ferry back to Kos.

Armeos Village.

Ferry back to Kos.

 Sunset during the ride.

Honestly, I thought Kalymnos was the best decision I made on this Greece trip. I certainly don't need to go to Santorini at this time, It was really worth all the hassle. Couldn't be grateful enough.

When I reached Kos. its already dark and there's no bus going to Marmari. Just to Kos town, but it does stop at the main road in Marmari just as the receptionist in the hotel mentioned. But I'm not gonna hire a cab again so I just try to walk the road and see how far it is.

It's a 23 minute walk according to the map. So it is quite far (not very far) and it's actually doable.

Day 6 - 8th Oct 2015 (Thursday)

The next morning, I checked out early and walked to bus station from my hotel (which is not as far as the main road) to catch a bus to Kos Port for my 9am ferry back to Bodrum.
Note that the bus does go in and stop at the bus stand in Marmari to pick people going to Kos Town, but no bus get inside the Marmari town to get to Mastichari. This is the information I missed.

Anywho, I'm in no rush so I could enjoy Kos Island in the cold morning. Very serene and quite place indeed. 

Ferry to Bodrum.

Bodrum Castle.

Next stop - Fethiye.


Belang Tarung said...

lame tak datang blog ni..dah jadi org capadoccia rupanya hahaha

Nadira R said...

Bukan capadoccia la..xpergi sane pun.huhu


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