Ios, June 7-9

Ios Travel Blog

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The ferry ride from Naxos to Ios was extremely fast: about 45 minutes long. When it arrived at the island, I could tell immediately that Ios was a small, and not very attractive island. Compared to Naxos, which has rolling hills and several tall peaks, Ios looked like a giant rock in the middle of the sea. As I was getting off of the ferry, I met two people who would turn out to be my roommates. We walked off of the ferry and there were about 30 people standing around, holding up signs advertising lodging. I spotted the Francesco's sign, and within five minutes we were in the van on our way up to the town. With me were two French brothers and an Australian girl. We got out of the van in a small town square and the driver, a guy named Ben, explained the lay of the town, which took about two minutes. It was something along the lines of, "rent bikes there, beach down there, bars over there."

We then walked up several flights of stairs and through a maze of sidestreets before we reached the hostel of Francesco's, which is very high up the tall hill that the town sits on. We checked in, were given glasses of water, and shown our room, which had four single beds. The two brothers, Phil and Pierre, immediately left together to rent bikes and explore the island a bit. I switched into my swimsuit and walked with Jess, the Australian girl, down to the beach. It was about a 25-minute walk down hills. The beach itself was situated in a large bay, and was at least a half-mile long. The water was great, and there were plenty of free beach chairs to lounge around on. After about an hour, Jess went off to find an internet cafe, and I stayed at the beach for about another hour/hour and a half. At around 5 p.m. I began the long walk back to the hostel. The staircases were very steep, and the streets were narrow and windy. Before long I was sweating and eventually got lost, ending up way above the town. I found my way back down to the same town square we originally arrived at and remembered how to get back up the hill again.

When I got back to the hostel, I noticed that the pool was open and several people were in it/around it. I walked over and found a deck chair. The patio that the pool was on had an amazing view of the lower parts of town and the natural harbor, which has a long cape that extends out into the sea. It was very easy to while away a few hours there. I talked to some people, went in the pool, which was very refreshing, and at around 8 p.m. I showered and got something to eat. Then, everyone began congregating in the bar/cafe area of the hostel, which also had fantastic views of the sunset. Everybody had a few drinks, and at around 10:30 we got our welcome shots of some lemonade-tasting liquid that probably had no alcohol whatsoever. After that, it was a few more beers and then as a group everyone headed out to the bars at 12.

The bars of Ios are all situated within the same general area of the inner bowels of the town. It can get quite confusing, although I never felt very lost. I was out with the two French guys for part of the night, then Phil went off on his own. Pierre and I barhopped for a while, then got a gyro at the famous Porkie's which is very close to the bars. We got back to the hostel at around 3:30 a.m., where Phil was already asleep. The next day was spent at the beach, enjoying the great views and clear water. Phil convinced me to go tubing with him, which was an interesting experience.

A powerful motorboat had two ropes extending from the back and each was attached to an inner tube about four feet in diameter. The driver of the boat slowly pushed out and then he gunned the engine and we were flying behind him on these tubes. He would then swerve in various directions and the tubes were whipped around at extremely high speeds, getting airborne as we went over the wake of the boat. After about 20 minutes of that, I could barely hold onto the handles of the tube because my arms were so beat up. I sat on the beach for about another hour, then headed back to the pool and had a conversation with an Australian guy named Mike and two Canadian guys. Then it was more of the same at the bars, but this time the night ended at 4:30. Just so you know, most people stay out until 8 or 9 in the morning partying. I just couldn't do it.

The next morning I woke up, checked out, and headed down to the port, where I found that my ferry was delayed about two hours. I sat in a cafe, ordered a frappe, and read for a while. I then walked around the port a bit more and watched some fisherman unload their catch. Finally, the ferry came and it was clear what caused the delays. You were not allowed to carry your packs or suitcases onto the ferry, because there was not enough room. You had to hand them off to some workers as you stepped onto the ferry and they stacked them on shelves. I found a seat in the ferry and closed my eyes for the hour-long trip up to Paros.
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photo by: catherineb