Last Monday, August 20 – Theo & I left Thessaloniki for a week holiday to Skopelos island. I remember the excitement , like a freshly picked Summer fruit that’s ready to be devoured by those who hunger for it; I was the devourer!
What I mean is that, after my arrival in Greece in 2009, I have never been to any Greek islands for a Summer holiday. During that time, the recession just started in Greece and I also just left USA continent a few months before I arrived in UK (to apply my tourist visa as a spouse of EU citizen to go to Greece), where banks in New York claimed to be bankrupt. My new Greek family suffered a tremendous lose of money and income because it’s predictable that whenever a recession hits, real estate and construction companies are the first target of dilemma. My in-laws had a small housing construction company and they have been working on it for the past 7 – 8 years. We were tight on money and savings were on time deposit for at least a couple of years. It was a practical move by my mom-in-law but our life was drastically changed. Theo was the only one working for 4 family members. His salary for 2 years, as an English tutor in a language school (φροντιστήριο , fron-dis-tir-yo) was the only income at that time. So we were very wise when and where to spend the money and that includes sacrificing summer holidays, clothes, new gadgets, dining out to restaurants and hotels, travelling outside Thessaloniki, a new apartment for the newly weds, and a new car as well. Our summers together were mostly spent in Halkidiki, for a day’s excursion. I do not complain because Halkidiki is where my favorite quaint town is located, Afitos. I also learned to swim on its water. I love the variety of the province and wish I could go farther to unravel its uniqueness and surface.
So having this first island holiday was very important to Theo and I. We have always been looking forward to this and had anticipated to have at least 3 days for this year, but my in-laws surprised us with a 1-week holiday tickets to Skopelos island. Yipee! Though at first, they were talking about Skiathos. But at some point, the head turned to Skopelos. Which I was glad that place was chosen. And so far the best summer holiday I could think of in my life. 😀
I have to mention that I really love the services of KTEL bus. We first used it when we left Thessaloniki to go to Volos – and from there, we had to ride a ship (Hellenic Seaways: Express Skiathos) to reach the island of Skopelos. The bus service was comfortable, relaxing, and to my big surprise, even Theo took a nap during our 2.30-hour ride.
In Skopelos, it is being used alot to travel around. The driver and an assistant/conductor take their jobs seriously. Even reminding people to put their bags in compartments and kids to sit properly. One time, a person came up on wet shorts, they reminded him to put towel on the chair. They can speak English too, so it was convenient to ask them for a quick information. They know their way around the island and could even give you some practical tips, better than the internet finds. From the bus station, KTEL buses leave mostly on time. If not, with a 2-3 minute delay.
The road in Skopelos is like a snake that moves up and down constantly. They are also narrow, which reminded me of the road going to 3-5 Pigadia, a ski resort in Naoussa. Despite of this, Theo and I never regretted riding KTEL buses because our travels were smooth and we were able to enjoy the green and blue scenery of Skopelos through the bus window. As if the driver knows how to make the tourists happy and he didn’t make us feel we’re in too much of a hurry. Probably he thought: “let’s drive smoothly, to enjoy the scenery!” It was an easy and convenient transportation. The ticket prices – are another thing, though. I think they’re a little bit expensive even for short distances. But then if you think about it, you get to ride a very nice tourist bus. ^_^
So KTEL bus, rated 9 (on 1 -10 scale, 10 is the highest) for long travelling from Thessaloniki to Volos and inside Skopelos!
Where did you go this Summer? Did you have a great time?
I will surely make more posts about Skopelos next time. This beautiful place is worth a second visit!
The picture above is a view of Skopelos town from the boat “Sporades Queen II” , as we were returning from Alonissos island tour. It was our 4th day.