on board the Champion Jet, Milos to Ios
Ios was not in the initial plan. It was added as an afterthought, at the suggestion of my trusted travel agent – who also happens to be my sister – when we had to work around unsuitable connections. Our next stop was supposed be Crete. Looking at the map, the distance seemed right (I reckoned about three hours on a fast ferry) and the two islands are popular tourist destinations, enough to warrant a direct ferry route. That’s what I thought. I should have known better.
I should have remembered that the geographical boundaries identifying the different island groups have been extended to ferry routes. For example, a liner servicing islands of the Cyclades group will not necessarily make a stop at an island in the Dodecanese, even a neighbouring one.
Thus, the journey from Milos to Herakleion would have been a twelve-hour ordeal, involving a change of ferries and a five-hour long break at the port of Santorini. That’s when a good travel agent comes in handy. Her alternative plan was an overnight stay in Ios, a day at the beautiful Manganari beach and departure for Herakleion the next evening. We did exactly that – four days later.
It was dark when we arrived and Chora was glowing. The minute we checked in the hotel we hurried back out on a reconnaissance walk. For the night was young, and so, ahem, were we…
Travel tip: just because you did a thorough research on-line, do not assume you have deciphered the mysteries of Greek ferries island routes. Do check with a travel agent – well informed ones are in the best position to untangle the coil of possible combinations, timetables and frequencies that fluctuate by season (and may even differ from year to year). An agent will also book your tickets and, if your trip starts at Piraeus, direct you to the right dock and save you some extra sweating when you find yourself at the wrong end and realise that Piraeus is a bloody big port.
Photos (mostly) by Konstantinos Implikian