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New Blog

Posted by Katie Featherstone on June 10, 2012 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello and goodbye... 

You can follow my Moroccan adventures on http://moreofkatiestravels.blogspot.co.uk/

Thanks for your continued interest everyone.

xxx

New Project

Posted by Katie Featherstone on January 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Hi everyone, 

Thank you for your continued support. I will soon be writing for this little publication: http://www.exploration-online.co.uk/index.php

I'll post up on here to tell you when something new goes up, allthough you've probably heard the stories allready! Not for a couple of weeks, but hopefully my articles will be a little more refined than this thing. 

Lots of love,

Katie xxx

Trying to actually leave Athens!

Posted by Katie Featherstone on September 24, 2011 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, our one day in Athens was a bit annoying really. We saw most of the sights, but couldnt really afford the acropolis, so just walked all the way around the preimeter, catching glimpses as we went. I guess it's a great excuse to go back. There was very little we could do with no money in a city and we were too scared to go outside in the evening anyway as we had heard something about a stabbing in Omonia, the area where we were staying. Nothing much to report of interest I'm afraid. The next morning, we had a nice relaxing plan of going to the national gardens for a few hours before catching our flight. Little did we know that the entire city was on strike, making our day somewhat more exciting. There were no metros, trams or busses, a Canadian in our hostel told us while we were complacently cooking pancakes in the morning. I wasn't too paniced, as he seemed the type to exagerate, untill we went online and realised he hadnt even told us the half of it. Not only was there no public transport, but also no taxis and a strike in the airport. Maybe we could walk? A quick googlemap later and that option wasn't looking hopeful. The airport was 30km out of the city, along a moterway and hitching in a riot didn't seem like the best plan either. It was the first time when our motto of "oh, it will be fine. It allways works out in the end." seemed to be mocking us. What on earth was the solution? We didn't panic tool much, but instead went out into the city to talk to people and find a solution. After trecking around Athens for several hours, following various leads, we found a Greek man who was also trying to get to the airport. We were waiting at a busstop with him, hoping for the best, when we heard the protest approaching. We could hear it in the distance, like a battalion of Orks, but as it got closer, we could see that they were peaceful students, rather than angry rioters. The Greek man even tried to tell us what they were saying. Our main problem with the protesters, was that they had forced the road we were waiting at to be cordened off. How would the bus get down? Our Greek friend had obviouslly come to this conclusion too and was maniclly phoning people for about 1/2 an hour. Eventually he got a tip. We should walk to another bus stop accross the city and from there we should be able to get out of the city, so off we went. Thankfully, upon arrival a bus was allready waiting. Such a relief to know that, assuming our flight wasnt canceled, we had hours to get there. Thank God we had an evening flight or we never would have made it! Unfortunatly the flight was delayed for 4 hours, meaning we arrived in Edinburgh at 2am, caught  a bus into the city, wandered lost for about half an hour, finally found our hostel, lay in bed for one hour, got up and caught our bus at 5.10am for a ten hour journey to London. Sometimes I do wonder how these things work out, but I'm gad our motto didn't laugh in our faces in the end. In London now and was too lazy to travel to Southampton today. Going down with Bryony instead tomorrow, probably a good thing as my rent has been taken out early and broken out of my overdraft, meaning i have no card or access to money for a few days. Brilliant... xxxxxx

Back to Athens

Posted by Katie Featherstone on September 21, 2011 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (1)

Our last few days on Naxos were really nice and relaxing. We seem to be quite used to sleeping with canvas literally on our faces and rocks underneath (I left my roll mat in London as Bryony didn't have one and I felt a bit mean taking it). We have explored the port town Hora, spent a lot of time painting and enjoyed being inventive with our somtimes ususual food combinations. I've spent the last 2 days desparately trying to dry my last oil painting and eventually resorted to heating it a little over the stove (the paint actually began to melt, which really wasn't the plan). Unfortunatly, our stay came to an end on Tuesday morning and we needed to return to Athens for our flight tomorrow. Our first stroke of luck when checking out was through the stupidity our the campsite owner. She is honestly the laziest person on earth (the bins werent cleaned out our entire stay), so we didn't feel bad when she calculated that we had only stayed for 6 nights instead of 7 and charged us accordingly. Secondly, we managed to get a lift to the port, which saved us another euro or two on the bus, so things were looking positive money wise.

The ferry we were catching back to Athens had two stops: Paros for 7.50 euros and Pireas for 35. We needed to get to Pireas, but after our recent success at cheating the system, we decided to risk it once more, somthing we instantly regretted when we boarded the boat (in disguise), had our tickets checked and were directed to a certain area of the boat to sit in. At this point we paniced. We couldnt get through to the other side. Was there a side of the boat for Paros and another for Pireas? Once seated up on the deck I went to scout it out on a spying mission, trying to see other peoples tickets (where they heading for Pireas too?) and investigating down below to see if there was any way we could sneak accross the boundry. We were being ridiculas. I found a map of the ship and realised, to my relief, that the boat was actually divided into first class and economy, not by stops. What a relief, but it was hard to relax for the next 5 hours untill we arrived, especially as we arrived into Pireas. As we drew nearer to Athens, the sky began to darken and it even rained a little. We began to realise how lucky we have been for the last two weeks. I dont think we'd seen one cloud. Getting off the boat, we were completely different people. We'd changed from scratty T-shirts, leggings, hoodys, sunglasses and high buns, into floral dresses and hair down, in case someone recogised us and remenbered our tickets. It was all a bit over the top really and we felt a little silly when at Pireas the mass of around 50 passengers simply walked off the boat. Never mind.

Maybe as a slight commupense for our sins, the metro ticket machine ate our money when we arrived, but i think i'd rather loose the 2 euros and after blundering our way through the metro system, holding the stupid, wet oil painting, we finally arrived back in Omonia, walked to our hostel and collapsed. Thankfully we knew the way this time.

I'm sorry this blog has largely been about money and our ridiculas ways of saving it, but it's a rather massive component of this trip. It doesn't make traveling any less fun, allthough sometimes it would be nice to be able to eat in a resterant or go on a boat trip, I would allways rather be poor and traveling than rich and bored in Southampton.

Today we will explore Athens, eat all our remaining food and sleep in beds tonight. I actually found it quite hard to have so much space above my face last night. There is something quite comforting about just having a tiny enclosed space to sleep in. I guess that's why animals dig holes and make nests. I quite miss the tent.

We're flying home tomorrow. Again, I have no idea where this trip has vanished. I'm not looking foreward to reality, but it will be nice to see you all again.

Lots of love,

Katie

p.s. have a look at the photos!

Halki

Posted by Katie Featherstone on September 17, 2011 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday we set out for the tiny village of Halki, which is situated right up in the mountains in the middle of the island. It was quite a windy journey, which didn't exactly agree with Bryony's stomach, but thankfully we got there without incident! The moutains are fantastic, thank God we arent trying any 20km walks on Naxos! Halki its self, is a lovely pictureque, if a little run down, village, overgrown with blossum bushes and populated with entusiastic rural Greek men and older tourists. After wandering around for quite a while, visiting a distilerry and looking for somewhere to paint, we decided that there was no other option but to sit outside the tiny resterant and order some drinks... A logical step I feel! We were so tempted by the menu, that we actually ended up ordering sausages and fried potato as well as drinks and greedily scoffing it down accompanied by a bread basket and olive oil. OK, so it was quite an extravigent day for us, but I dont regret a second of it! We sat at that table for about 2 hours drawing the houses and gettiong admired by various tourists and locals who were very interested in what we were doing: "Ahhhh... it is very, very, very, very, very beautiful! VERY beautiful...". It got a little irritating in the end, especially when our drawings were only tiny sketches to start with.


Other than that, we have found a tiny beach, which is good for secluded sunbathing. You have to wade through the sea to a little island with a couple of ruined houses on it, before you can even see that the beach is there, so we have avoided any other people all day.


The cats are a menace, but too cute to hate! They get everywhere, even between our inner and outer tent. I've been quite worried about thier claws, so am trying to block it off, but they are so tiny it's impossible. The tent is fine anyway.


See you all soon,

Katie xxxxxxx

Naxos

Posted by Katie Featherstone on September 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (2)

So, we arrived in Naxos without incident (despite the fact we had only paid to get to Folegandros, 4 stops earlier...). It was a long ferry ride, but we fell asleep in the sun to pass the time!

Our last day in Milos, we visited a little beach called Firiplaka, where it seemed that cloths were an optional extra. It was another beautiful beach with pink tinged chalky cliffs and rocks jutting out of the water.

Naxos is much bigger and more populated than Milos, which makes it a little less beautiful, but much more practical in terms of cheap food etc. Our campsite is a complete dive, deserted with no locks on the toilets, a stinking fridge and kittens living above us, who wee on the tent (sorry Dad, i'll wash it!). It's seriouslly cheap though and we are staying with two friends Tash and Susie, who make our evenings a little more entertaining.

We've been doing a lot of painting and relaxing so far. Unfortunatly, the kittens trod in my painting, which was a little irritating. We're hoping it will be a very cheap week!

Lots of love,

Katie

Tsigrado mostly

Posted by Katie Featherstone on September 12, 2011 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

We'd been told about a beach nearish to where we are camping, which you have to climb down to using a rope. It sounded like fun, so yesterday we decided to check it out and set off on the 4km walk accross to the Southern side of the island. You couldn't even see the beach from the top of the cliffs and we were a little confused as to how you got down, so we just waited to see what other people did. Hidden in a gap, we found a ladder which led down to a rope where we lowered ourselves carefully towards the beach. There was a ladder again right at the bottem which came out on to one of the most beautiful tiny beaches I've ever seen. It was surrounded by white cliffs and thankfully inaccessable to half the population! From here, we swam around little caves and did a bit more painting. The water is so beautiful! We managed to get a lift home too, so avoided a lot of the massive hill...

Lots of love,

Katie xxxxxxx

An epic adventure..

Posted by Katie Featherstone on September 11, 2011 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Well, there is a place called Kleftico on Milos that we had heard was supposed to be fantastic. We looked at our map and sighed. It is miles away from any bus route and there is no way we can afford a boat trip (my overdraft is not thanking me for this holiday!). As the crow flies, it is about 10 miles from the nearest bus stop, so in typical Katie/Bryony style we wondered if it was possible to walk it and set off one morning with high hopes of eventually getting there. By about three o'clock we had been walking in the Greek sunshine for well over four hours and still hadn't reached our destination. We had been walking around huge mountains, far above sea level, listening to the sound of goat bells and watching eagles swoop overhead (maybe waiting for one of us to tire, hoping for an easy lunch...). We'd been offered lifts further up the road, but nobody had spoken any English and probably wouldn't have understood how far we were trying to walk anyway, so we had turned them down. By this point, we were seriouslly regretting this judgement as we hadn't seen a car for about an hour and now the road was getting much, much worse.


Eventually, just as we were beginning to realise we had made a drastic mistake, we heard an engine. Unfortunatly, it was a moterbike with no room on the back for both of us, especially in this kind of terraine, so we didn't attempt a hitch. He did stop though and told us that the walk down to Kleftico actually took two hours from the road. We wouldn't get there and back before sun down and we were still miles and miles away from our tent. Never had we thought of our tiny tent with such fondness. The man, a German called Peter, walked up a small hill with us where he showed us Kleftico in the distance. There was no way we were getting there that day. Peter was astounded by how far we had walked, saying that it was hard on his bike and probably about 20km from where we started. He offered us a chocolate coussant and said he could take us one by one to a nearby beach where we might find a lift back. We weren't in a position to argue, so i watched as Bryony disapeared into the distance, greedily scoffing my pastry snack. Thankfully, he was back in about 20 minutes and off we went. The ride was both extreemly exciting, but also quite terrifying when we hit a rocks and lurched off to the side.


Bryony was waiting on the beach, which was beautiful, but Peter said that we should climb around to the next two bays as they were even more amazing. He wasn't wrong. The climb down was quite commiting as the rock was chalky and slipped away in your hands, but we got there eventually. There was barely a sole around and we swam in the sea surrounded by white cliffs, strange rock formations and turquoise water. It was such a relief to not be walking, but we were still a bit worried about how we would get back to our campsite. We were now even further away. Thankfully, Peter asked an Italian couple if they were going back our way and they said they would give us a lift. Such a relief!! They were lovely and we chatted to the lady al the way home while her husband negotiated the crazy mountain roads.


That night we treated ourselves to a Greek Salad from the campsite resterant and Peter came overfor a beer. Never have I been so thankful for my sleeping bag as that night!!!


Anyway, other than that we have been having quite a leasurely time, swimming in the sea, painting and walking around smaller bits of the island. I will be very sad to leave. Bryony found 10 Euros on the floor yesterday, so we were extatic about that, even if we had missed the last bus and had to walk the 6km back to our campsite. We got a lift anyway.


Milos is beautiful and I will be sad to leave on Tuesday.


Keep safe everyone.


xxxxxxxxxxx

Milos

Posted by Katie Featherstone on September 8, 2011 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello everyone,

We've arrived safely on the island of Milos after 8 hours on a boat, miraculasly finding a bus and putting up Dad's slightly too cozy tent in the dark. The island is beautiful and we have done a lot of exploring on foot (due to my overdraft and lack of bus money...). About 14 miles walking in 2 days so far. In flip flops... Yesterday we explored several little picturesque towns including Plaka the capital, climbed around the catacombs which were discovered more recently after thier use by early Christians in the 1st century, we then spotted a tiny beach in the distance from a viewpoint and decided to have a look. It was quite a hike, but the sea was beautiful and we swum in our underwear as neather of us had invisioned swimming that day. It didn't feel too outrageous as there were two naked Greek men on the beach! In the evening we watched the sunset, drank some wine and did a spot of painting. Quite idilic really, might be even better if we hadn't woken up this morning to find our food stolen by kittens!!! We will have revenge!

Today we have spent in the small town of Amandas, lieing on the beach and trecking back to our campsite. I'll update you all soon. Sorry it's so short.

Katie xxx

Greece with Bryony...

Posted by Katie Featherstone on September 6, 2011 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)

OK, so Katie/Ailsa travels isn't a very good web address for this trip, but this is Katie/Bryony travels! I'm going to have to make a new page at some point.


Anyway, we've arrived in Athens with very little trouble. Our plane was a bit delayed, but nothing majour, so we arrived at 9.30ish last night, caught a bus and then walked from the center of town to our hostel. It didn't look very promicing at first: a skanky block of flats in a skanky area of town and it seemed even more suspect when we had to climb through 4 floors of unlit staircase (the lift looks terrifying and has a sign warning you to "be careful, only two people", our bags must make us at least three!!). However, despite the unwelcoming entrance, the hostel itself is quite cute and we have made a couple of friends while people watching on the balcony. The best people watching I've ever seen actually. Prostitutes, drug deals and cops casually driving past. It's quite entertaining. Off to Milos today, we hope. Our first island!!! So excited!

xxxxxxx


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