My first week in Greece – my first adventure

fly over Marathonissi

Imag­ine a solo trav­eler girl like me, buy­ing a flight ticket to Zakyn­thos in Greece, not know­ing any­thing about the island I would land to. I only knew one thing: I would sleep in my tent in a camp­ing by the sea. I have cho­sen to sleep in a camp­ing because the prices for rooms were insane high, and I could not find any­thing under 40–50 euros/night for a sin­gle room. So I have looked for camp­ing sites in Zakyn­thos which are near to the Vasi­likos beach and the Marathonissi island. Another impor­tant thing for me was that the camp­ing site is green with lush forests, for obvi­ous rea­sons.

Ride from airport to the camping

So I arrive in the air­port  of Zakyn­thos, look­ing for a bus to take me to the camp­ing. But I see no buses, just taxis. I ask around to find out if there is one bus com­ing later maybe and find out that the only way to get out of the air­port is by let­ting 25 euros leak out of my pocket for a taxi.

No way I will pay that for a few kilo­me­ters so I ask the same girl, which way is the town. It’s noon, it’s august, it’s Greece, so a burn­ing sun is just a nor­mal com­pan­ion. The girl asks me if I can wait for 10 min­utes, as her father will pick her up and they can give me a ride. So they do. Then I hitch­hike again to finally arrive in the camp­ing. The girl who took me in the car, is Abbey. She is eng­lish, 34, and leaves on the island for a cou­ple of o years. She had two small pups in her lap, which she has just taken to the vet. Abbey works with dog res­cue NGO’s that take dogs off the streets and put them for adop­tion world­wide. Abbey fos­ters the pups until they are 4 months old, because they can not travel out­side of Greece before that age. How beau­ti­ful is that? So my 25 km ride from the air­port to the camp­ing worked as a charm.

The Camping Tartaruga in Zakynthos- first 2 days

In the  Tar­taruga camp­ing, I chose a cosy spot in the shadow, set up my tent, drank one beer or two and social­ized with my Ger­man camp­ing neigh­bors. Then I went to the sea. The camp­ing had a small cosy tav­ern, with an amaz­ing sea view. They were serv­ing home cooked dishes, so I def­i­nitely wanted to try some. In the evening, I pick a table of my choice,  with sea-view of course, and soon an Irish guy and the Ger­man fam­ily join me. Than I was think­ing. A cou­ple of hours ago I was in Budapest, wait­ing to fly to Greece and think­ing how crazy I am to go again in a new place with no plans.

stuffed paprika with fresh tomato sauce

And here I am, sit­ting at a table with 4 peo­ple I have never met and we enjoy a beau­ti­ful Greek din­ner spiced with inter­na­tional sub­jects. The Ger­man guy talks about Ger­man cars, power horses and no speed lim­its. The Irish guy tells us how he has crossed 7 coun­tries in 3 weeks on the motor­bike and how scenic the TransAlpina road in Roma­nia was. It is a unique thor­ough­fare over the south­ern Carpathian Moun­tains and part of the world’s most amaz­ing roads list. He also says that he enjoyed Bul­garia more than any other coun­try because of its kind peo­ple. He wants to see more pic­tures of Roma­nia, so I show him. He is amazed to see that my coun­try is not only a big vil­lage. Uthe, the Ger­man woman wants to know more about the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Roma­nia and how things have changed in the last years.

We had excit­ing con­ver­sa­tions for hours and beers and hours…when the hours were out and the beer too much, I just excused myself and went to sleep.

The next morn­ing, I go to the beach tav­ern to drink the cof­fee and hear two girls tak­ing greek on a table next to mine. Think­ing that I need some advice regard­ing good places to visit on the island from locals if pos­si­ble, I go to them. The next thing I know is that they invite me to spend the day with them tour­ing the island and 7 days later we say good­bye, as I was head­ing to Lefkada and they were going back to Athens.

What hap­pened in these 7 days? This is when the great story begins.

The next days and where the adventure starts

After spend­ing a whole day on the Marathia beach with the girls, which still is one of my favorite beaches on the island, they tell me a friend of theirs has invited them to spend the rest of the week in his sum­mer home in Zakyn­thos. My plans were to con­tinue my jour­ney on the island, go and see other beaches, and the ship­wreck beach of Nav­a­gio, which was on the top of my list. But Maria and Val ask me if I would like to stay for another day, if their friend agrees to host me. So I think: “yes, I’d love to“.


The next think I know is that I arrive at the sum­mer home and meet the other friends of Maria and Val. So the full team is made of five greek boys, two greek girls and me. We have cooked, laughed, danced, sailed and stayed under the sun or moon. We would spend the days at dif­fer­ent beaches, and the evenings eat­ing out or cook­ing together. The nights were the best time to gather in the gar­den, smoke, chat, drink, lis­ten to music and lie in the ham­mocks to watch the moon.

Such a chill time, such an authen­tic way of enjoy­ing each oth­ers com­pany, with­out know­ing one another. We were a hand­ful of strangers that had one thing in com­mon: joy, or Hara in greek. All of my friends are from Athens and one is from Corinth. Maria works on IT projects, Val is an insur­ance pro­fes­sional, Christo is finance accoun­tant in a mar­ble com­pany, Spiro works for the gov­ern­ment, Costas has his own com­pany sell­ing sport gear, the other Costas is a hair styl­ist and  Nikos –  I don’t know what he does, but I will ask.

Favorite moments

One of my favorite moments was when we sailed around the islands and we swam in the turquoise waters, near the turtle nests beaches. It was an adven­tur­ous sail­ing because the boat engine stopped work­ing in the mid­dle of the sea, so we were ‘hitch­hiked’ by another boat.  It took 2 min­utes to get help, as Greek peo­ple are really emphatic and care for the oth­ers.

The next favorite was the tra­di­tional greek food like: kolokithoft­edes which are meat­balls with zuc­chini  and feta cheese, then graviera cheese with pasta and Gemista – stuffed toma­toes and/or other veg­eta­bles that are baked, until soft and nicely brown.

The next thing I will do is going to Athens, some day. Now I have 6 more rea­sons to do it.

My Impressions

What are my impres­sions of Greece and Greek peo­ple after this adven­ture:

  • greek peo­ple are warm-hearted, ready to help you, and they lis­ten, really lis­ten.  If you have a need they will try to help you them­selves, or if not call a neigh­bour, a cousin, an aunt – any­thing to sort it out.
  • greek peo­ple share every­thing with you, like you were fam­ily: their home, food, drink, car, smoke. Actu­ally when we ate, some­thing in the car, for exam­ple, every­one would get a bite until there was noth­ing left.
  • they are prob­lem solvers and solu­tion ori­ented and are ready for spon­ta­neous cases, like hav­ing to jump out of a boat which is about to set loose 🙂 . They have really strong instincts.
  • they like music, chill­ing out, enjoy­ing cof­fee, sea breeze and dance in a cer­tain slow pace. Noth­ing is in a hurry in Greece. The only excep­tion, is when they drive towards to beach.
  • Oh they love to laugh, and they laugh until they lose their breath and then they start jok­ing all over again. I haven‘t under­stood much of Greek, but laugh­ing came nat­u­rally to me just by see­ing them laugh.
  • it is so easy to be your­self around them
  • I love them
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One Comment Add yours

  1. Muchos Gra­cias for your post.Really look­ing for­ward to read more. Want more.

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