Leaving Patmos was no easier than the last time, but at least we had the company of friends to look forward to.

We had been to the supermarket to buy breakfast which we intended to eat on the ferry to Leros, but as we had bought tickets for the Flying Dolphin, we quickly realised that there was no way that we could sit down to eat nor drink anything while on that boat. It was a fast, but extremely bumpy boat ride which I won’t recommend if you have other options such as the Blue Star ferry or the catamaran. The tickets we bought just before departure and they were 16 Euros each from Patmos to Leros. Departure was 9.15 am.

When you pick the Flying Dolphin as your means of transport from Patmos to Leros, be prepared for a wild and bumpy ride. Keep that breakfast in your bag till you have landed safely again.

When you pick the Flying Dolphin as your means of transport from Patmos to Leros, be prepared for a wild and bumpy ride. Keep that breakfast in your bag till you have landed safely again.

On Leros we were going to visit our friends and spend time with them. They had been staying at the same place for the past 20 years, the Krithoni Bay View. You would think that we would naturally be staying at the same place, but as the owners of Krithoni Bay View only rented out small flats for a month or more at a time, we had to find another place to stay on Leros. So, when we got off the Flying Dolphin we had to deal with the crowd of locals who wanted us to rent a room or flat from them. It was very unpleasant as they were almost fighting with each other to get the chance to be the lucky one to have us as their guests! Fortunately, our friends called us and said that we were welcome to stay at Krithoni Bay View as their hosts had a flat vacant for just the few days that we would need it.

The Americans as John and Pat are known as on Leros own a big beautiful house with a number of lovely flats. The house overlooks the bay and you just have to cross a small road to get to the local beach. John’s mother was born in the small house adjoining the big one where we stayed, so he is Greek-American whereas Pat is American. They are absolutely the friendliest and kindest couple that you can imagine, and no doubt that our stay in Leros would have been a very different one if we had stayed elsewhere. When they were younger, they ran a real American restaurant downstairs which supposedly was a very popular place. Now they have retired and spend their summers on Leros and winters in the States. What a life!

Krithoni Bay View - Leros, Greece. This place and our hosts made all the difference to our stay in Leros. The location of the house was superb and the hospitality of our hosts was unparalleled.

Krithoni Bay View – Leros, Greece. This place and our hosts made all the difference to our stay in Leros. The location of the house was superb and the hospitality of our hosts was unparalleled.

Having settled in, the next thing to do was to rent a car and John helped us get one for 30 Euros a day. It was a Fiat 16 and quite small, a must when driving on Leros where the streets are often so narrow and steep that you are sure that you can’t possible go there by car, but then you see everybody else doing it, and yes, it is possible. So, if you are looking for excitement, just go to Pandeli, a small town with very steep and narrow streets.

As we had a nice little kitchen with a fridge in our flat we went shopping for groceries, well actually mostly water, watermelon, yogurt and that sort of thing. We went to a rather well assorted supermarket in Laki and couldn’t help being shocked by the prices of just the most basic foodstuffs.  We were wondering whether there was such a thing as a ‘Greek’ button at the cash register.  By that we mean, would there be a way to enable the locals to pay a different price, maybe get special discounts if they showed proof that they actually lived there and were not just tourists like we were.  The prices were often as high as in Denmark, even of locally produced products. How can people afford these prices? But what is strange is that eating out in restaurants is not expensive at all, so you really have to be on a very tight budget to choose cooking your own meals over going out to a restaurant for dinner.

And we did go out most nights as that was part of the experience. Some nights we went to Agia Marina which was within walking distance, other nights to Pandeli where we went by car. I was happy that I didn’t have to do the driving as I believe my courage would have failed me.

Agia Marina, Leros, full of life both during the day and at night. Although there are many tourists here, it is also a place where people go about their usual business like this fisherman is doing.

Agia Marina, Leros, full of life both during the day and at night. Although there are many tourists here, it is also a place where people go about their usual business like this fisherman is doing.

At Agia Marina you will find lots of restaurants, small shops, a great bakery – probably several, but we especially visited one which sold great baklava. You could claim that Agia Marina is touristy and I guess it is, but in a nice way – and still quiet and very pleasant. This is also where the Blue Star ferry comes in.

We went to Pandeli a few times which is, of course, also quite touristy, but a lot of tourists are Greeks, and they know how to have a good time. A couple of interesting places:

The town square – or at least so it looks – surrounded by a number of small restaurants and everybody is eating outside at long tables. There was live Greek music and lots of Greeks dancing Greek dancing. Fantastic atmosphere.

Pandeli, Leros - the Greeks are dancing Greek dancing in the town square

Pandeli, Leros – the Greeks are dancing Greek dancing in the town square

At the waterfront the restaurants lie one next to the other. The food is great and you can almost sit with your feet in the water while eating. There is also a great place there for desserts with ice creams etc.

One night when we were doing just that – having an ice cream after dinner, lights went out all over the place, maybe all over the island. It was dark as in black. The staff brought out candles which was fine, but we had to make it back to our cars and to get back to Krithoni Bay View. Fortunately, we always bring flashlights when we go out at night in Greece which helped us back to our cars, and as soon as we turned on the headlights, we were fine – sort of.

Keep in mind the narrow and steep roads and the total blackout on the island. Here we are driving along really carefully when suddenly we only just missed a scooter with two people on it and no lights! We were shocked! I know that I have mentioned it before, but there is a reason why there are shrines every few hundred metres or less in these islands. So many people get killed this way and we were really lucky not to become involved in a serious accident that night at Leros.

Snorkelling, reading, eating, and relaxing in the shade – these were the daily activities on Psili Ammos beach, and most of them took place without wearing any clothes. I say this to illustrate why the next event could happen.

One afternoon when we were about to dress to go to the taverna my husband grabbed a polo shirt that had been left for a few days in the beach tent where we stored most of our stuff. The moment he pulled the shirt over his head he felt something that stung him. He looked inside his polo shirt and saw a – scorpion!

 

Scorpions on Psili Ammos, Patmos, who would have thought so

Scorpions on Psili Ammos, Patmos, who would have thought so – my husband got stung on the side of his neck and lived to tell about it

He yelled out loud and fortunately ‘J’, our Dutch neighbour who lived a few meters away from us in a hammock, was around and came running. He was a very special guy, very friendly and very spiritual. He does a lot of things with the sandstone rocks that you will find all over the place and has made this perfect and very large spiral in the area behind where we camped. He lives on Psili Ammos all summer and in Scala all winter with his Greek girlfriend.

 

Psili Ammos, Patmos - a perfect spiral - made by our Dutch neighbour

Psili Ammos, Patmos – a perfect spiral – made by our Dutch neighbour

He knew of scorpions in Greece, but had never actually seen them and didn’t know how poisonous they were. First, he helped my husband sort of catch the scorpion in a small pocked in the shirt and then helped him get the shirt off. Next, he suggested that I should try to suck at the place where my husband had been bitten. However, I doubt that would do any good.  And then, the three of us went very quickly to the taverna to get help.

On our way to the taverna I was already beginning to think about how to leave the beach with the boys and get home in case my husband died. A lot of thoughts went through my mind in the couple of minutes it took to get to the taverna. From my travelling in Australia I knew that the small brown scorpions (this one measured about 2-3 cm) were the most poisonous ones, much worse than the big black ones that I had come across in Indonesia many years ago.  ‘J’ told the family what had happened, and they asked to see the scorpion. And then they laughed…

What a relief. It turned out that this type of scorpion was not dangerous at all, and the bite no worse than getting stung by a bee – which can be bad enough, but not compared to what we thought it would have been. The grandfather just stepped on it and it was no longer in this world.  I kept a close eye on my husband for the next 24 hours and we learned to shake all pieces of clothing, etc. before putting them on.

We spent lots of time snorkelling a bit out in the water, but not quite out there where the cliffs end as the sea and waves would be far too rough. I am not the courageous type and like calm water when I snorkel. But the thing is that when you get out there and dive under the surface, the water is completely calm, and the light is fantastic. It feels like diving in a huge aquarium surrounded by beautifully coloured fish and plants.

 

Psili Ammos, Patmos - snorkelling in a big aquarium - or almost so

Psili Ammos, Patmos – snorkelling in a big aquarium – or almost so

We also saw this huge mussel shell, which I later learned was a ham-mussel. Apparently, the mussel had somehow left the shell or probably something had made it leave if by eating it. The shell was enormous compared to the shells that we see in Denmark. It was barely hanging on to a big rock and came off when I touched it. Since the mussel wasn’t there anymore I took it with me when we swam back in to the beach.

It was about 20 cm long and orange inside with white mother of pearl, really beautiful. As usual my husband said that there was no way that it would make it back to Denmark, but he forgot about the water bottles which serve many purposes. So, I wrapped the shell in paper towel and cut open a couple of water bottles and stuck the whole package together with gaffer tape. It made it back to Denmark without breaking and I have added it to my shell collection.

At night it is totally black at Psili Ammos where you only have the moon and the stars to shine on your camp. As wonderful as that is, it wasn’t quite sufficient when the four of us wanted to play Uno at night, so we made lamps out of our water bottles.

We had brought some tea light candles along as we knew we would need some kind of light at night, but we hadn’t counted on it being so windy all the time that it was impossible to keep the candles going. So, we took an empty plastic water bottle, took off the cap, filled the bottom with sand, cut a small window in the side of the bottle where we could insert the candle into the bottle on top of the sand – and voila – we had sand lamps.

 

Leaving-Psili-Amos, Paytmos, very early in the morning to catch the catamaran to Leros

Leaving Psili Amos, Patmos, very early in the morning to catch the catamaran to Leros

Eventually, it was time to move on and leave Psili Ammos and Patmos to go to one of the nearby Greek islands that we had passed on the way to Patmos – and where we had friends waiting for us – Leros.

 

Somehow it is easier to relax and enjoy the trip when you know where you are going – and we knew that before nightfall we would be back on Psili Ammos. As always when you arrive by ferry somewhere there is a crowd waiting for potential guests for their hotels, guesthouses, etc.

However, we just got our backpacks unloaded in the shade, left our boys on top of them and headed towards the supermarket to stock up on whatever we would need for the next few days. There are a couple of supermarkets in Scala with a good selection of food, but a limited selection of other things. I was looking for a hairbrush and only managed to get a very big comb for my long hair. Not ideal.

The water melons are huge and you have to keep in mind how heavy they are and that you have to carry them – and of course, water, and more water. All in all, fruit and vegetables are so tempting that it is necessary to decide how much you want to carry before you buy the whole shop.

This time we had decided to live life a bit more luxurious than the year before. Instead of going by bus and hiking for hours to get to Psili Ammos we went to the taxi stand across the street and negotiated a price for a taxi for the four of us and for four big backpacks. It was 12 Euros to go all the way to Grikos. Incredibly cheap. So off we went and in no time – at least so it seemed – we stood at the beginning of the trail across the cliffs leading to Psili Ammos. We found the price so cheap that we paid the taxi driver 15 Euros. As Danes we are not very good at tipping – we only do so in restaurants in Denmark and not always as service is included and staff well paid – but over the years I have learned to do so when travelling abroad. Still, I only tip when I feel that I am pleased with the service that I get.  This taxi driver was great and very helpful.

Psili Ammos beach, Patmos, is not the easiest place to reach, but well worth the hike across the cliffs from Grikos.

Psili Ammos beach, Patmos, is not the easiest place to reach, but well worth the hike across the cliffs from Grikos.

It is quite a different sensation to overcome those cliffs without first having hiked for two hours from the bus stop. It took us about 20 minutes and there it all was as we had left it the year before. Nothing whatsoever had changed – and thank God for that!

Even though the thing we would have liked to do most of all was a quick dip in the sea we decided to find a place right away to camp. There are only so many tamarisk trees to find under which to pitch your tent, and under most of the trees there are the same tents all summer. People come to pitch them at the beginning of the season, leave them and then come back once in a while, maybe just for the weekend. It is actually not a very friendly thing to do as it keeps other people out. Some of the people there can get a bit unfriendly if you move in on what they find is their territory.  We found a great spot under a big tree with a small stonewall around it, but had to wait a couple of hours till someone would move a towel from that particular spot. Well, at least we could get our long deserved swim in the meantime.

The reward of a long day of travelling was a swim and then just to sit and watch the sun set over Psili Ammos, Patmos

The reward of a long day of travelling was a swim and then just to sit and watch the sun set over Psili Ammos, Patmos

Because we had to wait so long to pitch the tent, we only got one of them up before it got dark. Two of us could sleep in the tent and two outside in a half-open beach tent. It was a really windy night and the two who slept outside had a terrible night as they kept getting sand blown into their faces every time there was a gust of wind. They looked awful in the morning, both with streaks of sand in their faces and very tired from too little sleep.

Camping on Psili Ammos, Patmos, can be a bit challenging when the wind decides to play with your tent. You absolutely need big heavy rocks to keep your plugs in the sand in place.

Camping on Psili Ammos, Patmos, can be a bit challenging when the wind decides to play with your tent. You absolutely need big heavy rocks to keep your plugs in the sand in place.

After a swim and a good breakfast at the taverna at the other end of the beach the first project was to pitch the second tent and to continue building the stone wall around the camp to protect us from the wind. The wind kept being really annoying all day and the sand on this particular beach is so very fine that the wind made it find its way into every little corner of the tent and our backpacks. Building the stone wall was a never-ending project and eventually gave us pretty good protection from the wind.

Building a wall to protect our camp from the wind and sand was his main project while on Psili Ammos, Patmos, and there were rocks in abundance.

Building a wall to protect our camp from the wind and sand was his main project while on Psili Ammos, Patmos, and there were rocks in abundance.

As long as the wind kept being so strong we just had to keep our heads down which was no problem as we lived in the shade of our tree with our brick novels, ranging from Harry Potter to Cathedral of the Sea; just perfect for days with nothing else to do.

The taverna offered great breakfasts and late hot lunches. The thing to do is to have breakfast late in the morning and lunch around 4 pm just before the taverna closes down for business. And then you can order a salad or maybe some roast chicken or something like that to takeaway later in the evening. This was only for us who camped at the beach and a great service. The taverna is run by a family where some of them live in the room behind the kitchen throughout the season and some walk down every morning. How fit they must be!

After a morning swim it was time for breakfast at the other end of the beach. Walking in that direction required getting dressed, something that is not necessary at the other end of the beach where we camped.

After a morning swim it was time for breakfast at the other end of the beach. Walking in that direction required getting dressed, something that is not necessary at the other end of the beach where we camped.

The family was really friendly and helpful. Even though we had decided to be unplugged for the duration of our stay on Psili Ammos I still used my smartphone to write notes and it took so much of my battery that I risked running out of power every second day and the solar charger that we used wasn’t any good for my smartphone, but no problem. I just left my phone in the kitchen and they recharged it for me. Sure, we were good customers, but still…

To pick the wild herbs that you can smell all the time at Psili Ammos, Patmos, you have to climb the cliffs. At the same time we had a spectacular view of our camp under the tamarisk trees to the left.

To pick the wild herbs that you can smell all the time at Psili Ammos, Patmos, you have to climb the cliffs. At the same time we had a spectacular view of our camp under the tamarisk trees to the left.

The days went by quickly with only few activities, one of which was climbing the cliffs behind us to pick wild herbs. You can actually smell them on the beach, sage and thyme, and the goats eat them as well before we eat them :-).

The taverna at the other end of Psili Ammos, Patmos serves great food at very reasonable prices. I got this piece of goat for my birthday. What a treat!

The taverna at the other end of Psili Ammos, Patmos serves great food at very reasonable prices. I got this piece of goat for my birthday. What a treat!

We picked quite a lot and then left the herbs to dry. For that very purpose I had brought along a pair of old nylons – yes, old nylons. I use them to dry nuts here in Denmark and I thought that they would serve the purpose and they did just perfectly. The remainder of the trip it looked as if I was travelling around with a couple of thick black snakes (smelling from wonderful herbs :-)).

Having spent a long and cold winter in Denmark thinking of last year’s experiences in the Greek islands of Patmos, Tilos, Nisyros, and Kos, it was time to plan for new adventures to come.

An important change from the previous year was that this time we knew a lot more about how everything worked with ferries, transport, car rental, etc.

We knew for certain that we wanted to return to Patmos and Psili Amos, our paradise beach, where we had only spent a few days in 2011. Also, we knew that we wanted to limit our ferry travel as it was such a heavy burden on our budget. Furthermore, in 2011 we had made new friends who had been coming to Leros for more than 20 years every summer. This time we would go to stay with them and let them show us an island which they loved so much.

Our experiences from 2011 where we had booked a hotel through hotels4u.com and medhotels.com and been treated in an infamous manner that we would not have believed possible, had taught us not to book through these online services again, nor was it necessary at all to do so. Every time we stepped off a ferry or bus, hotel owners would be standing there with their offers and photos of their hotels or pensions.

We simply bought plane tickets through Norwegian Air from Copenhagen to Kos. Because we wanted to go back to the Dodecanese islands there was no way of avoiding flying to Kos, and so we did. Also, when you travel on a budget as we do, we arrived at 3 am in the morning. However, this time we knew our way around the airport. We went outside right away and turned left where there was a somewhat protected corner that would easily fit our four sleeping mats. When we woke up a few hours later, we bought coffee in the departure hall and got ready for another backpacking adventure in the Dodecanese islands.

The first bus leaves at about 8 am from right outside the airport and takes you right into Kos town. It takes about half an hour and costs 3.90 per person. You may take a little nap as you don’t miss out on much on this bus ride. When you get to the Kos town bus stop you need to walk to the port to catch the catamaran which comes in on the outer part of the port and you have to pass the crusaders’ castle to get there.

Ferrysign showing all the destinations from Kos to Patmos, Leros, etc.

Ferrysign showing all the destinations from Kos to Patmos, Leros, etc.

On your way there you pass the indoor market and a small pedestrian street will lead you towards the waterfront. In this small street you can buy your tickets from one of the travel agents for the catamaran for Patmos and everywhere else, and it is by far more convenient than buying it from the small ticket booth next to where the catamaran departs. Last year that was just what we did as we thought the tickets would be less expensive here, but they weren’t, and instead we were frying in the sun for an hour. Never again!

By the way, tickets to Patmos with the catamaran were 29 Euros per person. Usually the catamaran is about twice the price of the a ticket from Blue Star ferries, which is much more comfortable to travel with, but it only leaves a couple of times a week and at very inconvenient hours of the day – or rather during the  night. The catamaran from the Dodecanese Seaways leaves for Patmos at 11 am.  Click for timetable for Dodecanese Seaways  can be seen here. And off we were to Patmos.

Clearly, finding a beach in Kos without parasols and deckchairs proved a challenge in such a touristy place, but we set out to do so and succeeded in finding a nice beach with no one else there during most of the day. Well, may be because there were no bars or other facilities, just the beach and the lovely clear water. Also, it was quite windy with waves and therefore not a place to go swimming with small children or suitable for snorkelling. However, we could sun bade wearing nothing and thus soak up some sun before heading back to Denmark where you can never be sure of the sun in the summertime. This beach is situated on the south-western part of Kos and features no tavernas or the like, but lots of goats.

Beautiful beach on Kos without deckchairs, parasols and people - only company was goats

Beautiful beach on Kos without deckchairs, parasols and people – only company was goats

It made a wonderful contrast to an awful place we went to the day before. I don’t know if you can call it a tourist trap as we didn’t pay to get there. It is one of these places that would be interesting if no one else were there, but – everybody was there. I am talking about the hot springs in Therma Loutra. Big stones sort of form a pool around the centre of the springs and the closer you get to the springs, the hotter the water is. But – be prepared to share this experience with literally hundreds of people, crowding together in the pool and surrounding area, all looking like boiled something. We thought this was too awful a place to stay there, so we took a quick dip and left again.

Therma Loutra Kos - hot springs with too many people to make it an enjoyable experience

Therma Loutra Kos – hot springs with too many people to make it an enjoyable experience

We found one nice restaurant in the old part of Kefalos town. She served us stuffed zucchini flowers which were really nice. No, they were not on the menu, but that’s what happens when you get to talk to people. They turn out to be very friendly and this woman’s teenage sons loved her stuffed zucchini flowers so she wanted to see what our teenage sons would think of them. They loved them and so did their parents.

One place that we can recommend in Kos is the old crusaders’ castle at Antimáhia. It is located high up in a desolate landscape with a beautiful view to far away. We spent a couple of hours there till just before the sun set and it was really interesting to see all the remains from that period. Some places it looks as if the authorities have wanted to do some renovation or installing various facilities, but gave up half way. Whether the lack of facilities is the reason that no one seems to visit the crusaders’ castle, I don’t know, but it is definitely worth a visit. We probable saw 5 other people while we were there.

Crusaders' castle on Kos - well worth a visit and you won't be bothered by crowds of people

Crusaders’ castle on Kos – well worth a visit and you won’t be bothered by crowds of people

Our last night in Kos and on the Greek Islands before leaving Greece this summer we spent in Zia high up in the hills/mountains. Apparently you can go there by bus from Kos town, but we went by car. It is very very touristy, but a must if you have the chance to go. You go there for one reason only – to see the amazingly beautiful sunset over the islands. But be prepared to leave your car at a parking lot when entering the town and then walk through the worst kind of tourist markets that you can imagine. Then find yourself a restaurant with a view of the islands and have your dinner there. Take your time and enjoy the scenery. In such a spot even Kos offers its advantages.

Blogger and husband at Zia - enjoying the beautiful sunset over the Greek islands

Blogger and husband at Zia – enjoying the beautiful sunset over the Greek islands

I hope that I have been able to pass on some of the information and experiences that we had on this first Greek Island Hopping trip of ours. Time to start planning our next backpacking trip to the Greek Islands.

Kos will never be my favourite Greek island – well, there it is. However, we were to spend 3 days on this very touristy island – and the least friendly island we had come across. It is usually the way it is – the more touristy a place is, not just in Greece, but all over the world, the less friendly its people is. I guess it has to do with the locals getting fed up after a while, and I really can’t blame them. The behaviour of young people we saw in the streets in Kos town in a state of anything but sober was – how should I put it – not so pleasant.

Ancient Roman road near Kos town

Ancient Roman road near Kos town – it makes the past feel very real

We were deported to Kefalos on the southern part of Kos, and it was a horrible place. The beach was about 2 m wide; one restaurant lay next to the other, screaming at us to stay far away as there was absolutely none of the atmosphere that we had experienced elsewhere while backpacking in the wonderful Greek islands. And, behind all the restaurants lay the hotels, again one more dismal than the next. Our place was up somewhere in between all that. We came there late at night to sleep and we left as soon as we could get out of there in the morning.

Casa Romana ruins - unlimited access to the ruins - here a beautifully carved stone - Kos town

Casa Romana ruins – where there is unlimited access to the ruins – here a beautifully carved stone – Kos town

Well, to do so we had to rent a car for the remainder of our stay on Kos, so we did. The car rental people were actually really nice – and let us have a small car for 114 Euros for 3 days and allowed us to leave it at the airport when we left. Still, located in a place where we had no wish to be meant a lot of time on the road, going back and forth between Kos town and Kefalos.

Casa Romana ruins Kos town

Casa Romana ruins Kos town

On the outskirts of Kos town we spent a lot of time visiting the antique Roman ruins and the Casa Romana, a villa that has been heavily renovated or should I say rebuilt. It offers a fantastic glimpse into the lives of the wealthy Romans of those times. What is really amazing is the easy access you have to the ruins. There is no one to tell you where to go and not to go, you can touch everything, and in some places you actually walk on the ancient mosaics and so on. That would never do in Denmark where some attendant would ask you politely not to touch and step on the ruins J

Roman mosaics in the ruins near Kos town

Roman mosaics in the ruins near Kos town – apparently no one cares to look after them

If you are staying in Kos town the way to go to the Roman ruins is to rent a bicycle. There are special bicycle paths everywhere in and out of Kos town and it is just such a convenient way to get around. We had planned to do so. Being from Denmark as we are – the country where everybody rides bicycles from the age of 3 till we drop – almost. But, it was the only place where we saw a bicycle path system in Greece.

If you would never contemplate booking a hotel online, you don’t have to read this post. We have done so for the last time, at least through hotels4u.com and medhotels.com.

Kos was a terrible experience in so many ways, so very different an experience from Patmos, Tilos, and Nissiros.

Before leaving for this trip my husband asked me to at least book a hotel for the last couple of days before leaving Greece again. My experience tells me that it is not necessary to book hotels unless you completely sure that everything is booked and you want something very special.

Anyway, I started looking on the Internet to find something suitable in Kos town where we wanted to stay. We intended to spend a great deal of time around the antique ruins which is one of the few attractions of the island of Kos, at least in our view.

In no time I found a great offer from hotels4u.com and medhotels.com – a small hotel apartment in a four star hotel called Sophia Beach Aparthotel. I booked it and paid for it right away and thus put my husband’s mind at ease. Also, later on when we were roughing it in Patmos and Tilos, my youngest son had this as a carrot – an apartment next to a nice swimming pool. In that respect he is quite different from the rest of the family.

When we left our hotel in Nissiros the manager asked us whether we had booked accommodation in Kos. If not, his friend had a hotel in Kos town which he, naturally, would recommend. When we got off the ferry in Kos we were met by the usual crowd of people who wanted us to come and stay at their hotel or pension. No thank you. We had a booking….

Sophia Beach Aparthotel, Kos - it wasn't really that exciting a place except that I had promised my boys a hotel with a pool for the last few days in Greece

Sophia Beach Aparthotel, Kos – it wasn’t really that exciting a place except that I had promised my boys a hotel with a pool for the last few days in Greece

We walked for half an hour and found Sophia Beach Aparthotel. It looked like it was just what the boys needed, a hotel with a big pool, and we would be able to go where we wanted on foot, bicycle or by bus. But – when I handed the guy at the reception my hotel receipt, he just looked at me and said that he had no rooms available. Actually, he said that hotels4u.com had made no booking with him for a room for us. He said that the booking agent was lying. He called the booking agent and told him that there was no room. The booking agent said that we would then be moved to a hotel in Kefalos at the south end of the island called Mimis. Apparently it was the last available room in Kos! He also said that the hotel manager of Sophia Beach Aparthotel was a liar and had lied repeatedly about overbooking his hotel. The agent said that the hotel in Kefalos was very nice (had he ever been there himself, I wonder?) and told the hotel manager – the guy at the reception desk – to get us a taxi to take us there. We waited 2 hours and eventually got a taxi that was ordered by someone else. The hotel manager never bothered to get us a taxi. The taxi driver told us that the taxi had been called 10 minutes earlier by someone else. We were caught in lies between the hotel manager of Sophia Beach Aparthotel and hotels4u.com / medhotels.com.

At 2 pm we arrived at Mimis in Kefalos. Where we had paid for a four star hotel with a big pool for our children, we now got a room in a ‘hotel’ without stars whatsoever. The room was hot and clearly for 2 people only, 2 beds, 2 chairs, 2 plates etc. To accommodate 4 people the manager of the place had put in a foldout chair and a bed-setter. Our boys were 180 cm and 192 cm (14 and 17 years)! The bathroom was so tiny that we could only close the door when standing in the shower. It was far away from everything.

My bed at Mimis, Kefalos, Kos - not  what I had expected having booked and paid for a four star hotel via hotels4u.com from home

My bed at Mimis, Kefalos, Kos – not what I had expected having booked and paid for a four star hotel via hotels4u.com from home

The manager of the place turned out to be very unpleasant. She came into our room with the agent from medhotels.com and removed the remote control for the air condition without telling us. We spent half an hour looking for it in the room till we realised that she had probably taken it. And she had taken it and she demanded an extra 5 Euros per day to let us use the air condition. This situation kept getting more ridiculous all the time.

The medhotels.com agent said that there was nothing he could do and that it was our problem that we would have to take to hotels4u.com when we got home. I told him that we needed a car desperately to get away from the place as we had planned our 3-day holiday in Kos to be in Kos town without a car, but stuck out there in the middle of nowhere we were forced to rent one. More expenses and a bad hotel with an unpleasant manager!

What else can I tell you – we had at no point of time anything but cold water, the bucket for dirty toilet paper was never emptied and the smell was awful as we couldn’t open the window in the bathroom. At 11 pm she came into our room and wanted our passports. We refused to give them to her and said that my husband would go see her the next morning before we left. Then she could copy whatever she needed to copy from them.

When we got home we wasted a lot of time trying to make hotels4u.com compensate us for our expenses, but they refused and ended up being rather impolite.

We made ourselves a solemn promise – never never never again make an online hotel booking through neither hotels4u.com nor through medhotels.com.

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