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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.

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.