Dreaming of Ios? Check out these dreamy photos from guest blogger Alexandra Baackes of Alex in Wanderland and sail away to Greece...
Nights go late in Ios, but I can’t help from waking up early, too – I’ll sleep on the ferry back to Athens, I figure. Far Out Beach Club is such a gem it’s hard to imagine wasting a sunlit hour here.
My roommate, a nursing student from the US celebrating a big birthday with a summer in Greece, follows my lead and we head for the beach. We don’t have long to walk – it’s about three minutes from the door of our sun-drenched room to the foot of our beach lounger. We aren’t there to lounge, however. The sea is calling, and we answer by renting two stand up paddleboards for a morning paddle around Mylopotas Bay. The day before we’d bopped around on an inflatable couch pulled by a speedboat, but this more sedate activity seems appropriate to the early morning hour.
After working up an appetite, we scarf down the last moments of our complimentary hotel breakfast. On this trip I discover an unexpected highlight to Greece – Nutella as breakfast food! Joined by our fellow Contiki-ers, we giggle over recounted antics from the night before. Laughing hardest of all is our tour guide, Paola, who loves Ios like a second home.
Finally assembled, we climb onboard a shuttle bus to today’s ME Time optional, Sailing Spectacular Ios. Down at the harbor, we come face to face with our vessel for the day – a pirate ship complete with tall wooden masts, mermaids whittled into the banisters, and a rum-stocked bar. Though this is an optional activity, almost every single member of our extra large high-season crew is in attendance. We set sail on the Aegean, slowly following the curves of the small and sparsely populated island unfurling in front of us. We pass palatial white-washed villas, corners of hidden coastline, and eventually, in the distance, we spot Far Out Beach club, our temporary home on Ios.
When we’ve really reached the outer edges of the island, we dock over a calm swath of turquoise waters. The crew tosses some inflatable water toys over the deck, and the captain announces with much fanfare, “Pool’s open!” That was our cue to jump – for some of us, from all the way up on the banister of the second story deck.
We pull up anchor and continue onward, but our next destination isn’t far. We stop not far offshore one of the most perfect bays I’ve ever laid eyes on. Once again, we leap overboard, swimming towards the completely abandoned paradise ahead. And minutes later, we collapsed with happy exhaustion on the sand. (Our bags and those not comfortable with the swim were right behind us in a dinghy). The afternoon that follows is a blissful blur of snorkeling, swimming, hiking, sand castle building, beach picnics, and naps in the sand.
Sunburnt and happy, we return to Far Out, shower, and are back sitting poolside just in time for sunset. It had been an impossibly full day, and yet there was still an entire night ahead. We discuss our options for the night – would we end up in Fun Pub playing life-size Jenga? Would we host a beerpong championship in the hipster hideaway that is Lost Boys bar? Or would we end up dancing the night away in Traffic Bar, where we’d all come home from the night prior with matching trucker hats? Most likely it would be some combination of all three, plus new adventures we didn’t even know to anticipate. I knew one thing for sure. No matter how long our night kept us dancing through the cobblestone streets of the Chora, I’d be waking back up to catch the sunrise. After all, sleeping is for the ferry, right? Ios is simply too good to sleep through.
About Alex in Wanderland
Alexandra Baackes is a travel writer and blogger with a passion for aquatic adventures. A New York native with a background in design, she’s spent the past three years living nomadically and sharing her stories of hopping across the globe.