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Kalymnos Island

We arrived in Piraeus very late after a comfortable train ride and made our way by taxi to our hotel, sharing the ride with a young geologist who lives near the city. The taxi driver tried to charge us for two trips and after a long argument, he left angry with a nice tip for one trip.

Our room was underwhelming, especially for 89 euro, a measly breakfast included. The next morning we walked around the picturesque yacht bay and thought we would try to find a more reasonably-priced hotel for our return July 26 (from our cruise). Happily we found and booked a nicer hotel, better situated, for 55 euro, which will be our base for visiting Athens and the Acropolis when we return.

Our hotel manager told us we could walk to the port. Unfortunately it took an hour and by the time we arrived, I was a wreck! Irwin was fine. We discovered that our cabin had a window, a substantial upgrade from our booking of an inside cabin. It’s actually meant for four people so it’s quite spacious.

We have since learned that we probably paid more than we should have because we didn’t need the meals and we booked at the last minute, probably paying a hidden agency fee. Other cruisers told us that they got good deals by reserving early online. Still we feel content. And we’ll know for next time.

Today we docked at Kalymnos Island, which is approximately 100 kilometers square. The island is so beautiful that I cried when I disembarked and saw the terraced pastel houses built on the mountainside. Future paintings?

We had a mediocre lunch, quite pricey, in a portside resto, but we got good advice from the British retiree who served us and suggested taking a bus to the other side of the island to a beach town called Misouri. The water was clean, calm and cool — a pleasure to swim in. And though there were many hundreds of Sunday swimmers, it didn’t feel crowded in the water. The town is simply exquisite. How nice it would be to spend six months there writing a novel. Getting the bus back was an adventure. We waited over an hour and finally it came and was packed all the way back to Pothia, the main town where the ships dock.

Tomorrow — Bodrum, Turkey. One of the nicest surprises is that our cruise ship leaves in the wee hours so we lose no time on land — exploring and enjoying the scene.

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