Soaking in the sunshine off the coast of the Greek Islands, a few of us wanted to do some exploring. After all, we were lucky to be spending the next couple of days hopping around beach to beach. As our island adventure began on Ios, we walked into the town nearest to the ferry terminal and noticed something intriguing...a small sign that stated “for rent” in English. As the four of us looked closer we realized that we could spend our time zipping around the island in style; four wheel style that is.
Because we were all on a budget, the idea of renting four wheel quads was a major luxury! Better yet, the rental was for a 24 hour period, for under 20 Euros!!! (gas not included). With excitement, we went inside the petite shop that hosted your average greasy Greek middle aged salesman…body hair and moustache included. Of course with the Greek island mentality that everyone could drive, the local stated that we could all rent our own quad with just one person’s identification, no paperwork required! This made perfect sense to a bunch of young twenty-one year old's who didn’t think twice about the safety concerns that could easily have come with it. With experience of driving quads back at home on my aunt’s farm, I felt comfortable to drive, however, for my boyfriend, his brother and our girlfriend it was there first time. With a quick introduction on ‘how to drive’ we went on our way to seek out new island adventures.
We made a quick stop at the local gas station, just up the street, to ensure that we wouldn’t get stranded somewhere. Waiting for our quads to be serviced, I took a quick look at the map that was posted to the board outside of the building. It included all of the island beaches and best view points. But a mark on the map sparked my curiosity and it was then we decided that we were going to seek out finding Homer.
On the island of Ios, Homers Tomb is located on the north side of the island and was also known to be difficult to get too. Now, if you are reading this thinking “who is Homer?” I would like to clarify that I am not talking about the famous cartoon character, Homer Simpson, but the real Homer. The one that provided the world with amazing literature including the Odyssey and Troy.
As we zipped along the coast line, we stopped for breaks on several different beaches. While the boys enjoyed the calm, clear water, my girlfriend and I enjoyed soaking in the sun rays with hope of getting that perfect golden tan. When we had enough of the beach, we all decided to splurge on eating lunch in a restaurant located next to the beach. It was a mistake. What was supposed to be a quick lunch stop over, lasted almost an hour and a half!!! The worst part was we were waiting on a salad!!! But in fairness we forgot about ‘Greek Time’…and if you have never heard of this term, I will let you admire it when you visit Greece. As I witnessed my girlfriend, who at the time was not feeling very well become impatient and hangry, the waiter at last brought her the salad. Unfortunately, the salad was not very good...(sigh).
(One of my best travel memories with these people, I am so happy to have captured this moment!)
Riding up the coast line, we witnessed spectacular views. The land was dry with shades of sandy browns hitting the bright blue ocean that went into the distance. Mid-afternoon sun filled our bodies with continuous warmth and the wind that was created from us driving kept us somewhat cool. As we set forth onto the back roads of the island with Homer as our final destination for the day, we realized that we were almost on the opposite side of the island. In fact we were on the south side of the island but in our minds we thought we could still make it.
As we passed through town to quickly drop off some of our stuff, we picked up another travel friend who wanted to join in. As she hopped on the back of my quad, we jetted off quickly towards the north of the island. Crossing the shrubs on the back roads, our American friend began to complain that something had bitten her. She told us to continue driving. Driving faster and faster with determination in our hearts, we had no idea where we were going. And as the sun began to set, our friends foot began to look more swollen; we all looked at each other with defeat. Finding Homer would stay a mystery as we sat on our quads debating to risk driving in the night. Ultimately, we turned around.
As we parked our quads outside of our motel/hostel, we all were tired. The heat had finally gotten to us. However,
I felt that we had truly embarked on one of Homer’s journeys. Although, in the end we did not get to our final destination, I do believe that the spirit of Homer was with us. We crossed several paths, searching for adventure and found riches, which in turn, were the amazing beaches and coastlines. And as quickly as the sun set, we ended our day in celebration, toasting to Homer, with a shot of pure ouzo. OPA!!!
“Life is largely a matter of expectation. ”