Standing in the queue of the Piraeus bank in Adamas, on the Greek island of Milos with an expected wait time of more than half an hour so we could pay another 400 Euros/AU$658 for three months of cruising tax wasn’t my idea of fun. Not when it was my birthday and all I could see out of the bank’s window was a clothes shop. Beckoning me. Tempting me. Whispering to me … “my precioussss”.
Not wanting to let the team down, I shuffled my feet and stood stoically next to Baz as we watched the ticket numbers on the LED board click painfully slowly in the direction of our number.
Eventually my desire for birthday fun outweighed my team spirit and I asked Baz, “Would you mind if I pop over there?” I pointed at the distracting boutique. “I’ll be back soon.” I’d somehow managed to sound like a whining kid, but Baz who does ‘stoic’ better than the best of them, just said, “Sure.”
So I high-tailed it to freedom. A tad more slowly than I would have liked as I had to wait for the two locked doors to open sequentially before I could step gleefully into the Greek summer sunshine.
After guiltily sifting through the clothes on the racks and trying on a couple of items, I returned empty-handed, through the bank's security doors to Baz who hadn’t really moved any closer to the bank cashier.
Eventually our turn came and after a semi-hushed, slightly heated discussion on Baz’s side, the dispassionate and disinterested teller firmly refused to take our credit card in payment for the Greek cruising tax. “The rules have changed. We don’t accept credit card payments this summer.” Baz’s argument that there hadn’t been a cruising tax last year so the rules couldn’t have changed, and besides we’d paid by credit card three months ago, fell on uncaring ears. “You paid in a post office last time. This is a bank. You can pay in cash.” We didn’t have cash and Baz was fast reaching the limit of his patience. So we strode purposefully out of the bank - stalled, exit-interruptus - by the double doors. You’ve gotta love banks.
We regrouped and decided that as Plan A hadn’t panned out, Plan B would be to get cash out of an ATM and either (i) find another bank (we weren’t going back in there again), or (ii) get a bus to the post office in Triovasalos. As it was getting late in the morning and we weren’t sure if the post office would be open when we got there, we opted to get the cash and return to the boat for lunch. It was my birthday after all and we didn’t want to spoil the whole day.
Piraeus bank came up anti-trumps again when its ATM didn’t accept our credit card and had no option to change the instructions to English language. We scoured the town and eventually found a Eurobank ATM up the main street which let us choose English instructions and withdraw 400 Euros. Thank you Eurobank.
Birthday feast at Oh Hamos!
I’d done a bit of research on the best place for a meal to celebrate my 21st birthday. Oh did I say 21st? Pretty much every review website shouted the praises of Oh Hamos Taverna which is a little walk east out of town along the seaside road. But we didn’t need to walk. That evening, we hopped in the dinghy and tootled over to a concrete jetty where a few small boats were tied up and Oh Hamos was just a short stroll away. Oh Hamos was everything the reviews promised. It is a delightfully eclectic, family owned taverna and the traditional Greek food on the menu is lovingly prepared with vegetables, home-made cheese, and meat sourced from their own farm.
We tried a couple of craft beers, one being Monday’s Pilsner that we can highly recommend. We had that with a starter of yellow pea dip (Fava) and then for mains I had goat baked with lemon and herbs cooked in a traditional oven, while Baz chose the slow cooked piglet. We ordered a bottle of Sikoinos Greek red wine and that was a good accompaniment. And we gave a “Cheers!” to my birthday twin Flemming (one of our Patreons) who’s birthday is on the same day! After our main course we were stuffed as the portions were generous, but I had to squeeze in a birthday dessert so I had a hazelnut mousse with a coffee while Baz finished with an ouzo.
We pottered home happily after a very enjoyable evening. One recommendation is that if you don’t want to queue to get into this popular taverna, eat early. We got there at 6.30pm and by 7pm there was a string of people waiting for a table.
A birthday evening wouldn’t be complete without skinny dipping off one’s own yacht at midnight – I’ve been waiting decades to say that!
I’d like to say a BIG heartfelt thank you to our Patrons (who support our video creation financially) and also those of you who ‘bought us a beer’. We wouldn’t have been able to have such a wonderful evening without your generosity as we do live on a tight budget. Thank you so much.
We eventually pay the cruising tax
Feeling a tad tired the next day (I wonder why), we hopped on a bus to Triovasalos, found the post office and easily and quickly paid the Greek cruising tax. With. Our. Credit. Card. The teller was polite, helpful and efficient and it took only minutes. Thank you Hellenic Post!
Baz spotted a tech store and for 89 Euros we got ourselves a pocket Cosmote wifi device loaded with 50GB of data valid for six months. The following morning he was able to add the 30 Euros of credit that we’d bought in Lipsi island. Finally! So now we plenty of data that will enable us to upload a few weeks’ worth of videos and will be able to top up easily using Comote’s website app. What a relief!
After visiting Triovasalos, we hopped on the bus to Plaka. You can discover Plaka with us next week, and also hear about a very special phone call that we received. See you in next week’s blog!