Greek Island Alternative Guide

The Greek Islands, something we didn’t expect, it is super windy here. Strong northerly winds pummel be islands, unsure if this is just an end of summer thing or all of summer? Below, us getting blasted by constant 30mph winds yikes:

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Part 1. Mykonos

Starting our tour of the Greek Islands is Mykonos, the glitzy jewel of the Cyglades. Beautiful, charming and full of wild (feral) cats everywhere you go. We stayed on the town side of the island which have lovely boutique shops and chic bars, this place has style. After a quick stop over we’re already on the ferry to Naxos.

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Part 2. Naxos

Whilst we loved Mykonos, Naxos felt more authentic, a slower pace of life and more comfortable in its own skin. The beaches are much more chilled here and having dinner with the characteristic slow sunset is pretty stunning. To explore the island you can easily rent a quadbike, for as little as 15 a day, this gets you a 80cc machine. To our dismay our little quady wasn’t up to the hills on the island and struggled so much it died halfway through the day. We would recommend getting a more powerful beast or a car to shield yourself from the incessant winds.

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Part 3. Ikaria – Longevity on The Island

The cult of Ikaria begins with an enviable accolade, this is the island that never dies. Ikaria is a Blue Zone, a place where you are much more likely to reach ninety plus years old than normal. In fact most of Ikaria’s residents appear to be over ninety years old, seventy would considered young.

We wonder what the secret to longevity here is, something the water? It would appear to be a combination of factors such as active social life, diet and exercise. There isn’t much that can stress you here, a simple way of life, homegrown food, taking hikes to pristine beaches, sunshine and red wine. Daytime napping is common here, who wouldn’t want to take an afternoon snooze by the beach?

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Hot Springs – A Real Fountain of Youth?

Did we mention the hot springs? We didn’t mention the hot springs, oh right. The Lefkada hot springs are Ikaria’s best kept secret, perhaps for anti-aging ‘benefits’! The hot saltwater springs are formed when super heated water from deep in the earth reach the surface. The nutrient rich mud and salts that emerge are rumoured to be a silver bullet for skin conditions and other disorders. However upon closer inspection it may have paid dividends to us to heed the advice, ‘stay no longer than 20 minutes’. The pools are radioactive. The pleasant heat of the emerging streams of water within the earth are hot due to radioactive decomposition. Radon, a dense gas once revered for its health qualities pools on the surface water. Denser than water, but sparingly soluble it has nowhere to go, except deep into your lungs. In fact radon is really dangerous and known now to cause cancer. Here alpha emitters of radon give a nice dose of radiation half life for about 3.8 days… Perhaps the people of Ikaria are mutants.

Calculating Effective Dose

Read on if you want sciency stuff, for those interested (more to appease my sense of paranoia) I wanted to find out how dangerous these radioactive hot springs are.

From this paper which looks at radioactivity levels for different springs mentions Ikaria with a recorded activity of 30 Bq/m3. This means 30 radioactive nuclei decompose per second in one cubic metre of air.. Is this worrying? Typical exposure in your home is around 100 Bq/m3 and 10-20 Bq/m3 outdoors. So really the activity of 30 Bq/m3 is up to three times higher than you would expect for outdoors, but far lower than in your own home! Perhaps its not that bad after all phew!

 

 

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