Kea is quiet and traditional. It's like going to the most remote island in the Aegean, but it's so close to Athens. How can this be? Try going there and you will understand. You can take a flying dolphin from Pireaus but it leaves at 7:30 in the morning. It's smooth sailing until you hit the Cavo d Oro, the most treacherous stretch of water in the Mediterranean, and then you start praying. Hydrfoils are made for lakes and rivers, not rough seas. Alternative? Take the ferry. But it leaves from Lavrion, an hour plus bus ride to a city with 75% unemployment and is best known for being used as a stand-in for war-torn Sarajevo in the film Ulysses Gaze, when it was too dangerous to film there. If you get this far, stay in Voukari.

    The village of Ioulis is a fantastic labyrinth of white cycladic houses perched on the side of a mountain, but there is nowhere to eat, though they have a great cafeneon in the main square (platia). Few connections to the rest of the Cyclades. It can be an interesting trip for those that like to "rough it." (No kinky interpretations please). If you plan it right, you will be there in great weather, and will be able to sleep outdoors, and even on the beach. Waking up with the water laping at your ankles is quite an experience, and you know you're alive after a brisk morning swim. A visit to Kea will offer you the traditional Greek island, largely unaffected by tourism. This is a plus to some, and a deterrent to others. If you are like my friend from Alabama in the bar in Ios, then Kea isn't the island for you.

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