Kiwi photographers Matthew and Hannah Beames were looking forward to two days of sun, sand and surf when they arrived on the Greek island of Kos this week.
But instead they were confronted with streets lined with refugee tents, cardboard shacks in the middle of town and displaced Syrian families with heart-breaking stories.
The couple have documented their time in Kos on a blog, and told the Herald they wanted to share the reality of their experience with others.
For them, seeing the human face of the refugee crisis first hand was "overwhelming to say the least".
They arrived in Kos on September 6, as part of a world trip."... from the exit of the port the tent city begins, tents and cardboard lining the road and the beach," Matthew Beames wrote in the couple's travel blog.
"The situation these people are in just blew my mind. So today we hired a scooter and went back into the city, to talk and to see what could be done. We said hi to a family from Syria and through the single family member with some English learned a bit of their story.
The whole family had fled in dribs and drabs from Syria, this detachment's matriarch was sharing a pair of childrens' croc shoes with a man.
"It was all they had, they had made it to Turkey with Euros, clothes, belongings and passports, expecting to get a sizeable boat, however in the night they described men with guns that they called 'mafia' taking everything from them and shoving them into tiny boats, the men with guns then took infants and threw them off the boats. The couple, from Hamilton, said crowds of refugees "pressed" at the police station in Kos.
"Everyone was clamouring to be heard... a policeman we spoke to had come from Athens, his group were there as protection for the police station as they were attempting to avoid rioting."Any aid that was getting to Kos was getting "absolutely swamped", the Beames' said.
"Those dolling out supplies from a car could only have the window down a crack as people attempted to get help."
"Yes it is a grim situation, but these people have hope that where they are going to is better than where they have been. This in-between time.... We in the west are on the end of their hope, these people desperately need to be allowed to go somewhere they can begin to put roots down, not into a waiting camp for temporary residence where they will grow old and die."
The couple helped some of the refugees by buying food, water and even shoes."We bought what we could and were only made more aware of how much more could be done," they said.
"...what they need is safe passage and a home. They loved that we came and asked them about their lives, they were open and warm, they invited us to share a meal with them. I have never been so humbled as when a people displaced and abandoned wants you to share in the extremely little they have.
"This is just our take on the situation- but being here, experiencing this is not something we will forget, yet this is their life not just a two day experience."