Posts for Tag: Apollonia

Wednesday 14th May 2014 - Last Day on Sifnos

Today is our last full day on Sifnos.  There is still so much more to see but decide to catch the bus to Apollonia - all destinations depart from Apollonia. We plan to take the bus onwards to Hironissos - just a round trip as the bus only runs twice a day.  The same group is at the bus stop again where us, the Dutch, the Americans and the Greeks discuss which islands we have been to and where our onward trip is headed to.  The elderly Greek man with much gesticulation asks us which is best Milos or Sifnos.  We had visited Milos the previous and although a lovely island, I felt that Sifnos has more character.  The Americans agreed with us emphatically.  He looked a bit disappointed and then I wish I'd bitten my tongue thinking that this may be his home island.

All photographs of the bus trip to Hironissos is taken from the moving a moving vehicle.  The landscape is spectacular - green, unspoilt, deserted - words don't do it justice - not mine anyway!

We get off the bus at Artemonos where we are early enough to still want breakfast.  We have tea and toast in the pretty square with the fabulous bakery.

We take a slow walk back to Apollonia via Pano Petali where we stop to take more photographs along the way.

When we arrive at Apollonia we head to the jewellery shops just off the main square.  I see some silver charms that I like and buy a couple for my bracelet.  The young lady attaches the charms to my bracelet for me and whilst we're waiting we chat to her and her brother.  We tell them about Peter's experience with the snake at the Kastro.  She tells us that he was very lucky because the snakes are very dangerous and only two days earlier a tourist had been bitten and had be taken to hospital in Athens by helicopter.  She also tells us that their father had been bitten by a snake a few years ago and he was very ill in hospital for nearly two weeks.  The brother tells us that when he was a baby, one day his mum came into their house to find a scorpion on him.  I'm a bit creeped out by this now and Peter despite his encounter appears blase and says that this is very common in Egypt too. Peter tells them about the snake stones they use in his fathers village for snake and scorpion bites.  I am told that the stones are from a snakes head but internet research provides several other alternative theories.  I have made clear to Peter that if I ever get bitten by a snake or scorpion in Egypt not to go running off in search for the old snake stones - just get me a helicopter to the nearest hospital!

We find a little cafe where we stop for tea whilst we wait for the bus.

When the bus does arrive we see it is the school bus - we are the only tourists on the bus.  The children are boisterous and a man who appears to be some kind of caretaker keeps them all in check and ticks them off the list when they get off the bus.

We walk to the beach at Kamares.  The wind has picked up again.  Free micro-dermabrasion anyone?

Back at Pension Morfeus we go to see Maria and Kostas and to pay for our stay.  This is truly one of the loveliest places I've stayed at in the islands and Maria and Kosta have been absolutely amazing hosts!

We tell them about the snake - I'm not going to let this one drop am I!  Maria tells us that there are 4 types of snake on the island and the grey one is very dangerous - the yellow one less so.  She tells Peter he is very lucky to not get bitten!

Tonight we are having our final meal on the island at Absinthe in Kamares.  It has excellent reviews and is well located overlooking the bay.  We are the first customers of the evening so get a window seat however, where the restaurant would usually be open to the skies, the plastic sheets are down to prevent the wind from pelting sand into the restaurant.  The wind is even stronger now.

The menu is very extensive and "inspired from the famed Greek Smyrneian cuisine of Asia Minor with a dash of Central Asian spice and texture."

To start we have Lahmatzun which we are told has Lebanese origins.  It is spicy minced meat topped with warm yogurt on pitta.  I then have clay baked lamb with apples and mixed white and wild rice with raisins and Peter has the shark.  The meal is finished with ice cream with confiture and complimentary spoon fruit.

We watch the Adamantios Korais come into port.  The sea is choppy and looks like it will be the same when we depart tomorrow.  I suffer from sea sickness but I do freak out when I am near others that do!

Another full moon falls on our last night on Sifnos island.  Another one that has made it into my top 5 Greek islands!

Tuesday 13th May 2014 - Visit to the Kastro

We head out for the 10.00am bus to Apollonia again.  For the last couple of days there has been the same crowd of people waiting at the stop - two Dutch couples who are on a walking holiday, a middle aged American couple who tell us the snow is still thick on the ground back home and an elderly Greek couple who don't speak English but always greet everyone when they arrive at the stop.

My first mission is to find a shop in Apollonia that can save the photographs on my memory card to a CD as I've already used 8gb's of memory on my SLR.  Maria from Morfeus tell us that we are more likely to find somewhere in Apollonia than Kamares.  Kostas tells us that there is a shop near to the second petrol station - not the first petrol station but the second one!

Using our powers of deduction we work out which is the second petrol station and we come across a photography studio which seems to have a machine where you can download and print your photos.  Unfortunately it doesn't take flash cards.  The lady tells us in broken English to wait whilst she phones her son who is at home. Within 5 minutes her son arrive on a moped.  His English is good and he tells us that he will take it home and download it for us and it will only cost 4 euros.  It cost us 8 euros in Athens last year and I'm sure his petrol would cost that too.  Whilst we wait we go to the bakery next door for breakfast.  This is a busy old bakery and clearly popular with the locals.

I have my memory card and cd of photographs back in 20 minutes which is excellent! (I will buy more memory cards for our next trip!)

We have a little while before the bus to Kastro arrives so we take the opportunity to walk around Apollonia again and in particular some of the churches that we didn't have time to explore previously.

There are lots of trendy cafe bars and little boutiques amongst the more traditional buildings.  

We catch the bus which drops us at the entrance to the Kastro which sits up on top of the cliff overlooking the famous Seven Martyrs church.  

We enter the Kastro by climbing whitewashed steps.  We pass Cafe bars that can only be described as 'boutique'.

The view from the Kastro inland is as stunning as the views out to the sea

We walk around the Kastro perimeter until we reach the coastal side.  Peter walks down to the Seven Martyrs Church whilst I stay at the top to take photographs.

Peter seemed to take ages coming back up to the Kastro.  When he did come back he looked a bit flustered and then proceeded to tell me about his encounter with a snake.  When he was walking back up the path to the Kastro, he must have disturbed a snake who didn't take too kindly to it's sunbathing being disrupted.  It reacted by striking a threatening pose and rasping it's forked tongue at him.  Peter says his only reaction was to throw himself backwards out of its way but he wanted to make sure that it had moved away before continuing up the stone steps. 

I am now being extra EXTRA vigilent about wherever I walk!  

We have about 2 hours to wait before the next bus arrives to take us back to Apollonia so we walk around the pretty streets of the Kastro.

Cafe Konaki had caught our eye when we first arrived and not only does it have spectacular views over the landscape is has a good vantage point to see approaching buses.  We have tea and ice cream and then more tea. We are the only customers apart from one other couple during the hour or so we were there.
Back in Apollonia we walk to the village of Exambela.  It is late afternoon and light on the whitewashed buildings is perfect.

We walk back to the centre of Apollonia and think it would be nice to eat in a restaurant there.  We find  a restaurant with a lovely (and deserted) courtyard where we are able to watch the sunset on the mountains whilst we eat under a vine covered pergola.  Their garlic sauce is fantastic - one of my favourites.  Peter has the pork and I have lamb washed down with some lovely red wine.

We catch a taxi back to Kamares where we catch the tail end of the sunset.  The moon is full and lights up the town below.