Posts for Tag: Kythnos

Monday 5th May 2014 - Last Day on Kythnos and on to Serifos

Today we leave for Serifos but the ferry isn't until late afternoon.  Once we pack we go and pay for our stay with Katerina who orders a taxi to pick us up ate 5.00pm.

Photo's of Filoxenia

This is our last opportunity to wander the pretty streets of the Chora. We cut through the Gazoza Cafe Bar from the main street and discover a new alleyway with the most beautiful painted pots.  I don't quite know how we missed this first time around.

More Kythnos Chora Photographs

The route to the outskirts of the village is so pretty and so quiet and we decide to continue walking up to Panagia Tou Nikous.  The views over the Chora are fabulous.  Apart from the sound of birds and the cicada's there is absolute silence.  From this vantage point we could see an elderly man and lady tending their garden and a man passing along the edge of the field on a donkey.  If you love a bit of solitude then this is definitely the best time of year to visit the islands.

The walk back to the Chora gives us the chance to admire a few more details that we missed previously.

We go to Gazoza Cafe Bar on the main street for lunch - a little bit of boutique chic in the heart of the traditional Chora.  Outside are upcycled seats made from pallets covered in brightly coloured cushions.  A little meze  finished off with some local preserved fruits is just perfect.  One of the preserved fruits was lemon - the other we were told was called pergamondo but I wasn't sure what this translated to.  After a bit of a Google I discover that peramondo is the fruit of the bergamot and is a cross between a lemon and a bitter orange.

We have another hour before we need to go down to the port and we spend this sitting on the balcony of our room at Filoxenia.  We watched the light scattered clouds move across the landscape until time to go down.

Katerina is there to see us off in the taxi.  We had a wonderful stay at Filoxenia and it is definitely somewhere we highly recommend for location, high quality accommodation and the most excellent hospitality.

At the port we stop for a cup of tea before the ferry arrives.  The cafe owner tells us that tomorrow a force 7-9 wind will arrive.  He wasn't sure of the time exactly but the big wind will be here tomorrow!

The ferry Adamantios  Korais appears on the horizon and seems to take ages to arrive in port.  It was running 45 minutes late and is the busiest ferry we have seen so far.  Boxes of vegetables are frantically unloaded before we can get on board.
The Adam Korais set sail from the shores of Kythnos.  Farewell Kythnos!
The ferry skirts the coastline of Kythnos down to it's toe  before heading further out to sea.
This was a great people watching opportunity.  There were a group of North African/Middle Eastern young men larking about on the deck - hanging over  the railings testing each others bravado.  A small film crew were filming a grey hair man who appeared to be reading a book and intermittently looking out to sea.  A couple of gypsy children were performing for the tourists - great photo opportunity for many but didn't sit quite well with me photographing children without parental consent.

The sun began to set as we approached Serifos.  Turning towards the harbour we are plunged into dusk as the highest point of Serifos island is placed between us and the sun.

Disembarkation is a little chaotic again but we know that we are going to be picked up by someone the accommodation we had booked.  We had done a little search on Trip Advisor and knew that we wanted to be in the port as opposed to the Chora this time.  We had chosen the Serifos Palace as it was offering a duplex apartment with sea views AND breakfast for a very reasonable price.  20+ years ago the opportunity to preview and book rooms on the fly wasn't even a thought.  You'd turn up on an island and take pot luck with whoever sold their room to you best!

After 10 minutes a little van arrived with Serifos Palace written on it.  A lady greeted us and opened up the back for our luggage which was placed in the back with bags of spilled cement.  The lady didn't speak much English but did mention a restaurant called Gialis along the harbour that seemed to be associated with the Serifos Palace.

The van took us up a steep hill but we were at the Serifos Palace in about 5 minutes.  The apartment was split level and had a small upstairs bedroom with tiny separate shower.  Most of the upstairs space was taken up by various balconies which, had it offered a sea view would have been brilliant.  Standing on tip toes on one balcony you could just about see the sea.  The room upstairs was so small there wasn't a dressing table or space to put the luggage.

Again we are the only people staying in the Serifos Palace which is quite nice.  However as the first visitors of the season the shower room upstairs smelt damp and was infested with mosquitoes.  Our first mission was to get rid of all the mosquitoes and to plug in the bug basher!

Before the lady left she showed us how to switch on the hot water and also asked us what time we'd like breakfast and we agreed 9.00am.  We decide to keep the luggage in the large room downstairs and to also use the downstairs shower which seems to have been refurbished more recently.  The kitchen was basic but functional with a small dining area and again lots of patio space at ground floor level.  We decided to only use the upstairs space to sleep in.  We're exhausted and from the balcony there doesn't appear to be any sign of life in terms of a local taverna or shops so we stay in and drink wine and eat biscuits!

Sunday 4th May 2014 - Kythnos - Dryopida and the Caves

Today we are going to visit the village of Dryopida  Like Kea there isn't a bus service running at this time of year so we book a taxi - or rather Katerina phones for a taxi for us.  The journey spirals up above the Chora and then drops down again it Dryopida itself.  We are dropped off on the main street leading into the village.  Dryopida used to be the capital of the island and takes its name from it's first settlers on the island, the Driopes.

In particular we are keen to visit the Katafyki Caves.  We decided to explore the village first and hopefully would find the location of the caves in doing so.  We weren't 100% sure that the caves would be open to the public at this time of year.

We found a cafe to have brunch.  The old man from the cafe told us that the cave wasn't open at this time of year as it was still low season.  We ordered a Greek salad and a 'special' omelette with tea. As we tucked into salad and tea a group of about 20 elderly Greek ladies walked by.

Within seconds the man from the cafe in broken English and lots of hand gestures told us to follow the group of women - it seems they were here on an organised trip to the cave.  The man indicated that our food would be ready for us when we came back.  We grabbed our bags and followed - not sure whether we would be welcome or not.  We asked the guide if it was OK to join and he said yes.

I'm quite glad that we had joined a party of elderly ladies as the descent into the cave was slow which gave me time to pace myself - and my vertigo.  The Katafyki Caves are said to be the largest and best caves in Greece.  The year before I had visited the Caves of Antiparos a second time but couldn't make it to the bottom because of my condition.  Katafyki may be big but isn't as deep as Antiparos - at least I could make it to the bottom!

Went back to the cafe -  our tea still warm and our omelettes were brought to us fresh from the pan. Some of the ladies from the group also came to the cafe to eat.  They were also drinking ouzo and I didn't need to understand the language that they were (to use a Norther phrase) 'a right rum bunch'.  

We explored the village a little further before calling for the taxi to take us back to the Chora.  There are examples of the villages pottery heritage in the architecture everywhere. 
At the last minute we decide to go to the port to spend the afternoon and also to buy our ferry tickets to Serifos.  

There isn't much to the little port of Mastichari.  It's nice enough but we're so glad that we decided to stay in the pretty little Chora,

That evening the wind began to pick up and was quite breezy.  We have another walk around the Chora before going for dinner.  We walk around the outskirts of the Chora to catch the sunset.  We start off by walking through the cemetary next to Filoxenia which is illuminated by candles in lanterns down the walkway.

We are eating a little bit later this evening and have a wider selection of tavernas to choose from.  We choose To Steki Tou Ntentzi on the main street but eat inside because of the wind.  We had Greek salad, caper sauce made with potatoes, local sausage for me and kebab for Peter.  The restaurant is very popular with local people and the decor is rustic with a modern twist.  It was an excellent meal in nice surroundings.

This is a lovely way to spend our last evening on Kythnos.

Saturday 3rd May 2014 - On to Kythnos

George was still asleep when we left so we didn't get chance to say goodbye.

On the way to the port we pick up some pastries from the bakery for breakfast.  The Aqua Spirit is on time and she is virtually empty.  Farewell Kea!

Hello Kythnos!

When we arrive at Kythnos we still hadn't decided where to stay - Port or Chora.  I had read that the Chora was very pretty but had limited accommodation.  I had read great reviews about a small place called Filoxenia in the Chora.  We decide to deliberate over a cup of tea.  I'd managed to pick up free wifi - the island has it's own - and I emailed Maria the owner of Filoxenia.  I didn't know how long it would take to get a reply so in the end we decided to take a chance and get a taxi up to the Chora anyway.

When we arrived at Filoxenia, a lady was waiting for us in a beautiful, flower filled courtyard.  Maria had phoned her mother to tell her to expect us - Maria was in Athens.

Katerina showed us to a room which was absolutely delightful with lots of little extras.  The view of the mountains from the balcony was breathtaking.

After a quick unpack we set out to explore the Chora - and the description if it was right - it really is a pretty little Chora.

There are wooden signs around giving the distance of various walks from the Chora. We decide to walk to Apokrousi which is 3 Km away.  We follow the signs which takes us past fields full of spring flowers and bee hives.  The road is empty and undulating.  We couldn't see beyond the curves of the hill so it was hard to judge how much further we had to walk.  It felt as though we had walked further than 3km already.

Eventually we could see the sea.

We began our descent down to the beach. To the left we saw a couple of men doing some building work in preparation for the beginning of the season.  Apokrousi beach was completely empty and pre season still had litter along the shoreline that had been washed up from the sea.  There wasn't another soul in sight.  A little beach taverna was shuttered up and looked a little desolate.

Kolona is the islands best beach.  To get to this beach we needed to walk along to the end of Apokrousi beach and climb over a hill via a narrow dirt track.  This is only accessible on foot or by motorbike and the hill is quite steep.  The view from the top of the hill is fabulous.  Kolona beach is a narrow strip of sand that runs between the island and the little islet of Agios Loukas.

As much as we were tempted to walk to this beautiful beach I think we (I) was daunted by the thought of the walk back in the midday heat.  So far we had walked mainly in a downwards direction so the walk back was going to be quite tough.  

We decided to phone for a taxi and luckily we had the business card from the taxi driver that had picked us up at the port.  As soon as Peter mentioned where we were he said no and hung up even before we had chance to negotiate a price as I think I would have paid anything at this stage.  I had got a bit of sunburn from our walk to the lighthouse on Kea and was still suffering a bit.  At this stage I was quite prepared to sleep on the beach rather than climb the hill back up to the Chora - from here on the beach the hill looked quite imposing but I'm sure was more psychological than anything.  I switched on my data roaming to see if I could find the telephone number for another taxi but it wasn't having any of it - not one bar of a signal.

Apart from a couple of fishermen coming into shore there wasn't another soul in sight.  Even the builders had now left for the day.  We had no choice but to begin the walk back.

We had recorded the journey there with Map My Walk and it had measured 5kms to Apokrousi and a further 2kms to the top of the hill above Kolona beach.  Each kilometre ticked off on Map My Walk was a kilometre closer to the Chora and a nice shower and a drink. 

As we approached the Chora we could hear gun shots. Local people were sitting in the square dressed upin the square dressed up and we could see that there was going to be a wedding.  The church bells range out. Became clear was a wedding. Church bells rang out and from our balcony we could see a stream of people making their way to the church.  A young man arrived at the house next door where he dropped off his baby and left with bazouki.

Later on we head out for a meal.  There area number of great tavernas in the Chora but several didn't open until later in the evening  There was one taverna set back off the street and as soon as the lady saw us she switched on the outside lights of the restaurant.  We didn't need any more invitation to eat than that!

We are invited into the kitchen to see what is on offer.  I have the meatballs and Peter has rabbit washed down with a local wine.
The courtyard is so pretty all lit up. We are the only people eating at the restaurant but it isn't long before we are joined by a group of local visitors

It was like watching a scene from West Side Story.  The cats were very territorial and would stake their places close to our table based on their size and bravado.  One cat with a funny eye and another with their head permanently cocked to one side square up to each other until one relents. 

To end the meal we are brought complimentary preserved cherries - a local speciality.  Delicious!

That's more than enough activity for one day!