Posts for Tag: seajet 2

Saturday 29th June 2013 - Exploring Milos - Catacombs, Venus de Milo and Pollonia

When we arrived at the port of Adamas on the Seajet last night, there was plenty of choice regarding rooms - there were at least a dozen or so people were waiting with photographs of rooms for rent on the island.  Peter and I still hadn't decided where to stay but we had thought that it would either be Adamas itself because of the good bus service or the old town of Plaka up above and north of the port.  I'd had a look on Trip Advisor earlier and there had been very good reviews for a place called Giannis.  As soon as I saw Giannis himself the decision was made!  Similar prices to Folegandros, 30 euros for a room and 35 euros for a room with a kitchen - we went for the latter.  The room was very spacious with 3 single beds, a table and chairs, a dressing table and a small separate kitchen.  The balcony overlooked Giannis garden which was full of basil and marigolds.

We start the morning with breakfast in a cafe overlooking the harbour.  The port of Milos reminds me of the port of Kos - a little nondescript. There's nothing particularly endearing about it until you start venturing up into the streets above the old town towards the large church.  Because Milos has been relatively late in developing as a tourist destination, the waterfront bars are modern and lack personality. I don't know what I'd expected of Milos but whatever it was, I felt as though I'd been hurled back into reality after our stay on Folegandros.  This is  a much bigger island - just compare the population of 5000 to the 700 on Folegandros!

The bus stop is only a few minutes walk from Giannis so is certainly handy for getting around this large island. Today we are going to visit the catacombs so we first have to catch the bus to Tripiti.  We have plenty of time before the bus leaves so we start the day with breakfast in one of the cafe's overlooking the harbour.  Although these port front cafe's lack personality, the staff don't and the service we receive is very friendly indeed.

We walk back to the bus stop and board the bus - there is still 5 minutes before it leaves.  An elderly Greek gentleman with a cheery smile, takes a seat adjacent to us.  He gives us each a sweet and then asks us in broken English where we are from.  After a short conversation he turns to a group of Italians at the back of the bus and in Italian he asks them the same (I can piece the bits of Italian I know together enough to make this out).

The driver boards the bus and sets off out of the town which is scheduled to stop at Plaka before we need to disembark for Tripiti.

As the bus begins to climb up the side of the island, I notice the bright white chalk in the hillside with large holes that have been worn away by wind and time.  Milos, a volcanic island has an unusual geology in the fact that it has good resources of chalk, obsidian, bentonite, sulpher and flint.  I had read that Milos is the only Greek island where flint has been found naturally and that records of flint found across Greece has demonstrated how extensive sea travel was even in ancient times.  It is because of the mining industry on Milos that it has well developed roads and although the mines scattered around the island don't look particularly attractive, it is still a thriving industry and a major part of the economy today.

The bus stops at Plaka and Peter asks the old man how far it was to Tripiti to which he replies "Ten minutes is too much".  Ah - less than 10 minutes!

We disembark from the bus at Tripiti on a street lined with residential properties and tavernas.  Our guide book tells us that we need to walk to the T junction and from here take a right down the sloping road to the ancient Christian catacombs.  It also tells us that if we want to see the spot where the Venus de Milo statue was discovered and also the Roman amphitheatre, we will find a path forking off to the right.  We decide to do this first.

It was a little confusing at first, but we did find the site where the Venus de Milo statue was discovered.  It is a rather forlorn place marked only by a road sign and just off the road, there is a plaque under a cluster of trees next to where the statue was exhumed.
Very close to the Venus de Milo discovery spot is the Roman Amphitheatre which looks as though it is undergoing some remedial works.
The view from up here is stunning.  I can see windmills atop terraced hills and in the distance a white church sits on a large mound overlooking the bay.  If I've read the guidebook correctly I think this is where the kastro can be found. 

The land that we can see across the water is Milos where it curves around on itself.  Imagine if you will the shape of a horseshoe.  Tripiti sits on the inside edge of one tip of the horseshoe and is looking at the tip on the other side of the horseshoe.  Deep in the middle, on the inner edge is the port of Adamas.  I remember as we approached Milos the day before, the catamaran slowed down considerably to navigate around the rocks sprouting out of the sea - one looked like a huge sharks fin.  Because we were following the GPS position of the boat we could see it had yet to enter into the deep bay - everybody else had leapt to their feet, grabbed their luggage and positioned themselves in front of the doors.  We enjoyed the remaining fifteen minutes sitting from the comfort of our seats!
It is also extremely hot today and the breeze sporadic.  We continue down the hill to the catacombs - I try to catch bits of shade cast by trees along the roadside but they are few and far between.  At last we're here.  We walk down paved steps to a small kiosk where we purchase our tickets. A guide takes us and two other couples down a few stone steps into the catacombs.  According to the catacombs website these are thought to be the most important early christian catacombs in Greece.

It was incredibly humid inside the catacombs.  When we emerged into the albeit light breeze, it was like taking a cold shower after a sauna!
I had really wanted to continue the walk down to Klima to see the brightly coloured fisherman's houses along the sea front.  Although I think I could have walked down, I just couldn't imagine how I would have been able to walk back up this steep hill in the searing heat.  Well - I believe you should always leave something to visit in case you return to the island another time!

I really should stop winging about the heat but the climb back up to Tripiti village is a killer.  However, once back up on the main road the narrow winding streets offer some fantastic and much appreciated shade.

We see a sign for a bus station and follow the road around until we find a bench with a shelter sitting in a small lay-by.  I have a desperate urge to go to the sea so we check the timetable to see what time the bus leaves for Pollonia.  We have about two hours before the bus leaves so we find a little taverna where we can re-hydrate ourselves and, although I have no appetite we decide to have a little something to eat too.  We find a quaint little place on the main street that overlooks a small garden.  We order Greek salad which comes with a huge loaf of bread that we are unable to finish.
After killing some time we walk back to the bus stop and the bus arrives shortly after.  The bus heads back into Adamas before heading out of the town along a different road to the one we came in on.  As we head back down towards the coast again I can see signs of the amazing geology of the islands, caves carved into chalk rocks.  Little did I know that this was nothing compared to what I was to see the following day!
The bus arrives at the little fishing village of Pollonia.  As soon as I stepped off the bus I felt like Milos had just redeemed itself.  I realised then that we were just staying in the wrong place.  

Just beyond the bus stop is a small row of tavernas skirting the edge of the beach and along the shoreline.  Tamarisk trees provide natural shade and the beach is narrow and sandy - perfect!  Instead of settling down here though we walk past the row of tavernas towards a whitewashed church.  Past the church is another small bay where the water is shallow and crystal clear. (as if it would ever be anything but crystal like!)  Every so often we see a small car ferry shuttle between Milos and Kimolos.  This is definitely where I want to be and I now really want to go to Kimolos.
We spend a couple of hours here reading, swimming and sunbathing before choosing a taverna called Araxovoli to eat.  Peter has fish and garlic sauce and I have meatballs.
We stay in Pollonia until it is time for the last bus to return to Adamas.  When we arrive back at the port the Agios Giorgios ferry is in and a little while later the Seajet 2 arrives - we stay to watch people board and disembark and imagine the respective emotions of sadness and excitement but never boredom!

Friday 28th June 2013 - Ano Meria Folegandros then on to Milos

Today we're leaving Folegandros for Milos however, the high speed cat doesn't leave until 19.10pm so we have a fully day on the island and today we're going to Ano Meria. We've already packed as we need to vacate the room by 12.00pm.  One last peek from the balcony before we go.

Evgenia has allocated a space near the reception office for our bags.

The bus leaves chora at 10.00am for Ano Meria.  The journey offers the most spectacular views over the island and as described before, the road runs like a spine along the length of the island and from here you can see the bays down on the east and west side of the island at once. You can really appreciated the rugged beauty of the island from here. 

 There is no village centre as such at Ano Meria.  The village is nothing more than a scattering of stone houses and farmsteads typically Cycladic in style - it has been described as looking as though the houses were thrown up into the air and scattered along the top of the hillside. We decide that the best way to see Ano Meria is to get off at the terminus and walk back along the main road, back towards chora.  

We pass a little taverna with blue painted shutters.  The menu outside lists chicken, rabbit, pigeon and meatballs - All Local!  There is also matsada - a local handmade pasta dish.

Dry stones walls made with the green island slate line the road and also define property boundaries around stone houses.
Further down the road we pass a couple of donkeys laden with hay.  They seem to know instinctively where they are going.  As we approach the bend we see a man wrestling with another donkey who clearly has his own idea of where he wants to go!
We're starving by now as we haven't had breakfast.  Luckily we see a sign for a bakery pointing up towards a low hill. We find the bakery to the right and enter the quaint looking shop where time seems to have stood still.  We purchase a cheese pie and a spinach pie. Yum!
The breeze is fantastic up here and masks the full heat of the day. In fact it is more than a breeze - it is a wonderfully exhilarating wind which you can hear, see and feel - the famous Meltemi!
Next we pass a whitewashed, blue domed church which is calling us in.
A little further down the road we come across another small taverna complete with octopus hanging on a line.  The blackboard menu outside is written in Greek but I do make out the word calamari - this must be the place to come for seafood in Ano Meria.
There are some fascinating things to see on this road - two rudderless windmills, intricate dry stone walls made from the local green slate, large stone circles which look like seating areas but I can't determine what their real function is - Google has been of no use to me with this.  
We approach a whitewashed cuboid house on the left - our attention is first drawn to the collection of objects on the roof including a number of chimney like terracotta jars with with blue stripes painted around their width, small wooden box shaped constructions, a shower head, gas containers set into the roof in concrete and a line of string with plastic bottles hanging from it.   An elderly gentleman sits by the doorway in the shade and raises his hand and smiles at us.  

Along the front wall of the house there are rows of Greek words and along the next wall, childlike pictures of two people and a boat in drawn in blue paint.  At first I thought this may have been the folk museum I'd read about but we later see a sign for this further down the road.  I'd love to know more about this house and why it has been decorated this way - and again Google has been of no use whatsoever.
Wonky parking!
Some of the most spectacular views of Folegandros!
The bus passes us on its way to Ano Meria and we give the driver a wave to let him know that we want to catch the bus on the way back - he nods his acknowledgement.

What an amazing day this has been and what a fantastic way to spend our last day on the island!

Back in the chora we have another walk around the streets and then decide to have a meal at Pounta.  This little taverna is situated just before the first square, adjacent to the bus stop and the town hall.  We had walked past it every day and I was intrigued by the notice outside inviting visitors to come and eat or drink in their garden.

The taverna itself appears to be a small building but once you walk into the garden it has a large covered terrace and the most beautiful space abundant with flowers.
We order our meal - I have stuffed tomatoes and Peter has rabbit.  We notice the unusual pottery that has been brought to our table with the meal.  The owner of the taverna tells us that his wife Lisbet is an artist and she makes the pottery and they also have it for sale inside the taverna.

It's now time to collect our bags from Evgenia and wait for her son to pick us up and take us to the port.  Evgenia tells us that the high speed cat is running a little late but her son will be with us in about 20 minutes.  I'm looking forward to visiting Milos but so sad to be leaving Folegandros.  I will definitely be back here one day - I think it will be quite soon!

Here is a bit of Folegandros mythology whilst we wait!
Folegandros has approximately 700 inhabitants and is only 12 square miles in size but I still feel that there is so much more of the island to be discovered.  It is a great island for walking which enables you to appreciate its exceptional beauty.   I was interested to read about Chrysospylia Cave that sits 30 metres above sea level below the chora.  It isn't possible to visit the cave at the moment as archaeological work is still being undertaken but here is a bit more information about it.

We're now down at the port waiting for the Seajet 2 to take us to Milos.  Au revoir Folegandros - please don't change!
Through the salt stained windows we see the orange sun begin to set behind the island.

Leaving Folegandros