Reluctantly we left the lovely island of Poros as we had to start our journey to Kos where we needed to checkout of Greece and travel to Turkey.
Unfortunately all our efforts to extend the 90-day Schengen visa free period had failed and we had been threatened with a 600 Euro fine (each) for overstaying. Despite Greece being desperate to attract tourists back to its shores after Covid-19 the immigration officials appeared immovable on giving an extension or allowing applications for temporary (non working) residents visas.
We were pretty convinced that the Customs/Port Police in Kos would be more relaxed about our “overstay” but realistically we couldn’t afford to hang around.
We had spent 70 days in lockdown and then had to wait another 14 days for our deregistration/export papers to be organised. That left us with six days to enjoy the islands before being liable for the fine.
After motoring all morning and then a lovely couple of hours of sailing in the afternoon we arrived at Kythnos around 4.30 pm and anchored at Ormos Kolona. There were only two other boats anchored there and about three others anchored in Ormos Fikiadha over the other side of a narrow and picturesque sand spit. We felt so fortunate to see the Greek islands without the normal hoards of charter and other boats!
That night we realised why most of the other boats were anchored over the other side of the spit! There was quite an uncomfortable swell which increased as the night wore on. Sunday was groaning and creaking like an old square rigger and kept us awake for ages! When we woke up after a fitful sleep we decided to go and join the other boats over the other side of the sand spit so on went our motors, up went our anchor and we motored round to where it was lovely and calm and had breakfast.
The guidebook told us that Kythnos had a wonderfully picturesque capital (Hora) “with a charming mix of red roofs, narrow streets and Cycladic cube houses” so we decided to try and walk there.
We parked the dinghy on the spit and started our walk following a rough track which took us to a little sandy cove and then up a winding hill past fields, some with herds of goats chomping on whatever was going, and all surrounded by amazing ancient stone walls.
The views of the deep blue sea and the closer crystal clear turquoise waters were enchanting. After about a kilometre and a half we reached a small bay with a tiny chapel and a nice looking and completely empty taverna.
Taking pity on the proprietor we stopped for a quick drink before heading for Hora.
The place was absolutely spotless and the lady running it so kind. She brought us olives, aubergine fritters, white bean dip and flat bread to go with our beer – for no extra cost!
Feeling refreshed we decided to keep walking to Hora – the proprietor thought it was roughly three kilometres but what she didn’t tell us was that it was mostly up hill!
It was a challenging walk but the views were extraordinary and there was loads to see – big hairy goats, a profusion of wild flowers, ancient farming terraces perched precariously on the hills, a sweet donkey, a beautiful horse, the ocean sparkling in the distance, combined with the smell of wild thyme and other herbs to make it a marvellous experience.
Eventually we caught a glimpse of our destination – a mass of intensely white cube-shaped houses, some with red roof tiles – and after another half an hour of walking we reached this delightful little town.
With its narrow passageways, twisting and turning every which way, staircases going in every direction and hardly any signs of life, this ancient village felt quite mysterious and unnerving – it would have been so easy to get lost!
The small town was so photogenic and enchanting. We felt very fortunate to have the place entirely to ourselves!
We sat down to lunch in a shady taverna where again, we were the only guests. The proprietor steered us very firmly towards selecting moussaka and we were glad we did as it was creamy and flavoursome with still intact eggplant and just the right amount of cinnamon in the meat sauce.
Luckily, we did find the one and only taxi and it took us back to the first taverna where the rough track to the spit anchorage started.
We wandered along the last kilometre and a half rather more slowly as by then we were feeling quite tired after trudging around 13 kilometres and the equivalent of 49 flights of stairs!