Reluctant departure and 49 sets of stairs

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.

A stop at the island of Kythnos on the way to Kos

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.

Taken from the sand spit on Kythnos

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.

Three sheep walk across the sand spit!

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.

So great to be in this lovely calm anchorage at Ormos Fikiadha

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 stone walls were amazing

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.

On our way to Hora

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 quiet little sandy cove
The views were enchanting

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.

The deep blue of the ocean

Taking pity on the proprietor we stopped for a quick drink before heading for Hora.

Arriving at the small chapel
Not a soul to be seen

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!

The taverna was spick and span
Look what we given after ordering two beers!
We had the taverna and the beach to ourselves!

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!

View of our anchorage with the ferry in the background from up the hill – Sunday is second on the left
We’d been walking up for a while!
Maybe we will see Hora round the next bend?
Poor hedgehog didn’t make it across the road

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.

One of the many big hairy goats we met along the way
Not much growing on these terraces now but each section would have been cultivated in the past.
There was a profusion of wild flowers by the road side
So pretty!
These looked beautiful bobbing in the breeze

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.

Hora in the distance
What an adorable donkey
The horse was also very sweet
A pile of sheep fleeces
A colorful garden on the edge of 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!

There were many narrow passageways such as this one
There were also steps going down and …..
…….steps going up!

The small town was so photogenic and enchanting. We felt very fortunate to have the place entirely to ourselves!

There were a number of chapels
…..and even more narrow laneways
The tavernas were all empty
It felt mysterious – like a ghost town or a deserted movie set

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.

The taverna we chose
We had the place to ourselves!
The food was delicious….
This cat thought so too.
Another beautiful corner
What beauty lay behind these doors?
Another chapel shining in the sun
This one had a beautiful bell
Is this the way to the main road?

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.

Or was it this way?!

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!

The water was miraculously clear
A glimpse of Sunday awaiting our return.

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

4 thoughts on “Reluctant departure and 49 sets of stairs”

  1. It looks just beautiful, Greece how we imagine as foreigners on the other side of the world. Like you say, normal reality of hordes of people in some of the places, you have been “lucky” in a way to see it like that.

    Like

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