After an unexpectedly wonderful sail from the unspoilt Greek island of Kythnos we arrived at our next destination – Serifos – in the early afternoon and anchored in a large, completely empty, bay called Ormos Koutsla.
The bay was pretty enough but rather desolate and lonely. There were the remains of iron ore mines and jetties on either side – apparently, the concentration of the ore here causes local magnetic anomalies.
Whether it was the the unusual magnetic disturbances or the slight swell we were experiencing, we felt distinctly uncomfortable and decided to move round to another anchorage – Ormos Livadhiou.
As we motored towards the anchorage the amazing and ancient chora (main town) high up on the hill behind the inhabited coastal strip, gradually came into view.
Perched on the steep hill, the white houses of the chora looked enchanting twinkling in the late afternoon sun.
Apart from one poor old sailing boat that looked as though it had been deserted after a long voyage, Sunday was once again the only yacht in the entire bay.
Later on we took our dinghy in and tied up on the narrow beach next to a taverna – closed but being prepared with hope for guests – sunshades being refurbished, tables being set up etc.
We had a pleasant walk along the quiet seafront fringed with tamarisk trees before returning to Sunday for dinner. A few of the normally buzzing tavernas had a sprinkling of customers but some had none at all. With around 20 per cent of the population being employed in the tourism sector, poor Greece has suffered and will continue to suffer, massively from the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The prospect of visiting the chora rising high up on the hill was exciting but it was an extremely hot day and the thought of toiling up a steep path for hours wasn’t very appealing. So once ashore we asked at a cafe where we could get a taxi and a lovely young man sat us down with a glass of water and called Vangelis the taxi driver for us.
A few minutes later and we were seated in a taxi winding up the hill in comfort. There was a beautiful smell in the taxi – lemony, herby, spicy – the driver must have heard me sniffing the air as he suddenly presented me with a snippet of this good smelling plant. I have no idea what it was but it could possibly be some kind of wild thyme perhaps?
Cars aren’t allowed in the chora so the driver dropped us at the car park below and we spent the next few hours wandering through the beautiful alleyways and stairways.
We climbed right to the top of the hill where the ruins of the castle lie and the ubiquitous whitewashed chapel stood.
Looking down to the bay we could just make out Sunday sitting sedately at anchor below. The view was absolutely stunning.
A profusion of bougainvillea and oleander in bright pinks and purples set against the dazzling, white buildings, the many churches and chapels, the bright blue skies and the blue paintwork of the houses will always be a treasured memory of Greece in general but particularly of the chora on Serifos.
We eventually found our way to the small main square where we sat for a while over a glass of cold beer before taking the beautifully maintained foot path (with lots of stairs) down the hill.
On the way down we heard a violin being tuned and a few bars of an unusual and melancholy melody. Later on that night as we lay in our beds, we could hear the violin again, accompanying a folk singer who appeared to be singing a never-ending tale of love, fighting, adventure and doom.
Eventually, we were serenaded to sleep after a great day exploring the stunningly beautiful chora of Serifos.