Serenaded to sleep after enchanting visit

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.

Enjoying a great sail on the way to Serifos

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.

The large bay was pretty enough but felt rather desolate
There were the remains of iron ore mines and jetties on either side of the bay

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.

Capt’n Birdseye trying to get comfortable in Ormos Koutsla
It just didn’t feel right so we decided to move on
Motoring past the lighthouse

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.

The ancient chora rising up the hill

Perched on the steep hill, the white houses of the chora looked enchanting twinkling in the late afternoon sun.

The chora looked enchanting

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.

Sunday the only visiting boat in the bay.
This poor yacht has been anchored here for a long time

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.

Of course a visit to Serifos yacht club was a must

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.

So many empty tables in the tavernas
Sunday at anchor
Wash day before exploring the chora

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.

We stopped to ask where we could get a taxi
The captain went off to get some change and came back with ice creams!

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?

Can anyone identify this plant? It smelt so good!

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.

This is where the taxi dropped us
Nearby were these lovely windmills
There were three windmills in a row just before the old town
Easy to see why cars aren’t allowed!
Lots of stairs…..
….all going up!

We climbed right to the top of the hill where the ruins of the castle lie and the ubiquitous whitewashed chapel stood.

Loved this cute house perched on the hill side
The chapel at the summit
Getting closer!
We came across another chapel on the way!
Finally reached the top!

Looking down to the bay we could just make out Sunday sitting sedately at anchor below. The view was absolutely stunning.

Such a brilliant view and there’s Sunday on the left.
Great views from every direction
Such magnificent scenery
Another amazing view

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.

On our way down, looking back at the chapel
Such a profusion of colour
We just loved this glorious bougainvillea
The whole town was a maze of stairs and alley ways
How many hundreds of years has this lintel been in place?
The chora was certainly photogenic
Yet another intriguing passage way
We were so fortunate to see this place without the usual crowds

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.

The town square with Church, town hall and a couple of tavernas – perfect!

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.

Local kids playing on the steps of a Church on the way down
The path was very well maintained – maybe we should have walked up too!
Enjoying the views on the way down
A sweet little chapel perched on the hill side

Eventually, we were serenaded to sleep after a great day exploring the stunningly beautiful chora of Serifos.

Back on the boat where we were serenaded to sleep by Greek folk music

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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.

2 thoughts on “Serenaded to sleep after enchanting visit”

  1. We’re so enjoying following your uplifting, travel adventures in Greece. Sunday looks magnificent in the bay from the top of the castle!
    George also be tells me there are couple of yachts at Skopelos harbour, from the daily blog and live camera.

    We think the plant is sage. We have been give wreaths of this on our last visit and they still smell lovely today. Greek sage smells more like church incense and stronger than the sage we get here.

    Hope your paperwork saga is coming to a conclusion.

    Happy onward travel! Yamas, Sally and Jorgos xox

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    1. Hello Sally and George, so lovely to hear from you! We are in Kos and leaving for Turkey today! It’s strange because you can see Turkey over the water very clearly. It is so close that I’d guess the ferry would take less than 20 minutes to get there. We are going to Marmaris so will take a bit longer for Feeling a little nervous about Turkey as Covid-19 is much more widespread there than in Greece but I’m sure it will be lovely! Just finishing another blog today – it’s been fabulous having the Greek islands to ourselves but wish we could have stayed longer! lots of love to you both xx PS a few people say the herb is lamb’s ear (part of the mint family)! Whatever it is, it is such a Greek smell!

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