Chapter Fifty Three     May  2010

 

Symi. Tilos. Amorgos. Iraklia. Paros. Mykonos. Syros. Kithnos.

That’s a good start for a season, don’t you think?

American friends were waiting for us on Symi (very patient American friends who had waited for us for nearly a week).  We first met Dick and Ginger on Alchemy in February, 2004 in the Dominican Republic, and have been crossing paths ever since.  They greeted us with a lovely pasta dinner, and off we went together.

During our brief stay in Symi, we delivered a new American coffee pot to our friends, Maria and Ioannis.  Maria became fond of American style coffee during her 25 year stay in Pennsylvania, but had broken her old pot.  We were rewarded with homemade Easter biscuits.  (We made out better on the trade.)

On Tilos we hiked over the hills, then rented a car to see the rest of the island.  The rental man said “Two hours it will take you to see the whole of the island.”  He was right! In doing so we discovered a mostly abandoned village which was interesting.

         

Amorgos. Empty of tourists, and very laid-back.  We hiked up the hill to a small village and ate lunch in a small family-run taverna. We were invited into the kitchen to see what she had prepared for the day; she spoke no English, we no Greek.  A fragrant rice-spinach dish, fava beans cooked in oil and mashed into a humus-like paste served with sliced raw onions, a lamb stew with cloves and potatoes, and small fish (5-6 inches long) dusted in flour and fried in an iron skillet.  The meal was outstanding; each of us selected a different dish and shared.  After serving us, she sat down with her husband and parents and had lunch at the next table.  It was just great.

Amorgos has an extraordinary monastery, carved into the middle of a cliff.  Check out the climb!  Four monks still live here so we got a tour. And they served us Ouzo and cookies!

                

While our friends visited Naxos, we explored Iraklia.  This tiny island has but 100 year-round inhabitants.  We made friends with Adonis, a young native fisherman. He gave us the run-down on life on Iraklia.  He is single at age 32, as there is only one eligible woman on the island, and she is not to his taste.  He told us there are three possibilities for employment: construction, tourism and fishing.  With only four restaurants and three guest houses, he chose fishing.  The competition is too steep in the tourist trade! Life is tough for the young here.

We hiked the hills and explored both villages before setting sail for Paros.

          

The weather forecast predicted a northern gale, so we settled into a well protected bay on Paros.  We were pinned here for an entire week with Force 8 (40 knots) winds.  Fortunately we were tucked in behind a tall hill of rock, so the water surface was still, even with the high winds.  We actually got some work done! Even several books read. And when we knew the anchor was really dug in, we went touring. And hiked up to the nearby light house, too!

Paros is delightful. White marble dug from deep underground made Paros famous. Venus de Milo was carved from Parian marble, as was Napoleon’s tomb. We brought home samples!

             

Next stop: Mykonos. Our old stomping grounds. (We wintered here in 2007) We visited friends, found that nothing has changed and everything has changed. We had just enough time for a few more photos and dinner with friends.  (And to see what Costas has added to his “summer estate.”)

              

The purpose of all these hops is to get west in time for our flight to England on May 27th. Now we were in delivery mode. So we tied up to the quay in Syros, climbed the hill to Ermoupolis for old times’ sake and left the following morning. It’s still a magical place.

              

We hadn’t been to Kythnos before, but didn’t stay long.  It is relatively deserted; not being one of the “favored” Greek tourist destinations.  But our morning hike across the barren hills was most enjoyable. We even had time to kick up our heels!  A short rest and we were back on the water at 0:dark thirty.

     

We entered the Corinth Canal at 6:30 and were the first in line. It was more expensive than last time and slightly less thrilling, being the second time around. But the tug on our stern upped the ante!

               

Once through the canal we motored through light winds to Delphi. We had visited the site when we first entered Greece in 2006 but we couldn’t resist joining our friends for Round Two.

           

We’ve now safely parked Seraphim in a place called Preveza, a harbor town on the west coast in the Ionian. There she will rest until we return from our trip to the States. Early August we will make stops in Corfu and Sicily enroute to Tunisia. Life just keeps getting better.