My Personal Greek A to Ω – Σ (Sigma) is for Σίφνος or Sifnos

The boat arrived in the port of Kamares early in the afternoon and the apartment owner met us in the busy main street and drove us no more than five hundred metres to the hotel and without any fuss showed us to our little room at the top of the pretty little hotel complex.  It was absolutely delightful with traditional decoration and furniture and a terrace with a glorious view over the beach and the surrounding countryside and although I cannot adequately explain why we felt immediately at home.

It was a beautiful day and from the balcony there was an unbroken blue sky and we were surrounded by scrubby hills that were not attractive at all but paradoxically very attractive indeed.  Apparently the whole of the summer through late July and August had been spoilt by continuous gales but today there was not a hint of wind and the place was simply idyllic.

After we had settled in we wasted no time in going back to the harbour where there was a good selection of tavernas set along the side of the water with the sea lapping gently in a soporific sort of way and an enormous amount of fish swimming around in the expectation of being thrown chunks of left over bread. Kamara is a lovely sort of shabby chic village with a strip of lively, colourful shops on one side of the main road and temping tavernas and bars on the other.  It is all nicely understated and feels warm, friendly and safe.  We choose a table at the water’s edge and had a leisurely meal that probably included Greek salad and calamari but I was just so relaxed that I simply cannot remember, I was so happy it was like being wrapped in a comfort blanket.

Later we walked back to the port and we ate in the harbour of course, at a taverna with green tablecloths and a traditional rustic menu and we spent a whole evening eating, drinking and feeding the fish with the over generous portions of bread that were served with the meal.  We both liked Serifos but we liked it here better, it seemed more relaxed, more friendly and best of all less expensive.   When we had finished our meal we climbed the hill back to the apartments and sat on the balcony with a bottle of red wine until very late.

The next day after breakfast on the balcony we caught the ten o’clock bus at the stop just outside the hotel for the short trip to the capital of Sifnos, Apollonia.  The trip took about fifteen minutes and the bus dropped us off in the busy main square.  Apollonia is in the middle of the island and all of the roads pass through this hectic spot and all around there was snarling traffic in a crazy traffic dominated street where it was important to keep our wits about us if we weren’t to smeared into the road and become permanent residents of Sifnos.

We disappeared as quickly as we could into the back streets of the town where the peace and tranquillity of the narrow shady lanes was in complete contrast to the main road.  It was already very hot and there was a long steep climb ahead of us as we made our way towards the blue domed cathedral at the top of the hill.  Stopping regularly to poke into hidden corners and side streets we met an Italian who was resting half way up the hill and he explained how he had set out with the objective of walking right across the island but at this half way point he was thinking of changing his plans and finishing the journey by bus.  I agreed with him that this seemed to be a good plan.

At the top there was a panoramic view of most of the island and we could see the sea in the east but mountains blocked the view to the west.   Below us was all of the capital, which is in fact made up of four separate villages that as they have grown have simply merged into one big town.  There were a lot of blue domes scattered along the streets and I counted twenty-five churches, which seems rather a lot for a town that only has a population of about a thousand permanent residents and by my calculation that is one church for every forty people.  There was no alternative but to walk back the way we came and once back at the main road we stopped at a trendy taverna and had an expensive mythos (€4), you know, one of those served in a posh glass and with an unnecessary bowl of peanuts which seems to justify the inflated price.

There was no wind at all anymore and with a cloudless sky it was really very hot.  After returning to the room and an hour on the balcony we walked down to Kamara and explored some of the back streets that are tucked away behind the busy main road from where steps rise steeply with a giddy speed that quickened the pulse rate and brought us out in a sweat so we were glad of the air conditioned shops where we searching for take home souvenirs amongst the pottery for which Sifnos is famous.

It was a lazy finish to the day as we sat on the balcony, read our books, drank wine and chatted to the nice couple in the next apartment.  When the sun went down there was an excellent sunset and after it went dark we returned to the little port for evening meal at one of the little tavernas by the water.

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18 responses to “My Personal Greek A to Ω – Σ (Sigma) is for Σίφνος or Sifnos

  1. Hi,
    It does sound like a lovely place, and I agree that does seem like a lot of churches for the small population.
    I think it’s wonderful when you can find a place that you really felt so relaxed in, and it seems nice neighbors as well. 🙂

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  2. Not been to Sifnos yet, sounds very nice.

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  3. Ah…sounds delightful.

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  4. I wanted to say how much I enjoy your tales of Greece. I haven’t been there yet, but I would like to visit the places you describe. Thank you!

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  5. Travelling is such sweet sorrow. Ha! Greece is tantalizing and so HARD to take. No.

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  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene | Have Bag, Will Travel

  7. I always enjoy reading your travelogues! You must be so happy that you have kept these chronicles, illustrated with excellent photos.

    Serenity, indeed, Andrew.

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    • Thanks Yvonne. One of my reasons for writing these holiday notes was that I found that I was forgetting so much or memories were getting tangled up. I have found it to be an excellent way of keeping each trip clear in my mind.

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  8. From that first photo before I linked here, I knew it was Greece. Those homes are unlike any others. When I was on a ship moving through some Greek islands, I remember thinking that they looked like a great hand had thrown dice across the hillside.

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  9. Reading this makes me think why would anyone go anywhere other than Greece? Even paying €4 for a beer would be tolerable (that price doesn’t seem too bad in 2015!)

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  10. You make me nostalgic for the Greek Islands, Andrew. Have you a visit planned this year?

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