After the Herculean exertions of the day walking to the top of two high peaks and negotiating hundreds, maybe thousands, of steps we were in no mood to march a great deal further this evening and so rather than walk to the town or the harbour we stopped instead at a gyros restaurant (and I use the word restaurant in its loosest and most generous sense here) and ordered some fast food and some white wine served from a plastic bottle.
After two weeks we were ready for this and the really good thing about the Greek Islands is that there are no McDonald’s, Burger King or Kentucky Fried Chicken because fast food here is all about the gyros which is a Greek speciality (sold all over the World now of course) where the object is to cram an entire meal, meat, chips, vegetables and sauces into a pitta bread wrap and then try to tackle it without it falling apart and the contents dribbling down the front of your shirt or falling onto the floor.
Well, this was absolutely divine and I am not knocking all of the restaurants and tavernas that we had eaten in so far but it just might have been the best evening meal so far. We drooled over it, we described it to each other in ever-increasing gastronomic superlatives and we mopped our plates clean. Disappointingly of course this was fast food and it was all over in a flash and were back in the hotel sitting on the balcony and looking out over the lights of the town and the reflections on the water which spread and shifted like a kaleidoscopic diesel slick over the water.
The next morning over breakfast on account of the fact that we had completed two days intended walks in just one we had to make some alternative plans so we thought we might find the bus station and take a ride around the island.
Bus services in the Greek Islands used to be reliably unreliable but things have changed since our last visit and the entire bus service thing appears to have been privatised. Gone is the inefficient fleet of state-run cream and green coaches with their tatty seats, worn out curtains for shade, belching engines and groaning gear boxes and they have been replaced with a fleet of modern Mercedes-Benz vehicles with engines that meet EU emissions standards and have air conditioning, recliners and seat belts. The price to pay for this little bit of progress is that the new bus service is much less regular.
Those were the days – Serifos (2009)…
So we took the ride to the nearby village of Vari on the south coast. As we left the bus we instinctively knew that this wasn’t the sort of place where we would want to spend the entire day so we examined the bus time-table and noted that the next bus back was in forty minutes, which was too soon and after that an hour and ten minutes and we thought that we might be able to manage that.
To be fair there was a nice beach and we had a swim in the sea and then a drink in the water side taverna and then strolled back to the bus stop and waited, and waited, and waited and waited. The bus did not come so after half an hour we gave up and started to walk back to the taverna. Suddenly a bus appeared and we sprinted like Olympic athletes back to the bus stop only to have our hopes dashed and be told that this was a school bus and there was no way we would be allowed on that even though we had just given a whole new meaning to the term ‘school run’!
The driver told us that the next bus back to Ermoupolis was in about an hour so we wandered back to the taverna and ordered lunch and waited.
To be honest I wasn’t at all confident that there would be any sort of bus back at all but sure enough one eventually arrived and we thankfully got a ride back to the port.
It was our third and final night in Syros and because we had enjoyed the gyros so much the day before we just went back to the same place for our evening meal.
The following morning we had an early morning ferry to Tinos and then on to Mykonos so after settling our account we followed the steep path down to the ferry terminus and waited for the Blue Star to arrive. It turned up dead on time and Kim immediately stood up and started pushing her way to the front of the line.
Kim is from the North-East of England where most people have a lot of Scandinavian heritage but I swear Kim is an exception and has French blood pulsing through her veins because she just cannot be in a queue without wanting to get to the front of it.
When the boarding gates opened she did her best Lionel Messi impression and swerved and weaved her way skilfully through the crowds of people, scattering children and elbowing people aside if anyone dared get in the way. I have reminded her several times that it is all completely pointless because I am left way behind and eventually she will have to wait for me because I am the one with the tickets!
Anyway, we eventually got on board the Blue Star, made our way to the top external deck and watched as the pastel colours of Syros faded away behind us as the ferry made its determined way to nearby Tinos.