Greek Islands, Final Days and a Last Walk

cyclades-postcard

“… but God’s magic is still at work and no matter what the race of man may do or try to do, Greece is still a sacred precinct – and my belief is it will remain so until the end of time.” – Henry Miller, ‘Collosus of Maroussi’

Leaving Tinos the Blue Star ferry made its way to neighbouring Mykonos where we would be spending the last two days of our trip before flying home.

Usually we choose to stay in traditional accommodation with average prices but for the last two days we had selected instead to stay at a more expensive boutique hotel just outside the Chora.  Actually, it wasn’t that expensive just a bit more than we like to pay and the result was that we were allocated a very nice room with a balcony and a Jacuzzi and a glorious view over the town and the bay.

Mykonos Street 1

By comparison the mini-bar and restaurant prices were ludicrously astronomical so it didn’t take us long to make a decision to take a walk back into the centre for an afternoon stroll, search for a sunset and then find a reasonably priced taverna for evening meal.

Now at the end of our holiday we challenged each other to record the highs and lows of the three week trip.  We didn’t agree entirely with each other but I think this list of highlights is safe enough to share…

  1. Amorgos was our favourite island
  2. Homer’s Inn on Ios was, as always our favourite hotel
  3. The gyros in Syros was our favourite meal
  4. Mountain tracks on Amorgos were our favourite walks
  5. The seven hour ferry journey from Ios to Syros (Andrew)

We struggled to make a list of low-lights but these were suggestions…

  1. Car hire in Amorgos
  2. Cruise ships in Mykonos
  3. The seven hour ferry journey from Ios to Syros (Kim)

The list complete we thought about our last day and agreed that it might be a good idea to try and break our walking record and see if we could crash through the ten mile barrier so we decided to start early and walk to Ornos where we had stayed two weeks previously and then on to Agios Ioannis and then return.

Walking in Mykonos

So, next day we did just that and immediately after a rather chaotic hotel breakfast we packed our rucksacks and set off.

It was late October now and the scorching summer weather was on the glorious tipping point into Autumn and there was a welcome breeze, well, wind actually, which made it a pleasant walk to the south of the island.  Once there we thought about a swim in the sea but the beach was still crowded with sun-worshippers cluttering up the beach so we passed straight through and on to Agios Ioannis where we stopped to swim for the last time this year and then to have a drink before retracing our steps stopping in Ornos on the way for a light lunch.

The taverna was next to the bus stop and there a middle-aged shabbily dressed American with grizzled grey hair and an extravagant pony tail was giving Greece travel advice to a younger woman who had admiring doe eyes and was hanging on to his every word as though he was Ernest Hemingway or Henry Miller or Rick Steves.  Some of the advice was quite useful as it turned out but it dried up when the bus arrived and they climbed aboard and left.

We left shortly after and walked the two miles back to the hotel where we sat in the sun, arranged our suitcases ready for the journey home and enjoyed some time in the Jacuzzi.

mykonos-jacuzzi

For evening meal we had chosen a beach side taverna a little way out of the town (we needed the steps) and we presented ourselves at the agreed time of eight o’clock.  It was a busy restaurant and we were obliged to share a table with a couple from France who arrived shortly after us and were both clearly very drunk.  They ordered several starter plates and a bottle of retsina and then nibbled at the food and got seriously stuck into the wine.  They were generous with their food and invited us to share but I noticed they didn’t offer any wine.  They ate almost nothing but very quickly ordered a second bottle.

As we ate the American and his adoring companion walked by and although I am certain they had only recently met they were now holding hands.

It was a good meal, perhaps the best of the holiday? I don’t know, I can’t really be sure, but we enjoyed the musicians who played traditional Greek music throughout the evening and the amusing company.  He danced, she chatted, they were clearly local celebrities and when it was time to go we said goodbye and as we left they ordered their third bottle of retsina!

Greek Dancing

We walked back and saw the American and his friend who were now walking arm-in-arm – the old man of the sea had clearly been hooked.  Back at the room we checked the pedometer – 10.35 miles, we had broken our record and we were self-congratulatory about that.

On the final morning I was surprised to see no cruise ships in the harbour or the bay so anticipating that this might make a difference I made a final visit to the town.  It was charming, empty, quiet, unhurried and delightful.  Without hordes of cruiser invaders the little streets of the town had a whole different ambience and improved quality.  I liked it so much I did at least two full circuits of the town and I was so happy to see it like this in the last few hours before returning back home.

We had enjoyed the Cyclades and agreed that we certainly wouldn’t leave it another five years before returning to one of our favourite places.

Ios Unique Restaurant

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22 responses to “Greek Islands, Final Days and a Last Walk

  1. I can tell this was a good day. No doubt about it. 😀 😀 Sounds good to me too. ❤

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  2. Oh what a marvellous trip it has been. I very much enjoyed it. That jacuzzi on the balcony is astounding!

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  3. How wonderful…..cruise ships are becoming a nuisance though aren’t they as 4 or more arrive and thousands of people disembark for a few hours. Scourge of the seas!

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  4. Cruise ships. Yuk.
    Don’t know which is more impressive, the ten mile walk or beer in the jacuzzi.

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    • I needed that beer in the jacuzzi after the walk. Several actually. Kim said that the water was too cold but I thought it was lovely!
      Cruise ships – I hate them. I bet you get them in Gibraltar?
      I just got back from Spain, I was near Alicante and thankfully didn’t see any!

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      • I’m a real water baby. Water sign? Don’t believe in horoscopes but I am an aguaphile.
        Cruise ships. Stuck with a load of people you don’t want to know who you can’t get away from. Hell on water. Yes, we do. Sometimes three in one day. Gib is too small for that. Especially as they all dawdle, suddenly stop in the middle of the street, and most seem to have overindulged in said shops catering they are so fat. (I know, fattist!)
        Did you hit the rain? Had ten days down this end and more forecast.

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      • No rain. I could see the weather fronts coming in from the west but they seemed to hit Malaga and then go north to Barcelona and by pass the east coast. Perfect Autumn weather and even took a dip in the sea.
        Words fail me about cruise ships and their passengers. Well, they don’t but I just cannot use them in a public forum. If 30,000ish people live on Gibraltar and 3 cruise ships bring in say 6,000 invaders, that is a 20% increase in footfall and a lot of dawdlers to absorb!

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      • Water sign, let me guess, Cancer – sharp claws. I’m an air sign but I still liked the jacuzzi!

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      • Top marks. A bit cuspish, ie with Gem, but def cancer, as is partner.

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      • HaHa, I knew it. Me and Kim are both air signs. I believe in all that shit! Do you remember Colonel Steve Zodiac in Fireball XL5?

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      • Good call though. Impressed. I don’t even know what signs are what apart from mine. My parents were both Sag, like me and partner with birthdays on consecutive days. Weird. Colonel Who?!

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      • Fireball XL5, probably a boy thing!
        Sagittarius, a fire sign, you were born in the embers of a fire..
        Here is a curious coincidence, all of my three significant partners were born on the 16th of the month. A bit spooky but on a practical level it helps me remember birthdays – I only have to remember the month!

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  5. In training for the Caminho, Andrew? 🙂

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  6. Sounds like a marvelous tour all the way along! I’ve enjoyed sharing it.

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  7. Dear Mister Petcher!

    I know that you’ve asked for a “time out”, to have some time to “have a thought about” what we were talking about in another thread on your blog. Still, seeing that you are leaving beautiful Cyclades of Greece, where you and your wife were vacationing, I’d like to bring in one piece of information for you to ponder about:

    “Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday referred to the eastern Aegean Imia islets as “Turkish soil.”

    Cavusoglu was responding in writing to a question tabled by a Turkish MP regarding the status of islands and islets in the Aegean.

    “As long as the AKP is in power there will be no change in the legal and de facto status of islands in the Aegean,” noted Cavusoglu in his statement.

    Cavusoglu’s comments followed comments made by the leader of the Turkish Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu in which he accused Greece of occupying 18 islands in the Aegean.

    Reacting to Cavusoglu’s statement, the Greek foreign ministry issued its own statement on Thursday.

    “Greece’s sovereignty over its islands in the Aegean, including Imia, is undisputable and established by international law,” the ministry said, adding that “Irresponsible references to the contrary are provocative,” given that the legal status of Aegean islands and islets was determined by a series of international agreements signed last century.

    In 1996, Greece and Turkey came close to war over the uninhabited outcrop.”

    Source

    Claims like this – i.e. revisionist claims to other territories as rightful Turkish “land” – coming from Turkey’s top officials are far from uncommon. There is a reason, you know, for accusations of president Erdogan of being neo-Ottoman irredentists – and his own words are the main reason for that.

    Turkey is also a NATO member. It is also a “key partner” of the EU. That’s a nice way of saying that it has the EUrocrats by… what eunuchs clearly have no more… due to constant threat of unleashing a proverbial avalanche made of refugees. Your country, thankfully, would be spared of it if the worst come – all thanks to your own “deplorables” who voted in the wrong way during the so-called “Brexit”.

    Right now Turkish president Erdogan is conducting real Purge of Military, Security apparatus and Academia. Said purge spills over to affect much vaunted by the “common values” beholden EU “Freedom of Speech”. There is an undeclared civil war in parts of his country against citizens of his own country who happen to belong to undesirable ethnicity, and he is also engaged in the invasion into foreign territory not sanctioned by any legitimate international body. Turkish air forces routinely violate other countries airspace for decades breaking various international laws and air safety regulations and putting civilian air traffic in danger with their stunts. There were instances, when the Turkish navy escorted Turkish fishing vessels into Greek territorial waters. When Turkey was ignoring the UN Security Council and continued to maintain its illegal military occupation force in the northern third of Cyprus (while violating the Geneva conventions by repopulating the occupied zones with Turkish citizens) the Western world turned a blind eye and didn’t care

    Still, Rajep Tayyip Erdogan is (and anyone will confirm that) a legitimate president of the Turkish Republic, and all Western leaders smile and hobnob with him. After all, he has the 2nd most powerful army in the NATO. Might makes right, amiright?

    Establishing that – what’s your problem with Putin, whom you called “monstrous”?

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  8. Some interesting points. As I said before mine is not really a political blog but I will play along. Turkey is a rather interesting case. I predict that it will never achieve membership of the EU.
    Why do I say this?
    Simple – because within only a few short years there will be no EU.
    I speak as one of the deplorables who voted to leave.
    Why did I vote to leave?
    Simple – because the EU has become a bloated economic and political super power and has suppressed the identity and the sovereignty of its members.
    Do you remember the Warsaw Pact? Do you see any similarities?
    Anyway, back to your opening point – I really don’t think I care about ownership of some uninhabited islands in the Aegean and I have even less time for Erdogan than Putin. Hopefully UK is heading towards a period of glorious ‘isolationism’.
    Maybe ‘monstrous’ was the wrong descriptor, I think I meant ‘monstrous tyrant!

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