Tag Archives: Folegandros

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

Life in the Slow Lane…

There was a welcoming bar in a little square with rattan cane tables and chairs under leafy trees with books and backgammon available for customers to sit and enjoy and idle some of the day away.  As we were getting accustomed to this pace of life we drank coffee and ordered baklava and stayed a while until it was time to go back.

Folegandros is a dreamy timeless sort of place in a sort of 1960s time warp and all around there were were lots of ageing beardy hippies with ponytails, wearing white linen and flip-flops and carrying sketch pads.  All that was missing was the joss sticks and the candles, the flowers and the guitars.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated

On account of the weather Folegandros was a bit of a disappointment this year but unlike last year at least the ferries were running and there would be problem getting to Ios tomorrow.

The weather was so miserable so that after we had booked our tickets there was little to stay for so we left and walked back and as we did so it started to rain.  Only very gently at first but by the time we arrived back at the hotel it was hard enough to make us shelter in our room.

Then the situation got even worse because the only shop in the port was closed for the afternoon and so was the hotel bar so we were stuck in the room all afternoon without any beer.  It rained for nearly three hours and by four o’clock I swear the temperature dropped somewhere close to zero!  Finally it stopped and it started to brighten but there was still no sign of the sun and there were still dark and scowling clouds advancing from the east but at least we could see Sikinos again as the shroud of mist began to lift.

The rain returned and snuffed out what remained of the day like a candle, which wasn’t a big surprise but at least we had wine now and later we caught the bus for the second time today up to the Chora and on the way we glimpsed a sliver of blue sky but before long the rain came sweeping back in. 

We ate at the same table at the same taverna that was luckily under cover because the main square was a sad place tonight with usually lively tables all empty and getting a thorough soaking.  What is usually a colourful vibrant place was wet and dreary and the rain continued to fall.  Eventually we could no longer justify occupying the table when other people needed food and shelter so we paid and left but there was an hour to kill before the bus was scheduled to return to the port so we found a table inside a local taverna.

On the bus journey back the heavens opened and there was an electrical storm to entertain us.  Back at Karavostassis it was absolutely chucking it down and by the time we got back to the room we were thoroughly soaked.

I had had quite enough of Folegandros for this year and was glad to be leaving the next day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

Folegandros Hora, Greek Cycladic Islands

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely safe in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.  It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

Life in the Slow Lane…

There was a welcoming bar in a little square with rattan cane tables and chairs under leafy trees with books and backgammon available for customers to sit and enjoy and idle some of the day away.  As we were getting accustomed to this pace of life we drank coffee and ordered baklava and stayed a while until it was time to go back.

Folegandros is a dreamy timeless sort of place in a sort of 1960s time warp and all around there were were lots of ageing beardy hippies with ponytails, wearing white linen and flip-flops and carrying sketch pads.  All that was missing was the joss sticks and the candles, the flowers and the guitars.

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Folegandros Cat on a Purple Door

This cat was trying to find a way inside by jumping up the door and looking for an open window.  He tried it several times but the window was closed.  I thought cats were cleverer than that!

One thing for sure is that Greece has more than its fair share of cats and it is almost impossible to have a meal at a pavement taverna without a feline or two as a dining companion.

Relations between Greek people and cats are different than in the north of Europe as explained by the German photographer Hans Sylvester writing  about the cats of the Cycladic islands:

“These cats, that are domestic cats, are not abandoned, neither wild, they live for centuries with the humans. The Greek people of these islands like them without really liking them, they take care of them without really taking care of them; but they accept them totally. These cats are part of daily life, they’ve always been here, like the wind, the sun, the sea, the day and the night.”

Les Chats du Soleil, 1993

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

Folegandros Hora

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely safe in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.  It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

Folegandros Hora

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely safe in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.  It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

Read the full story…

My Personal Greek A to Ω – Φ (Phi) is for Φολέγανδρος or Folegandros

Folegandros is a fine island, firmly in my top five and far enough away from the main holiday islands to have an air of exclusivity and it is definitely on my list to return to.

We were staying at the Hotel Vrahos again, the hotel mini-bus was there to greet us and at the reception Anna, the owner’s daughter was there to welcome us back. It’s a good job that Anna works in the family business because she is the only one who can speak English. Her father is a friendly man but only has two phrases to rely upon: “Anna will explain”, and “Anna will be back soon”.  We had chosen to stay there again because we especially liked one of the rooms and we were relieved when Anna confirmed that as we had requested it had been reserved for us again this year.

The hotel is in the little port of Karavostassis, which is not an especially attractive place surrounded by salt and pepper grey hills, a small stony beach, a harbour and a crescent of white cube houses and holiday lets. Not the most picturesque place in the Aegean it has to be said but I like it just the same and it is cheaper than staying in the boutique hotels in the Chora. In the harbour the European Union funded work that had been in progress last year had been completed but hadn’t seemed to make that much of an improvement and had the sort of finish that I would call the contractors back to put right if it was my own driveway at home.

The main settlement on Folegandros is Chora, which is a few kilometres into the hills of the interior and this evening we took a bus ride there to see if it lived up to its guidebook rating as one of the best places in the Cyclades.  The engine groaned and the gear box complained as it was compelled to make the steep ascent to the top and I am certain that I heard it sigh with relief when it pulled into a small square and after we had all got off it was allowed to rest for a while before making the return journey.

What a fabulous place this turned out to be, the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an ethnic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.  It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from a travel brochure, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.  The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and narrow alleys that led always to even more collections of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.

After dinner we took the bus back to the port where a full moon was decorating the inky water with silver glitter that shifted constantly and broke and reassembled like a kaleidoscope image on the surface of the water that undulated with a gentle ebb and flow and that reassuring sound of tiny waves lapping the shore and percolating through the sandy gravel.  From the hotel balcony there was a good view of the night time harbour that was peaceful and serene with the lights of the buildings reflecting off the surface of the water and providing an idyllic image of the Cyclades.

We woke early to the most stunning sunrise leaking like liquid amber through the open shutters and into the room.  The sun was only a few minutes old and was a ball of white light with a yellow halo rising through a fiery sky that was sizzling with anticipation for the new day.  A bright yellow slash of solar reflection sliced through the surface of water and the whole bay was so intensely bronze that it was as though the sky had ignited and poured its flames into the sea.  Slowly the orange sky retreated and was replaced by a reassuring blue and the sea turned from umber through purple to its more natural marine blue and everything was prepared and ready for another perfect day.

After breakfast in the harbour we waited for a bus at the terminus at the harbour and when it arrived it turned round and struggled back up the hill to the Chora at the top.  In the daylight there was a good view over most of the island and it was revealed as dusty, barren and devoid of vegetation with a desolate landscape that had been beaten relentlessly into total submission by the scorching summer sun.

At the top there was a long walk to the Kastro, a white church standing at the pinnacle of the hill and approached by a hair pin concrete path that seemed to go on forever and which was enough to make Kim complain all of the way to the summit.  At the top the building turned out to be a bit of a disappointment but the stunning views of dramatic cliffs rising out of the blue sea were adequate compensation.  Built on the top of a craggy rock like an eagle’s nest, the islanders of Folegandros claim that the Chora is the prettiest village in the Cyclades and after Oia on Santorini they may well be right.

We returned to the village and passed by a charming collection of houses, some old, some new and most with dazzling blue doors.  Some of the older houses had precarious balconies that I wouldn’t trust and it seemed to be sensible to pass by quickly lest they fall at that very moment.  The crooked alleys took us around in circles past kittens playing in a garden and stone walls that looked as though they had been rather carelessly assembled and everywhere vivid red geraniums growing in ad hoc containers of various sizes and descriptions.  As we were getting accustomed to this pace of life we drank beer and ordered baklava and stayed a while until it was time to go back.

It was very hot again with no breeze at all and the day meandered slowly through the afternoon and we did exactly the same things as the day before.  Walked to the beach, swam and snorkeled in the warm sea, had a drink at a beach bar and finished off on the balcony with a beer and a good book.  Later with only limited dining opportunities at the port we returned again to the Chora and investigated the streets that we had missed earlier.

It was a warm evening and after we had taken the bus back to the port there was a pleasant stroll along the sea shore, a long climb up the steps back to the room and a glass of wine or two watching the sleepy harbour resting below.

My Favourite Pictures of the Greek Islands – 19

Rain stopped Play!

In the Greek Islands the weather is usually reliably warm and sunny but as though to remind us not to be complacent sometimes it can rain…

In 2009 in Folegandros the weather was so miserable that there was little to stay in the Chora for so we left and walked back and as we did so it started to rain.  Only very gently at first but by the time we arrived back at the hotel in the port it was hard enough to make us shelter in our room.  Then the situation got even worse because the only shop was closed for the siesta and so was the hotel bar so we were stuck in the room all afternoon without any alcohol!  It rained for nearly three hours and by four o’clock I swear the temperature dropped somewhere close to zero!  Finally it stopped and it started to brighten but there was still no sign of the sun and there were still dark and scowling clouds advancing from the east but at least we could see Sikinos again as the shroud of mist began to lift.

On account of the weather Folegandros was a bit of a disappointment that visit but unlike the previous year at least the ferries were running and there would be problem getting to Ios the next day.

Later the rain returned, which wasn’t a big surprise but at least we had wine now and later we caught the bus for the second time today up to the Chora and on the way we glimpsed a sliver of blue sky but before long the rain came sweeping back in.  We ate at the same table at the same taverna that was luckily under cover because the main square was a sad place tonight with usually lively tables all empty and getting a thorough soaking.  What is usually a colourful vibrant place was wet and dreary and the rain continued to fall.  Eventually we could no longer justify occupying the table when other people needed food and shelter so we paid and left but there was an hour to kill before the bus was scheduled to return to the port.

We found a bar that was full of local people watching the quarter-final of a championship basketball match and it was all very noisy and excitable because it was close to the end and Greece were beating Germany and looked as though they were going through to the semi-finals.  Eventually they won 75-69 and then it was time to go.  On the bus journey back the heavens opened and there was an electrical storm to entertain us.  Back at Karavostassis it was absolutely chucking it down and by the time we got back to the room we were thoroughly soaked.  I had had quite enough of Folegandros and was actually glad to be leaving the next day.

My Favourite Pictures of the Greek Islands – 6

Folegandros Hora

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely safe in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.  It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

Read the full story…