Tag Archives: Katapola

People Pictures – A Bus Ride in Amorgos

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

Kim spotted this noble looking woman on a bus ride on the Greek island of Amorgos…

The bus fare to Katapola was good value at only €2.80 each and after we paid the driver started the engine and left exactly on time.

We sat close to the front of the bus and in the seat directly behind the driver there was an old woman in widow’s weeds who was determined to talk constantly in some sort of quest to distract him and thoroughly test his driving ability as he eased the vehicle out of the village and began the ascent to the top of the mountain that separates the two ends of the island.

As the bus climbed higher into the interior and the engine began to complain and the gearbox groan the sides of the mountain became surprisingly greener with rugged plants clinging stubbornly to the desperately thin soil and then we reached the top of the mountainous spine of the island and we could see all the way down across the Chora and into the port of Katapola and still the woman in the seat behind the driver kept talking.

I’d have backed that woman in a talk-off against my mum!

The bus stopped briefly at the Chora to pick up more passengers and then the driver set off down the hairpin bends of the mountain road and down to the port.  I think he liked this part of the journey most of all because he made especially extravagant manoeuvres with increasingly theatrical turns of the steering wheel and he was confident too, even at one stage of the precipitous descent taking time out to make a telephone call while still listening all the time to the woman behind him jabbering away.

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Sunday Sunset – The Statue of Erato in Amorgos

At the entrance to the harbour in Katapola on the island of Amorgos is a statue of Erato.  In Greek mythology Erato was one of the nine Greek Muses who were inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. Erato was the Muse of love and lyric poetry,  Very appropriate because it is impossible not to fall in love with Amorgos.

We had a bit of fun with this one…

 

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Greek Islands, Amorgos – Aegiali to Katapola

Shady Relief in Amorgos Greece

Armed with the pedometer Kim had got her really serious walking legs working now so the day after the demanding climb to Tholária we were at it again early and tackling the walk to another nearby village of Lagkada.

Lagkada was about the same distance (two miles or so) but had the benefit of a footpath cut directly through the terraces which did away with the need to slavishly follow the tarmac and we dragged ourselves up the crumbling and uneven steps towards the bottom of the village.

Amorgos donkey

On the way we passed an islander on a mule and it was obvious that he was going about his day and his work on his chosen form of transport.  I got to thinking about how infrequently you see this now, much less even than when I first started to visit the Greek islands over thirty years ago and I realised that soon this will be a thing of the past.

This makes me a little sad!  When this generation has gone it is probable that no one will continue to use donkeys for anything other than equine amusement.  I felt glad that I had been there in time to see this and felt disappointed for those who will come after me and won’t.  Soon, I suspect seeing a Greek man riding a mule will be consigned to the dustbin of nostalgia. They will be gone and Europe will be the poorer for it.

Once inside the whitewashed walls we quickly found a  bar where we could rest a while.  A nice feature in the bars and cafés in Amorgos is the hospitable habit of providing customers with a glass of cold water.  I was unsure of this at first because I was brought up with a paranoia of drinking water abroad, so bad that I used to wash my teeth in bottled water in case I inadvertently swallowed a millilitre or two.

In fact the first time that I went to Greece, to Kos in 1983, I had to have typhoid injections and a certificate to prove it!   Well, how things change and now, thanks to desalination, if you can tolerate the odd taste, it appears to be safe to drink the water across the whole of the Greek Islands without suffering ill effects or an upset stomach.

Lagkada Amorgos Greece

We returned to the rustic narrow streets with decorated paving and adjacent buildings all whitewashed and blue.  All whitewashed and blue because since 1974 in a law passed by the military government of the time all houses have had to be painted white and church domes blue. Recently a debate has been re-opened between the Ministry of Culture and other authorities about allowing the use of alternative colours but as yet the law remains in place.

Amorgos Village Shop

In the middle of the village we came across a curious shop with an interesting window display and when I peaked inside the gloomy interior an old man illuminated by a shaft of dusty sun light invited us in.  It was what I would describe as a sort of workshop and he explained to us that he was the village carpenter, the village hardware store, the village liquor supplier and the village barber!  He obligingly showed us around and explained the family pictures hanging on the walls and invited me to have a haircut but I respectfully declined when I saw the age and condition of the clippers!

Lagkada is a pretty little village but it doesn’t take too long to see all of it (twice) so satisfied that we hadn’t missed anything we made our way down the path to Aegiali for our final afternoon and evening because the next day we were moving to the other end of the island to Katapola.

Amorgos table chairs pot and cat

The bus fare to Katapola was good value at only €2.80 each and after we paid the driver started the engine and left exactly on time.  We sat close to the front of the bus and in the seat directly behind the driver there was an old woman in widow’s weeds who was determined to talk constantly in some sort of quest to distract him and thoroughly test his driving ability as he eased the vehicle out of the village and began the ascent to the top of the mountain that separates the two ends of the island.  Before 1991 when this road was built the only effective way to travel from one end of Amorgos to the other was by ferry.

As the bus climbed higher into the interior and the engine began to complain and the gearbox groan the sides of the mountain became surprisingly greener with rugged plants clinging stubbornly to the desperately thin soil and then we reached the top of the mountainous spine of the island and we could see all the way down across the Chora and into the port of Katapola and still the woman in the seat behind the driver kept talking.

I’d have backed that woman in a talk-off against my mum!

The bus stopped briefly at the Chora to pick up more passengers and then the driver set off down the hairpin bends of the mountain road and down to the port.  I think he liked this part of the journey most of all because he made especially extravagant manoeuvres with increasingly theatrical turns of the steering wheel and he was confident too, even at one stage of the precipitous descent taking time out to make a telephone call while still listening all the time to the woman behind him jabbering away.

Amorgos Wall Decoration

After only a few minutes we arrived at the final bus stop in the port of Katapola, got off and met the driver from the apartments, the Hotel Amorgion and were driven quite some distance away from the town until we reached our destination.

To be honest, this was rather further out than we really wanted to be along an unmade road without any lighting and it was immediately clear that we were going to need some form of transport and with a very infrequent bus service and taxi fares beyond my skin-flint budget it was agreed that we would hire a car for our two-day stay in Katapola.

We negotiated a price of €50 and thirty minutes later it was delivered, a brand new Chevrolet Spark already with several areas of damage on the paintwork.  The hiring procedure was a refreshingly casual affair, there was no insurance hard sell, the man didn’t even want my credit card details and he said that it didn’t even matter if I didn’t return it with any fuel.  Anemos Car Rentals must surely be the most laid back in all of Europe!

Amorgos Sunset

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning

Koufinisia Greece Ferry Terminal

Greek Ferry Artemis in Paros

Beginning a Journey…

Soon after we arrived at what is euphemistically described as the departure gate our boat, the Anek Lines, Artemis, arrived on time and we made our way with the handful of fellow passengers to the top deck in the sunshine and as soon as everyone was on board it set off and slipped out of port.

The Artemis, named after the Greek Goddess of the wilderness, the hunt, wild animals and fertility (so quite a spread of responsibility), is a slow boat with a reassuring rhythmic throb of a reliable old engine and we sat in the middle of the boat and took comfort from that.

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Greece 2011, Amorgos to Koufonisia

The Corner Taverna Amorgos Greece

After breakfast I walked again to the ferry booking office but there was still no real news about the Express Skopelitis so we reprised our debate about the itinerary.  We could skip Koufinisia altogether and go directly to Ios or we could spend an extra night on the small island, reschedule our dates at Homer’s Inn and reduce the stay in Antiparos from three nights to two.  We went through the various combinations but it became too difficult and in an indecisive way confirmed that we would just go to Koufonissia as planned.

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Greece 2011, The Express Skopelitis and Greek Ferries

Amorgos Taverna Table Decoration

After the visit to the monastery and the gentle walk around the Chora we planned a lazy sort of afternoon doing nothing at all so after a drink in the main square we took the bus back down to Katapola where we stopped first at the mini-market for drinks and snack food.

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Greece 2011, Katapola and the Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa

Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa

The plan today was to visit the Byzantine monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa on the other side of the island which we had almost visited on our previous stay in Katapola.  I say almost because although we made the bus ride and climbed a mountain of steps to get there we fell foul of the strict dress code and weren’t allowed in on account of the fact that we were wearing shorts.  This time we were taking no chances so packed extra long sleeved shirts, shawls and trousers and after breakfast on the terrace set off for the bus stop.

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Greece 2011, Katapola and the Chora (Amorgos)

Amorgos Windmills Chora Greece

Katapola was tranquil, peaceful and perfect and at this precise time might possibly have been the most wonderful place on earth and we looked forward to our three days of perfection because apart from concrete, mobile phones and air conditioning this place probably hasn’t changed a great deal in a thousand years.

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Greece 2011, Amorgos – Egiali to Katapola

Amorgos Chora

After a second breakfast on the terrace and several cups of tea we packed our bags and went for a last walk into the pretty village of Egiali and rechecked the bus timetable just to be sure that there wasn’t an alternative schedule on a Sunday.  There wasn’t and I knew that already but I checked anyway, it’s a bit like that thing that English people do when they get on a bus or a train and even though they know the answer they ask the destination several times of different people just to be absolutely certain.

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Greece 2011, Paros to Amorgos

Greek Ferry Artemis in Paros

“The flavour of the place is pleasant and alert, as you gaze over the rail (of the ferry) you may have a Byronic twinge of nostalgia and decide that one day you might return to settle among those mazy streets and silent dusty squares.”  Lawrence Durrell

We had to set the alarm today because there was an early ferry at half past nine so we woke, packed and went downstairs to be the first on the breakfast terrace.  After several cups of tea and an above average continental breakfast we paid up, said goodbye and rejecting the offer of transport walked to the port.  Turning down the lift was something we quickly regretted because the pavement was uneven, our bags were heavy and even though it was early it was already quite hot.

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