September 28, 2022 - Amanita, Tsagkarada to Six Keys, Afissos


We had a nice chat with Filaretos (his name means friend with virtue) about his background - visiting the Pelion often when in the military stationed in Volos, and purchasing the property on which he eventually built Amanita, named for the many mushrooms in the area.  Actually Gayle, wandered through the surrounding woods (she calls them the 'enchanted forest') for an hour plus spotting numerous plants, flowers, fungi, butterflies etc.  The area is so untypical Greek with huge rainforest trees that one would expect to see in Costa Rica, rather than here in Greece.

There is a nearby beach - well sort of nearby as one has to ascend to the main road and then descend to the sea - Damouchari that was used for some filming of Mama Mia.  We drove down but it was still a walk.  Gayle made an effort but stopped just short of reaching the actual beach.   Oh well.

The drive south and then west across the mountains was relatively short - a bit over an hour with photo stops) and easy on a nice wide road, somewhat surprising here in the mountains.

Our next lodging - Six Keys is near the fishing village of Afissos.  This was our most expensive stop at 230 euros (approx. $300 Cdn per night), albeit we had the lowest category of room - a Suite which was still large with two rooms (there are Deluxe and Executive Suites as well).  Based on the website we expected Six Keys to be, as Gayle put it, 'fancy schmancy' and it did not disappoint.

Although originally only six rooms (hence the name) there are now seven, allowing for a small homey feel where it is easy to get to know the staff.  

Upon being shown our room we immediately were taken with our huge terrace - nearly as large as the suite itself.  We had direct access to the beach and our dedicated sunbeds.  The terrace and beach are ideally located for the gorgeous sunsets.


We read great things about the food and it too did not disappoint, starting with the smoked eggplant dip to accompany the rolls.  We started with a huge fresh rocket salad with peaches and 'volaki' cheese from Andros.  Gayle then had the Mushroom risotto with aged graviera cheese and truffle oil, while I the seafood tagliatella with basil oil.  While we often have the house wine (which other than a couple of exceptions has been decent) we decided to order a bottle of Armyra (Chardonnay and Malagouzia grapes) from Skouras, Peloponnese.  The meal, as well as the wine, was superb.  Cost with a bottle of very enjoyable wine was 90 euros ($125 Cdn).


The grapes are ripening with many around the Amanita property.


Getting ready for another breakfast.                                          Limnos cheese with olives.


Melon and lemon loaf with verbena.                                      Our host Filaretos.


Cheese pies.


Some of the beautiful work on the building - this our door.                                Our room Tilia.





Gayle enjoying her time in her 'enchanted forest'.


The trees with their vines appear 'tropical'.


A forest fungi.



Cyclamen and ferns covering the forest floor.



The forest includes a maze of tangled roots.  


Beautiful tiny Cyclamen.



More stunning coastline.   


While traveling we see a gazillion signs but this one particularly caught our attention.


A fisherman cleaning his catch on the waterfront of Afissos.

An octopus drying in front of a restaurant.


Our terrace feet away from the sea.                                          It did not take Gayle long to claim it as her own.


As the sun began to drop it spotlighted Gayle relaxing in her lounge chair.


Yah, yah another colourful sunset ... what's new?


Bread with smoked eggplant dip.                                           Armyra wine from the Peloponnese.


Rocket salad with peach and 'volaki' cheese from Andros.


Mushroom risotto.                                                                   Seafood tagliatella.



September 27, 2022 - Amanita, Tsagkarada with a swim at Mylopotamos beach


With a bit of wind and a cooler morning we ate breakfast inside today.  We had cheese from Lesvos and an omelet with mushrooms from the 'enchanted forest', the name Gayle has given to the area around Amanita that appears more like a Costa Rican rainforest than anything otherwise experienced in Greece.

This afternoon we drove down, and we mean 'down' to Mylopotamos beach.  After navigating another four goats we encountered a mule on the road, a quite friendly, or perhaps inquisitive mule who befriended me and thought about getting close to Gayle as he (or she) stuck his (or her) head through the window of our car.

The drive to Mylopotamos beach is stunning, steeply downhill with amazing views of the emerald-green water against the rock cliffs and trees.  The beach itself is also stunning, ranked number one of 13 Pelion beaches by Greek Travel Ideas (and number one by every other assessment I could find).  Greek Travel Ideas wrote:  

"Mylopotamos Beach in Pelion is a white pebble bay surrounded by high jagged cliffs that offer a dramatic backdrop for photography as well as offering shelter from the wind. Visitors can admire the view of the cove from above first before descending down the staircase to the bay.

The bay itself is split into two parts with a small path between the rockface leading between the two. In summer Mylopotamos has a lifeguard tower, sunbeds, parasols and a taverna while in off-season months it’s a little more low-key. This is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing and cliff-jumping."


After enjoying a swim and then ascending the 100 + steps we ate at the adjacent taverna - Aggelika.  Gayle had her standard - a Greek Salad and fried potatoes - hey if you love something why change?  While being first and foremost a fish taverna I had the grilled shrimp.  Actually, they smelled just awful and were a lot of work to peel to get to the actual shrimp.  Somewhat disappointing.


We finished our meal while it was still light as we still had to drive a few kms 'up' a relatively steep road.  Fortunately, it was somewhat wider, and therefore easier than the road we descended on.  


Another good day in the Pelion.



Not as impressive as yesterday's sunrise but still nice morning colours.


Cheese pie, cheese, today from Lesvos, olives, seeded bread and an omelet with locally foraged mushrooms.


At the end of breakfast there was an apple pie and a large plate of fruit.


Grapes growing from the trellis over the walkway.                Amanita's outdoor breakfast area.


So yesterday it was four goats in the middle of the road on our drive to Amanita and today, as we descended to Myopotamos beach this mule was just ambling along.  He (or she) must have been lonely as he (or she) snuggled up to me and then got close and personal with Gayle.

There are a number of traffic calming measures used but having animals wander along roads is no doubt one of the least expensive.



Coastal scenery as we descended from Amanita to Mylopotamos.





Greek Travel Ideas ranks Mylopotamos as the top beach (of 13) to visit in the Pelion.   

The following photos show why.





The colour of the water is a number of shades of  emerald.


Awesome rock formations.



Now you might think Gayle would be tired of Greek salads and Greek fried potatoes (she has had lots of each) but she loves loves loves both.


Being primarily a fish taverna right on the sea I went with grilled shrimp for dinner.


Afterwards the traditional 'gift' for dessert.



September 26, 2022 - Amanita, Tsagkarada with a swim at Papa Nero beach


Breakfast here at Amanita felt very 'Greek' with a tomato and cucumber salad, juice, coffee, bread, homemade jams including Filaretos' very tart original Black Mojito (plum, lime, rum and spearmint) jam and eggs, including an omelet with fresh foraged mushrooms.  During breakfast we enjoyed a nice chat with two couples from Athens who were at Amanita for a long weekend.  It is informative to chat with 'locals'.

Tsagkarada runs at some length along the mountains some four or five kms (perhaps not as the crow flies as the road twists and turns all the way down) above the sea.  There is no way to get from beach to beach without driving back up, across and then all the way down again.  Today we went to Papa Nero beach as we were told by the Greek couples access was very easy with parking more or less at sea level nearby.  They were right.  A beach of many small pebbles the water was crystal clear, an emerald green near the shore.  Perhaps a bit cooler than on the west side but still very nice.

For dinner we went to Aleka's, at the intersection of the road that leads down to Amanita and the main road that runs through Tsagkarada.  Much more of a restaurant than a taverna we decided to eat outside in spite of the still somewhat cool temperature.  Gayle enjoyed her first cocktail of the trip, a Wild Flowers Spritz comprised of Pelion wild flowers, Greek sparkling wine and soda.  We then split a 'silky' soup of locally grown pumpkins - extremely delicious.  After that we both had moussaka - Gayle a vegetarian version topped with potatoes and me the traditional meat moussaka with bechemal.  While we normally do not have desserts (other than the 'gifts' provided by the tavernas / restaurants) I couldn't resist the orange pie.

Now familiar with the road the drive back to Amanita, other than having to be alert for the local goats, was easy to bring the day to an end.


Quite the vibrant sunrise as seen from our room at Amanita.


Later but still in the morning the sun glistens off the sea.


Two couples from Athens enjoying a long weekend at Amanita
(from left Rickie, Themis, Katerina and Antonis). 


Tomato and cucumber salad.


Some more of our breakfast.


Amanita is a type of mushroom of which there were many variations, including artistic, on the property and no doubt in the nearby 'enchanted forest'.



Although one can see ropes attached these goats were wandering freely on the road.


Papa Nero beach.


Crystal clear water - those are rocks you can see.


Gayle's collection of sea glass.                                                  Enjoying a swim at Papa Nero beach.


Bright orange berries along the roadside.


Quince.


More of these attractive slate rooves and chimneys.


A Wild Flowers Spritz. 




Still cool enough in the evening to bring out the down jacket.

 
Vegetarian moussaka with a potato topping.




Moussaka.                                                                            May look like moussaka but it is an orange pie for dessert.



September 25, 2022 - The Little Swallows, Pinakates to Amanita, Tsagkarada


Our last breakfast at Ta Xelidonakia / The Little Swallows included what one might expect from a Belgian couple ... belgian waffles.  Fresh cream and cherries we did not hesitate for a second when offered a second one.  A few more photos and we were off for a relatively short drive over the mountains to Tsagkarada on the east side of the Pelion.

The drive took us back to Milies, the end point of an historic train trip that used to cover Volos - Milies.  Construction began in 1892 with the full route becoming operational in 1903.

The train now runs from Ano Lechonia to Milies, where it stops for a few hours before returning.  While we did not take the trip we did walk approx. 500 metres of the track.  This is one of the narrowest railway lines in the world at only 60 cm, with the four wagons of "Moutzouris" steaming through the mountains and its plane trees and oaks.

The trip is 15 kilometers taking about 90 minutes.  One of the highlights it he five-arched stone bride Kalorema in the area of Malaki.  The journey ends at Milea station from where travelers can wander the cobbled paths of the village that includes one of the oldest libraries in Greece.  

From there it was east over the mountain and then north to Tsagkarada and boutique hotel Amanita.  A beautiful collection of rooms and small houses ours was much larger than needed by very comfortable with fabulous views to the Aegean Sea and the islands of Skopelos, Skiathos and Alonissos.  

With no restaurants nearby one needs to go out.  We ended up at Taverna Agnanti, located in another town square with its huge Plane tree.  Although it was cool we decided to eat outside in the square where there was much more ambiance.  As the meal progressed I added my jacket and Gayle her down jacket, she being so happy included it as a last minute addition. 

Gayle had Skopelitiki, a spinach and cheese pie, although it looked more like a sausage, (very tasty with lots of spinach) and Greek fries (always very good).  I started with grilled mushrooms, very nice with the oyster mushrooms on top and Spetzofai, the local sausage cooked in a variety of peppers.  Decent house wine and excellent bread, all for only 35 euros ($47 Cdn).  The drive back was not as bad as we expected now that we are familiar with the roads.


One more view of the most beautiful and unique Ottoman inspired Ta Xelidonakia mansion.


Our room is used for families with young children, with the antique cradle bed and a painting of mother and child.


Belgian waffles with fresh cream and cherries,


Maria-Louisa and Eduard.


Ta Xelidonakia terrace area.                                                       And our room's (Hera) large terrace area.


The narrow guage railway down the mountain from Milies.


Lots and lots of chestnut trees in the Pelion.


Amanita (Mushroom), our home for the next three nights.      The nice outdoor terrace area. 


The view to the sea from one of our windows.    



The beautiful interior of our room with stone wall and a wood ceiling.


Outdoor seating around the HUGE plane tree - we're told every town square, or platia has one.


???? with whom we had a nice chat.     Anavita taverna.


Cold enough for a scarf ... and then the down djacket.       Tonight's dinner guest - again very polite.


Mushrooms.                                                                             A staple for Gayle - Greek fried potatoes.


Spinach pie.                                                                           Sofeita - the local specialty of sausage cooked in peppers.



September 24, 2022 - The Little Swallows, with a drive to / swim at Kala Nera beach


Breakfast was again delicious, similar to yesterday but with apple strudel.  Excellent.  Afterward we were given a few pieces for an afternoon snack, similar to the Panna Cotta yesterday.  A very nice gesture.

Today we did get out in the afternoon, driving the loop to Milies, then down to the coast and Kala Nera, on to Kato Gatzea and then up the mountain through Ano Gatzea and back to Pinakates.  A very scenic drive with great sea vistas and groves of olive trees.

Kala Nera is a seaside village with a long crescent shaped beach.  Yes it is pebbly but that's why we brought our water shoes.  Once in the water it is so beautiful.

While passing through Milies we noticed a taverna that was quite busy.  Being only 4 km from Pinakates we decided to go to to Aloni restaurant for dinner before it got dark.  Not being particularly hungry we only ordered one dish each - Gayle the stuffed tomato and pepper and me the grilled lamb.  However the portions were huge - there was a second stuffed pepper and lots and lots of lamb.  All was delicious, and very inexpensive.  With a glass of house wine the total was only 18 euros ($24 Cdn.).  Of course that included the dessert 'gift' - slices of chocolate cake with biscuits.  

While sitting to eat we met a British couple Gayle recognized from the beach.  We had a short chat with Brian and Debbie before each taking the others photos. 

The drive back was actually quite easy as there is virtually no other traffic on the roads.


Maria-Louisa and Eduard's home above the village - restored in the same style as the mansion.


 A sundial in what was a toilet seat from the mansion.



The beautiful chandelier in our room.


Lots of jams and honey are produced in the area.                   Pomegranates.


On the left the nuts of the plane tree.                                      On the right a type of chestnut.


The beach at Kala Nera where we enjoyed a swim on another beautiful sunny day.


If you take my photo I'm going to take yours.


Olives and wrinkly old olive trees. 



The setting sun shimmering off the sea.                                                                      A small church near Milies.


We met a British couple at the taverna who were nice enough to take our photo (and we theirs).  Once again Gayle has the much better smile!


A view across the forested countryside to the sea.      


Most meals are joined by what is normally, as was the case here, a polite, friendly cat.


Not two but three stuffed tomatoes / peppers plus potatoes - for only 7 euro ($9.35 Cdn).


... and delicious (and lots of) grilled lamb for me.


After a great meal enjoying the setting sun while waiting for our after dinner 'gift', which tonight was a chocolate cake with biscuits and a few cherries.



September 23, 2022 - The Little Swallows, Pinakates, Pelion


Like most days we didn't wander down to breakfast until 10:00 ish.  By that time all the other guests had eaten and headed out for the day.  Breakfast was less Greek (except for the freshly squeezed orange juice) and more European - a large selection of meats and French cheeses.  There were mini-croissants and pastries.  Maria-Louisa bakes fresh bread daily which is delicious.  With the others gone Eduard spent a considerable amount of time telling stories about the village, the mansion, his life history and recommending places to visit.  

Still being somewhat cool, although sunny, and there only really being one loop to drive we decided to stay put today - relaxing and wandering through the village.  Actually Gayle did most of the wandering as Pinakates is positioned on a mountain, meaning lots of up and down - not particularly friendly to my knees.  So after both of us walked about the town square, or platia, Gayle continued down and up the stone alleyways while I slowly made my way back to The Little Swallows.

While the mansion has a nice swimming pool, as mentioned it was too cool to make use of.  Our terrace did get considerable afternoon sun which was very nice.

For dinner we tried the other open restaurant in the village - Pileas.  Less taverna and more sophisticated it was ok.  The saganaki was somewhat rubbery but Gayle's linguine full of fresh vegetables and my three sheep burgers very good.  However the house wine we ordered so undrinkable we sent it back and ordered a real bottle - much much better.  Again, as is the tradition in these parts we were given a 'gift' for dessert, in this case some grapes.  It was a short walk back to The Little Swallows to end another day.


The unique and beautiful Little Swallows mansion.


Another delicious breakfast although more European than Greek.  A nice selection of meats and French cheese, small croissants and pastries, fresh baked bread, coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice.  A great start to the day.


If you look closely you can see the mansion dates from 1847.                      Another restored panel.


The breakfast room.                                                                                                  A portion of our room.


Not sure why the sign was set in the stone but there it was. 


Although we did not use the pool it is no doubt nice when a bit hotter.


The taverna set up in the platia under the plane tree.


The 450 year old (BIG) plane tree in Pinakates platia.  


The Pinakates church and the priest climbing to the road.


Somewhat unexpected kiwi grows well here.


Not everything in Pinakates is new - stone water basins and a derelict building right in front of Ta Xelidonakia.


Beautiful stone / slate rooves.



Many of the pathways, some quite steep, are of cobble-stones.


The view to the sea from Pileas.                                              Saganaki.


Linguine with fresh vegetables.                                              Sheep burgers - there were actually three.



September 22, 2022 - to Rodi, Evia (Euboea) to The Little Swallows, Pinakates, Pelion


After only two days we were on the move again.  Unfortunately to Rodi had no availability on September 22nd so we took the two nights, knowing it would be a quick stop with us on the road again.  Another excellent Greek, with Turkish influences, breakfast, many more photos and good-byes and we were off.

From Rovies it was about 45 minutes north to Agiokampos where we boarded a ferry for the 30 minute crossing to Glifa on the mainland.


From there it was more or less an hour to Volos.  Unfortunately we initially missed the Ring Road, driving towards the city centre, but quickly realized the mistake and headed outside the city until we did connect with the Ring Road.  After that all was good.


After circling Volos it was a few kms south before then heading up the mountain on some narrow, twisting roads until we eventually reached the village of Pinakates, population 58.  We easily found our B&B Ta Xelidonakia, or The Little Swallows, a mansion built in 1847 with the money of a Greek merchant named Vergos, who like many Greeks of that time lived and made his fortune in Egypt.  Until 1980 the mansion was inhabited by the Vergo family until Anastasia Vergou, the last owner passed away after which the mansion was left vacant.


In 2002 the mansion was purchased by the Belgian family Renders-Liekens who restored the exterior of the building to its original state, while converting the interior to a number of bedrooms and a breakfast room, combining the typical characteristics of the architecture of the Pelion with the requirements of contemporary comforts, with all changes fitting into the atmosphere of the old mansion. 


The existing wing, or side house, was turned into a breakfast room in the morning and a lounge with fireplace in the evening.  A new side house with two suites (one of which we stayed in) was added in 2004.  The central building consists of seven rooms, a reception hall and a spacious hall on the top floor where traditionally it was the most prestigious room.


We were met by Eduard with welcoming drinks and cake, and a history and tour of the mansion. 


After settling into our room we wandered over to the Platia / Town Square where we ate at Pinokoti - the taverna in the square.  Our waiter Grezgorz, originally from Poland but in Greece for 30+ years made for a great evening.  Beyond providing us lots of good food, and cake for dessert and limoncello (his own home made) we shared lots of stories and laughs.  These are the kinds of encounters we so much enjoy when traveling.


It was a short walk back to The Little Swallows where we quickly fell asleep, snuggled in the most comfortable duvet imaginable.



A selection of jams and cookies.                                              A Greek like salad in a Sifnos bowl.




A cucumber (raita) dip, olives, and figs.



Eggs set in colourful peppers.                                                  Maria, our breakfast server.



Spinach triangles and cheese twists.



Our nice terrace / work area.                                                  So many nice touches.



Evaggelia saying good-bye with love.



Fragrant jasmine just outside to Rodi's gate.                                                             Faux pomegranates.



Really not sure why we were so interesting, but apparently we are.



A few more shots of the devastation from the wildfires, these with the scorched rock covering the ground.



Gayle (and me) were two of a very very few to wear masks on the ferry.  

 


Vehicles squeezed in like sardines.



That's our car on the front right.  Note I did have some help / guidance when parking < an inch from the railing.




Grapes and colourful flowers seen along the drive up the mountain to Pinakates.



Cars (and buses) are not the only things one must be alert for on these narrow mountain roads.



View of the Pegasetic Gulf from near Pinakates.




The Little Swallows was easy to find with this sign.


Our welcome of a glass of wine (Gayle), a beer (Norm) and cake.



Virtually all the buildings in Pinakates, and elsewhere throughout the Pelion have these slate rooves.



The beautiful exterior of the mansion.



Painstaking restoration of a ceiling.                                                                            Wine casks found in the cellar.



Restored wall panels.                        Paintings of the little swallows.



Stained glass windows add a unique feature to the mansion.



The upper floor lounge area.



Rooster soup.                           Spinach and rice.                     Green beans.                           Spinach and cheese pie.



 Lamp (lamb) in the over with potatoes and vegetables.         Grezgorz, our originally Polish waiter.



Orange pie as a gift for dessert.




September 21, 2022 - to Rodi, Evia (Euboea) with two trips to Limni

Having only two nights here at to Rodi - we would have stayed longer but they were full from the 22nd on - we did a little exploring.  We started with another wonderful breakfast.  Something about these nice B&Bs / Boutique Hotels and their fantastic breakfasts.  Beyond the huge plate of grilled vegetables there were eggs, yoghurt, absolutely delicious bread, many jams, cream filled pastries and cheese rolls.  The juice had a Turkish flare as we were offered a mix of pomegranate and orange, as we had had in Istanbul.

After spending some time photographing the many beautiful knick-knacks we drove the 10 km south to the cute town of Limni where we wandered the waterfront and back alleys.  As the weather was great we stopped at one of the waterfront tavernas for a drink.  Afterwards we drove a bit further south where there were a number of pebbly beaches (thank goodness for the water shoes).  We were pretty much all alone as we enjoyed a swim in the extremely calm and inviting water.  We then returned to to Rodi for some down time.

Evaggelia suggested two rural tavernas for dinner.  The first was 10 km up the mountains in the village of Kalamoudi.  When we finally arrived, after missing the turn due to a missing sign which was there in the other direction upon our return - we were disappointed to find the taverna closed.  Perhaps not surprising given the tourist season is essentially over but just the same.

Throughout the latter part of the drive yesterday and again today we saw first hand the devastation of the fires of August 2021.  The wildfires fortunately did not result in any loss of human life in the area (there were deaths elsewhere in Greece) but many animals, homes and businesses were lost due to the historic heatwave that enveloped the area, with temperatures reaching 47.1 C.  The most destructive wildfires were in northern Euboea from which ferries evacuated 2,000 people.  Over 50,000 hectares (123,500 acres) were burned in northern Euboea.  The impact is very evident.  It was difficult to see the huge areas of burnt forest (primarily pine trees) as well as a number of destroyed homes.

We then went to the second suggested taverna in Dafni.  Again we found the taverna but again found it to be closed.  So we returned to Limni where given the low temperature we searched out a taverna or restaurant with an indoor eating area, but somewhat surprisingly there were none.  Fortunately we came reasonably prepared, bundled ourselves up and ate outdoors at the same taverna we enjoyed a drink earlier in the day.  We enjoyed a nice traditional Greek meal - Greek salad, saganaki, potato salad and an octopus tentacle while listening to nice Greek music.  After the meal it was back to Rovies to call it a day.


Like us the cats like to sleep in.                                               An attractive display of pumpkins and squash.


Some of the knick-knacks throughout to Rodi, including the old chest of Christmas ornaments.





One would not normally show a loaf of bread but this one was sweet and delicious.  As well pastries and cheese filled rolls.





A huge plate of grilled vegetables. 



My breakfast plate with a mix of orange and pomegranate juice.


Although not on the water to Rodi has a nice view from its terrace, and some of the upper rooms of the sea.


Enjoying the sun during breakfast.                                         A comfy outdoor seating area at to Rodi.


A pomegranate and lemon tree in Rovies.                         A fruit stand in Limni.


A balcony in one of Limni's back alleyways.                          A taverna on the waterfront.


We stopped for a drink on the waterfront under this nice shade tree.


     A 1 /4 litre of decent wine. 


Often priests do not like to have their photo taken but not this fellow.  He was more than happy as evidenced by his wave and smile to have me take his photo.


A beach south of Limni where we had a swim.                      The town of Limni as seen from the beach.


Just a miniscule sampling of the devastation of the wildfire of August 2021.



While I take most of the photos Gayle took this beauty of the burnt trees set against an ominous sky.


Here is a photo I found on the internet of the fires on the mountains above the town of Limni (August 3, 2021).


Although the taverna in Kalamoudi was closed the next door garden had a number of beautifully painted gourds.


We enjoyed an authentic meal at Karnagio.                                        Including a traditional Greek salad.  
                

Saganaki (grilled Greek cheese).                                              An octopus tentacle.


Potato salad.



September 20, 2022 - Aegean Castle, Andros to to Rodi, Evia (Euboea)

After four wonderful days at Aegean Castle and on Andros it was time to move on.  We were not sure about coming to Andros but very glad we did.  It is an interesting island, rugged and mountainous with lots of rock - used for fences and buildings, and lots of greenery due to the many natural springs - both Cyprus and olive trees.  And the many beaches provided lots of opportunity for swims in the sea.  

Aegean Castle was a wonderful choice.  Our room was large and comfortable with a huge terrace overlooking the dramatic coastline.  The well designed pool was welcoming as were the staff - Christina, Petros and Rita.  Breakfast, with different items each day, was delicious as was dinner.  It was great to be able to enjoy Christina's excellent cooking and then simply head down to our room rather than having to drive home.  

An excellent destination.

From Andros it is a two hour ferry to Rafina on the east side of the mainland. Upon arriving we picked up our rental car and drove north, first through Marathon, then west to the E75 and on to the large island of Evia (also known as Euboea), accessed by a bridge at Chalcis / Chaldika.  The drive then took us over some significant mountains where the production of honey is prominent as is the collection of resin from the pine trees to be added to Retsina.  On the north side of the range the land flattened out with considerable agriculture, and a number of roadside vegetable stands.  We then turned west to the coast and the town of Limni before continuing north to the small town of Rovies and to Rodi where we will be staying the next two nights.


We were welcomed by Evaggelia to a beautiful boutique hotel with lots of interesting knick-knacks and other art / nice touches.  We had a choice of rooms, eventually settling on one with a nice outdoor space. albeit all have terraces or balconies.

Although only just past the middle of September Rovies has essentially shut down for tourists.  A couple of restaurants we considered were closed, although the walk did have us enjoy another spectacular sunset.  We ultimately ended up in the town square where we decided on a pizza.  Of course being in Greece we had a Greek pizza with tomatoes, peppers, olives and feta.  Actually quite decent.  Back to to Rodi where we called it a night.


Fresh orange juice to start the day.                                         Rita and Christina.


Our last morning at Aegean Castle.



Although Retsina, the pine flavoured traditional Greek wine, has fallen out of favour with many (although not me) pine resin continues to be collected on the island of Evia.


Lots and lots of bee boxes along our drive, and here some collectors of the honey from the boxes.


Lots of pumpkins at a roadside stand.



We saw the bee boxes, and the honey collectors, and now here is the honey. 


A pile of tomatoes.                                                               Gayle purchasing a small bag of nuts at the roadside stand.


One of to Rodi's well cared for cats.                                                     Evaggelia.


What more can we say.


Dinner was a glass of wine, a beer, and a Greek pizza.



September 19, 2022 - Aegean Castle, Andros with a drive to Zorgos Beach

While eating at Aegean Castle one can't miss the huge 'Will You Marry Me?' banner.  Christina not only explained, but showed us a video of her son asking his girlfriend to undo the strings and release the new hotel 'sign'.  Of course her reaction was priceless ... and she did say yes!  The Castle would make an excellent honeymoon spot with the gorgeous rooms, beautiful pool and excellent food.

Today was the day to explore the north of Andros.  

We first made a stop at Batsi, a small port with lots of restaurants on the waterfront, although little in terms of shops.  As we drove through Gavrio, the small but attractive port where the ferries arrive and depart we stepped into a bakery where we were amazed by the many breads, cakes, pies, sweets and baked goods.

From there it was north and then east to Zorgos beach.

Zorgos is a beautiful cove with a wide expansive beach, not sand but fine pebbles.  The water was warm although there were a few waves on this moderately windy day.  We enjoyed a nice swim before wandering up the taverna above the beach where we had a bite to eat - hand-cut 'Greek' potatoes and for me a local sausage.  When Gayle asked for a white wine and me a red we were met with a smile and broken English telling us there was only one wine.  It turned out to look more like beer and while certainly far from a decent wine it was at least drinkable.

The drive to and back from Zorgos is along for the most part a generally good paved, although one does need to be attentive to animals (we encountered a couple of horses and some goats) that feel the road is their domain.  The last three or so kms the road turns to gravel.  Not too bad but one still needed to be attentive to the ruts and potholes.

The area is covered with reiki, a purple bush that attracts bees.  As such the area is a huge producer of honey.

After about an hour drive each way, plus stops plus our swim plus the taverna, we returned to Aegean Castle where again we had dinner.  After starting with another tomato, cucumber, olive and caper salad we shared some stuffed mushrooms.  Gayle then had eggplant covered with cheese while I a couple of beef burgers with hand-cut potatoes.  Christina and Petros joined us toward the end of our meal for a nice chat, including the Will You Marry Me sign story. 


Aegean Castle - a wedding destination.


Aegean Castle's pool through a stone arch.                             Not much room to park but we all made it work.


Aegean Castle from the parking area.


Every morning includes a salad with tomatoes.                           Tasty bread and sweets for breakfast.


Pretty nice stepping out onto our terrace each morning and looking at this.


Colourful flowers along the roadside caught our eye.


The harbour town of Batsi.


Seating on the harbour - the new and comfy;                        the older and less comfy, but still attractive.


Only a small selection of the goodies in a bakery in Gavrio.



The mountainous landscape of northern Andros.


The twisty dirt road descending to Zorgos beach.


Zorgos beach.










Enjoying a swim.


Pebbles on the beach.                                                             The winds did bring a few noticeable waves.


Zorgos beach and cove.


The beach as seen from the taverna.  

  

Even mid day mid week there were a number eating at the taverna.


A plate of delicious hand-cut 'Greek' potatoes.                       No not a beer, but the house / only wine of the taverna.


Local sausage with hand-cut potatoes.


Reiki plants => bees => honey.                                                Old stone buildings here in the north as well.


Reiki plants covering the hills of north Andros.


Here in rural Andros one must be more aware of the risk of animals on the road than other vehicles.


The small attractive (ferry) port of Gavrio.


Eggplant covered with cheese.                                                  Stuffed mushrooms.


Beef burgers with hand cut 'Greek' potatoes.                        Petros and Christina joining us at the end of our dinner. 



September 18, 2022 - Aegean Castle, Andros with a drive to Korthi and Chora

Today was somewhat similar to yesterday starting with another nice breakfast.  Beyond being of excellent quality it is very nice that the 'menu' changed with cheese filled pancakes and pizza-like flatbreads served, along with all the other morning items - yoghurt, fruit, eggs, fresh orange juice, coffee etc.

And again we spent the rest of the morning relaxing at Aegean Castle, of course including a swim in the uniquely designed pool with a view.  Very nice indeed.

Mid afternoon we headed out, again south but today a bit further with our first destination being Korthi where we stopped for a nice swim.  The beach was pebbly but the water very nice when you get in.  On the way we again drove through rugged rural countryside with its rock fences and huts.  As we got closer to the coast, similar to yesterday as we approached Chora, there were more olive and cypress trees, and a number of old Captain's homes from the seafaring days.  

After a short stroll through the village of Korthi we continued on to Chora, along a spectacular drive over the mountains with expansive views to the sea.  Very impressive.  We then swung around Chora exiting at the port to continue up into the hills and through a number of more small villages.  Along the way we encountered this purple plant covering the rocks / hillsides.  It is Reiki, from which the many bees of the area produce an exquisite honey, thicker than other honeys, with a special taste and characteristic aromas.

We then returned to the main north/south road on the west coast but before driving back to Aegean Castle we wiggled 2.2 km down the steep mountainside, eventually reaching Cooper Beach where we yet enjoyed another swim, this time on a very sandy beach. 

Tonight Christina prepared a tasty rice dish with spinach, mushrooms, onion, tomato and herbs for Gayle and a Mediterranean sea bass, a highly elusive and prized fish called Lavraki by the Greeks, whose shores the fish is indigenous to.  The Lavraki figures prominently in Greek culture and cuisine. 

This opportunity to eat at Aegean Castle is wonderful - the food is extremely good; the wine very nice, the setting incredible and the fact the journey to our room is down one flight of stairs a huge benefit.  And beyond that some night Christina and Petros joined us creating a very 'family' aura.


This morning's breakfast included cheese filled pancakes, flatbreads and again a wide selection of hone-made jams.





The relaxing eating area of Aegean Castle.


Again we enjoyed a swim in Aegean Castle's uniquely designed pool - a Pool With A View!


Just a couple of photos, first with a rock wall and then with thistles, with the sea as the backdrop.


There are a number of these castle-like buildings / towers remaining in Andros,
  

And rock walls everywhere.



Stone buildings / huts are common place in the rural areas of Andros.


The beach at Korthi, where we stopped for a swim.



Korthi.


Cypress and the sea.


A quite difficult but gorgeous beach to access just south of Andros / Chora town.


The two towns on the southeast coast; first of Andros, otherwise known as Chora, stretching out into the sea, and then on the right Korthi with its long beach.


Considerable effort went into terracing the mountainsides with rock walls.


Rock terraced hillsides interspersed with cypress and olive trees.


A cypress forest.


Some of the attractive villages and homes above Chora.



Mountain 'heather', or in Greek reiki.


Cooper Beach.


Every meal starts with a tomato, cucumber, olive and caper salad. 
   
 
Gayle's rice dish, including spinach, mushrooms, onion, tomato and herbs.


Tonight Christina cooked me a Lavraki or sea bass.                                               Christina deboning the fish.


When desserts were served they were spoon sweets - two nights ago sour cherry and tonight pomelo.



September 17, 2022 - Aegean Castle, Andros with a drive to Chora

Christina, Rita and Aegean Castle provide a wonderful breakfast / start to the day.  Coffee and fresh orange juice, wonderful bread with a large selection of jams and honey, a tomato, cucumber and caper salad, yoghurt, cookies, meat and cheese, fruit, eggs and other dishes of the day.

After a slow, relaxing morning - what else is new - we enjoyed a swim in the beautifully designed pool, with views to the mountainside and the sea.  While finding beaches and swimming in the sea is a huge part of being on the Greek islands it is very nice (and convenient) to simply step out one's room and be able to cool off in a nice pool. 
 
Before we knew it most of the afternoon had slipped away but we did get ourselves out to drive to Andros town, otherwise known as Chora. 

The first part of the drive is along dramatic coast with expansive views of the sea.  Then one turns east to cross the island.

There were a number of interesting observations along the drive
  • the amount of rock, extensively used for small buildings / huts and fences
  • the greenness of the island - it is the most fertile of the Cyclades with plenty of olive and cypress trees
  • the pretty small villages in the hills and their many mansions, once home to shipping captains
  • the town of Andros / Chora stretching out to the sea with its long pedestrian only central walkway
Andros dates back to the late Stone Age (3,000 BC) based on preserved rock carvings of various wild and domestic animals.  Sometime around 1,000 BC Andros was colonized by Eretria as evidenced by extensive ruins.  In 133 BC the island became the sole possession of Rome, thereafter being possessed by various Venetian and Genoese families until the Ottoman Turks took over in 1566.  During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-74 Andros was taken over and used as a base by the Russians.  The island finally regained it independence, and became part of the greater Greek state after the Greek War of Independence (1821-32).

Andros is relatively well-watered compared to the other Cyclades islands with many mineral water springs making the island less starkly barren.  The four small rivers and numerous springs allow for the growth of trees not often found on other islands such as mulberry, fig, chestnut, plane, apple, pine and cypress.  The hillsides are extensively terraced with retaining walls of the dry-stacked slate-sized schist.  Andros has a number of wonderful beaches of colourful turquoise water although many of them take some work to access due to the wild and rocky coastline, with steep descents to the small sandy coves.

After driving down to the port area of Chora we found the long central walkway, through shops and restaurants, leading to the sea.  While there we were able to purchase our tickets for the Andros to Rafina ferry in a few days. 

We returned to Aegean Castle where we were again treated to a lovely dinner.  Beyond the fact Christina's cooking is excellent she creates a feeling of being part of the family as she and Petros will toward the end of diner sit with and join the guests - if one wishes.  This is great for being able to chat and share stories.  While we were surprised more guests did not avail themselves to the opportunity to have a great home cooked meal tonight there was another couple Chuck and Debby, from DC who we chatted with at some length.


The menu tonight again started with a tomato, cucumber, caper, olive and oregano salad, followed by zucchini balls.  There was then a large bowl of spaghetti with a fresh tomato sauce.  For me there was a grilled octopus leg, the first one I have had this trip.  Another excellent meal with no need to drive the twisty roads in the dark.


Aegean Castle's cats - we don't recall the name of the grey one on the left but the white one is Bisco.


Lots of fresh basil and lanterns on the terrace  and on the right Aegean Castle as seen from the road.


Aegean Castle's beautifully designed pool.


One's path on Andros is often not straight.


Some of the gorgeous scenery along the west coast of Andros.



Queen and King of the mountain.


Andros, while very green, is primarily rock, with stone huts quite common and stone fences throughout.
 

A petty village up in the mountains along the drive to Chora.


The town of Chora, Andros.


The main walkway of Chora.                                                  A nice balcony along the walk.


A restaurant set up for the evening crowd                                                                    Fruit at a shop.


Churches in Chora.


A (very) old olive tree.                        Sheep wandering through the countryside.


It seems most every night provides a colourful sunset.


Zucchini balls with tzatziki.                                                    Grilled octopus.


Spaghetti in a fresh tomato sauce.                                                  All plated, including the grilled octopus leg.


Petros, Christina, Chuck and Debby enjoying dinner.



September 16, 2022 - Pano Gitonia, Potamos, Amorgos to Aegean Castle, Andros

Another moving day.  We were up at 5:30 am to be out by 6:20 am to drop off the car in the port and catch the 7:10 am ferry from Aegaili to Naxos.  

Up at 5:30 am - check; out by 6:20 am - check; drop car off - check; be on the dock for the ferry - check; ferry arrive at 7:10 am - no check.  In fact the ferry was 1 hour 10 minutes late - not sure why but fortunately we had two hours in Naxos to connect to our next ferry so no problem, other than we were going to use the time to have breakfast in Naxos, which wasn't going to happen.

So while waiting I went to the bakery where I picked up a mushroom pie, a spinach pie, a couple more Melomakarona cookies (Gayle's favourite, and I like them too) and a couple of coffees.



Two plus hours on the Blue Star Naxos to get to Naxos where we then got the Hellenic Seaways for a 1 1/2 hour trip to Tinos, with a stop in Mykonos.

Finally we connected to the Fast Ferries for another 1 1/2 hour ferry from Tinos to Andros, arriving as scheduled at 3:35 pm. 
 
We were met at the port by a rep for Escape in Andros Car Rental for what was perhaps the most efficient rental pick-up.  The drive south to Aegean Castle is 20 + minutes (plus a few for photo stops).  The 'Castle' is right on the main road and therefore was very easy to find.

As Christina provides dinners and although we had not let her know in advance she was able to put together a wonderful meal of a variety of vegetable dishes.  Starting with a Greek salad, we also had tomato balls - actually more like patties - unique long Andros green beans, and two eggplant dishes, one grilled and the other in a fresh tomato sauce with cheese and flavourful herbs.  Accompanied by an very nice bottle of wine - that's one of the nice things about eating here - beyond the great food we can enjoy a bottle of wine without having to worry about driving the twisty roads. 

We have a feeling we are going to very much like Andros.


Sitting on the dock of the bay watching the time roll away with breakfast while waiting for our first ferry, the Blue Star Naxos.


Hellenic Seaways from Naxos to Tinos.


... finally Fast Ferries from Tinos to Andros.


The port of Tinos - nothing exciting.


The attractive town of Batsi, Andros.                                                                        Arriving at Aegean Castle.


Looking south from Aegean Castle.


The view through the door to our HUGE stone terrace.          Just a portion of our terrace.


Looking out to sea.
 

Tomato balls (well patties).                                                     Petros.


Of course a Greek salad.


Grilled eggplant with sesame seeds.                                         Andros long green beans.


Eggplant in a tomato sauce with cheese and fresh basil.           All plated.



September 15, 2022 - Pano Gitonia, Potamos, Amorgos with a visit to Mouros

Our last day in Amorgos in light of our early (7:10 am) ferry tomorrow morning.  Having felt not that well we didn't get out that much but that was ok as we have seen pretty much the entire island during our three previous visits.

We did have nice chats with both Theo and wife Pookky.  Theo told us the property was his mother's who grew up in Potamos.  He began renovations in 2008, and when finished added a section in 2010 and then even more rooms a bit higher up.  The property was a traditional family house with an old bakery, stables and studies now all decorated in a traditional way with stones, wooden ceilings, marble sinks etc.  Each of the 11 units has its own veranda with fantastic views of the sea.

But being another beautiful day and not wanting to eat a late dinner - given how early we need to get up tomorrow - we decided to drive most of the way to the other end of the island, specifically Mouros Beach and the Taverna located above the beach.  Although the beach is beautiful and worth the many many many steps down (and of course back up) with my knees we knew we were not going to go swimming.  But we did enjoy a great Greek meal at Mouros Taverna.  Gayle had a plate of Greek potatoes and an Amorgan salad, with local soft cheese and rusks in addition to all the traditional ingredients.  I had a very flavourful large serving of moussaka, and perhaps a few of Gayle's potatoes and salad.  White wine for Gayle and retsina for me, bread and water totaled 31.1 euros ($41 Cdn) - great value for the amount and quality of food, let alone the location for enjoying the meal.

The drive back was just as scenic as the drive out with mountains, deep blue and turquoise waters of the Aegean, goats and sheep.

We returned in time for a final swim at Aegaili beach, and then a final sunset before packing.

Another wonderful visit to Amorgos, reconfirming it is my favourite Greek island (and Gayle's second after Koufonisi).

While there are an unusual number of photos today, they are all meaningful to us.


Pano Gitonia.                                                                         Pookky.


Very colourful flowers at Pano Gitonia.





The path through Potamos.


On the left the mule heading down to pick up goods for the restaurant Kamara.  On the right loaded with food returning to the restaurant.





Me enjoying another sunny, hot, beautiful Greek day.          The church in Potamos.


Today we decided to head to the south east end of Amorgos to enjoy what is a spectacularly scenic drive and have a late lunch / early dinner at Taverna Mouros, at Mouros Beach.


Beautiful water colours of the Aegean.                                      Thistles with the deep blue sea as a backdrop.


The (port) town of Katapola.  



Coastline and the beautiful Aegean between Katapola and Aegaili.


Stunning coastal scenery along the south east coastline of Amorgos.



A small church seen along the drive.                                       The clear clear waters near Mouros beach.


We ate a late lunch / early dinner at Taverna Mouros.            Starting with an Amorgos salad.


Moussaka - superb.                                                            Everything - Amorgos salad, Greek potatoes and moussaka.


A couple of views to the sea from Taverna Mouros


At Taverna Mouros.


There are very few straight roads here in Amorgos.


An inquisitive goat.                                                                Sheep trying to find some shade.


Grapes cascading from vines in Chora.


The sun shimmering on the Aegean.


The windmill in Aegaili.                                                        The village of Potamos half way up the mountain.


(Some) cats of Amorgos.


(Some) doors of Amorgos.


There's nothing more we can say.  Amorgos ... sheer beauty.



September 14, 2022 - Pano Gitonia, Potamos, Amorgos

Our day started with a do it ourselves breakfast as Pano Gitonia is room only, not a B&B.  Which is fine as there is a small kitchenette in each unit with a fridge and hot-plate, plates, pots, pans and cutlery (although no juice squeezer).  So off to the market and bakery we went to buy some coffee, yoghurt, bread, fruit, (spinach and/or cheese) pies, cookies and cakes.  And oh ya a cheap juicer as I am insistent on having my morning fresh orange juice.

Most of the day was spent at Pano Gitonia.  Having seen all of Amorgos during previous trips, while we did want to re-visit some places it was not the end of the world if we were unable.  I am feeling better but not so much so as to venture out for an active day.  Perhaps tomorrow.

We did go down to nearby Aegaili beach - a beautiful sandy beach.  The beach is very easy to access with a gentle entry to the warm water.  Wonderful.  

After our swim we returned to Lagkada for dinner at another cute little restaurant.  We ate at Loukaki Ksana starting with a dish of pureed fava accompanied by home made bread.  Gayle then had the 'green pies' filled with spinach and flavoured with fennel.  I had the Kreatotourta - a meat pie with goat and cheese.  It was good but the sheep burger or sausage (that other tables ordered) also looked good, with perhaps more substance than my meat pie.

Every time we visit Lagkada we observe how impressed we are with this village up in the hills.


Pano Gitonia does not include breakfast but each room has a fridge and a hot plate that allows one to prepare something.  We didn't use the hot plate but did put together a pretty complete breakfast of coffee, fresh (yes I squeezed them) orange juice, yoghurt, spinach or cheese pies and other goodies from the bakery.


Some attractive / colourful flowers. overlooking Aegaili bay.
 
 
Looking down on Aegaili and its beach from Pano Gitonia.



Our 'it never gets old' view from Pano Gitonia.


The waters around Aegaili.                                                     Aegaili beach.


The village of Lagkada.                                                          Agia Triada - expecially impressive when lit up at night.


Another end to a Greek day; another colourful sunset.


While walking into the village this fellow greeted us.


Narrow attractive alleyways of Legkada set up for dinner.


Elderly ladies spending their evening near the village restaurants.


Tonight's dinner at Loukaki xana.                                          The interior of the restaurant; we ate outdoors.


Wine served in a copper cup.                                                What to have?  What to have?


Fava - pureed split peas.


Cretan green pies - spinach and fennel.                                 Meat pie, also Cretan, with goat and cheese.




September 13, 2022 - Pano Gitonia, Potamos, Amorgos

If yesterday was a sad day today was a bad day.

For the most part we have been quite healthy while traveling.   Yes there were times in Thailand and Laos, Morocco and Menorca when at least one of us didn't feel well but all in all things have been good.  Not today.

Having not felt great for a couple of days the gastro-intestinal issues increased significantly yesterday, to the point where I first went to a pharmacy.  Still worried about an infection and the need for antibiotics we decided to drive to Chora (20 minutes) where there is a Medical Center.  What a great experience in health care.  Immediately I was given an Covid rapid test - all good it was negative.  Then a nurse did all the standard stuff - temperature, oxigination, blood pressure etc. including drawing blood.  A doctor then spent perhaps 15 minutes with me, asking lots of questions and probing around my tummy.  With the blood results it was her view I did not have an infection, needed to drink lots and lots and lots of water and flush out my body.  The whole process took between 30 and 40 minutes, and when I asked how much I owed the doctor said it was all free.  The only thing she prescribed were some electrolytes.  So while the advise was simply to stay away from greasy foods and wait it out there was relief for both Gayle and me for having gone and been examined.

The rest of the day was very quiet.  On the way back from the Medical Centre we did take a road over the mountain to the east side of the island, to a few stone buildings and a church in an old village.  Asfontilitis is a ruined rural settlement with signs of habitation from early historic times.  It is located approximately halfway along the old footpath that joined Chora of Amorgos to the Monastery Chozoviotissa, and the area of Aegiali.  At one time Asfontilitis was the largest rural settlement on Amorgos attracted by the large expanse - 2.5 hours of arduous trekking to the next nearest settlement.

For dinner we went to the village of Lagkada where we ate at in a small alleyway at Moschoudaki Cafe where we enjoyed a simple but delicious meal - first a butternut squash soup followed by a Greek Salad primarily for Gayle, although I helped and chicken Gyros for me - minimizing the grease.  Having desserts from the bakery back at Pano Gitonia we skipped dessert.

As said, not a great day, including insufficient time for a swim, but I / we were somewhat relieved by having gone to the medical clinic where the doctor expressed the view that there was nothing serious wrong.  Let's hope she is correct.



The Cyclades blue eye.                                                                                            A lantern in Aegiali.


My friend the Medical Center of Amorgos.


The drive between Aegiali and Chora (and elsewhere on Amorgos) is visually stunning with the deep blue waters of the Aegean.


A shy donkey / mule.                                                              Some of the many goats between Aegiali and Chora.





There is little but rock on most of Amorgos.  Providing for stone huts and stone walls.



A church high up in the mountains - Asfontilitis.


Tonight's sunset - another explosion of colour.


Tonight we ate at Moexoydaki.                                              Attractive copper mugs.


Menus change daily with what is fresh, so posted on blackboards.
     

Butternut squash soup.



A Greek salad with local cheese.                                               Chicken gyro.



September 12, 2022 - Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi to Pano Gitonia, Potamos, Amorgos

A sad day as we need to leave Koufonisi.  It started early for Gayle as she again rose in time to walk down to the beach to see the sun rise.  Me, I slept.  Gayle quite enjoys her very tranquil, peaceful early morning walks where she is mostly alone, perhaps encountering one or two other early morning risers.

A final breakfast with lots of banter with Christopholus - how many orange juices can I order?  And will he really deliver one to me on Amorgos?  And then George and chats with his friends from Athens.

Five days at Pambelos is more than any other place we will stay on this trip but it could easily have been twice that.  It is so chilled out to do little but relax here on beautiful Koufonisi.

But leave we must.  Christopholus drove us to the dock / ferry where we got the fast speed Seajets for a short 35 minute trip to Katapola, Amorgos.  No problem picking up our rental car and we were off to Pano Gitonia on the east end of the island, in the village of Potamos, overlooking the other port Aegali.  Each time we return to Pano Gitonia we are in awe of the views of the towns, Aegali on the water and Tholaria on the far hillside, and the sea.  Spectacular.

After a rest we went into town for a light supper.  From the restaurant we were able to see the sun set - a vibrant orange colour.  I was still not feeling my best so ate light.  We dined at Amorgialos where we shared first a grilled Mastelo cheese with a sweet tomato jam, and then Pasta with basil pesto - noodles from the island of Syros with homemade pesto made with Amorgian basil and grated Kefalotiri cheese from Naxos.  Cost 21.60 euros ($31 Cdn).

Back to Pano Gitonia and off to bed.
 

The windmills above Chora.



The small village of Potamos, perched on the hillside, a couple of kms outside of and overlooking Aegali and the Aegean.

Theo.


Our room this time is Almond Tree.                                      And here is the almond tree right beside our terrace.


Bright colours, a separate second sleeping area and a nice table to work on.  


Welcomed by kissing / loving 'swans'.



The jaw-dropping view from our terrace.                                                  Looking out through the kitchen window.


Grilled Mastelo cheese with sweet tomato jam.                        Syros pasta with basil pesto and Naxos cheese.


Sunset.



Sunrise in Koufonisi.                                                            Muesli, spinach pies and coffee - a good start to breakfast.


My new best bud Christopholus, and a final orange juice.


Pambelos units - separated and therefore quite private. 
   


Each unit is separated by sweet smelling herbs especially fragrant in the early morning. 


One of Pano Koufonisi's windmills.                                       Our bags are packed, we're ready to go (to Amorgos).


Our last image (at least for this trip) of Koufonisi harbour and the gorgeous turquoise coloured water.



September 11, 2022 - Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi - Kato Koufonisi and Pori Beach

The day again did not start great, so much so that I skipped breakfast.  After a very quiet morning I pushed myself to get out in the afternoon.  We ended up going to Kato Koufonisi, an island adjacent to Pano Koufonisi.  Kato Koufonisi has no permanent inhabitants, a small church, a summer tavern, a few holiday homes, a few shepherds / goatherds, some wild camping enthusiasts and visitors, like us, who come just for the day.

The boat ride to Nero beach is only half an hour with a stop near the church and taverna.  We continued on the beach which was less rocky but with more waves than we expected.  It was busy but not overly so.  In addition to the human visitors there were a number of goats who make this area their home.  Not shy some of them came down and wandered on the beach.

After an hour we took the water taxi back to Venetsanos taverna.  Very cute with both a large (hard to understand why they would ever need that much space) indoor area, along with an outdoor area in the alley.  The place was extensively 'decorated', from the painted alleyway to the chairs hanging on an outdoor wall, to the many knick-knacks.

The taverna is 'old-school' Greece.  When we grabbed a menu we were directed to a back room where all the food was available to view.  A fellow recited the list of dishes available today - there were many.  Gayle chose a stuffed (with rice) tomato and pepper along with a plate of potatas, while I had the goat in lemon sauce, also with potatoes.  All were extremely tasty.  We finished with a nice piece of orange pie.  With bread, water, wine and a beer it totaled only 35 euros ($47 Cdn).

As we were waiting for the ferry to take us back a boat full of people arrived at the church's dock.  It soon became obvious there was going to be a wedding.  This was confirmed a few minutes later when a second boat arrived with the bride.  Our timing was great to see the preamble to the wedding in such a remote, beautiful location.

Before returning to port Prassinos Boat Tours, who operate the water taxi took us around the other side of the island to see the beautiful geological formations, faraglionis (rock formations created by waves eroding the coast), and crystal clear water.  Especially nice this time of day spotlighted by the setting sun.

Upon returning to port we hopped on another water taxi to take us around to the north-east corner of the island and Pori beach.  Although we knew we would have little time it is kind of a Koufonisi tradition to go to Pori beach.  The sun was setting by the time we arrived but we still had a nice final swim.  Gayle then enjoyed a glass of wine at the nearby restaurant as we waited for the taxi to take us back to Pambelos.  It is kind of neat when there is only one taxi driver - after three trips we got to know him a bit, sharing a few laughs.

After a fairly full afternoon / evening we turned in early - actually we generally turn in early every day.


We took the Prassinos water taxi to Kato Koufonisi and then Pori Beach - a great deal for 5 euros each for the day.


The colour of the water in Pano Koufonisi's port is so so beautiful.


A Blue Star arriving in port.                                                    On the water taxi.


Some of the coast line of Kato Koufonisi, and the one (quite large) palm tree. 




Our water taxi approaching Nero Beach.


Goats on the rocks.                                                                 Goats on the beach.


Kato Koufonisi's Nero Beach.


A Greek fisherman.


A donkey wandering free.                                                      Kato Koufonisi's church.


Inside the taverna, although everyone ate outside.                  Painted alleyways.


'Art' on the wall.


Some of the rural sites near the taverna.


The taverna was 'old time Greece' where one enters the kitchen, checks out today's many dishes, and orders.


Stuffed (with rice) pepper and tomato.                                   Goat in lemon sauce with patatas.


Waiting for the water taxi to take us from Kato Koufonisi's taverna back to Pano Koufonisi.


Here come the guests.   



Not sure about the fellow on the tractor who appeared to be crashing the wedding.


Awaiting the bride.                                                                 Here comes the bride.


The west side of Kato Koufonisi is visually stuffing with its crystal clear waters and rising faraglionis -  rock formations eroded by waves.




The clarity and resultant colour of the water is something else .. as is the babe on the boat. 





White table clothes at Finikas - what is the world coming to?  [later found out it was for the wedding].
    
 
Sail boats in Pori harbour.



The sun started to set as we returned form Kato Koufonisi and then turned a full orange after setting later at Pori 
Beach.


Enjoying a glass of wine with the sun setting while waiting for our taxi.



September 10, 2022 - Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi

Not a great day.  Neither Gayle nor I were feeling well.  When traveling one does have to expect days like this and  today was it.  So much so that we did not leave Pambelos Lodge - not even for one swim.  Lots of rest and attention to sore tummies.

We did eventually drag ourselves down to the closest taverna - Finikas, for something to eat in the evening.  The full moon made for a pleasant walk to the beach where Gayle had a Greek salad (of which she ate less than half) and I the sausage (they were out of the goat) with rice.  It was good to get something in our stomachs.  Perhaps not dinner by candlelight but very nice to enjoy by (full) moon light.

Back up the hill to immediately turn in.


The view we enjoy each morning as we look out to the channel between Ano Koufonisi and large but uninhabited Keros Island.


Being a 'light' day a bit about Koufonisia - two islands Kato and Pano.  Pano is the primary island yet still very small being only 5.8 sq km with a population (excluding tourists) of 399 (2011).

So small there are no car rentals.  One walks or take the one taxi or water taxis to get about. 

Relative to its population Koufonisi has the largest fishing fleet in Greece, although with tourism increasing significantly over the past decade.

Pambelos Lodge is located more or less in the centre of the island rather than near the town of Koufonisia, or Chora.


Christopholus, our breakfast server and all-round guy at the Lodge.


Yogurt with fruit, coffee in a spectacular setting.



Not the best photo but you get the 'full' picture.           The nearby taverna Finikas.


The full moon over the sea, shining it light on a small fishing boat from our table at Finikas.


Gayle had the Greek salad, while                                            I had sausage with rice.



September 09, 2022 - Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi and Fanos Beach

See September 08, 2022 entry.  Most of the day - breakfast, relax at Pambelos until late afternoon, then to Fanos beach for a swim was pretty much identical.  Although we had intended to get out earlier it was more or less the same time as yesterday - late afternoon before we headed to the beach.  In part because we so much enjoy sitting here on our terrace at Pambelos, and in part because we are 'sloths' on vacation.

After another very enjoyable swim we then took the water taxi - there are four that spend the day going back and forth from the Port, around the south and east sides of Koufonisi, to Pori Beach - to the Port and then wandered through the village (Chora) before eating dinner at Armira Kai Pioto, a restaurant owned by George's brother at which we enjoyed two great meals in 2019.

The food here is not your traditional taverna Greek fare but more sophisticated.  For dinner we enjoyed
  • Skrini (east of Koufonisi in front of Charakopou beach) - an assortment of green vegetables seasonal fruit, caramalized walnuts and cashews, croutons scented with local herbs and a dressing with plums, Kitro of Naxos (a citron liqueur) and sour cherries , sprinkled with xinotryo cheese.
  • Makares (north of Ano Koufonisi between Donoussa and Kopria) - eggplant bureks with local mizithra cheese, fresh herbs and Florina pepper sauce
  • Pork in wine sauce with fresh spinach ravioli, and
  • while we normally do not have dessert (other than small 'gifts' provided by the restaurant) we couldn't resist the Baklava with ice cream.  And an ice cream with an interesting texture, we believe the result of adding mastic.
Two decent glasses of house wine, water and bread brought the bill for another excellent meal to 55.50 euros ($75 Cdn).

Being in town we decided again to take the taxi back to Pambelos.


Coffee and fresh orange juice make a great start to breakfast.


The inviting sand of Fanos Beach.


More views of the coastline between Fano and Paralia Italida.





Waiting for the water taxi,                                                      And here it comes.


One of Koufonissi's windmills and a small home in Chora.


A couple more than happy to have their photo taken when I asked.


Beautiful colourful flowers, hanging fuchsia bougainvillea and traditional blue paint make this home very 
attractive.


The main alleyway through Chora.


Chora's church glistening in the evening sun.


A round loaf of bread served in a round wooden bowl.


Getting ready to dig in.


Skrini salad.


Makares (eggplant bureks).                                                     Pork with fresh spinach ravioli.


Baklava with what we believe was Mastic ice cream for dessert.



September 08, 2022 - Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi and Fanos Beach

After an excellent sleep we woke to one of our favourite views - looking over the rural landscape, across the shimmering channel to the uninhabited island of Keros.  If only those two posts and wire were not there - but we know it is a challenge to put wires under ground on an island predominately of  rock.
  
We weren't sure whether George would be serving the same (order as much as you want) breakfast, but no worries - it is exactly the same.  Omelets or other forms of eggs, spinach or cheese pie, yoghurt, with fruit and/or honey, cereal, chocolate and/or carrot cake, bread, jam, coffee and fresh orange juice.  Very relaxed I think we lingered over breakfast for an hour and a half.

Back to our room where I worked on the travel blog, and we both napped.  My how an afternoon can get away.  It was after four by the time we headed down to Fanos beach.  Every bit as wonderful as we remembered it.  Busy but not excessively so, it was easy to find a spot to put down our towels.  A very sandy beach, gorgeous turquoise water and a decent temperature that made it easy to get in.

After our swim we sauntered down to Mixalios Grill (1.4 km - a bit of a struggle for one with bad knees but I made it, as they say in Italian piano piano (slowly, slowly)).  Dinner consisted of a Greek salad, Melitzanotiri - eggplant, green pepper, pesto and three kinds of local cheese in a clay pot and Pork Souvlaki with fried potatoes, accompanied by a half litre of decent house red wine.  Cost 37.5 euros ($50 Cdn.)

Given the distance back to Pambelos Lodge we decided to call the (only) taxi (on the island).

A very lazy, sloth like day, but that's exactly what we expect, and want.


It's pretty nice to wake up to this.


Greek yoghurt with fruit and honey.


Pambelos breakfast area looking out to the sea and Keros.            Cafe frappe.                     What is George thinking?


Whether donkeys or horses Gayle loves to encounter animals.


The colour of the sea is so wonderful.


Sandy Fanos beach.


One of the four Koufonisi water taxis.                                       Caves along the shore.


Enjoying the sea one can lose track of time.                           Oops I thought I had another hour ... wait for me!


A women generously feeding the local cats.


During dinner we were treated to a nice sunset.


Another Greek enjoyable salad.                                                   With some wine.


Melitzanotiri - eggplant in a clay pot.                                    Pork souvlaki, with hand cut fried potatoes.



Sept 07, 2022 - Schinoza Luxury Suites, Schinoussa to Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi


We had a nice chat with Pothiti, the manager of Schinoza Luxury Suites this morning.  Beyond being shy about having her photo taken - I managed to get a couple of nice shots - we found out she is Georgios' cousin, the same Georgios who owns Pambelos Lodge on Koufonisi where we are headed to next.   In fact Pothiti was born on Koufonisi although she spent considerable time on Amorgos as her father is the Captain of the Express Skopelitis that overnights in Katapola.  What a small world.


Before we leave a bit about Schinoussa.  The island is 8.5 sq. kms with a (2011) population of 256.  Located south of Naxos in the middle of the Lesser Cyclades there are three settlements - Chora, or Schoinousa, Mesaria and the port of Mersini.  The name is believed to be derived either from the corruption of the ancient name Echinousa or from a Venetian nobleman named Schinoza. The island has been inhabited since antiquity with sites of archaeological interest including ancient Greek and Roman ruins, a ruin of a Byzantine church and a small medieval castle.  From the 11th century the island was the property of Hozviotissa Monastery on the island of Amorgos, but since 2011 is a municipal unit of the Municipality of Naxos and the Lesser Cyclades.


With our ferry not until 4:30 pm after we checked out we returned to Livadi Beach for a final swim.  Very enjoyable.  We then returned the car, being given a lift to the port.  With still an hour before our ferry we stopped in a restaurant where we had a plate of tzatziki and a large, and tasty, Cyclades salad with tomatini, barley rusk and fresh white Naxos cheese.  It turned out to be a good thing as we did crash soon after arriving in Koufonisi without having dinner.

Although the wind was down from yesterday it certainly was not the smoothest of sails.  Fortunately it was only 35 minutes to Koufonisi where we were met at the port by George.  This is fourth time in Koufonisi (2015, 2017, 2019 and 2022) and fourth time staying at Pambelos Lodge, located a ways up a hill in the middle of the small island with absolutely gorgeous views across the deep blue water to the uninhabited island of Keros.  The view from our terrace, looking through the fuchsia bougainvillea is truly special.  It never gets old. 

We are again in the same unit - Aspouda with the neatest toilet water tank - The New Best Niagara, providing a torrent of water when needed. 

Koufonisi is small, only 5.3 square kms and as such one walks, or cycles everywhere.  There are no car rentals although since 2019 there are water taxis that run from Chora to Pori Beach with stops at Finikes and Fanos beaches along the way, and a taxi (actually only one taxi).  Having eaten late afternoon - not a lot but something, as expected we decided to forego dinner and turned in early.


Pothiti.


Another sunny (although still somewhat windy) day with Mersini harbour in the background.


Enjoying a glass of retsina while cooling the feet in the plunge pool.


A mastic tree providing shade on Livadi beach.                        Livadi beach.






Which beach?  So many choices.                                                                              Found one.


Chillin' out waiting for our ferry.                                          A plate of Tzatziki (yoghurt with garlic, oil and mint)


A Cycladesa salad, based on cherry tomatoes (tomatini), capers, rusk and soft Naxos cheese.


Koufonisi's cute harbour with a number of small fishing boats. 


Our ferry the Express Skopelitis. 



The small cooking area in our room.                                      Our room - #6 - Aspouda.


The New Best Niagara - the best water tank.


The view to Keros from Pambelos Lodge.                              George - "eat more feta to reduce Greek debt"


The fuchsia bougainvillea hanging over the roof of our terrace.  Can it get any more beautiful - especially the view across the water to Keros Island? 




September 06, 2022 - Schinoza Luxury Suites, Schinoussa - another beach day


Windy windy windy.  So much so the ferries were cancelled today - not only the smaller Express Skopelitis that we are booked on tomorrow, but the much larger Blue Star ferries as well.  We experienced winds in 2019 significant enough that we were 'stuck' (can anyone really be stuck on any island in Greece?) in Amorgos for two days, being unable to get to Koufonisi.  It is still calling for significant winds tomorrow so we will have to wait and see.

After breakfast we went to the beach at the top of the port - Mersini - sandy with easy access.  Back to the suite to relax before going out mid afternoon to Livadi beach - very nice, again sandy, easy parking and mastic trees to provide shade.  The beach is quite long resulting in a feeling of not being crowded at all.  On our way back we took a drive down to Tsigouri beach.  We couldn't find an easy parking spot but had a nice view of yet another expansive beach from Grispos Villas, what looked like a nice place to enjoy a drink and the view if we were not trying to get back for the sunset.

We chose to eat dinner at Kyra Pothiti where we had another very nice meal.  We shared a starter, a round phyllo stuffed with Cyclades cheese topped with Greek honey.  Wonderful.  Gayle then had a nice Fava tart with local soft cheese and cherry tomato confit while I finally found Moussaka on the menu - and not your 'basic' moussaka but a mouth watering version made with goat milk, cheese from Naxos and local ground beef.  Delicious.  With bread, water and a glass each of house wine the meal came to 41.50 euros ($55 Cdn).

One one hand our fingers are crossed that the ferries will run tomorrow and we will get to Koufonisi, while on the other perhaps it would not be so bad if we 'had' to stay here another day.  We'll know in the morning.


Fried eggs this morning.  A nice enough breakfast, especially delivered in a picnic basket to our room, looking out over the island.


While no doubt choppier in less protected places the wind was strong enough to cancel the ferries today, which we understand happens less than half a dozen times a year.


Mersini harbour from our Suite.                                             And a rock wall on the far hill.






Baby olive trees in planter pots.                                              Fishing boats in Mersini harbour.


Mersini Beach at the end of the bay that serves as the port of Schinoussa.


The churches in Mesaria and Schoinousa. 


The church bells and entrance to the church in Chora (Panagia) / Schoinousa.


Pretty pots and painted stones lining a stairway.


What would Greece be without its cats?


Looking our from out Suite.                                                   Our plunge pool.


The huge terrace area.


Livadi beach - very sandy, with mastic trees that provided nice shade.


Tsigouri beach - late in the day and no obvious parking so we didn't actually swim here but it did look inviting.


Another colourful Schinoussa sunset.


Phyllo stuffed with Cyclades cheese - topped with 
honey. 


A Fava tart with local soft cheese and cherry tomato confit.


Melt in your mouth Moussaka.



September 05, 2022 - Schinoza Luxury Suites, Schinoussa - beach day


We woke up to another not a cloud in the sky sunny, but somewhat windy day.  

A bit after noon we got word that our car rental place had received a supply of gas and we were good to go to rent a vehicle.  Unplanned but the reality is with my arthritic knees we would have not walked to the many beaches on the somewhat mountainous island.  We first went north to the village of Mesaria and then to the coast and Psili Ammos beach.  Only 2.3 km but still it was great to have the vehicle.

What a beautiful beach set in a cove.  A mix of small rocks and sand the water was nice once one gets in.  The colours of teal transitioning to deep blue are a pleasure to the eye.  After a swim we packed up, checked out the menu at Harama, a highly rated restaurant in Mesaria and then drove on to another couple of beaches in the south-east corner of the Schinoussa.  Lioliou beach was too rough (with the north winds) for swimming but nearby on the west of a spit of land was Alygaria Kampos beach which was very protected and perfect for another swim.

Afterwards we returned to our Suite to enjoy a simply spectacular, vibrant, colourful sunset after which we went back to Mesaria and Harama for dinner.  The taverna had a nice rural Greek vibe, and was fairly busy for a Monday night, predominately with Greek families.  The fellow who served us was great, explaining the meaning of 'Harama' (done) and providing us with a board of Greek words.  Unfortunately the food did not live up to the service.  The Schinoussa salad, with it's cherry tomatoes, rusks, capers, greens and soft cheese was very good but the saganaki cheese quite rubbery, the eggplant and potatoes in red (tomato) sauce over-cooked and the sausage not particularly to my liking.  All in all disappointing.  Average at best.  Not sure why it is as highly rated as it is on TripAdvisor.

We returned to our Suites to bring the day to an end.


Breakfast is delivered to our terrace - juice, fruit, yoghurt, bread, jams, cheese and spinach pies and eggs.


A donkey enjoying some mid-day shade.


Schinoza Luxury Suites is beautifully lanscaped with shrubs and flowers.


We've seen donkeys and chickens and cows and geese and now sheep.


Psili Ammos beach on the east side of the island.



Cows enjoying a wonderful vista over the sea and islands beyond.


Rural Schinoussa - stone walls; wood fences.                           Finding whatever limited shade there is.


Alygaria Kampos beach.


Another dip in the plunge pool.                                                                                 My first retsina of the trip.


A gorgeous sunset this evening.









Our waiter brought this board to our table so that we could learn a little Greek while having dinner.  A neat concept.

Another nice salad with cherry tomatoes, greens, capers, soft cheese and rusk.


Saganaki (grilled cheese)                                                          The local sausage.


Eggplant and potato stew in a tomato sauce.



September 04, 2022 - Petrino Studios, Naxos to Schinoza Luxury Suites, Schinoussa 


Our last morning at Petrino Studios.  After packing we had breakfast and then spent time taking photos.  Marianne took some nice shots of Gayle and me, who in describing us says "You are the best Canadians in the universe".  We might not go that far but it was a wonderful complement.  We very much enjoyed chatting with Marianne and we each no doubt made the other's stay more enjoyable. 

We then did our best to get a family photo.  It was challenging to get everyone, including Lulu the dog, in one place at one time but we were ultimately successful.

We are very thankful our friends suggested we stay at Petrino Studios.  Our room was large with a great terrace area and view of the sea.  The common / eating area was very nicely landscaped and great for interacting with other guests.  The food was excellent, very fresh with the vegetables picked daily from the garden.  The four course dinner servings were huge with more than we could eat.  The quality of the cooking was excellent - Gayle is still raving about her eggplant stew and the zucchini fritters.  As mentioned I am not a huge fish person but the Serpa was wonderful.  However the best part was the wonderful family - all very friendly.  Lulu was also a hit, with both us and other guests.  The children were children, with their joyous laughter making the place very homey.  This is not a romantic, quiet spot but rather a wonderful family business run by great people who make you feel at home with their warmth and great food.

It was sad to say goodbye, not only to the family but also (Norwegian) Marianne. 
 
The drive to Naxos port, with no photo stops, was half an hour - no problem.  We dropped off our rental car - again no problem and boarded the Blue Star Naxos for the 1 1/2 hour trip, with a stop in Iraklia, to Schinoussa, where we were picked up at the port and driven to Schinoza Luxury Suites.  Our 'suite' is wonderful - perhaps not the biggest interior although surprisingly there is a tub and a large sink / bathroom area.  The bed looks out to a huge veranda - actually larger than our room - with our own plunge pool and a view to the harbour.  Very classy with beautifully landscaped plants separating the units.  Unlike Petres and Petrino, which were conducive to meeting and interacting with other travelers Schinoza Suites is very private. 

We immediately tried out our plunge pool - we are certainly going to like this place, after which we wandered into the village.  The walk is only 10 to 15 minutes.  There is essentially one 'street' through the village with a number of restaurants and mini-markets.  We decided to check out the option of a car rental and while there is a vehicle, the only gas station on the island was having technical problems resulting in no fuel being available to the car rental agency.  Perhaps tomorrow we were told.  We circled back to the village where we decided to eat at Deli, a very non-Greek named restaurant.  The upstairs area provided wonderful views to the coast, including a windmill and church.

Dinner was superb.  Not your traditional Greek taverna fare but somewhat more sophisticated cuisine.  The Schinoussa salad with cherry tomatoes, bites of rusk bread, capers and Schinoussa soft cheese was excellent.  Gayle's eggplant stuffed ravioli in tomato sauce with mint was equally excellent as was my tender grilled lamb flavoured with lemon.  Two glasses of wine and a sparkling water brought the meal to 56 euros ($75 Cdn).  We left very pleased with our choice of restaurant.

We returned to our Suite in time to see the setting sun.  The sun was a brilliant orange until it disappeared on the horizon, after which not as exciting as hoped.
  

Does the frittata on the front of the plate not look like a fish with zucchini eyes?


Thanks to (Norwegian) Marianne we have these nice photos of ourselves.


Gayle, Marianne and me enjoying our time at Petrino's.


Gayle and me with some of the family.


Marianne, her Marios, mom Sophia, dad Yannis with Lulu and Hara with her daughter Sophie.


Some more of the family - Lulu, Marianne, Marianne, her son Marios and Hara and finally Hara and her daughter Sophia.


Naxos town as seen from where the ferries dock.                   The temple of Apollo near Naxos port.



Map of our drive from Petrino to Naxos port from where we took a ferry to Schinoussa with a stop in Iraklia.


Our plunge pool.


The verandah of our Luxury Suite.


An old traditional bread oven in the island's main village Schoinoua.


A traditionally blue painted door.                                           A windmill, in very good shape.


Right on the edge of the village animals are many - including donkeys and chickens.


Gayle enjoying a rest on a bench and then getting to know her new friend.


A church and windmill as seen from our restaurant.                The view out the restaurant Deli.


Our salad of cherry tomatoes, rusk bread, greens, capers and soft cheese.


Ravioli stuffed with eggplant in a tomato sauce.                     Grilled lamb chops.


An elderly lady seen on our walk back, and the sunset form our Suite.



September 03, 2022 - Petrino Studios, Ambram, Naxos and a drive around the                                                   northeaster corner of Naxos, including Apollonia and Lionas


We enjoyed another nice chat with (Norwegian) Marianne over breakfast.  One of the great things about traveling is that one has the opportunity to meet those from other countries.  Some times one makes a connection which was certainly the case with Marianne.

After breakfast we headed out on a venture around the mountainous northeastern quadrant of Naxos.  We left Ambram for a clock wise drive primarily over roads hugging the mountains overlooking the deep blue Aegean sea.
Our first stop was Apollonas, a fishing village inhabited in large part due to the nearby marble quarry.  In the old days the village served as the port to export the Naxian marble mined in the nearby village of Koronida.

Today Apollonas is the most developed settlement of northern Naxos in terms of tourism.  Picturesque whitewashed homes are smeared behind an attractive small sandy beach that stretches on into a larger beach strewn with white egg-like pebbles "offering a palette of gold, white and the blue expanse of the sea".  The beach is lined with taverns, rooms to let, hotels and cafes.  We enjoyed a wonderful swim in the sandy cove -  a delightful stop.

We pushed on beyond Koronos before taking a dramatic 10 km drive to the seaside village of Lionas.  There is a traditional restaurant in Lionas - Delfinaki where we stopped for a bite to eat.  Knowing that we would again have a filling dinner we had only a plate of potatoes and Triangle Pies Xyomyzithra, with the main ingredient being the soft mountain Naxos cheese, i.e. Xyomyzithra " ... made by the grandfather of the family Koufopoulou."

Although it was getting a bit late we couldn't resist a second swim.  The Lionas beach is certainly not sandy, as it was in Apollonas, but once one gets into the water it really doesn't matter.  Again thank goodness for the water shoes.  

The drive back took us through the mountainous interior of Naxos, past some windmills - both old traditional ones and new modern wind turbines.  Through some small villages and then past a huge marble quarry before returning to the coast and Petrino Suites.

Due to the tiring drive and late return we did not go down to the beach to see the sunset (unfortunately you can't directly see the sun setting from Petrino's).  Dinner again started with a healthy salad and then of course the stuffed tomatoes and peppers we earlier saw being prepped by Sofia - delicious.  Gayle was served a plate of white broad beans while I had beef and eggplant - lots and lots of eggplant.  Dessert was a tasty orange cake followed by a bilberry liqueur.  A wonderful way to finish a full but great day.   


The view to the beach and sea from Petrino's common / dining area.


One of Petrino's olive trees.                                                      A nicely decorated light fixture.


A traditional Greek chair and urns around the Petrino property.


A tray of hollowed out tomatoes and peppers.                         All done.


Sophia preparing the tomatoes and peppers for stuffing.