Our memories of Greece 2022:

We enjoyed another great / interesting trip to Greece with a number of wonderful memories, including:

  • the relaxing start to our trip by returning to Hotel Petres 
  • the tasty tomato and Greek salads at Hotel Petres
  • the many many sunsets (and occasional sunrise)
  • Agia Kyriaki
  • all the laughs enjoyed with Marianne (from Norway)
  • the delicious (and huge) dinners at Hotel Petrino
  • Hara, Marianne and the family at Hotel Petrino
  • the beaches - too many to mention but especially Zorgos, Mylopotamos, Kalamos and Fanos
  • the breakfasts at Six Keys, the smoked eggplant mousse, chestnut and mushroom soup and chocolate dessert
  • the proximity to the beach from our room / terrace at Six Keys
  • the pine covered forests, much of which was devastated by wildfires in north Evia
  • Evaggelika and the atmosphere at to Rodi
  • the quaint mountain village of Pinakates
  • the comfort of a thick, warm duvet in the mountains of Pinakates
  • Gayle having to wear her down jacket a couple of times
  • the life stories of Eduard at Ta Xelidonakia
  • fresh Belgian waffles
  • the town squares with their massive plane trees
  • squeezing fresh orange juice on the beach
  • the mules and goats slowing traffic; the numerous but polite cats
  • seeing Sotiris, Clea, George, Theo and Pookky again
  • the wonderful health care on Amorgos
  • Christina and Petros and the pool and the dinners and the views at Aegean Castle
  • Andros - the stone fences and coastline
  • the Pelion - its mountains and beaches
  • the enchanted forest near Amanita
  • the luxury of our first plunge pool (at Schinoussa Luxury Suites)
  • the village of Lefkada and the meals enjoyed in its alleyways
  • the drive to Mouros beach and the moussaka at Mouros Taverna
  • traditional waterfront tavernas in every fishing village
  • the generally good house wines - with two notable exceptions
  • being directionally challenged in the mountains of south Evia
  • the bee boxes
  • the colour (aquamarine, turquoise, emerald, green, blue etc.) of the waters 
  • sun every day and except for two or three cool days in the Pelion warm / hot days
  • Greek salads and Greek fries / potatoes and moussaka and octopus
  • Kato Koufonisi - the taverna and the rock formations / crystal clear water on the northwest side
  • the swim and glass of wine at sunset on Pori Beach, Koufonisi
  • lots and lots of time relaxing and just enjoying time pass by
  • returning to Hotel Petres (Paros), Pambelos Lodge (Koufonisi) and Pano Gitonia (Amorgos)
  • Christopholus and lots of laughs during breakfast at Pambelos Lodge
  • the full moon at Finikis (Koufonisi)
  • being the first Canadians ever staying at at least to Rodi and Six Keys
  • the scenic coastlines, especially Amorgos, Andros, and the Pelion

Expenses (based on average exchange rate 1 euro = $1.39 Canadian):

Here are the costs of our trip:

$  3,128           airfare, including seat selection

$  6,925           lodging ($204 Canadian $ per night)

$  2,340           food ($69 per day for dinner etc. incl. wine as most breakfasts are included in all lodging)

$  1,980           vehicle ($1,487 or $57 per day for 26 days re vehicle rental plus fuel / tolls of $433 plus $60 for taxis)

$     471           ferries

$     193           souvenirs - a couple of plates plus some inexpensive small gifts for family

$       19           miscellaneous

$15,056           for 34 days


The average cost per day excluding airfare and souvenirs (i.e. lodging, food, entrances, vehicle and miscellaneous) was $345 (248 euros).


The average cost per day of a number of expense categories (in euros)

                                                                   Lodging              Food                Car*           Ferries

2015     Cyclades and Crete                                 79

2017     Cyclades and Peloponnese                      97                  46                                         9      

2018     Dodecanese                                           106                  46                 37                  14

2019     Cyclades, Ikaria, Samos and Chios        100                  38                 28                  12

2021     Cyclades, Evia and Pelion                     145                  49                 43                  10

* per day rented, including fuel and tolls


Lodging ranged from a low of 67 euros (Pano Gitonia) to a high of 230 euros (Six Keys).  All (except Pano Gitonia) included a very significant, filling breakfast.  We did spend considerably more on lodgings this trip as compared to past trips, some through choice and some (especially Pambelos Lodge) through price increases.  However we were very happy with all our choices.

Here is a list of the lodgings where we stayed, the amount we paid and a link to their website.  


124 euros          Hotel Petres                           Paros                          www.petres.gr

107 euros          Hotel Petrino                         Naxos                        www.petrinonaxos.gr

160 euros          Schinoussa Luxury Suites       Schinoussa                 www.schinoza.gr

160 euros          Pambelos Lodge                     Koufonissi                 www.pambeloslodge.gr

  67 euros          Pano Gitonia                          Amorgos                   www.amorgos-panogitonia.gr

200 euros          Aegean Castle Hotel               Andros                      www.aegeancastle.gr

115 euros          to Rodi                                   Evia                           www.torodihotel.gr

110 euros          Ta Xelidonakia                       Pelion                        www.pinakates.com

140 euros          Amanita                                  Pelion                        www.amanita.gr

230 euros          Six Keys                                  Pelion                        www.sixkeys.gr

135 euros          Negroponte Resort                 Evia                           www.negroponteresort.gr


With respect to souvenirs we did not come home with much - a number of small gifts for family and this plate and tray for ourselves.


A pomegranate plate from Vizitsa, Pelion.


A serving tray bought at Hotel Petres, Paros.



October 03, 2022 - Negroponte, Eretrea, Evia to Athens to Toronto to Halifax


Done, over, finished.  Today brings an end to a very enjoyable five weeks in Greece.


We were up at 6:30 am to finish last minute packing; had a quick breakfast at 7:35 am and were in the car and off at 8:20 am for the scheduled one hour 15 minute drive to the car rental return near Athens airport.  With traffic being backed up at the exit to the highway to the airport it took a bit longer but in the end we had lots of time.  We found the car rental office and were driven to the airport where our 10 1/2 hour flight left pretty much on time.  We had four plus hours in Toronto to connect to our flight to Halifax, which was a half hour late arriving.  By the time we arrived home it was after 1:00 am - a very long and tiring day with a seven hour time zone change from Athens to Toronto, but everything went per plan (and our luggage made it!) so no complaints.

 


October 02, 2022 - Negroponte, Eretrea, Evia with a trip to Kalamos beach


A bit about the Negroponte name.  When the nearby town of Chalkis was under Venetian / Italian administration a bridge was built to connect the island of Evia with the mainland.  The bridge was primarily built of wood but with some iron added for strength.  As a result it looked black.  Therefore the bridge was called 

  • Negro (black in Spanish) reflecting the Spanish influence of the Catalans who had conquered this region of Greece, and
  • Ponte being 'bridge' in Italian.

It was initially our plan to spend a relaxing day entirely at the resort - first a leisurely breakfast, then a few swims, packing and dinner.  However a check of Evia beaches highlighted one an hour away on the east side of the island and in the end we decided to take a drive.


The plan was to do a loop, first along the southwest coast road and around to Neochori and then out to Kalamos beach with the return trip through the mountains.  The first part went well; then second not so much.  More on that later.



The drive is more or less an hour if direct; an hour and a half with the first stop being an ancient theatre, followed by a number of other photo opportunities.  Given there are so many archaeological sites in Greece we were feeling a tad guilty for not having stopped at even one during the trip.  So we corrected that when we saw an ancient theatre in Eretria only a couple of hundred metres off the main road.  We went in and quickly took a look, precluded from walking through the site by a fence.


It was a very scenic drive along the coast, past a number of other reasonably nice looking beaches before reaching Neochori where we took a road for 8 kms to Kalamos beach. 


The beach - actually there are three beaches, let's call then #1, #2 and #3 - are spectacular.  We took a narrow road on the other side of the village from which we could see beach #3 below, but not access it - perhaps with a long hike down but otherwise not.  But as can be seen from the photos beach #3 is something else.  Beaches #1 and #2 are separated by a rock outcropping.  Both are sweeping and expansive, of small pebbles rather than sand.  After finding parking we walked through the village, up a small hill and then down to beach #2.  Not at all crowded, although there were a few tents with what appeared to be some more 'permanent' visitors, we were soon in the crystal clear, warm water for our last swim of the trip.


Unknown to Gayle I had a little surprise in store.  We had purchased a small juicer in Amorgos that I had brought along, as well as some oranges purchased in Lafkos, Pelion and a couple from breakfast.  While Gayle was still in the water I set up and began squeezing the oranges in order to provide a final 'freshly squeezed orange juice' experience  - on the beach adjacent to the sea.  Of course I got a number of strange looks from other beachgoers but so be it.  The important things are that I got a smile and laugh from Gayle, and a couple of glasses of tasty orange juice!


As one can see from the map there is, in theory, an inland route over the mountains - an extra half an hour but a different route - again in theory.  I had hopes of finding a mountain taverna and another feed of grilled lamb chops.  No problem on the main road from Neochori to Avlonari from where we found the road to Agia Georgios and a sign to Kremastos. What the map does not tell one is that just after Agia Georgios the pavement ends and the road is a very rough dirt track.  Sure we may be on the wrong road but Agia Georgios is pretty small - it is hard to go wrong, or so I thought.  In the end we decided to cut our losses, drive back and return the way we came.  An hour of our lives that was less than productive, albeit we did get to see a flock of sheep in Agia Georgios.


We had passed a number of sea-side tavernas on the drive out so decided to have our last meal at one.  The Negroponte food was good but the setting 'hotelish' so we searched out something more typically Greek for our last meal.  There were a number of options in Amarynthos with us ending up at Gorgona di Stephano at a table next to the water.  Gayle had her standard meal - a Greek Salad and fries while I knew what I was going to have from the moment I looked at the menu - grilled octopus.  It was very tasty, and a great way to finish off the culinary aspect of the trip.


It was a short 12 km back to Negroponte where we finished packing and prepared for our trip to the airport tomorrow morning.

  


Enjoying breakfast.  Note the orange - you'll see it again later.



The grounds of Negroponte Resort as seen from the breakfast / dinner terrace.






The waters of this area of Greece can change considerably during the day - from rough with white caps in the morning to peaceful, calm and sparkling later in the afternoon.



Years ago we would have visited a number of archeological sites (Greece has a few) but not so much now.  However we did take a few minutes to check out this ancient theatre in Eretrea.



Who you lookin' at?                         


The aquamarine water near Kalamos beach and coastline - very impressive.



The gorgeous rock formations and water colours.



Beach #3.



On the left the view of the first two beaches from the small road on the other side of the village ascending the mountain. 


Below, the road leading to the village and beaches.



Kalamos beach.                                                                      The beach is not sand but actually fine pebbles.



Hard at work squeezing oranges for fresh juice on the beach.



Of course the oranges were packed-out.                                The 'fruits' of my labour.


Extreme happiness enjoying that last time in the water (until next year).



In Agia Giorgios we encountered these sheep in the middle of the village. 



Since we had just stayed at Six Keys it seemed appropriate to get this photo of Six Sheep. 



Having abandoned our mountain route back to Negroponte we stopped for dinner in Amarythos, finding a restaurant Gorgona Di Stefano with tables on the waterfront.  Gayle finished the trip as she started - with a Greek Salad, and of course Greek potatoes.  We were offered a 'spoon' dessert - yoghurt with jams.


Being a fish restaurant (on the sea) lamb was out but no worries - grilled octopus was available.  

Not really sure why the waiter cut the octopus tentacle for me but who was I to question the service.


And what better way to end the day (and effectively the trip) then with another colourful sunset.




October 01, 2022 - Six Keys, Afissos, Pelion to Negroponte, Eretrea, Evia


With check-out at 11:00 am we didn't have time for a swim before leaving Six Keys.  We did enjoy a final breakfast and chats with Olga, Angelika and the owner.  While Six Keys was not perfect - the bathroom was a bit cramped; the walls were somewhat thin; the choice of music; and the ridiculous charge for water - there were many things to love.  The views of the sea (and sunsets); the huge terrace; the large suite with cathedral wood ceilings; the dedicated sunbeds; the sandy beach mere feet from one's terrace; the excellent food; the setting for breakfast / dinner; and the friendly / helpful staff all made for a great experience.  While the most expensive (at 230 euros per night) of all the lodgings on the trip one can easily understand the rate given the location right on the water, and the 'classy' ambiance of the place.  We certainly would return.


Needing to be within an hour and a half or so from the airport in order to avoid getting up at some ridiculous hour we decided to return to the island of Evia where we stayed at the Negroponte Resort in Eretrea, south of Chalkida  (aka Chalcis).


It was a lengthy drive of over 300 km and four hours to get from Six Keys to Negroponte.  After a short drive north to Volos it was then west to the E75.  From there it is a drive south (most at 120 kph) and then across the bridge to Evia / Chalkida.  Finally it was 15 km south to Eretrea and the Negroponte Resort.


Some may be surprised at our choice of Negroponte.  With its 100 rooms and suites Negroponte Resort is certainly not a 'small quaint boutique hotel'.  It definitely has a 'resortish' feel. But the hotel perfectly met our needs.  Easy to find, easy parking, a respectably large room with a nice balcony overlooking a huge pool and the sea and a sandy beach, a nice bathroom, a decent restaurant and helpful staff.


After arriving we enjoyed a swim in the sea - not the most scenic beach of our trip but it is sandy and the water was warm.  That was followed by another swim in the salt-water pool.  Most guests, who appeared to be here either for the weekend with their children or a conference, had the buffet dinner but there is also an a-la-carte option which we did.  Although we were not expecting much Gayle had a very good Greek pizza and my Mediterranean chicken, with tomato, olives and feta was decent.

During dinner we ended up chatting with a nice newly married couple, Mitch and Betsy, from Ann Arbour, Michigan but currently living in Poland.  We chatted about our respective travels.  Even here at a not so quaint resort we ended up meeting and chatting with another couple - one of the aspects of travel we so much enjoy.


A short video of our breakfast at Six Keys, overlooking the Pagasetic Gulf.


Welcome to Six Keys - yes we realize there are eight in the photo to the right - not sure why.


Six Keys staff - Lena, the housekeeper; Irina, the chef; Angelika, our greeter, breakfast server and all round helper; and Olga, the on-site manager.


The Negroponte pool as seen from our room.                       Betsy and Mitch.


Gayle had a Greek pizza (actually very good - much better than expected) while I the Mediterranean chicken, with tomato, olives and feta.



September 30, 2022 - Six Keys, Afissos with a short drive to Lefokastro


We learned from yesterday, ordering considerably less for breakfast yet still went away very full.  The setting, as for dinner, is pretty much as good as it gets - looking out to the sea.


Six Keys is open to the public for both meals and rentals of sunbeds.  However the seven rooms do have their own dedicated sunbeds / umbrellas.  Our dedicated sunbeds were literally only feet away from our terrace.

While it is only 4 kms from Six Keys to Lefokastro along the coast road we were warned of a steep section of poor road with a very sharp hairpin turn at the top.  We were advised, even though considerably longer (17 kms) to take the upper route to Lefokastro and then the coast 'road' back in order to drive down, rather than up, the steep section.  The drive into Lefokastro was very scenic, through olive groves to the blue sea.  The village itself is small and quaint.  We then headed north, through more olive groves until we happened upon Razi beach.  Just prior to this larger, more used beach was a small cove.  We parked on the roadside and jumped in the warm welcoming sea.  Our time in the water is generally not long (20 minutes or so except for when I nap after my swim in which case Gayle can be in for over an hour) but very refreshing and enjoyable.  And when we did reach the steep section of the road we appreciated the advice.  I would not want to meet a vehicle descending as I was trying to ascend.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Six Keys doing what we do best - pretty much nothing!

With the food (and wine) being so enjoyable the other night, and the setting so perfect, we again ate at Six Keys.  We had another wonderful meal, accompanied by a bottle of the same white wine - Armyra.  Alexandros was our waiter doing a great job.  Before we ordered we were provided with an amuse-bouche, tonight a small cup of chestnut and mushroom soup.  The few times we have had chestnut we have not been impressed but this was superb.  Then the bread (actually rolls) which included a very nice olive tapenade.  

There is actually not much on the menu for vegetarians (no doubt if we asked there would have been something beyond the mushroom risotto) but Gayle not being hungry was happy to have what we expected from the other night would be a large salad.  As it turned out she was very pleased with her Aromatic green salad, with seasonal fruit, avocado, sugar-coated walnuts and a yoghurt tahini vinaigrette.  I was only going to have the fish soup but was intrigued with the appetizer of the day, an eggplant tarte with braised lamb and sour cheese.  It was a good decision to order the tarte as I very much enjoyed it while being disappointed with the fish soup, or Kakavia - a Greek fish soup named after the kakavi, or tripod cooking pot used by ancient Ionian fishermen.  Although silky smooth it didn't really have much of a fish flavour and only a few small pieces of fish.  The only letdown of the meal.  

There was no stopping having dessert, a Mousse chocolate trilogy with mocha ice cream and hazelnut crumble.  It was as good as it sounds, perhaps even better.

Sure the meal was 95 euros ($130 Cdn) but well worth it for both the quality of the food, the friendly service and the memorable setting.


The sign at the entrance to Six Keys.                                      Sunbeds set up along the beach.


Beach Rules.                                                                           Another Six Keys breakfast overlooking the sea.


Making full use of our sunbeds.


More bee boxes - a lot more.


The (very) small village of Lefokastro.


As we left Lefokastro we encountered this olive grove with many very interesting trees.


Just a few meters south of Paralia Razi (beach) was this little cove where we enjoyed a swim by ourselves.



      Sunset followed by the moon.


Chestnut and mushroom soup.                                               Olive tapenade to accompany the rolls.


A huge Aromatic green salad with seasonal fruit, avocado, sugar-coated walnuts and yoghurt tahini vinaigrette.


Eggplant tarte with braised lamb and sour cheese.                    'Kakavia' fish soup with safran aioli.


Mousse chocolate trilogy with mocha ice cream and hazelnut crumble.                      Alexandros, our server.



September 29, 2022 - Six Keys, Afissos with a drive to Agia Kiriaki (also Kyriaki)


Breakfast is not a buffet at Six Keys (it may have been pre Covid) but rather one chooses from a wide selection, including a fruit tray, cheese, rusks with olives and cheese, meats, eggs (fried or omelet), cereal, pies (spinach or cheese), cake, yoghurt, accompanied by honey, jams, fresh orange juice and coffee.  We made the mistake of ordering most everything the first morning - way too much, but like dinner last night, of excellent quality.  

After breakfast we enjoyed a swim in the Pagasetic Gulf right outside our room, like < 10 feet.  Beautiful water.
 
Normally when staying three nights we mostly hang around our place the first day but today decided to drive to the end of the Pelion, or as Olga says 'the end of the world'.  The ultimate destination was the fishing village of Agia Kiriaki.  

It is a lengthy drive of over an hour, but actually closer to two with stops - both photos and a swim.  By not leaving until nearly 2:00 pm we guaranteed a late return.

For the most part the drive back re-traces the route of the drive down, other than for a 'detour' into the mountains and the village of Kafkos, east of Milina.  After a stop in Kafkos, we continued on to Neochori in order to have dinner in a taverna we saw on our drive yesterday to Six Keys.

Our first (other than photos) stop was at Vathia Spilice, a beach just before we reached Milina.  We spotted a nice looking cove from the road, found a convenient parking spot and then walked a short way through an olive grove to the beach.  The colour of the water was beautiful and beach mostly sand, i.e. no need for the water shoes.  There were only two other couples on the beach, and a family having a 'French picnic' in the olive grove.  A great stop.

The remainder of the drive was very nice, reminiscent of the coast of Croatia.  The perfect day, with a cloudless blue sky, did not hurt.  Getting late, rather than taking the road through Kottes and Trikeri we took the new 'short cut' directly to Agia Kiriaki.  Agia Kiriaki (also Kyriaki) is the southernmost village of the Pelion peninsula.  It is actually a small fishing village.  Along the port there are some fishing taverns to enjoy the view to the Aegean Sea.  Many boats and yachts moor here (and elsewhere in the south of the Pelion) where there are many coves in which to swim.

As we approached Agia Kiriaki we noticed a number of film trailers, and then cables as we walked into the village.  Film staff were scurrying about - not actually filming as far as we could see, but prepping.  A little research had us realize the set-up was for the filming of Haunted Heart, a 'romantic thriller' starring Matt Dillon.  The film is being shot in Kottes, Trikeri and Agia Kiriaki.  Of course, a must see for us when released.

We enjoyed a drink in a taverna on the waterfront before leaving.  Agia Kiriaki is indeed a quaint fishing village well worth the visit.

We returned to Milina from where we turned to Lafkos, a mountain village with a large attractive village square where (primarily) men gathered to pass away the evening chatting we assume about just anything and everything (no doubt including the strange tourists taking photos).  A lovely large square with what appeared to be all locals, except us.  Another worthwhile stop.

Wanting one more fill of lamb chops we went to a taverna in Neochari - Paradeisos, right on the main road with easy parking.  Gayle had - yes you guessed it - a Greek Salad and Greek fries while I stayed on script and had the grilled lamb chops, also with fries.  We both left very happy.

Fortunately, we knew the road so the drive back to Six Keys in the dark was no problem, bringing to an end a long but enjoyable day.

                                                                            
                                                             Breakfast included, among other items:

A fruit plate.                               Cake.                                       Pies.                                        Meat selection.


With the rusk, cheese and fruit served on a layered tray. 





Enjoying breakfast overlooking the Six Keys beach.


Six Keys beach, looking south (on the left) and north (on the right).


Vathia Spilice beach near the town of Milina.


It was a short walk from the road through an olive grove to the beach.









The coast of south Pelion reminded us of Croatia.


Just one of many beaches long our drive.


... and yet more beautiful coastline.


Wouldn't this be quite a place to wake up every morning?


The 'end of the earth' fishing village Agia Kiriaki.


Lots of fishing boats in a fishing village.



Although parking was not available in the village we walked in to where a few tavernas had tables set up on the docks where we enjoyed a drink.


Beautiful stone buildings with traditional Greek blue doors.                                       Adorned by garlic.


Not that the village needed them these flowers do add to the beauty of Agia Kiriaki.


It appears this flag may have been created  / painted on a rock for the movie being filmed in Agia Kiriaki.


Olga suggested we stop in Lafkos to see the town square.       Just off the square was this mini-market.


Some children have a natural affinity to animals - this young was one, being very friendly with a number of cats and this dog.


Lafkos is known for the locals who gather to pass the night away.



The sunsets never fail to impress.


We ate in the mountain village of Neochori  where this calico cat slept nearby as we had dinner.


That included for Gayle, surprise a Greek salad.                    While I enjoyed my last meal of lamb chops.



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.