MILOS, POLYAIGOS, FOLEGANDROS, SIKINOS, IOS, AMORGOS
Reader beware: This blog is long because there was a lot to write about and even so I edited much out. If you like reading the stories, be ready for the book.
If you prefer photos, there are 86 in this post! Just scroll down and they tell their own story.
EAT – favorite foods in Greece so far: Mousaka, Fried eggplant (aubergine), Lamb, Greek salad, stuffed zucchini flowers, pork and chicken gyros, tzasiki, pastries, caramel icecream, peaches, and tomatoes. We haven’t been brave in the fish department which is a shame because it is so abundant. So far we prefer to catch our own.
SAIL – We’ve seen the most wind here while sailing at 42 kts, and lately it’s been so light we must motor.
LOVE – we have met more friendly people in Greece going out of their way to be helpful than anywhere so far. The graciousness and genuine hospitality and giving spirit is contagious and we wish we could bottle it up and spread it across the world. People should come here. You will love it! Their money troubles reflect bad management and a culture that doesn’t like change. Their history is so much longer and richer than ours, we can’t begin to understand how tangled the webs are. They try to explain it to us, and even they have to scratch their heads sometimes.
We just departed Amorgos, definitely one of our favorite islands as it is smaller, wild, and beautiful.
They filmed the Big Blue here and we swam off the cliffs where the movie was shot.
But starting where I left off…
As hard as it was to say goodbye to our dear friends, and I did have to hold back the tears, it is also nice to have some alone time on El Gato. Being a people pleaser means no naps, keeping folks safe while teaching them how, and seeing as much as possible because they came so far. As soon as our friends left, we did laundry as in lugging the loot to the laundromat, had a gyro lunch, and slept. And slept. And slept.
We know they are reading this and that they slept in their air-conditioned rooms in Athens with unlimited water for long hot private showers!
The memories we created with them will always be treasured, and when Eric and I forget, they will help us remember. Because each group has their own experiences and ours are all running together. I try to write it down and take photos, but sometimes it’s best to just go do it and move on. So we appreciate our friends helping in that department!
If you come to the greek Islands without you own boat, the ferries are outstanding!
Milos sunset over the town.
Day two alone, we rented a cool looking buggy, but it was noisy so we will stick to scooters.
We visited the Catacombs were where they buried locals a gazillion years ago. They had been open for centuries and looted, so they now are protected and well lit for us to see inside. This was also the site where the statue known as “Venus de Milos” was found by a farmer repairing his rock walls. How it was buried there is still a mystery. It is now in the Louve Museum.
This beach is famous for it’s white rocks and like the potato chip rock in SD, I had to surf it. Others jumped from high rocks as we see in Sunset Cliffs back home. This is higher and quite rough.
It also has caves which appear to be old mines.
Date night we flew up the hill in time for the sunset and had dinner on the back deck of a small restaurant that is rated #2 on Milos.
At the next table were Dafni and Miriam, Grecians who were eager to share their food and views with us. We invited them to El Gato for coffee and in Greek style they brought all the coffee and Greek treats for us to sample and gorge on. YUM!
We hosted a dinner party for the Argentinians anchored behind us, Luis and Teresa, and the Grecian Goddesses. In the spirit of Eat Sail Love, I decided to make Moussaka. While buying the groceries and waiting for the butcher, the #2 restaurant owner came in and helped me shop for the correct ingredients! Lucky for me the Moussaka was good! Even the Greek ladies thought so (whew) although maybe they were just being polite. Sharing the Eat Sail Love photos and stories of our BVI wedding came with dessert.
We left Milos after enjoying it for a week, and saw this as we sailed along the north side.
grrrrr – beware of the rocks!
This was a small round island on our way to Polengadros and we stopped for a swim. The treasures we found on the shores were placed in Eric’s pockets for the swim back. The cliffs were made of an array of colorful marbled stone and the beach was piled high with pebbles of all shades of pinks, grey, white and brown. I hope to make something with them.
Another bit of excitement were the colorful crabs climbing on the rocks beneath the sea. Dotted with iridescent blue, they had long dark spindly legs that made the blues pop.
We loved the small seaside village with the fishermen selling to locals right off the boats.
Kids learn the trades early.
Lots of hikers on the islands and sometimes sharing a road with a donkey and rider delivering water and such.
The ferry drivers are very efficient in how fast they load and unload. We’ve seen them pulling the ramp up while the last car was exiting!
We hiked up to the top of a hill to visit a church with a view.
Our Greek friends told us where to go in Sikinos and after anchoring we found the bus to the top for dinner at the Manalis Winery. Owner George meets and greets at the door serving tastes and his daughter runs the restaurant. It was as good as it gets. Not necessarily the wine, but the location, the food, the ambience, the decor, and the price was crazy inexpensive! We watched the sunset reflect off the water and later while waiting for the bus we watched the Pliades meteor shower with Turks and Greeks from other boats.
The vines grow right up to the tables!
Everyone said this is the island where all the youngsters go to party, and also where Homer was buried. As soon as we found a place to anchor, Eric noticed a used condom float by. The beach was crowded with umbrellas and thumping music so we ran across the road and hired a scooter before the others woke up. Once on the road, we followed a sign to ancient ruins. It was from 3000BC if you can imagine.
As we left and were still on a dirt road, we discovered the best part of the day was stopping to check out some funky artwork on someone’s yard wall. The man saw us and came outside.
At first I was afraid he was going to yell at us, then he boomed out welcomes and yelled at his woman to bring us treats! He was in his underwear, and he did not care.
It was all about showing us this special fruit from the cactus that was chilled and delicious. Cactus Pear is what it must be as they are sweet, have seeds, and super juicy. Made the mistake of trying to pick one later and wound up with some sharp warnings in my fingers.
While looking for fuel we smelled something delicious and were lucky to find an excellent restaurant. It was filled with locals and well off the beaten track.
These are zucchini flowers stuffed with rice and spices.
We followed a map to find Homers gravesite which surprisingly is out in the wild.
Instead of listening to the beat all night, we bolted outta there and found a quiet anchorage on the south side of Ios, and in the morning set off for Amorous.
August 15 is a national holiday in Greece celebrating the Virgin Mary and we happy to be on a small island for this. Amorgos is where they filmed the Big Blue so the French love this island for the movie, the Greeks love it for the Monastery and old feel aspect, and the Italians love it but I can’t remember why. You do have to love it to get here by ferry as it is the last drop in the Cyclades so 4-5 hours by fast ferry, and 8-9 by normal.
We loved it here!
Being tied up directly in front of a fish restaurant means we watched the owner kill the tuna that a famous fisherman who starred in the Big Blue brought in. We invited Constance aboard and fed him my Moussaka. He had stories to share but his English was limited and our Greek zilch. Still we are learning how to communicate without the same languages.
The chora (center of town=core) was picturesque; winding narrow streets filled with shops, food and music.
One more thought – almost every shop and restaurant in these islands bears the photos of the people who gave them life. Many generations adorn the walls and it is amazing to see the same buildings in the shots with different generations. Family is important!
The Monastery was something else! Built into the shear cliff 300 meters above the Aegean, it’s vertical rooms and steep stair cases are an amazing marvel of design and construction. A steep hike in hot sun, and then you had to be covered properly so they actually leave a pile of clothes outside for folks to borrow. No photos allowed inside.
A kitten stood watch. We’ve never seen so many cats as on these islands. Evidently no one spades them so they run wild. This one was tame since it was laying on the clothing and everyone pet it.
We lit candles for our kids and our journey.
And the view, well the view was a deep blue. Big Blue some would say.
After we hiked back down, we went to the place where the movie was filmed.
Sadly we found that our anchor had been pulled free by another boat, and we were banging against the seawall with only fenders keeping us off. Very little damage but it was a scramble to get the anchor back out there. McGiver hung it from the bow of El Raton, backed up and let her go. Funny thing is when we pulled up the anchor to reset it, there was a boat hook stuck to the chain. Now we have a spare. That was their price for jerking our chain!