The final destination of our trip will be Pserimos. To get there from Lipsi will require an overnight stay on Kalymnos – Pothia the port town in fact. The first time that I visited Kalymnos (over 20 years ago) was a short stay in Pothia whilst waiting for a boat to Astypalea. The weather had been bad and the boats were cancelled so we were in Pothia longer than planned. My recollection of Pothia was the noisy backstreets and the relentless traffic and it didn’t create a very positive impression of the island on me. I had read that Kalymnos was beautiful but this beauty was not obviously apparent.
We eventually headed off to Astypalea on one of the worst boat journey’s that I’d ever experienced. The sea was rough and many people were being sick (my biggest phobia). It was so bad that we flew back from Astypaleas tiny little airport rather than endure the trauma of a rough boat journey again. Back on Kalymnos, we found ourselves staying somewhere near Chora. This was back in the day when you are met at the port by various accommodation sellers holding photographs of their rooms up. Often you had no idea where you would end up. The place we did end up was really nice with a lovely host. It was also on the main bus route from the port over to other parts of the island. One day we decided to explore and jump on the bus to Myrties. After weaving its way through the villages along the way, the bus began its ascent up over the island. Just as the bus began to drop down to the other side, we were greeted with the view over to Telendos and it was at that moment that I realised that this was the beautiful Kalymnos that had been written about.
We only have one afternoon and evening on Kalymnos on this trip so plan to stay in Pothia. Although I’ve been back to Kalymnos several times since, I’ve never given Pothia a chance – always heading over to Myrties. Maybe this time it can redeem itself. Maybe I’ll see something that I’d missed the first time around.
I’d chosen a place to stay from b.com trying to get somewhere as close to the port as possible. However, I had an inkling that because it was called Panorama (usually a clue), it wasn’t going to be on the flat. Reviews had said it was walkable but because of the heat today I’m dubious it will be easy.
We hoik our cases along the front, using Google Maps to get our bearings. The hotel is definitely up above us but we just need to find a way in via the maze of narrow streets. As we look at our phones trying to work out which alleyway to take, a lady exits through the doorway of her shop to ask if she can help. “Ah the Panorama. You will need a taxi. Let me call you one”. That’s perfect. Whilst we wait she tells me that her name is Sevi. I notice that above her shop are some apartments and ask about them. She hands me her card – definitely a place to consider next time.
After five minutes or so our taxi arrives. A large gregarious Australian Greek chap loads our cases into his boot and we head off through the back streets up to the hotel. In the short time that we were in his car we more or less got his life story interspersed with bursts of song from Queen’s, ‘I Want to Break Free’, a reference to his recent divorce! What a character.
We are dropped off on the road above the Panorama Hotel. After several steps down we arrive at the reception desk where we are greeted by Themelina. Whilst she checks us in she tells us that she doesn’t usually work at the hotel. She is covering for her father who was taken to hospital the day before with low blood pressure due to the heat. At the moment it is showing no signs of relenting. Her father is back home now but resting.
Through the other side of the reception room, we take more steps down to our room. The hotel does live up to its name and is like a balcony set onto the cliff face. It is basic accommodation and perfect for an overnight stay at 40€ per night.
There is no point for us to unpack as we will be leaving on the 9am boat in the morning. Firstly I have a task to carry out before we fully relax. The agent that we work with in the Dodecanese had asked me to check out an accommodation called Grandma’s House. The owner is also the president of the Hotel Association of Kalymnos so a good contact to make. He had been informed of my proposed arrival date so all should be in hand. After showering and putting on a dress and routing out a notepad and pen, we prepare to find the hotel. There is no sign of it on Google Maps so we reach out to Themelina to help us. Themelina is able to find a phone number for the hotel so gives them a call. After a conversation, Themelina tells us that she spoke to the owner and he is about to leave Kalymnos for Athens. However, if we head to the port right away and find this place, he will be waiting for us and she hands us a piece of paper with a lady’s name and place written on it.
We head down the hill right away. Within five minutes we are back on the flat and making our way to the place Themelina had described to us. She had told us that once we get to the sponge seller, hand the piece of paper to anyone and they will tell us where to go. We did exactly that and were sent to a small cinema just behind the main street. It was completely deserted and no signs of life at all. The little cinema itself looked semi-derelict. There must be a mistake. We hand the piece of paper to the sponge seller who points us back to the street that we’d just left. After ten more minutes of scratching our heads, we have to give up. By now our contact would have left for Athens. These things happen.
I’m now stuck in an impractical dress with a notepad and pen and no bag to stuff them into. A trek back up to the hotel to dump them and change is out of the question. We sit in the heat amongst the traffic fumes whilst deciding what to do. We do attempt to have a look around the harbour front but even the Egyptian is getting overwhelmed by the heat!
I decide that we just need to get over to a beach and fortuitously, there is a bus waiting to go to Myrties and the villages beyond. We jump on board and we head off over the hill to Myrties with me pointing out certain landmarks such as the Kastro as we pass. I relive the experience with Peter as the view over to Telendos comes into view. I get carried away and we miss the stop for Myrties and end up in Massouri. We will just have to walk back. Along the way, we stop off in a juice bar for some freshly squeezed concoctions. I tell the man behind the counter that he has just saved my life. I don’t know whether it’s because we are away from the beach but the heat feels really intense today.
We continue our walk to Myrties and jump on board the first water taxi available to the little island of Telendos, a place where I have many fond memories from over the years. Once we arrive at the small dock, we walk past the small cluster of tavernas to the beach. There is a gentle breeze coming across the channel between the islands and so this is the perfect place to relax and cool down.
I don’t want to spend the evening in Pothia so we have dinner at To Kapsouli on the harbourfront – a real favourite of mine.
The sun is about to set. The sun sets behind Telendos so you get a perfect view from Myrties back on Kalymnos. Alternatively, if you are Telendos you need to walk to Hohlakas Beach on the other side of the island. This is only a ten minute walk from the port and main harbour front and the walk through the Bourgainvillea clad streets is lovely. Here we stay until the sun has disappeared from sight and the sky turns from an orange glow to pale grey. It is time to head back over to Kalymnos.
Before calling for a taxi, we decide to go to Hotel Nefeli for a cup of tea. They have a beautiful garden so carefully tended to by owners brothers Apostilis and Stratos. As we walk to a table in the garden one of the sons comes to take our order. He asks me if I stayed here before because he knows my face. I reply in the affirmative – I stayed here in 2019. I ask about the family. They are all well but the sons mainly run the hotel and bar now.
Our hosts kindly call a taxi for us and we arrive back at the Panorama ready for a good night’s sleep. Thankfully the air conditioning unit is powerful. Tomorrow we will be up early to catch the boat to Pserimos.
Phew! Probably one of the quickest posts I’ve cobbled together!