Another Psara Beach Day and Climbing Mavri Rachi

I must admit, if I don’t do something productive every day whilst travelling I feel as though I’ve some how cheated. It just isn’t in me to lie on a beach all day – however tempting that may sound.

After my daily visit to the bakery, I decide to continue walking around the coastline in an anticlockwise direction that will take me east of the island. Just in case things don’t work out I’ve put on my swimming things because you never know when you might need to take a dip.

I had in my mind that I wanted to see some bee hives. Psara is famous for its thyme honey which is supposed to be superior to regular old honey. I set off out of the village along the coastal road, past Katsouni Beach, past Agia Kyriaki Beach and past Megali Ammos Beach until I come to a fork in the road. If you take the left fork it will take you up a hill to the island’s only petrol station and just in the distance I can see two large wind turbines. Walk further than that and you’ll end up on the western side of the island. I decide to take the right hand fork. If all else fails and I don’t see any beehives I’ll see if I can reach one of the other beaches. Lazareta and Limnos Beaches are in this direction and are supposed to be nice and sheltered.

I think that I spoke too soon. It is still hot today without the slightest bit of breeze. The road isn’t particularly inspiring and I don’t seem to be getting anywhere interesting anytime soon. I know that there are beehives in this direction because the only vehicle that passes me during the 45 minutes or so that I was walking, had bee hives piled high in the back of the truck.

I make a judgement call and decide to turn back. By this point I’m so hot I fall onto Agia Kyriaki Beach and stay there for the rest of the afternoon. Sometimes you just have to relent. At least I was able to do a bit more work on my ‘art installation’. I’ve been combing the beach for heart shaped pebbles to arrange on a rock at the back of the beaach. I’ve done this before – the last one I think was on the island of Arki – another tiny island with small population and a fantastic beach. I like to think that anyone else passing by this beach would see it and maybe add to it. A way to connect with people that have been there before and long moved on. In reality I suspect that the pebbles will be blown by the wind, to be returned to the beach and eventually the sea from whence they came. And that’s how it should be. Temporary. Fleeting. Like us all.

Anyway, I feel as though I’ve done something a little productive today. I also take a video of the beach trying to show the natural rock formations that I was trying to describe in my last post. This beach is perfection. Unlike my videography skills!

I need to do something else today and decide that this evening I will climb Mavri Rachi.

I time it so that I will be at the summit for sunset and still be back down before it’s pitch black. As I walk out of the village along the front I can hear music and singing. It seems that there is some kind of celebration taking place in one of the taverna’s. There are several families with children eating and drinking together. All of the tables have been put together so that they can be together. It’s at times like this when it really brings home to me how much I miss my family when I’m away. I know that we’re connected by video calls etc but there is nothing like sharing your experiences with people that you care for.

My favourite people to speak to when I’m away are my two youngest granddaughters, 6 and 7 year old cousins. No matter what scene I show them whether it be the beach or a view from a balcony I can guarantee that they will always say “Wooooah!” Show the same to other family members and it’s “What evs!” I love that they are still full of wonderment at anything and everything. At what age does this stop? When does that natural curiosity become disinterest? We must always be curious. You can’t be a real traveller without it.

Anyway, seeing the families together brought a little pang to my heart. I’ll have to get climbing that hill as a distraction.

The sky is already beginning to be tinged with pink. I think that tonight there is going to be a good sunset.

The path up is good. It’s newly or recently built and the staggered steps snake up in a gradual incline. Nonetheless it’s still a bit of a challenge for an unfit sexagenarian like myself. There becomes a point at around half way up that everything becomes silent. The laughter from the taverna’s begins to fade and the only sound is the high pitched squawk from the seabirds that nest on the cliff face. They always seem to be at their noisiest at dusk.

After a few stops to take in the view (or rather catch my breath) I make it to the top. I know that we’re not talking Mount Kilimanjaro here but I still feel a great sense of accomplishment.

My vertigo is on high alert but I’ve made it and my word, it was worth it. My eyes are drawn firstly to the monument sitting out on the cliff edge. It was erected in 1956 to commemorate the Psara holocaust that took place in 1824. It is moving to see and to stand on the spot where so many braves souls threw themselves from the rock rather than surrender to the Ottomans. I need to take time to take it all in.

As if on cue, the sky begins to take on all the hues of the rainbow, its final performance before the curtain of night comes down. And I thought the view from the terrace from Agios Nikolaos the night before was good!

The sky reaches that point when I know it will suddenly turn dark quite quickly so begin my descent back down. Like a volume button on a radio, the voices from the taverna fade back in. Now there are fireworks. Crackers are let off on the harbour front. I think that I can smell the burning sulphur drift up on the wind. However, I think that may be me about to spontaneously combust. That’s enough exertion for one day. Time to eat.

The Glory of Psara is bathed in an orange glow making her marble skin look iridescent. The sunset is at peak brilliance right now and is reflected in the water in the marina.

There is nothing more rewarding than having a meal after a good bit of exercise. Tonight I am going to eat at Resalto. Aldebaran is busy with the party and I aim to rotate my way around the taverna’s anyway. Resalto is also best placed to watch the Psara Glory come home which she does right on cue. Again there is a small group of people waiting to pick up various packages from the ship. Once all the goods are offloaded her lights go out and she rests in port overnight.

Greek salad, grilled chicken and white wine. It’s not that I’m such a creature of habit, but that the menu is very limited now the season is almost at its end. It’s good basic food so I have no complaints. The entertainment is the same too. Same cats – same old story!

I know that this is only Day 3 but I’m getting the sense that I’m not getting the sense of Psara. If that makes sense.

Psara is beginning to feel like a bit of a tough nut to crack. When I visit a new place I like to come away knowing that I’ve got a little bit of a sense of the place. Not necessarily that I’ve learnt everything about it but have been able to feel what it’s about. It’s hard to describe. I think it’s about being able to connect in some way. Maybe that’s what it is. Most host Diana – as wonderfully helpful and kind as she is, she doesn’t speak much (if any) English and my Greek is pretty lame. In most instances this isn’t a problem but here, it’s not giving me the opportunity to engage and to satisfy my never ending curiosity. The other frustration is feeling as though I’m confined to the village. If I want to go anywhere I need to go on foot and if the weather continues as it has – I won’t be able to bear the heat.

I know that there isn’t any car hire here and definitely no public transport. Not even a taxi. However, there must be a way.

I get on the email to Diana using Google Translate. I know it’s a bit of a long shot but I ask her if there are any guided tours that I could take part in. I also ask her where I can buy the island honey. I also ask her if I can come and pay her for my room and buy my ferry ticket for Tuesday. Every time I ask about the room she just say “No problem!” and shoos me away. I hadn’t decided on how long I was going to stay on Psara for – anything from 4 – 6 nights.

She responds right away and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. It looks I can visit both the Monastery and the Archaeological Park. This also means being able to see a bit more of the landscape which I really want to do. However, I’m not sure how a child is going to take me. 🙂 Anyway, that’s decided then. 6 nights it is!

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