The ferry journey from Heraklion to Kasos is just over 6 hours with one stop at Sitia further down the East coast of Crete. The ferry ticket on the Prevelis costs 20 euros. I had been in two minds whether to travel to Sitia by bus as an opportunity to visit there but because of my last minute change it wasn’t possible. I’m happy to view the port from the ferry!
After we left Sitia I received a message from my host asking me if I was on the ferry and if so where. I replied yes and told him that I was on the top deck (where else would I be!) A little while later my host came and introduced himself to me – he had been to Sitia on business. He asked me where I planned to stay that night and I told him – hopefully at one of his accommodations (as agreed!). He told me that he had messed up and the second property had been booked for that night – however, there was a backup plan so I needn’t worry. I told him all I needed for the one night was a bed with clean sheets and I’d be happy – the first property would be ready for me for my seven night stay from tomorrow.
Arrival into Kasos wasn’t with a bang or a fanfare. I wasn’t wowed with a beautiful port or stunning mountain range and it didn’t have the instant kerb appeal like other islands such as Symi. However, as I disembarked with a handful of other people, I instantly had a nice feeling about the place – not one I can articulate very well but I immediately liked it – and that is a special thing.
Fri, the port village is surrounded by low rolling hills from where you can see a scattering of other settlements. Over to the right I could see a small marina and clock tower. I can’t wait to go and explore. But first things first – where am I going to sleep tonight!
My host had arranged for me to stay in a house belonging to a neighbour of his in the village of Arvanitachori (which apparently means Albanian Village). She lived in the property next door and seemed very happy to have me stay. The house was traditional Kasiot style with a small enclosed terrace at the back that looked onto a small holding with chickens and sheep. The sun was just beginning to dip behind the hills casting a golden glow over the the field.
After making up the bed for me, my hosts neighbour showed me how to connect the gas in case I wanted to make coffee in a briki. She left a large bottle of water and small bottle of lemonade on the table for me.
The house itself looked as though it had been suspended in time. Looking from the front door there was a wooden banquette to the left, another one to the right adorned in a hand crocheted covering and a third sitting behind a small dining table and chairs. Behind the third banquette was a raised platform covered in lino and is where the large bed and ornate wardrobe was located.
Every alcove and cabinet had a display of ornaments or crockery sets. Pictures and a variety of nicnacs adorn almost every spare bit of space on the wall. An ornate central pillar supports the ceiling from which hung a crystal chandelier. This really is a feast for the eyes. I was interested in a particular photograph that was entitled “12th Annual Banquet and Dance, Kassian Benevolent Society in America Inc. Hotel New Yorker, May 1955”.
I just had time before it went dark to look around the village. The village has a little taverna where the locals seem to sit and meet. The church with its tall spire dominates. Just I begin to discover Avanitachori’s treasures dusk is upon me.