I’m packed and ready to leave Pyrgi. In body that is. The soul is another matter. Visiting Chios, the fifth largest island in Greece has been a bit like an island hopping trip – in fact it has been a village hopping trip but instead of the ferries I’ve been using the buses, the odd taxi and today, by car thanks to my kind host Mr Costa.
I will do one last wander around the alleyways and I want to go to Manos’s shop to buy a small souvenir for my ‘shrine to Greece’ that takes pride of place above my desk at home. Before I leave my room, Mr Costa shouts “Bonjour” from the top floor of the house where he lives. I call “Bonjour” back up the stairwell. A minute later I hear him coming down the stairs until his head pops up in front of the window in the door. We agree that we will leave at “Mesimeri” and I thank him again for his kindness. He throws his hands up as if to tell me to stop thanking him and then laughs with cheeky glint in his eye.
Before I get carried away in the alleyways I go to Manos’s shop. I double check with him that his brother will have the mastic oil when I go back to Chios town today. He phones him there and then and tells me that yes he has and he will put it aside for me. He also writes an agreed discounted price on a business card for me to give to him. I want to buy one of the ceramic plaques that represent the Pyrgi houses. I choose one that that will go perfectly with my other Greek niknaks. BTW I’m not a niknak person and really prefer a minimal, streamlined space but my shrine to Greek travel is the exception. Manos tells me to select any of the mastic soaps that he has on display as a gift from him which is very kind. We stay in conversation for about ten minutes. Manos is a handsome young man with an inquisitive demeanour and we have a great chat about Pyrgi, the characteristics of the people and generally putting the world to rights. He tells me that I will know his brother Vassilis when I see him because they look like twins. Before I leave he tells me to keep my good positive energy. A gift and a compliment too!
Right, off for my final stroll around the village – alleyways and the village exterior. It’s hard to tear myself away. I swear that as you pass some of the doorways you will get a waft of masticha in the air!
At ‘Mesimeri’ I do leave. This beautiful house has been an absolute delight and of course my host Mr Costa has been outstanding! His hosting has been exceptional and more than anything so full of fun. The language barrier and how we’ve communicated has all been part of that. I’ll never forget the morning when, after have a “bonjour” called down the stairwell, I went up to collect my washing from the clothes rack on the roof terrace. Before I climbed the wooden steps to get up to the next level Mr Costa’s gesticulation went into a frenzy. I had no idea what he was trying to tell me – all I could make out was the word computer. It took a while for me to decipher but apparently he has an automatic timer set to water his plants every morning. He’d forgotten to turn it off and my clothes shall we say got a second rinsing! He was horrified but I thought it was hilarious!
As we walk to the car with my luggage I’m surprised to see Fidelina, Mr Costa’s parrot in the back of the car. He tells me – or rather I get the gist of what he’s saying and he will be going to Athens to be with Toula and his family so Fidelina is going to the shop to be looked after. Mr Costa goes back to the house to get something that he’s forgotten and I chat to Fidelina. It is only now that I realise her talent. During my stay at the Pounti, I’d heard the telephone going several times. It turns out that it wasn’t the telephone but Fidelina. Not only does she mimic the sound of the phone at the Pounti but she answers it with an “Ela!”
This is the perfect ending to my stay here and just about sums up the quirkiness of my host and his beautiful house!
Mr Costa drops me off at my hotel. I want to thank him properly so I use trusty old Google Translate to thank him for his wonderful hospitality and a fantastic stay in his beautiful home. He’s a humble man and thanks me also and hopes I will visit again. I hope so too.
Now back in Chios Town I’m staying at the Costa Point Hotel at the other side of the port where hopefully it will be a bit more quiet. I’m greeted by another Mr Costa who carries my luggage up the flight of stairs to the reception desk. He tells me that he has upgraded me to the duplex apartment which overlooks the marina. He carries my luggage up another flight of stairs to the room. The room is very nice and I like it very much. It is very modern and/or newly refurbished. The bathroom has no ‘ick’ factor whatsoever and the view over the marina is perfect. The bed is up on a mezzanine level up a set of precarious stairs (my third set of scary stairs this trip!) but it is absolutely fine if you take it “Siga siga!” The mattress is about 30cm deep and I know this is just going to be the best night’s sleep ever!
I have booked the room for 3 nights. I have no plans as of yet beyond this but whilst I’m here in the town I want to take advantage of the easy access to the bus service and see a few more villages. From there I will decide what to do next. My first mission today though is to go and see Vasilis, the brother of Manos and buy my masticha oil. I know where his shop is (heavens knows I must have walked by it a dozen times already) and head along the harbour.
Crikey, he does look like Manos. Although they are 4 years apart they could be twins! I purchase my mastic oil and am also given a complimentary bar of masticha soap. Vasilis also gives me a shot of masticha – the good stuff – the alcoholic stuff. Again we have a good chat in the shop before I head to the citadel for another wander. I love this place never get tired of it.
Later on that evening I decide to try a new restaurant and choose Kentriko on the harbour front. I have stuffed courgette flowers, tomato balls with tzatziki and meatballs in a tomato sauce. With wine of course. Tonight the full moon begins to wane. I hadn’t been able to see it at its peak from Pyrgi as you are surrounded by medieval towers but tonight I can catch a glimpse of it. The Psara Glory sails out beyond the harbour wall back to Psara for the night. Sorry for the blurry photo’s – taken from across the road whilst eating and drinking – and the ship just wouldn’t stay still!
Later that evening from my hotel room I see the magnificent Nissos Samos arrive into port again. It’s amazing how such a colossal ship can spin on its axis so accurately so that it can dock tail end in first. This is just the perfect place to be located for a ship nerd like me!