Kea – In Search of the Lion
George had told us that whenever a ferry is due into the port, the bus would be there to take people to the Chora. Looking at the ferry timetable and checking the schedules we could see that the Aqua Jewel was due in around 8am.
We walked to the port, stopping off at a nearby bakery for pastries which we ate whilst waiting for the arrival of the ferry.
The Aqua Jewel was on time. Only a few people disembarked and there was no sign of a bus. We hadn’t seen any signs of public transport since we arrived on the island.
It was clear by now that there wasn’t going to be a bus so we decided to bite the bullet and catch a taxi up to the Chora for 7 euros.
It was still quite early and the streets in the Chora were empty and very quiet. We took in the views across the valley, up to the mountains and down to the bay.
We decided to stop in a café for a cup of tea. We watched with amusement as a refuse collection wagon navigated a very tight squeeze under an archway with inches to spare each side. Vehicles stay on the outskirts of the Chora as the streets are so narrow.
Peter went into café to pay and asked directions to the Lion of Kea. Peter said that we need to walk straight up the main street of the Chora.
Just a little further up we came to a split in the street – one on the left going down and one on the right going up. I don’t know what on earth possessed us but we decided to take the path to the left. In hindsight we can report that although this path will get you to the Kea Lion it isn’t the most direct route. Follow the arrow for the most direct route.
After walking for a while the path became narrower and although swathed in beautiful spring flowers, there were also quite a lot of nettles and thistles. I had read that this was a simple straight forward walk of about 1.5km from the chora – not this semi perilous trek over makeshift stone steps. (OK so that’s a bit of an exaggeration!) It took us past a small holding with chickens, donkeys and a barking dog.
Peter spotted a man on a donkey on a path above us which is when we realised that we should have taken the other pathway straight up.
There are spider’s webs everywhere – strung from branches to walls to anything that a spiders web can cling to. They hang across the width of the path requiring us to ‘limbo’ underneath them.
Once back on the main path we could see the sleeping lion in the distance. We walked around and down some deeply carved stone steps to the lion which appeared to be smiling with its almost cartoon like features. My vertigo began to kick in a bit but I did manage to clamber down to the lion for a photograph or two!
We returned back to the Chora along the wide path which lead us straight to the main square.
We stay for lunch in To Kalofagadon restaurant in the town square in front of the town hall which overlooks the valley. The restaurant comes highly recommended by Matt Barrett and has great reviews on Trip Advisor and we weren’t disappointed. The waiter is very friendly and helpful and tells us what is on offer. I choose the beef cooked in tomato and herbs and Peter had the local pork dish. Delicious.
After lunch we catch a taxi back to Korissia where we have a final walk around. Close to United Europe is an old abandoned tower from the former enamel factory.
Our stay on Kea has been short but has been a great start to the holiday. It’s a shame that the public transport wasn’t running to explore the island further (or that I have the guts to drive in Greece) but this little island is a real gem.