I was quite enchanted by Chora last night so we decide to get an early bus up to explore further this morning. Obvs the GA’s (Grandadults as opposed to Grandchildren) are still asleep. Thinking back to the beginning of the trip we were so diligent in making sure that the GA’s were up, fed and watered and within arms reach and/or eyesight. At nearly halfway through out trip I feel that I can begin to release the reigns a little bit more. This comes in the form of chucking a 20€ note through their apartment door and telling them to get themselves some breakfast from the bakery!
Our mission this morning is to climb to the churches that sit on the hillside above Chora. The bus takes us from the port and drops us on to the street opposite the central square of Ios. Sitting in the shadow of the cathedral on the main road is a fabulous bakery patisserie called Bake House Ios. I’m pretty sure that there’s a bougatsa in there with my name on! Check out their Facebook page here:
I can’t help feeling a pang of guilt, thinking that I should be making sure the GA’s are also having a decent breakfast. However, I also think ‘If you snooze you lose!’ I don’t want to dictate how the GA’s spend their day. If they want to stay up late and get up late then that’s their choice – within reason.
After a little but of sustenance we head into Chora. Initially we bear right which brings us to the windmills and of course the Mills taverna where we had eaten last night.
We can see the row of little churches on the hillside so we then follow the streets over to the left, taking any alleyway that is heading in an upward direction. There are absolutely no signs of the partying that had taken place the night before. The streets are almost silent apart from a few ‘non-partyers’ like ourselves and the every day activities of the local community.
We arrive at the entrance to the entrance of the Church of Panagia Gremniotissa via a vaulted alleyway. This large blue domed church sits below the three small white churches that sit prominently on top of the Chora acropolis. The church has a large terrace that offers views across Chora and down to the port. More importantly the terrace has two large palms that offer some much appreciated shade from the impending high noon heat. Apparently this is THE place to observe the sunset – but be out by 10.00pm!.
From the terrace there is a small gate that leads you towards some steep, whitewashed stone steps that will take you to each of the small churches – Agios Eleftherios, Agios Giorgios and Agios Nikolaos located at the very top. This was a look out point from which to spot marauding pirates. It looks a little precarious to me so I turn around and go back to seek shade under the palms. Peter carries on to the top with strict instructions to take photographs of the views.
I’m not going to lie – once I see the photographs I have a pang of regret at not making it to the top. The view from the acropolis is 360! There are panoramic views over to Gialos Beach, the port and then beyond to Koumbara Bay and even little Sikinos looks as though it is within touching distance. Inland views are of the scorched umber landscape which has been terraced to within an inch of its life. Great photo’s P!
The walk up to the churches is quite a challenge in the heat (even by proxy) but highly recommended if you have the stamina! We make the descent down through the narrow streets that are now beginning to get more busy.
Back at the square I take one more photograph. Here I’ve captured the five churches – the Cathedral or to give it it’s full title the Holy Cathedral Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin, above this the Church of Panagia Gremniotissa and sitting above this is the three little chapels.
The bus arrives and I can’t help but notice the large advert along its side advertising Far Out Beach #escapereality. If what I’m experiencing is reality I think that I’m quite happy with it and don’t feel a burning desire to escape it. It is hard to imagine that the type of partying displayed along the side of the bus really exists on this beautiful little island. I am pleased to report that it all seems very contained and doesn’t impact on those that don’t want to partake in these kinds of shenanigans! Crikey I’m really aging myself now!
I can’t help wondering if the GA’s have decided to spread their wings a bit and catch a bus to one of the party beaches.
Back at the port we have another boost of energy and decide to walk to the Church of Agia Irini. This is the church that you will immediately see as you approach the port by ferry. A short walk along the road around the back of the port in an anticlockwise direction brings you past a small marina on the right and an abandoned pool to the left. Just beyond this is the approach of the church. The cascade of churches above Chora are always in sight.
This 17th century church has a large dome and two bell towers. The courtyard has pine and eucalyptus trees which contrast against the whitewashed walls beautifully. I get the feeling that one of the trees are alive and watching us – I swear that there’s a pair of eyeballs inside the trunk!
Our tranquillity however, was soon brought to an end as our phones pinged, pinged and pinged again. Messages pop up from the GA’s in the Whatsapp family holiday group. There has been some kind of a falling out so we need to head back to base to see what’s going on. Hmm maybe this lesson is self-sufficiency wasn’t such a good idea after all!
Several hours later, heads banged metaphorically together we shower and change and decide to eat closer to base. There is a cluster of taverna’s in the square close to the port. After parading up and down the stretch a couple of times, giving them and their menu’s the once over we choose Taverna Kaiki.
This is a great traditional taverna with fresh seafood and great grills. Grilled octopus, fava, greek salad, chicken souvlaki (which has now been renamed chicken Slovakia!), kleftiko, bifteki and – spaghetti bolognese!
It seems that the GA’s didn’t get up until after lunch time and when they did, hadn’t ventured very far. And there was I thinking that they may have used the 20€ for breakfast to catch the bus to Far Out Beach! They tell me that they had spent a couple of hours on Gialos beach so hadn’t done anything adventurous. We told them about our walk around Chora and Agia Irini by the port and determine that we’ll go back up to Chora the following evening to watch the sunset from the little churches.
Quite pooped Peter and I head back to Galini and the GA’s head off for a walk to Agia Irini. An hour later this photo popped through on Whatsapp! Always good to go to sleep with a chuckle!