I’ve been travelling for a month now and it has been non stop. Not that any of it is a chore – every day has been amazing and hand on heart this is the best trip that I have done yet. There gets to a point when you just need to stop and rest – especially when you’re a 64 year old grandma. God did I just say that!! This 64 year old grandma has got lots of get up and go but so far I’ve slept in 7 different places with 7 different beds – or more specifically 7 different mattresses which can really determine how much sleep you get. I’m like the Princess and the Pea. Unless I have a good mattress, sleep can be torture. So far only two mattresses have passed the test!
Anyway, being constantly on the move can take it out of you so I want a good few days where I can fully unpack, get all the laundry done and just chill. Boring stuff I know but it can’t all be rock and roll!
My first thought was to go North East and spend time in Kardamyla. I was curious about this place. I’d read that the founders of this part of Chios were originally from Kardamyli in the Peloponnese – strong, fighting men who came over to support the fight against the Ottomans. I’ve spoken to various people about this and nobody seems to have heard of this and even to the point of dismissing this idea completely. Anyway, I’ve decided I’ll save Kardamyla for another trip. I knew that I wanted to go somewhere coastal but of course I needed to check that the bus service would get me there.
The ladies in the bus station have been absolutely fantastic and I’ve been in to see them almost every day whilst in Chios Town. They naturally were my first port of call. I’d been looking at a place in Limnia which is close to the village of Volissos – maybe with this option I could see two places for the price of one. The lady told me that on Friday the bus would go to Volissos village and from there I would need to get a taxi with my luggage to Limnia. There is one taxi driver called George and she wrote down his phone number for me. She told me that Limnia is a lovely place for peace and quiet and she goes there every summer with her family. That’s good enough for me!
My host at Porto Limnos had messaged me to say that I could check in at anytime. She also apologises that she won’t be there. She is out of town for several days but will be back on Monday. Not to worry, the key to the house and also the key to my room is in the door. I like it already!
Once I check out of Costa Point Chios Hotel (and by the way the mattress was absolutely amazing) I hoik my luggage to the bus station. It seems that the left luggage lockers are out of order but not a problem, the lady will take my case to her office until I’m ready to depart. I buy my ticket and guess what! It’s bus number 17!!! My old cronky, but delightful bus!
Whilst I have a couple of hours to kill I go to Presto for my daily bougatsa and tea and then head into the Citadel – I can’t help myself. I just love it here. Every time I come here I discover something new and this time it was another Ottoman Bath though not in the refurbished condition of the ones I visited the other week – this is all but derelict. And the fruit trees that are seen growing in the gardens of some of the large houses – oranges, lemons, pomegranates – they are literally falling from the trees!
I have a few tasks to do. I need to go into the pharmacy to get something for mosquito bites – the stuff I brought with me doesn’t seem to be doing anything. The lady in the pharmacy tells me that the mosquitoes are having one last feast before they die. She gives me some cream with antibiotic in them because my ankles feel like they are on fire.
Talking about medication do you remember the days when the only things that you needed in your first aid kit were diarrhoea tablets and painkillers for a hangover? This is my travelling first aid kit now:
- Imodium Instants in case of diarrhoea (you never know when!)
- Omeprazole for acid reflux (charming I know!)
- Gaviscon tablets in relation to the above
- Catarrh pastilles for post nasal drip (yuk!)
- Nasobec nasal spray for the above (eeeuw!)
- Paracetamol should I have a gall stone attack (very painful and yes I have two large ones – recently diagnosed!) (Aaaarghh!)
- Cocodamol should the above not be strong enough to ease the pain
- Cyclazine Hydrochloride if at anytime I feel nauseous (I suffer from emetaphobia so won’t go anywhere without these)
- Avomine travel sickness tablets – I don’t get sea sick but because of the above phobia I have them to hand out to anyone else who needs them.
- Ointment for mosquito bites and now new stuff that should work better
- Antihistamine to help with the mosquito bites because the buggers love me!
- Plasters for blisters
Jesus, it’s a good job I don’t have any real ailments or the first aid kit would account for half of my luggage allowance! Anyway, now I’m on the old magic mastic water maybe I’ll be able to do away with half of the above very soon! 🙂
Eventually its time to retrieve my luggage and wait for the bus number 17 and it’s character of a driver. Of course it’s the same routine – frappe, chat with the old men sitting outside the station cafe, fill the engine with oil and water, sit on the bus and contemplate life (this is the driver – not me!). I make the school girl error of moving towards the bus with my luggage before he’s ready. Regardless, he gets off the bus and slings my case onto the front seat. Of course it doesn’t have the side locker that the modern buses have. I go to board but he does the up and down hand movement again telling me to wait. He then gets off the bus and carries over a chair from the cafe and tells me to sit. So I sit!
Now he’s ready, and there’s several people on this journey today many of whom look as though they’ve been to do their weekly shop. We board and off he sets, taking a different route out of town. This is an interesting journey. After we leave Chora and climb through various settlements we eventually reach the interior plateau. The landscape is barren and rocky apart from the odd scattering of pine trees. If you squint, the white/grey stone covering the landscape makes it look snow covered. I’ve asked before and I’ll ask again – how do pine trees grow out of rock? Please excuse the dodgy phone photo’s taken from a speeding bus!
Once we make our descent down towards Volissos this side of the mountain looks fertile and verdant. We eventually reach a large crossroad and the driver asks me if I want him to stop here or up in the village. I quickly have to make a judgement call as I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got here. The crossroads looks deserted so I ask him to take me to the village. Although I have the phone number for George the taxi driver, if I’m unable to make contact it’s best not to be in the middle of nowhere with all my luggage.
Our trusty driver drives me up to the top of the hill and indicates that this is where I get off. From the top of the hill there is only one direction and that’s back down the other side of the hill. This brings me into the main square in front of the church. I continue down into another small square with brightly coloured tables and chairs set under a large sprawling tree. The taverna is deserted and so apparently is the rest of the village. Everywhere is deadly silent. Snooze time I think. I offload the luggage. I just have to bite the bullet and make the call to George. First of all I need to tell him where I am. I have to get Google Translate out to decipher the fancy script on the front of the taverna. Turns out it’s called Taverna Platanos Obelistrio. It couldn’t have been called Taverna Giorgio could it! I repeat the name in my head several times hoping that it will stick.
Thankfully George answers right away though I think he’s thrown by the fact that I’m speaking English. He understands Porto Limnia, I think most people know where this is. I have to repeat several times Platanos Obelistrio. I’ve no idea where the emphasis on this name should be but give it a go anyway. I try and indicate that this is where I am now and Porto Limnia is where I want to go to – not the other way around. Fingers crossed.
Five minutes later and George is here. He loads my luggage into the car and off we go – not before he stops to read the newly posted notices of people that have passed away.
It is only a short ride but hard to gauge how long this would take to walk on foot. Anyway, that’s a question for later.
We arrive at Porto Limnia, a large villa style building and it looks relatively new. The entrance is via a well kept garden with jasmine, banana trees, trees I know not of the species, a hanging chair and a seating area on the front terrace. The key is in the front door and once in, I find that the key to my room is also in the door. The interior of the villa is as modern and tidy as the outside. This place is perfect! And it seems that I have it all to myself!
After living from my suitcase for the last week I can’t wait to completely unpack and put my clothes away in a wardrobe. I have laundry to do so get that done and hung out on the clothes dryer on my balcony. Boring stuff but essential to good travel organisation.
I’m itching to get out and see what this little fishing village has to offer. Just one minutes walk from the house and I’m at the marina. There is a couple of taverna’s and cafe’s along the back of the road but everywhere looks completely deserted. Close to the marina itself is a bust of a familiar looking man. Yes it’s the swashbuckling hero Constantinos Kanaris himself!
I go into one of the taverna’s and ask if there is a supermarket nearby. She tells me that the nearest one is in Volissos and it is about a twenty minute walk. I would have to walk to the crossroads and then continue left and after 5 minutes I will come to the minimarket on the right. I also ask the lady if her taverna will be open this evening and she says yes but the only food they do is Club Sandwich. This may have to do.
Another interesting fact is that Limnia is the place where the small boat will take you to Psara during the summer. I had thought at one point that I may have to catch this small boat from Psara back to Chios when there was a disruption in the ferry service. Thank heavens it was resumed. I can’t imagine making that journey by small boat – it was bad enough on the Psara Glory in the choppy water!
The port certainly has charm although there are signs that it started to shut up shop some time ago. The ongoing activity seems to be by the fishermen who’s season never stops.
I need some basic supplies such as bottles of water so I empty out my small rucksack and head off up the road. Now the 20 minutes has surely come from someone who is a car user. You can never gauge a journey on foot having only done it by car. Let’s see how accurate she is.
I continue walking up the road towards Volissos and it’s actually a lovely walk. On my right is a pine tree clad hillside that slopes all the way down to the roadside and who’s scent you can catch on the breeze. Mmmmm Retsina! I mean Mmmmmmm Pine!
On the other side of the road to my left is a sheer drop of about 20 meters. Not a road you should be walking at night when you’ve had a few! The whole valley floor is covered with olive trees, catching the last few ripening rays of sun before harvest time. The sounds of the rolling waves from the sea behind me fades away as I progress along the road.
About halfway along I see what I will call a bee factory. It’s a building with solar panels on the roof and then pastel coloured beehives stacked up in piles. The working beehives are probably on the edge of the pine forest but whether this is a place where it’s processed or not I don’t know. I remind myself not to be tempted to buy anymore honey as I already have a huge jar from Psara and another jar from Avgonima!
Beyond the valley is a layer of low rolling hills which are then backed by an imposing mountain range where white clouds slowly creep over the top clinging to the summit like custard being poured over sponge pudding. (Mmmmmm) I think that I might be hungry!
As I turn a bend, between the arches of the pine trees leaning over the road, Volissos Kastro is revealed. What an amazing sight! I have to stop and take it all in. This really is a sight to behold.
Further along I reach the large crossroads and follow it left. I’m tempted to continue up into the village but determine to get the necessary chores out of the way first. The supermarket is just a little further around. In all it takes me about 40 minutes to get here but I have to take into account all the times that I stopped to look at the view.
As I’m here for 5 days I think that I should buy a 6 pack of water. I pick one up and take it to the till. I then acknowledge that there is no way that I’ll carry a 6 pack of water back without doing some serious damage to my spine. I put the 6 pack back and take 3 from the fridge instead and also assorted packets of biscuits, 2 bars of chocolate and a tube of Pringles – you know – the essentials!
And back to Limnia I go, swapping one shoulder for the other to even out the pressure on my lower back. My chiropractor will have his work cut out for him when I get home!
Later that evening I take the short walk to the marina front to go and seek out food. The first cafe that I come to is called Hook. It has tables set out along the harbour’s edge and so I decide to eat here where I can hear the sound of the waves lapping against the quayside. Again the options are pizza or a club sandwich and I opt for the pizza with a glass of wine. I have a quiet word with my gall stones and tell them that they’d better behave themselves!
The lady introduces herself as Katerina. She looks happy when I tell her that I’m staying at Porto Limnia. “Ah, with Georgia!”. I tell her yes but Georgia is away until Monday. Katerina tells me that she can do me breakfast in the morning, with some eggs, bread honey. Sounds great. It’s a date!
The pizza is actually first class though much too much for one person. The cats try to help me finish it but I manage to keep them at bay. Katerina occasionally comes to shoo them off but they are persistent little buggers!
Before I leave Katerina confirms that she will be here in the morning – not too early – maybe around 8.30. That’s fine. I’m here to rest so I don’t plan to be up early. She says!