I knew from previous visits that the bus service is a perfectly adequate way to get around the island. Apostolis had given me a print out of the bus timetable when I arrived at the hotel so I set off early one morning with this clutched in my hot little hand. Here is the link to the online timetable:
I’d decided to get the first bus in the morning where I planned to explore the Chorio again. Chorio is a small village that is known for the Kastro that sits on the hill high above. I didn’t set off with the intention of climbing up to the Kastro as I’d had a bad experience the first time around – but more of that when I come to write up a Blast From the Past! The bus driver signalled to me when the bus arrived at Chorio. Although I’d been following the route on Google Maps, map reading isn’t my forte so I was glad to have the bus driver notify me.
Chorio was very quiet and not many people were about. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but the village looked a little forlorn. The first thing that struck me was the iron doors on many of the houses – some designs that I hadn’t seen before. I’ve had a fascination for doors and door knockers for quite a few years but maybe I hadn’t really noticed them on my first visit.
Close to the entrance of the village is a the beautiful church Panagia Kecharitomeni – an orthodox church with a tall bell tower which rang out an elaborate chime as I passed.
From what I remember there was one main set of steps up to the Kastro but as I wondered around the alleyways I could see several sets of steps that ascended in the direction of the hill. I wanted to find a vantage point from which to look over the village but on every set of steps that I attempted to climb I was met by the barking of a viscous sounding dog. I made a quick exit after each attempt. After climbing down the third set of stairs an elderly lady sitting outside her house said to me “Kastro?”. There was no easy way for me to explain that I just wanted to find a point where I could look over the village so I said “Yes”. She led me by the hand to the main entrance to the Kastro where I thanked her and made off up the steps – well some of the steps anyway. Up another set of steps by yet another church I found my vantage point that had views over to Pothia and the surrounding area.
After another mooch around the alleyways, I walked to the bakery for bougatsa and then headed back to the bus stop in the square.
According to the timetable a bus was due shortly but it seemed to be running late. The bus did arrive 20 minutes later but I decided on a last minute change. Instead of heading back to Myrties, I could see the bus went on to Emporios so that’s where I bought a ticket for.
It was a nice journey that went over the hill to Masouri and then along the coastal road to Emporios. That is an important point to remember that if you want to return to Myrties – on this particular bus you would need to disembark at Masouri and then walk back to Myrties. It is quite a long bus journey to Emporios which does then go back via Myrties but you’d be on the bus for an hour or so.
The bus stops in a small square close to a jetty and a row of taverna’s. I asked the driver what time the bus returns to Myrties and he told me 4pm! I obviously didn’t ready the timetable fully and realised that I was going to be here for the day – not the hour or so that I’d originally intended. If I’d realised this I’d have brought swimming things and a book to read as from what I can see there really isn’t a lot to explore here.
Anyway, I decide to bear left and walked along a small beach where I sat and admired the view for a while. It really does have a beautiful outward looking view from the beach here. Set it in a deep bay where the land curves around you, there is the small islet of Kalavros in the foreground with Telendos over to the left. This makes it a lovely place to sunbathe and swim – shame I won’t be doing either!
To the right of the jetty are a row of taverna’s all offering free sunbeds on the narrow strip of beach – free if you purchase something from one of them. I choose the first taverna and have a snack and a drink whilst the incoming tide laps the legs of the sunbed.
Behind the row of taverna’s I can see a church sitting slightly elevated above bay. I ask the lady from the taverna if it is possible to visit it. She tells me that the church itself may be closed but I could go into the church yard to see the view. I follow the sloping road around to the left until I arrive at the metal gate of Agios Georgios which requests that it is kept shut at all times. I would imagine that the goats that roam the surrounding hillsides would cause havoc inside the pretty church yard. There is a nice view of the bay from here and a well tended cemetery.
I spend the rest of the afternoon sampling the various taverna’s – one for lunch and others for a drink. The staff in each of them are very polite and friendly and I conclude that this is a lovely place to spend the day – even though I wasn’t able to swim.
The bus arrives a little after 4pm and I head back to Myrties.
Later that evening I have a gin and tonic in the pretty garden of the Nefeli. I can’t tell you what a lovely family feel this place has and Apostilis and his family have made me feel so welcome.
I decide to take the water taxi over to Telendos for tonight’s evening meal. Still unsure which of the taverna’s I’d eaten at previously I take a stab in the dark and settle for Barba Stathis. I was really keen to see if they still served that fantastic Greek yoghurt that I’d sampled previously. It wasn’t long into the meal that I realised that this definitely wasn’t the place that I’d eaten at all those years ago. The meal of beef stifado was nice enough but it was very busy and the service wasn’t very good – not the fault of the taverna owner but just an example of how popular Telendos has now become.
I made my way to the jetty to catch the next water taxi back. I sat at the front of the boat and watched a group of children playing school. One of the girls was the teacher and she led the other children in a song. At the same time a small caique sailed towards the jetty and the shirtless captain of the boat tied it up. There was something about him that wasn’t quite right – he looked very agitated. As he climbed onto the jetty he shouted at the children, flailing his arms in the air. The poor children looked paralysed with fear and just stood open mouthed as he ranted and raved. He headed towards the taverna’s where he soon turned his attention to a man clutching a carrier bag. An argument ensued, getting more and more heated between them. The man with the carrier bag seemed to try to pacify the other man but nothing seemed to calm him. He continued stabbing his finger in his chest and the man with the carrier back kept backing away until they were both back on the jetty. Several of the people in the taverna who had been enjoying a nice meal up until that point left and made their way onto the water taxi. Before we knew it we pulled away with all eyes glued to the shrinking spectacle of whatever it was that had just taken place. I guess I’ll never know what it was all about!