Last year I spent the whole of June on Tilos, an island with a much smaller population than Nisyros to the south. Had a good time here, lots of good walks and met a lot of local people. But I didn’t manage to meet up with the one guy I really wanted to, especially as he was the one who sorted out the accommodation for me. So I thought I would try to build in a short visit and look him up.
Checking out the ferry timetables, a difficult task given that the few ferries which are on the internet tend not to publish the information until the day before a new schedule begins, I had sussed out that I could get the high speed catamaran from Nisyros to Tilos on a Tuesday and then back on a Thursday. I decided to go for it and travel today.
The ferry was at 14.15 and, being the Dodecanese Express, it would likely be dead on time. No hanging around the harbour waiting for a rust-bucket to stagger along 3 hours late like in the early days when Enfys and I came here first. Which meant that I had the morning in which to do something productive.
Zooming back down the path from Evangelistra yesterday, incentivised by the prospect of a refreshing swim, I shot past a terraced field which seemed to be full of brittle-dry plants with large seed pods in clusters. I didn’t know if they were seeds of wild flowers en masse, Ruth’s blog showed wild lupins with seed pods of similar size, or if they were a crop of some kind of beans. So I decided to go back and check them out. I still don’t know what they are but collected a few pods.
Compared to yesterday, when for some reason I felt tired and dragged myself along, I was full of beans this morning (sorry for the achingly awful pun) so I carried on up to the top of that bit of path and then back down to the town by a different path.
I also took a few photos of tall blue-flowering plants which I think are orchids. I’m sure someone will let me know.
Amazingly I did the whole route in an hour and a half. I half thought to carry on and add in another link but, because I hadn’t expected to do anything energetic, I hadn’t taken any water. Instead, my water bottle thermal sleeve, usually ensuring chilled water all day, was full of cables and battery chargers ready to take to Tilos. Last year I got seriously dehydrated on Tilos and picked up a urinary infection. I certainly didn’t want a repeat of that so I headed down to town and a supermarket chill-cabinet. Cables would do little to resolve the problem.
I couldn’t believe how full of people the town’s narrow streets were. The day-trip boats had all come in from Kos. There were organised groups with tour guides holding forth in French, German, Italian, Russian and other languages I didn’t recognise. Not an English voice among them. How times have changed in the last few years. One group effectively blocked my way from the chill cabinet into the shop to pay and then I couldn’t find anywhere quiet to sit to drink the juice. I’m really glad most days I’m up in the mountains before the trip boats get here.
Having finally downed the juice I collected my stuff from the hotel and then went to a taverna in ‘Heroes Square’ on the seafront to have a Greek salad for dinner. I realised that this was also a once-a-year photo opportunity. The shortest me. From tomorrow I’ll start getting taller again and if things work out well I’ll be at my tallest exactly 6 months from now. I’ll be even taller if I go back to Canada.
The ferry was not on time. It was 10 minutes early and so had to sit waiting for the scheduled departure time before the Hellenic Coastguard would allow it to leave. Compared to the normal ferries which I’ve been travelling on up to now, you should see them shift! Blink and the harbour is a distant blur in the heat haze. It took significantly less time to get the however-many-miles it is to from Nisyros to Tilos than it takes to get from the end of our street to Cardiff on the X3. That’s impressive!
I had been undecided which of 2 hotels to stay in on Tilos. I had looked them both up on the internet, as well as I could with a fractured connection. I had phoned each of them up to find out availability and cost. And had agonised over advantages and disadvantages of each. Not at all like me. I still didn’t know which of the two I would go for when I got off the ferry but knew that I would have no problem making a snap decision. That’s what I always excelled at in work. I never had a problem making decisions and the greater the pressure the better I was at it. And so it came to pass. I got off the ferry and immediately knew which I was going for. And when I got there the decision was confirmed by a couple of things one of which was that there is internet connection from the room. I repeat, THERE IS INTERNET CONNECTION FROM THE ROOM. The signal strength is not brilliant but it has so far been a secure connection.
First thing I did was to e-mail David and family to see if they were up for a Skype chat, impossible on Nisyros. It eventually transpired when I didn’t get a confirmatory e-mail back and so resorted to a Skype-to-mobile call that David’s home internet has crashed. Now how unlikely is that!!!!! First decent WiFi connection I get in 2 weeks and Trevethin, the hub of the IT buzzin world is cut off!!!
Met a lot of the local people I knew from last year, warm reception all round. Quite nostalgic. Met the guy I really came to meet. Ambled along the seafront and took in the changes. Had two very good swims. The sea in Livadia, the main town on Tilos, is amazingly good for swimming. Beach about 2 miles long. Photos tomorrow or Thursday.
Restaurant where I ate tonight was much as always. Very good food. Very busy. Almost entirely English voices. Must be worrying for forward-looking management because the English Voices were exclusively Britannica Geriatrica, mostly Southern Counties eking out their pensions and their dotage.
Strange thing is, coming to Tilos from Nisyros is like having a weekend break, like being on holiday. It’s good to be back here even though it’s for just a couple of days.