It’s strange arriving somewhere and knowing virtually nothing about it. I had only a vague outline of what Amorgos is like or what I would do while I’m here. I suppose because I’m on my own I find myself musing about things a lot more. Like why I draw comfort from the familiar and yet crave change. The comfort thing is probably to do with security and at times is very reassuring but one of the things I was struck by when I first started learning Greek was a quote attributed to Alexander the Great “Life is only made worthwhile by challenge’. Doing the same things in the same places all the time is comfortable but leaves me feeling dissatisfied, a sense of failure to achieve anything. I wonder if it’s too late to embark on World Conquest?
So it was with a strange mixture of apprehension and anticipation that I got up on Sunday morning. The room doesn’t have facilities for making even the most elementary of meals so straight away there was the challenge of finding breakfast. The room is the most conveniently situated place I have ever stayed in. Within 50 metres there is a supermarket, an ATM, a bus stop and 3 tavernas/cafés including one with internet access. When I went out at 08.00 to track down breakfast none of the 3 eating places was open. Nor were any of the very many others in the village. There are an incredible number of eating places and tavernas in Chora and not one of them was open. After the great breakfasts and the great location to eat them on Nisyros anything was likely to be a letdown but not to have anywhere open left me a bit glum. Don’t people know need cafeinating first thing in the morning? Not a good start.
On my way back to the room, not so much depressed as disoriented I passed the café closest to where I had started out just opening up. Not a great breakfast but filled me up and a strong espresso did the trick.
The plan was to plan. I had maps but I thought that a good walks guide book might point me in the right direction. Having sussed out that there was a bookshop down by the harbour but none up in the Chora, and having sussed out bus times, I went down on the 10.35. Posted blog in internet café while I waited for the bookshop to open and then bought a book of ‘Footpaths of cultural and historical interest’ which included copies of hand-drawn maps.
I hung around the harbour waiting for the bus back at 13.00 and enquired out of interest about ferries back to Kos. It seemed that the one I had travelled on to get here reached Piraeus and turned straight round to come back arriving in Amorgos at 12.30. A very civilised time to travel and would get me to the airport in time for my flight 2 weeks hence. But the timetable changes today. In 2 week’s time the same ferry is at 05.30.
Still, I watched the harbour a little longer and watched the Big Ferry coming in. The scale of it is even more obvious from outside. On the inside it just seems very spacious. Outside it dominates the harbour and the town. It’s so big and dominant and very different that it’s almost like a visit from a flying saucer personned by aliens. Not that I’ve ever experienced the latter.
Back at the room with the help of the book and the maps I decided on a short walk. There is a monastery built into the cliffs on Amorgos which is as iconic as the Tower of London or Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s iconic but the name is nearly unpronounceable. Turns out that it’s less than an hour’s walk from Chora and the start of a longer route to the other end of the island so I could continue the walk further as appropriate.
It’s easy to see why the monastery is so striking. I took several photos but the sun was in the wrong position. Though on reflection had it been in a different position at the time I was taking the photos there would doubtless have been problems of cosmic proportions. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I was there at the wrong time.
So I resolved to go back tomorrow morning as part of following the route to the other end of the island and take some more photos, hopefully with the sun in the right place. Now there’s a plan.