Amorgos: last day, lots of colour

Saturday was the beginning of a three-day journey home.  Strange limbo kind of day.  Beginning with waking early.  I sleep with the French windows wide open and as I woke and opened my eyes the sky beyond the mountains was bright pink as the sun  started to come up.  I didn’t wait to see it come over the mountain but took a photo, turned over and went back to sleep.

Pink sky in the morning over here means ... just another sunny day

When I woke up properly I knew the priority was to pack ready for the ferry trip to Kos and then the flight home on Monday.  Quite a complicated logistical operation.  My ferry is at 05.30 on Sunday morning so it made sense to spend the day in Eghiali and take the last bus to the main harbour, Katapola at 22.00.  I had to vacate the room mid-morning, no rapport with the establishment here, complicated enough to just arrange to leave my big luggage in reception which is never open.  So I had to pack a rucksack for a day’s walking and arrange things so I could get at tidy clothes easily once I got back.  It was made clear that there was no prospect of cleaning up and having a shower.  Not the Greek ‘filoxenia’ (hospitality to strangers) I am used to and so much appreciate on the islands, but hey ho, take it as it comes.

I packed, posted a blog, and then looked at the map to decide where to go.  I had a vague idea in mind and the map seemed to support the concept.  I set out at 11.30.  The plan was to walk up to the mountain village of Tholaria and follow the ridge before dropping down to the coast and returning via a ‘coast path’.

Got up to Tholaria and found the track I needed to follow and then found a fabulous little taverna tucked away.  Extraordinarily pleasant place for a frappé sitting in the shade.  It’s real pleasure to find somewhere like this but it raises the issue of whether to tell everybody about it.  The nice thing is that it’s quiet and unspoiled.  It may be busier in the evening but in the middle of the day there were only 3 of us there.

Really cool taverna

I was in no hurry as it was only a short walk but even so I was up and gone before the other two moved.  I ambled along the ridge path and then took path going off to the side just because it looked interesting.  There were birds of prey soaring around so I stopped to try to photograph them.  There were 4 what us incompetent ornithologists call ‘falcony things’ circling and diving and generally staying out of range.  Pretty sure that they were Eleanora’s Falcons but can’t be sure.  Homing in on one as it zoomed across in front of me I realised it wasn’t a falcony thing but an eagley thing.  I spent ages trying to get decent photos but as always managed no better than blurry long shots.  One of these days I’ll get the hang of this.

Falcony thing

Two falcony things

Blurry eagley thing

I continued along the path to a picturesque church on the end of a side-ridge which seemed to have been built or at least significantly restored in 2003 and mooched around there for  a while before returning to the main path. I really do find many of these mountain churches very attractive and very simple inside.

Stained glass windows in mountain church

St George slaying the dragon

Basically I continued to walk along the ridge and start to drop down until it became clear that the SKAI map was once again wrong.  There appeared to be no path down to the coast path and I had no wish to get into a drama cutting down terraces through prickly plants so I doubled back the way I had come.  No problem, I was enjoying the walk and took more photos of more churches on the way.

Just another mountain church

.... but what a setting!

Back at the beach it was time for a last swim on Amorgos and dry off in the sun before ambling back to the hotel to change into tidy clothes for the evening.

There is a beach volleyball court marked out at the ‘town’ end of the beach which is usually the scene of locals playing at the end of the afternoon but today there was obviously a serious match going on with an umpire (or whatever the official on the high chair is called) and a large crowd cheering on one team or the other.  It seems such a laid-back, almost impromptu kind of sport but the players were taking it very seriously.

By the time that the match finished most people were leaving the beach.  Very mellow evening light after the heat of the day.

End of another hard day on the beach

I ate earlier than usual in order to collect my big luggage in time to catch the 22.00 bus to the harbour at Katapola where my ferry leaves from.  But not before trying to take a photo of the end of the Eghiali harbour which went disastrously but amusingly wrong because I was trying to take it hand-held and it needed a several seconds of exposure.

Crazy effect

Once at Katapola I settled in a taverna where I have been going when I’m ‘in town’ partly because it does very good fresh orange juice at a good price and partly because there is good WiFi.  As I looked at the harbour a few feet away it struck me that there were a remarkable number of racing-type boats parked up, not end–to-quay as is normal over here but side-on 3 or 4 deep which John explained to me last year is the normal way in the UK.  To cut  a long story short, it turns out that here is a race/rally going on with the end of today’s leg in Katapola and all the bloats and so all the crews were here.  I only found this out when it came on the TV over my head and I suddenly found dozens of people watching it … or me!!  It even has its own web site:

http://www.aegeanrally.gr/contents/eng/recenteng.php?show=per

It’s now coming up to 02.00 on Sunday morning and the taverna is getting ready to close up.  Only 3½ hours to wait!!!!

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