After three weeks on the Hot Rock, I took advantage of a new ferry service and travelled to Nisyros for a week. I have done this for a number of years but it has been hampered by the fact that there has been a direct link from Symi to Nisyros but not back again, necessitating diverting via Kos. The new service is not only direct both ways but from 15 September, is free. I travelled on the 16th. Yes, that’s right, fare both ways, €0.00.
Nisyros is a volcano and walking is the most dramatic I know. The bus service to the caldera-rim villages has now shifted to term-time hours, leaving the harbour at 08.00 in order to collect kids for school. As I said in my last post, my metabolism is very slow to ease out of overnight sloth, so rather than struggling to catch the bus, I walk from the hotel, leaving about 09.30. This means that distances are longer than I do on Symi. First day I did 18 kilometres, second day 22. And it’s getting hotter again.
Given that the wind has dropped and temperatures are back up in the mid-30s, walking around a volcanic crater requires more care. The usual check for dehydration, monitoring the colour of my pee, is more a case of noting the lack of frequency and downing more and more water. That may be too much information, but it’s all to do with safety in the mountains.
First day I trekked up the path to Evangelistria with its great shade-tree (the reverse of Nisyros Walk 2 on the Greek Island Walks page of this blog), a climb of 250 metres, Then continued up a further 100 metres to Emborios on the caldera rim (the reverse of Walk 1). Ancient agricultural terraces climb to the tops of mountains, now disused because of drought and massive population migration. The path has deteriorated in recent years but is still passable and well worth it to see the awe-inspiring lava bubble rising about 60 feet above.
After a frappe in the Balcony Taverna cantilevered out over the caldera and looking along its length to the active crater at the far end, time to turn round and walk back. Though the much-visited main crater, ’Stefanos’, is nearly 3 kilometres away, it should not be overlooked that the whole island is a volcano. Some of the houses in Emborios have fissures underneath providing ‘underfloor heating’. Whatever the weather, Nisyros is a Hot Spot.
Back in Mandraki, time for cold beer looking across the narrow channel towards the mounds of ‘white gold’ on the island of Yali, pumice from volcanic eruptions being quarried at the rate of up to 1,000,000 tonnes a year and shipped for industrial uses worldwide.