Tinos was the island we were aiming for when we decided to bypass it and go the extra 10 miles to Mykonos instead. When we got to the island and saw the state of the port, we decided it was a good idea that we skipped it on the Pipedream.
We took the “slow” ferry to Tinos. Sloe meaning it takes a whole 30 minutes to get to the island. It would’ve taken us at least 2 hours to get there. Mom was excited to see the giant Pi symbol on our ferry. We knew it would be a good day.
Tinos is home to Panagia Evangelistria also known as Our Lady of Tinos. It’s a church that was constructed around an icon that was discovered by a nun when she was visited by the Virgin Mary and told where to find it. The icon is said to have incredible healing powers and there are a few times of the year when great pilgrimages are made to the church.
The road leading from the water to the church has a carpet that leads to the entrance. The carpet is zoned off with cones because at any time during the year there may be people climbing from the water’s edge to the church on hands and knees. From what we gathered part of the pilgrimage and worship of this icon is to send a woman from the house hold to start at the water and climb to the sanctuary of the church praying and asking for a cure for a loved one in the family. Mothers and sisters climb the stairs for family members who have cancer or other ailments.
There was a woman climbing the marble stairs when we arrived. She had to climb to the top of both flights of stairs where the archway is.
Mom wanted to try and see what it felt like to climb the stairs and even with her bionic knees could only make it up one stair. The carpet was so worn it was more like a napkin on a slab of marble. While the stairs weren’t huge, they were still full stairs and it would’ve been a true act of faith and sacrifice to get to the top.
The Greek Orthodox church lights prayer candles much like the Catholic church. The longer the candle burns, the longer the prayer will last. There were vendors along the two streets that lead up to the church selling candles, relics, and small containers to fill with Holy water. There was a natural spring like fountain inside one of the rooms of the church where people were blessing themselves and filling small containers to take home. The main room where the relic was stored was covered from floor to ceiling in silver and gold relics that were gifts to the church. The gifts were either as thanks for a miracle that was credited to the icon or as an offering to ask for a miracle. There was a service going on inside and it was fascinating to take it all in.
There were something like 20 museums in the churches walls. We got to see two. Thousand year old manuscripts, lots of older relics, and paintings were showcased in the museums we entered. It was a really cool experience and was very different than a lot of the Greek Orthodox church experiences we had had so far.
We saw two baptisms take place while visiting the church. The baptism is a huge event in the Greek Orthodox Church and this was our favorite baby. I think when I get my child baptized I want him or her to wear a Greek fisherman’s cap.
We were walking down the street in search of a place for lunch and Dad spotted this sign. The meltemi has been such a big part of our trip this time around that we couldn’t resist a photo.
After lunch and an ice cream we reread Fodor’s and decided to go in search of an ouzeri that was mentioned. It’s explained as outside of the town a little bit and at the base of a church. The book is on the boat so I’m unable to give more specific information than that right now.
On the quest to find the ouzeri we passed some goats. It’s only natural that Greek goats are friendly so we stopped and had a petting zoo moment.
We walked for a good 15 minutes down a road and it was by luck or her amazing sense of direction that Mom chose to turn left onto a side road and found the church we were looking for. This is the church and down where the Pepsi umbrella is located is the ouzeri. An ouzeri generally serves ouzo, beer, sodas, and an assortment of food. This one just happened to be located under a church.
We also found the beach popular for locals. We settled for a couple of cokes and a table in the shade with this view, while other beach goers were getting giant plates of fried sea food and giant beers. The location is what used to be a harbor and the cement pilings in the water were the breakwater. It was great to sit and relax.
We took the high speed ferry back so it was only a 15 minute ride and had the great dinner at Restaurant Matthew followed by a weird night of music and awkward swimming entertainment.
The wall we docked on our first trip to Mykonos was completely occupied by power boats this time and we were required to dock on the yachting side that hadn’t been finished when we went through the first time. There were plenty of open spaces, but we soon found out that the open spaces didn’t actually have mooring lines to accompany them. When we had visited in October, a sailboat had dropped anchor and when it was trying to leave the next morning the anchor came up wrapped in mooring lines and chain. It took a crew of full grown men about 15 minutes to get untangled while the sailboat floated very close to the boats around it. The sand bottom of Mykonos is a mess. There are cement blocks with a web of mooring lines spreading from them that are supposed to serve as the bow or stern security for a boat. When we realized our only choice was to drop anchor I got it ready, went to the bow of the boat and looked for the clearest place to drop. I could see where the mooring lines began and we dropped about a foot out from that spot. Docking was surprising easy and there were plenty of boaters willing to help.
At first we couldn’t figure out why some of the spaces had lines while others did not. After sitting on deck for awhile though we saw three different cases of sailboats that had gotten the mooring lines caught in the propeller. There were people in the water trying to cut the props loose and in the process would cut the mooring line making it useless for anyone else.
There was no power or water on the dock, but it was also free to stay there so we had no complaints. The one major problem right off the bat was that summer had arrived and it was hot. The engine had been running down below with all of the windows closed for 28 hours and the temperature outside had to of been in the upper 80s. We opened everything up, had a coke drink on deck, and then decided to make our way into town.
The first time we went to the island it was considered the “down season”. The streets were almost empty and the island had a civilized, but calming effect. This time there were 6 cruise ships either anchored out or docked by our boat in addition to all of the privately owned yachts that filled up the harbors. It was packed.
If you look at the town below me you can see the crowds of people who are gathering to watch the sun set. Little Venice is very much like Mallory Square in Key West. The sun set is the main attraction. We had told Mom that she had to visit Mykonos because it’s one of the must see islands of Greece. The first night, she was not impressed.
This was one of the spots I had seen a number of pink pelicans walking around. We searched high and low to find one since Mom is a pelican fanatic, but came to the conclusion that there were too many people walking the streets so the pelicans had called it quits early that night.
Dad and I knew we wanted to get to the windmills, but of course got lost on the way there. It turned out being a fun walk up a series of streets and neighborhoods and we did eventually find them which was good. No pelicans here either.
We stopped at Zorba’s for a cold beer and to watch the sun set. We had gone back to the hole in the wall gyro place for dinner that we ate at before and while it was good, it wasn’t as great as I remembered. I think the absence of the Popeye looking fisherman may have had something to do with it.
We all slept surprisingly well considering the oppressive heat down below. Mom and I decided to take a trip into the town the next day while Dad stayed on board to fix the anchor winch. The outboard motor had actually shifted during the rough sail that brought us to Mykonos and it had shorted out the remote for the winch. I was able to drop the anchor, but when Dad went to adjust it nothing happened.
The second day in town was so much better. There was only one cruise ship left in port and the streets were empty and inviting. Mom understood at this point why people say they “love” Mykonos. We were able to do some window shopping which was a lot of fun and purchased a relic/evil eye good luck charm for the boat.
We made our way back up to the windmills in search of a pink pelican, but Mom never got to see one in person. While we were there a group of six girls were posing for a photo and a seventh, who was clearly part of their group, was taking the photo. I of course offered to take a group photo since there wasn’t another soul in sight. They in return took one for us and I had that good deed feeling afterwards.
Mom took this photo of Little Venice from the windmills and I just really liked the composition and thought it was a pretty photo.
The rest of the afternoon was spent reading on deck and enjoying a breeze that had come out of nowhere.
Mom and I had stumbled over a ticket office that sold ferry tickets to Tinos. I had originally wanted to stop in Tinos but because of weather and other factors we weren’t taking the boat in there. So we booked three tickets for the next day and make a day trip into Tinos. (Next post)
Our last night in Mykonos we had one of a few celebrations for Mom’s birthday and it was the 4th of July. We ate at a place called The Restaurant Matthew. The best part of the entire meal was dessert, which was fresh apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Dad and I broke out into a loud “Happy Birthday” and there were enough English speakers around us that we had a little chorus going.
I know Mom and Dad are too backlit to be seen in the photo but the view behind them is spectacular. You can see the marina and behind that is Mykonos town.
That night was the most eventful and it was clearly time to leave the tourist town the next day. We were sitting on the deck enjoying a breeze and letting the boat cool off a little down below when an Australian boat across from ours starts to play some music. They play everything ranging from “It’s Getting Hot in Here” to the “Halleluiah Chorus”. The people on board are clearly on vacation and make sure everyone around knows they are so and that they are consuming a large quantity of alcohol. Another boat had just come in with, we think Americans, but aren’t sure because it was dark and we couldn’t find a flag on the boat. They were upset that there was no power or water and decided to turn on every light they had – spreader lights, mast lights, lights down below, and they came up with headbands that had lights on them. We think something may have been wrong with the boat and they were trying to see to fix it, but didn’t have a lot of time to figure that out before the group of 6 either teens or early 20 year old boys came walking down the dock. They weren’t boaters and one of them was stripped down to his boxers. They stopped right in front of our boat on the dock and were talking in a language we couldn’t quite figure out. There was a space between the two boats across from us and the boys decided it would be a good place to go swimming. So they did. It started with one and then one by one they all stripped down to their boxer briefs and jumped into the water. There was a designated beach area literally at the end of the dock and to the right, but apparently that wasn’t good enough. It was one of the most random things. The Americans on the lights boat turned on Elvis to compete with the music from the other boat and were trying to ask the boys not to swim next to their boat but this just seemed to encourage them to jump in two or three at a time instead. The boys eventually gathered their clothes and walked away. We just sat on the boat watching the weird world go by and decided that leaving in the morning was a good idea.
Our plan was to sail from Syros to Tinos. We navigated it to be 80 miles, which if we figured would be about 20 – 21 hours. The weather was showing 5 knots of wind and I think everyone was looking forward to a relaxing motor sail with a lot of reading and just sitting in the sun.
Things don’t always go as planned.
I went down for my morning nap and slept like a baby. It was great. The swell was starting to pick up a little bit, but we were sailing and things looked fine. Then the wind started picking up. When it hit 25 knots we decided to put a reef in the main and when it hit 29 we put a second reef in the main and pulled in most of the head sail. With this wind also came the swell and the start of my sea sickness.
This was the point I should’ve taken a Dramamine but I waited and by the time I took it, it was too late. I spent the majority of the sail horizontal and trying to get my stomach back down where it belonged. The thing about sea sickness is when you are just nauseous sometimes it’s better to get full on sick because if you don’t it lasts… and lasts… and even when the seas calm down a little bit it takes a lot to shake it.
We slowed down to around 1.8 knots and the wind was right on our nose… of course. The boat was being rocked off course and the auto pilot was haven’t trouble keeping up. We weren’t making very much headway at all, but there isn’t a whole lot between Skyros and Tinos so we decided to just keep going and get there in the day or three is was going to take.
Our diet was made up of crackers. The crackers in Europe are hit or miss. We have had the best Ritz made in Italy and Gran Pavasi crackers which are like saltines and we have had the worse crackers ever made. This time we struck out and had these terrible crackers. Mom tried one and didn’t say anything so when I bit into it and made the face of disgust all she could do was laugh. We later found it printed on the box that they were supposed to be cheese flavored crackers, which made a little bit more sense, but didn’t help the taste at all. And it wasn’t the taste so much as the after taste that really got us all. So we had what we refer to as “Crappy Cheesy Crackers” and some super hot salami that we didn’t realize was hot until we started eating it. That was lunch and dinner.
I took the first sleep since the Dramamine was kicking my butt and managed to sleep on the “couch” benches down below but woke up drenched in sweat. We couldn’t open any windows since it was so rough out so I was down there with the heat of the engine that had been running for 12 hours. It was less than pleasant but I managed to sleep some anyway.
Dad came down and woke me up early for my watch because he needed help watching ships. As it turned out we were going through a straight that empties from Athens so we were basically in a shooting gallery. There were 7 ships on radar when I woke up and one of them was passing in front of us .5 miles. Dad was getting turned around, which happens in the dark a lot, and just needed an extra pair of eyes. Mom had gone down for her sleep time and I ended up staying up on deck to assist until it was my watch.
I was still pretty sick on my watch and since there was no horizon I looked at the stars. That was the best part of this trip. The stars didn’t move and were a constant which was great and there were so many of them. I saw two shooting stars and really enjoyed getting my mind off of the rocking boat. Sadly I did have to keep looking out at the water and checking the radar which would bring me and my stomach back to the rocking at hand, but was necessary. I had seen a ship very close to land and watched it as we passed it for a good 20 minutes. It wasn’t moving and I figured it was anchored our or just hanging out at the dock. I was wrong. It was a ferry and it left right as we were passing its path. When I went down below to see how long we had and if we had enough space I saw it was going 20 knots and was going to pass us with .25 miles of space which isn’t enough at all. I felt terrible but I woke Dad up to come on deck and help me make sure it wasn’t on a collision course. He had avoided one earlier in the night apparently and we didn’t want to risk that again. He adjusted our course and we missed it by .5 miles but could see it right off the bow of our boat. This ferry wasn’t slowing down for anything. We got the wake from that too and Mom came up to start her watch early.
The sun came up a few hours later and the waves started to calm down some. We were approaching a “fork” in the water where we would either go to Tinos or just continue the extra 10 miles to Mykonos. After reviewing the Greek Waters Pilot we voted to just go to Mykonos since we were familiar with the marina and the Tinos harbor looked tiny. We didn’t want to get there and have to turn around and go somewhere else. So we went the extra hour and a half to get to Mykonos.
What was supposed to be a 20 hour trip turned out being a 28 hour trip to a completely different island.
The Skyros blog I had originally written is stuck on the computer on the Pipedream. I have the photos I was choosing to use so I’m just going to showcase the photos and tell the story in captions.
This was where the boat eventually ended up. We started by anchoring out and taking the dingy into town. When we tied up a very nice Austrian couple informed us that the catamaran that was at the harbor before had docked side too and there was no problem with that. The couple was planning on leaving super early the next morning so we could move our boat in where theirs was. They pointed out that to drop an anchor would be problematic because of the piles of rocks in the harbor area and because of the mountain of silt that had built up around a town drain. We thanked them, went back to the boat, raised the anchor, and took the boat in side to. Well a restaurant owner along the waterfront didn’t like the idea of us keeping our boat there and came out to yell at us. He said we had to drop an anchor and back in for all of the other boats that were coming in. We said if any other boats came in we would go back to anchor and he eventually left us alone. Sure enough, no other boats came into the harbor. When the nice couple left the next morning we swung the boat around with the help of another boater and we were there. Later that day more boats did come in and they had to drop anchors and back up to make more space. We were happy to be tied up to the wall, but then we were pinned into the space and had to wait for the others to leave before we could get out. So we hung out in Skyros for awhile.
There was one bus that went into town twice during the day and came back to the harbor two times a day. The bus went into town at around 7:30am and the only thing that was open was this coffee shop and a local bakery. Twist our arms to have a fresh loaf of bread and our own coffee press of fresh black coffee. It was delicious and a lot of fun to sit and watch as the town began to wake up.
If you look at the top of this hill/mountain you will see a monastery. This is an old Venetian castle and is now the Monastery of St. George. The highlight of Skyros town. So it was only natural that we continue our tradition of climbing to the highest point on any Greek island because that is generally where the coolest things are. Dad was looking for a plumbing store to purchase a part for the engine’s water pump and he said he would meet us at the top.
There weren’t any real signs leading up to the monastery so Mom and I started walking up. The roads in the Greek Islands are a labyrinth of paths, stairs, and people’s homes. Knowing the general direction the castle was we picked random stairways to climb and as we got further out of the main town we started meeting more of the locals. This was the best part of the entire trip up. We would be walking along and men and women would stick their heads out of their doors and greet us with a “Kale mera!” which translates to “Good day!” and we would say “Monastery?” and would get lots of smiles and pointing up another flight of stairs. One woman got a big smile on her face and lifted her arms to show how strong we were for walking up that far. We ran into a number of dead ends that were people’s front doors, but had a blast getting there.
At the top we stopped at a park bench to take in the view and catch our breath. Maybe 5 minutes after we sat down Dad came walking up behind us. He cheated and took a cab to the top.
Fodor’s said there was a great garden inside of the walls and that was a single monk still living at the Monastery of St. George. What we didn’t know was that about 10 years ago there was an earthquake and they closed the doors to the entire building. We thought there may be another entrance and it was just the basilica part that was closed so we walked down a few flight of stairs and walked back up another flight… and we ended up in the same place. The entrance was the same and it was closed.
This was one of the homes by the monastery. I would love to have a balcony hanging off a cliff overlooking the entire town. I love Greece.
This was our pet dog for the day. The dog started to follow us after our morning coffee. It followed Mom and I up to the monastery and then followed all three of us down through the town. Once we got into the town people reacted very differently to it. There was one restaurant owner who fed it and there was a woman who yelled at it when it got close to her shop. I didn’t understand the hostility until I saw it walking down the road with a rabbit toy she was selling secured between its teeth. The toy was covered in “real” rabbit fur and had a rubber ball in the center. The dog had lifted the toy from the basket and claimed it as its own. I saw it and my first reaction was “Our dog stole a toy!” and then I remembered it’s not our dog at all and started to laugh.
The flowers in town were beautiful. I would love to have a wall with a blue door like that to just decorate with flowers. I think it would look a bit odd in central Florida though. I’ll just have to buy a Greek villa.
We had to wait for the 2:30pm bus and were running out of things to do so we decided to go for a walk. The hike to the monastery wasn’t quite enough activity for the day so we decided to try and follow a road down to the water. So we picked one and started walking down the winding road. As we lost more and more altitude it became more of a quest to find the water and this donkey was one of the obstacles we encountered along the way.
We didn’t quite make it all the way to the water. We got to a point in the road though where we could see that it was probably another 5 miles away and decided that a coke at a nice café may be a better way to spend the rest of our waiting time. We had to document the fact that we did indeed see the water so if you look at the far right of the photo you will see water.
Mom and I went back to town the next day to go grocery shopping. It was a bit too windy to leave so we decided to get groceries and do some boat maintenance. While we were in town this time Mom and I stopped and got a ton of fresh delicious breads and pastries and while we were waiting for the grocery store to open we went in search of Pi for Mom’s teaching quest.
When we got back to the boat Dad had fixed the roller furler and Mom was helping him put the jib (the really big sail in the front of the boat) back up and I could hear the sail being blown all over. I went on deck to just hold the sheets so the metal loop on the sail where the sheet was looped through didn’t hit the car that was parked next to our boat. While holding onto the sheet and trying to control the sail some another line was whipping around and actually gave me rope burn on my wrist. It sounds a lot worse than it actually was, but you better believe I played it up the rest of the trip and it turned into a great joke and memory from the trip, not to mention a scar the size of a bug bite on my wrist.
For dinner two nights in a row we stepped off of the boat and went to an amazing restaurant right on the water. We had pork souvlaki (grilled meat on a stick) with fries and the best grilled pita. This was one of the highlight meals in Greece and with a giant Mythos we were more than satisfied.
I’ve been home for almost a month now, but haven’t been able to bring myself to finishing up the blogs I failed to write while overseas. I have at least 10 to write, pair with photos, and post. Please keep in mind that they are all written after the fact so they are being written from memories and a page of notes I’ve been keeping.
We decided to sleep in a little and left Limnos by noon. We thought this would be enough time for the weather to calm down and it was only 25 miles to the island we were stopping at to break up the trip to Skyros. We pulled right out and had no problems getting out of the harbor which was nice.
What wasn’t nice is once we got out of the harbor there was no wind and a nice size swell that had built up from all of the wind the days before. I can officially say that this was the worse day on the water the entire time I’ve been on the boat. The wind was coming from behind so we were being pushed over the swell and the boat was rolling from side to side instead of just going over the waves. The sea was super confused and the lack of wind made a slow sailing day.
It was a good day to try out the cruising spinnaker that has been tied to the deck of the boat for the past two + years but has never been used on the Pipedream.
Dad and I raised the sail while Mom controlled it from the cockpit. The way it’s designed is that is comes in a “sock” which you can see on top of the red sail in the picture. We hook the top of the sock and sail up to a halyard and I was in charge of raising the halyard which is what I’m doing here. Dad tied the bottom of the sail to the front of the boat and then he uses a blue rope attached to raise the sock off of the sail like raising a curtain. There is a line that Mom had in the cockpit to actually control the sail and she had the power to tighten or loosen the sail. Aside from having to hang on and not fall overboard, it went really smooth.
Dad and I were really proud of ourselves when it works and we didn’t fall overboard! I know the waves don’t look big in the photo, but that is the deceiving part of swell. It just rolls from every direction and makes the boat rock and roll like a fishing bobber which makes it very difficult to stand on.
This is Mom and Dad back in the cockpit. Sadly the wind shifted so we only kept the sail up for about 30 minutes and then we couldn’t fill it anymore. Ideal situation for the sail is when the wind is from behind and there isn’t a lot of it. Well of course the wind shifted and we never put the main up (which was a mistake!) and so it was a super rolly trip into Ayios Evstratios. Dad was actually at the helm trying to ride over the waves while Mom and I were bracing ourselves in the cockpit green as shamrocks.
We thought we would be coming into an anchorage… nope there is a harbor here! This is Ayios Evstratios which is a small island between Limnos and Skyros. What you see is the entire town. During the winter they apparently have a population of 200 because the elderly flee to neighboring islands or Athens to escape the strong winds. There is no bank on the island and two open restaurants to choose from. It was actually a really pleasant surprise. Note the cemetery at the top of the hill to the left of the photo.
Of course we walked up the hill to the cemetery! We learned where the cemetery is, the helipad, an old wind mill, and the island dump. It was a very educational hike. The cemetery was closed of course, but we were ready for some time on land and it was a pretty view.
It was only natural we walk up there since we had started the trend of climbing to the highest cool thing on an island. On the walk there was an old school building which we could’ve sworn was a prison. Apparently up until recently they would exile political prisoners here. Fun little fact.
We stopped at restaurant number 2 for a beer and snacks which ended up turning into a couple of beers and dinner. The couple that owned the place spoke great English and it was a lot of fun to sit and watch half of the island’s population walk by. The food was delicious (tzatziki, Greek salad, fresh bread, homemade fries, fried zucchini, and saganaki) and they had Amstel on tap served in frosted mugs. Heaven.
We made it back to the dock in time for the sunset and this is Mom and I Greek dancing while watching the sunset. Dad had spilled half a beer in the cockpit before we went for our walks and when we got back to the boat there were flies of all sizes swarming around where the spilled beer was. This was a gross moment, but nothing a little water and bug spray didn’t take care of.
We were in a bit of a hurry to beat the ferry out the next morning since we were “parked” pretty close and there wasn’t a whole lot of space for the ferry to move around us. Ayios Evstratios was a terrific stop with wonderful people and I don’t think it gets more authentic Greek than this.
I spent the entire hour and a half sail from the anchorage to Mirinia, the entry port, sleeping. When we got into port there was a crosswind and we weren’t sure about docking so we just anchored out right outside of the harbor.
The boat always looks good with a Greek Orthodox Church behind it. We took the dingy into the town to check into the country and the EU. Because we are American, there is a little bit more paper work because we are entering the EU also, but we were surprised at how easy it was this time around. The harbormaster sent called the port police officer to come pick up our passports, we didn’t have to go on a wild goose chase to find his office and he informed us that at 6:00pm the customs office would open and we could just come back then to complete the process. No problem.
As we were leaving the customs office we heard someone call “Pipedream” in English, turned around and Wolfgang and Bridget from Ti Punch (another boat at Kemer over the winter) were standing there. It was a hoot seeing the familiar faces and we talked a little bit on the dock before asking for a restaurant recommendation. They told us to go up the main shopping street and there is a restaurant with two trees in the front that is good. We took their advice and after window shopping, noting the grocery store and butcher, and finding a laundry service we arrived at a restaurant with two trees in front.
This was one of the best meals ever. We started off with tzatziki and a fresh loaf of bread and then moved onto pork chops and a veal dish. Mom and Dad washed theirs down with a Mythos and I stuck to Coke Zero. It was so nice being back in Greece.
We decided to dock the boat and by the time we got back there was only one slip left so we hurried to lift the anchor and throw the fenders out. The docking went well and a couple on the German boat next to ours helped us out which was nice of them. The power towers by the boats weren’t working but there was a main power source that could be reached with an extension cord. After Dad put together a Frankenstein power cord to match the outlet, we had power for maybe 10 seconds before the fuse blew. We aren’t sure if it was us or not, but we didn’t try to plug in again once we heard it was fixed.
Mom and I got the laundry together which ended up being 12.4 kilos which is just over 25lbs of laundry and hauled it to the laundry service. When we had gone down the shopping street the first time all of the shops were open and there were people walking around. This time it was like a ghost town and it took me a minute to remember the Greek siesta that takes place every day from 2-6pm. Luckily the laundry girl was there and even though her eyes got big when we showed her how much we had (sheets, towels, clothes for three people) she said it would be ready at 8:00pm same day.
Mom and I went for a walk and found a street that led out to the water on the other side of a peninsula from where our boat was. We sat at a little taverna and had a coke while just taking in the fact that we were in Greece.
We had a view of the church and castle up on the peninsula and we decided to walk up to the church. It was closed of course, but we could peer in through the windows and Mom got to see the gold leafing and icons that decorate the interior of a Greek Orthodox Church.
While Mom was looking in the windows I walked around the other side, looked up, and saw a wild mountain goat just hanging out next to the church. I told Mom to look at the goat and she thought I said “Look at the boat” and looked out at the water asking where it was. I couldn’t believe she couldn’t see the goat that was almost an arm’s reach away and when she realized what I was talking about she laughed and that scared the goat away. We decided to sit on a bench by the church and as we were sitting there we spotted our scared goat, another goat and then a deer went walking by into the trees right in front of us. It was like being at a zoo. We tried to predict what other animals would appear and I came the closest saying the resident mountain lion when a cat walked by. Of course we didn’t have a camera at this time so it will just be something we remember and giggle about later.
We passed the time until 6:00 and went back to the customs office and to pick up our passports. The customs agent was in his office watching TV. So we sat down and ended up watching the Greek news with him while Dad filled out the crew list and other forms needed for a transit log.
On a side note – the riots in Athens are being shown on every news station and are pictured in every newspaper here (http://www.ethnos.gr/article.asp?catid=22768&subid=2&pubid=63183270). The people in Athens are very unhappy with the government and who knows what kind of compromise (if there is one at all) will be the outcome. Generally we wouldn’t go to a country with riots or war going on (which is why we bypassed Egypt, Syria, and Libya this year), but that is the beauty of the Greek Islands. We have absolutely no signs of the turmoil and the people are just happy to have tourists still coming to visit and spend money.
Mom and I wanted to take my Dad back to the church where we saw all of the goats and Mom had been talking about walking up to the castle since we had gotten to Limnos. So we started walking.
This is the church we went to visit. Like I said it was closed, but we could see in the windows and the view was amazing.
I just thought this was a nice photo of my parents with Mirina in the background. This is one side of the peninsula where most of the tavernas and residential houses are located.
This is the other side of the peninsula that was taken from the path up to the castle. We weren’t exactly prepared to climb that high but my Dad kept walking and even thought Mom and I stopped in personal protest a couple of times we kept walking up too.
Ahh Greece. The flag here hasn’t been changed in awhile and is a bit torn which we would’ve never seen in Turkey. They restored some of the exterior walls of the castle and this was one of them. We really liked how they used the mountains natural rocks as walls or extensions of walls.
This is the entrance we went through. It’s always fun to imagine being a soldier who was told to climb up to the castle, fight your way in, and take over. The defenses set up by the walls and use of altitude is always amazing and I’m pretty sure I would be the one to simply run away or hang out at the bottom with water sharing words of encouragement.
This is Dad and I surfing on the top of a mountain in a castle. The wind was picking up, especially at the top of the mountain, and we were balancing on two rocks that were just there. Dad began singing “Surfin’ Safari” by the Beach Boys which is a song that is plaguing us on the boat. Whenever an album or playlist ends on Dad’s iPod it defaults to that song and continues to play instead of shutting off. So we go from nice easy listening or jazz or “Let’s go surfing now!”
We were all very proud to have made it to the top. Little did we know we were starting a trend that would follow us through every Greek Island we visit. The trend is to find the highest structure on the island and walk up to it… especially after a long day of sailing… in Crocs or boat shoes.
It was a great day and we got to watch the sunset while enjoying a beer down by the water which was perfect. We were officially legal in Greece and the EU and made it back to our boat before an evening storm rolled in bringing 35 knot winds and a downpour that lasted about an hour. We also picked up our laundry and realized I had left my wallet in a pair of shorts that got washed so I have the cleanest 25€ in Limnos.