Greece – Naxos and Amorgos

December 26th, 2016

After a few days, it was time to leave Tynos and we moved to Naxos, a large island to the South.

We took another ferry to get there and had interesting views along the way.  Travelling by ferry, at this time of year, is very relaxing.  The ferries are not very crowded and therefore we just lounged around on the top deck, looking at the islands float by.

On the way we met this very interesting cruise ship which was making a stop at Mykonos – there are more and more sailing cruise ships and I think it would be a nice experience to try it, one of these days.  However, I suspect that these are fully automated and therefore there is not much “sailing” involved.

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We ended up spending only one night in Naxos as the weather was getting worse and our guide feared that ferries may not be able to sail on our planned departure date.  He gave us the choice of one extra day in Naxos, or one extra day in Amorgos and the group chose Amorgos (and I think we made the right choice).

One of the attractions is the Temple of Apollo with the “Portara” which is an almost intact door frame.  It sits on a peninsula just outside of the main town.

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We saw ferries come in and out while we were walking around.  There was a very strong side wind at the docks and we watched with interest as the “Cosmote” high speed ferry took 5-6 attempts to get its landing right.  It made for good lunch time entertainment.

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I had to take a picture of the town viewed through the Portara.

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A better view of the town, with the castle up at the top and the docks on the right.

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As I said, we did not spend much time on Naxos and took our next ferry to Amorgos.  This took several hours and was due to make three stops along the way.  We were relaxing on the top deck and I just happened to be looking around when I saw this strange sight.  Looks like a dozen high speed boats heading straight for us.  The first thing that came my mind was: “I did not know they had pirates here in Greece! What do we do now?”

Why else would a formation of high speed boats come towards us like this?

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As they approached. I noticed they were actually going past us, and I started to feel better, then they slowly, still in formation, started to turn around and come after us again.  There were 3-6 people on each boat but they did not look too menacing.

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Actually, they were friendly and just showing off, I think.  They kept speeding past us, and waving – I finally felt better and decided that they must be a group of people out having fun.  I am not sure, however, that the lady sitting in the back of this boat is having a lot of fun…

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The “Ambulance” came out of nowhere when I did not expect it, but I still snapped a series of photos and got very lucky!

On this first shot, the person standing in the back has just finished waving at us and is turning around, unaware…

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He just steadies himself, I think ready to go back inside …

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Here, I believe that he suddenly sensed the boat hitting the wave and moving up.  His arms and legs are flexed for better stability …

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Here he knows he better hang on tight! …

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BANG!  He is almost pushed into the cockpit as the boat slams into the next wave, but he managed to hang on …

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and the boat accelerates again over the next wave.

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We later found out, at a later stop, that this is a group of medical doctors who volunteer to provide medical assistance to remote islands in the Cyclades.

They had collected money and paid for an emergency vehicle that was being delivered by our boat.  The whole town was at the docks when we arrived in celebration, including all the doctors who had in the mean time parked their boats in the harbor. There were fireworks (actually lit flares)

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and one person shooting into the harbor with what appears to be live ammunition.  This is not a new form of fishing.

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When we finally sailed off, we saw the vehicle itself – the blue van was the gift from the doctors to the town.

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In Amorgos, we stayed in a small town called Tholaria, just above one of the main towns with the harbour where we arrived.  This is the view from our hotel.

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We went for more walks with more spectacular views of the local countryside.

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We met a local farmer, who seemed to know Kostas (but then every body seemed to know Kostas)

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There are not a lot of people living on Amrgos and not a lot of tourists either.

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There are a few chapels, same as other places we went to.  A good spot again for a bit of rest.

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Looking back at the harbour – you can see the town of Thoralia up on the hill in the distance.

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We encountered a donkey with its man.

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More spectacular views

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Little villages hanging on to the top of hills

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Beautiful icons in an isolated monastery.

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A windmill by the sea

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The is the main church of Tholaria at sunset

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I like this photo of Bee and I waiting for sunset

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It is always amazing how long it takes the sun to go down.  I always have a lot of time for different shots.  Most are not very interesting, but occasinally you can get a better one.

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I was trying to get the sun right behind the chapel on the opposing hill.  However, clouds got in the way at the last minute – maybe another time…

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The next day, we walked up to the ruins of several windmills strategically located at a high point above the hills, so that they get wind from all directions.

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Along the opposing coast of the Amorgos.  The little white dot in the distance will be one of the highlights of our trip on another day.

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Occasionally, I do let someone take a photo of Bee with me.

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Bee does not mind when I take her photo with the rest of the group.

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This time, the clouds did not get in the way!

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Today we are walking to the monastery of Chozoviotissa (there are many different spellings that all sound about the same) – at this stage we are coming the back way and have already walked up hill for close to an hour.  It is good to know that we only have a 45 minute walk ahead of us to get there.

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Even as we approach, there is no way to get a good view at what is coming.

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Finally, you walk around the last bend of the path and this is the view.  The main entrance to the monastery is on its side, a small (very small) door right at the top of very steep stairs.

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The bell tower, from underneath – we are on a balcony with a breathtaking view of the coastline.  It also shows how high the hill is above the monastery.

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We could not take pictures inside, but on the way out, back towards the main town, we had a much better look at it.  The entire monastery is built (carved) into the mountain.

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It is just a wonderful sight.

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The whole setting is quite spectacular too.

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The nearest town is called Chora and we had lunch there.  We also had an opportunity to walk around and Bee and I found this view point with several more windmills.

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Chapels and Windmills – typical of the Cyclades

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This is the end of our adventure in Amorgos.  Tomorrow, we leave for Santorini, last island stop on this trip.

I have heard so much about it that I am almost afraid it will not be able to live up to its reputation, and my expectations – that is the danger with some places.  We shall see at the next episode. (107 Page Views)

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