Friday, 16 November 2012

Kalymnos Trip 3 (told you, didn't I!)

See, now there you were out there thinking, "he's never gonna get around to another post about that short break in Kalymnos", when he goes and turns up with it. Here it is, part three...

That reads, "Καλ' Οδον, abbreviated from Καλα Οδον (Deliberate mistake!! see comments below)

The front at Myrties

Myrties and Masouri

A view of Chrysoheria Castle on the hill as we wearily walked back into Pothia after a total of four hours on foot!

"If it were up to me I'd shot his kneecaps off!" So spoke the proprietor of the "Kal' Odon" (The Good Road, or Good Way. ...Actually, since I got it wrong [see comments below] I ought to add here that it's actually kath odon - roadside) Kafeneion in the village of Panormos, to which we'd repaired for a well-earned frappé break during a much longer than expected walk from Pothia to Myrties, on the island's west coast and facing the coast of Telendos, the tiny island situated just across the way.

Having acquired a map of the island and perused our walking options, we decided to walk from Pothia to Myrties, after I'd attempted to gauge the distance and declared that we ought to be able to make it in about an hour, or just over. Having now passed an hour on the road and having only reached Panormos, we had good reason to stop for a break. October 18th it may have been, but it was exceedingly hot still, and liquid refreshment was definitely an essential by now.

Also, from a few hundred metres after leaving the hotel's front door, the better half had been saying, "We must find a bakery. I need to buy us some bread, to keep us going until this evening." To which I'd replied, on innumerable occasions by the time we'd reached Panormos, "There's bound to be one any minute now. There are always bakeries in villages". By the time we'd reached Panormos my conviction was wearing thin and I was getting earache from my wife who had started repeating the bright idea that we should have toured the backstreets of Pothia before setting out along the road, since we'd not passed a singly bakery (least, not one which was actually open) in an hour of walking. Even the delightful village of Horio hadn't yielded the desired result and I'd confidently had to assure her that we'd be bound to come across one sooner or later, she just needed to have a little faith. Trouble was, it was becoming more difficult to assert that she ought to have faith in me when my own faith in myself was beginning to falter.

So, when we came across the "Kal' Odon" we'd become a little fractious with each other anyway, but at least the sight of such a traditional bar cheered us up a jot. The bonus was, no sooner had we ordered a couple of frappés, than we glanced across to the other side of the road to see a large sign saying "Artopoleon" yes, BAKERY!! What's more, it was open. No sooner had we clocked it than the cafe proprietor trotted across the road with a frappe for the woman within, who was very friendly when selling my wife a couple of delicious psomakis.

Having settled down to sip our straws and gulp from the cool glasses of water which were served along with the iced coffees, we got down to the business of listening to the café man talking to another couple of regulars about the hot topic of the day. Incidentally, in the post "A Stopgap Measure" the photo of the two old guys playing backgammon was taken at this very kafeneion. It was now that we overheard the comment at the top of this post. Unable to contain herself at this, my wife interjected into their chat to ask what they were talking about.

Now the bloke who ran this Kafeneion was anything but typical-looking. He looked more like a reject from a Hell's Angels audition. He was very tall, thirty-something, broad-shouldered and wore faded jeans and a black vest top, which showed off his ample pects plus the tattoos which covered large areas of his shoulders and upper arms. That said, he proved to be a very friendly and affable guy and he was delighted to explain his apparently needlessly aggressive comment.

"It's this man who we're all getting sick and fed up of," he explained, "We all know who it is and he's stealing from people's houses and gardens and the police aren't interested in doing anything about it. He's the bad apple and this island would be better off without him and his tatty little family." Apparently, the previous night he'd been spotted once again fleeing the scene of a house break-in. It seemed that he was indeed known to be a felon and, for some reason or other, the police hadn't done anything about apprehending him. One's first reaction to such a story could be to decide that it's not safe on a Greek island any more. This would be a kneejerk response. The very fact that a few locals were talking in this way demonstrates the fact that, mercifully, such things are still the exception rather than the rule out here, even though the austerity measures have indeed resulted in a rise in petty crime. Only the fool would assert that the islands are crime-free, but we still feel a great deal safer out here than in most of the UK to be honest.

The comment about shooting the bloke's kneecaps was an exaggeration born out of exasperation that this low-life had apparently been getting up to no good for far too long without having been brought to justice. Our host was indicating his desire to do something desperate in order to cramp the criminal's style.

Our frappés consumed and a few coins having been deposited on the table, we bade goodbye to our new friends, including the fellows playing backgammon and set off once again for Myrties, to the sound of those we were leaving behind us expressing admiration and bemusement that we'd walk so far.

About another forty-five minutes later we finally descended the hairpin bends of the hill dropping down to Myrties, only to be very disappointed by the seafront there. Having been hopeful that the sea would be calm and that there would still remain a few sunbeds along the strand, we were let down on both counts and so walked along the beach even further until we came to Masouri, where we ascended some steps to a hotel terrace which advertised that the pool area was open to all. We became some of the 'all' and settled into a couple of hours of serious chilling. Well, we'd hoped that this would be the case but, although there were only a few people around the poolside, these included a family with two children of somewhere around 10 to 12 years of age who spent the whole time running around the pool, jumping in and screaming a lot.

Ah well, at least it was warm and I had my iPod, so I could shut out the world for a while. Mad we may be, but we also made the trip back later that afternoon on foot. We'd done over four hours walking by the time we got back to the hotel room, punctuated by probably two or three hours recuperating poolside.

For all that, we both felt that delicious tiredness that only a lot of physical exertion can give one. Plus, before us there was the prospect of another taverna evening in the bustle of the harbour below our balcony. Gin and tonics poured and placed on the balcony table, we sat and watched the sky darken before venturing out to see what the evening would bring.

This hill dominates the northern side of the valley as you climb out of Pothia
 . Click to view the image, and you'll see a fascinating abandoned village up there among the rocks

Kalymnos Trip-1 Post
Kalymnos Trip-2 Post


  1. Nice post again John. On your second photo, am I right in saying that the small island in the background (rock) is the "sleeping princess" due to the profile of it at sundown looking like a face? We watched it every evening for two weeks many years ago from the beachside taverna as I sipped my first retsina of the night. Pure magic and what a spot!

  2. Hi John. A small correction. It's "Καθ' οδόν" (Meaning on the way, en route) not "Καλ' οδόν". The letter is theta not lambda.

  3. On behalf of the old man(59 today)I agree with you(why doesn't he confer with me before writing these posts!!). The wife!!

    1. Of course I knew really, just seeing if anyone out there actually reads this stuff by sticking in a deliberate mistake! (a, hum!)

    2. Blame it on your advancing years!! By the way, thought you were born the same year as I was, in which case, is it '59' again? Hope you had a good one.


    3. Actually, as Bryan Adams once sang, I'm "eighteen 'til I die!!!"

    4. Yeah yeah.....! On another subject, why are you 2 not doing the walking/camping trip this weekend from Asklipio?