Sunday, 23 October 2016

Halki: Harbourfront Dips and Real Estate Tips

28 July 2016
Rhodes, Greece (Ρόδος, Ελλάδα) 
Our second day on Rhodes began early, as we planned to leave the highly touristic island to venture to that siren we spied from the aft of our ship: Halki. Foregoing our customary swim, we invested that beach time into stocking up on sesame bread from the baker in Masari and hightailing it to the "very picturesque" harbour of Kamiros Skala. After parking and checking our watches, we deemed the hour sufficient enough to sit down with a coffee in the bracing sea air before needing to check into our pre-booked ferry. Sagely, I opted for the orange juice, which (although not freshly squeezed) was apparently far superior to the watery cappuccino that Yannick had ordered.
Leaving the cappuccino almost untouched, we presented our tickets and boarded the little ferry, perching on long wooden benches. As we waited for departure, we observed a man in the middle of his morning swim (jealous!) who swam up to a moored fishing boat and struck up a conversation with the fisherman on deck. I suppressed a giggle as I saw the swimmer glide up to the hull and thrust out his hand, shaking with the man who was moments before straightening a fishing net.

Halki, Greece (Χάλκη, Ελλάδα) 
The ferry ride passed quickly in relation to our previous island hops, and was remarkably almost on time (which is the most you can hope for in Greece). Once our boat had been secured to the quay, tourists scattered like a menaced school of fish and then reconvened into smaller schools separated by their respective tour groups. We let them go on ahead, and then ducked into a quiet side street in stealthy secret agent fashion. They had no idea what hit them. One moment we were there and then BAM!

We quickly spied the two famous Halki bell towers. One is the white crown atop the church of Agios Nikolaos down at the water's edge. Our carefully selected pathway led us uphill past the other, which is the stone pinnacle gazing from above the village. The story behind this tower starts a long time ago, when Halki brought about its golden age through prosperity from sponge fishing in the 1800's. As time wore on, the sponge trade was becoming less lucrative and many residents uprooted their families to seek a living elsewhere. The population dropped from around three thousand in the mid 19th-century to just 250 today. A mass emigration took place to Tarpon Springs in Florida in 1911, where those skilled in sponge fishing could continue their trade. Never forsaking their origins, the expats in Tarpon Springs banded together and presented a sum of money to Halki for the building of a new bell tower.

On we plodded down the pale streets of the old town, over stones and grates and fallen petals.

Curiously watching us, a golden pup licked his damp nose and thumped his tail. 

Seeking the beach, we again utilised our secret agent skillsets and tailed a woman carrying a towel after discerning that the towel would most likely be used for sunbathing. (Full secret agent disclodure: I also called out to her and inquired if she was headed for the beach, to which she replied in the affirmative.) Instead of settling on the pebbly beach with all the other plebs, we clambered over crest and crag to reach a secluded cove.

The water lapped gently at the rock, and we carefully lowered ourselves into the crystal depths. Reemerging from the water was more difficult, as we were quite sure that sea urchins were happily loitering along the stony sea floor and like children playing some inane game, we would glide as close as possible to dry land before putting our feet down and hoisting ourselves to safety.

As birds rustling their outstretched wings in the warmth of the sun, we dried off some before strolling back to the town. A number of houses along the waterfront had been abandoned, some much more recently than others. One such house had direct access to the harbour via a little deck out front with a ladder leading invitingly under the surface. François took down the phone number posted onto the side of the building and called later on, finding that the house had an asking price of €450,000 which is no small sum. Ah well, one can dream.

Though broiling under direct sunlight, we walked the length of the town to fully take in the atmosphere of Halki and found a severely derelict abode. This one had clearly been uninhabited for a long while, as there were no doors, windows or roof remaining. The inherent sense of heartache that can be felt from seeing such a lonely structure was made all the more exquisite from lining up the sky and the sea where the two floors would have once met.
A long and relaxing lunch at the taverna Vasili's was filled with delectable dishes: gigantes (broad beans in tomato sauce), imam, and spicy roasted peppers stuffed with olive hummus.

Though we didn't rush over our meal, we factored in time for one more swim before the ferry back to Rhodes. Slipping into the harbour next to a couple of families was brought to a panicked conclusion, however, as we heard the ferry engines starting up. Scrabbling up the ladder slippery with algae, we threw our clothes on over wet bathing suits and all but ran for the quay, sliding everywhere in sopping jandals, where we realised that it was not our ferry departing prematurely but a different boat (presumably late to boot).
Once our ferry did cast off its ropes, I struck up a conversation with an English woman who was sitting beside me to pass the time and distract myself from my numb backside. Whenever she went on holiday, she came to Rhodes as the island was a reliquary for good memories (she was proposed to on the acropolis of Lindos). Our evening was a subdued one, with a late swim and a languid dinner of wine, bread and roasted tomatoes.

Today's post was almost called: 'Activate the Beach-Seeking Missile!'

Monday, 17 October 2016

Rhodes, part one: Pink Pantser and the Rodos Hummus Rumpus

Karpathos, Greece (Κάρπαθος, Ελλάδα) 
26 July 2016
Waking up early in order to squeeze in a morning swim, we frolicked in the waters of Kira Panagia one last time before having to drive to Karpathos town to be cooped up in a ferry for hours on the way to the island of Rhodes.
We hadn't spent much time in Karpathos town, as we had wanted to explore the rest of the island's treasures, but it seemed like a lovely place that was brimming with character. As the ferry set sail, we sunk into stiff armchairs and prepared ourselves for the uncomfortable journey. Along the way, the ferry stopped at Diafani in the north of Karpathos island, where we had eaten lunch two days previous, and then a stunning port on an island that we had no knowledge of.

After frantic Googling, we discovered that the wondrous port we had seen from the deck of the ferry was Halki, and was only 45 minutes away from Rhodes via a fast ferry. As we had all been enraptured by the windmills along the hill and the pastel-coloured houses built onto the waterfront, we decided we would have to look into a day trip while we were staying on Rhodes.

Rhodes, Greece (Ρόδος, Ελλάδα) 
Upon arriving in the port of Rhodes Town, we zoomed down the east coast to the village of Masari, where we would be accommodating for the duration of our stay on the island. Masari was in close proximity to a popular Rhodes destination: Lindos, known for its ancient acropolis. Luckily our village was a little bit inland from the coast, so it was one of the few places on the island that wasn't overrun with tourists. We waited in front of the church for our AirBNB host, who rocked up a few minutes later on a scooter, wearing nothing but pink shorts, jandals and his reading glasses. After leading us to the house he gave us a quick tour, speaking very quickly and enthusiastically. He told us the opening hours of the bakery down the road, and advised us not to eat out in Lindos.

Spending a relaxing afternoon reading and surfing the internet in our new house, we were keen to go out for dinner and stretch our legs. Before we left, we had an aperitif of a sweet pink Vin de Liqueur, which was insanely moreish.
Heeding the advice given to us, we avoided Lindos and instead drove to a waterfront town that was still touristy, bus less so: Haraki. With quite a few options for tavernas, we wandered up and down the beachfront until we were happy with our choice. The hummus was so delicious that we ordered a second plate of it, but a less successful dish was that of the "horta", aka boiled greens. I thought that perhaps there would be a bit more to it than simply boiling greenery, but that is exactly what it was. Oh well. The horta experience won't stop me trying new things! Alongside that amazing hummus, the highlight of the evening was the restaurant's view out over Haraki Bay, with lights shimmering on the water and a clifftop castle illuminated in the distance. As we had just popped out for dinner, we didn't think to bring cameras so were unable to capture the moment.

27 July 2016
Revelling in the possibility of going for a swim before breakfast, we drove a short way to a beach near Masari that was recommended by our AirBNB host. Largely deserted, apart from us there were only a few locals around. Two elderly women bobbed, up to their necks in the sea, and conversed with each other loudly in Greek the whole time we were there. It seemed like a good morning routine.
Requiring sustenance for a long day ahead, we visited the local bakery and purchased a loaf. Right after leaving, we decided we should also try a small sweet roll, so returned for one of those. The baker was friendly, and popped a sesame covered mini baguette into our bag for free! That sesame baguette was one of the tastiest breads I've had, so we made sure to get more of them on future visits. That guy knows how to keep the customers coming back time and time again!
We began our exploration of Rhodes by driving south along the coast, and found that everywhere we went was inundated by tourists and things that tourists might want: massive hotels, sleazy restaurants, and stores selling nothing but 'authentic' pottery (artisanal, if you will). Frankly, this revelation was mildly shocking after Karpathos and unwelcome. For the entire time we stayed on Rhodes, I held onto a glimmer of hope that we would find somewhere (a beach, a village, an archaeological site) that wasn't awash with tourists aside from our lovely Masari.
At the southern tip of Rhodes, Prasonisi peninsula juts out into the Aegean Sea. In wintertime, sea levels rise and the sandy strip disappears under a layer of water, turning the green bluff into an island all its own. Yet when we visited in July, the long sandy beach was exposed, leaving it free for a swarm of windsurfers, caravan-goers, and sunbathers to invade. Far too busy for our liking, we hopped out of the car for a quick photo (to capture how crowded it was) and promptly left. We still wanted to swim, so we started to drive north again, this time along the west coast.

Passing the Kastro Monolithos, a castle on a crag, we found a semi-suitable destination. The beach was extremely windy, which was definitely a contributing factor to why it was less populated than many other beaches, and also meant that the surf was pounding into the sand. I felt that swimming there would be stressful due to the powerful waves, so I stayed on the beach.
From there we carried on, our bellies crying out for nourishment. Following the advice of Lonely Planet, we stopped in Kamiros Skala, where the harbour was described as "very picturesque". This is the harbour that passenger ferries depart to Halki. Quite frankly, it wasn't at all picturesque. Sure, it was slightly nicer than a standard port, but it was really nothing to write home about and certainly nothing to warrant a photograph, which in my opinion is the definition of "very picturesque". However, we did find a taverna in which to quell our tummy rumbles and look out over the so-called "very picturesque" harbour. The area around the harbour was so much less than picturesque, with dilapidated greenhouses scattered around, their white plastic roofs torn and waving morosely in the breeze. How do you expect to grow tomatoes with shredded greenhouses?
On the road we took back to our accommodation, turning inland from Kamiros Skala, François noticed a sign reading "Ancient Kamiros" and followed it on a whim. The site cost €6 to enter, but we had been so disappointed with Rhodes so far we figured we couldn't be let down much more.

In a surprising turn of fortune, Ancient Kamiros was actually excellent! A city of Dorians, Kamiros' golden age was in the 7th-century BC, but earthquakes and competition from Rhodes Town led to its downfall before the birth of Christ. As you can tell from the photos, it wasn't a popular place for tourists, either - there were several groups of people milling about but it was nowhere near as visited as it should have been.

The layout of the ancient city was still plain to see, regardless of any earthquakes. Can you believe that this city hasn't even been inhabited for over two thousand years?! Plaques pointed out various area of interest, including a block of houses, a sundial, the main square, a bath complex and a temple of Athena at the top of the hill.

Rosemary bushes were prevalent along the pathways around the site, so I nabbed a few sprigs to spruce up our culinary efforts.

Continuing the drive back, we found ourselves passing through the village of Eleousa when our eyes were drawn to a great abandoned building. To us, it seemed like the building used to be a palace - some expansive residence with balconies and an arched colonnade facing the street.

However, after compiling some research, the building turned out not to be a palace or private residence at all, but an old sanatorium for Italian soldiers during the First World War. You see, Eleousa was a town settled by Italians. Another abandoned building nearby was apparently the old prison and police station. However, you should take all this information with a grain of salt, as I found no credible sources on Eleousa, so everything written here is merely conjecture. (But interesting, no?)

The peeling walls were an easy target for graffiti artists, some of who took the opportunity to aim a dig at Nazism.

Honestly it's difficult to believe that this was a sanatorium, as it's so beautifully constructed. Each room was designed in separate ways, with a distinct tile pattern on the floor (there was even a detailed mosaic featuring different animals in one) and walls painted cheery colours. One explanation could be that they don't make sanatoriums like they used to!

A few stairways led to the upper floor, but there was little of interest up there. I dare say this would make an excellent location for a post-apocalyptic film. After a little while spent exploring, we found that the quiet Eleousa was filling up with like-minded tourists passing through to see the deserted sanatorium and we once again retreated to our car to escape them.
Swim, rosé, sleep. The End.

Today's post was almost called: 'Convalescing in Post-Apocalyptia'

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Karpathos, part three: And For My Next Trick, I Will Headbutt a Roman Toilet

Kira Panagia, Karpathos, Greece (Κυρά Παναγία, Κάρπαθος, Ελλάδα) 
25 July 2016
Waking up early to have a quiet morning swim, we were once again shocked by how clear the sea was at our little Kira Panagia beach. The air conditioning unit in our AirBNB didn't work particularly well: it had been set up in the corridor, so we were forced to leave our bedroom doors wide open and even then the ambient temperature stayed high enough for us to sweat throughout the night. Even so, we were content in knowing that a wonderful beach was just down the hill.
After a quick breakfast, we drove south to Karpathos town in an attempt to find a garage where we could acquire a replacement tire. This was surprisingly difficult, and after driving around for a while with no luck, Fabienne and Yannick visited a car rental company to inquire there. The receptionist wasn't sure, but rang her mum up on the phone for input. They were given directions to a possible garage that was part of a petrol station (there were only three petrol stations on the island) while I had seen a bakery nearby and leapt from the car to get me hands on some bread! I was stuck in line behind an old woman who had a long list of different pastries she needed, but I got a loaf in the end and returned to the car just as the others were leaving the car rental!
Following the employee's mum's directions, we pulled into the petrol station which did indeed have a garage attached. A mechanic inspected the tire, too it off our hands and told us to return in a couple of hours.
With time to kill, we drove to the town of Menetes to continue our Karpathian adventure. With no car parks around, we found a place to pull over along the main street and walked up to a high point of the town: the church. We could see the tall white belltower poking up above the rooftops and figured that it would make for a first-rate lookout point.

The church (and subsequently its belltower) was closed, but we were able to gaze out from the footpath in front of it at the whitewashed houses sprawled over the hill. Fortunately we had just seen a painter, bucket and brush in hand, walk past after slathering on a new coat to the glistening blue railings, otherwise I might have leaned on one.

Selecting streets to stroll down at random, we became enchanted by the beauty and simplicity of Menetes.

At one point, we turned a corner to find that a Jack Russell terrier was frozen in his tracks, staring at us and silently trying to decide "friend or foe?" We left him alone in case he settled on 'foe' and glanced over a couple of tavernas that were featured on Lonely Planet.
As it was nearly time to pick up our freshly minted tire, we drove back along the coast and stopped for a brief swim at a pebbly beach north of Karpathos. And before we knew it, all of our tires were fully functional again! Only out of pocket €20, we were pleased with the cheap fix (though Yannick and I were informed later that the tire blew out as Fabienne and their dad were driving on the French motorway towards Paris).

Finding no inspiration for eateries in Karpathos town, we drove back to Menetes to feast at the Dionysus Fiesta taverna for lunch (great name!). The shady terrace out the front was very inviting, and as we approached a man ushered us in, asking where we were from. Learning that we hailed all the way from New Zealand, he crossed himself and then asked if we wanted the large round table. We were hesitant, however, as there was an aged woman already sat there. He explained that she was his aunt, and she relocated amiably, so we were free to cluster around the round table. I thought that for once, we might actually be able to fit all of our many mezes onto the table and still have space for wiggle room!
He pointed out which dishes were available that day, indicating that they used local produce and what was in season. We ordered grilled aubergine and courgette, briam (a dish made from potatoes, green beans, artichoke, pea pods and okra in a tomato sauce), baked feta and a local dish called macarounes (oniony pasta). Everything was lovely, including the white wine and the traditional cookie covered in icing sugar that was presented to us for dessert.

Once finished eating and drinking, we were guided inside where his childhood home had been turned into a folk museum. He told the story of how when he was growing up, his whole family lived in that one room. There was a raised area to the left where everyone would sleep, and the lower level was where the cooking and eating took place. The walls were covered in embroidered cloths, decorative plates and woven baskets. We thanked him and his wife profusely for their generous hospitality, and returned to our car as happy chappies. 

After driving through mountainous terrain for a little while, we arrived once again at the coast. The west coast, this time, which we had not yet been to. Finiki was a cute village with just a few buildings and a sheltered harbour.

For our third swim of the day, we dipped into the calm waters of Finiki, paddling next to Greek children in inflatable tubes.
Driving onwards to Lefkos, we kept our eyes peeled for signs directing us to the fabled Roman cistern. The definition I was taught for 'cistern' is the tank that sits behind the toilet that fills up with water. This is correct, but 'cistern' also refers to tanks that supply taps with water, and an underground reservoir for rainwater.

I'll assume this Roman cistern was the latter, as it was underground. We descended the dusty steps and were surrounded by ancient pillars. Great stone slabs were still in place above us, and some scaffolding had been erected to keep certain less secure slabs and pillars from falling.
On the way back to the car, Yannick spotted a doorway down an overgrown track and went to investigate. It turned out to be a cave that someone had converted into a simple house, with the entranceway made of stones that looked like they had been stolen from the cistern. On the way out, I wasn't paying attention to the low doorway and banged my head. I'm told it was quite funny to witness.

Figuring we may as well have a fourth swim, we visited a beach near Lefkos, but it was fairly crowded and so we drove on. Having heard that Achata Beach was nice (about halfway between our accommodation and Karpathos town), we headed there and found that it was beautiful, not too crowded, and the sea was pleasantly warm. Delightful!

Today's post was almost called: 'Fiesta Like You Stole Your Auntie’s Table!'

Friday, 14 October 2016

Karpathos, part two: It’s Lunchtime, By Poseidon's Trident!

Diafani, Karpathos, Greece (Διαφάνι, Κάρπαθος, Ελλάδα) 
After saying farewell to our rusted friend, the digger, we continued north to Diafani for lunch and swims.
On our way to the carpark along the waterfront, we came across a dry fountain with a dolphin curved around a trident (which is the symbol of the sea god Poseidon) and painted tiles encircling the sides. Though not a typically pretty fountain, we all found that we really liked it.

With a gaggle of waterfront tavernas to choose from, we perused menus along the promenade and eventually settled on one that offered a fusion of Italian and Greek cuisine, based off Lonely Planet recommendations and the attractive terrace where tables were shielded from the sun by a wooden canopy with vines climbing all over it. 

The blue decor fit well with the seaside location, and it was so quiet that there was only one other diner while we were there - a northern European man who read his Kindle, drank coffee and nibbled on bruschetta. A family-run operation, we were seated by the chef and he ran through the menu, telling us which dishes he had fresh that day. Our drinks and meals were brought out to us by multiple mates of his (or potentially family members), who sat in a small group sipping on beers in the afternoon laze. It was probably the most casual restaurant experience I've had, in a good way. We ate bruschetta and pasta, and Yannick and François picked flesh from fish bones. Once we paid and left, we saw that someone tipped out the skeletons onto the pavement to let stray cats eat whatever they could find from the remains. Two cats immediately jumped on them, just like how I react whenever I see raspberries. To revive ourselves a little, we went for a dip in the sea and the water was clear and refreshing.

Olympos (Όλυμπος)
Next on our route was Olympos, a hilltop town famed for its picturesque setting and locals selling folk wares. In ancient times, this was the site of Vykous, a city populated by Dorians.
Making our way along the narrow streets, we passed by several elderly women dressed in their traditional black garments next to displays of various hand-crafted items, such as aprons, scarves and quilts.

With houses all around us, stacked onto the hillside, Yannick felt that Olympos might be similar to what the ancient city of Gournia could have looked like in its heyday.

There weren't many other tourists in the town, so we wandered at our leisure, enjoying whenever we turned a corner to spot a stunning view of the sea through a gap in the cute white houses. We could hear the sound of music drifting out from a couple of different buildings, and peered into one open door to see a small girl learning to play some type of Greek string instrument that seemed akin to a violin. Before setting off again, we purchased peaches and nectarines from the little supermarket (they turned out later to be super delicious).
On the road back to our apartment in Kira Panagia, the wheel of our car struck a rock in the road and we had to pull over. Alas, a flat tire! Rocks were strewn all over the roads on the island, as rockslides were common. In fact, Lonely Planet advised against us driving further north on Karpathos because the roads were notorious for being difficult to navigate due to unpredictable and sometimes dangerous rockslides. With some help from a friendly Greek man who saw us and stopped his ute in the middle of the road to come to our aid (his entire family spilled out of the vehicle to stretch their legs and wait), we were able to get the tire changed to the spare and make it back to our accommodation. What a busy day!

Today's post was almost called: 'The World is My Raspberry'

Friday, 7 October 2016

Onwards to Karpathos: Atop The Slumbering Titan (The Corpse of Agios Diggyos)

Crete, Greece (Κρήτη, Ελλάδα) 
23 July 2016
After a leisurely morning spent eating breakfast out on François' balcony at our hotel in Mochlos, we set off in search of a beach.
A nearby carpark on the coastline was open to the public, but was shared with a resort catering to German tourists. A sign on the beach read 'ACHTUNG', meaning "danger", and it was strange to see a sign only in German, as often English also accompanied French or German translations. Fulfilling our need to dunk ourselves in the sea, we moved on to Sitia, where we would be taking a ferry later that day to the island of Karpathos.

In the lead up to lunchtime, we utilised a café's wifi and chilled drinks. Being kind Greek folk, they also provided us with a little plate of olives, bread and slices of cucumber! Making good use of the internet access, I looked up a well-reviewed spot for lunch and we meandered over to the restaurant: Inodion. It was a charming place, furnished with solid wooden tables and backgammon sets. We hovered around the tables and the entrance, but could see no members of staff. Once a waitress did finally arrive, she explained with the help of some old men at the neighbouring restaurant that they weren't serving food on that day.

Spirits dashed, we wandered around the waterfront peering at each restaurant's menu in turn until we decided on one that served dolmades, gigantes and Cretan spinach pies. Though the dolmades were dry (cry!) everything else was very tasty and we were able to while away plenty of time waiting for our ferry. In an interesting turn of events, we had asked for white wine and were presented with chilled red wine. Thinking there had been some mistake, after finishing the wine we asked a different waiter for a carafe of white wine, only to be given the same chilled red wine! Though strange, we couldn't complain because it tasted so nice.
Driving over to the port to check into our ferry crossing, we were told that the ship was late (as is every Greek ferry ever), so we returned to the waterfront to read and drink at another café. It was a day full of waiting.

Once aboard the delayed ferry, we read and shifted uncomfortably in blue armchairs. At one point we shuffled out onto the deck to stretch our stiff limbs and watch the sun set over the waves.
Upon arrival to Karpathos, we drove up the coast to the village that would be our home base for the next couple of days: Kira Panagia. Severely delayed due to our errant ferry, we met the AirBNB host's mum at a taverna in the village for the exchange of keys. In a strange turn of events, she would actually be sleeping in the lounge of our rented apartment that night as she had an early flight to catch. In order to be able to fit her into the car, we had to remove the boxes of wine from our spare seat and hold hem on our laps as she guided us up the windy road to the apartment. We were tired and hot, but we took the time to have a dinner comprised of melon, stone fruit and grapes that our host had provided for us.

24 July 2016
In the morning we looked out and saw the view from our AirBNB in the daylight for the first time.
What a beautiful place! #islandlife

Of course, we had to get down there and go for a swim. The sea was calling to us.
After dipping into the crystal clear water and then rinsing off at home, we drove further north along the coast to commence our exploration of the island.

Setting out on our expedition, we realised fairly quickly that to really make the most of Karpathos we would need a four wheel drive. We noticed a few roads that either expressly indicated you would need an off-road vehicle or looked generally too rough for our urban vehicle. And the roads led to beaches! Who knows what wonders we missed out on? At some points along the route we were able to pull over and look out over unreachable destinations (and in my case, weep). One such vantage point, however, looked over the village of Agios Nikolaos which did happen to be accessible via our standard Peugeot 308.

Before I get to the village itself, let me explain that the name 'Agios Nikolaos' was a ridiculously common one along with 'Agios Georgios'. We knew from experience that typing the name into our navigation system would be completely pointless as there were so many places christened after saints ("agios" means 'saint' in Greek). We would have to travel the old fashioned way: tracking our progress on the map, reading street signs and sometimes just guessing which way to go.
Now that I've delved into the Agios phenomenon, I'll stop rambling and say that this particular Agios Nikolaos was rather charming aside from all the wind. (Also, were you aware that good ol' Saint Nick was Greek? #TIL.)

After tiring of passing by off-road tracks that led to sweet beaches, we decided to test our car and give one a go. Now, it didn't have any signs telling us not to, and though the road was unpaved it didn't look like terribly rough terrain. We traversed several kilometers before reaching the beach, along a narrow gravel road that spanned a hill-range. At times I became worried, such as when I looked out of the window to find a steep drop just to the side of our car, or when I wasn't sure if our car would have enough power to make it up a steep incline. Worrying aside, we did make it without mishap and took a dip in the sea at Agios Minas beach. There was almost nothing around except a few freedom campers, olive groves and a single dusty taverna.

Resuming the drive up the coast, we began to head inland and came across our first discovery: hillside ruins. We were able to pull over very near the ruins, but didn't want to venture too close in case we slipped on the loose rocks along the way and tumbled down the side of the hill, rolling all the way back to the beach. The danger was heightened by the ferocious gale that threatened to teeter us off the edge or upturn my dress. The ruins didn't seem to be exceptionally old, though more modern buildings might have been constructed over older remains. If someone did build a house there, they would have a lovely view.

Our second discovery was an abandoned digger by the side of the road. It was completely rusted over! Who knows how long it had been sitting there, all alone. Perhaps, like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, his abandonment led to a fit of crying which rusted his joints together so that he could no longer move.

Just a few meters away, an old toolbox full of nuts, bolts and washers lay discarded. There must have been an interesting story behind the forgotten tools  - I can imagine leaving a digger behind as it's so large, but who would leave their toolbox behind?

And somehow even this sad, lonesome digger had an amazing view over Karpathos and the sea.
Stay tuned for the next instalment, featuring the pretty towns of Diafani and Olympos. 

Today's post was almost called: Just Sitia and Wait For Your Ferry