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'