Kos 2016 – Day 8 – Kalymnos Ahoy!

Today we went on a boat trip to the neighbouring island of Kalymnos. I say boat trip – it was the 11 o’clock ferry from Mastihari which is just down the coast from Tigaki. It took about thirty minutes of fast see-sawing and lurching through the waves to get to the main port and capital Pothia.

We lurched to the nearest café with a toilet and bought a couple of diet cokes and used their facilities. Pothia was very Italian looking with lots of small square houses built up the hillsides and everyone living on top of each other in a small space. A big church and cross were noticeable landmarks on top of the hill and later on in the day we visited them.

Around twelve we went on a bus tour of the island. The official details are as follows, although I’m not sure how closely they kept to the itinerary (bracketed comments added by me) –

Discover the beauties of Kalymnos with our guide (the bus driver, when he’s not answering calls about an impending wedding on his mobile phone) … We pass through the main commercial street where there are several elegant shops (which close at 2 and reopen at 5).

We move on to Chora up to the Castle of Chora (which the driver will point out as we drive past and you won’t be able to see) and then we continue the tour to Apollon, built on the ancient ruins of the Temple of Apollon (which will you will see from the confines of the badly air-conditioned minibus but won’t be allowed to look around on foot. Make sure you’re sitting on the left hand side of the bus – that’s where you’ll see the most views and stuff).

The tour continues to the other villages, Elies, Kamari with a quick stop to dmire the spectacular view of Telendos (which to be fair is pretty awesome), the island of the sleeping princess.

Then we go to Armeos, where there are many climbing sectors (also impressive but viewed from a car park beside the main road. Good views of Telendos and the sea though) and lastly Massouri (the most touristic place – their parantheses not mine) and Myrties. (We stopped at one other place before the church not two, and it was a quaint little bay with a couple of small beaches and a van full of stinky garlic).

On our return we stop at Saint Savvas church to take photos of the breathtaking view of the island’s capital… (again a great vantage point which made everyone they had better cameras). (You’ll then get back just in time to see the shops shut, lol!)

I would’ve liked to have a look around the ruins of the Apollon but that never happened. We did stop at St Savvas which was picturesque and gave us some great views of Pothia, and the little bay we visited briefly was quite interesting. It was really hot today – significantly more than yesterday.

While I was trying to find the money shot at St Savvas, a bird flew over and dropped an egg which smashed in a sloppy v-shape over the cobbled path. I wasn’t sure whether the bird had raided another’s nest and accidentally dropped it or whether it had popped out of its rear end like some kind of Goodies sketch. A more superstitious man than me might have taken it has some kind of omen.

When we got back down to Pothia we only had time for a quick café lunch with some great and much needed vanilla milkshakes topped with cream and chocolate sauce. Then we got back on the ferry – there was no room on top so we sat inside the main cabin space with lots of sweaty people – soldiers, holidaymakers, black clad old wrinkly women and fat men with sweat beaded foreheads. The movement of the boat was less extreme nearer to the keel which suited Siggy. In fact I took a travel sickness pill before the outward and return journeys as I was feeling a bit sickly due to the hot weather.

We shared the minibus to and from Mastihari with a German mother who was flying solo and we shared photography duty with her for the posed shots. She was from Dresden – I managed to not mention the war. The only thing I know about the city is that the British bombed the crap out of it in WWII which obviously wouldn’t have been a good conversational gambit. Instead we talked about other holidays we had been on and how much we all liked Greece. 10 out of 10 for International Relations (perhaps wasted given the news about Brexit a few days later).

When we got back I was too pooped from the heat to go poolside. Siggy did a quick sortie out to the shops and I had a much needed 40 winks in the air-conditioned bedroom. The Mayflower is great for a 3 Star hotel apart from the noise at night. It was actually quieter during the day and I was out like a light and only woke up when Siggy returned.

After sitting on the balcony together and having a bit of a read, we went to the Sunshine taverna, which is under new management, for our evening meal (dinner/tea whatever you want to call it). It was great apart from a badly behaved sproglet playing up near our table and the heat that was lying like a humid blanket over everything. There’s no sign of it cooling down.

We had some cocktails at The Bar – I had a gimlet (having heard so much reference to them in Mad Men I was intrigued). It tasted of cucumber and basil and was served with a curl of cucumber in it. I don’t think I’d have another, although I was less offended by it than Siggy seemed to be by her White Russian which she deemed very poor. The Bar is all style and no substance and is inferior to the More|Meni bar which I think I owned by the same people.

Then we ventured into uncharted territory and visited Mango cocktail bar which is part of the row of establishments on the beach front, a few doors down from Rooster Bar. It was cheap and cheerful with a characterful owner who quoted Rocky scenes to us and told us about their Elvis night. He was great but the toilets were a disgrace – both urinals blocked and stinking.

After the cocktails I hit a wall. All the drinking, the heat and the insects got the better of me. Having seen a portion of the Portugal game (which ended 3-3) in Sunshine we decided not to watch any more football and make our way home. We did stop off in one last café bar at the front of some apartments opposite Aspiros Mylos for a small Amstel (me) and a grasshopper (Siggy) because it was empty and looked airy. So I did get to see a bit of the Sweden v Belgium match. I had Belgium (along with England) in a sweepstake at work, but wish I had picked out Wales. I pulled Germany out for Siggy which seemed like a team more likely to win. The girl at the bar seemed pleased to have customers and shortly after another couple came along.

There’s a lot of talk among the local business owners and the holidaymakers about the UK media’s handling last year of the stories surrounding the refugees arriving at Kos (and Lesbos etc.) and how that has detrimentally impacted on the number of visitors to the island. During the day the beach and at night the main strip does seem noticeably quieter than the same time last year.

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