Day Tripping in Greece No. 5 – Kalymnos

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Given that we’re not going on holiday to Greece (or probably anywhere overseas) this year, I’ve been reminiscing about places we have been in the past, and I’ve decided to do a top five run-down over the course of the next few days. Our days trips are all low-budget jobs, so don’t expect any stories about hired yachts or private beaches – there’s plenty of other websites that cater for those kind of needs. Anyway onwards…

Kalymnos is a Greek island which belongs to the Dodecanese island chain. It sits in the Aegean Sea between Kos to the south and Leros to the north. It is the third most populous island of the Dodecanese, after Kos and Rhodes. It is known in Greece for the wealth of much of its population and there are some very fancy looking villas on the island.

We visited Kalymnos briefly in 2016 and it sits at number five in my top five of day trips we’ve done while on our Greek holidays. We got the 11 o’clock ferry from Mastihari which is just down the coast from Tigaki where were staying. 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 admire 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 parentheses 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 wish 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.

Telendos island was once part of Kalymnos, but split off after an earthquake in 554 AD –

A few shots of a peaceful village we visited which may have been Myrties (I know I should’ve paid more attention, but it was hot and my brain had turned to mush) –

Then it was on to St Savvas. While I was trying to find the money shot, 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.

The view of the harbour from the church –

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.

Kalymnos is supposed to be good for rock climbing, and I expect its a lovely place to hire a car on and have a good drive around for the day.

All photos: Copyright 2016 Matthew Haynes

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