We arrived safely in Milos yesterday around noon, after a fast boat ride that reminded me immediately of the difference in smoking rules between Greece and the US, namely a period of about two decades in relative second-hand smoke issues awareness. We were seated in a “non-smoking” section of the business class area (we would’ve chosen economy if we’d realized there was a choice), but as the smoking section was simply across the aisle and not in a completely different room, the differentiation was semantic only. Just a moment ago Ian smelled the sweater he was wearing yesterday to see if it should go in the dirty clothes bag and said “Ew! This is awful, but I can’t think what it smells like!”
“Smoke from the ferry?” I suggested. Yep, that was it. Goes to show how spoiled we are in Seattle.
We found a lovely little hotel by stopping at a travel agent on the waterfront and waiting while he called “a relative with a car” . . . dubious words . . . but the place is walking distance from the ferry and has cost us less than $40 for a double bed, a little fridge, our own bathroom, AC, a TV, and a safe, and a balcony. Ah, Greece.
Anyway, we decide yesterday afternoon, after our nap, that we would walk up to Plaka, an ancient settlement about 5 km uphill from the port of Adamas (reminds me of Battle Star Gallactica) where we’re staying. The main driving road is narrow and winding and full of switchbacks and insane drivers and screeching brakes, but, having looked at a map at the port at one point, we were aware of another possibility, a dotted line easing through a fertile valley past the obligatory two churches and flock of sheep, and up to the Kastro crowning the highest hill in Milos, through the back door, as Rick Steves would say.
We came to a road leading off into the valley and took it, even though it wasn’t marked (you develop a sense for these things pretty quickly), and it was perfect. We huffed along next to a series of ant highways, used so strenuously that they were actually clear tracks along the old stone road, teeming with ants going about their officious business.
The views from the top, of the sun setting and the arid hills and the glowing blue sea, were unbeatable, and worth the climb, and dinner came with a surprise dessert of cherries in syrup and candied orange rind in syrup (fortunately just enough for a taste because more would’ve felt like someone was serving us our just desserts). It was mostly dark by the time we made it back to civilization and fell into bed.
We slept last night for about 9 hours—it was the first time since arriving in Greece that we didn’t have anywhere to be super early—then breakfasted on yoghurt, honey, pear and almonds, took a brief stroll, and I fell back into bed while Ian worked and I slept for another three hours.
The afternoon was spent visiting an ancient Roman amphitheater near the top of the hill that we climbed last night, and some catacombs carved into the crumbling sand and pumice hillside nearby (the official catacombs were closed for repairs, but we peeked into one unofficial one that was definitely a catacomb and not just a cave).
This evening my brief fear that our early morning departure for Folegandros and the fact of our landlady’s still having my passport would come together in an unfelicitous way was assuaged when she arrived home to wash her husband’s wet suit on the verandah where we were eating bread and cheese and baclava (hoping to catch her, it’s true). He had been diving and caught a 2 kilo octopus! We saw octopus drying in the sun next to a café yesterday . . .
All to say that I’ll sleep well tonight, even though I’ve slept very, very well in the last 24 hours already.
And tomorrow: Folegandros! For who knows how long! (boats don’t go to Folegandros every day . . .)
PS—Happy Birthday, Gma Bea!