Euboia, Greece, nature

Archampoli

This name of the place in South-Eastern Evia is translated as the “ancient city”. There is no city, and even no village, only some remnants of the old mines and the polis that existed long ago. And a church. It takes about two hours by car (50 km) from Karystos to the tiny village Thymi, composed of around five houses. You have to leave your car on the ground road just above the village, and to walk down taking more water with you because this part of the island is wild, dry and waterless. Do not even dream about taverna or something like that – you will find neither a place to eat nor a shop. This land is completely abandonned, and that’s what attracts me so much in it.

It seems that the houses in Thymi look and are built exactly according to the ancient houses’ model. This is a small bit of the Classical period lost in time. There is a marked path from Thymi. There’s nothing difficult in following it, going towards the rocks over the sea. However, when you go above the rough dynamic sea, beware of the wind. It is really strong. And if you’re not gone with the wind, your sleeping pad has all chances to fly far and deep.

It takes one hour to get to Archampoli.

There’s a beach, and there’s no one on the beach.

Only the wind. And the deeply excited Aegean, ανακατεμένη η θάλασσα, and you rock on the waves and cry and laugh in purely childish joy.

You spend the night amidst the elements, and wake up with the sunrise, and realise once again that you’re a small human creature in a postcard that became a real reality.

Crete, nature, tourism

First time on Crete

Winter, 2004.

We took two ferry tickets to Rethymnon just before the departure from Piraeus and spent the whole night on the ship, me trying to sleep in my sleeping bag, he not feeling at ease to do the same. The moment of arrival was almost mystic: that was our very first trip not only to Crete, but also to Greece and to… Europe. It was still very dark, and the dark land of the Minoans was slightly approaching, it was hard to distinguish it from the dark sea. There were only the port lights and very intense aromas, a mixture of the ground, rain, sea salt, and sophisticated odors of the Cretan winter flora. We touched the land of Ariadne, inhaling this fantastic air. Slowly, step by step, we reached the center of Rethymnon and found one open fournos, where we took two Greek coffees and two tyropitas.

At dawn, life of this small town started to move slowly. We did not have any hotel or room for rent reservation. We arrived just like this, unprepared. Me, who by this moment could already link a couple of Greek words; he, speaking funny English. We bought a local newspaper with the local accommodation announcements, studied it for a while and started to call the owners. I felt very nervous and very unsure about our success, about my newly born Greek language, but we managed to find an apartment right in the old center of Rethymnon.

The owner’s name was Chrisoula, she told us on the phone that she would pick us up (we were at the telephone box at the old port). If you’ve ever been to Rethymnon, you probably know its traditional architecture, so we rented an apartment in a traditional house for 15 euros per night. However, it was freezing cold inside, so Chrisoula proposed us to occupy also another room, the one with heating, no additional fees. So we slept in the warm one and ate and watched TV in the cold one.

Chrisoula brought us a precious present: home-made tsikoudia. And after our supper, we drank some of this hot drink and went out for a walk, into – already and again – the dark town with its narrow romantic streets… And that was the best moment… we were laughing, we felt warm, happy like two lost, a little drunk souls, anonyms in an unknown town, on the land – huge island – breathing a powerful mythical aura.

nature, tourism

At the end of the world: Geraistos

Here, on the south-eastern Euboean coast near the Kastri village, you can find the harbour and the sanctuary of Poseidon Gerastios where the Achaeans stopped on their way back home after the Troyan war.

There is no sign at the place like “archaeological site…” and almost no human-made traces of the presence of the god. The traces are only natural.

Attention : those who do not love to cover great distances on foot, get prepared for the 40km trail or rent an off-road vehicle.

nature, tourism

Sougia, April 2009

Once upon a time, I came to Sougia just for one night. That was one of the most ridiculous and funniest trips like those when you come somewhere and can’t stop laughing. Because of a kind of absurdity which is difficult to explain. Sougia, that’s roughly a few houses and a beach between the rocks, on the southern Crete. The tiny village where I came by bus from Chania in the afternoon and understood straight away upon my arrival that there was nothing to do. But that’s a nice place for doing nothing.

There were a few Greeks at the bus stop, who hoped for some tourists. I asked how much would be your room. 11 euros, one said. Ok, let’s go. It was 50 meters from the sea, in the building the first floor of which occupied the local police office.

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The room of an hermit like me was very small, but I only needed a bed.

I had some time before sunset for a walk towards the ancient Lissos, not enough though to reach it and to come back.

Better to come here early in the morning. The next day, I had to return with the first bus to Chania…