I departed Amorgos this morning at 6AM. 3 1/2 hours later and I am on Naxos, with a four-hour layover until the Aqua Spirit arrives and takes me back south to Sikinos. The sunrise over Amorgos was lovely, storm clouds glued to its high peaks. I fell asleep as we left Iraklia. I woke up sailing through the Parian/Naxian Straits. Just in time to stretch, regain blood flow to my arms, grab my pack and head below decks to the loading ramp. I have dumped my big bag in left-luggage, et voilà, here I am…waiting for the next boat to arrive. It feels odd, having to backtrack on my small journey and be within waving distance of my Parian home. I am updating this missive in the ‘Captain’s Cafe’, a shady yet empty spot on the Port of Naxos. I have eaten an omelet (etsi-ketsi)and feel refreshed after the early morning boat ride.
If I had a month I could not cover Amorgos. With hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails, not to mention the off-trail possibilities, one could hike, climb, clamber, scramble, bushwhack and otherwise reconnoitre that Kykladic gem until the goats come home. Yesterday I ended up on what I thought was an established trail, but then noticed that there were no markers or paint spots. The way was clear, however, so I persevered. The afternoon grew longer and I eventually turned back. That is the beauty of goat tracks. I could have walked for days on end and never been lost.
Amorgos is charmed in many respects. There are three natural harbors big enough for larger vessels, and they have been long-established. No others exist on the island. The coast is too treacherous. I thought the terrain was too rocky and steep for an airport, but a café owner told me that there was a former WW 2 airbase that was, at one time, considered for the project. The Dimos scrapped that idea due to lack of funds. A small seaplane is supposed to begin service–who knows when? So for the moment it is an island that, although accessible, still retains an element of remoteness.
I rented a small studio from Pension Georgia which was clean, new, just off the port and worth the 35 euros a night. The advertised wi-fi wasn’t so strong but I ended up hanging out at the Akrogiali Cafe, just on the port. Very strong connections, friendly atmosphere and excellent coffee. They’re also open 24 hours on the weekends to accommodate the odd arrivals and departures of the various boat companies.
The food, per se, was very good, although I did have one dud meal at the Corner Taverna. It wasn’t bad, just so-so. I had a wonderful dinner at a small place in Katapola called ‘Kapetan Dimos’. The chef takes traditional recipes and adjusts them subtly. It made for a wonderful meal, different from standard taverna fare. Interesting and very tasty variations on tzatziki, fava and patatate, a stew made from potatoes and goat spiced with cloves and allspice. Next on the list was ‘El Greco’. I ate there twice, actually. Traditional Greek home cooking. Anyone who knows me is aware that this is my favorite type of food in general. Excellent kolokithokeftedes, taroma and merides. The third place was ‘Viktoras’, a very non-descript but satisfactory grill house. Tasty pork kontosouvli, grilled peppers and mezithra. I wasn’t able to make it to any of the tavernas elsewhere on the island, but a friend told me there are some fabulous places in Kamari and Vroutsi. Next time. Amorgos warrants a few more visits.
So here I am, waiting once again for the next leg of the hop. There is a small museum here in town which I’ll go visit before my 1PM boat. The ‘Aqua Spirit’ is an older ferry and travels at half the speed of the big Blue Star craft. I will read my spy novel, snooze and watch the islands slip by on Homer’s wine dark sea.