The azure sea was smooth as satin, touching the endless sky under a veil of silvery haze. We walked under the engine for almost eight hours from Kythnos to Poros, to a tiny island off the coast of the Peloponnese in Greece. Time seemed to have stopped as we moved through the endless blue, but then a strange silhouette suddenly appeared. We did not take our eyes off him, and he slowly turned into a submarine tower. Its body shone like blued steel. This interesting encounter helped our minds switch from the sapphire universe to the real world and our imminent arrival ashore.
When you visit Poros for the first time, you will come back again and again! - Diane Gorch
When Ron sent Celador into a narrow channel separating Poros from the mainland PeloponneseI was struck by the unexpected beauty of a small town under the midday sun. Yellow and white stone houses topped with red tiled roofs cascade up a hill, and the white clock tower is a lighthouse that can be seen from afar. I am like a bird, quickly freshened up at the stern, and we went to explore the streets.
Walking along the promenade, I came to a winding staircase between two buildings, leading to the choir, the old medieval town. Shaded narrow alleys led me to a tavern in the garden, and I decided that now was the right time to relax. Greeted me Mariawho was also the headmaster of the school, her shy husband Janis and their mother-in-law is Japanese Murikowho was married to a Greek sea captain for about 41 years. How strange it was to hear Greek with a Japanese accent!
We chatted and chatted while Mary didn’t have to leave, then we Muriko continued the conversation with gestures and in Pidgin English. Muriko was born in Nagasaki, and she was 10 years old when an atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Alarmed, embarrassed and slightly frightened, I gasped ... she looked me in the eyes, shrugged her shoulders, and answered, as if nothing had happened: “Pearl Harbor".
Saying goodbye, I walked along the choir and along the embankment. There I was greeted by two sailors at a table in a cafe, and I answered them. Amazed, they invited me to join them for a glass of wine. Robert traveled from Sweden, a Anton was a charter skipper with many years of worldwide experience and a treasure trove of interesting stories.
It turned out he was an old friend Rhoda Haykell, author of the iconic Greek, Turkish and Cypriot water pilots published by Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson Ltd.and is recognized as the author of the most accurate cruise guidebooks. He shared great stories, trivia and cruise tips in the area. I wish I could remember everything he said to me ... the famous mountain "Sleeping Beauty" was a mistress Poseidon and mother Theseus... Patrick Lee Fermor - a charismatic author and daring commando leader who kidnapped a German general in Crete during World War II, once lived here in the neighboring Kardamene... and much more ...
I returned to the boat, delighted with my adventures ashore. And later we with Ron went ashore to explore the city. Strolling through the shops, I bought some lovely carnelian rosary and a scarf, and we had a good dinner at the seaside cafe. Apagio with excellent local food. We got back to the boat in time to witness the procession Holy day on the embankment, with Orthodox priests, sea escorts, and incense decorating the evening air.
The next morning the wind rose and Ron decided to stay on board. Anton told me about the little pilgrim trail that runs along the ridge above the city and how to find it. Climbing the steep path to a small chapel at the end of the ridge, I enjoyed the silence and beautiful landscapes everywhere, this silence was interrupted only by the singing of birds and the wind in the pines. About halfway, I took a wrong turn and had to climb down the ravine back to the choir.
I went back to Celador, where Ron stayed at the anchor watch; he thought that the anchor was fixed, and the boat almost "entered" the pier when another boat hit us. We started checking the anchor, but it was well set; luckily we just needed to tighten up the chain.
The next day we went shopping, visited Archaeological Museum on the embankment, as well as an exhibition of historical photographs of fishermen and their boats from the Second World War. Due to the upcoming regatta of vintage boats in Poros, we managed to see many of these restored working boats on the quay Porosa, where we strolled and admired the beautiful views. And so, we again found ourselves in Apagiowhere is the owner Stavros, and his wife, French Liz, and their sons prepared local dishes from products that they themselves grew and harvested. I took a red and green hot pepper sandwich between two slices of feta cheese baked in phyllo and flavored with honey and sesame seeds. Salty, sweet and savory ... it was delicious!
Legend has it that once you visit Poros, you will come back again and again! This is true. We went to Aegina for one day and returned back to Poros... The trek was short, only 15 miles, and we arrived before noon. Approach to Poros from the north is another beautiful view of the island.
After the boat was prepared, we climbed out of the city over the northern bay, past classic old work boats and a dilapidated mansion, and we had another great view of the city. We rested in the shade of reed umbrellas on a rather small beach, and returned to Apagiowhere we were treated to fresh bread, large green olives and homemade capers, using products from our own plantations. In the same place, we learned more about the history and sights of this region. Great time, wonderful people!
Later we went up the hill to the steakhouse and butcher shop Dimitri'sto sample local steaks for dinner. The restaurant was overflowing with Greek families and decorated with portraits of independence fighters Greece starting in 1821. After that we went down to the tavern Platanowhere the live music lured me. The place was noisy and the music was typical, Greek, with guitar, vocals, bazooka, violin and keyboards. It was fun to watch people dance in the Greek style. I walked closer to the musicians, from a small table in the gallery to a table near a tree directly opposite them.
The company at the next table was very friendly, and one of them reached out and refilled my glass from his decanter. The Greek dance began and they waved to me to join them. So I did! Then, they invited me to sit at their table, where they were Olga, Adonis and Janis from Greece, Gunhilda from Norway, who has been living here for 17 years, and Mick and Deb were British. I got back on the boat at 1:30 am ... a time I usually never see!
Getting up early, I went to church in Agio Georgiosto attend a Greek Orthodox service. The priest brandished his censer as he passed between the rows and raised an eyebrow sharply when he saw me; I was definitely not one of his regulars. There were two cantors who sang throughout the service; they started at 7:00 and still kept chanting until 10:30 after I got back on the boat, drank coffee and went back to church, already alone with Ron.
After the service, we climbed to the top of the ridge to follow the pilgrims' trail around the island, all the way to the chapel overlooking the canal entrance. The road down to the embankment twisted with each flight of steep stone steps. We stopped for coffee, and at the same time said goodbye to Anton and other sailors and commoners whom we recognized while we were here. V Apagio, Stavros gave me a large, fragrant armful of wild oregano as a parting gift, which he collected in the mountains that same day.
Poros became one of my favorite places thanks to the friendly locals. This is one of the friendliest and most welcoming places I have ever visited. I really hope that the legend of the return to Poroswill turn out to be true for me too!
Diane Gorch has traveled the world and has traveled over 10,000 miles, joining yachts looking for a competent crew. You can follow her travels on the pages of her blog.
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