When it absolutely, positively, has to get there overnight ....don't take the Superjet.
12.09.2013 - 23.09.2013
We wake up to more incredible blue skies. Today, we are supposed to catch a 10:30 a.m. ferry from Milos to the island of Folegandros.
But first things first: breakfast cake.
After breakfast, we pack our things and head to the reception area to check out. The desk clerk asks us where we are headed and when we say, “Folegandros,” he tells us to wait one moment.
He checks a computer, looks up and says, “Your ferry is cancelled for engine trouble. Wait one moment and I will find you other options.”
After a few minutes and a few phone calls he tells us that our only option is to spend the day on Milos, catch a 5:30 p.m. ferry to nearby Kimilos and then catch a 10:30 ferry to Folegandros, arriving on Folegandros at 11:30 p.m. that night.
Normally, this would throw me into a state of sheer panic, but instead, I am surprisingly calm. This is not a problem, because, really, where is the sense of urgency when you are in the Greek islands? Spend a day on this beautiful island or that one? Is either a bad option?
We are completely impressed with the staff at Melian who, in minutes, have found us a way to Folegandros that day, made the arrangements, stowed our luggage, arranged to extend our rental car another day and return it for us that evening, and tell us that we can come back to the hotel and use the spa to shower and change before heading to Kimilos.
With everything taken care of, we have a bonus day on Milos and immediately set about trying to figure out what to do with it.
Matt makes it clear that he wants no rock trekking or rope climbing or desert hiking today. He requests a beach with chairs, umbrellas, and a bar. I quickly scan my map to find a beach that fits the bill and zoom in on Agia Kiriaki.
We know nothing about it and that is exciting. We head that way.
Agia Kiriaki is beautiful. It is located on the south side of the island and is bordered by tall hills on either end. The beach has soft golden sand and the shoreline is covered with smooth, perfectly round, white rocks. The scene is striking: Green hills, turquoise water, golden sand, white rocks.
We have made a good choice.
We claim two sunbeds, order some drinks, and settle in for the day.
Our beach day is uneventful, so we set out for some adventure for lunch. We decide to make the drive to Emborion, where there is supposed to be a very isolated little restaurant with wonderful food.
It’s a gamble, since we don’t really know where we are going or what will be there when we arrive, but that is half the fun of it.
Emborion sits on the opposite side of the bay from Adamas and to get there, you have to drive along bumpy roads that literally seem to go nowhere.
After driving for about 20 minutes and seeing no sign of life, we start to wonder if we are heading in the right direction.
We decide we don’t care when we start to see the views. We catch glimpses of secret beaches below us, of expansive bays, and of isolated churches that seem to rise up out of nowhere and serve no one.
The end of the drive is a white knuckle ride on a one lane road with a rock wall on one side and the ocean on the other. No shoulder on either side. One wrong move and we are either smashed into a wall or in the ocean.
At the end of this road, we see a small building with a few boats tied up outside. A dog lays stretched out in the sun.
Is this it? There is not a sign and we aren’t really sure. For all we know, we are about to walk up to someone’s house and ask for lunch.
As we approach, we see tables scattered about the waterfront and it is obvious that we have found the place.
It is literally so far from anything that I don’t know how it could serve any customers other than the occasional fisherman that wanders by on his boat….but there it is. And they are serving lunch.
We sit at a table that is so close to the water that I believe our feet will get wet if a boat goes by and creates even the smallest wake.
The lunch menu is limited and is a bit goat heavy, so we stick to fried potatoes, pasta with meat sauce, pasta with meatballs, and a Greek salad.
It is only after they bring the food that I realize 1) meatballs is a loose translation because what is sitting on the plate is not very ball-like and 2) it’s probably goat.
No matter. It’s tasty.
It’s getting late so we drive back to Melian and take them up on their gracious offer of showers. It is almost time for our ferry to Kimilos, so we wait at the small port in Pollonia.
Kimilos is barely a stone’s throw from Milos. The ferry ride is short. They call it a “forgotten island,” as it does not get much tourist traffic.
We are going to have several hours on Kimilos, and I feel lucky to get to experience something unplanned. We arrive in the port city of Psathi. The small village has a few shops, an outdoor bar, and a few cafes and tavernas with tables strategically placed along the beach. It is quaint and welcoming.
The main town is a few kilometers uphill and uphill seems like a lot of effort, so we decide to do nothing more ambitious than walk around, drink wine, and eat for several hours at the beachfront restaurant that seems to have all the patrons.
I discover that this beach has the giant sea glass pebbles that I discovered on Milos and I spend a few gleeful minutes collecting a handful.
We manage to waste a couple of hours with lobster carpaccio, house marinated olives, rustic garlic bread, and Greek salad.
Before we leave, there is the complimentary mystery dessert: a delicious pastry dough topped with a cheesy, creamy custard.
It’s getting close to 10:30, so we head to the small café at the ferry port and we find a huge crowd watching a lively soccer game. We order some drinks and settle in to wait.
After 2 carafes of wine, a bottle of water, and an iced coffee, I um…well….I gotta’ go. Expecting the type of ferry I just took from Milos to Kimilos, where the bathroom is basically a port-o-potty with a mixed aroma of crap and diesel fuel, I assume my bathroom opportunity will be best taken at the café.
I find the women’s “water closet” and step inside.
I can’t find the toilet. I look around and sure enough, the toilet is missing and all that’s left is the hole where the plumbing came in. I assume there is a problem with the ladies room so I step across the hall to the men’s room. It doesn’t have a toilet either.
I have already spent 5 days growing accustomed to the oddities of Greek toilets. First, there is the fact that Greek plumbing is apparently incapable of accommodating toilet paper. At most restrooms, I have been forced to do my business and then place my dirties in a waste basket. As though this is not bad enough, there has been the issue of flushing. Greeks can’t seem to make up their minds about what type of flush mechanism they prefer and some toilets require a great deal of detective skill. It might be a push button, a pull chain, a foot pedal, or my favorite: the divided two button “big flush/little flush.”
I go back and closely examine the ladies’ room, half expecting a toilet to have materialized in my absence. To my horror, I realize I have come upon the dreaded Greek “squat toilet.” Yes. It’s exactly as it sounds – you position yourself over the hole in the ground, you squat, and you go.
Luckily, as a girl raised in the south, my mother has inadvertently prepared me perfectly for the “squat toilet” by teaching me to never, ever, ever, never, ever, never sit on a public toilet seat, so I already have the basic squatting skill down. I just have to lower it a little to avoid peeing on my own feet.
Which would completely ruin my cute new Sam Edelman flip flops. And would make me smell like pee.
Thank goodness I am in a dress. What would one do with one’s pants in this situation? As it is, I have to completely remove my underthings and hold them in one hand, because I don’t want to risk them touching the floor or getting splashed. I am now holding my delicates in one hand, feet moved as far apart as they will go, trying to stabilize myself by putting my hands on my shaking thighs, and lowering my butt as far down as it will go.
Please don't let me slip. Please don't let me slip. Please don't let me slip. Please don't let me slip.
This is not fabulous.
Somehow, I manage to make it through this mortifying experience without soiling myself or injuring a thigh muscle beyond repair and return to the table.
“What took you so lon---” I cut him off by just putting up my hand and shaking my head.
“Don’t ask,” I say.
We hear the ferry and look up to see what looks more like a cruise ship than a ferry. This couldn’t possibly be the ferry. It is huge. And fancy.
And I bet it has really nice bathrooms, dammit.
I have read that the sea surrounding Folegandros is particularly rocky and that individuals prone to seasickness should pop some Dramamine before getting on the boat. I am not at all prone to seasickness, yet I find myself fighting waves of nausea as the big boat dips and heaves its way to the tiny island.
When we arrive on Folegandros, blessedly vomit-free, it is close to midnight. My understanding is that it’s a long way uphill to town and that there is only one taxi on the entire island.
When I see the Anemomilos van waiting for us, I feel a rush of relief. I can’t believe it. We are arriving at midnight and the hotel van is ready and waiting.
Not only that, but the owner of the small hotel is there to meet us when we arrive, quickly showing us to our suite and leaving us to get to sleep. What amazing hospitality.
We fall asleep immediately, wondering what adventures tomorrow holds on Folegandros.