with no people, we realised that we'd thoroughly underestimated the
number of taverna seats, more like 2000!
Within a half hour a few people started to appear in the seats around
the shore, and they were very smartly dressed. This is very odd we
thought. Within another half hour there were about 3000 - 4000 people in
the town, out of nowhere. They had all emerged from the church or their
houses to follow the procession of the town's saint down to the shore.
It was a huge celebration complete with music and fireworks, probably
the towns saint-day. What a transformation.
More and more boats squeezed in after us, as it is an Athenian weekend destination. It was a wonder that any fishing boats could get out through the nearly blocked entrance, though they did. For any cruisers following in our wake, it is possible to tie on the outside of the mole,
but we were warned that when the tide turns at night it sends in an evil swell and it would be untenable. It was hard to believe during the day, but turned out to be totally true, as waves crashed over the shore side taverna seats that night.
We decided to cycle along the shore to an old monastery. It was hot, very very hot. Well it is Greece, and it is August, and they always put monasteries on hills, we should have known better. It was a lovely cycle through a 7km wild camping area lapped by crystal clear waters. The only
facilities are a single natural spring. I bet you could camp here in June, and be the only ones here, but it is only a 2 hour drive to Athens airport! I paid for the cycle big time, with a mammoth headache, despite having drank about 10 litres of water. The monastery was quaint, and very old but the nuns were not too keen on showing us around (probably as we are clearly the wrong sort!) and they didn't speak any English, not that we thought they would. I asked why the faces of the figures in the church frescoes had been damaged. 'Turks' they spat in unison. It needed no translation.....
We are now in Loutra Edipsou, which has been a spa resort since
antiquity, Hadrian and Augustus took the waters here, it is now a kind
of Greek Eastbourne, as it bustles with purple rinses and walking
sticks, I'm convinced I saw Augustus walk past on the other side of the
street. I had images of a plush spa hotel with massage etc, but instead we
climbed down onto the rocky beach, where the spa waters tumble down into
the sea, and we had a wild spa instead. The rock pools are too hot to
sit in (about 50 degrees) but mixed with the sea water are an agreeable
temperature. It's probably the outfall of the treatment plants above, so
we'll probably end up with scabies and amoebic dysentery! Sulphur mixed
with eau-de-drain kind of a smell. People pay loads of money for marine
algae treatments, we just sat in it, in its natural state.
We had a look at some of the treatment spas, but we'd suspect a high
incontinence factor by the age of the occupants, and decided to save our
euros and perhaps our sanity, the incessant chattering would try the
patience of a saint.
We're now anchored in the large bay at the head of Evvia, Stuart is
fishing, but luckily we have lots of provisions as the catch so far has
been illegal..We're off around the top end of the island tomorrow.