Tony & Cynthea Zurich, Turkey, Greece, Mallorca travel blog



Kastro, with Alex

with Alex in Apollonia, Narrow St

At Alex's flat, Apollonia

Today we take the bus to the island capital, Apollonia, about 4km away. We stay around the café garden most of the morning. Air NZ has FINALLY sent us our airpoints numbers (we got to join for free, so decided we may as well). We had to log in our trip so far to earn our points, it took a bit of sorting but we finally got there. Tony just had a bit of trouble claiming the Shanghai-Zurich sector, until he realised that the airport was listed as PuDong, not Shanghai.

Alex meets us at the Veranda Café, and we enjoy a coffee and chat, then he takes us back to his place to drop off our packs. We are taken on a drive to a couple of places on the island. Kastro is amazing, the houses are built pretty much on top of each other, you feel like you would be walking on the roof of the house in front, as you step out the door, they are packed that tight. The village had been built on the beach many centuries ago, but was moved to the top of the hill to be safer from pirate raids.

We ask about the colour of the houses, every one is white, with mainly a blue trim, sometimes green or yellow, and Alex tells that they are regulation colours and it applies throughout the islands. There is also a requirement for white lines to be painted between the cobblestones in the street, and everyone is responsible for the section outside their home. We walk around Kastro, Artemonas and Apollonia, through all the narrow alleyways, none of them named, and again we wonder how they find their way around (experience, Alex tells us).

There is a boat parked at the bottom of Alex's driveway, and he tells us there is a custom on the islands that every 1st of May, you take something from a friend and hide it somewhere on the island, and you cannot say where the item was hidden! It could be weeks before the poor guy finds his boat, as he isn’t local to the area. There is also another custom for a guy to take a large pot plant and give it to his girlfriend (we think that is how the story goes!!), and as we walk around the town we see that larger pot planters are chained to the posts!

Alex takes us to Narrow Street, and it is narrow indeed. Cars and motorbikes are not allowed here, but that doesn’t mean much here, well not to the bike riders anyway. At this time of the year it is quiet, but in the height of summer it is packed with tourists at the many bars. Jewellery shops are plentiful here too, as they were on Santorini, and Alex tells us that the work will be unique to that store, everything is handcrafted by the store owners. We have a beer at the café while waiting for the supermarket to open (pretty much all the shops are closed between 2 and 6 pm, though it varies from store to store. They are open until very late at night though. We get some meat, fruit, veges and wine from the supermarket and head back to Alex’s’ place. He has basketball practise tonight until 9, and Cynthea is going to cook for the first time since we left home. It is a bit of a challenge working the stove, but we get there. No microwave, in fact we haven’t seen a microwave since leaving home.

After tea we head back to Narrow Street as the bars are now open. We have a couple of beers and are home some time after midnight, it has been a great day.

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