Coming to Kythira

Jocelyn and I have traveled from the birthplace of Zeus, the Peloponnese, to the birthplace of Aphrodite, the island of Kythira (though Crete would dispute both of those claims). The trip over is easy — it’s just an hour-and-fifteen-minute ferry ride on a surprisingly comfortable ship from the port of Neapoli.

We are staying in Kato Chora on the west side of the island at an Airbnb in this building …

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… which has this view out of the front door (if you can’t see it, the white blob on the right is a church):

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We sit a stone’s throw away from this structure, which has a sign that says “Castle of Milopotamos — Churches, Byzantine Settlement”:IMG_2251.jpg

Our house has been built at the end of a stretch of what used to be a Venetian fort. This makes for tiny, winding roads leading into our place that are incredibly narrow. And we see crumbling walls and ruins pretty much everywhere we look.

We are a fifteen minute walk from the village of Milopotamos, which is a town that people around here really seem to love. The center of the village is marked by this clock tower:

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Milopotamos is a charming village in which to spend time. Unlike most towns in Kythira, it has a good number of trees. And it feels pretty rural. You can find everything from fancy houses like this one …

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… to this abandoned house, which has an old olive oil press in one of the rooms:

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This street leading out of town is pretty typical:

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But the strings of houses aren’t very long — about five more houses down in that photo, and you’ll be out into either fields or scrubland with goats wandering around.

We spent our first afternoon here hiking down to Kalami Beach, which you reach by a somewhat scrabbly path. The beginning part of the hike is easy, though you’re not sure what you’re heading towards. Then there’s a little clambering over rocky terrain, and you come to this view:IMG_1998.jpgAt this point, if you are doing this hike, you should turn right. This is important (unless you’re strong rock climber), because someone has kindly set up a rope on the path on the right to help you get down the final 15 feet.

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That photo makes the climb look somewhat more ambitious than it really is. We had no trouble getting down. Once we did, we were thrilled!IMG_2003.jpg

There were only four other people on this beach when we arrived, and when we swam around the bend, we felt like we had the place all to ourselves.

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We ate both lunch and dinner at Platanos taverna in town, where people sit out under the plane trees by the river, and where the Greek salad is one of the best we’ve had.. Some of the older men in the village seem to sit there all day long.

 

 

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We’ve learned quickly that driving in Kythira is crazy! The roads are either one or one-and-a-half lanes wide, so there’s rarely space for two cars to pass each other without searching for a pull-off. And when you drive through the little towns, you feel as though your mirrors are about to hit the sides of the houses (so our mirrors are often pulled in). But Jocelyn, who is doing all of the driving by virtue of her international driver’s license, has been doing a great job!

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