31 October 2018

Kea - A Day on the Road

The 6th century BC Lion of Kea lies looks across the valley to the capital.  It's granite body has been beaten to a lithe slenderness by centuries of weather but it is still smiling.  What the heck is it doing here? is the question.
The island of Kea is the first on our hop, skip and jump across the Cyclades and Dodecanese to Turkey.  The "season" has essentially ended here.  We are anchored in, at high season a bopping place full of charter boats and 'yachties'.  Tavernas line the shore.  All but three are now closed.  The only convenience store in town also closed.  So it's very quiet. The main town on another petal of the same bay is slightly busier with ferry boat traffic but still tavernas are closed and three boats are on the long town wall.
Incredibly, every square inch of every slope of this hilly and steep island, unless marred by the building of innumerable villas, is manicured with ancient terraces.  They seldom demarcate areas crops or orchard but give the island a striped pattern.

We're not complaining.  After the hustle and bustle of the season, it's rejuvenating to have lower temperatures, fewer boats on the water and far less tourists at the ruins.  But it is very quiet!
The strange green-brown rock is the building material for the vast majority of houses and all walls.  It means the villas are well camouflaged but the house views became slightly monotonous.

The coast is windswept and extremely dry at this time of year.  This low scrub is most likely green in spring but now is more like desert tumbleweed.

The island has 12 marked trails but having a bum ankle has meant that I only lust after them in frustration and Peter patiently sticks by my side.  As an alternative, today we rented a car.  And it was great.  The island is amazing with great waves of high, steep hillsides.  Except where there are great swaths of rock, every inch is terraced with ancient retaining walls of the local stone.  Villas dot the hillsides, mostly lovely but some an eyesore as in all places.  The vast majority of buildings are built of the local green-brown stone.

The main road runs along the ridge joining hilltops, not along the coast which is like corrugated cardboard in its continuous rise and fall and hence much more challenging for the civil engineer I would suppose.  The views are stunning and dramatic.  Rocky coasts, dry with patches of green grass and stunted trees on steep hills rising to sharp peaks and descending to very narrow valleys.
The monastery on this lonely cape was closed.  The monks had an awe-inspiring view.

Milly at rest.

The main town and capital or Hora/Chora/Kora (As in many Greek names and words, spelling varies according to unknown-to-us rules.  Along with the Cyrillic alphabet, it makes finding our way and learning words a slow process.) called Ioulidha was a highlight of the day.  Sitting high in the crook of two steep hills, the white homes with red tile roofs seemed to tumble down the slopes.  The flagstone alleys were too narrow for vehicles and added to the atmosphere of a simple life from a past time.

The chora looks like a painting from afar.

During the time when pirates pillaged riches and kidnapped people for the profitable slave market, in self defence the people in the coastal villages on the Cyclades Islands moved inland to hilltops.  The chora on each of the islands is still located in this defensive position.

Being inland means that vegetation has a greater chance of survival.  There are trees, green grass and flowers, nonexistent on the coast.

The chora is built around nine springs each equipped with donkey troughs - the much more picturesque "gas station".

The jumble of chora houses built on the hillside.

Early a.m. start as we leave Kea.  The chora nestled in the hills and the villas on the coast.

The same monastery from the sea.
Kea is our first Cyclades Island and, so far, my favourite!

October 21-26, 2018
Anchorage: Ormos Vourkari, Kea
N37.40' E24.19'

1 comment:

  1. brings back great memories of that area. So great to see how much fun you're having!