I have just had the sail of my life: I covered 73 miles in 13 hours in 25 knots of wind, passing eight Greek islands along the way. In all that time I passed just four other sailing boats in the glorious late summer sun. Sadly this was the end of my personal Greek odyssey. I am now back in Marmaris Yacht Marina (yuck) preparing to return to the UK. Permit me, then, to conclude my Greek log with my stay in Samos, which is mainly a bunch of photographs for your viewing pleasure (they’re so much easier to digest than words).
I ended up spending over two weeks in Samos, mainly to wait for an old friend to turn up who was out visiting his parents aboard Barnacle Bill, a boat familiar to ftb readers! In that time John of ‘Odin’ and myself hired a car on two occasions and got to explore this fairly large and fertile Greek island that sits just a mile off the Turkish coast. Before hiring a car, however, I jumped on my bike and went for a cycle ride and came across this old battered car…
On that same ride I took in the old Basilica church, which sits next to a castle. The castle is being renovated, funded by EU contributions and was, as expected, closed to the public.
We hooked up with Geoff of ‘Ocean Gem’ who took us for a little tour around the south side of the island. The first thing we checked out was the famous 1km subterranean aqueduct, built back in the 6th century B.C. This is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is something to experience, squashing ones’ shoulders through the narrow entrance and burrowing ones’ way down under ground. Not for the claustrophobic!
After half an hour down there it’s quite refreshing returning to the open air and taking in the view across the southern bay.
Despite being 1km in length the tourist is only allowed to venture down a section of the tunnel. The story goes that the other half was dug from the other side of the mountain, with each team of excavators meeting in the middle. Alas, they missed by a matter of inches! Determined to find the other entrance on the other side of the mountain Geoff took us over the top of the peak and down into the inside of the island. We didn’t find the other entrance but we did come across the island’s biggest plane tree…
…which sits at the bottom of a footpath that leads up to the world’s smallest chapel:
Inspired by our trip around the south island with Geoff, John and I hired a car another day and went on a little road trip that pretty much took in the whole island and steered us along some very off-road tracks. We took it in turns to drive, pretending our Toyota Yaris was a Range Rover. Now at this point I should explain that John is an ex-rally driver, and drives like one, so I can only thank the heavens above that my turn to drive coincided with the off-road sections. John scared me sh!tless on the tarmac’d bits so God knows how much I would have soiled my pants had he’d taken me round some of those crazy bumpy mountain hairpins.
After loading the car up with beer from Lidle (at this point we wished we really did have a Range Rover) we pushed on towards the town of Samos on the north east side of the island.
After all that hairy driving it was a relief to get back to the local beach bar and sup a large, cold beer…
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