Next to Plaka was the village of Trypiti that had restored windmills and Christian catacombs that were sadly closed due to excavations and an ancient Greek amphitheatre that we missed because it looked like a long way to walk in the blistering heat of the afternoon. After a couple of Mythos I was much more confident about the quad bike so we left the high level towns and returned again to the beaches on the north of the island.
First we stopped at the seafront village of Klima, a little fishing community with gaily-painted boat garages cut directly into the rocks. The season was finished now and the village was strangely quiet but I imagine this place would be busy in summer with lots of activity, busy bars and cafés and the aromatic smell of fish cooking on the grills at the sides of the streets. There were a lot of these little villages all around this part of the island and before we left the north-west of the island we returned to Mandrakia, where we visited last year, which was similar but nowhere nearly as picturesque even though Kim had insisted it was and had directed other visitors here in preference to the much better Klima. Later she reluctantly admitted that she was mistaken.
We drove east back towards Pollonia and on the way stopped at Sarakiniko beach, which is one of the famous picture postcard sites on Milos. The island, like Santorini, is volcanic in origin but there the similarity ends because it is completely different in character and in appearance and here the cliffs are so brilliant white that from a distance they seem to be covered in snow. There are great swirling formations of sea chiselled rocks in the most spectacular and attractive formations.
The Aegean was rough this afternoon with a stiff north breeze and the wind was whipping up the sea into waves, uncharacteristic of the Mediterranean, and they were crashing with some considerable force over the rocks. Milos is rich in minerals and is the main source of the island’s wealth to the extent that tourism hasn’t always been very important here and at the back of the beach were an extensive labyrinth of old abandoned mines that penetrated deep into the pumice cliffs where once people mined for sulphur. This was one of the most interesting and spectacular beaches that I have ever visited but because it was overcast and cloudy we decided we would leave now and return tomorrow.
In the late afternoon we arrived back at the Nefeli Sunset Apartments and we sat on the balcony and wondered if there would be a sunset. This had been an unusual day of weather contrasts, quite unlike anything we had experienced in Greece before – high winds, blue sky, grey sky, black clouds and even rain and as we waited for the sunset we crossed our fingers and hoped it would improve tomorrow.
As the sun began to drop over the horizon there was a raging wind and a wild sky, black, orange and angry in a fire and brimstone sort of way so we prepared for a second evening out with two layers of clothes and walked once again back to the village where we had a second good meal at the same taverna as the previous evening. Later we sat on the balcony with a glass of ouzo and were encouraged to see the clouds clearing away and the stars beginning to appear. Only shyly at first but by the time we called it a day there was a copper moon and a clear velvet mantle encouragingly punctuated with the distinctive pin pricks of night sky activity as one by one the stars became more confident and began to shine more brightly.