In the morning there was a huge improvement that I wouldn’t have dared to predict, there was sunshine and a slight breeze and the place was remarkably dry considering how much rain had fallen. Everywhere people were busy cleaning up after the previous night’s unexpected deluge and storm and it was still cloudy over Sikinos and that was a bit of a worry because we were heading in that direction later.
After breakfast on a sunny terrace we sat and waited for the morning to slip away and as we did so some more angry black cloud rolled in from the north and joined the lump of cloud stuck to the top of Sikinos as though it were made of Velcro.
This was one of those difficult, in transit, sort of days between islands when it is difficult to settle. The bags were packed and I suppose we just wanted to get going but it was a late afternoon ferry so we just had to wait and worry about the weather. We sat on the terrace of room fourteen all day and the weather progressively improved with each passing hour and by the time we went to the harbour to board the Aeolis Kenteris ferry for the twenty past four sailing the sky was blue and the rain was completely forgotten.
Sadly the Aeolis Kenteris was another modern ferry with airline seats and air conditioning and no access to the top deck to sit in the sun and we had to sit near some pretentious Oxbridge Rahs who were travelling on parent’s expenses and making total twats of themselves. Even though the weather was poor we were glad to arrive in Ios and leave them to carry on to Santorini.
As we arrived Ios looked dry, brown and arid and with a landscape parched and baked by the relentless summer sun it looked slightly uninspiring but we knew why we were coming back here and from the boat we caught site of our favourite beach and ramshackle taverna, the little church and cliff-top walk and then, once we had docked Vangellis from Homer’s Inn who greeted us with genuine friendship. It is an interesting fact that Vangellis, who is an ex-sailor, is a very reliable weather expert and on the short drive to the hotel he gave us a forecast for the next few days.
I understand why we in the United Kingdom are fixated with meteorological conversations but I don’t really expect it in Greece, but he explained in great detail about wind directions and what difference that was likely to make to daily conditions. “Tomorrow will be sunny with a little breeze”, he explained, “and the next two days also, but after that I am not sure”.
Homer’s is a charming hotel and named not after Homer Simpson but after the author of the famous epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey and whose burial tomb is allegedly to be found in the north of the island. This is something else that I like about Greece. Very democratically, as you might expect, each of the islands seems to have an association with a god or a famous person, Aphrodite in Crete, Zeus in Naxos, Hippocrates in Kos and so on. I like the way that in a sort of cartel sort of cooperation they have carefully shared them all out between themselves so that each one gets at least one deity or person of significant importance. We didn’t visit Homer’s tomb while we were there by the way because quite frankly I was a bit sceptical about its authenticity.
After we had settled in we walked back to the port to get some cash from the ATM and to check the ferry times back to Piraeus. So far everything had gone to plan but now, right at the end, the boat timetables didn’t match out itinerary and it looked as though we would have to make some rearrangements. This year the Blue Star doesn’t visit Ios so the only thing we can do is cut our visit short by one night and plan for a night in Naxos on the way back instead.
We had chosen to return to Ios for a four day stretch at the end of our holiday for a relatively long period of rest and once back at the hotel we wasted no time in getting into the familiar routine that we had established twelve months before. A visit to the pool a swim, a reunion with Martin and Lisa and with Robin, a glass of wine or two and then later a walk to the top of the Chora through the busy streets and to our favourite restaurant at the very top, the Mills, where there was grilled meat and squid for main course and complimentary ouzo to finish the evening, and I do like tavernas with complimentary ouzo and last year’s prices!
We felt curiously at home and as we walked back to the hotel the stars were shining brightly and I felt confident about relying on Vangellis’ prediction of a good day tomorrow.