Each time we travel to Greece for the island hopping holiday we have to make room in the itinerary for a day or two of beaches and by the second day in Koufonisia it was clear that this year this was it.
It was another fine morning and today the restless wind had blown itself away and as we ate breakfast on the balcony the temperature was already beginning to rise. We planned a walk along the beaches this morning but before that I had to satisfy my Skopelitis ferry obsession and go along to the ferry booking office for a news update.
The news was terminal and immediately brought my obsession to a shuddering standstill. The Skopelitis had not regained its operating license and would not be sailing the next day. This was a shame because despite its dodgy reputation we had been looking forward to taking a ride on the old ferry especially because we nearly used it in 2008 but on that occasion managed to miss its departure from Naxos due to a misunderstanding on my part about the exact location on the harbour side. Now it seems its days are numbered and we will never enjoy the experience of what is generally reckoned to be one of the worst ferries operating in the Aegean. The good news was that there was an alternative boat which in theory would still make our connection in Naxos (tight, but with a few minutes to spare) and we could get a refund on our Skopelitis tickets.
Walking north from the village there was an almost continuous string of beaches like a rope of sand holding the island in place, a golden halo of wide open shore line punctuated with rocky coves and private sheltered spots and we walked along them from one to another until we found one that suited us where the ragged sand was the colour of a lion’s mane and where the water looked perfect for swimming. The sea was clear and the sunlight on the surface created leopard skin patterns in the wave wrinkled sand as we waded out into the vivid water, turquoise at first turning to violet and then almost mauve the further out into the distance and quite unlike any sea colour that I can recall elsewhere.
The swim was refreshing and cooled us down and after we stayed on the beach just long enough to dry off before resuming our coastal stroll. We walked across family beaches where people had picked their favourite spots and were planning to stay for the day and a hippie beach where untidy looking people were living in makeshift bivouacs in the trees at the fringe of the beach next to the road where they were probably planning to spend the rest of their lives and then we stumbled across the nudist beach where naturists were shamelessly stretched out tanning parts of their bodies where the sun doesn’t usually shine and we dropped our walking pace to a crawl so that we could take in the sights and snigger.
Out of sight of the beach we found our own private rocky headland and made our way out as far as we could and did our own spot of shameless naked sunbathing before boredom set in and we made ourselves decent and made our way back the way that we had come stopping again at the seafood restaurant for a rest, a bit of shade and a Mythos.
We returned to the apartment and although it was now early afternoon a young French couple in the room next door were only just beginning to show signs of life. They were like a couple of characters from a French movie – silent, quiet, moody and almost completely non-communicative as each did their own thing, he drinking endless cups of coffee and smoking his way through a packet of cigarettes, blowing smoke rings and contemplating the resulting shapes and she permanently connected to the internet through her laptop or staring blankly at her mobile phone.
Everyday there was a washing line full of clean clothes with what I for one thought included an abnormal amount of socks! I am not against washing on holiday, I quite like the smell of Tide, but it seems such a waste of time to be carrying out chores normally associated with home. My advice is to take two pairs of pants, wear the first pair for four days and then turn them inside out for another four and then put them in a dirty bag in the bottom of the backpack and repeat with the second pair!
There was enough material here for a complete Luc Besson trilogy, here was the first – ‘La Vacance de la Introvertis’ to be followed up I suggest with ‘La Maison de la Introvertis’ and finally ‘Le Jardin de la introvertis’. It’s sure to be a winner!
We spent the afternoon on the terrace and later I went to buy the ferry tickets at the office where a Canadian lady was trying to negotiate an exchange on the basis that yesterday she had to abandon her journey from Amorgos to Naxos on account of the high winds and rough seas which had made everyone on board the Seajet unwell and unable to continue she had made an unscheduled stop on Koufonisia. She explained to me in graphic technicolour detail just how bad it was and I was alarmed to see that when I purchased our tickets I was handed vouchers for the very same vessel.
The day slid effortlessly into evening and we had a final walk around the village on our way to a restaurant that we had spotted earlier in the day where we liked the look of the menu. It was back towards the beaches and from the outside it looked small but inside it opened up onto a wide first storey terrace that overlooked the sparkling sea that reflected the moonbeams and we had an excellent fish meal to finish our final night on Koufonisia.
If the ferry timings worked according to schedule tomorrow we would be moving on to Ios, one of our favourite islands.