Mornings of any Aegean trip has the same theme: wake up (preferably not too late), instead of jumping under the shower, jump into the sea, sit at a café, have a bite, have a coffee, and another coffee and another one. Why should today be any different?
An insight to travelling in Ikaria: public transport on the island is virtually non-existent. There are two buses daily from Agios Kirykos to Evdilos that you can take if you want to go to the north of the island. The first one is at 6:00 am – really? I can’t think of anyone awake on this island that early. The next bus is at 13:00, which is fine, except that it returns back from Evdilos at 14:10, which means you have about 10 minutes to spend in Evdilos. And that’s it, no other buses. So what do you do? You try to get a rental car which there are not many of. (I ruled out renting a bike, as I have no experience and the island is very mountainous – I just couldn’t trust myself)
So after my third coffee, it was time to go and get myself some wheels. I first, upon enquiry, learned that the exception to the public transport issue was the Ag. Kirykos – Therma line. No, there still aren’t many buses that run between these two, but there’s a small fishing boat that shuttles passengers between the two towns. It doesn’t really have a schedule; it just leaves when it’s full – a bit like the Turkish dolmush, but on the sea. And of course, Therma being a very small place, just before you leave, the lady shouts from her balcony “wait, I’m coming”, and it waits. And so we did.
After a pleasant ten-minute journey, I was in Ag. Kirykos again. Ikaria is not a very touristic island and although the season is practically over, it is still not very easy to find a car to rent. They just don’t have them, that’s it. What do you want them to do, buy more cars? Neah, that’s just not gonna happen. After two failed attempts, I got lucky. There was one that was going to be available tonight. Cool, I thought, I can spend the day wondering in Ag. Kirykos, enjoying the beach, and can hit the road tomorrow.
So that’s what I basically did today, nothing exciting to report. Ag. Kirykos is a nice island town (town – village – town? whatever), but nothing spectacular. Nice cafés by the coast to enjoy your book. Few pebble beaches around – not very comfy, but the sea is much warmer than in the nearby islands of Samos and Chios. Nice people. Yeah, that’s it. Summary of the day: swim, have coffee, read book, walk around, have more coffee, plan the next day, have another dip in the sea, and another coffee – yeah that’s really it.
A little cultural note here: Although Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1827, East Aegean Islands still remained part of the empire. In July 1912, the Ikarians said that they had enough with that and revolted under the leadership of a chap named Ioannis Malahias. The Ottomans had their own problems like World War I, so as a result, Free State of Ikaria (Ελευθέρα Πολιτεία Ικαρίας) was declared an independent country on July 17th. Of course, it wasn’t the easiest of times. And with no dowry, no money, no family background, Ikarians had to be glad to be annexed by Greece only five months later in November. To this day, Ikarians are extremely proud of those five months and all around the island, you can see more Free State flags than Greek ones. The flag has a dark blue background with a white cross in the middle – basically Swiss flag turned blue 🙂. Now, if you want to learn more about the history of Ikaria, go check Wikipedia or something – this is not the History Channel!
It is the end of day 2. My wheels arrived at 7:00 pm – a red Kia Rio from 1992 or something, but who cares, it’ll get me from A to B. Today I also bought a hiking map of the island, so that’s my plan for tomorrow – I claimed the shore, now it’s time to claim the mountains. I wish I hadn’t been lazy and brought my hiking boots, let’s see how my Teva’s will perform < gently insert the product placement here 🙂 >. In honour of Eid al-Adha, tonight’s menu is goat casserole in tomato sauce and a nice glass of rosé. Life is still good, very good.