Written by beckyt on 15 Jun, 2004
Over an early dinner on my first night in Pithagorio I sat reading my tour guides and noticed that one mentioned a lovely waterfall, about 10-15 minutes walk from Pithagorio. I decided that early the next morning (about 7am – to beat the heat) I…Read More
Over an early dinner on my first night in Pithagorio I sat reading my tour guides and noticed that one mentioned a lovely waterfall, about 10-15 minutes walk from Pithagorio. I decided that early the next morning (about 7am – to beat the heat) I would walk up the steep road out of Pithagorio and try and locate this waterfall. The book didn’t really give much of a description on the waterfall, or directions, but I thought I’d give it a go anyway. I’m not really one for visiting archaeological sites, to be honest I don’t really enjoy going to them, and certainly don’t like pretending I’m enjoying them either. But give me a natural site and I will go there and wont even have to feign interest! So anyway, on this note of enthusiasm I closed my book and realised that the alarm clock I’d found in the hotel room would come in handy after all.
The next morning after an early night, I was up and walking by about 7.30am. The sun was already threatening to overheat me at that early stage in the day but I wasn’t going to give up that easily. As far as I could tell there was only one main road leading out of Pithagorio, and this was the one that the taxi had come in on the day before, so I kind of knew where I was going. After about half an hour of walking, I was out of breath climbing the steep road and was still within the limits of the town. And no sign of any waterfall, or for that matter no sign of any signs for a waterfall. I decided that the book must have meant 10-15mins walk from the edge of the town so kept walking for another hour or so. There was still no waterfall. I stopped for a drink and a rest and took a couple of photos of the view of Pithagorio and the bay and while I was there a noticeably tourist jeep pulled up beside me and the tourists (English) jumped out. I asked them had they seen any evidence of a waterfall further up the road, and they said no they hadn’t, although there was one, about 10-15km away, near a place called Karlovasi.
Fuming and spitting, I headed back down the hill into the town again and consoled myself that I COULD read and that it was the damn book that was wrong. To this day I still don’t know if there is a waterfall anywhere near Pithagorio, or if I had the one copy of the particular book that reckons there is one there.
On arrival, at 8am in the morning, I was so tired that with a quick cursory look around I wrote off the place as having nothing to offer. This view wasn’t helped by the early troubles I had finding a room. "It’s peak season .…Read More
On arrival, at 8am in the morning, I was so tired that with a quick cursory look around I wrote off the place as having nothing to offer. This view wasn’t helped by the early troubles I had finding a room. "It’s peak season . . . we have nothing available" became my most heard statement of the next hour. Eventually, on the verge of giving up and returning to Vathy, I spotted a hotel down one of the side streets leading off from the harbour and resigned to another refusal decided to give it a try. And to my astonishment, they had a free room! Yippee!!
Although, at 7000drs per night, it was a lot more than I was hoping to pay, I took the room straight away and soon was having a lovely hot shower to wash away the journey. The room was typically Greek, with brilliant white walls, and sparsely furnished. It had just two beds and a wardrobe in the bedroom, a table and two chairs on the balcony and the usual in the bathroom. But who cares anyway, I wasn’t on holiday to admire the furnishings! The one piece of furniture, which I wasn’t expecting to find, however was a small alarm clock besides the bed. Strange, I thought, not the usual extra you’d find in a Greek hotel.
An hour or so later, I was refreshed and ready to go exploring with a more positive outlook. It didn’t take long for me to completely change my view on the place. Pithagorio or Pythagorio, which used to be called Tigani is one of the main tourist resorts on the island. Even so, there really isn’t much of a tourist scene there. The area was nearly completely abandoned during the period of Turkish rule and is only now starting to grow and prosper again. Today the population is around 1500 inhabitants, making it a nice sized town. It has a real mixture of architecture, with a mix of old and modern houses thrown in together, and no horrible tourist hotels. . .yet. The town is made up of narrow streets, winding off from the quaint and very quintessentially Greek harbour, lined with tavernas, coffeeshops and tables set out under the trees. I love these little Greek harbours. I love the way that there is always a little taverna or café where you can while away the afternoon, watching the world go by. And there was plenty to see here. Pithagorio is actually one of the three ports on the island and as I soon found out the boats/ferries heading for the Dodecanese Islands left from here. This was especially handy for me to know since I already knew that’s where I would be heading for next. The harbour, therefore was a lot busier that I’d thought it would be initially.
After a quick breakfast, I decided to go off and locate a beach. This didn’t take long as the nearest beach was only about a 3 minute walk from the harbour. The beach itself wasn’t the nicest I’ve seen on my Greek Island travels, but it wasn’t the worst either. The beach was made up of a thin sand and small pebble mix and in the water it was mainly pebbly. Although this meant that walking barefoot became a painful experience, the swimming was brilliant. The water was as clear as glass and although I didn’t have a snorkel with me, I’d say that the conditions must have been perfect for viewing the underwater life. This was also helped by the amazingly calm conditions of the sea. The beach was quite a narrow small affair, but was lined with trees (giving good shade) and there was a taverna at the back, for refreshments and ice cream.
Picking Samos turned out to be a good choice as in traveling there I would be taken right across the Aegean Sea, nearly all the way to the Turkish coast. In fact, Samos is only 2km from Turkey at its closest point, but to be…Read More
Picking Samos turned out to be a good choice as in traveling there I would be taken right across the Aegean Sea, nearly all the way to the Turkish coast. In fact, Samos is only 2km from Turkey at its closest point, but to be honest, as far as I could see, Samos could be 2km of the coast of France for all the Turkish influence in evidence.
Samos is a very green island, being covered in evergreen forests, much of which I think is cyprus trees. It makes a much-welcomed change to the barren, almost desert-like landscapes of the Dodecanese Islands, which I was used to. The architecture of the island was also very different to what I was used to. Gone were the sugar cube style villas nestled around bays, and climbing mountain sides, and in were large elegant villas, with red-slated roofs sprawled out on large plots of land, with green well looked after gardens. The difference in architecture shocked me really, for the first time in all my visits to the Greek Islands I was seeing something completely different to what I considered was the stereotype.
Samos has a rich and colourful history, at one stage becoming a great naval power, with its own colonies. A new type of boat was designed and built on the Island during the same period, aptly named the Samaina. Samos, due to its considerable power, managed to maintain its independence in the wars which ravaged the region throughout the years despite the battles waged to conquer it, and surprisingly managed to flourish too. Due to this, Samos was often seen as a bridge between Greece and Asia (mainly Turkey). That was perhaps one of the reasons that caused Samos to produce so many men of genius as well as great artists such as the philosopher, musician and mathematician, Pythagoras.
Now everyone that ever did geometry in maths must have heard of this fella. Does ‘the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides’ (or something like that) ring any bells?
Today, Samos is regarded as one of the most beautiful of the Greek Islands and it is still very traditional, with many local people of the island still working and making a living in the ways of their ancestors. Thankfully and strangely also, the island has so far been missed by the tourists and the horrible big hotels of some of the other island are missing. Hopefully this will stay the way for years to come. At the same time though, the island is used to backpackers etc coming through and there is plenty of domatia style accommodation around if you are prepared to go looking for it.
At the root of it all though, the island is still very much influenced by its past, although this past is often contradictory. On the one hand there are the temples for the Greek gods and goddesses still scattered around – the romantic mythical history; and on the other hand, there are the still remaining mathematical, logical and scientific theorems of the many great native Samos geniuses. This can lead to some very mixed local legends, for example: In the pitch - black nights of winter, when the fishermen pass by the wind-buffeted and sheer slopes of Mt. Kerkis, the highest mountain of Samos, they say they see a light up to the peak which like a lighthouse guides them on a safe course during a storm. They even say that the light is the spirit of Pythagoras. It is a mix of romanticism and realism if ever there was one!!!
After four days of sunbathing and wandering the streets of Naxos, getting sunburnt, and then recovering; I decided it was time to move on. So with much deliberation, and with bags and guidebooks in hand, I sat for my last cocktail evening in the same…Read More
After four days of sunbathing and wandering the streets of Naxos, getting sunburnt, and then recovering; I decided it was time to move on. So with much deliberation, and with bags and guidebooks in hand, I sat for my last cocktail evening in the same bar in which I’d started my Naxos adventure. Eventually, I selected a list of islands that seemed like logical places to go in order to head in a general circle around the Aegean Sea and end up back at Athens. This took quite some time but eventually I came up with a list of about 10 possible choices. After finishing my lovely cocktail I headed down to the harbour to buy a ticket for the next ferry to any one of my 10 choices. That island turned out to be Samos and there was a ferry leaving later the same evening -- perfect planning if I say so myself! And as I had a few hours to kill, I headed back to the bar for more cocktails and to watch the gorgeous Naxos sunset.
The ferry, when it arrived late at 10.30pm, turned out to be one of the smaller Greek variety, which means no cars (although motorbikes etc can be taken onboard, if the owner can persuade people to help him carry it on!) and limited indoor seating. I didn’t mind though, the many cocktails I had inside me persuaded me that the fresh air and spacious, wooden benches would be much more comfortable . . . and this was the case until I woke up at three in the morning, freezing cold and with more bruises and bumps than I could count!!! A quick fumble in my rucksack found me a jumper and trousers and a big towel that was thankfully dry to use as a blanket. Three hours on again and I woke up even more cold and so bruised that to get back to sleep was well out of the question. It didn’t matter though because by this stage we were nearing Samos and the sun was just starting to appear across the mountains and it was spectacular to say the least.
I quickly forgot the pain and cold of the journey and joined some of the other travelers at the rail to take photos of the scenery and exchange pleasantries. And this was where I started talking to a really nice Danish couple who were heading to Pithagorio on arrival. I decided to tag along in their taxi (which they didn’t mind at all), since I’d forgotten to plan this far ahead, in my alcoholic planning session the night before!
The boat finally docked at about 8am after much confusion about where it was meant to park in the harbour, but eventually we got off, stretching and yawning. To this day I’m not sure where the ferry goes to in Samos . . . but I think it was the main town, Vathy. It didn’t matter anyway, as we got straight into a taxi to head to Pithagorio. As I was so tired and grumpy I decided without even giving the place a chance that Pithagorio was a dump. However, after finding a room, having a shower and changing to new clothes, I changed my mind.
Written by Peter Reed on 17 May, 2003
The Pythagorio region has the main archaeological sites. Close by is the Tunnel of Eupalinus - this is an aqueduct built underground in around 564BC. A visit costs four euros - beware the entrance is very narrow down about five steep steps and then there…Read More
The Pythagorio region has the main archaeological sites. Close by is the Tunnel of Eupalinus - this is an aqueduct built underground in around 564BC. A visit costs four euros - beware the entrance is very narrow down about five steep steps and then there is the tunnel. The public access extends for about 500 metres.
Close by is the Monastery Spiliani with glorious views over the coastline. Within a cave is a small chapel. It is requested that modest dress is worn when visiting.
Also at Pythagorio is a castle perched on a headland overlooking the sea.
Nearby at Ireon is the Temple of Heraion - a very large site of ruins. The dimensions and the wealth of the temple exceeded all others in antiquity;the lavish dedications from distant lands which have been found here show the relations Samos had with far-flung outposts of the civilised world.
There are various museums of antiquity throughout the island: at Mitilini is the Palaeonthological Museum with fossils and remains of animals that lived on Samos in prehistoric times. In Samos town can be found the Archaeological Museum as well as the Byzantine Ecclesiastical Museum.
After another day on the small Pithagorio town beach, I went into the town to ring home and let them all know I was still alive and well. My mum was glad I was still alive and let me know that the rest of the…Read More
After another day on the small Pithagorio town beach, I went into the town to ring home and let them all know I was still alive and well. My mum was glad I was still alive and let me know that the rest of the family was to be in Rhodes for two weeks, and their holiday was to start only a week away. She wanted to know if I’d be able to get to Rhodes in time to at least see them for a couple of days. I decided there and then to get the next boat heading south from Samos. Luckily for me there was a boat heading for Patmos later that night (3am actually) that I’d be able to catch. So again I packed my bags and then went down to the harbour area to have some dinner and a couple of cocktails, before getting a few hours kip. I had to have a laugh at the knowledge that the handy little alarm clock was to be used again, twice in one day!
At half past two in the morning, I was woken by the insistent blaring of the clock and hurried to organise myself, only to realise that I’d been really stupid and washed my towel and trousers and jumper the evening before, and as I’d washed them so late they were still soaking wet. I knew then that I was going to have a very unenjoyable trip to Patmos. As I stepped out of the hotel though, I realised that my potentially unenjoyable journey was going to be even more a nightmare than I’d thought. The wind had really picked up and it was strangely cold for the tail end of July. Regretting the decision to leave so soon I stumbled down the harbour and got on the boat. It didn’t make me feel any better at all to see the other back packers all warm and cozy in their jumpers and sleeping bags etc!
And so began the coldest, nastiest journey of my life. The wind picked up when we were out to sea and so not only was I freezing cold but also having to listen to poor random people being violently ill over the side of the boat. I thanked god that I don’t get sea sick as I sat there shivering; that really would have been the straw that broke the camels’ back that night! So, a word of advice, if you have to get a night ferry . . . be prepared, take warm clothes!
Written by Peter Reed on 16 May, 2003
Various wildlife can be encountered. At Potami watch underfoot, see chameleons. You may turn a corner to come across a goatherd. Near the Melissa apartments are some small farms - one which includes a couple of ostrich - they like to be fed the grass…Read More
Various wildlife can be encountered. At Potami watch underfoot, see chameleons. You may turn a corner to come across a goatherd. Near the Melissa apartments are some small farms - one which includes a couple of ostrich - they like to be fed the grass from just outside their compound. Everywhere are cats on the lookout for scraps. Many are very young and already pregnant. One UK tour company - Laskarina - is doing what they can by bringing in vets to neuter the cats but that takes time - if only to catch them. Close
These are just some of the beautiful flowers that adorn the island at every turn. As well as the wild flowers, many gardens are carefully kept with Geraniums, Roses, and, of course fruit and vines. The profusion of flowers accounts for the production of the…Read More
These are just some of the beautiful flowers that adorn the island at every turn. As well as the wild flowers, many gardens are carefully kept with Geraniums, Roses, and, of course fruit and vines. The profusion of flowers accounts for the production of the delicious local honey - the bees are spoilt for choice when gathering nectar. And the vines produce some superb wines - particularly Samena Gold. Close
We toured up in the mountains to the beautiful village of Manolates. A steep climb but the views are worth it. Little narrow streets with flowers everywhere hanging from the houses and in pots along the streets. Also visited the waterfalls at Potami in the…Read More
We toured up in the mountains to the beautiful village of Manolates. A steep climb but the views are worth it. Little narrow streets with flowers everywhere hanging from the houses and in pots along the streets. Also visited the waterfalls at Potami in the northwest of the island. A lovely wooded walk but be prepared to wade through water to get to best bits - we weren't! Atop some mountains are perched ancient monasteries, but hire jeeps to get there - rough mountain tracks. Close
Written by poppy platias on 02 Apr, 2009
Platanos is a small village high above sea level in Samos where you can afford to slow down and draw a deep breath before being thrown into the hustle and bustle of more touring.The appeal of this village is of its great vista over the…Read More
Platanos is a small village high above sea level in Samos where you can afford to slow down and draw a deep breath before being thrown into the hustle and bustle of more touring.The appeal of this village is of its great vista over the sea,the warm people who live here and its close proximity to sea,main towns and of course the magnificent forests that surround the village. Wander through the village and you will soon find yourself in the old quarter where a church built in Byzantium times still stands. Original frescoes and achitectural details are remarkably present .Meander through the laneways and peek into homes to see into the world of the villagers...most viniculturists who tend to their vines and produce some of the best grapes in Samos.Listen to their stories as you sit in the plateia eating meze and sipping on some fine Samos wine and you will discover how deep the history goes in this village...how vibrant and generous the people of Platanos actually are. The famous tap of Platanos pours pure crisp water round the clock and is a famous landmark.Other things to see include the neo classical design of the school in the village.Take the track down to the outdoor washing pools where women used to wash the clothes by hand.The terraced fields in neat rows bright green in the sun add a calm sense that all is well within the world of nature. By night, indulge in fresh cooked produce in the main square or at Horizon Taverna which sits on the edge of the village in full view of the sea and dramatic Mt Kerkis.Be there at sunset and watch the sky burn a million shades of orange.The family run restaurant offers meals cooked with what is in season grown on their land. The food is ripe with flavour and coupled with the view makes for a very relaxing experience. In close proximity is Balos beach around 15 min by car.Best time to come is in the late afternoon when the crystal clear water has been warmed by the sun.On return to Platanos head to the plateia for a cool frappe before shopping at the gift store for handmade rugs (woven on the premises) and pottery. Platanos is actually a great base for further exploration of the surrounds in this part of the island.Oh and if you have the time offer your services to a family who tends to their land and experience the true meaning of greece. Close