Blue water, rugged mountains and wind!

Trip Start Mar 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 17, 2010

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Where I stayed
Elea Apartments - Kalamos

Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Friday, July 16, 2010

We flew from Cologne (Germany) to Athens with German Wings who were great once again and then caught a ferry from Piraeus Port, Athens to Kythira. The bus ride which is direct from the airport to the port was about an hour or more in length with some very scary driving!  The bus stopped in the port at the end of its route and we along with about 8 other tourists were still sitting on the bus wondering where it was we got off to catch the ferry!  Well, after vigorous sign language, we got another free bus ride back to the main stop outside the port which was fine for some of us – but we had to walk about 2kms with backpacks in the middle of the day in the HOT sun to the Lane lines ferry  to Kythira!

It was quite an effort finding our ferry or rather the ticket booth from which we had to get our boarding pass for the ferry even though we had booked online. Paul to the rescue; whilst we rested on the boat in air conditioning, he found the ferry ticket booth and then a of all things a Starbucks which we all were grateful for as we had yummy rolls to eat, and I had a frappe to keep me going! (they make Frappes so strong here and they appear to be a local tradition!)

 Kythira is an island located at the very bottom of Greece about 12 km from the end of the Peloponnese and on which Paul's grandfather was born.  So we had to check it out as part of the family history! We and also enjoyed swimming in the blue/green clear waters.  No worries about sharks here! They have beautiful stones on some of the beaches and they are marble or coloured and are really cool to look at – and you don’t get sand in your bathers sitting in the water at the shoreline! I do think the water is saltier and you are more buoyant – a theory the whole family agrees on – either that or we’re All getting fatter and more buoyant! Paul was told that Princess Diana swam at Kalkos beach which we enjoyed swimming at the most.  Would have enjoyed it more but there were some nude old people who shouldn’t have been nude.  Why don’t they cover up when a family come to swim?  We actually saw nudists the day before at another beach and I think they might have been the same people!  Not sure as I couldn’t "bare" to look for too long!!!!!

The island of Kythira seems to have had been fought over many times and occupied by many other countries.  It has an interesting history for such a small island!  There are ruins on the island of old cathedrals, forts and schools.  The people are friendly but you are still an interest item as you walk or drive by!

Finding out about how the villages operated, whilst trying to find out information about the Greek side of family was interesting.  The local villages only recorded births when they went to the main town of Kythira which is Hora (kythira) which could have been when the child was 6 years or even NEVER!  There would be people I was assured that would have been born and died in a village with no record of their existence.  The oldest son always took the first name of his Grandfather and his second name was the first name of his father.  This was the way of identifying lineage.  Many of the records have disappeared or have been lost with the many different occupations the island has had. It would appear that the English occupation was one of the more developmental for the island.

The roads are very narrow, and driving the wrong side of the road in narrow spaces was a bit scary – often you just had to stop and let a person go by as you both couldn’t fit and in some of the old villages there is only room for a narrow car through some of the buildings. It is even scarier when you remember that no car on the island – including the rental car you are driving – has any insurance apart from 3rd property. The villages seem abandoned and in disrepair, they are full of older  people whom are too old to work the olive groves on the steep mountains. Many families left the island in the early 1900’s for Australia, USA and Germany and they still own the land. This is probably why it is very hard to trace family background for under Greek law direct descendants can claim the family property. I am pretty sure that George Anthony Comino was from Dourianica and that we saw the old family house which is in bad repair now but was quiet a large house for the day.

We left Kythira via ferry and sailed into Gythio which was a great little port and town, very pretty on the waterfront.
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