May 2, 2015
Here’s a brief discussion:
“You have a strategic decision to make,” observed my New York friend David L. when I told him of my upcoming journey to Athens and The Balkans.
“I have already made that decision,” I responded. “As an alternative to sailing east from Athens to visit the ever popular Greek Islands, I am driving west to the Peloponnese peninsula. I anticipate a destination of rich diversity and ample rewards.”
But, once on the Peloponnese, I cannot resist at least one island. The Ionian island of Kythira is my choice. (I had never heard of it. Have you?)
At the southern port town of Neapolis, I drive my little car on to the Porfyrousa Ferry. The ship-hand directs me into a cubbyhole of a space. Huge tour buses and monstrous trucks lumber up the ramp and join me in the hold.
After the pleasant one-hour sail out of the Bay of Neapolis and across the Gulf of Laconia, I find my way across the island to the small town of Livadi and my little guest house where I plan to relax for a couple of quiet days.
I take an early morning stroll in the golden-green countryside.
I visit the peaceful neighborhood church that displays an extensive collection of Byzantine art.
Cats doze in the sun.
The highlight of my island idyll is the vigorous hike up to the ramparts of the Chora Castle that guards the southern tip of the island. The vista of smooth blue sea is my reward and well worth the effort to reach the top.
Hey, I know it’s not Santorini with its picturesque houses of blue and white. It’s not Mykonos with its notorious nightlife. It’s just my little (not so little) Kythira Island, favored by Greek tourists for its long history, strategic importance, a few blue and white houses, the un-crowded beach, and the (not so few) gift and antique shops.
And now, at one of the shops, there’s another decision for me to make. Do I negotiate for only one hand-painted, terracotta, antique plate? Or two!