Under Kastellorizo’s spell

The problem with Kastellorizo being our entry port to Greece is that it will be damn hard to beat. Postcard perfect with its pastel-coloured facades, laidback and welcoming vibe, with a very good bakery, cheap eats and a tavern manager offering us coffee in the morning to attract freshly disembarked day-trippers (albeit in relatively small numbers), irresistible alleyways to get lost in, secluded swimming spots, and picturesque hikes up the mountain, to the castle, the monastery, or the old wine press, each offering spectacular views on the surrounding islets and crystal clear waters.

Located 120 miles from Cyprus and 70 miles from Rhodes, Kastellorizo is the easternmost Greek island and has had its population dwindle form 9000 (before WWI) to ~300 nowadays, according to Dutch-born Elma (short for Elisabeth-Mary) whom I had a chat with at the village bakery when she saw my puzzled face looking at the framed black and white picture of the much bigger settlement in front of me. Facing Kas, on the Turkish coast, a mere 7 km away (less than 4 Nm), no wonder did our friends and relatives think we were in Turkey on checking our tracker, and maybe this status of a somewhat forgotten Greek island is what luckily spares it from mass tourism (so far) and makes it retain some traditional charm.

Notwithstanding a small hiccup when we cleared in, kept for longer than usual at the immigration office because Cyprus authorities hadn’t stamped our passports (despite us noticing and questioning it before leaving), our stay was irreproachable. We met our friends from WOLO one last time before their home run to Porto Lignano. They helped us moor stern-to, a tricky manoeuvre we performed for the first time (and certainly not the last in the Mediterranean, I’m told) and immediately passed on their one-day-old knowledge of the place before we had to wonder where to find the village bakery, supermarkets, laundromat, or the best place to eat gyros.

We saw large turtles feed on the squid entrails thrown back in the water by the tavern manager (partially for tourist entertainment), got quite literally blown away reaching the very windy castle, climbed the 400 steps leading to the Holy Monastery of Saint George of Vouni (of the Mountain), visited St. Charalambos’ crypt trying to imagine how monks survived hiding in this blind room drinking form the well below and eating little else than God’s encouragements (according to the little we understood from the carer’s broken English), snorkelled off St George islet, had a couple of shared meals with WOLO and shot countless pictures, including my favourite of the moment, set as my laptop’s wallpaper, featuring Zephyr and Azur from behind, walking in Mandraki’s boat yard facing the sea, next to a ΚΑΣΤΕΛΛΟΡΙΖΟ graffitied on a low concrete wall, with a boat hull freshly painted in bright orange echoing Zephyr’s T-shirt.

All in four days and three nights. A perfect introduction to our Dodecanese circuit.

Published by Salome

Sailing, parenting, writing, dancing, and op-shopping around the world.

2 thoughts on “Under Kastellorizo’s spell

    1. Thanks Ben. Very conscious of the privilege to be roaming around the world like that. Unfortunately it will have to stop soon to get back to school/work for a wee while until we get itchy feet again…


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