Thursday, November 8, 2012

Greece: Apollonia, Kastro, Artemonas

On our second day on Sifnos, we decided to explore the west side of the island, the capital, Apollonia, the ancient town of Kastro, and the historic town of Artemonas.

Via Greeka 

We took the local bus to Apollonia and stopped for some breakfast.  I could eat this yogurt, fruit, and granola concoction everyday.

Sifnos is known for being a very walkable island, filled with stone walking paths lined with whitewash by the local village women (you can see them in abundance below).  After breakfast, we decided to walk to Kastro.  The walk was surprisingly nice, beautiful and entirely downhill.

Love the scallops on this church's dome

The view of Kastro from the start of our walk

We made it!

Kastro was a beautiful mix of ancient and modern details with a beautiful views.

Showing off Kastro's ocean views

Sifnos is an island of churches.  It seemed as though there is a church, or two, or ten, for every tiny village on Sifnos.  Below is the church on the headlands of Kastro, called the Seven Martyr's Church.

The traditional stone path leading to Seven Martyrs

Self timing geniuses

The view from the church was pretty great as well.

Sifnos is also known for it's traditional brown and blue glazed pottery, so when we saw this little shop open, we hopped in to see buy a few special pieces.  I'm happy to report they all made the journey back to the states in one piece.

On of my favorite pottery pieces, used as a chimney cover in the past now serves as decoration.

Once we finished exploring Kastro, we decided to head to the next village.  Along the way, we found where the bus stop was not located with this awesome sign.

Hand painted signs welcoming us to Artemonas

Our first stop in Artemonas was to get some food at one of the only places open in the village.  We got spanakopita, two types of goat cheese, falafel, and Greek beer.  As a complete shock to me, we managed not to finish all the cheese, so I shared some with a kitty lurking near our table.

Artemonas was a picturesque village, full of so many beautiful architectural details, and, of course, an unbeatable view.

Artemonas is one of the oldest and wealthiest towns on Sifnos.  The island was extremely prosperous hundreds of years ago when the silver and gold mines brought enormous wealth to residents.  Those people in turn built mansions that are, in most cases, still owned by the original families' descendants.

The villages on Sifnos do not have roads through them.  Instead, the houses and businesses are surrounded by footpaths that wind around them.  Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to tell where a public pathway ends and where a private pathway begins.  We tried to make sure we weren't infringing on someone's land, but it was impossible to be sure.

A typical path through Artemonas

At the top of winding paths through Artemonas are windmills.  We kept seeing signs for the windmills and decided to take a look at them for ourselves.  We ended up on a path that was clearly not meant for vacationers.  A very old Greek lady saw us and quickly came to try and help us find our way to the windmills.  She spoke zero English and we speak barely any Greek, so while it wasn't a very productive conversation it was entertaining.

After Artemonas, we walked back to Apollonia to wait for the bus and explore the town.  Unfortunately, practically everything in Apollonia was closed for the season.  We walked up and down stairs searching for something open to bide our time until the bus came, but never found anything.  So, I took some pictures of random things instead.

I have no idea what this plant is, but it looked cool.

Fun spiral stairs.

Once we got back to Kamares, we headed to an the Italian restaurant in town, where Brian got to use his Italian to order some delicious bruschetta, pizza, and panna cotta.

Have you ever had any entertaining encounters with locals on vacation?

1 comment:

  1. All these posts are really triggering my wanderlust, especially all the cheese!


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