Its all Greek to me - the Island of Samos
Trip Start Jan 28, 2012
19Trip End Jan 28, 2013
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Where I stayed
Hotel Tsamadou Sámos
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
The speed of life changed from Turkey, where if you've got money in your pocket there’s always someone willing at any hour to help you spend it, to Samos where they were willing but in their own good time.
We got off the boat at Samos and had in mind the coastal village and beach of Kokarri to stay at. Usually we take it in turns, one of us has a tea or coffee and holds the backpacks while the other goes off and organises transport and accommodation it stops arguments gives one a break and the other a bit of autonomy, today was my turn to negotiate. I tried to find a bus station but all I could locate was a small café where people pointed me to. I asked the lady in the café if she had an itinerary for the busses, and she pointed me to a small stack of photocopied pages. I looked at the page, then at her, back to the page, back to her and grinned, avoiding the line I’d like to say and she insightfully replied rolling the r’s "may be you need a lesson in Grrrreek?" We sat there for a good while as she interpreted all the names of the villages and the various bus routes and leave times around the island. Gaining confidence in the Greek alphabet and the itinerary I said “So if I come back to the café in 35 minutes we will be able to catch this bus to Kokarri?” and she resolutely replied “no”…. “Why” I queried looking at the map and she smiled and said “Because today is Sunday and buses don’t run on Sundays”. Ahhhh…. well at least I now have the time to indulge these exercises in futility.
We made it to Kokarri via taxi and I went to find some accommodation. There was plenty of guest houses but no one was about, except a few who were cleaning and fixing things up. I knocked on a door and a lady peered out and carefully opened the door looking at me as if I had blood on my hands. I asked if she had any rooms available and she replied “No…. I’m not ready” and promptly scuttled off. I walked the whole beach and couldn’t find anyone open or to talk to. Mel eventually found an English couple Ian and Tina who owned a lovely beach-side hotel and let us have a room as friends rather than official guests. We were told that no one was open for business yet because the government official tourist season only started in 2 weeks time, something to do with tax?
Anyway variations in business time also applied daily. As best as I could work out (not all times were listed)many places opened probably from 9:00 to 12:00 then closed at lunch and reopened from 6:00 to 8:00, although the Café only opened at 1:00 but then stayed open all day. The restaurant’s and bars opened and closed at their own discretion. The supermarket had the longest and most consistent opening times throughout the day, but then for an unknown reason was closed all the next day and nobody knew why. Over the next days as I was walking up and back along the same road encountering closed doors I had distinct suspicion that there was probably only one shopkeeper in town, moving from one shop to the next slightly ahead of me. All this time I kept passing an old man sitting on the same chair in front of the same café who kept pointing at his hand and calling out with a cackle at the end “Whats the time?” as some kind of cruel joke……… or so I thought, I eventually worked out that he was saying “OZO time….?” he was in fact asking me to sit down and have a drink. Yes my friend that’s probably why no shops are open!
As a postscript we went to catch the ferry off Samos and back to Turkey we arrived at the ticket office just before 2:00 for the boat leaving at 5:00 and we were told we were lucky to get a ticket as the travel agency closes at 2:00 and only reopened at 6:00!
Well I am now a lot more informed about the Greek economy, but after our easy going time on the Island I have to say “you gotta love the life style”!
Samos – The Greek Thing Checklist - Achieved
- Small whitewashed fishing village
ˇ Turquoise blue water and pebble beach
ˇ Small multi-coloured handmade wooden boats
ˇ White orthodox church with blue dome
ˇ Restaurant with grilled calamari and fish, with locally made wine and Greek background music.
ˇ Man sitting at the dock with a big white beard and black sailing cap (I’m so going to grow one of those and buy a cap to match!)
ˇ Octopus drying on a clothes line (bingo I cried!)
ˇ In a boat with a Greek fisherman teaching me how he catches calamari, while he whistles the tune to “Zorba the Greek”.
Well OK I didn’t quite nail the last one, although I had previously written it in my note book as a personal joke, the closest I got was a Greek fisherman with his wooden boat (see pic attached) spinning us the tale of his biggest snapper caught (with photo album to prove it) and later being served a beer with the words 'Zorba’ etched in frosting on the beer glass………..quite uncanny that.
PS Does humming ‘Zorba the Greek’ to myself, while he was re-living his fishing story count?