Cruising the Greek islands – Part three – World Meanderings (n°28)
By Annick Dournes & Frédéric de Poligny
Kalimera! This is the way to say good morning in Greek or you can as well say Yassu, like you would say Hello! On the Greek island many local people will say Yassu when you pass them in the streets and they certainly appreciate if you answer them in the same way. If you want to say it with good pronunciation you can attend free Greek language lessons almost every day on board the Celestyal Crystal. In 30 minutes you will thus become familiar with basic notions and Greek vocabulary, enough to see your efforts rewarded by a happy smile in shops and restaurants!
Sailing between two Aegean islands the entertainment team of our boat does its best to keep us busy: several times each day, besides the Greek lessons, there are activities for children, zumba or gym classes, jogging on the decks, creative workshops and dancing lessons from salsa to Sirtaki this Greek dance made famous by the 1964 movie Zorba the Greek. We’ll be ready to shine on the dance-floor of the boat’s disco tonight!
But today, on the third day of our cruise, we have no time for music and dancing, our whole day is dedicated to Milos. Milos is one of the most western islands of the Cyclades, half way in between Athens and Crete and it took the Celestyal Crystal the whole night to go the 151 nautical miles from Samos to Milos. The sea was calm and we had a quiet night.
Milos is a volcanic island that in spite of its spectacular landscapes has remained largely unscathed by mass tourism. There are several ways to discover the island. You can easily rent a scooter at reasonable prices (around 10 euro for one day), prepare your own itinerary and discover the island on your own.
Since the boat berths in Adamantas for the whole day you will have plenty of time to see the catacombs or the place where the famous Venus de Milo was found or the amazing Sarakiniko geological site and enjoy one or several of Milos’ beautiful beaches. For lunch, why not try the restaurant Gialos in Pollonia, that is said to serve the best Greek cuisine of the whole island. You can also book a tour around the island on board one of the many schooners or catamarans waiting for tourists in Adamantas’ port, discover the colourful cliffs and swim in the crystal clear waters of the underwater caves of Kleftiko.
Celestyal Cruises also organise several excursion through and around Milos, by coach and by boat that will take you to the main sites of interest and to beautiful beaches. They also organise a sea-kayaking trip with a BBQ on a beach. The hardest part is choosing between them all…
We opted for a day-tour of the island aboard a catamaran and it’s been a great day. The volcanic activity that has created an island of colours while the rain and the salty winds have sculpted amazing shapes in the cliffs: red, pink, orange, purple, white or yellow mineral waves and rocky spurs stand out against the deep blue sky. On the way around the island we made several stops and dived into the warm sea and swam between high spurs in the bay of Aghios Ionnis and in underwater caves in Kleftiko, where the sea takes an amazing cobalt blue colour. These caves are said to have sheltered pirates and the bollards they dug in the rocks of the shore can still be seen today. I guess many treasure hunters have thoroughly searched for them!
The boat crew prepared Greek snacks for us and we enjoyed a lazy sunbathing while going to our next stop, the Sarakiniko geological site and beach, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. This landscape is often compared to a moonscape but it is much more than that. White rocks, almost blinding under the Mediterranean sun, have been sculpted by the winds and the waves that strongly hit them creating high sprays of water. A deep and narrow canal, where the sea finally calms down, leads to a small beach where we had a last swim at sunset.
Once again the Cyclades have enchanted us. Far from mass tourism Milos is a place to discover and enjoy, leaving long lasting memories to all its visitors and a strong wish to come back one day.
More information: http://www.celestyalcruises.uk/en
and for Gialos restaurant: www.gialos-pollonia.gr
Text © Annick Dournes
Photos © Frederic de Poligny