Friday, 19 June
On board the Master Jet, Pireaus to Milos
A 3hr 5min trip on a high-speed ferry, adding an extra hour for delays. In the port, we found a shady corner where the heat was bearable and watched and waited. A group of people in white gathered next to us, crew members. I asked them about the delay; ”only an hour”, said one, ”that’s still ok – wait until August, then we can talk about delays!” The others nodded their heads in agreement, knowingly.
The vessel made a stealth arrival and a swift docking, surprisingly agile for her size. The officers ushered people and cars, making svelte, nervous gestures. We found seats easily, the ships are practically empty this early in season – save for the Annoying Group. As a rule, there will always be one in every ship. Ours was a group of Italian families with about a dozen bored children. Next port of call, Sifnos. Some people disembarked – They stayed. We moved to a quieter compartment. Rest of voyage peaceful.
I knew I would like Milos from the moment I stepped on the dock. There it was, that warm feeling of energy flowing through my body and tickling my fingers… Might there be a connection with the island’s volcanic core?
Twenty minutes later we were in Pollonia, a fishing village in the north-east; a few local houses, many more rooms to let, fish taverns, a bakery, a travel agency, two rent-a-car agencies and NO ATM. Rumor has it, there will be one in the future but until then, cash machines can be found in Adamantas, the main port, or Plaka, the island’s capital. Credit cards are generally accepted too.
Not that we would go hungry. We could live on the fruit and vegetables courtesy of our hosts who, every evening, put out a basket with fresh produce from their farm.
But nothing compares to fish and seafood freshly caught by local fishermen, simply grilled, sprinkled with olive oil and lemon, washed down with a glass of chilled white wine, at a table by the beach. (One can be spoiled for choice in Pollonia but the one place that hits all the spots has to be Armenaki Fish Tavern. Ask Antonis, the amiable owner of Armenaki, for suggestions and listen to his excellent wine recommendations. You’re in for a treat!)
Yet, who is treating these guys? Cats favour the islands and islanders favour the frisky felines, if only to keep the rodent population at bay – so much is true. But cats seem to adore Milos. I don’t think I have ever seen a larger colony of strays anywhere else in Greece. Some showing alarming signs of distress but most rather content.
20 June 2015
Stuck in Pollonia
Ready to explore the island. Walked in a car rental confident I’d be driving on the way out. Couldn’t have been more wrong. Every single car on the island was rented out which meant we would have to rely on an infrequent public bus service until something showed up. Feeling trapped and cursing my confidence I took a chance with the travel agency. A middle-aged couple was complaining about their lodgings. I waited and listened patiently to a lot of angry exchanges until the couple declared they’d look for another hotel, asked for a refund and left unhappy customers. I approached the desk explaining my problem to the already distraught assistant. She had a look on line and – lo and behold – a cancellation! ”Snap it up, quickly!” I prompted her, thanking silently the angry couple for the delay, a few minutes earlier availability was zero. ”Don’t you want to know the make and the rate?” she asked. ”It is a Smart, delivery at 6 p.m., it will cost you 45 euros per day… But (noting my jaw dropping in incredulity) we can bring it down to 40”. ”Book it now!” I said resignedly. What choice did I have?
Lesson learned: Public transport in Milos is reliable and quite frequent but ONLY in high season. Early or late summer visitors have to rely on private means. If you are thinking of renting a car, reserve ahead. Average rate for an economy car in low-mid season would be 25-30 euros per day.
PS: The Smart, a semi automatic, was fun to drive. Can be dangerously addictive though…!