They lie at the edge of the village on a hilly terrain. They caught the wind and turned it into power grinding seeds into flour, keeping the island well-fed and prosperous for many a year. When technology rendered them obsolete, their sails fell idle. Today, they adorn the landscape silent; gracious; ever so charming. They aged well, the windmills of Ios.
These steps lead away from the airy openness of the windmill plateau and into a maze of scenic, narrow, bustling streets of Chora. Mind you, bustling is not a euphemism here. Even early in season, come sundown, the drowsy village boiling under the merciless sun all day gradually becomes alive.
Speaking of well-fed, we sat for dinner twice in Chora. First came the interesting cuisine of ”Lord Byron” which we enjoyed sitting outside, right at the front door of a church, with which the restaurant shares a terrace. I have no pictures of it, but the interior is an explosion of colour in eclectic style, worth the visit alone. And the lemon creme brûlée is simply delicious.
And then came ”Katogi”. I thought I’d seen all the explosion-of-colour-in-eclectic-style there was to see, the night before. But then we hadn’t yet discovered what seems to be everybody’s darling on the island’s dining scene. Ran by a lively young couple, the place has everything going for it: innovative cuisine, refreshingly good cocktails, great service, fair prices and that fabulous homey-cum-kitschy décor. Sweet vintage dreams are made of these.
It was Sunday evening, June 28th. I remember it well because that’s when the news announcing that banks would remain shut for a week (actually they reopened after 22 days) imposing capital controls, reached us just as we had finished dinner.
We paid in
precious commodity cash – they didn’t accept cards, at least not that evening, and who could blame them – and ran to queue at the nearest ATM. Soon afterwards it was completely drained. As tourists, we needn’t have worried though; the next morning we learned that capital controls would not apply to foreign bank cards.
Ios, 25-29 June 2015