Astipalea AKA Butterfly Island
The final set of Greek Islands that we visited were the Dodecanese which are located on the south east side of Greece, between the Cyclades and the coast of Turkey. Our first stop was Astipalea which is in the shape of a butterfly, so Ian subsequently now refers to it as Butterfly Island. We anchored in a bay at Livada and took the long uphill walk to the Chora. Chora means town in Greek and is often used as the name of the main town on an island. We had a great view of Cuffysark at the top.
As you arrive in the Chora, there are eight windmills. There is also a castle which sits on top of the hill and is Venetian and was constructed in the early 1200’s. The one thing that does strike you when visiting some of these sights is that you can get very close to the edge and the signs just say to be careful, it isn’t sectioned off so you can’t get to it. Not much “elf and safety” here!
There was a cat taking refuge in the castle wall, to try and keep cool. We also had a good view of Cuffysark from here.
Nisyros AKA Volcano Island
A couple of hours into the trip to Nisyros we found we had a stowaway, who disembarked on arrival.
We hired a car here and took a ride out to the Volcano. We got so far along the road and then it became a dirt track road, then it only resembled a track here and there. Most people at this stage would have turned around and gone the other way to the volcano, but oh no not us. I kept my fingers crossed that we didn’t come to a dead end thankfully we eventually joined up with the road again. The volcano is dormant but you can see it bubbling and the steam coming up from inside the crater and there is a very strong smell of sulpher. There was some “elf and safety” here as this part of the crater was roped off. The crater is called Stefanos and is about 1,000 feet in diameter (300 m) and 80 feet (25 m) deep. Ian ringed in the photo below gives you an idea of the size of the crater.
We had a drive around the Island, stopping off for ice-cream in a lovely square. We came across this cat who obviously got the cream, looking very content. A thing that is strange here is the size of the glass they give you for your wine!
We first went to the bay of Panormitis where the Monastery of Panormitis is situated and is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. We were able to have a look around. The monastery sounds the bell each time a ferry arrives and departs.
We then went to Symi town which is not how you imagine a Greek island to be as it has lots of different coloured houses which is in stark contrast to most of the rest of Greece. There are lots of ferries and even cruise ships that visit here, which is amazing as it’s not that big a place. It must be crazy in high season. No cheap harbour wall mooring here either and they were wanting the mooring fee before we’d even finished mooring up. We had a visit from an Island Yacht Club member who happened to be on holiday and was as surprised to see us as we were to see him and his wife. Symi town is very touristy with lots of shops and restaurants.