A Greek Odyssey – day 6

Off the beaten track

Today we went to Plaka – the “capital” of Milos. Its not a big,sprawling metropolis, its just a small town on a hill a short bus ride (2 euros again – the cost of any bus journey in the Cyclades it seems), but a very pretty town, full of alleyways, white houses, an blue doors. Becky loved the blue doors, taking hundreds (and I don’t think that is an exaggeration) of photos of blue doors, blue pots, blue steps. Here is just one:

But we didn’t just restrict ourselves to the town (although we did spend quite some time wandering the streets, and enjoying a drink and snack in a cafe), we decided to head for the hills (well, hill), leave the tarmacked road and pavement behind us, and headed up to the fort atop what seems to be the highest point on the island.

Whilst it wasn’t a difficult climb, it wasn’t simple either. Underfoot it was rough, but maintained, stone steps, but it was a fair old incline, probably enough to put a lot of people off.

This is both a blessing and a curse – you gain a real sense of achievement when you reach the top and take in the views (and glug gallons of water) and not everyone makes it to the top – getting to Plaka is easy: bus, car or taxi will take you there, but you have get to the top of the fort under your own steam, and this thins the crowds considerably. As tourism becomes more and more accessible and easy, to escape the masses you need to go where the internal combustion engine can’t, and when you do it is so worth it.

We both loved Plaka, and will probably go back one evening. I get the sense for a lot of visitors to Milos, their trip is about ticking off “must do’s” and seeing as many of the 70 beaches on the island as possible, even if only for 15 minutes. I’m not sure Plaka is on everyone’s Milos “to do” list, but it should be, and if they can, they should make the effort to climb to the very top. In this age of Instagram and tik-tok, more people should be mindful of the poem “Leisure” by William Henry Davies:

What is this life if, full of care

We have no time to stand and stare

Today, I spent quite some time standing and staring, and it was worth every minute.

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