Our trip to Amorgos was prompted by the wish to stay in a quiet island, away from the bustle of the big islands. Amorgos is certainly a quiet place but, like Crete and Santorini, it is dependent on the tourism industry. Even more than them, the countryside seems to have been abandoned. There are terraces everywhere but none that we could see were being used. I suppose you can work extremely hard on the land and earn a pittance. In the tourism industry you may not get rich but the work is less arduous. But of course I may be all wrong – we were there in September, at the climax of the dry season, when you can expect the work on the land to be at a minimum. It may be all different at other times of the year.
But back to the story. We took a fast catamaran from Santorini and learned somewhat to our surprise that it also went to Naxos, our ultimate destination. And we went to Naxos first. We thought about getting off at Naxos but we would be seeing plenty of the island so continued on to Amorgos.
Getting off the ferry at Katapola, the islands main port, we were greeted by the inevitable posse of people offering accommodation, complete with photos and all sorts of blandishments. However we went to a hotel mentioned in the Rough Guide which was in the centre of Katapola and had an internet connection. And we got a pretty good room straight away.
Katapola is a rather small town scattered round the harbour. We were at the working end, near the ferry port. The hotels got rather grander further round the harbour. But I don’t think you can compare where we were staying to Piraeus!
The capital of Amorgos is Hora, which roughly means “Town”. Almost every island has its Hora. We caught the island bus up to Hora, which is high above the port and round several hairpin bends. The bus cannot get into the Hora, nor can cars or bikes. A donkey would be okay. It is very picturesque but not overwhelmed by tourists. Real people live here.
There were lots of picturesque scenes round every corner.
There were churches everywhere.
It is very built up and they even build over the main thoroughfare of the town.
At the far end of town we took a steep path down towards the coast. We intersected the road to the Hozoviotisa Monastery and walked to the car park to photograph this extraordinary building which has been plastered to the side of a vertical cliff and is nowhere more than five metres deep.
We did not go up to the Monastery as we were eager to cool off by jumping into the sea. So we continued down to the rocky beach and had a nice swim. From down there you could see the strange position of the Monastery.
The next day, our last on Amorgos, was spent by walking to Ancient Minoa. The locals insist it was the summer palace of King Minos, which may be true. It is certainly Minoan. It was a long hot slog and Ancient Minoa was an extensive heap of rubble.
But the views were nice.
Instead of poking our heads out of the hotel to see if our ferry was arriving, the lady in charge of the hotel showed us THIS web site, and we could see the ferry which was to take us to Naxos approaching Katapola. Soon we were off to Naxos.
Of which, more later.