Stop two on our Cycladic Island extravaganza was the small, quiet island of Folegandros. Mark says Folegandros has been on his radar for several years but I’m pretty sure I first heard of it when someone – I think it was the New York Times – put it on a list of “little-known places you have to go to.” And since it’s a fairly short boat ride from Milos we slotted it in for four days.
We loved Folegandros. As I said, it’s a small, quiet place, just over 12 square miles and less than a thousand permanent residents. The island has a small village around the port, Karavostasis, and then the main town of Chora about a mile-and-a-half up (and up and up and up) the island. We stayed in a nice hotel in Karavostasis which was a bit of a mistake as most of the interesting stuff was up in Chora, or beyond that. We picked Karavostasis, despite its relative isolation, because we thought we’d like the hotel (the Anemi) but it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. So that part wasn’t ideal.
Oh, before I forget there were two cool stories from the hotel. When we arrived at the port someone from the hotel was there to pick us up; there was a non-trivial hill to get to the hotel so it made sense. A couple other people from the boat were staying there, too, so we all got in. When we got out I immediately noticed that one of the guys – from New York City, naturally – was wearing a pair of Common Project sneakers. I’d never heard of them until recently but the $400 shoes are very big among a bunch of celebrities and – this is the cool part – were designed by the son of a great friend of Mark’s parents. Small world.
The other cool story from the hotel was the night we decided to have a light dinner at the hotel bar. We were chatting with a young woman who’d been on some women’s pilgrimage and we talked a bit about politics. Shocking, I know. After a while Kevin and Laura at the far end of the bar joined in because they like to talk about politics, too. They live in Georgia, in the congressional district that is having the highly contested special election. Laura had never before been involved in a campaign but she is so offended by Donald Trump that she is now her precinct captain, using the VAN every day (when she’s not on vacation, and actually even some when she is on vacation) to drive volunteers and contact voters. She practically shrieked when she learned that Mark had invented the VAN and proudly showed us the MiniVAN on her iPhone. We had a great time talking late into the night.
Enough stories from the hotel. The big deal was that Folegandros was a great island for walking, eating, and going to the beach. When we first got to Chora, the main town on the island, we discovered that it sits on the edge of a 600-foot cliff which makes for pretty spectacular views. Then there were a couple very cute little squares with extra cute little cafés and Greek tavernas for lunch. All just very charming and relaxing.
Then we discovered Agkali Beach and Papalagi Seafood Restaurant. We’d rented an ATV for a couple days to get around (very unlike us, but it was better than having a car and we needed something) and Kevin & Laura told us we had to go there. So we did. From Agkali you actually walk maybe 15 minutes along a winding path to another beach, above which sits Papalagi.
We were in heaven! The beach itself wasn’t actually great; no beach chairs or umbrellas and really more small pebbles than sand. But it was sufficiently isolated that there weren’t too many people and the water was just spectacular. And then the highlight was the restaurant, perched high above the beach with great food, cold wine, and stunning views. That is a life worth living.
So Folegandros was a big success. Next time we would almost certainly stay in Chora so we weren’t constantly going up and down the long hill to get to good restaurants, but except for that little mistake on our part it was a nearly perfect stop.
Next up, Ios, which our Mac wants to auto-correct to iOS, Apple’s operating system for their iPhones and iPads. But just to be clear, Ios predates iOS.