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  One of the highlights of Tilos or should I say a ‘must see’ on Tilos is the monastery which is placed high on top of the island on its very north-western part. We decided to visit the monastery which should be quite easy to find as we just had to continue along the same road that had taken us to Plaka Beach. We drove for about 5 minutes uphill and the road turned a 90 degree to the left. My husband stopped the car right there. He is really afraid of heights and announced that there was no way he would drive up to the monastery.

The scenery at that spot is just spectacular. On your right you have the steep cliffs going down to the sea and you have the most stunning view of the Aegean Sea. The road runs quite near the cliffs which is why my husband refused to go any further. We could stand there and watch the road winding its way up the cliffs till it reached its destination – the monastery of St. Panteleimon. I was considering hiking up there, but the sun would be setting shortly afterwards so I gave up and just enjoyed the view.

The road to the monastery on Tilos winds its way to the top very near the cliffs to the Aegean Sea

The road to the monastery on Tilos winds its way to the top very near the cliffs to the Aegean Sea

The cliffs on this part of Tilos are supposedly the home of a long list of threatened and rare birds. We didn’t see that many rare birds, not that we knew of, at least, but we were in the company of peacocks all the time when at Plaka Beach. Precisely at the time when we were there they were losing their long tail feathers which were just lying around on the ground. Well, not just the long feathers, but also the orange ones from their bellies and tiny ones with a full ‘peacock’ pattern on them.

I carefully (remembering how we were once attacked by a capercaillie in the woods of Sweden picking mushrooms) gathered a big bunch of these beautiful peacock feathers which I wanted to take home as my Greek souvenir. I thought that the least the peacocks could do in return for trying to steal our food. Even though we would hang it up high, they would try to jump to get at it. But at least they kept at a couple of meters distance when we were near the tents.

Peacocks at Plaka Beach Tilos were not afraid of us and in their search for food sometimes looked inside our camp

Peacocks at Plaka Beach Tilos were not afraid of us and in their search for food sometimes looked inside our camp

My husband was shaking his head and asked me how I intended to bring the feathers home without ruining them. We still had a long way to go before leaving for Denmark. I needed something like those tubes you get when you buy a poster and that was not readily available on Tilos.
This is where I got creative and got a brilliant idea as how to solve this challenge:

1) Take a look around you and do not throw away all those empty water bottles
2) Take the first water bottle, cut off the top
3) Take the next water bottle, cut off the bottom
4) Take as many water bottles as the feathers are long and cut off top and bottom
5) Now you screw the bottle with its top cut off into one that is without bottom and top
6) Next screw another bottle without top and bottom into no. 5 and so on
7) Eventually your tube is as long as your feathers
8) Now carefully place your bunch of feathers into the tube so that the feathers rest on no. 2
9) Finally, screw the bottle without bottom but with it top onto the tube
10) You now have a perfect tube for peacock feathers

I had no problem travelling with my peacock feathers on ferries etc. It was easy to handle and super lightweight. I was a little worried about getting through customs with it going back to Denmark, but as the bottles were made from transparent plastic, the staff just smiled and asked about the feathers. A great way to strike up conversation, and they never bothered to check anything else in my pack.

Well, now we were ready to leave Tilos and head for Nisyros.

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It didn’t take us long to wish for a cooling swim at Psili Ammos beach, but instead we had a long hike ahead of us at the hottest time of the day. We were sure that it couldn’t be that bad to walk with our backpacks to the road to Hora where we thought a bus would pass by. No such thing happened and we ended up walking for more than two hours with our backpacks all the way to Hora where we arrived at about 4 pm at the monastery. On the way there we ran out of drinking water and we were actually getting a little worried about the boys and whether they could handle the rigours we made them go through. We passed a woman who was watering her plants and asked her to soak our hats in water to cool our heads for a little while. She was very friendly and it helped for the next few minutes.

Leaving the wonderful beach of Psili Amos, Patmos, hiking over the cliffs on our way to Hora

What we could have done – and should have done, would be to call a taxi when we came down from the cliffs from Psili Amos. There is a small restaurant there where I’m sure we could have used the phone. The money for a cap would have been well spent!

We knew we were getting close to our destination when we saw the first souvenir shops and a group of tourists with a guide in front of them with a raised flag. I remember one of the very few times in my life when I have joined such a group – in Varanasi in India. The guide kept shouting that we should follow the stick! The thought of that always makes me smile and I tend to notice what kind of object the various guides use to keep their flock together.

The monastery is quite small, but very richly decorated. There is a nice little courtyard where you can relax in the shade, and the priest asked us if we would like to leave our backpacks with him while we took a look around. Another very friendly Greek!

Afterwards, we walked to the bus station where we caught the bus going back to Scala. The bus driver was the same young guy who had left us a few days before at Grikos. He asked us what we thought of Psili Ammos. I think that he had been there himself and didn’t appear surprised to hear how sorry we had been to leave the best beach we had seen for a very long time.