Archive

Tag Archives: Plaka Beach

  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.

Advertisements

 Peacocks chattering away and cicadas making an incredible noise formed a thick wall of sound all around us. The cicadas were hard to spot, but not the peacocks. They were everywhere. The big colourful cocks, the brownish hens and their small chicks. We felt that we had a great chance to look into the lives of these beautiful birds. The noise from the cicadas was quite consistent throughout the day, almost from sunrise till sunset. Along with the eucalyptus trees that line the campground it makes Plaka Beach a very unique place.

Plaka Beach Tilos - At midday the only place to be is under the big eucalyptus trees

Plaka Beach Tilos - At midday the only place to be is under the big eucalyptus trees

It is not as if the place was crowded at all. We saw a couple of camper vans and then a small tent. We set our tents under the shady eucalyptus trees as by now we knew that shade is of paramount importance in the hot Greek summer when camping like we did. The ground was covered in leaves and bark from the eucalyptus trees which formed a nice soft bed under the tents as well as had a nice spicy smell. Really pleasant. Later I read that the smell from the eucalyptus trees keeps the mosquitoes away. And true enough, there were no mosquitoes. (Nor had we seen any in Psili Ammos, for that matter.

After a nice swim we began to have a good look around the place. And, even though we had read somewhere that there is a well with fresh drinking water, we never found it. And also, the toilet is – at least when we were there – so disgusting that there was no way that we could use it. Our neighbour D, part of the Greek couple in the tent next to ours – about 50 m away – was sure that he saw a rat there. This was one of the reasons that we made the taverna in Agios Andonios our base. It had great toilets 🙂

 We quickly realised that a car was a must if we were to go anywhere as 1½ hour hike from Plaka Beach to Agios Andonios was not an option every time we wanted to leave the peacocks and cicadas behind for a while. Our neighbours, a lovely couple from Athens, turned out to be a great help. He is an engineer and she studies statistics at the university in Athens. Bright young people and so helpful!

Great Greek neighbours at Plaka Beach, Tilos

Great Greek neighbours at Plaka Beach, Tilos

D and M had rented a car when they arrived at Tilos, and the next day they took my husband back to Livadia to the tourist information/car rental to get a car for us. We should have done that when we arrived but how were we to know that we could not do without it. D and M were also a great source of information about the Greek society and the present financial crisis in Greece. They were curious to know how we had found out about Plaka Beach as apparently guide books is not a common thing in Greece.

In Denmark we pay sky-high property taxes on our houses, but D and M told us that in Greece people avoid paying their property taxes by not finishing their houses completely. That is just one of many differences between Denmark and Greece which apparently is in no way as controlled a society as the Danish is.

Well, I got sidetracked and better get back to Plaka Beach, Tilos.

 

The catamaran from Kos arrives at the town of Livadia in Tilos early afternoon. It is hot and there is practically no one around. Siesta time. All you can do is to get into the shade and take it easy.

And then we began to look around. When you are facing the town, you will see a couple of shops on your left, one grocery and one combined tourist information/car rental. They were closed, of course, but important. Next to them you will find a pathway leading up to the town square where the bus would be leaving from a couple of hours later.

The bus to Plaka Beach leaves from the center of Livadia where the locals meet under the shady trees of the kafenion

The bus to Plaka Beach leaves from the center of Livadia where the locals meet under the shady trees of the kafenion

Here we also found another little grocery shop and under the shady trees an outdoor Kafenion with mostly male guests. We were not in the mood for Greek coffee just then. By the way, if you are used to drinking cappuccinos and lattes, you may not be able to digest a Greek coffee which is so thick that you almost have to eat it. It is, however, great after an evening meal.

Instead we bought quite a few bottles of water, water melon, yogurt, honey and bread. This seemed to be the staple diet of our non-restaurant meals.

We had heard that there was a well at Plaka Beach where we could get fresh water, but maybe it was a false rumour and better be safe than sorry. We had not forgotten that we ran out of water on our hike from Psili Amos to Hora when we were on Patmos. That experience had taught us a lesson.

 We hadn’t quite decided whether to camp at Eristo Beach or Plaka Beach. It was really like choosing between apples and pears, two very different places. Eristo Beach was more conveniently located, near shops and bus stop. However, when the bus stopped at Eristo Beach we just took one look at the crowds and decided to stay on the bus. We were definitely spoiled from time spent on Psili Ammos and the tranquillity that we had experienced there at our dream beach. Eristo Beach was crowded night and day, and there were three tents to a tree. No thank you. Maybe if we had been 18 years old and interested in partying all night, but we were not.

So we made our destination Plaka Beach, and Agios Andonios was the place to get off the bus. Right next to the bus stop was a small taverna with very friendly owners. Also, they spoke quite good English. I believe that three generations lived there, grandparents, son with Russian wife and their lovely children. We sort of ended up making this taverna our base.

But, we still had to make our way to Plaka Beach, and the only way to get there was to walk. So, once again it was a hike with our backpacks that seemed to get heavier with every step we took. But the boys never complained and made me proud.

Travelling on a budget sometimes means long exhausting hikes like this one to Plaka Beach

Travelling on a budget sometimes means long exhausting hikes like this one to Plaka Beach

The hike out to Plaka Beach was supposed to take some 20 minutes. Instead it took us about 1½ hour. There is no doubt about which road to choose as there is only the one road at this end of the island. So we kept walking and walking and walking. When eventually we reached our destination we were a little confused about the setup of the place.

The first thing we noticed was a fence with a big gate leading into what looks like a park of some sort. Outside the fence the local authorities have placed some garbage containers – a positive element as there is a bigger chance of people leaving their garbage there instead of leaving it in places where you don’t want to find it. In our view the beach was rather disappointing – all stones and no sand. Rather narrow and not very friendly at all. The water is clean enough, of course, but there seems to be a kind of sediment on the stony bottom which makes it seem a little dirty – even if it isn’t.

However, when we entered a small gate from the beach into the park, we began to think that maybe we hadn’t come all this way in vain. It looked like an interesting place to spend a few days. It wasn’t at all like Psili Amos on Patmos, instead it was the very different Plaka Beach on Tilos.