The title says it all, doesn’t it? We’re back and nicely tanned, having spent a few days on the islands of Skyros and Evia.
Located in the middle of the Aegean, Skyros is the place from where Achilles set sail for Troy after Odysseus discovered him in the court of Lycomedes. A small bay named Achili on the east coast of the island is said to be the place from where Achilles left with the Greeks.
In a more historical setting, in c. 475 BC, according to Thucydides, Cimon defeated the Dolopians (the original inhabitants) and conquered the entire island. From that date, Athenian settlers colonized it and it became a part of the Athenian Empire. The island lay on the strategic trade route between Attica and the Black Sea (Athens depended on supplies of grain reaching it through the Hellespont).
Much later, Rupert Brooke, the famous English poet, died on board a French hospital-ship moored off Skyros during World War I. His burial place is on the island, thus proving the truth in his words (thank you, Pete, for the lovely poem):
If I should die, think only this of me:That there’s some corner of a foreign fieldThat is for ever England
None of that was on our mind, however, as we enjoyed the quiet beach and transparent waters.
Here, we’re entering the port of Skyros aboard the appropriately named ship, Achilleus.
We stayed at Molos (“Pier”), a lovely seaside village under the imposing ancient Chora (“Mainland”), built in a way that would hide it from any pirates, as piracy was a very real threat for over 3 centuries. The Ottoman Empire turned a blind eye to their activities as long as they attacked Christian villages and shared the loot with the Sultan, so there was little to be done except for hiding anything valuable from them. Even so, the tales of horrors inflicted upon seaside villages are endless.
An indirect result of this sad history is that dowry was usually in seaside land, while the boys would usually inherit any mountainous lands. Nowadays, the girls are rich because of this centuries-old tradition, so there’s some comfort to be taken in that. This particular sandy beach was as empty as it was long and served us well in our quest for a sun-soaked break.
The food was perfect, as the village is home to Stefanos (aka Polyvios); a restaurant with a lovely view of the sea which had excellent food at great prices (meals cost us around 25 euros for the three of us). If you’re ever on the island, be sure to visit them!
Once we left Skyros, we spent a couple of days on Evia, where we enjoyed another amazing beach in a place called Mourteri.
We also visited a local monastery which grows their own honey and got a couple of freshly made jars–the honey was just one day old! This matters because honey, when left to mature, becomes more clear and takes a lovely amber color, but also loses some of its propolis and nutritious compounds which make it so perfect!
Now that we’re back, normal service can resume! Expect more fun posts in the coming days 🙂