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Greece: The Island of Folegandros
From the moment you walk off the ferry and stand on the dock with a small bus idling and waiting for you to load your luggage, you are entranced. There is a quiet to this island, a peaceful breeze, and the sense that it's not too much that lets you know you are about to truly escape.
As the bus winds uphill you might begin to doubt that feeling. You look across a wide expanse of what seems like nothing and think, "Tell me again why I came here?" That is until you turn a corner you are in the midst of all that you have been hoping for.
The main town of Hora is about as charming and authentic as any town I have ever traveled to, providing you like things small. Even the trees are small. Nothing is overpowering; it is simply inviting. There is ample shade, a circle of plazas, cool drinks, local characters, and views that take your breath away. Even the men are modest. The main event is a boat trip that circles the island, which again was, not too much, yet simple pure delight.
Folegandros is a high spine of an island and Hora sits on the edge of what will begin to feel like the beginning of a world you want to know what it feels like to be a part of again. This island is like a quiet footstep someone kind left behind to remind us how sweet (and quiet) life can be. Anna Pasasiri of Hotel Polikandia treated me like a daughter. She showered me with cookies, told me I was beautiful, and wondered with polite concern as to why I wasn't married. Her hotel was lovely. There is a shaded garden to enjoy her cookies. Which are surrounded by comfortable rooms with views of the whitewashed monastery that winds up the hill outside my window. She doesn't seem to work, rather she floats and flits in a way that makes you want to forget where you ever came from and stay forever.
Another hotel of such charm and more of a view, this time over looking an expanse of azure blue sea, the Fata Morgana features apartments that are each unique and flow in their own particular way. There is a wonderfully appointed inside dining area that is old-world Greece with a relaxed open touch. Fani, the proprietress, is herself a character. She'll sit with you and invite you for a drink while telling you the stories of all the art her sister painted that hangs on the wall.
The best thing to do in Folegandros is not do. Simply, be. Of which there are many opportunities to do just that. Start the day with a coffee at the Status and Anna Café. Even their sign says, "I'll take care of you." Then sign up at the local tourist office for a boat tour around the island. It was such delight I circled the island twice. Then nap. Until you feel a little hungry and head out under the moon for a delicious dinner. Just about every restaurant has outside seating and thus a night-scape of the moon for desert.
Restaurant Kristkos in the main square sits under a whitewashed church with bells. Melissa is also a treat in which I partook in some of the most delicious Greek salad. In Foleogandros, the feta is not hard but rather fresh and fluffy. Enitiko is also a feast. In fact, I never had a disappointing dining experience in all of my ten days and nearly thirty meals. I was delighted with every restaurant, so feel free to explore. You can only go right.
For me, Folegandros is like a delicate night flower. It doesn't bloom for everyone … only those who can appreciate everything that it is, as much as everything that it isn't.
www.diaploustravel.gr: Tourist Office
www.greecetravel.com: Matt Barrett's Greece Travel Guide
Get more information from the Wikitravel Greece Travel Guide.
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