Our trip started in Vilnius at 4.30 am, the temperature was as high as +2C. We left for Kaunas airport to catch a Ryan Air flight which was like a train trip to India. The plain was full of holidaymakers with kids and the largest bags that are possible to fit in as hand luggage. Unlike most Eastern Europeans we were not struggling so much for the seats and for a moment I thought that a joke about flying all the way standing may become a reality. I was happy to get a place near the toilets. My man was cheered up with steward’s british humor: „looks like you‘re gonna get the compensation for flying standing“ said a man in a uniform, who finally got him a seat after reorganising kids and their mothers. The funny-fatty steward returned and stuffed three suitcases (including mine) with his feet behind the last row of seats where I was sitting next to the childless couple. At first I envied my man because he got a better seat on the wing. But not for long – his little neighbour filled his Pampers with serious stuff and the mother, unlike other young moms queuing near the toilets with similar accidents, decided not to change it during the whole flight.
After three hours of screaming and stinking we landed in Kos. The sun and pleasant warmth (+26) uplifted our mood straight away. We had a few hours to catch a bus to Kardamena and board a boat for Nisyros island. So we decided to spend it in Restaurant/Cafe with a shabby signage. The restaurant looked like one of these cafes in Kaunas suburbs from the outside and like a soviet times restaurant in the inside. Only one client was present – a taxi driver was having a sandwich. The owner was very nice, he asked where we are from and mentioned two best Lithuanian basketball teams “Zalgiris” and “Lietuvos rytas” straight away. We were sitting in the terrace, listening to the chicken talking on the other side of the fence and watching a chef picking up fresh parsley in the garden. For gastroenterological safety reasons I ordered a sandwich with cheese. It was a big one, with fresh tomatoes and soon I was looking with greed at the Greek salad and omlette that my significant other destroyed in a minute.
We got to Kardamena about 2 pm. It seemed like a good plan, because Anna, the hostess of our Pali hotel told us the boat will be leaving at 2.30. However, the waiter at the first tavern on the way told us that it will leave at 4 and offered to have a drink with a company instead of waiting in the heat. I thought he might be cheating, wanting us to leave more money in his tavern, but soon I figured out he had only best intentions. We had a few drinks and started a research on ferry times. We asked a painter of a boat at the port, the port administration employee and a brit with an obvious hangover “working” at the tourism agency. Everybody gave us different versions. The most realiable information ofcourse came from the port employee – a young greek woman told us that boat is leaving at 8 pm, but we still had hopes to catch it at 4.30 (this was the second time that Anna mentioned). The same hopes were nourished by an elderly German couple that spotted three boats in the horizon. Unfortunately they were just to drop off the tourist herds and were not heading back to the island. A captain with a tan offered to leave our suitcases in the boat, so we don’t have to drag it with us till the evening. They were safe in one of the boats under the supervision of a grandfather.
We freed ourselves from the stuff and headed to the beach. An old man with very poor English but very good communication skills rented as a set of two sunbeds and an umbrella for 2 Euro. At least we could have a nap… I kept in touch with Anna, who was still in the USA. She was worried that the ferry schedule was changed again (probably because of the economy problems) and informed us that her sister in law will meet us at Nisyros port. I assured her that we were just fine.
Finally „Captain Dimytris“ took us and our new German friends to the island. It was already dark but we recognised the black jeep described by Anna. It was the only car at the port. Maria recognised us too – we were the only people with suitcases. Continuously smoking and excusing for her “bad English”, Maria told us about the Island. We found out that Anna is American, married to Maria’s brother Elajas. They live in the states and come to Nisyros once a year to take care of their hotel. The best time for holidays in Nisyros island is September or so called “little summer”. She stopped at the little shop so we could get some food. We said hello and shook hands with her mother. The shop, as in Lithuanian villages, had a good selection of alcohol, so we bought some beer and crisps for dinner. On our way to the hotel a guy from motorbike rent called. “I will be busy tomorrow, so I will bring your motorbike now” he said. He also checked if it will be used by a couple and asked if a couple is a “man and a woman”. “In Nisyros, no car – big problem” Maria told us and soon we understood what she meant. The distances in the island are not big, but are too big to walk. You would not be able to ride a bike for long, hilly distances, unless you have ostrich legs and your lungs are like bellows. There is only one taxi and we’ve only seen school buses.
The hotel was completely empty. No guests, no staff. The motorbike man took our suitcases upstairs and the keys were handled by Maria’s mother. She kept asking “OK?”. Of course we loved it. The room was spacious and the sea was just outside the door. The motorbike man took out a map and gave us detailed instructions where should we drive for sightseeing. A new motorbike was just outside the hotel. As all Eastern Europeans we are used to vandalism and asked if it is safe to leave it just like this. He gave us a strange look and soon we understood, that it was a silly question – where would a thief run with that bike? To catch a boat?
A hot shower was a real delight after such a long day and beer with crisps – the best dinner. We spent only one day in Greece, but we did not feel like tourists at all. We felt as if we were guests, visiting our old friends.