Despite its traumatic ending in Athens, that first visit to the Cyclades was the start of a full blown love affair with the islands of Greece. The following Spring found me on Andros, in an apartment with a breezy balcony, in Batsi.
I recall a strong sheet of perspex which, while it distorted the view up the hill, provided wonderful shelter from the constant breeze. The previous Spring there’d been barely a whisper of wind, but here on Andros, the most northerly of the Cyclades, I encountered the famous Meltemi. Yet, basking in sunshine on the veranda, I could look down on the harbour.
It was on Andros that I had my first introduction to guided walking. Normally I’m more than happy to just follow my nose. I usually arrive home again- eventually! But a couple of hours of countryside in the company of a local sounded an agreeable way to spend a morning. A very affable expat, he turned out to be, who’d lived many years on the island and had ‘a tale or two’ to tell himself. And it took the pressure off Mick for a while- he’s gifted with a far better sense of direction than me and inevitably has to take the map from my hands and steer us back. Map? What map? I don’t believe I even had one on Andros.
Up we wound through the back streets. Don’t you love back streets?
As the sun rose higher, hats were pulled on and sunscreen topped up. The landscape was majestic and it was with just a hint of regret that I returned to the harbour at Batsi. But it’s a great place to sit in the shade and chat.
Some memories are clearer than others. I remember arriving by ferry at unpreposessing Gavrio, and then a bumpy ride to Batsi, late in the day. I loved the little harbour there, and sometimes dressing up (a frock!) for cocktail hour, after a day’s wandering. The sun seemed always to shine, but there was one blustery day when the wind really whipped those waves.
Andros was a great base for visiting the islands of Tinos and Syros, and that’s where I’ll be taking you next. But not before sharing my all time favourite Greek Island photograph, taken right here on Andros.