The surprises of Kea

17th-20th June

From Poros we headed westward to meet Jean near Athens. First stop Sounion, a bay by a temple to Poseidon. The bay was rather rocky in the night with the incoming swell, but the view was good.
Next morning we took the dinghy ashore and walked up to the site. I say site, for actually the temple was just a small part of what was in fact a major fortification to defend the capital and the silver mines of the Athenian city-state from invaders. Poseidon Earth Shaker could change fortunes not only by whipping up a storm but also through earth quakes. Would have been a key figure to have on your side.
I enjoyed the graffiti. Visitors from May 1813 had beaten us to it.

After a coffee in the temple precinct we headed for Kea, the northern-most island in the Cyclades, and spent a couple of nights on the quay in the large natural harbour. The island did not seem the most attractive. Newly built and unfinished holiday homes on barren land litter its slopes. Only two hours away from the capital it is an easy destination for the weekend and so is popular with Athenian tourists. It felt rather soulless somehow. And there was no water on the quay either. Things looked up when Paul found a pleasant nearby beach with shady trees and public showers, an easy cycle ride away.
We went for a cycle ride along the coast. The open air industrial museum was rather rusty.
This vehicle needs an oil change.
We read that the old town of Ioulis (or Ioulida) higher up on the island was worth seeing. A 10km distance but no buses running yet. They only run in 'the holiday season'. So we thought we would see how far we could get on our bicycles. We ended up following the old road.
Fortunately the bikes fold up so can be carried when they can no longer carry us.
The hike repaid our efforts.
Every single hillside on the island was ridged with terraces for cultivation. It is hard to imagine the amount of work and effort that has gone in over the centuries to build and maintain these terraces.
We persevered up the old road and eventually rejoined the newer and rather more functional if less atmospheric asphalted road, where we stopped to get a drink at what must be the most dramatically and beautifully placed Lidl the world will ever know. I can't find out how high above sea level Ioulis is but I would not recommend cycling. It was worth it though.
Cars and mopeds are left outside the old town, which proved very charming. I love the way the children play in the streets and squares here. Nobody bats an eyelid about them kicking a ball about near the restaurant.
Over dinner we spoke to Reuben
He had just been offered a job!
... and the world cup was on (but no, I don't know who was playing).

The journey back was rather faster. We got home just after sunset, with our trusty dynamos lighting the way.