Two little girls, one a toddler, , seen from behind on a blue and white balcony.

Karpathos, Greece, Day 1 (or, Hopping to a Greek Island)

Two little girls, one a toddler, , seen from behind on a blue and white balcony.
Eliane and Mikaela on 'our' balcony in Pyles

We spent the entire day yesterday in travel, leaving our friend’s house in Barcelona just before seven in the morning, and getting in to the house here in Pyles on Karpathos a little before 10pm.

I was a little dismayed to find the mattresses still in plastic when we arrived – I’d been warned, but had completely forgotten. The house is still a bit of a work in progress, its master having spent three months here last summer (he lives in Australia, but grew up here), which turned out to be not quite enough to complete renovations.  However, we had sheets and quilts (some sent over with us, some already here), and we had all the children tucked in bed by around 11pm, with ourselves not far behind.

We were met at the airport by the lovely godfather of the friend who ‘lent’ us this house (the latter being the son of the ‘master’ I mentioned), and he has now taken Chris and the big kids to hire a car and hopefully do a little shopping, showing them what’s what. He gave us a little bit of a tour on the way from the airport, but it was dark and we were tired, so we didn’t take much in, though it was exciting to see all the tavernas and the boats on the harbor at a little Greek fishing village and think “Wow, we are really in Greece!”

colourful boats in clear blue water with mountains in the background
This is not the little fishing village we saw that first night, but the busy harbour in Pigadia, the Island's capital, often itself just called 'Karpathos'

This morning we’ve been able to get a better look at the house and the view – the house we are in is the traditional Greek white with blue trim, surrounded by similar houses. The view from the balcony is of a church immediately below us and the sea in the distance, in one direction, with rocky mountains in another. Pyles is not a seaside village, but like most Greek islands Karpathos rises steeply from the sea. I suspect we will drive down to a beach this afternoon.

White church with red rooves
The church we see looking down from our balcony.

The tourist highlight of Karpathos, aside from the beaches, is Olympos/Olymbos, which is still very much a traditional  Greek village, where most of the women, at least, still wear traditional dress. However Olymbos is on the other end of the Island, which almost makes it like a separate island altogether. Access is by ferry (some two hours) plus bus, or by four wheel drive, as there is still no paved road joining the two ends of the island (though they’re working on it). The car hire company said we could swap over our family car for a four wheel drive for one day for an extra €15, but they are only four seaters. We could take the ferry, but expecting the kids to sit through a two hour ferry ride each way for something that will be, let’s face it, at best of passing interest to them, is probably not really the best use of one of our five precious days here. So no Olympos for us.

Happily, I think there will be no shortage of things to do at this end of the Island, between the beaches and the capital, Pigadia, and the people here in town, half of whom seem to be related to our absent hosts.

white two story house with blue door and shutters, partially obscured by neighbouring buildings, with terraced laneway leading up to it.
Because the houses are so close together with only these narrow lane-ways between them in some cases, it was impossible to get a clear photo of our house in Pyles. This was the best I could do, but it does show the lovely crisp blue and white paint-work.