This is the year we Shums turn 60. First Nicholas in January and then myself in June. To celebrate this milestone we decided to play tourist and go to Patmos, an island that has been on our wish list for some time. As luck would have it, the week of Nicholas’ birthday coincided with some seriously bad weather so our original plan, to go up on the Wednesday evening Blue Star and come back on the Sunday Dodecanese Seaways catamaran was thrown into disarray. Instead we wound up taking the Friday morning Dodecanese Seaways up and coming back on the Sunday one, giving us effectively 48 hours on Patmos.
We stayed at the Villa Zacharo, one of the few places open on the island in the dead of winter. The hotelier was happy to oblige our frequent changes of program and met us off the boat when we arrived in Skala, the only ferry port on Patmos. The hotel was just up the drag, on the main road, if one can call it that, that connects Skala with Chora, the old fortified hilltop town around the Christodoulos monastery. Probably a noisy location in the summer with the tourist buses rattling past but perfect in the winter.
We were given Room 1, which turned out to be a highly desirable corner room with views of Chora above and the hotel’s orchard and vegetable garden below. As on Symi, we awoke to cockerels crowing! As this hotel is open all year round they have proper central heating with radiators in all the rooms as well as wood panelling in the public areas. A sign that winters last longer the further north you go!
To make the most of the remaining daylight on our arrival and to stretch our legs after the 4 hour ferry journey we walked around the bay from Skala to the opposite shore. Unlike Pedi and Yialos, Patmos bay has a bit of a kink to it so it is not exposed to pounding seas in rough weather. This means that all manner of rickety wooden jetties can survive, as you can see from the photographs.
After a late lunch of Patmos cheese pies and Choriatiki (Greek salad to the rest of the world), we picked up our hire car from Asterix car rentals opposite the hotel and went for a sunset drive down the southern end of the island. I will share those photographs with you in part 2 🙂