Kimolos: The Accidental Greek Island

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About halfway through our two-week adventure in Greece we made a mistake. A big one.

It began with a ferry from Paros to Milos. A ferry we thought would be an easy, two-hour ride that turned out to be a crowded, nauseating, four-hour ride. Apparently, the 50 m.p.h meltemi winds that hit Greece every August had just begun. Smaller ferries had been forced to cancel and their passengers were sardined onto ours–the only ferry willing to brave the swells.

Well, after four hours and three stops we were convinced Milos would be next. We grabbed our bags and moved to the ferry’s exit. We strained to hear the word “Milos” over the scratchy, heavily Greek- accented intercom. We heard it. Well, we thought we heard it, so we hopped off.

But it wasn’t Milos. It was Ki-molos.

By the time we realized our mistake and made a mad sprint back to the boat, the gangplank was being pulled up. The ferry crew waved their hands. Sorry. Too late.

We’ll simply catch the next boat, we thought…

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…except that the next ferry would not be through for 3 days.

Some locals redirected us to the island police, where we found out that there was another boat–a local boat–but that it had not braved the trip to Milos in 2 days. The boat may make the trip at 7 that evening. Or maybe the next day. The captain wasn’t sure. Stick around the harbor, he said.

Panic began to set in. (And the Gilligan’s Island theme song…)

We had no place to stay. We had already paid for lodging on the next two islands, as well as a ferry from Milos to Santorini in three days’ time. We could actually see Milos from Kimolos but could not get to it. We couldn’t even pay someone to take us through the maltemi winds.

We were stuck.

What is one to do but grab a beer and wait?

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By the time we finally sat down and defeatedly ordered beers, we knew we had caused a bit of a scene at the local hangout (what with our big backpacks and our stressed-out questions). We were those people. People who aren’t from around here. People who don’t know the difference between Milos and Kimolos. Tourists. Even worse, American tourists.

I felt all eyes on us; but what I mistook as judgement was actually sympathy.

The waiter brought us the cafe’s signature dessert–on the house. He helped us get online so we could email our families. A table of local men sent over two glasses of ouzo. We told them we lived in Switzerland and they asked to see photos of the Alps. We asked them about the Greek economy and they shared their opinions with us. What we were experiencing was truly unique.

Something we would not have experienced had we not made our big mistake.

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When we left Kimolos that evening on the local boat, we left happier, more relaxed and waving goodbye to our new friends. Maybe it was the ouzo, but I prefer to think that it was an afternoon of unexpected “forced relaxation” on Kimolos that put us in such good spirits. It was just what we needed. I hope you are finding some time to relax today…but for now, a few links:

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There are California girls and there are Bakersfield girls. I am the latter.

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