As our van rounded the corner, we were surprised to see such a beautiful coastline so close to Selcuk and I wished I had taken Aija up on her invitation to take the kids to the beach one day, but some how we did not get around to it. There are always opportunities missed in traveling, as even with our open ended schedule, the world is too big to see and do it all. We did not see everything in Turkey, but we did get a really nice taste in our (almost) month there and are so grateful that we did not miss this gem of a country as it was one of our favorites.
Yet as we got closer to Kusadasi, it proved as soul less and over built as many had told us it was, so we were grateful to quickly pass thru this touristy, cruise ship town as we were just there for the ferry to Samos. Mozart lucked out with another lunch-to-go from Burger King at the port, which she loved along with another toy and colorful cardboard crown. Kids are easily amused and that kept her occupied on the long lines and short ferry ride to Samos on quite a small ferry.
Samos is one of the most lush and tropical looking of all the Greek Islands and the closest to Turkey. There are lots of vineyards, orchids are grown there for export and there is a jasmine floral scent to the air. Samos was home to yet another of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.
Since Pythagoras was born in Samos (6th century) and I was quite fond of his theories in my youth, we decided to stay at the pension Pythagoras in Samos Town (Vathy) which had great views and was near a small, unspoiled beach. It was a simple place, but had wifi in the room (which was handy for handling details for our next stop Mykonos) and a tavern on the premises. We mainly just wanted to rest a few days and catch up.
It is within walking distance to the port, but they were kind enough to pick us up at the ferry, altho we did not get a sea view room which I was told to ask for, as it was high season and we did not book ahead. We did have some excitement that first night that Mozart will never forget.
We were both naked in the little bathroom getting ready to get in the shower and wash our hair. Out of the drain comes the biggest (about 6 inches long!), ugliest centipede (millipede?) that I have ever seen, crawling towards us. Mozart screamed and I screamed and DaVinci, who was in the other room, wondered what in the world was going on.
Needless to say, we skipped the shower and avoided the bathroom for the rest of the night and were ever so happy to move into a new room with a great sea view the next morning. It probably could have happened there as well, I suppose, and indeed I was cautious always in the bathroom, but the rest of the stay was uneventful and we settled in for a few days of relaxation.
We walked around the old town some, but the idyllic little beach and gorgeous sunsets were the highlight of our stay. There was a very sweet couple from New Zealand staying there when we were, that were fun to talk to as they were on a long trip too and she was a teacher who was impressed with Mozart’s patter.
Mozart is always excited when she hears English speakers and seems to have no idea that she is a child, so converses with them eagerly as an equal. She would gladly talk someone’s ear off if they give her a chance and several people here did, so that is fun for her. She also talked a lot to our “next door neighbors” on our terrace (who were students that had been here since March) who really got a kick out of her. She also enjoyed some toddlers that were usually around at dinner time with us, even though they did not speak English, as she just loves to mother little kids.
Every day we swam a little in the sea and watched the fishermen from a distance. Like many beaches in Europe, it was a rocky beach and there were waves and she played endless games running up and down. Mozart loved making and eating our little picnic lunches there and we read and sat under our umbrella. Even tiny beaches in Europe seem to always have a few loungers and umbrellas and someone nearby to collect a small fee.
One day after a long swim, we watched a man with snorkel gear and some kind of spear, work on something for a while. He came out with a huge collection of sea urchins from the very area where we had been swimming! I had just read about how sea urchins are thought of as a great food delicacy in parts of Greece, but was very happy we had not stepped on one.
We needed time to just absorb all that we saw in Turkey and also it was more time consuming than expected trying to book Mykonos and coordinate our ferry travel to there and back to Santorini, now that we were in the height of high season. It had been a while since we had been at a beach, so it was great to be able to hang out at one we practically had to ourselves. We were also glad to get to sample a new Greek Island.