Milos. We had planned to start our cruise around the islands with a visit to Milos but as it turns out we ended it here. Milos is a large island, with an airport, close to the mainland and that adds up to ‘tourist destination’.
The port of Adamas is the island capital and is obviously set up for tourists, busy but not in an ‘in your face’ way. It is not exactly picturesque but is pleasant enough and would perhaps fall into the ‘vibrant’ category in the evenings.
But with only one day free here, we needed the other day to do cleaning, laundry and shopping, we decided to hop on the bus to the village of Trypiti which boasts an amphitheatre, catacombs and the ruins of the ancient city of Melos where the Venus de Melo was unearthed.
And what a surprise! We got off the bus in Trypiti and had a stroll along the main street which revealed a typical Greek island town. From there we followed the signs for the Catacombs and the Amphitheatre. It was hot and all down-hill, which meant hot and all up hill on the way back!
This was the site of the ancient city of Melos which thrived between the 9th century BC to the 7th century AD. The site overlooks the small village of Klima, the site of the original port and only small sections of the city wall still remain. It was in 1820, whilst ploughing a field beneath these ruins, that a farmer found the statue that we know now as the Venus de Milo. After some disagreement over ownership the Ottoman Turks gave the statue to the French in 1821.
The amphitheatre was a complete surprise. Suddenly we were looking down and there it was! It is Roman and dates from the 1st to 4th centuries AD. Only a few rows of seats have been excavated and renovated and a section of ‘mural’ has been restored to give an impression of the original backdrop. The first rule of building an amphitheatre appears to have been ‘find a hill with an awesome view’ – if the production was awful at least you’d have something to look at!
From there it was further down hill to the Catacombs. These were an early Christian cemetery dug about 200 metres into the hillside in a number of ‘galleries’. Each tomb was in the form of an arch above the actual tomb, some larger than others accommodating whole families, rich ones obviously. When they ran out of space in the walls they dug down into the floor to accommodate more. There were some 2000 tombs but many had a number of occupants.
The walk back up to the bus took us past a very welcome taverna, the Methismeni Política. We had a gallon of water each and a light lunch, which was really delicious, included something, not entirely unlike pastel and included complimentary ice creams.
On Monday, 20 August, we spent the day doing ‘housework’ in preparation for our next overnight passage to Porto Kayio, the bay north-east of Cape Matapan. We loved our last visit and had planned to be there for Valeria’s birthday, but may use the coming settled weather to push on around the Peloponnese towards Cephalonia.