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A New Steed

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

I was going to title this blog 'what could go wrong', but then that could be the title for almost every blog! Yesterday I did indeed have a new Steed, just for the day, an E-Bike. Here I am astride my new beast.

As some of you know I cycle at home, so you might be saying to yourself, 'an E-Bike, what a cop out'. Not so, Koufonisia is hilly and has few roads and many rough tracks. Turns out an E-Bike was a fantastic decision and only €20 for the day.

So, what was hiring a bike all about? Well, Koufonisia, though beautifully formed, is teeny tiny. To be more accurate, we're on Pano Koufonisia, the only inhabited island of a group of 3 Koufonisia islands. Pano Koufonisia has an area of just 3.5 sq Km, so if you want to get around to see the island a bike or your feet are the only two options. However the highest point on the island is 374 feet so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that to get that high in such a small space there will be large steep hills! Hence the bike to get a proper look at all the nooks and crannies Pano Koufonisia has to offer.

How's the E-Bike look in practice? Pretty good I'd say (please note the head gear, I must be getting sensible in my old age!).

Here's what I found on a compact but very beautiful Pano Koufonisia.

On the south coast some lovely beaches and coastline.

On the north coast no beaches or safe anchorages, but a beautiful coastline.

At the top of the island there is a very remote fuel station, the only one on Koufonisia. It was closed, the locals must know when it's open, nothing obvious, good job I've got my e-bike not a hire car!

Also at the top of the island an extremely remote tiny open air church, to the prophet Elias, which I've never seen anything like before.

On the way down I passed a helipad, which we've seen before on small islands and imagined them to be for medical emergencies.

We asked a local on Amorgos if that's what they're for, she laughed and said they're just for rich people. We asked what happens if you have a medical emergency, she said if you don't get to a hospital in time by boat you die. These islands are a paradise but there are clearly down sides.

Back at sea level a look at the boat yard across from our apartment. You can see its probably unchanged for at least a hundred years or more. Boats propped up on wood, and launched using a wooden sled on rollers greased with pig fat.

The last couple of piccies are of the main church on Koufonisia, which is beautiful and incredibly well looked after.

You'll note above the door a beautiful picture of the patron saint of Koufonisia, St George (St George gets about a bit, patron saint of loads of places). You'll note George is shown slaying a dragon, which I found interesting because George was a Turkish officer in the Roman army who was martyred for being Christian in 303 AD. The slaying the dragon myth was added in Georgia about 600 years later, so it seems odd this is the version that is on the church. English readers will note there's no St Georges flag (the English flag) which was in fact from Genoa and used to protect ships in the 3rd crusade. Also no armour, which on the English version of St George was added along with the flag in late medieval times.

We're back on a ferry tomorrow to see Iralkia for the day, on the Small Cyclades ferry the Skopelitis, which I have a bad history with, but that's a story for another day.


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