Sifnos is not the of the beaten track like Santorinior Milos Islands on Greek itinerary of tourists. It boasts of grand sunrises, spectacular sunsets against the backdrop of the Aegean Sea, old church on a hilltop at Agis Simeone with scary steep narrow motor roads. Huddled on the hilltop are quaint lovely villas with a balcony opening into mountain valley view for sunsets. Back patio sloping into the sea gifts the beholder with lovely serene pink red gold sunrises over the mercurial liquid skies.
Calm, warm, friendly Greeks, are like the natural temperament of the Aegean Sea. Its friendly cats seek attention, gentle dogs are collared to assure they are not strays, patient mules, grazing goats, an occasional loose lone cow dot the mountainous terrain parceled into irregular pieces by cobbled natural formed rocks.
Lighthouse villa boasts of view of setting sun into the mountains guarding the valleys on the west. Back windows claim the majesty of sun rising from the sea.
By 10 AM sun beats down the almost fall time dry landscape, with green fruiting olive trees, oleanders in pink white colours, grape vines with sun ripening grapes and potted herbs, hibiscus, local vegetation catch the eye. Tiny beach-lets with Cafe Bars, taverns do decent business even in down economy. By 4:30 PM cooling air readies the island jaunters, evenings are heady with winds that ask for a shawl or a protective layer.
The city center of Apolonia has a narrow walking path with slopes, steps, and nestled on both sides are handmade jewelry stores, bakeries, places with fresh dessert’s honey produce herbs dry or fresh fruit for customers. Night time is teeming with couples, families, kids eating, drinking, talking, and laughing; soaking in friendly hospitality of very warm Siffno people.
On arriving at the port, first store guy asks his young American neighbour to get a detailed map and shares details on places to visit by marking the map, including places to eat. They all seem like they carry no burden nor worry unlike the Rushing New Yorkers one is used to. Friendly car rental guy shares similar information and volunteers his movie tastes what his wife, kids and he enjoy from Holly or Bollywood. They like historical or family flicks with romance or tears. They have movies subtitled and not the latest releases either.
Jewelry store owner shares that his birthplace was Athens, he is at Sifnos for six months of the annum and other six are in India, in Rajasthan, etc. His wares are partly universal tourist taste, part of wares displayed are from India. A Pakistani at gas station speaks fluent Greek and advises us where to find breakfast items.
Russian maid comes into service the room with a load of fresh towels, cleans the room, will not accept a tip, almost speaks no English beyond a no or yes or good.
Viennese influence is reflected non-Greekeek names here, and French, Italians visit this place more than Greeks is reflected by offering no grill or fresh pitas during lunch, and instead, bread is offered.
Greek salads, croquettes of all kinds, bread, tzatziki, island local cheese, feta, olives, pizzas, meats of all kinds, Souvlaki, fish, shrimp seafood are served.
Islands have white homes, churches with blue or white domes (though some are white in Sifnos unlike Santorini islands churches in stark white and blue tops and bells). Against drying vegetation on mountains or slopes they stand out fresh calm serene peaceful like the islanders.
It is conceivable that any creator, thinker, relaxation seeker wanting slow-paced life with the winds, sea, landscape, warm friendly gentle beings or animals choose Siffnos over Milos, Athens –the busier Greek resorts. Milos is covered with white sands, Santorini with black beaches, volcano crater, Sulphur springs, museum, cable cars, museums. Athens offers culture, history, philosophical greats teachings, life of Plato, Socrates, Science, the democratic expounded theories, invaded transitioning civilisation impact on buildings, artifacts displayed in museums, grand marble structures, and grand remnants of grandiose of past.
Photos by the author
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