Stormwaters surged across fields, farmlands and roads on Naxos after heavy rain lashed the island on Tuesday. This picture of an overflowing stream appeared in a January 23 2017 photo report published by Naxos Times.
After the Tuesday rains, this waterfront strip in Naoussa village on Paros was left a complete muddy mess. This was one of several photos that Kay Will shared on Facebook to show the aftermath of the storm.
Devastating downpours: Winter weather has been packing a powerful punch in Greece this month.
The mercury has since climbed and the snow in many places has melted, but Mother Nature wasn’t finished — she decided to pound some of the Cyclades islands with heavy downpours that lasted throughout the day on Tuesday January 24.
The rain, occasionally accompanied by hail, pelted Paros, Naxos, Tinos, Mykonos, Sifnos, Andros and other islands for more than 24 hours.
Paros was particularly hard hit by the storm and seems to have suffered the most water damage. There was extensive soil erosion as well as some landslides, and flooding caused widespread damage to farm fields, shops, homes, churches, vehicles, and roadways.
According to a January 25 report on the local news website ParosIn, damage to some areas was so severe, the island’s mayor has written to regional authorities requesting they declare a state of emergency so that resources can be deployed to assist with the massive cleanup and repair work that must now be undertaken.
The news story noted that the mayor’s letter described severe damage in the municipal areas of Naoussa, Kostos, Lefkon, Archilocus, and Marpissa, as well as places in and around Parikia.
According to the Naxos Times, the deluge doused Naxos with so much rain that streams turned into “rushing rivers” that “drowned” farms and fields, and flooded some roads. Near Koronida village, where wildfires had burned several weeks before, the water washing down the streams was black from all the soot being carried away, the January 24 Naxos Times report stated.
This short videoclip, shared by the Maistros Panormos Tinos page on Facebook, shows some of the rainwater damage at Rochari beach on Tinos
Click on the link below to continue reading and see more storm photos and video on page 2 of this post.
Easy excursion: People planning trips to Mykonos frequently ask me if it’s possible to visit other islands for either all or part of a day. It certainly is!
Each year, in fact, tens of thousands of people make the short half-day trip from Mykonos to Delos, an uninhabited isle which is one of the most significant historic and archaeological sites in all of Greece. (See my recent post Visiting Delos in 2016 for information about the many different ways to get there.)
The next easiest getaway for a day is to Tinos, which can be reached either by regular ferry service from Mykonos, or on tours organized by excursion companies. Unlike hip Mykonos, which is one of the most contemporary and “touristy” destinations in Greece, Tinos offers a more authentic Greek island atmosphere and visitor experience.
Tripotamos, one of 40 traditional villages on Tinos, is seen in a Tom DeBelfore photo from the Tinos, Kykladen/ Τήνος, Κυκλάδες page on Facebook. There’s nothing even remotely comparable to these villages on Mykonos.
Mykonos is popular primarily for its beaches, its sophisticated hotels, bars, restaurants and nightlife, its picturesque Mykonos Town commercial center, and its legendary status as one of the leading holiday and party destinations for the international “jet set” since the 1960s.
Tinos has excellent beaches, bars and restaurants, too, but it also boasts sights and features you won’t find anywhere on Mykonos, including fabulous mountain scenery, dozens of traditional villages and settlements, thousands of dovecotes, and the Church of Panagia Evaggelistria, the country’s most-visited Greek Orthodox pilgrimage shrine. An important center for religion with a long history of marble carving and stone artwork, Tinos gives visitors the opportunity to see a traditional side of Greece that’s almost impossible to find amidst the glitz and glamour of the designer boutiques, trendy nightclubs and posh resorts that abound on Mykonos.
The Church of Panagia Evaggelistria (Our Lady of Tinos) is visited each year by thousands of tourists and Greek Orthodox pilgrims. This photo of the church appeared on the Facebook page for the local TINOS About magazine.
Because of their sharply contrasting attributes and attractions, the two islands might seem worlds apart. But since they’re separated by just a short ferry ride across a narrow channel, a daytrip to Tinos would nicely complement a longer stay on Mykonos (or vice versa).
So how can you get to Tinos? If you’re not comfortable arranging your own itinerary, drop into travel agencies or ferry ticket offices in Mykonos Town to inquire about times and prices for guided tours that might be available during your holiday. When you purchase tickets, make certain to ask where you catch your ferry — Mykonos has two ports! (The Old Port is right at Mykonos Town, while the New Port is located over 2 kilometers from town at Tourlos.)
If you would prefer to see Tinos independently, check with the Mykonos ferry ticket agencies for boat schedules on the particular day you’d like to do your daytrip. For years, the Theologos P car and passenger ferry has offered the most reliable and convenient round-trip ferry service between the two islands, with breakfast-time departures and mid-evening returns. Theologos P typically departs the Mykonos New Port around 7:35 a.m., arriving at Tinos Town 30 minutes later. You’ll be able to enjoy a full day of sightseeing and even dinner at a local taverna before sailing back to Mykonos on Theologos P’s 9:35 p.m. return voyage to Mykonos (it reaches the Mykonos New Port shortly past 10 p.m.).
Several other ferries operate between Mykonos and Tinos, but their later departures and earlier returns allow only a few hours on Tinos. That’s still enough time to take a walk around Tinos Town and visit the island’s world-famous Our Lady of Tinos Church. But after getting to see Tinos for just three hours on our last vacation (see my previous post Our brief intro to Tinos for photos), we strongly recommend arranging as much time on the island as possible.
Friends who have done numerous daytrips say that by catching the Theologos P in the morning, they can take a taxi or bus to one of the mountain villages above Tinos Town, hike back down and spend a few hours sightseeing and having dinner in town. The return trip of Theologos P gets them back to Mykonos while the night is still young. Another possibility, they say, is to rent a car at Tinos Town and spend the day driving around to see some of the 40 villages, thousands of dovecotes and hundreds of chapels scattered across the island’s hills and mountainsides.
Thousands of impressive dovecotes can be spotted all over Tinos. This particular dovecote was renovated and converted into a private residence. (Photo from the tinos-tinos.com travel information website.)
If you want to get an idea of what Tinos is like (and also Mykonos, if you haven’t been there yet, either), watch the Hyperlapsing Tinos and Mykonos video that I posted at the top of this article. The 6.5-minute film will give you a speedy tour through the lanes and alleys of Tinos Town and Mykonos Town, and will take you to other parts of each island as well. It even shows some of the coastal scenery you’ll see on both islands during the ferry ride.
You can see more of Tinos in the video Tinos Greece 2015, below. It’s actually a slideshow presentation of photographs that YouTube contributor Lusko18 shot at numerous different locations on the island last year.
This is a 5-minute slideshow of photographs shot by Lusko18 during a trip to Tinos in 2015
With its distinctive rugged peak, Exomvourgo mountain dominates the scene as our ferry approaches the port at Tinos island
Ferry change: We got a brief introduction to Tinos during a short stopover for a ferry connection last May, and left the island wishing we had arranged to spend several days of our vacation there in between our visits to Andros and Syros.
We arrived at Tinos on the Superferry II from Andros shortly before noon on May 31, giving us sufficient time to explore part of Tinos Town and have lunch before returning to the port for our 3 p.m. ferry to Syros. So as soon as we disembarked the ship, we headed directly to the town’s main commercial area, a mere five-minute walk away.
At the Tinos port moments after arriving on a ferry from Andros.
We were hoping to find a travel or ferry ticket office that offered luggage storage, so when we passed Epineio restaurant we asked one of the waiters if he could direct us to one. He called over his manager, who kindly offered to stow our bags inside the restaurant — at no charge — so we could explore the town unencumbered. When I promised we would soon return to have lunch, he said: “No obligation. Eat anywhere you like.” Minding our luggage, he explained, was meant as a small gesture of hospitality to welcome us to Tinos. “We would like you to enjoy our beautiful island and we hope you will come back to stay here next time,” he said.
With that first good impression, we set off to walk around and see if we might be interested in returning to Tinos on a future trip to the Cyclades.
Considering that it was a Sunday, Tinos Town was far busier than we had expected — the streets and lanes near Epineio were teeming with people and actually were uncomfortably crowded in some spots. Then we remembered it was the middle of a holiday long weekend. Here we were, visiting one of the most popular Greek Orthodox pilgrimage destinations in Greece on the day before Holy Spirit Monday, so of course it would be busy!
Another surprise was that Tinos Town was significantly bigger than we had been anticipating. I had imagined it to be a relatively small seaside village, like the port towns on Ios, Milos and Sifnos, but the port authority property was huge and the town extended quite a distance along the coast. This wasn’t a sleepy harbour village by any means, and we quickly realized we would get to see only a fraction of the town.
Our plan was to stroll some of the streets, take a peek at the pilgrimage shrine that put Tinos on the map (the Church of Panagia Evaggelistria, also called Our Lady of Tinos), and then return to the waterfront area for a bite to eat.
Tinos is famous for its Church of Panagia Evaggelistria (also called Our Lady of Tinos), built on the site where the Icon of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary was discovered after a nun had a vision about its location. Thousands of Greek Orthodox pilgrims visit the shrine each year.
The harbourfront at Gavrio, the port village on Andros island
Au revoir, Andros: When we arrived at Gavrio port on Andros at the start of our Greek holiday last May, we barely even noticed the village. Already groggy from our transatlantic travel and jet lag, we were struggling to shake off more cobwebs after dozing periodically during the ferry ride from Rafina.
I saw a few shops and tavernas when we stepped off the ship, and can even remember thinking “there doesn’t seem to be much here” when I took a quick glance around. We didn’t have time for a longer look since we had to focus our attention on a more pressing issue — fitting luggage for four people into the compact car our friends had rented.
Soon we were pulling away from the port and driving up a narrow lane that squeezed tightly between rows of whitewashed houses before widening into the two-lane highway that would lead us to Andros Town. As we rounded a bend on the outskirts of Gavrio, we got our first views of exhilarating Andros scenery — fields, beaches and the wide open sea on our right side, and to our left a long line of mountains extending far into the distance. It was a beautiful sight for our sore and very tired eyes.
The mountain and sea view from the outskirts of Gavrio, seen in an image from Google Street View. This is the highway that leads from Gavrio to Batsi and onward to Andros Town.
We got a better look at Gavrio when we walked there from Batsi on the final full day of our Andros visit. As we turned onto the waterfront strip, we discovered there was much more to the town than we had seen while disembarking the ferry five days earlier.
On arrival day, we had basically seen just half of Gavrio’s commercial district — the extensive port authority area with its parking lots, loading zones, and of course the quays for ferries and ships, as well as a few of the businesses along the main street nearby. We had not noticed that the street continued farther past the port, lined on one side with tavernas, shops and ferry ticket agencies, and a flagstone-paved walkway on the sea side. It took longer than we had anticipated to stroll the entire length of the road, and we were surprised by the large selection of restaurants and cafes — we had not been expecting to be so spoiled for choice in finding a place to have lunch.
Though not as scenic as some other port towns in the Cyclades, Gavrio isn’t an unattractive place — it just doesn’t have the pretty, polished veneer of upscale boutiques and trendy cafe-bars that draw the big-spending tourist and cruise ship crowds to places like Mykonos Town. And while Gavrio may be conveniently located for quick easy access to a variety of good beaches (see my post A bevy of beaches & coves on the scenic west coast of Andros), we were happy we had chosen to spend our holiday time at Andros Town and Batsi instead, since we preferred their overall look and feel.
Mind you, we didn’t walk around any of the residential streets on the hills tucked behind the waterfront strip, so we didn’t get to see all of Gavrio. We may have been more impressed had we taken time to explore beyond the port and harbourfront.
We didn’t get to explore the residential streets on the hill behind the commercial waterfront strip
The next day we got more glimpses of Gavrio during a taxi ride to the port, followed by panoramic sea views of all of Gavrio Bay as we stood on the outdoor decks of the ferry taking us to Tinos. It was a brilliantly sunny morning, and Gavrio looked picturesque as it glistened in the sunshine. I’m sure we’ll be back sometime for another look around.
Click on the link below to see more photos of Gavrio, as well as pictures of the Andros coast that we passed during our ferry trip to Tinos. There also are photos of the ship that took us there, the Superferry II, as well as the western coast of Tinos.
The ancient Temple of Apollo monument on Naxos is barely visible as winds carry sea spray up and over the Palatia peninsula. This amazing shot was one of three photos shared on Facebook by Manolis Lykouropoulos.
Wild winter: While it was the ongoing economic turbulence and political bluster in Greece that made headlines around the world this week, surprisingly severe winter weather conditions in many parts of the country were just as wild, crazy and unpredictable.
For several days, and especially on February 10 and 11, Mother Nature thrashed many of the Aegean islands and parts of mainland Greece with an unusually vicious torrent of wind, waves, rain, sleet, snow and cold temperatures.
The latest barrage of bad weather came slightly more than a month after a similarly brutal storm system brought icy temperatures, freezing rain and heavy snowfalls to many of the Greek Islands in early January (see my posts Wild winter weather wallops Greece and Snow scenes from the Cyclades to view photos and videos that were shared on social media during and after that storm).
Snow falls on the Parthenon (top) while two pedestrians walk past the Odeon of Herodes Atticus next to the Acropolis in Athens. Flowmagazine posted this photo on its Facebook page February 11.
This week’s weather disturbances dusted Athens and surrounding areas with light snow, while various islands including Skiathos, Samos, Karpathos, Crete, Naxos and Tinos experienced either light flurries or significant snowfalls in some regions, particularly in mountainous areas. Freezing rain accompanied chilly temperatures in many places.
But it was relentless gale-strength winds that wreaked the most havoc, flooding popular waterfront tourist areas on Crete, Samos, Mykonos and Naxos.
Gusts registering force 10 and higher on the Beaufort wind scale raged across the Aegean, pushing powerful waves against coastlines, ports and harbours. Particularly hard-hit were the Chania harbourfront on Crete, the Little Venice seafront of Mykonos Town, the Naxos village of Apollonas, and the Long Beach area of Kokkari village on Samos, where seawater surged ashore, flooding streets, shops and restaurants and leaving muddy debris — and even the bodies of drowned animals — in its wake. The winds and water also caused extensive damage to the port of Evdilos on Ikaria.
Waves and water damage at the Chania waterfront on Crete are shown in these photos posted to Facebook by βαγγέλης διαμαντακης
Please click on the link below to continue reading page 2 of this post, which includes more news, photos and videos of storm activity and damage on several islands.