Us: I don’t want to do any more hiking in Greece, it’s too fucking hot.
Also us: Shall we climb that fuck off big mountain over yonder?
I say fuck off big mountain, it’s about 640 metres and you drive most of that but it does look kind of intimidating from the ground and it’s definitely one of the first things you notice the first time you scoot out of Tinos town. We hopped back onto the mean machine and headed to the village of Xinara where we were going to start walking. The wind had definitely picked up since yesterday, it was mostly fine but there were a few stretches of road where I struggled to keep the bike straight.
This did mean it was nice and cool though, the perfect weather for a 1.4 kilometre stroll up a hill. It wasn’t heat stroke we had to worry about so much as being blown to our deaths from the top of aforementioned mountain. Off we fucked in the general direction of up, doubted ourselves, walked back through the village, found no other way up, walked back the way we came but a little bit further aaaaaand there you go. There’s the clearly marked footpath. We made our way through what turned out to be a shortcut to a much nicer trail then followed a sign that took us off to the left.
Do not follow this sign. It turns out this sign only leads you to the rock climbing area, a small fact we realised after following trails that disappeared into nothing resulting in us scrambling over dirt and Tarrant being brutally attached by spiky foliage. I’m not sure Greece has any plants that don’t come fully armed. Once we’d accepted that we’d fucked up we made our way back to the rally quite lovely, roughly paved road and just followed that.
Yeah, this was where we were meant to be. There was one more narrow bit of trail lined with death-plants hell bent on relieving you of an eyeball then it was a wide track the rest of the way. It’s actually quite easy despite being uphill, we met one chap who was doing it in sandals. If you’re doing this walk and it starts getting difficult then you’re in the wrong place, sunshine.
The wind was insane up the hill and the summit was covered in fast moving cloud that swirled around us, giving us occasional glimpses of the eyehole fodder around us. I clung onto the cross at the top and hoped I wouldn’t be swept to my death by the gales. We didn’t last long at the top, I think this was the first time we’d been cold since we got to Greece. We retraced our steps to the village before we were Mary Poppinsed off the mountain.
There was one other place I really wanted to see on Tinos so we muscled the scooter to Volax which I’d read was home to some cool rocks. Yes, I used the words “cool” and “rocks” concurrently in the same sentence. I thought we might have to go hunting for these cool rocks but you don’t. As you approach the village your eyeholes are assaulted with the most incredible landscape dotted with thousands of boulders, like something huge exploded. It’s Greece’s answer to Hampi but with less hippies doing yoga on the rocks.
We parked up in the village and went for a little wander. It’s such striking scenery, I’m not sure any of my camera brandishing did it any manner of justice. We didn’t go too far as Tarrant’s feet still aren’t too happy about the three month walk we just did but it was enough to just wander slightly off the road and up a trail before we headed to a taverna for our daily freddo fix.
We’d earmarked a couple more villages to visit but to be fair it just got so windy, and we’d seen the things we’d really wanted to, we decided just to return the scooter early. The random side gusts had made me nervous. We were staying a mere stroll from Tinos town so we popped into the Archaeological Museum of Tinos for a bit of a gawp at some statues found in the Poseiden temple not far away. This was one of the things we’d thought about seeing but the wind put us off and it looks like all the good shit is here anyway.
Then we thought we might as well go and check out the church which is hugely important as churches go. The Holy Church of the Virgin Mary Evangelistria was built around some manner of icon after the Virgin Mary appeared to a nun and told her where it was. The church sits atop a hill and as you walk up the main road you’ll notice a carpet fixed to the floor lined with traffic cones that have been bolted down. “Oh how nice,” you think, “they’ve put carpet down so we don’t slip on the marble.”
No. This is for the devotees to crawl up on their hands and knees. We saw them doing it, it’s fucking insane. Religion absolutely boggles my mind. We walked up on our actual feet but the queue to get into the church was huge so we didn’t bother. We had a quick look around downstairs then headed back to the seafront via a parallel street lined with shops selling everything you need for your Virgin Mary church experience. Huge candles, vessels to hold your holy water, incense, all manner of religious paintings. I did have to resist the urge to buy a hideous kitch Jesus souvenir.
We spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out outside our room with the cats, drinking Metaxa and yowling along to 80s music, until the wind got so bad we had to retrieve our laundry from various cacti within a three metres radius. The wind has brought the temperature down to something way more manageable than the face melting the-air-is-lava levels it’s been at but we have to catch a ferry to Paros tomorrow and I fear for my stomach contents.
Tinos, South Aegean, Greece / Τήνος, Νότιο Αιγαίο, Ελλάδα
Stayed at: Prasino Oniro, Tinos
Useful shit to know…
- There are loads of places to rent scooters or cars in Tinos town. We opted for Vidalis. They have a catalogue of scooters to choose from so we opted for a 150cc (I have a full motorcycle licence) for €28 a day.
- They have smaller scooters to rent but I think if you can’t legally ride it at home then they’re not going to rent it to you here. Even if they did, your medical insurance won’t cover you if you injure yourself in an accident and you’re not meant to be riding it.
- Fuel was cheaper in Tinos town, around €2.15 per litre, rising to €2.25 per litre in some of the further places.