I don’t know if it’s always like this, but December so far has been perfect for walking – arguably much better than September or even October when most walkers come here. The temperature is just right, so you don’t need to carry gallons of water, or of course sunscreen or insect repellent. (Enjoying feeling unencumbered by stuff, I'm afraid I didn't even take a camera with me, so the pics were taken after I got home.) It’s by no means cold, but cool enough for hiking boots and socks, so you can cut across country.
And the views keep changing. This afternoon there was no sign of Karpathos, as the view beyond Eristos was dark with gathering rainclouds; yet to the sunny north, against a blue sky, I saw the volcanic island of Nisyros more clearly than I have ever seen it before; every topographical feature clearly defined, including sheer cliffs plunging into the sea; you could practically see what they were having for dinner up in the village of Nikia on the rim of the caldera. Then over beyond Eristos, where the sea had become dark grey and almost navy blue, a gap in the clouds opened and a streak of silver spread across the water.
I explored the off-road path towards Livadia, then veered up to the abandoned village of Mikro Horio; actually not completely abandoned, as I definitely disturbed a couple of families of sheep, although the lambs were enjoying their lunch so much, wagging their little tails, that they didn’t notice, and it was only their mums that looked alarmed to see me.
I wandered back through ‘dead goat creek’, as I christened the path having seen a few old carcasses. Then I veered off again to explore a Byzantine chapel near Harkadio cave, one of the more unusually-shaped chapels that I’ve always meant to explore; inside, the floor showed it was definitely a home for goats these days, but the altar was ancient carved marble.
Back home, exhausted but happy, I boiled up some spinach-type greens and fried a couple of the lovely fresh eggs Pavlos and Maria generously brought around the other day (along with a huge bag full of freshly picked oranges and lemons, and jars of honey), and ate them with the last serving of roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions and courgettes in lots of oil and herbs from the fridge. No point in walking if there’s no feast at the end of it.
If any long-term Tilos residents are reading this, I'd love to know if this weather is normal for December!