Published: June 6th 2008June 6th 2008
We rented two cars and went exploring Tinos Island. Our first stop was the Convent of St Pelagia which is carved into the hillside. We had a lovely visit to this historic and holy site with women praying and lighting candles in the chapels we were visiting and THEN THE BUSES CAME just as we were departing. There were four or five of them so we obviously picked the right time to visit as it was peaceful the way a church is supposed to be until we were ready to leave. There was a little old farmer at the entrance selling dried herbs, peanuts and figs so we stopped to buy some to use during the journey and to take home.
Our second stop was below the ruins of the Castle of Exombourgo, a Venetian fortress that overlooked the island for 500 years before the Turks took over. It must have been huge and extremely defensible with the brick walls rising straight up from the sheer cliffs. The birds are enjoying the brickwork now as they are using what few gaps are still present as well as the firing ports as nest sites. We then went for a walk down a sheep path full of thorns, chamomile and other unknown weeds.
Our third stop was almost Volax, in a picturesque little spot with a few houses, a donkey eating his lunch (with a saddle still on), a church and what looked like a theatre in the distance. The theatre was what made us think we were in Volax because the map indicated there was one in Volax. We climbed the goat path above the church and ran into some goats in their little stone shelter. Two kids were playing on top of the shelter while the rest were inside wandering around and even looking out a window created when a stone was removed from the wall.
We carried on after laughing at the antics of the goats for a while and discovered that we hadn't quite reached Volax when we came upon a sign that said Volax. We walked the narrow, twisty alleys and came upon a gorgeous little white church with the typical blue shutters. Most of Volax is composed of snow white buildings with blue shutters which make the flower accents startling and spectacular. We followed the alleys and eventually found the theatre which was quite modern and made of stone. Several of us needed a break by that point in the day and so we decided to have lunch at the local taverna. We decided to share the meals and had a fabulous lunch; Volax salad (Greek salad on dried bread), tomato and cucumber salad, artichoke salad, cheese, kid-goat in lemon sauce, artichoke in venegrade (vinegar?), and moussaka. Half of us had fresh squeezed lemon juice which was heavenly on such a hot day and the other half had iced coffee. The food was wonderful and the price was excellent and being such a large group the proprietor treated us to some baklava and a lemony/vanilla square for dessert.
Throughout the journey we saw several examples of the dovecotes for which Tinos is famous and even saw some snow-white doves using them. We also saw a great many round towers that looked like stone silos but which I found out later were actually former windmills. This is curious because we saw several 'sets' of windmills on ridgelines, four to six in a row and I wouldn't expect them to need windmills so close together as they would have been used for grinding in the old days rather than for power which is why we have them lined up now. I found out later that they were used for water not grinding so I suppose it does make some sense to line them up on the ridgeline.
We continued our journey to the end of the island to Panormos, a cute little fishing village at the base of some rocky hills. We wanted to go to Pyrgos to the marble exhibition but it was only mid-afternoon and the exhibition didn't reopen after the siesta until 5:30 so we headed up to try to find the Mycenaean tholos near Marlas. We thought we had found it but it was just a round walled building with some goats nearby. We still hadn't killed enough time so we ended up heading back to Tinos town after a fabulous day of touring.