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June 30th 2013
Published: August 5th 2013
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Having been told of "the oldest church" on the lush and beautiful island of Samos and a waterfall that we should see, we headed out in flip-flops and made our way to the western side of the island. We easily found the church covered with vines, ancient and full of religious artifacts, a candle flickering in the tower high above our heads - straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. The waterfall, on the other hand, was quite a different matter. The challenge we encountered was not the relatively short walk along the creek bed through the forest filled with rhododendrons, Queen Anne's lace and maidenhair ferns everywhere. Nor was it the numerous creek crossings on dilapidated log bridges, nor the 300 + foot vertical climb up the mountain via a staircase constructed by a certain dragon or something, so rickety that we were wishful for Jack's beanstalk rather than the fabricated scrap pieces of wood and branches staircase that we used to climb into the unknown before hoisting ourselves up into a stone fortress. Built, I don't know how, in that wilderness, with rocks and cement and wood beams and huge plexiglass (!) sheets for windows overlooking a seemingly virgin forest. The only people there (others arrived shortly thereafter) we were met by the old fellow himself who attested to having built the place. The fortress/restaurant was filled with treasures - saddles, candles, a Victrola in perfect condition, pictures, mining gear - everything anyone would need for life in the wilds. After a delicious lunch of beer, Greek salad, fresh made bread, tzizikii, dolmas, meat balls, yogurt and honey, he urged us on to the two waterfalls which required a 200 foot vertical decent into the canyon (down the same sort of staircase we had previously made our way up), wading chest high through the creek, over boulders and through thick overgrowth. The second waterfall, however, was more remote requiring that we rappel our way down the creek's embankment on a rope before swimming (I prayed not through snake infested waters!) our way to the second falls. Needless to say we passed on that one. We returned via the same route, grateful that we had not known what we were in for or else we might have forgone the opportunity to encounter that magical place.

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