|Lipsi Town. Copyright: Toth Harald/Dreamstime.com|
By now, the sun had set and armed with a small map set out to find my accommodation. The Calypso apartments are, in reality, barely a five minute walk from the harbour but by the time the road had petered out into a track near the top of the hill I soon realised that my map reading skills needed some work and had to backtrack down the hill. Arrival at the apartments was made all the better by the sight of a cow happily grazing in a field in front of the property. This must be the only small Greek island I have visited where I have even seen a cow let alone had one by my accommodation (daylight later revealed that there was, in fact, a whole herd of them and that the "field" was actually a vegetable patch which the cow had got into before munching its way through the produce).
Setting out in the dark for the essential Retsina and food supplies proved a success when I found a mini market in the maze of small alleys and roads that make up Lipsi Town. Problems only arose when I realised that I didn't have a clue where I was or how to get back to the apartment. This is where I (eventually) worked out my invaluable technique of heading downwards until I reached the harbour front again. Then it all became clear and I spotted the road home (this time avoiding the unwanted excursion to the top of the hill).
|Blue seas and sky of Lipsi|
Copyright: Serban Enache/Dreamstime
By comparison the Cockerel Count for Lipsi only rates as a modest medium.
One of the big standout features on Lipsi is the hundreds of small chapels dotted around the island -far more than I have ever seen elsewhere - giving the whole island a rather spiritual feel. Most of these are privately owned and built by families on the island. The spiritual feel came to a head with the annual Festival of Panagia Harou on August 22/23. This religious festival attracts many to the island and the days leading up to it saw ferry loads of arrivals including senior priests from nearby Patmos and even a military band in full uniform (who actually stayed next to me at the Calypso!). On the day a spectacular procession set off from Lipsi Town comprising the band, armed soldiers, priests, islanders, visitors and a good number of tourists drawn into the atmosphere. This makes its slow way uphill to the old church of Panagia Harou for a special service. Even as a non religious person, the whole event was moving and powerful -not least the desperation of a man pushing an (obviously) very ill woman in a wheelchair. Weaving his way through the crowd up the steep hill to reach the front of the procession in order to receive blessings from the priest on arrival at the church.
Copyright: Serban Enache/Dreamstime
If my arrival on Lipsi was a stormy one, my departure was a rapid one. With a 6.00am ferry and suitcase pickup at 5.00am I was awoken by a knocking on the door. When I pointed out it was only 4.00am I soon got corrected -my watch had mysteriously lost exactly one hour. That explained why Katsadia beach had emptied of people rather early the previous day and why there had been virtually nobody at the taverna when I went out to dinner! Instead of a leisurely cup of coffee on the balcony and a last look around at the apartment it was a case of throwing stuff in my hand luggage and heading for the harbour. Not the best way to end a lovely two weeks.
Lipsi is a charming small island with lots of great walking to be had -and all those goats. Of course, there may well have been some changes and development since my visit so some research is advised. Lipsi is in my top four Greek islands and one that I would love to revisit one day. Regards, David.