Thursday, 18 September 2008


Kalymnos is the first stop on the cruise, and the ship docked at about 11.00am having steamed though the night across the Aegean. The dock is right on the edge of the town centre of Pothia, the island's capital, so the bars and tavernas start virtually from the end of the dock jetty.
The town centre along the harbour is a busy street made noisier still by the hoards of youths on motorbikes that just seem to ride up and down for something to do. That said the atmosphere round the harbour is not completely spoilt by this and you can enjoy a nice drink of meal here with a view across the gulets to EasyCruise on the jetty.
As our Lonely Planet guide book mentioned, Kalymnos was an island built on a sponge diving economy, but this has all but died off with the remnants now consisting of the odd sponge shop (masquerading as a museum) on the front. Now the island is trying to build up it's tourist industry and so caters well, especially for the day tripper, although I couldn't imagine spending a week or two there.
There is a town beach to the left as you walk off the jetty, and another small stony, but quieter beach a short walk further on just round the headland, but neither are wonderful. However there seem to be regular buses out from town to other places on the island with what I assume are better beaches, but we didn't venture out to find them. If, as we did, you head for the smaller stony beach (called Therma if I recall correctly) then I recommend taking water with you as our time there was cut short by thirst due to the bar being either shut down or closed on a Sunday when EasyCruise visits..
For lunch we choose “O Barba Stoukas” which is along the front but out beyond where the main road heads out of town an a few hundred yards further. Excellent food though, especially the Pastitsio (macaroni and mince, baked in a large tin and flavoured with cinnamon) which was a special for the day.
At dinner time we followed the guidebook's advice and headed for "Xefteris" which truly excelled. It's down a side road that continues on along the line of the row of harbour front bars and tavernas - as you cross the main road out of town, instead of bearing right to continue along the front, just carry straight on and very soon on the left you can see an alleyway leading into the taverna courtyard. You don't get the views across the harbour, but this is one of those rare greek tavern'a that still maintain the old habits of inviting you into the kitchen to see all the food in the pots and ovens. Having seen this I was wanting some of everything as it all looked so good. However we made our choices and delicious it was. I have to mention the "Revithia Fournos" or chickpeas baked in the oven. It's the first time I've had this dish, and I was completely sold on it.
We stopped at the "Coffee Bar Sirocco" on our way back to the ship run by a very friendly guy who looked a bit like Ed Harris, which is easy to spot for it's very nautical theme with a mast and boat bow forming the entrance. A very pleasant few ouzos flowed with "Ed" constantly bringing out dish after dish of nibbles to go with our drinks (pickled cucumber & olives, monkey nuts, lentil puree with onions & olive oil, and finally watermelon.
Kalymnos was a really nice relaxed start to the cruise.

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