Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Plaka in Milos

 
I have no photos of Plaka as seen from a distance because we only got glimpses of it from the bus. It nestles on the foot of a hill with a Venetian castle dating from the 13th century and a church perched on top. It is beautiful.
 



All I have is this photograph I took when we were visiting the catacombs, but it's not very satisfactory, but it will have to do.
 
Plaka is the capital of Milos and it's built in the traditional Cycladic style: narrow, cobbled alleyways that originally protected from pirate invasion; whitewashed houses with (mainly) blue windows and doors. Today it's full of interesting shops, cafeterias and restaurants and it's wonderful to stroll around the town.
 
 

The bus took us to one of the squares and then we walked up this long cobbled avenue that leads to the centre of the town - thankfully no cars are allowed here as the streets are very narrow.




This magnificent old building was on our right, ready for renovation - it would make such a magnificent public building or even a residence.




As all over Greece, a lot of old houses are to be found that are turning into ruins either because the owners cannot afford to renovate them, or because too many inheritors cannot agree on what to do with the building.




We soon reached the shops




had to climb quite a few steps




the tavernas were getting ready for customers.




I liked this house




one of the many churches




and the lights were starting to come on.
 
 


We did not stop to look at any of the shops. We were in a hurry because we wanted to see the sunset from the terrace of




Utopia, a cafĂ©/bar, tucked away in a small side street








that has the best views of the Gulf of Milos.




People come here to look at the sunset




it was stunning.




The only thing I can compare it to is watching the sun setting over the caldera in Santorini.




This bar is lovely:





it's beautifully decorated, with a piano inside, prints by Joan Miro and Escher, and great attention to detail.




The terrace is small and all the tables in the front row were taken, but a table became free soon after we arrived and we were able to appreciate the views of the gulf and the mountains in the distance, without any interruptions.




 
On our right we could see the top of the hill with the castle and the church




The red in the sky intensified


 


and then mist descended on the mountains in the distance
 
 


later there was the most amazing thunderstorm - my small, portable camera could not capture that, but it lasted a long time and we were awed.




 
We reluctantly left Utopia because we were aware that we had to explore the town before catching the last bus at 11:00.
 
 
 

 
Lovely fruit on this pomegranate tree
 

 

The town was teeming with life, particularly diners who were able to sit on the side of the cobbled streets and not only eat, but also soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant town.




Most alleyways in the centre were taken up with taverna tables




We slowly drifted away from the centre, the streets got darker, and we were able to appreciate the architecture - lovely, quirky staircases




here's another one





we then reached the Birth of the Virgin Mary square, dominated by the church




detail




 




The church was open so we went inside




the lone priest sitting in contemplation said it was o.k. to take photographs








looking up



 
 



the ceiling of one of the side chapels.

 
 


We left the church and started exploring the square




detail of the floor




The folk museum is here too


 
 
some of these alleyways are very narrow indeed
 
 


built this way to protect from the sun







I have a penchant for round houses, so I had to photograph this one




more steps, illuminated by the moon




white-washed steps




bougainvillea provides some colour




and steps leading up to the front doors of the houses, everywhere




a cat sitting on the steps




looking closer




a lot of the streets are cobbled



 
as we veered back towards the centre
 



we started looking at some of the shops.




In one of the shops, the Venus of Milos
 
 
 

with lots more inside




a wonderful door




 We soon came across Diporto (the one with two doors),
 



one of the local tavernas
 
 


walked along, turned right and right again




and arrived at the second entrance of the restaurant on the street parallel to the first one.





This is Archondoula, the most popular taverna in the town, a place where we sat quite a few times a few years ago when we first visited the island




I remember how difficult it was to get a table, and how sometimes we would have to wait for quite a while




It was busy this time, but there were a few free tables.




It was time for us to catch our bus, we walked down the hill and saw that in one of the squares the locals were having some kind of celebration.