“Cruising the Dodecanese” is Peter Sommer Travels’ last scheduled cruise in Greece in 2017. This year, to give an impression of the experience, we are providing a diary of sorts on our blog. Rather than describing every day in detail (you can check our itineraries on www.petersommer.com for that), every day we will pick one image we took that day, accompanied by some explanations and thoughts.
A gulet cruise does strange things to one’s perception of time. The beginning of this tour, only 10 days ago on Kos, seems a long time ago, as Maria and I have shared so many experiences with our guests since then, showing them the sights of eight different islands. Its conclusion, still five days and three islands away, is beginning to loom upon us: can it really be that soon?
We had another good day, of course. Leaving behind volcanic Nisyros, we spent the morning crossing a few hours southwards to remote Tilos, an island of less than 600 inhabitants. As of this year, Tilos is the first Mediterranean Island to rely entirely on renewable energies.
There, we explored the tiny capital village (Megalo Chorio), which occupies the site of an ancient settlement. here, we visited the main church and the day’s central archaeological content, the somewhat improvised museum dedicated to the island’s palaeontological curiosity: the Dwarf Elephant of Tilos (elephas tiliensis), which went extinct only about 6,000 years ago. We’ll write more about it some other time.
Our picture, however, was taken during a short tour of the stupendously scenic monastery of Saint Panteleimonas in the northwest of the island. It shows a small part of the large pebble mosaic in the monastery’s main courtyard, lit by the late summer sun and strewn with the petals of impending autumn. Such mosaics are traditional to the Dodecanese, and they have forebears going back a very long time.
To my mind, our picture and its motif exemplify the character of these islands: a deep and serene beauty derived from natural materials and human creativity, all blessed by climate and the chance of the fleeting moment.
But now, I’m off for dinner in a traditional taverna, and tomorrow might bring more moments of beauty!