I believe there are always moments in our life where you want to escape from the rest of the World , isn’t it – a point where you are stuck or where you are really at the edge of bearing the load of life , where you are endlessly tired or just want to be alone – far away from all your normal staff and social surrounding and just enjoy remoteness.
This often happens to me when I am fed up with so many things though I am a happy person but it could be business , it could be people , it could be so much more and then you dream of a world which is perfect , which is natural , which is beautiful and where people are just living very simple and where life is just flowing very slowly and silently – Actually I found a place where I think it is somehow at the edge of this world that nobody really knows and recognizes though it is so close … Kastellorizo or Meis as it is called is one of my dream destinations when I feel like this and just want to escape…
Kastellorizo as it is called is a very small Greek Island in the Dodecanese , about 2,5 km in front of the Turkish Anatolian coastline. A little island with 200 inhabitants living here – islanders, mostly traders , fishermen and sponge divers – friendly , curious about the daily visitors coming to the island , sitting at the small port with its cute little shops and restaurants and cafes next to each other chatting with each other and the newcomers – there is no rush , there is no noise , there is no crowd – people are joyful , working in their little enterprises and trying to serve friendly their guests which are sitting in front of their doors next to the blue water of the little port, watching the little fishes, the birds, the sea turtles that are swimming around and having a pleasant fresh salty wind around the nose.
So far I also did it twice – taking the boat from Kas ( ancient Antiphellos ) just to the other side to the island -arriving in this cute little port which looks like a toy island – the shape of the little houses and the nice colors are very typical – they look also very neat and bright in the sun – it is a fun to watch them while entering that little port.
Meis or Megisti as it was called in the Ancient times was named after Megisthus , a Cretan Prince who was known as one of the first settlers of this island .
In 1537 the island came under the Ottoman Turkish rule but it could get a special allowances to do some trade with cities in Minor Asia and on some of the Greek islands.
The island was not always that peaceful as it was a base of the French fleet in WWI and an Italian base in WWII.
The original population of the island was normally about 15.000 people but during the World War the majority of the people was evacuated from the island by the British and brought to Egypt in order to protect the people from the German Air attacks in those days.
In October 1944 during the absence of the people , the island was bombed by the German Air Force and most of the houses were destroyed and burnt down.
Most of the people did not return to the island after the World War but took the offer to immigrate to Australia and New Zealand where about 50.000 islanders from Kastellorizo are living by today.
The island was also part of the famous Italian film called “Mediterraneo ” which tells the touching story about a few Italian soldiers living on this island in the 2nd World War.
In 1948 the island was re-united with Greece .
There is also a small archeological site , very few churches , chapels and one mosque on the island .The light blue, light green , yellow and red little houses with their white wooden chairs and their flowers on their tables all look very picturesque. The freshly painted colors go back to the old Byzantine and also Turkish times when the color of the house was standing for the social status of its owner.
At the entrance of the little port there are the sculptures of 2 dolphins in the sea and the colorful fisher boats with all their belongings on their deck are floating in the waves.
At the top of the island there is the medieval Castle of the Knights, built in the 14th century on the red rocks over here – this is what gives the island its todays name as Kastellorizo which means “Red Castle”.
While walking our way through the port we chose one of the cute little cafes to rest and to have a wonderful Greek coffee – oh what an enjoyment – a wonderful smell and taste.
We have our light clothes on, underneath your swimsuit – ready to go for a swim if it is getting warm but sitting in the shadow under the huge umbrella is already wonderful .
We wait for Yorgo with his speed boat to bring us first to the Blue Cave for a swim and then to St Nicholas Island.
We enter his boat – the dark blue of the water, the white color of the little waves , the elegance of our floating boat and the water spraying into our faces is outstanding .
We drive half way around the island – there is nearly no settlement – just rocky landscape without any vegetation .At the end of our speed drive we arrive at the “Blue Grotto ” – we duck ourselves in the boat to get into the cave as its entrance is very tight and low . Inside it is very dark but the water is shining in royal blue color like ink and it is crystal clear – we stand up and dive into this beautiful cave water – fresh – a marvelous experience!
Afterwards we again leave the same way – ducking in the boat to get out of the cave and leaving for St Nicholas Island – our friends Hurigül and Chico are waiting for us.
They own a restaurant over here overlooking the whole bay with a beautiful view and turquoise crystal clear water bays – it looks like glass -all is so unreal – I have the feeling that we are here beyond the clouds – really in the mid of nowhere in the sea – like in heaven – thanks God there is nobody around other then us.
Nesligul and Chico … are preparing some great dishes for us – salad and borek with some white cheese, some fresh fried kalamari ,some special chickpea meatballs – a lot of small and tasty little things and some cold drinks – delicious and so specific for this place.
After lunch we go for a swim in the bay – it is perfect !
In the afternoon we drive back with our speedboat to the port to have some tasty tea with some delicious Greek sweets – also marvelous !
We listen to the tavern music around, people are relaxed , sitting a little lazy in the sun and trying to get into a conversation with you.
The islanders are like a big family – vivid , chatting , with their shorts , light T-shirts or light dresses on .One lady is chatting with the sea turtle Lucia which is coming along to get some sea food and some hugs – it seems that even the sea turtle is happy here and enjoying life 🙂
I just imagine how nice it would be to spend a summer here – to live here , prepare the shops by cleaning them and painting them outside with fresh color , get some good new staff and prepare for the visitors.
Imagine to wear just casual summer cloths and a summer hat and be relaxed .
Enjoy the sun when it is rising in the morning , wash the ground with some water to make it clean and cool it down , drink your coffee in the morning , drink your tea in the afternoon , talk to your neighbors , your guests and have just a simple , very simple but happy life in that beautiful, romantic village …
I am happy to see that after all the horrible years of war times , the island came back to calmness and peace – today it is a sleepy little fisher village , hidden here in the ocean and a spot for me and the family always to escape and fully enjoy life and a place to re-energize.