Ikaria was arcadian, Kalymnos devilishly entertaining and Amorgos hauntingly lovely. Thus far, my Greek island-hopping journey has delivered, however as I attain Folegandros, my religion wobbles. I’m in Chora, as the primary cities on many of those islands are known as, it’s night and tons of of well-heeled guests, wearing tailor-made summerwear, are settling in to the clever maze of out of doors consuming areas. It’s all very chi-chi, with not a donkey plop in sight. Will Pierce Brosnan leap out and try and sing? Has Folegandros offered its soul?
Aegean map

A map of Kevin Rushby’s Greek island-hopping journey
I look at the portents and they don’t seem to be good. On the way in which right here the ferry stopped at neighbouring Santorini. There have been three big cruise ships within the bay, a coach jam on the cliff and, as we disembarked, a socialite in stilettoes tripped on the ferry gangplank, inflicting a pink wheelie bag pile-up. A Japanese marriage ceremony celebration got here aboard, exhausted however nonetheless bingeing on selfies. It was all a bit instagrim.
Subsequent morning, although, Chora is unrecognisable from the evening earlier than: previous women are sweeping the steps the place kittens play. I get disoriented within the twisting alleyways and emerge on the sting of a formidable cliff. An historical cobbled highway leads me again inland, suggesting I’d wish to discover a distinct a part of the island. In the present day, I determine, I’ll observe my nostril.

Snails for the desk. {Photograph}: Kevin Rushby
I take a stony path throughout the island and right down to a seashore on the village of Agkali. There is just one particular person round – a younger lad amassing snails among the many sage. “Karavoli,” he says, miming consuming. After one other cove I loop inland, climbing previous an deserted village, then right down to a lighthouse on a jutting headland. The slim path then leads throughout a cliff face above a fjord of translucent turquoise water to a stunning abandoned seashore the place I swim, and go to sleep.
After I get up there are two bare individuals mendacity asleep on the water’s edge, just like the Venus de Milo and her consort washed up. Feeling overdressed, I press on up the coast, hoping there shall be a bus again to Chora from wherever I find yourself. This early morning stroll has become an epic hike. A detour takes me down cliffs dotted with samphire to rock swimming pools full of pure white sea salt, like slush in my fingers. It tastes completely divine.

Agkali seashore. {Photograph}: Stefano Zaccaria/Alamy

I stroll again up the mountain within the warmth and attain the highway that runs down the backbone of the island. I’m now determined for a drink and head for the closest constructing which seems to be the Iliovasilema (sundown) taverna. A person rides previous on a donkey. Each of them seem like asleep. The menu on the door states: hen, rabbit, pigeon, meat balls, cheese. Within the kitchen an aged man in a white vest is rolling out flatbreads whereas a girl chops tomatoes. Now I do know the place this stroll goes: to actual Greece.
I’m feeling the impact of my exertions. Sweat drips from me. I’m dizzy and dehydrated. I drink a litre of faucet water. My garments are soaking. I retire to the toilet and alter into the one different outfit out there: my swimming trunks. I grasp my garments outdoors within the solar and sit down. The previous man says nothing; he simply retains rolling the bread.

Horiatiki (Greek salad) at Sundown Taverna. {Photograph}: Kevin Rushby
They carry me a Greek salad: tiny pungent olives, home made cheese, home-grown onions, cool cucumber and sun-soaked tomatoes. Slowly I’m revived. I look at the map: down the cliff on the opposite aspect of the island there’s a seashore, Serfiotiko. I put my garments again on and depart. The sounds of bread rolling and tomato chopping fade.
The village of Ano Meria appears sun-stunned and silent. An octopus hangs on a washing line, plastic buckets stand by stone rainwater cisterns, vines laden with tiny grapes crawl throughout slim, terraced fields choked with sage and thyme. Then, from a curtained blue-framed window, comes the sound of somebody singing in a high-pitched wail. It could possibly’t be Brosnan, not right here. I descend to the ocean, coming out on a slim shingle seashore. There’s a patch of shade beneath a tamarisk tree and I lie down. A lizard comes to examine me. I go to sleep once more.
After I get up the golden mild of late afternoon has arrived. I swim then set off, with out considering, taking a cliff path additional north to a different seashore. I do know this now means a large return hike and I’ve no concept how I’ll cope however, frankly, I by no means need today to finish. I lose the trail and are available throughout a misplaced backyard the place the vines have run wild, snaking by means of self-seeded figs, carobs and fragrant herbs. How these butterflies defy the wind is a thriller. Lastly I see the seashore far beneath and, regaining the trail, drop right down to the ocean. I swim and watch a small octopus attended by two dancing inexperienced fish at my ft.

Kevin Rushby on the height above Chora. {Photograph}: Kevin Rushby

As soon as I’m out of the water, the considered the numerous hike again as much as Ano Meria is an excessive amount of. I’ll look forward to a ship. Sundown is imminent. Possibly I’ll spend the evening beneath a tree. Then, nearly by magic, a pair with film-star beauty arrive on a motor scooter. Is that this actual? Sure, they are saying, we’re Swiss actors on vacation. They provide me a raise up the hill, drop me outdoors the Sundown taverna, then disappear.
I set off strolling again to Chora. It’s like strolling up the again of a sleeping dinosaur. Lengthy after darkish I attain the city to seek out the streets full of {couples} in tailor-made eveningwear: males in cerise shorts and yachting footwear, girls in frocks and spangled sandals. All I’ve received is tide marks of sea salt and the mud of 5 seashores. A person leads two mules previous me and winks: kali spera. Brosnan doesn’t sing. Folegandros is redeemed.• Hidden Greece has seven nights on the Lodge Meltemi in Chora, Folegandros, from £695 room-only, together with flights to Santorini. Ferries will be booked on-line at ferries.gr (Amorgos to Folegandros, €69.80). Extra data from visitgreece.gr
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