We docked at the port town of Pythagoreio, so named because this island is home of the mathematician Pythagoras, whose theorem we all learned at tender ages.
We took a room offered by a man who approached us on the quay. His approach wasn’t pushy, the lodgings well priced, and we knew of no campgrounds on the island. We bought tickets for a Sunday sailing to Thessaloniki on the Greek mainland. We learned that Samos has a Scandinavian niche and is visited by many Norwegians, Danes and Finns, though I didn’t notice any breakfast specials of pickled herring.
The following day we pedalled to ruins of Heraion, a temple larger than the Acropolis which was built to worship the godiondess Hera, and to Eupalinos tunnel, built to supply the island with water. In the afternoon we went for a “swim” that involved jumping up and trying to body surf in good-sized waves. They looked intimidating from the shore, but once we were in it was good fun!
Since reaching the Mediterranean there seem to be cats everywhere we look. As former cat owners, we both have soft spots for the critters, and at first we enjoyed making friends with some that we met. But the density of the cat population is getting a bit much, frankly, and it strikes me that these islands are in dire need of a spay-neuter program or perhaps something more draconian. There’s very little peace when you eat dinner and no fewer than five stray adult cats are prowling the restaurant terrace or sitting beside you and fixing you with hard stares as you eat. As we walked back from wave jumping, we passed several wheeled garbage bins, and two robust specimens were perched on the edge of one, reaching in with outstretched paws to fish out food scraps. I clapped my hands at them to shoo them off; they jumped down and scattered, but what didn’t expect was that two more previously unseen feline heads suddenly popped up from the next bin over, licking their chops like something out of a Tweetie and Sylvester cartoon. We’ve stopped photographing them. They’re just not cute anymore.
On Sunday morning we set off early to pedal the 14km across the island to the town of Samos, also known as Vathi, from whence northbound ferries depart. We boarded the vessel Theofilos bound for Thessaloniki, a ferry sailing of nearly 24 hours. Looking critically at where we were told to put our bikes, we proceeded to shift a few wooden pallets before deeming it up to our standards.
There hasn’t been much cycling on this island hopping portion of our route, but then there wasn’t meant to be; it’s been the rest and change that we planned. The fact that we’ll arrive on the mainland at Thessaloniki has given us about a week’s jump on the rough schedule that goes with Plan A. We’ve spent some time looking at routes into Central and Western Europe and to various possible departure airports. The coast of Croatia is still on the cards, but from there our somewhat earlier schedule may allow us with the option of crossing the Alps rather than staying in the Mediterranean. New routes are under discussion. We still have all our cold weather clothing with us, and we’re no strangers to pedalling over passes in bad weather. Watch this space for ever-changing plans.