An Active Volcano and Generations of….What?!?!

According to Greek mythology, when Poseidon took a part of Kos to throw at the giant Polybotes to stop him from escaping, the island of Nisyros was created.  But we were not there for Greek Mythology.  We were there for a volcano.  An active volcano.

And what does one do when on an active volcanic island?  They drive to the crater, of course!

Now, I should also mention that we nearly did not make it to Nisyros, as it was so windy and the waters were so choppy we had a very difficult time docking.  In fact, only one person made it to shore before the rope broke and we started drifting out to sea.  After about 30 minutes the winds died down enough that we managed to securely dock and everyone made it to shore (although, I think we all said a secret prayer that we could get back aboard later in the day).

As per usual, nothing formal was planned for the island.  There were a couple of shops near the dock, but nothing to keep us entertained for the 5 or so hours we would be docked there.  There was one couple, Brian & Ruth (also on the Turkey part of our tour), who decided to rent a car and invited us along.

Everyone assured us that it was safe to visit the volcano, as it had some activity a while back, but hadn’t erupted in “a very long time.”  Well, that’s reassuring (NOT).  My thinking is that if it has been a very long time since eruption, then it was due.  And of course, my first thought was:  who’s going to look after the Princess if this island suddenly reenacts Mount St. Helens or Pompeii? FYI, I’ve since looked it up–the last eruption was in 1888. Up we drove on narrow, winding roads to the middle of the island, following the signs to the crater, until at last we found it (kind of hard to miss, actually).

At the crater

At the crater

The crater

The crater

A closer look at the side of the crater

A closer look at the side of the crater

A brave restaurant at the crater

A brave (or crazy) restaurant at the crater

Hi from The Crater--wish you were here!

Hi from The Crater–wish you were here!

After the crater we drove all around the tiny island (the area of the island is 19 square miles).  This took a lot longer than you’d think since the roads were full of twists and turns and, well, we had no clue where we were going.  At one point, we got out just to have a look at the flora (the only fauna we saw were goats!).  The most striking thing about Nisyros were the intricate terraces all throughout the island, created in order to grow things along the steep mountainside.  The confusion, however, is when you’re staring out of the window concentrating on not getting carsick from the windy roads and the Western Australian driver is talking about generations and generations of, well, to me it sounded like terrorists.  I honestly spent the better part of an hour thinking “what the hell is he talking about terrorists for??” and then I realized: TERRACES.  Generations and generations of TERRACES!  oh.  right.  that makes much more sense.

terraces

terraces

lots of terraces

lots of terraces

a side view

generations and generations of terraces!

typical (to me) Greek house

typical (to me) Greek house

wondering where this road leads?  A dead end.

wondering where this windy road leads? A dead end.

the town, which we didn't go to because the road in was closed and well, we had no idea how to get in!

the town, which we didn’t go to because the road in was closed.  We drove around thinking we’d find another entrance, but instead hit the end of the road (aka the sea!)

One of 4 monasteries on the island

One of 4 monasteries on the island

no idea what these were, but they were beautiful!

no idea what these were, but they were beautiful!

the lavender was in bloom and spectacular!

the lavender was in bloom and spectacular!

trees don't care about trifling things like walls...

trees don’t care about trifling things like walls…

rocky coastline

A not-so-inviting coastline

Finally the time had come to return the car and head back to the boat.  Of course, the wind picked up again, which made for exciting (read: nerve-racking) time getting back aboard!

All hands were on the plank to make sure no one fell overboard!

All hands were on the plank to make sure no one fell overboard!

I think the locals were taking bets on whether anyone would fall overboard!

I think the locals were taking bets on whether anyone would fall overboard!

But we all finally made it on and were soon back out in the Aegean Sea, sitting down to dinner, watching a beautiful sunset over the horizon.

No pictures of the gorgeous sunset, but here's another of a house we saw!

No pictures of the gorgeous sunset, but here’s another of a house we saw!

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