How not to die in the Greek Islands.
You’d think sailing the Greek Islands would be nothing but picturesque and peacefulness.
But we were attacked FOUR times and almost died on a morning walk around the stunningly beautiful, yet not-too-touristy bay of Palionisos on the Dodecanese Greek Island of Kalymnos in the Agean Sea.
On a week long sailing trip, our catamaran skipper Kostas had been proudly telling us he would be taking us to places not targeted by tourists.
So the day before the attacks we spent an incredible day swimming, eating and drinking alongside the Kalymnos locals.
Before setting sail for the day, Jo (the female half of our travel couple companions) and I motored off on a shake-off-the-sea-legs walk along the dirt road the locals use to get to the little-known bay past all the quaintness you’d expect of a gorgeous, little Greek Island.
But that didn’t last long.
Not far into the walk, Nicolas, a man who we later discovered speaks seven languages, accosted us as we walked past his home/taverna named Nicolas’s Taverna. He spoke so fast and without breath that we weren’t sure which of the seven languages he erupted at us.
He wanted us to stop at his taverna and his agitated non-stop sales pitch was still echoing after us even as we continued around a few corners and well out of sight. We walked even faster scared he would come after us. Which later he did.
Soon after we heard bells. The sweet chimes of goats along the mountainside. Initially we saw just a few, then a few more, then one with horns the size of his body. We both quickly decided we didn’t like sweet-chiming goats.
As we kept walking more kept coming. Bravely determined to walk off some of the many bottles of Mythos beer and ironically goat’s cheese, we walked faster. Those sweet chimes became loud alarms. A pack of thirty or forty goats was chasing us. We couldn’t go back as, like a gang of juvenile youths, they lined up together to block our path. Staying bold we continued.
Sighing in relief to leave the goats behind us, we then heard a car screaming up the track. It pulled up abruptly in front of us and stopped in the middle of the street. A man speaking urgently in a Greek accent and using words like “danger, hospital, bees, death,” and “dangerous” jumped out and ran towards us frantically waving his arms. It was Nicolas.
He insisted we get into his car.
Initially we thought it was a kidnapping to eat at his taverna as he handed us a sprig of basil and his home-made business card. It was on this paper cut out card we learned not only can you eat “great greek food” at Nicolas’s taverna but he speaks seven languages and is a sponge diving teacher. The extra after-thought info was scrawled in pen.
He was still touting his taverna in one of the languages as he yelled “death” and “hospital” in English but more importantly he was trying to tell us there were bees and hundreds of hives and we were walking straight into them at the most dangerous time of the day.
In fact, as we stopped brushing off his sales pitch and came to understand the bee reference Jo was stung on the eyelid and more started to swarm. We really were under attack.
Waving our hats and maybe squealing just a little we ran with him towards his car and jumped in the backseat.
A bee had followed and it was then attack number four occurred.
This time though Jo and I weren’t the victims. Nicolas’ wife was in the front passenger seat and when she saw the bee she started screaming. I fearlessly got the bee out but the screaming continued. She was screaming at Nicolas.
Now Jo and I do not speak Greek but we understood exactly what she was saying. “You f$#@ing idiot why are you stopping for these stupid girls, get them out of my car, do not take them back, I want to keep going, you f*&^ing dickhead!”
Nicolas explained unnecessarily that his wife was angry and gave us the option of coming with them to the hospital or getting dropped back near the goats. Did I mention both Jo and I love goats.
Dropped near the goats we saw a man feeding them and they now didn’t even turn one horn sideways to notice us. They were sweetly chiming and eating as we passed by.
We walked back to the bay and went into one of the two tavernas by the water (none of which were Nicolas’) for a recovery coffee.
Presented with greek coffee in rose-patterned cups with homemade biscuits and figs we related our tale of incredible bravely and survival to the owner.
He told us the man feeding the goats was his papa and with no concern whatsoever confirmed the bees were dangerous, even deadly.
Despite the near death experience I’d recommend pretty little Palionisos, just watch out for killer bees, goats and crazy Greek men with angry wives.