When the ferry zipped away after dropping us at the little port in Folegandros it was suddenly calm and very quiet. The teeny tiny island is home to only 700 or so people and its small-town vibe envelopes you as soon as you set foot on its shores. We immediately embraced the slow pace of life as we sat in the shade at the bus stop. We sipped Greek frappes whilst listening to the sea lap gently at the pebbly shore and watching the small boats moored at the wharf bob around on the crystal clear surface of the water.
After a while the bus arrived to take us into town. As we drove slowly up the hill to Hora we looked out at the stark and rugged landscape: dry and rocky hills rose steeply on either side of the road, blocking everything else from view.
But when we stepped off the bus at the edge of the town we were greeted by a very different sight: tranquil streets lined with white buildings that were crowned with bright pink bougainvilleas and adorned with cobalt blue doors and balustrades.
Hora’s main square was even more magical, where leafy green trees spread their branches wide over the grey stone pavement, upon which nearby restaurants set up their little wooden tables and chairs coloured white and blue.
It was here that we sat for lunch, eating Greek salad and dolmades and keftedes in the filtered sunlight. As the afternoon wore on, some elderly people stopped by for a coffee and a chat with the restaurant staff. We would see the same people over the next few days, sitting in various places around the town talking to various people and feeding the local cats.
The next day we went on a bit of an adventure to find one of the island’s beautiful and quiet beaches. We walked from Hora past peaceful farms and an old man herding goats, before taking a rocky path down the cliff to a little cove with the most picture-perfect water…
And, most unfortunately, some old, wrinkly French and German nudists! (I just kept wondering what all the yiayias and papous in town would think of such behaviour!)
Luckily more ‘textile’ people (as non-nudists are apparently called by nudists) soon came along, which scared all the nudists away, leaving us to enjoy our beautiful surroundings without worrying about seeing something thoroughly unpleasant if we looked in the wrong direction.
That evening, after a long and tiring walk back up the cliff, we stood at the end of a little, cat-filled street on the edge of the town, where we could see across the whole island towards the islands beyond as the sun set in a fiery show of red and orange and yellow.
And in the morning, before jumping back on the ferry and leaving the island behind, we walked up the winding path to the iconic church atop the hill to look down over the white, sugar cube buildings of Hora sprinkled over the rugged landscape.
It was the perfect way to end our little Cycladic adventure.