The island of Telendos was totally silent. No cars. No scooters. No boatloads of tourists. No hustle or bustle. There were places waiting for the tourists but the morning we were there it was deeply quiet.

We walked from one end of the settlement to the other encountering nothing but fishing boats and the distant sound of Greek music from the open windows.

It was hot and the red earth was scorched and dry.

There would not be enough feed for a cow on this whole island – though I could live here.

At the most beautiful cafe we paused for a few hours . We ate spanakopita and drank Greek beer and sunk into the total quiet of The place.

As the small fishing boats came and went delivering vegetables and fish to the wheelbarrow pushing residents the skippers would tie up and wander in to our cafe for a coffee or water and another spanakopita. They helped themselves, chatted for a while and wandered with ease and gentle nods back to their boats.

We watched as the little oven was totally emptied. No more food came out. And no one was ever offered a menu. Every seat faced the sea. We were able to sit for hours and rest.

Every half hour some kind of boat was available as a ferry – you just paid the skipper a couple of euro and climbed aboard with the locals.

Telendos was a view through a crack in the stone wall into another world. A world that was hard to describe as we could only view it not join it. See it, not experience it. And in this micro world it all revolved around the sea and this little port with its one short pier, the boats tied one to the other and the gentle kindness of its men to each other. Their perfect manners with the tourists. As though this has all been decided in some long ago town meeting. The women staying quietly almost out of sight – a moving shadow deep in an open doored house, cooking by a window or watching from the doorways their brooms in their hands.

These islands are spotlessly clean – everywhere. Even the alleys are shiny and in order. No bins or litter or tagging. The shutters and gates are well painted. The steps beautiful with care.

All the cafes and restaurants in Kalymnos, and this island Telendos, are outdoor. Often the kitchen is the central building with all the non locals kept out on the wide verandahs. We are not invited inside.

The life of a tourist is to see a cropped version of a place. Leaving us greedy and always wanting more. Hungry for something we cannot name.

I think I would like to live here a while. And dip more than my toe in the water.

Love celi

44 Comments on “ISLAND CAFE

  1. Utter peace and tranquillity with the problem of the world out of sight and mind . . . . yes, I can see you there until the September winds made you find a ferry and hand over a few euros to ‘civilization’ . . . . .

  2. Visiting a place is one thing…living there is completely different…its a great romantic idea…but try to imagine it in the depths of winter and l know that its not as cold there as in other parts…but no tourists means no trade and shutters get shut….the cool water is cold and rough and the wind is blowing a hooley… Then compare with your farm life….mmmm

    Ok. ..back to

    Have a lovely day

    • Ah but I grew up in a fishing town and you have forgotten the winters of Illinois. Illinois winters are the worst I have ever lived in. Maybe you gently underestimate me.

  3. I’ve was once invited to join friends in Greece. Didn’t go. I was honestly deeply afraid I would not be able to leave. I still have no idea what even means!

  4. If you stayed, you’d soon be invited in! But you chose the best time to go, soon it will get too hot to climb, and a lot more busy. Schools are out in the next couple of weeks. September and October are also good.

  5. Wow. Beautiful pics. Fascinating life there. So different from mine, it is hard to fathom. Interesting observations. Thank you.

  6. Perhaps not a cow, but a goat or two? And an olive tree, and a fig tree, and a grape vine over the pergola at the back of your house, where the table and chairs are. I could see you being quite happy there, growing vegetables, keeping some hens, buying fish directly off the boat. So selfishly, I’m hoping you’ll be back on the ferry and heading home when the holiday is over. Our John and the rest of the Farmy population would miss you too much, as would we…

  7. Ok, so no wild greek dancing, plate breaking parties there then 🙂 Celi you are an optimist and will make the very best of wherever you are, and keep us invested with your beautiful photography. Thank you for sharing with us. Laura

  8. A little paradise, which you evoke so beautifully, capturing the mystery behind the scenes.

      • “A Mutable Quality is attached to the signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. The Mutable Houses are the Third, Sixth, Ninth and Twelfth; if a horoscope shows a preponderance of planets in these houses, its energy is weighted toward mutability. Mutable Signs know how to go with the flow. They are adaptable and flexible and can change their form of expression to whatever a situation requires. Standing their ground is of little import to Mutable folks. These people would much rather conform to the norm, so long as their doing so will help the greater good. Luckily, Mutable individuals are versatile and find it quite easy to change. Consider them the chameleons of the zodiac, since they can take on varied personae.”
        is one way of putting it.

  9. A slice of heaven. I would love that place too. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. Fascinating.

  10. Your line “Hungry for something we cannot name” resonates with me. The place sounds so peaceful, the lack of sounds, so lovely.

  11. Brilliant post!! “Hungry for something we cannot name”… that will be with me for a long while. Just beautiful words, C.

  12. Travel opens our minds to other lives and possibilities.

  13. First, what IS spanakopita? Second in my own experience from living in Africa, I’ve found that you need to live in a place for a long tome until you’re accepted into the ‘inner sanctum’. That’s just as true too in these mountain villages. My guy knows practically everyone in town because he was the local ‘garbologist’ when some of the now-adults were in 1st or 2nd grade. He still calls some of them by nicknames or teases them about some prank they pulled, calls them ‘brat’ like he always has. You know, Ceci, I think you could make a go of it no matter where you went! Hats off to you, dear lady, and thank you for these gorgeous captivating pictures!

    • The water here is undrinkable. There are huge tanks all over the place with spigots – you just refill your bottles for free. I am not sure where that water comes from though.

  14. Beautiful. Alfarnate and Alfarnatejo villages in Spain was that way. We got a glimpse. Ate in the home of a beautiful woman – and it left me wanting MORE! I would love go back in Sept – Nov when the olives are being pressed….. some day….

  15. What a beautiful place, I can see why you could live there even without your cows! It looks quite warm, I wonder what the temperature is, I’m sure the breeze from the Mediterranean is refreshing and cooling.

  16. A long time ago (40 years, could it have been that long!), I visited an American who had taken up permanent residence in a one room house up the hill from the main port on Kalymnos. I was living in northern Greece, and had read and heard about this curious hermit-poet. No one I met at that time on Kalymnos spoke freely to me in English, but they all knew and liked the straw-hatted American who lived alone and generally kept to himself. His name was Robert Lax, a classmate and close friend of Thomas Merton, a more well-known hermit-author. If you ever get to see any of Lax’s poems, you will grasp immediately a connection between his spiritual vision and the images and feelings you describe here. Spare, clean, pure, total simplicity are the only words that fit his art. Not so surprisingly they also begin to describe his experience of God, which I think was his reason for living there. Some years later he moved to Patmos, an understandable choice given his interest and age. Greece can bring out the poet in you,and sometimes the monk.

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