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.