Sunday, September 15, 2013


Executive summary by darmansjah

TIME goes slower on Leros. As the ferry sidles up into Agia Marina, next to faded fishing boats and dozing taxi drivers, it’s almost possible to feel the mellowness in the warm air. There are no big-hitters-only a couple of museums, a few ruins and a bit of diving. The draw isn’t in the doing; Leros is the ideal location to just ‘be’. Sitting on the edge of the dock is the perfect way to be embraced by the warm sunshine, while the breeze carries the smells of fresh baking, burnt almonds and coffee. Cats stretch and locals wander by, but no-one’s going anywhere fast.

Thanasis Argyroudis runs the Hotel Nefeli (whitewashed and spacious, there is something entirely
comforting about the rooms at Hotel Nafeli. Maybe it’s the village style architecture or the elegant bohemian touches of local art and textiles? Grab yourself top-floor room and contemplate the answer on the peaceful balcony with views over the flower-filled garden to the sea) on Leros and has lived here for over a decade. He believes the main attraction of the island is its tranquility. “The island is a unique place that gives people a certain serenity. It reminds many people of the way islands used to be in the ‘60s and ‘70s because Leros didn’t have al of of tourism growth over the years. The traditional architecture has been preserved, which gives people a feeling that they’ve staying in a place that hasn’t been touched by time.’

Narrow roads wind their way between beautiful pastel-hued- buildings. Traditional bakeries display temptingly sticky sweets. The 10th-century Pandeli Castle Fortress is perched like a sandcastle at the top of town, catching the sunset on its stone walls and promising 360-degrees views to those who can bring themselves to leave their patio chair and climb to the top. Beyond the castle, a row of creacking, old-fashioned windmills catch the sea breeze.

By the waterfront, hours can be easily whiled away doing little more than sipping coffee and watching the colorful fishing boats-a prime occupation on Leros. When asked to recommend activities on the island, Thanasis considers for a moment. ‘There are hundreds of walking paths leading to magnificent and beautiful places,’ he says. ‘But really, why do that when you can just walk down a short path and watch a beautiful sunset.

An artsy little restaurant serving calamari with pesto, Milos is easy to find – it’s by the famous watermill of Agia Marina (mains from US$8; Agias Marina; 00 30 22470 24894)

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