Samos – Vathy town 14th June, 2021.

Ariel of Hamble
Jim and Valerie SHURVELL
Wed 6 Oct 2021 13:36

Samos – Vathy town

14th June, 2021.

The morning started off with a few spots of rain and very grey skies so the idea of a bus ride to Vathy and onto Kokkari was forgotten for today’s activities. So we wandered around the town before coffee and it started to clear up and the sun started to appear so we decided we would get the 1 pm. bus to Vathy or Samos as it is now known being the capital of the island.

The drive around the southern coast to the airport and then up into the mountains to Vathy was very pleasant. We spotted lots of little houses with small cultivated gardens which looked as if they had worked very hard to clear rocks etc.  Eventually the bus stopped at Spillianis to let off school children but it was a very narrow road/lane and just big enough for the bus to pass through.  It was strange as one shop was selling lawn mowers and we hadn’t seen one garden with grass!

The bus journey took about 30 minutes and covered 14 kilometres and only cost 2.10 euros each there and 1.60 euros back as it went a shorter route.

Vathy is in a big open bay with houses all around.  Some were very old and some needed lots of work.  The town had benefitted from a large EU payment as a huge harbour wall had been built and a lot had been filled in with rubble but because the north wind rushes into the bay no boats were on the quay. At the top of the bay is the ferry port and port police offices.  Outside their offices were old dinghies and approximately 50 to 75 outboard engines which had been decommissioned probably taken from immigrants trying to reach Greece from Turkey.

The old village of Ano Vathy existed in the 1600s but today’s town is more recent.  The harbour area started to grow after 1832 when the town became capital of the island. The harbour area caters for tourists with cafes and restaurants all round the east side.  There is a Archaeological Museum which contents artefacts from the excavations at the Heraion sancturary. As the pilgrims came from far away and visited the shrine the collection of small offerings is one of the richest in Greece.  Among them is a bronze statuette of an Urartian god, Assyrian figurines and a ivory miniature of Perseus and Medusa. The star free standing sculpture to have survived from ancient Greece is a 16 feet tall marble kouros dating from 580 BC and dedicated to the god Apollo. Unfortunately, due to Covid closed.

We found a very nice pizza cafe and had a super lunch with wine for the grand sum of 15 euros before we caught the bus back to Pythagoreio.

In the evening we walked up to the Efpaliencio Orygma which is a 3,410 feet aqueduct ranking as one of the premier engineering feats of the ancient world. Designed by the engineer Eupalinos and built by hundreds of slaves between 529 and 524 BC the tunnel guaranteed ancient Samos a water supply in times of siege and remained in use until this century. Eupalinos’s surveying was so accurate that when the work crews met having begun at opposite sides of the mountain the vertical error was nil. Today it is open at times and you can visit 25 metres of the tunnel.

From the aqueduct you can see the monastery up in the mountains overlooking Pythagoreio. Cobble paved Pythagoreio was named after the philosopher Pythagoras who was born in 580 BC.  On the harbour wall is a statue to Pythagoras erected in 1989. The only genuine tower in the area is the 19th century manor of Lykourgos Logothetis who organized a naval victory over the Turks on 6th August, 1824 now the date of the Feast of the Transfiguration. Next to it is the Metamorfosis church build to celebrate the victory.

Pythagoreio is very alive at night even with so many less visitors and quite a fun place to be.