We spent the better part of a summer on the Greek island of Tinos living in a windmill. Some of our adventures from that time are described in the Greece Travel Diary series. In Part 1 and Part 2 of that series, I describe the windmill itself as well as a day spent exploring the truly stellar natural beauty of the island.
I wanted to take a quick moment to talk more about Hora, the main town of Tinos, since this never really got covered in the other posts.
Tinos is the third largest island in the Cyclades, and is known among Greeks primarily because it is the location of a Greek Orthodox pilgrimage site, the Church of Panagia Evangelistria in Hora. Pilgrims flock to the church a few times a year, and though I was not there to see it, apparently the town fills at that time.
However, we saw almost no tourists or pilgrims the entire time we were on the island. I am hard pressed to remember seeing more than a handful of other non-Greek tourists, and only a trickle of Greeks passing through (frequently to celebrate baptisms).
Hora is a small town with a few streets of shops, grocery stores and a smattering of restaurants, but it left us wanting for nothing. Primarily because it was home to some of the best food I have eaten. Ever. Anywhere. Nightly we walked to town from the windmill. And nightly, we feasted like kings and queens at endless beautiful meals – cheese and tomato stuffed squid, fresh grilled and salted sardines, sun-dried octopus, platters of grilled vegetables, garlic paste, and fish egg dip. We swam through pools of olive oil and bathed in rivers of fresh, mineraly rose wine – a nectar so fresh and without bitterness, we referred to it as juice, as if to try to justify our unquenchable thirst for its charms.
After we ate, we would slowly walk back to the windmill, traversing the main square of the town where children and adults of every age gathered in the night after the heat of the day, and then continued on to the outskirts of town until we finally reached the windmill, our steps lit entirely by stars and moonlight. There is not a lot of nightlife on Tinos – though a few bars do exist and do have pleasant atmospheres.
Tinos is not an island for parties with exuberant foreigners from across the planet. Tinos is a rural, tough land of small marble filled villages, dovecoats scattered like decorative lawn ornaments, terraced hills, empty bays of turquoise water, mountain landscapes, and feasts made of simple fresh food that you will long for the rest of your life.
Tinos is a land of a profoundly beautiful, simple life that has largely disappeared in many other Mediterranean countries.
To read the Greece Travel Diaries series click here: