Agios Isidoros was one of the places on Samos that we had on our must-visit list for quite some time. Last Sunday we finally made the time for a family excursion to the West side of the island with Agios Isidoros as our main goal.
From Pythagorio we started driving in the direction of Chora, and after that continued up into the mountains past the villages of Koumaradei and Pyrgos (that I will describe in one of the future blog posts). After a few more curves in the road, we were then greeted by a fantastic view towards the Kerkis mountain. On the day we went, the clouds were hanging about halfway the mountain, giving us only a clear view to the 1433 m high peak. It is considered to have been a volcano thousands of years ago, which is what explains the strange rock formations we were to find down in Agios Isidoros later in the day.
From this beautiful panorama viewpoint the road becomes wider and we arrived in Ormos Marathokambos only a short while later. What a peaceful little fishing village this is! We walked around a little to stretch our legs and our dog was friendly greeted by the dog of a fisherman, on board of a small kaiki (fishing boat) that just returned to the harbor.
We continued our way on the winding asphalt road that led us through the beautiful green and blooming nature of the West side of the island, with a spectacular view to the clear blue Aegean Sea. After about half an hour, in the village of Kallithea, we found the sign that showed us the way down to Agios Isidoros. An unpaved road of about 5 km long takes us down to the town which was once well-known for its production of the traditional "kaïkis" or fishing boats.
We met the only traditional boat manufacturer who is still working this wonderful craft. Surrounded by planks from pine trees in different shapes and sizes, he tells us that there used to be 3 other craftsmen like himself, but now he is the only one still building boats in Agios Isidoros. The long road down to the village and the distance to the cities on the island (Karlovassi is about 1 hours drive, and Vathi 1,5 hours) has made the people leave the small village, which is now mostly deserted.
The craft still exists, though, and at the time we were there, he was working on 2 orders: 1 to go to the Peloponnesos and 1 to Zakynthos. To build a traditional kaïki like this, it takes about 3 months. It was wonderful to see how these boats slowly take their shape, and George almost decided to stay there to learn and help out, because he really loves this old craft of hand-making wooden boats.
Fortunately we could convince him to come with us and explore the area behind the scenic village of Agios Isidoros. A climbing paradise for both our dog and our kids, there were rock formations of many different kinds of stone next to the sea. The consideration that Mt. Kerkis was once a volcano was confirmed to us by seeing all these lava-like rocks with so many colors we have not seen anywhere else on the island.
We decided to follow the road up to Drakei directly from Agios Isidoros. An unpaved road for most of the way, but not a problem to drive with a normal car (our i 10 does all the work for us: from farming jobs to off road driving). It took us about 20 minutes to arrive in the last village of the island: Drakei. This is where the road ends. And although the linear distance to Karlovassi from here is only about 15 kilometers, the inhabitants of Drakei have to travel 40 kilometers, all the way around the Kerkis mountain to get there. The only other way to get to Potami/Karlovassi from Drakei is by foot, passing the beautiful beaches of Mikro and Megalo Seitani. Maybe some day I will be able to describe this beautiful walk here for you as well.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch in Drakei and started our descent towards Votsalakia, enjoying the view on the way. What a beautiful island Samos is, with wonderful nature and so many things to see! If you have not been here yet, we strongly suggest to come and see for yourself. But be careful: you might get addicted like so many other people did! Θα χαρούμε να σας δούμε στην Σάμο: we look forward to seeing you here on Samos!