I am very glad I have decided to go to St. Eustratios. First of all, I had a good fortune to buy a ticket for ferry and not to forget my Volts Lightning Cable in hotel this time. It turned out that there are only 4 ferry boats a week going to my destination. Secondly, the weather was pretty fine though the weather forecast predicted heavy rain. That’s why the voyage gave me such pleasure.
Also it was the first time I saw dolphins following the ship, that sight was stunning. Seagulls followed us too, waiting for offerings from the passengers. Thirdly, the trip took us only 5 hours that might be considered to be short – as sometimes ferry needs almost 11 hours to reach its destination. I think that depends on the route and the number of stops.
The island itself appeared to be smaller than I thought. I found out that the population of St. Eustratios barely reaches 400 people. You might not see a tourist here – though this place is really worth it.
If you are looking for old buildings, you should go to the ruins of an old town on the top of the Agios Minas hill. There are also a couple of old churches built in the middle of the 18th century. But that’s all that is left. The fact is that everything changed in the middle of the 20th century.
Previously you could find two- and three- floor traditional buildings on the hills surrounded by fruit and vegetable gardens. Unfortunately, there was a devastating earthquake in 1968 when almost all the buildings were destroyed. The government made people go down the hills and start living in identical houses. Those constructions left after the disaster serve either as an attraction or an administrative place (like the school from the beginning of the century made into Democracy museum).
A local person who was on the ferry with me told that St. Eustratios is also famous for the unique caves. One of them has the historical and religious value. It served as an asylum for the saint ascetic Eustratios. In the second one, called Spilia tis Fotias, you can see very rare species of seals. They are even listed in the Red Book. But as for me, the third one should be the most exciting. The fact is that you can enter that cave from one side of the island and exit from the other. I can’t wait to get there and see the island “from the inside”.
By the way, though the population of the island is small, the holidays are celebrated widely here. The same man from ferry told me that the marriage is usually celebrated 5 days! Also people organize public religious festival to honor John the Baptist. At that day you can see the fair along all the street, take part in dancing and competitions.
By the way, it is impossible to find a hotel here! There is literally nothing on booking.com or airbnb. I was lucky to tell my problem in a bar so that one of the visitors invited me to his home!