02 August 2012 | Pythagoria
The view from the hills overlooking the town of Samos on Samos island.
Leaving Chios we had a fast ride (sailing) downwind all the way to Samos Island. The Meltemi, the prevailing northerly summer wind was blowing about 15-20 knots, so our 70 nm trip flew by reasonably quickly. Samos is a large, very steep mountainous island much of it covered in Olive groves. We arrived at our first anchorage Posedonian and spent two quiet days here. It is an anchorage surrounded by a small fishing village, a popular spot at the height if summer with charter yachts that came from the main town just around the corner. We then headed for Pythagoria a major town on the island with a beautiful harbour, where we were able to tie up to the wall right in front of the town centre. Pythagoria is the birthplace of Pythagorus the Greek mathematician famous for the Pythagorean theorem. There is a statue at the entrance to the harbour honoring him. There was much to see in the town and surrounds, with an excellent archaeological museu m, an underground water tunnel and monastery perched on a hilltop. It was a great island to sightsee by bike and one day we rode over a steep mountain range to the capital Samos Town where we explored another excellent archaeological museum. The history of Samos dates back to 8th century BC amd must be a delight for archaeologists, as many artefacts have been disovered on the island, documented and now displayed in the museums and provide an excellent story of the civilisation of Samos.
The 6th August is a very special day in Samos history and by coincidence we were fortunate to be there. It is the date that Samos was liberated from the Turks way back in 1824, Samos being only 8nm from the Turkish coast! Each year a festival is held on this day which starts on the eve of the 5th with a re-enactment of the battle that took place between the Samians and the Turks and continues the next day with a special Church service and traditional dancing. The Greek Orthodox priests seem to play a major role in leading the festivities which begin with a procession around town. In 1824 during the night the Turks sent a number of ships into the harbour of Pythagoria to attack the Samians who were lying in wait for them. The two lead ship of the Turkish fleet were set alight and the Turks feeling threatened and demoralised retreated back to Turkey. The re-enactment includes the burning of a small boat obviously made out of plywood and filled with fireworks. As it begins the street lights are dimmed and the story of the battle is retold over a loud speaker, first in Greek then in English which we really appreciated. A procession of boats representing the Turkish fleet enters the harbour and circles it, they are all linked together by a tow rope. As they leave the harbour the mock ship is set alight which then sets off the fireworks. It was a very impressive display and obviously very popular with the locals gauging by the number of people that were in town for the evening. We spent a week here and thoroughly enjoyed the town, our rides and our daily swims at a beach with sand instead of the pebbles that we usually find!!