Where families meet

The First Part of My Story

By Paul Campanis (the younger)

I first visited Nisyros during my second trip to Greece when I was 22 years old (1984).  Having about an eight hour layover in Athens I just bummed around the city wondering what possessed me to ever make such a trip.  It was quite scarey to be there as a kid all alone.  I got off of the next airplane at Cos.  I pitched my tent in somebody's field.  That was a long night.  I took four sleeping pills but kept hearing noises and seeing shadows.  Then off to the Island.  My aunt Evangelia was there to take care of me.  That was nice.  I was probably a real inconvenience.  She showed me a lot of love.  She also gave me a lot of food.  Cactus fruit was my main diet.  Oh, I felt good.  The sun browned my skin.  It was quite nice.  I stayed with her for that week.  She took great care of me.  We could barely communicate.  That likely helped our relationship.  There are always so many property issues when I go there.  I promptly set out on many adventures.

I really love the beach under the church in Mandraki.  Fondly, I call it Black Stone Beach.  It's real name is Chochlaki. The beach is about 100 yards long.  The rocks start out being very large about the size of grapefruits and get smaller and smaller.  At the opposite end of the beach they make up a fine sand.  Quite a sight to behold.  The waves cause them to roll and create a unique and wonderful music.  I remember letting my one year old daughter play there in 1991 (photo below).  She had a wonderful time.    It is amazing, like nothing I have ever seen.  The Mediterranean speaks loudly in this place.   

The volcano is also very impressive.  The island is shaped like a bowl.  That is because it blew its top. The island's center can be found on the neighboring island of Yali.  We called this the Pumas Island.  It is all made up of volcanic ash.  I think what happened is that when the magma spewed out that it cooled on the way through the air and became small porous rocks.  These are great fun in the bath tub.  They float.  Kids love'em.  Lots of uses for the kids.  They are also great for scraping the tough parts of your feet.  So grownups love'em too.  Well it smells like sulfur down there deep inside the bowl.  The mountains are all sorts of strange colors like yellow and red.  I read that they mined sulphur from that deep pit at the bottom to use in wine.

Then one day I had a really dumb idea.  I left my wife and child in Mandraki and decided that I would climb up to the top of that huge mountain in the background.  I set out with a vengeance and only a litre of water.  What I embarked on was the most puzzling of excursions. I arrived at the volcano about an hour later after having seen many amazing sites. Thankfully there was water at the volcano from the small restaurant there.

Over the last two years (2002 and 2003) we have been very busy fixing up my Grandmother's house. That had fallen into considerable disrepair. Now it is all fixed up. Here is a shot of the women folk all hanging out of the windows.

We had a lot of fun on this last trip. There was great company, great food and daily trips to the beach. We rented a car for the first time. It was great to drive around the Island and see the villiages. We spent a lot of time in Emborio. There are great views of volcano valley from there.

That is all for now. Go here to see the pictures from our last trip in July 2003.