Exploring Agia Marina and Platanos
I wake up rested at 6:55. Coffee on the balcony. There is a soft morning light on the houses climbing the opposite hillside. Birds chirrup, and roosters crow. The balcony is in shadow in the morning, and it is a good place to greet the day.
We want a look around before it gets too hot and walk to Platanos and down the steep street to Agia Marina, where the hydrofoil moored yesterday. There are at least two churches on the way, and we take a mental note of the side street with the archaeological museum.
Local men sit by the house wall and sip coffee outside a bar in Agia Marina. On the quay a man is selling fish and a bit further on modern cafés offer Internet access.
We find a table with parasol shade and order Greek coffee. There is a nice breeze and the holiday mood intensifies.
On the way back we explore Platanos. The old town lies high above the sea, and even higher lies the old castle, where the knights of St. John once lived. In the old days the town was closer to the castle for protection against pirates, but as time went by the town climbed downhill where things had to be carried less far.
Most houses in Platanos are old, but in good shape. The winding streets are colourful, and there are many stairs up and down. White and blue prevail, but is replaced here and there by red bougainvillea.
By the city square, which is like a roundabout, are the city hall, shops and cafés. The supermarket is down the road to Panteli. We buy some water and find the roof terrace of hotel Elefteria where there's an info meeting at 10:30.
The info meeting
The agency's local representative, Lone Kanaris, is Danish, but has lived on Leros for 16 years. With humour she tells us about the island, what to see, what to do etc.
She is refreshingly relaxed and adult compared to some of the uniformed young guides we have been exposed to elsewhere - those who rant not knowing the difference between capers and carps.
Lone runs hotel Elefteria and a local travel agency, and we buy tickets for the island roundtrip tomorrow. We have dropped the idea of renting bicycles. Even if the island is "flat" compared to other Greek islands, we happily leave it for the goats to climb.
The midday heat approaches. It is time for lunch and siesta.
At about 16:30 the sun has turned the corner, and the balcony is in the shade again. It is at least 30 degrees in the shade, but that is quite pleasant if you're just reading a book or pretending to solve a crossword puzzle.
Taverna Psaropoula in Panteli
As the blue hour starts, we walk to the bay. Taverna Psaropoula has goat on the menu. Helle has wanted to taste goat for a long time, and last year we hunted the animal in vain on the menus of Karpathos, so Psaropoula it is.
The waiter is tall and lanky. He flutters with his long limbs, but is efficient and has a sense of humour.
For starters we have salty mackerel. The taste is powerful and good, and as recommended by the waiter we share one portion. With the bread there's a small bowl with a tasty squid paste.
It takes a long time before the main course arrives. Maybe Helle's goat had to defreeze, and my souvlaki (meat on a skewer) withered while waiting. The meat is dry and leathery, and the onion is cremated. The potatoes are soggy and drunk from oil. Fortunately there is also some rice pilaf.
Helle has got the same depressing fries, but at least her goat is delicious: very tender and in a tasty tomato sauce with a piquant hint of cinnamon. The house red is cool and okay.