16.07.2015 - 23.07.2015 38 °C
Tilos is about halfway between Rhodes and Kos - took me about 2.5 hours on the ferry with a quick stop in Halki. I chose it because I guessed I might need to just chill out and after Rhodes it was perfect. Guy from the hotel met the ferry and drove me the 500 metres to the hotel - a bit OTT but they are so welcoming (recurring theme in hotels, restaurants, shops - I think Xenophilia is the perfect description of the Greeks).
Really quiet even in July, it's possible to just wander around, not see many people, find deserted coves with great beaches and I did all of this. Eating freshly landed fish every evening in tiny,sometimes quite ramshackle places - I loved it.
I stayed at a hotel (Irini) in the main port of Livadhia which is at the head of a splendid bay on the island’s north shore. A row of little tavernas, hotels and studios stretches away to the east taking advantage of a narrow strip of beach. The entire seafront is lined by a broad pedestrian promenade, which is great for visitors even if it does diminish the “authentic” feel of the place a bit.
I have to say I did very little and thoroughly enjoyed just that. A slight spanner in the works was that I developed quite a serious ear infection a couple of days after arriving. The side of my face was very swollen and very painful so I thought I'd better seek medical opinion - easier said than done.
I asked the hotel about the nearest doctor and was told where the surgery is and that it would be open the next morning at 9.00 am - it wasn't. A guy wandering past told me it would be open that evening at 8.30 so I went along, walked in and was confronted by the surgery door wide open with a pregnant woman about to have some sort of examination that I'm sure she would not want spectators at. A woman (turned out to be the midwife) closed the door and came it to talk to me ( she spoke perfect English thankfully).
I explained what was wrong and she said that the normal surgery was the next morning at 10 am but she would ask the doctor to see me once he had finished whatever he was doing between his current patients legs.
I waited an hour and was shown in. The doctor was French/greek and spoke no English so the midwife translated and I used my very poor French to help.
I got the distinct impression that the midwife and the doctor were not on the best of terms. Apart from translating my symptoms for the doctor she kept sneering at him and then telling me he was a bloody idiot who need to be fired and then shouting at him in Greek - not translation from my words I'm sure. I felt a bit like piggy in the middle and started to get a little nervous (I'm not a good patient at the best of times)
Anyway he then tried to find the piece of equipment needed to have a closer look in my ear and was about to insert something that he found when she screamed at him - turns out he was going to use an unsterilised item. There followed lots of shouting, opening and closing of drawers until she produced sterilised ones. I was crapping myself at this point and regardless of her reassurances that the new ones were sterile I was really pleased when on closer inspection he said (through her) that it was impossible to insert anything in my ear as it was completely closed up. In normal circumstances this would worry me but by this point I just wanted a prescription for anything (morphine or some weed would have been a strong preference) and to get out of there.
I got my prescription, was told to keep the ear dry (no more swimming in pools for 10 days which was probably the cause) and to come back to see him in 4 days (the day of my departure for Patmos) - not a prospect that I was looking forward to assuming they happened to be open at the appointed time.
Got the antibiotics and went into the usual side effect cycle of sh*tting through the eye of a needle followed by close brush with haemorrhoids as a result of constipation over the next 10 days.
When I returned to see him one hour before my ferry departure 4 days later, he was 20 minutes late and worst of all the midwife, who though clearly a bit unhinged, was at least able to provide effective communication between me and the doctor, was not present.
The doctor could not find any of the equipment to look in my ear (sterilised or unsterilised) so I think he took a wild guess, in French told me to keep taking the tablets and wished me bon voyage. I was happy to get out of there without him touching any part of me. I hope that pregnant woman had a better experience than I did.
Though my usual lengthy walks in the midday heat were curtailed a little by my ear infection (my balance was a bit awry) I did visit some other parts of the island and it i really is beautifully unspoilt
Tilos is the perfect place to unwind and relax - it felt a bit like the Greek Islands did in the early 80s - very unspoilt and a wonderful slow pace. I would go back.