Today ferries seem to call at Serifos most days and from what I have read it is very popular with visitors. There were then few onward ferries, and little evidence of a large tourist invasion at peak season. I was accommodated comfortably, and cheaply, at the Hotel Serifos Beach, but the room may have been so cheap as decorating was under way and I had to tread my way past paint pots and other paraphernalia of decorating to reach my room.
Serifos port, Livadhi, was pleasant enough in a quiet and unassuming sort of way. Chora was then an mostly unspoilt Cycladic village. I say "mostly" unspoilt as I saw a tourist bar or disco, but this was shut when I was there. I remember having lunch one day in the chora, roast chicken; the meal was memorable as chickens (live) were clucking pecking around on the floor the way cats usually do. Cannibals!
Chora was a confusing place (again to deter pirates). here as elsewhere in Greece I would come across some road or oath works (as the paths are so narrow it only needs one small hole to make the street impassable), I would make a detour trying not to disturb the person doing the work, then find that I had done a circuit and was either where I was before, or approaching the works from a different direction. No, I was not last, just exploring, just arastirma if I dare say it.
One day I walked across the hills to, I think, Koutalas (I had no map, apart from my map of Greece, as none were on sale). The taverna with no beer. A huge crate of empties outside. I went in, gasping with thirst. the place was open, so surely there was something to buy? All there was was water. Not bottled water. Not tap water even. The owner scooped a glass into a bucket of water and gave it to me. He did not charge!
I recently found some notes I wrote on Serifos back in 1986:
"4.30 p.m. Serifos. Sitting in a cafe on harbour. Boat to Sifnos leaves at 6.30 p.m. Rather - supposed to. Be surprised if it arrives before 7.30. Getting used to Greek laziness. So far a dullish day with spots of rain. Sun now breaking through. A day to walk not too far (reserving my energies for the Sifnos mule paths). Sitting. And reading. Towers of Trebizond. Must go back to that sometime for the meaning of the religious bits. But I was too keen to find out how the plot unwound that I missed them.
I'm now unwound. After 2-3 days of hectic tramping and seeing of sights I'm now ready to relax. This is the mood I never get into at home. I'm ready to write. Trouble though - my mind still too preoccupied to write.
The gentle breeze. The lapping sea. Impregnation by the sun. Where will I sleep tonight? Don't know! Don't care! Gather Kamares, Sifnos can be pricey. But so cheap so far - 'C' hotel full rate 1600, less than £8-00. I'll soon start dreaming of veg.
OK - spuds. And those overcooked beans. Tomatoes off, then lettuce. Ever eaten a whole cucumber?"
There were few places to eat in the port, I think just one taverna and a bar by the jetty. I ate each night at the taverna, and each night something else was "off", one night Greek salad without the tomato, then no lettuce, soon just the cucumber remained. I was reminded that when I was at Ephesus in Turkey a pleasant Turkish family who were picnicking gave me a cucumber. I was at a loss as to what to do with it. The Turkish family were watching me expectantly, so I nonchalantly started to nibble it (I had no knife with me, I was less organised in those days) and ate the lot. I can imagine the tale being told by those nice Turkish people, "you'll never guess what. We gave a cucumber to this English girl, and she ate the lot, skin and all, as she stood there." Well, what would you have done? A nice little point of etiquette.
Waiting to leave Serifos I was sitting in the bar by the jetty. the only food that was being served was spaghetti with a parmesan type cheese, nothing else appeared to be on offer, not even (tinned) tomato sauce.
On passing through Serifos in 1991 I noticed that there had been a lot of building around the harbour, and recently I have read that Serifos is developing into a chic little resort island.