Sunday, July 08, 2018

First Impressions Pigadia, Karpathos: First Night and Dinner at Ratatouille

Karpathos is a new Greek Island for us, and Dutchman and I were quite excited about this new holiday island destination.

Each summer holiday, we enjoy a new Greek Island to holiday on, although we have a few islands in mind to go back, such as Lesbos and Crete, we are still enjoying picking a new one each year. We have really fallen in love with the Greek Isles and its become a personal holiday tradition for us.

So we are happy to have found our summer place, but it doesn’t mean we are not open to other places. We are, for example, eyeing enchanting Spain. We used to have this idea of buying a house in the south of Spain when we retire. We have bunked the idea though, but lately, have entertained it again.

No one knows the future, and for now, we are enjoying our yearly summer beach trips to Greece.

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The view from our aparthotel's balcony and the black cat we saw on the way to the town center.

Pigadia is the capital town of Karpathos Island which belongs to the Dodecanese group of islands in the south of Greece, situated near to the border to Turkey. The island is between 2 large islands, Crete and Rhodos.

We flew with Transavia via Sunweb stopping first in Chania, Crete. Both of us mostly slept during the red-eye flight and we had a big delay in Chania due to a group of mentally and physically disabled holiday goers. We didn’t mind the delay really and in fact, we were encouraged to see them going on vacation considering their physical circumstances.

We landed just after 12 noon and we were at our hotel apartment around 12:30. We were very tired and hungry, so we quickly went to the beach area in search of a local taverna where we could eat lunch. We found this cool place and had a delicious Greek Salad: Yiassou! Welcome Lunch in Pigadia. Then we went back to the aparthotel and rested for a few hours. Later in the afternoon, the Dutchman took a dip in the pool while I opened our luggage and get everything settled.

Main shopping street of Pigadia.

One of the scenic and arty staircase alley from the main shopping street in Pigadia leading to the harbour promenade.

Our real introduction to the island came in the evening just before dark when we hit the town capital, Pigadia, which is just a 10-minute walk from our aparthotel. Not bad at all. As it is our first time, we were not sure what to expect. We have only seen pictures.

There are approximately 6,000 inhabitants in Karpathos and majority of them live in the Pigadia periphery. However, during the summer months, the number of people on the island at any given time  of the day can reach up to 20,000. That’s not really a lot compared to the popular island holiday destinations in Greece. In comparison is Karpathos less touristy, which is to our liking.

The town of Pigadia sits on a bay and the town centre is concentrated around the harbour area. It’s very scenic, your typical Greek town with white and beige cemented houses sitting on a hilly terrain that slopes down to the harbour.

There are many cafes, restaurants and homey tavernas decorating the harbourside. Some are located in an elevated area with a great view of the surroundings. It would have been lovely if the harbour is upgraded, the roads cobbled and with more street lanterns and benches. But I guess that requires budget which is an ongoing challenge in today's Greece’s economy.

We also noticed very little to almost none sailboat-yacht holiday goers here. The port area is sparsely populated with boats and most of them were traditional fishing boats or holiday charter cruise boats. Compared to the Greek Islands we have been to, such as Skiathos, Lefkas and Kefalonia (the last 3 main islands we holidayed in the last 3 years) which had harbours full of sailing boats and yachts, Karpathos almost had none. We only saw 2 private sailboats! Perhaps it has something to do with the strong wind here called “Meltemi”. Dutchman and I experienced this tough wind whilst driving our scooter and it reminds me of the strong winds in Wellington, New Zealand!

In terms of commercial activity, there is only 1 main shopping street and this is parallel to the harbour. It is not big but enough to give shopping pleasures for the holidaymaker. We quickly found the big supermarket on the main road to buy staples for our breakfast and drinks.

View of the town from the other side of the harbour. It is mostly fishing boats docked here.

Our first dinner on the island was at Ratatouille on the harbour of Pigadia. The restaurant sits on top of the edge of the walled embankment with a great view of the harbour and the buildings and massive rocks circling the dock promenade. It’s very pretty and I couldn’t imagine a much better setting for our first holiday dinner.

I have also read about the restaurant on Tripadvisor so I came a bit prepared. Ratatouille is not your ordinary Greek cuisine place. It is a restaurant promoting Greek elite gastronomy, nothing traditional at all except for the ingredients and taste that were influenced by its Greek roots. The dishes were a fusion of modern culinary science and art, and with good service too.

Having said that, this restaurant is not the cheapest in town. Prices of the dishes here are at least 8 to 10 Euros higher than the typical local tavernas but we highly recommend this place! The food is tasty, refreshingly different and with a modern twist of the local cuisine. One of the best we have had on this holiday.

Dinner at Ratatouille Cocktail Restaurant in Pigadia town center.

We've got a nice view from our table.

Dutchman had the traditional pasta called Makarounes with stewed meat on top (looks like it is beef, if not, pork). This was very delicious.

I had a seafood dinner of squid which was marinated and cooked in the oven and lightly grilled. This was quite good as well.

Dinner with a great view.

After the lovely and delicous Greek dinner with a modern twist, we strolled on the harbour to enjoy the rest of the evening in town. We also would like to have a better feel for the place, letting it sink into our system and get familiarised since we will be staying in Karpathos for 2 full weeks. So far, so good. We have our hopes high!

In our book, the Greek Islands never disappoints.

Even when life is not good, we need to relax. It's all a mindset.

One of the charter boats for tourists that sail to the north part of the island, to beaches and villages of Olympos and Diafani, as well the Saria Island.

Lively Pigadia harbour at night.

Travel Period: June-July 2018
Destination: Pigadia, Karpathos (Dodecanese Islands), Greece

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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