April 12, 2024

Chora, the compact capital of Amorgos, resembles a snow drift across the rocky ridge of the island: a higgledy-piggledy labyrinth of whitewashed buildings and alleyways 1,000 feet above sea level, capped by a 13th century fort. Ornamented with windmills, chapels and flowered cobblestone lanes, it’s sophisticated on its own languorous terms and unspoilt by tourism. There’s a small museum which runs on Greek-time (meaning it opens when the caretaker feels like opening it) and the shops seems to run on a similar schedule. Nobody in Chora is in a rush to do much of anything, or so it seems, and this idleness quickly rubs off. My afternoon began in a cafe, sipping a Greek frappe – an addictive mix of espresso, milk, and ice, shaken to a deliciously frothy, cool consistency – and enjoying the view of a neighboring table engaged in what appeared to be a highly competitive game of backgammon. Onwards I sniffed around a few of the open shops, wandering up then down the pretty maze of streets before settling unobtrusively into a small cafe with a spectacular view of the water and classic jazz on the radio. Contented by a glass of red wine and dish of briny olives, Chora’s spell was complete: I didn’t need anything except to be where I was.

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