Follow the crowds down to Greece on vacation, get lost in the thousands of tourists flocking to the islands and have a thoroughly crap time, or, visit the lost Greek Islands.
Philopos Popaloupos, third-generation sailor and one of Greece’s growing transgender activists, lounges on his deckchair looking out into the stunning endless blue of the Primorean Gulf, just east of the great city of Athens. He is short, portly and sports two newly-grown breasts and an impressive moustache. He wears the typical sailor’s hat and not so typical tight leather trousers. He grins as we approach him. He knows we are one of the few parties who want to visit the triple Islands of Pontiscou, Polygon and Priangulous.
Following rumors that the American moon landings were actually a pretext for nuclear testing in outer-space in 1969, Greece among the other big five nations embarked on their own nuclear program. Greece, Rhodesia, Uruguay, Nigeria, Gibraltar and Ethiopia formed the GRUNGE nations and quickly ratified a non-aggression pact and joint nuclear-testing program.
Although most testing was conducted at sea, the three remote Greek Islands of Pontiscou, Polygon and Priangulous were chosen as ideal locations for land testing, being three miles from the Greek mainland and therefore putting the Greek people out of immediate danger.
That was in all in the past and in recent years the Greek government has once again opened these islands to tourists, investing heavily in the tourist infrastructures and stabilizing the giant holes caused by nuclear testing, which make amazing natural amphitheaters for opera and rock concerts.
One thing that struck us as we alighted from Philopos’ boat to the first islands Pontiscou, was the silence. There are no birds, no visible fish, it is almost primordial. The lack of trees or any greenery means a hat is necessary. Compared by some tourists to a mars-scape, the earth seems scorched; it is truly one of nature’s wonders.
Our first stop was the ancient Greek temple of Daedalus and Icarus. It is well known that Icarus, escaping from the labyrinth with Daedalus, fashioned wings with wax and feathers. Icarus flew too close the sun. The sun melted the wax and Icarus crashed and died. However, what is not so well known is that there is a minority view that Daedalus and Icarus were not father and son but lovers. The temple has several surviving frescoes showing the two ‘lovers’ in what can only be described as romantic and adoring poses, naked and proud. This temple has become a place of pilgrimage for Greece’s homosexual community, and the tourist ministry reckons over the next five years almost 20 million members of the Greek GLBTQ community will visit and pay their respects.
The second Island is Polygon and is the location of Hercules’ 11th trial, the mystery of the polygon. After completing 10 tasks Hercules was faced with an eleventh, to work out the area of a polygon using a donkey’s jaw bone, honey and pine nuts. Failure to do so would unleash the Grendel, which would certainly destroy Athens. Hercules managed the task and Athens was saved. Today there is a tasteful memorial, a giant polygon on a metal pole which stands on the supposed site of Hercules’ task.
The third and final island is Priangulous has Greece’s only bottomless beach. This is a semi-nudist beach where people are encouraged to keep their tops on and bottoms off (or out). The sea is so tempting and the sand such a beautiful burned russet color, we found it hard not to strip up to our waist and enjoying the freedom afforded to us by the sea breeze.
Finally it was time to go. Philopos, our captain, told us on the way back that if we show signs of nausea and hair loss this is quite normal after a visit to the three islands. If symptoms persist, however, a doctor should be consulted.
Alighting form the boat back on the Athens coast we turned to wave goodbye to the three islands and continued our Greek tour by visiting a beautiful coastal hospital which has the world record of the most cancer patients in Europe.
We had a wonderful day with Philopos and the three islands. Sadly we were to learn that Philopos died of cancer, like his father and grandfather, but we are delighted that his son has now taken charge of the family boat and trips are running regularly all through the year.