The first thing to say is that Kythnos was much better than we were prepared for it to be. It is a really beautiful island, with a vibrant traditional way of life which has disappeared on many better known islands.
It has more or less everything you would want from a Greek island. Varied scenery soaring to ancient hilltop forts and plunging to verdant valleys. Scores of great little beaches. Wild flowers galore, including copious lupin-like sea squills in autumn. Friendly and charming people. Delicious food and wine. Skilled local musicians.
Two special features: more than a hundred tiny Greek orthodox chapels scattered across every valley and patterned dry stone walls round many fields, often with big upright flat stones giving the impression of windows in the walls.
Tour leader Nigel Tutt has definitely done the right thing in selecting Kythnos as the location to develop his hotel
The walks are full of interest with beautiful views all the way, despite sometimes off-putting instructions like 'turn right at petrol station' or 'straight down past power station'.
The walking schedule is chock-full of action and it is helpful to be a bit nimble but if you find yourself flagging, as we did one day, one of the island's taxi drivers will be happy to come and whip you back to the hotel.
The track of old iron mine railway we walked along to reach the beach where Giorgios picked us up was the flattest path we encountered on the whole island but also one of the thorniest. Ouch! Our calves took quite a few scratches.
Mine very British host Nigel was very helpful in trying to meet all our requests but the star of the show was undoubtedly Katerina Filippa, leader of the guided walks. Joint author with Nigel of the book of Kythnos hiking trails, Katerina comes from a leading Kythnos family and is an expert on the history, wildlife and culture of the island.
A 20-minute session for 6 euros in the spa at Loutra will ease your aching limbs and leave your skin soft for several days. The spa is now low key though the warm mineral waters were once so famous that Kythnians have the alternative name of Thermians.
The island's tavernas offer dishes to suit all tastes – whether you prefer meat, fish or vegetarian options.
Work is yet to start on Nigel's hotel – what an eyesore at the moment – but the Hotel Mesaria in Hora was a fine substitute, providing us with a smart room, comfortable beds gushing hot shower and views over the meadows below from the spacious balcony.
All in all, a memorable week and we'll definitely be coming back when Nigel's hotel is open, though that might present us with one small problem – we won't be able to get to Stamati's bar in Hora for breakfast. Let's hope Hotel Galatas will provide equally good spanakopita and fresh fruit with yoghourt...