There is a map for every treasure island, and it resembles all the others you have held in your hands, but once you get to the island itself, things look totally different. To go down to Onar, first you have to reach the top of Andros island, up to the deserted village of Arni, and then, when the main road bends sharply and points southwards again, you will find a sign that reads ‘St Nikolas Monastery 5 km’ and turn left. There begins the dirt road to Achla beach. You will pass St George’s Church (1.7 km), St John’s Church (3.8 km) and St Mamas Monastery (6.4 km) – miniatures of Greek sacred places with white walls and blue domes and crosses. We went to Onar Andros ‘offseason’ without understanding the madness of the place. We even thought we would go there just for a lazy lunch, for the organic cuisine served under big platans along the sweet river Ahla, for the colourful straw-bottomed chairs, for the baskets of watermelons, red onions, lemons and green peppers, and for the island’s low dry-stone walls that win us every time. Go to Onar and stay there as long as you can. Onar is a vision; it is the euphoric note that fills the summers of your youth. There is a secret bay beyond the reed thicket, there is a small chapel literally emerging from the sea, there is a shed of sea-carried canes for the evening barbecue on the beach, there is a thin lighthouse towering above the beach, and there is a hippie hammock for each stone cottage. It looks like something you have already found somewhere else, but the easiness and the welcome Onar ‘inhabitants’ (a score in total) give nature and the powerful character of this place turn it into a real treasure.
Words Paola Corini. Photo Luca De Santis. Translation Alessia Andriolo