BRING, WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU TO DIAFANI
from the Diafani A to Z list of the website WELCOME TO DIAFANI (www.diafani.com)
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There are no sand beaches in this region of Northern Karpathos. All the beaches are small shingle, tiny sea washed shells or pebble. If you have sensitive feet you may want to bring plastic or rubber shoes to wear in the water or while climbing over coastal rocks where there may be spiny sea-urchins just under the water line.
With the exception of the small bay of Vananda there are no bars or tavernas on any of the beaches around Diafani. You will need to take your own picnic and drinking water. There are no sunbeds or sun umbrellas to rent on the beaches. Nobody will come and try to sell you anything on these beaches. You may even have the whole beach to yourself. You will find some beach mats and towels and also some basic picnic and swimming equipment in the local shops but you may want to bring your own.
BOOKS TO READ IN DIAFANI
There are many things to see in and around Diafani but many visitors also appreciate the calm life here where they can sit quietly and catch up on their reading. You may want to bring books with you as there is no Bookshop in Diafani but most of the hotels now have a book exchange library for visitors. Thanks to generous visitors the "Bring a book - Take a book" principal keeps these libraries fairly well stocked. An informal exchange of books, magazines and newspapers also goes on in the restaurants or in the local traditional kafeneion between arriving and departing visitors.
CASH / FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Greece changed to the Euro money system in 2002.
There is no bank in Diafani. The nearest bank is in the capital of Karpathos. You can however change foreign currency into euros at the Travel Agency of Nikos Orfanos in Diafani. The current rate of exchange is published daily.
A Banking Card cash machine was installed in Diafani, but it was taken away for repairs a few years ago and has not yet returned ! So you need to bring cash with you, or go down by boat to the banking machines in the capital. (Watch this space for news of the machine being re-installed).
CHILD AND BABY CARE
There is limited medical care in Diafani. You are advised to bring with you any specific medication and first aid your child may need.
There may be difficulty finding nappies or baby food in the village shops although these are readily available in the capital.
CIGARETTES IN DIAFANI
The small traditional Kafenion in Diafani holds the permit for selling cigarettes and tobacco. Go inside and ask to see the cigarettes (the word for cigarettes is cigarra, not to be confused with cigars ) They are kept inside a wooden cupboard. This traditional kafeneion is well worth a visit. You will find a wide range of Greek and international makes sold there but if you must have your own specific brand it is advisable to bring them with you. There is now a modern kiosk on the sea front where you can also find cigarettes.
Incidentally did you know that although the tobacco and paper of the cigarette end you throw away is easily broken down into the environment each filter on a cigarette takes a minimum of 100 years to break down, please don’t leave them on the beaches.
CLOTHES IN DIAFANI
There are no clothes shops in Diafani. There is a small Tourist shop where you can buy teeshirts and beach sandals. Diafani is not a fashion spot. Dress here is generally informal sportswear : jeans and teeshirts etc, although women may like to bring a dress to wear in the evening.
Even in the high summer there can be a cool breeze in the evenings, it is advisable to bring a warm sweater or jacket. Most of the local women in Diafani wear the daily traditional costume. You will see that all the local people dress very modestly so you will understand that revealing clothes are not suitable here, especially if you want to feel comfortable while participating in the many local activities and festivals.
COMPUTERS AND INTERNET ACCESS
High speed Internet connection facilities arrived in the community of Olymbos-Diafani at the beginning of 2008. This is an incredible move towards modernity and high-tech for such a traditional place as this community of Olymbos-Diafani.
In Olymbos a satellite connection system makes high speed Internet available for the whole village.
In Diafani telephone lines are now ADSL compatible for high speed Internet, and Wi Fi is installed in several restaurants giving free access to Internet for their customers. You may want to bring your own laptop.
COSMETICS and TOILETERIES
You will find soap and shampoo etc on sale in the small local shops of Diafani but it is advisable to bring all your own specific cosmetics, beauty treatments and toiletries.
ELECTRICITY IN DIAFANI
All of the houses and hotels in Diafani now have electricity but most of the householders have kept their oil or gas lamps, as there are occasional breakdowns on the lines from the power station in the capital. It is a good idea to bring a pocket lamp with you.
Electric plugs should be the European 2 prong standard.
There is no pharmacy in Diafani. It is advisable to bring your own medication and perhaps a First-Aid kit.
There is no hospital in Diafani. The doctor for this community is based in the hilltop village of Olymbos and comes down to Diafani on certain days for consultations in the small dispensary near the Hotel Nikos. In case of accident or emergency the doctor will come down with the local ambulance and, if necessary, the person needing hospital treatment will be transported either by road to the capital town of Karpathos or by ship or helicopter to Crete, Rhodes, or Athens.
NEWSPAPERS IN DIAFANI
There are no newspaper shops in Diafani. For the moment the only newspapers you will see will be from the Greek press. Amongst the pile of Greek papers to read in the small traditional local Kafenion you may find an English newspaper, but it will not necessarily be up to date !
Arriving visitors are generally happy to share the papers they have brought with them, but most visitors soon enjoy being cut off from the daily troubles in the rest of the world.
If you really need a newspaper in your own language there are two small shops in the capital for guide books and foreign newspapers. On certain days you can go down to the capital in the morning and come back to Diafani in the afternoon on the “Community Link” boat service.
There is no pharmacy in Diafani. It is advisable to bring your own medication.
You may find basic first aid items in the small local shops but if you need anything specific you will have to go either to the local doctor or down to the capital where there are several pharmacies.
Many visitors find this community of Diafani-Olymbos unique and they take twice as many photographs as they would elsewhere, so you may want to bring a good supply of films with you ! You will find standard films on sale in the small local shops but if you need specific films and especially batteries it is advisable to bring your own.
There is no Post Office in Diafani.
You can usually buy stamps in Diafani in all of the places where postcards are on sale. There is now only one rate for all air-mail post to all countries outside Greece.
By law the shopkeepers are allowed to charge a small fixed percentage above the normal rate you would pay for the stamps in an official Post Office.
If, during your stay in Diafani, you intend to post a lot of cards it is advisable to buy your stamps in the capital or in Rhodes/Athens before you arrive.
There is a large yellow Post Box fixed to the wall near the “Gorgona” restaurant.
The postman comes from the main office in the capital with the incoming mail. Nowadays he usually arrives by car and blows his car horn loudly to announce his arrival. The mail is generally distributed in the local traditional kafeneion which also serves as an unofficial “Poste Restante” for the locals who are absent.
PRODUCE, LOCAL PRODUCE
It is customary that each family in Diafani be self sufficient for the staples of life.
There is very little commerce in Diafani. All the local families bake their own bread, raise sheep, pigs and goats and produce oil, vegetables, fruit and honey. This produce is however mainly for their families in Diafani or in Rhodes and Athens.
See “Shops and Shopping” below.
There are no shoe shops nor shoe-makers in Diafani but you can probably buy beach sandals in the small tourist shop. In the hilltop village of Olymbos there is an old traditional shoe- maker. He makes the embroidered leather slippers that the women wear with the unique traditional festival costume and also the beautiful local leather boots which are always made to measure for each customer.
Many of the visitors come to Diafani to walk the various lovely hill and coastal paths. For these walks you will need to bring your own good walking shoes.
SHOPS and SHOPPING in DIAFANI
You can buy most basics such as bread, milk, cheese, eggs etc in the small local General Stores, "Supermarkets".
A lorry comes to Diafani once or twice a week to sell fresh produce from the nearby island of Crete and you will see all the villagers gather around the lorry to buy fruit or vegetables to supplement their own home grown produce.
Visitors can of course also buy from there, but do not expect an organized queue !
From time to time some itinerant people will come to Diafani and try to sell a variety of household articles and clothes. They usually arrive in small vans and announce they are “open for business” with the loudspeakers of their van, playing music loudly and making repeated announcements of what they are selling.
There are no organized sports facilities in Diafani. Most of the visitors find the walking, swimming, and snorkelling possibilities totally satisfying.
The sea here is very clear but you will get even greater enjoyment if have a mask and tube for snorkelling the underwater life.
You can find some items for swimming and snorkelling in the small local shops but if you intend to practise this sport during your stay in Diafani you may prefer to bring your own equipment.
SUN AND INSECT PROTECTION
You will find some sun and insect protection products in the small local shops but if you need a specific protection or treatment it is advisable to bring your own.
There is often a pleasant sea breeze here, which is very welcome in the hot summer, however it can make you forget to use adequate sun protection.
According to the weather there may be some insects. If you are particularly sensitive to insect bites it is advisable to bring your own treatment.
TELEPHONES IN DIAFANI
There are two public telephones in Diafani which function with the Greek O.T.E. telephone cards. You can buy the standard cards in the local traditional kafeneion of Diafani, but, if you plan to telephone abroad frequently during your stay, it is advisable to buy there the low rate international call cards.
It is often difficult to get a line in the evening. If you have an international mobile phone you may find this useful in Diafani.
One of the most enjoyable activities here is the wide variety of local footpaths for walking in the countryside around Diafani. Bring your strong sports shoes or hiking boots for the longer walks. You may also want to bring equipment and/or reference books to study the wildlife and plants you will see here.
WILDLIFE TO SEE ON LAND AND IN THE SEA
While walking around the countryside you may see some of the rare birds which nest here or rest here on their yearly migration. You may also see some of the wildlife which lives here. You may want to bring your binoculars and reference books on birds, insects, plant life etc.
You may be lucky enough to see dolphins or even some of the protected Monk Seals in the sea north of Diafani .The sea here is very clear but you will get even greater enjoyment if you bring a mask and tube for snorkelling the underwater life.
See the Diafani website A to Z list "Wildlife".
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