Saturday, 30 April 2011

On the road....

We've rented a car for our few days here as can't face dealing with bus timetables and buses only service parts of the island we're not keen to visit. Yesterday we did the complete circuit of the whole island with a couple of pit stops for lunch and icecream......

....but what thrilled us the most was discovering the mountains (Rhodes best kept secret). So stunning and beautiful and quiet. Mile after mile of empty roads and when we stopped the only sounds were goat bells and bees grazing on the flowering sage.

Last night propped up the bar with some Symi people and today we're being lazy..... a stroll after breakfast down to the sea followed by a lovely cup of tea - well I am British after all!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Round Rhodes Tour

The title of the blog tells you what we've been up to today. We hired a car, and drove clockwise round the island. So we passed the (in)famous Faliraki and Lindos early on in our trip.

The ambience improved as we reached the South of the island, helped by a wonderful fish lunch at the beachside taverna at Plimiri.

The scenery was amazing with mile upon mile of wild flowers and grasses with nobody in sight.

We dropped down to Prasonisi, which was disappointingly shabby, so pressed on round to the West coast which delighted us even more. Pine forests, mountain views and lush scenery all the way from before Monolithos round to Kamiros. This was the Rhodes that does not appear in holiday brochures!

Miraculously managed to navigate our way back to the hotel and find a parking space very near before drinking beer. Went for meal at Napoleon's before coming back to the Plaza, where we met Neil from Symi and his brother James. More time disappeared so that I am very late with today's blog...

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Thursday, 28 April 2011


Yesterday we caught the 4 p.m. Dodekanes Express over to Rhodes with a little trepidation (me) as the water in the harbour was very choppy which meant out at sea could have been anything...coupled with some passengers grabbing handfuls of sick bags .....!? But all went swimmingly (not literally) apart from the "funfair ride" as we approached Rhodes harbour.
Settled in to our Plaza "suite" and went in search of food. Walked round in circles for a while, stopped for a beer which helped focus the mind and landed back near our hotel at the Napoleon taverna for a lovely meal!
Am writing this bit of blog in bed so better get up for breakfast I suppose..

Decided to spend day in old town and because there are so few tourists here at the moment it was extremely pleasant.

Lunch was a particular treat as (a) I was hungry, (b) the venue was so gorgeous, and (c) the food was delicious and amazingly good value.

We were determined to see everything and found the unexpected...

.....but didn't expect to see Richard quite so soon!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Our last full day on Symi

After a morning at the Olive Tree, we went off for a walk down through Yialos which is filling up with visitors especially now that the day trips from Rhodes have started. We sat in the shade above Nos beach for a breather and saw four dolphins working their way around the mouth of the harbour. My camera wasn't up to catching them unfortunately although Su got a distant shot of one of them.What I did see was lots of these swan planters!

After that we carried on round to Nimborio where we went for a very quick dip in the definitely cool water. It was really peaceful with nobody about apart from a yacht in the middle of the bay and some people working on a boat over the other side.

We came back over the top of the hill via the church where we sat and admired the view. Talked about possible schemes and ideas about what we could do and where. Got excited about some of these ideas which we'll work on before we tell you more.

Got home and watched interesting programme (with a boring presenter) about Greek myths (which apparently incorporate lots of earlier Hittite ones) before going out for nice meal at Syllogos. Dropped into the Sunrise on our way home and left later than we intended for some reason... Heard there that not all the explosions were dynamite - some were fertilizer bombs! I wonder if Symi is on a US watch list?

Woke up this morning to wind and rain, so we're hoping that eases off before our ferry to Rhodes this afternoon.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Bank Holiday Monday and beyond................

Apart from our usual pitstop at The Olive Tree (above pic shows Tina and Jenine + regular customer Toby) we did nothing at all yesterday...which was a first as we've been surprisingly active on this holiday. But there was one important date on our social calendar - the Symidream gallery evening opening!

.....followed by meal with Barbara, Richard et al at Syllogos taverna. There was much discussion about today's boat trip and we had every intention of going but we got waylaid at The Sunrise on our way home and then overslept......can't think why!?

So today we're doing penance ..................

Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter Sunday on Symi

After a late start (we were up till gone 2 on Saturday night/Sunday morning), we wandered down to the Olive Tree for coffee and blog posting. Met most of the B-Ps there, some of whom had been on a photo walk with Neil and had a great time.

Lefteris' Mum, who lives next door gave us red eggs, cheese pies and biscuits yesterday, and the neighbour on the other side has just given us even more Easter food!

After lunch, we went for a walk up the road out of town and along the side of the hillside we look at from our little house. Great views over the island and of a town in Turkey to the West.

After that, the relative calm (only a few firecrackers and rifles going off) was shattered by a couple of multiple dynamite explosions, which shook the town and reverberated around the hillsides like thunder. Dust out of the ceiling and swaying lamp fittings. This must be what it is like living in a war zone.

This was the build up to the big fireworks display which we watched from our roof terrace up in the Horio. My iPhone wasn't up to taking decent pictures and I was too busy going "Ooh Ah" at the great show! Only one dynamite bang after that, so maybe that is the end of it....

Tonight we're off to the opening of Toby & Neil's gallery and then off to Syllogos for a meal with the B-Ps and more excitement to come tomorrow!

Su's feet being put up after our walk!

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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunday on Symi

Major bangs and booms last night as the Easter celebrations reach a crescendo! (To see some pics of Friday procession etc. there's a good account on

We met up with the B/Ps as we call them (Barbara and Richard's troupe) for meal in Yialos to be even nearer to the explosions!

But we'd promised ourselves a good long walk yesterday (Saturday) and that is what we did. Fuelled by coffee and cake at the Olive Tree (wonderful place which will be sorely missed when we leave), we retraced our steps round the back of the Chorio, down the "old" steps to back of Yialos and up and over to Nimborio to see if the taverna was open yet - it's not. But what a wonderful place and oh so quiet..a luxury so rare in the UK. This route took us past some men "handling" recently slaughtered lambs which was a bit of a surprise as we don't see that bit in the UK..I wasn't upset, more curious than anything as I eat lamb occasionally and should know more about their deaths as well as their lives.

More fireworks/explosions are promised today - Judas is symbolically put to death followed by noisy celebrations! What's so amazing is seeing small children and animals completely relaxed about the whole thing. In the UK there'd be the cries of babies and terrified domestic beasts scurrying for cover. England is going to seem very tame after this little lot!

I notice I've mentioned the homeland more than once ... must be because we've only a few days left..wonder what squatters rights are here?!

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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Almost escaped from Horio!

We went up to the top of the village in an attempt to find our way to the viewpoint, and ways to walks to the West. We nearly made it, but only realised on our way back down the hill where we had gone wrong.

The views from the top were wonderful, if a bit breath-taking (literally). Today we're planning to do a less strenuous walk to Emborio and back to Yialos (maybe taking the bus back up the hill!). Having slogged to the top of the hill we felt we deserved a cooling beer in the Rainbow!

In the evening, we met up with Barbara, Richard, Tricia et al at their palatial accommodation before going for a meal at the Trata and watching the processions around the town from different churches of biers containing the body of Christ.

Easter is a really big deal here, with death bells tolling all day, fireworks and the occasional dynamite blast - last night saw that intensify around the processions, with dynamite in the harbour as a highlight! We can expect a lot more of that come midnight tonight when "Christ is risen" (Cristos anesti) and apparently the island goes crazy. Just imagine what would happen to you throwing sticks of dynamite around with gay abandon in the U.K.!

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Friday, 22 April 2011

Good Friday

Before I talk about why I'm writing this at 5.30 in the morning in bed with a cup of tea and toast, I'd like to show a pic of last night's sky just after sunset...'s dawn and a cacophony of sounds abound - goats/sheep, cockerels, other birds of the tweeting variety, donkeys, barking dogs, BELLS and, remarkably, quiet humans! We did go to bed very early last night so am not surprised we're awake.....

After lunch yesterday we explored another corner of the Chorio which took us more inland towards the Kastro which crowns the area where there are still many ruins waiting to be adopted and renovated.

And there are always little this simple sundial that's been lovingly preserved.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Another tiring day!

After another sojourn at the Olive Tree, we eventually went for a walk down to the side of Pedi Bay we had not explored before. Halfway there we were met by crowds of people streaming out from the back of the power station. We later realised that there had been a football match on (don't know the score...), as we saw the F.C. Tilos football team down town and then catching the Sea Star to Tilos.

We caught this because we were down at the boat to greet Barbara, Richard, Tricia and the rest of their party, who had done the same trip as ours the previous week. They were all pretty shattered, so we didn't delay them and are meeting up today.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Little Blue House

Neither of us have talked about our temporary home which must now be redressed as it was chosen with care and has not disappointed. It sits quietly amongst other small houses on a pathway with virtually no traffic. And by that I mean pedestrians, as only a scooter would dare navigate it's undulations. It is, therefore, blissfully quiet...apart from the church bells which are ringing more often for Big Week, the week before Easter. It is a very special time for all Greeks and is celebrated with great gusto.

But back to our little house. The walls are about 3 ft.thick. The upstairs room has a beautiful carved wood moussandra (screen and sleeping platform) and a carved ceiling. There are two ways of entering the house involving 4 locked doors. There are 5 windows on the first floor (3 at the front and 2 at the back), all with shutters, and 3 windows on the ground floor, again with shutters. There are 4 staircases, 2 outside and 2 indoors. For a property measuring approximately 18 ft x 16 ft, including a small kitchen, a domed cave-like bathroom and private courtyard, it has an amazing amount of orifices all of which admit air - cold or warm! Mustn't forget the roof terrace....small but offers lovely views.

Unlike yesterday, which was cold, wet and windy, today is warm, sunny with hardly a breeze. We've just had breakfast in The Olive Tree (homemade muffins with homemade lemon curd) and plan to explore bit of Pedi we missed last time.........and later meet and greet friends off ferry.....

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