Friday, 23 September 2011


The whitest legs in Christendom have been scaring fish in the blue waters of the Aegean for the last week. I performed a valuable public service..making everyone else on the beach feel tanned.
 Up a total of 168 steep steps we found the delightful Villa Iris above the harbour on the beautiful Island of Symi in the Dodecanese Islands.

We arrived in Rhodes on 15th September and spent the afternoon strolling and exploring the old town.

I once saw a film about  Rhodes as 'The crossroads of Civilisation' and so it is, with remnants of the Crusades and the Moors everywhere.
The pavements in the old town are suitcase wheel wreckers..but very beautiful.

In a side street snuggled against the city wall we found a lovely small taverna where we ate our first Kalamari of the week and restrained ourselves from buying a wine can. 
They look colourful  and  right on  Greek Island but once in UK a bit different.

A glance over a ruined wall revealed a huge patch of Morning glory...


The Dodecanisos Seaways Express whizzed us from Old Kolonna Harbour to Symi island in about an hour and we were taken to our villa, high above Yialos, cool and airy with a lovely terrace from where we could watch the goings-on the harbour.

Can you see us? Find the ruin just right of centre, and ours is the one on the lower left of it with white windows almost in the centre of the top of the picture above the brown vertical stripe of the near building.
Take a look around the inside of a Greek Island house, albeit with a French owner and a few added artefacts.

It was an airy and  really pleasant place to relax in with a stunning view.

But of course it comes at a price: the view can only be so spectacular because its high..steep steps to climb..every night.

Here's one particularly steep run. I loved this bit. Or I should say the look of it.Climbing it was another matter. The doors and the walls painted pink and lilac, and the huge pile of fallen and dried bouganvilla petals that lay on the lower steps held the picture together. Enlarge to get the best view.

Most beaches on Symi are too remote to be reached by foot so you have to go down to the harbour to catch a taxi boat . However, Nimborio is walkable and one of the roads over the hill started above our house, so join me on the road to Nimborio.

Upwards from the house.
 Passing a few neighbours on the way.

Island life is relaxed and there is no manicuring of the landscape here.

 In searing heat we passed a little chapel with a ships mast in the grounds.
 We saw where the donkeys go after work.
 Parts of the road are paved with marble.
 Notice there is no shade whatsoever.
 Until we reach another church.
 Just what you imagine on a Greek Island?
 At last a glimpse of the sea.
 Look at this road.
 How did they build it? 'Health and safety gone mad' is not a phrase you hear often in Greece!
 The beautiful Aegean.
 Sudden amazing flowers jump out from behind a fence.
 Look carefully and you will see sea anemones here just beneath the surface.

Finally we reach Nimborio where we swim in the clear blue sea , 

lie under the Tamarisk Trees 
 and eat at the taverna until its time to walk home on the lower road.

On another day we caught the new and very fast taxi boat to Marathounda beach.
 We lay under the rather tatty umbrellas and ate in the taverna and swam in the sea....again!
 A hard life.

Excellent food here, especially the bread.

We had fun fending off the locals!
 On our return to the harbour we went for the obligatory frappe/ouzo/ or Mythos beer at Pacos bar, watching the world of Symi go by.

 Ancient looking Gulets from Turkey jostle with huge charter yachts with staff rushing about swabbing the decks .
 The best day was went we went on a boat trip around the Island in a Traditional caique, The Poseidon.
The first stop was at a blue cave where some people swam. I didn't.
Then to St Emillianos where we looked around the monastery, swam, and ate the most delicious picnic prepared on the boat,
 and the barbecue.
 Saw a little resident.

Then off to more isolated beaches for swimming in the gorgeous water.

 The week continued much in the same way. Walking, swimming, eating, sunbathing. But still my legs remained as white as the driven snow! All hopes of changing that vanished on the last day, when we once more walked to Nimborio and after our swim .....
 .......the heavens opened! It was a first for us, to see rain in Symi. And what rain! Thunder and lightening. We all moved into the taverna where the roof cover began to bow with the weight of water, so Maria got her brush and pushed it off. Much laughter ensued as it hit the umbrellas and poured back in over someones tzatziki.

 It was a lovely holiday. The only downside was the air traffic controllers strike in Rhodes which resulted in 7 hours at the airport. Ah well.

I'll finish this post with a hazy view from our bedroom window, which was covered in a bamboo blind.We were lying in bed one morning when this woke us.
especially the last few seconds.

A Greek Holiday:A little piece of stained glass in the wall of memory.
Hope you liked it.

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