Sunday 29 September 2013

Back to earth

Earth colours have been used in this piece of felt. It was inspired by some gorgeous wool which was shared at the felt group , but when I'd made it I couldn't help being reminded of an awful swirly 80s carpet in a friend's house a long time ago.
However, once the stitches were added (and I must remark how much I enjoyed this part) I think the carpet memory faded.
I hope it gives a foresty feeling. Leafy foresty earthy....

Thursday 26 September 2013

Symi Magic

Rhodes was very warm but not stifling as we landed on 16th . As we were in no hurry we waited for a bus into town. A taxi driver saw we were there and suggested we joined up with this delightful Israeli couple and booked him for the journey. So thats how I come to have a picture of two complete strangers as my first picture in my holiday journal post.

We had a very long wait for our ferry to Symi and were encumbered with luggage so after a quick frappe 

 and a short walk. 
(Does anyone know what this tree is?)

 we sat on a little beach near the harbour and in the shadow of an assortment of ships both large and small I couldn't resist a little swim in the crystal clear water...after all we had all our belongings with us!

Our apartment in Symi was in a beautiful oasis 

 overlooking the Pedi valley. Our little balcony gave us many views of lovely sunsets and moonrise.
Also very good 'hearing' of cocks, donkeys, dogs, occasional  gunfire (!) and mopeds...all very early in the morning. That didn't bother me too much as I always take earplugs..but if you hadn't and you are  a light sleeper heaven help you.

Just a 15 minute walk from a pretty beach with a good taverna.

Breakfast was plentiful but hit me badly on 3 health grounds so I would have preferred to have eaten my own  as I have in the past. However it was generous and served with great kindness. 

 eaten on this lovely little terrace .

The highlight of all of our Symi holidays has been a day out around the island on the Poseidon, stopping for swims at several places and a barbecue picnic at the tiny monastery of S Emilianos. 

 The goats were on the other side of this gate in the wall and appeared as the picnic was cleared up for their regular leftover feast. I ate enough to last me a week. I think they should make a recipe book with all the lovely dishes they provide on the picnic. 

 There was a quite elderly  French Lady on the boat trip with her equally elderly little dog, Salsa. 
 In the past I have found the heat quite difficult to deal with but this time it was positively chilly as we returned to the harbour. 

The next day we walked to Nimborio. The road is very pleasant and there are some inspiring sights along the way.
No words necessary.

 After a day swimming and eating (again!) we caught the boat back. And look who was there again. They'd been on the beach behind us. Those ladies had a swim but Salsa didn't. She was quite happy on the sunbed.
Just for the record:the boat called at a jetty across the bay where some Greek women were waiting and pointing into the water. The boatman leapt into the water and proceeded to rummage on the seabed, soaking hios shorts and teeshirt. Suddenly he pulled out a whole large writhing octopus, beat it on the side of the jetty and threw it in his storage box. 
Such is life..and death. 
No sentiment and who am I to object as I had been eating Kalamari and other fish.
Haritomeni Taverna ..took ages to find but teh view was worth it f not the meal..which was ok...
   We also tried Pantelis on the harbour front. We chose  the wrong know that feeling when everyone else seems to be eating better things than you? I still enjoyed it but spent much pf the evening trying to get a discreet photo of a woman who I think had had a lot of cosmetic surgery and I was fascinated!   
This is not she, but me, in my new top (strictly for holiday wear only) that I bought at a little shop called Krysallis near the harbour. 
 Our favourite beach is Marathounda where there are goats, a wonderful taverna and a cookery school. The sea is fantastic there, and much of the day is spent swimming and change there.

That little dot is me by the boat. 
 Suddenly there was much excitement at the shoreline.
 Beautiful incredible iridescent blue fish were seen herding smaller fish towards the shore. Some of the little fish jumped out of the water.

 It didn't take long for the taverna staff to latch on but there was almost uproar when they switched from catching the little fish to attempting to catch the big blue ones.

 The only way to get to this beach is by boat or to hire a car. Both the same price so we went for the safer option...just. 
It was very windy and the boat goes fast. We got wet.

 The prettiest cat we saw on Symi was at Marathounda.

 The main thoroughfare from the harbour to the old village at the top of the hill is the Kali Strata. About 450 steps winding past many houses built in the Venetian style hundreds of years ago. 
Some are ruins and some have been 'restored' perfectly smartly and tidily but with no thought of how they should look or looked in the past.

 There are still a lot of original features left.

 Look at the ancient peeling layers of beautiful limewash 

 and this shaded mansion which may or may not be in use.

 The mellow colours of the woodwork and the faded wall colours give a beautiful appearance.

 At is a house which has been restored 'properly' with limewash and no modern paint. They've even reinstated the scraffito blockwork patterns on the wall. My husband spent a long time explaining to me how the proportions work because of the dimensions of the blocks. 

 This house glows gently in its setting on the Kali strata. 

Compare it with this one..all done up with modern materials. Nothing 'wrong' with it but everything so 'right' with the previous one.

 Here's another ruin..ripe for development...

and what can I say about this? 

Really insensitive...the stone wasn't ever meant to be shown.

Ah well...each to their own and I'm sure the problems Greece has mean that conservation of old and not 'ancient' buildings is low down on the list .
Its very difficult and costly to get materials to a little island at the Eastern edge of the Aegean and its not for us to judge.

 I wish I knew what this was all about. Any translators out there?

Finally some shots from around the island.
Is this some kind of wild gourd?

 I love this traditional pebble mosaic paving on Symi .

House plants?

Salty sea dogs.

 And whats that on the wall outside our gate? 
 I had to look twice! 
I mean...why? 

Finally back to Rhodes on the early ferry, a breakfast of Muesli and fruit and yoghurt , a visit to the umbrella shop for gifts, and the bus to the airport, then down through the clouds  to grey misty cold Liverpool airport and home.

Other magic Symi moments were a concert in the Chorio square of traditional Greek Bazouki music and singing, really magical sitting under the full moon under the trees in the warm evening. When teh Greek musicians finsihed a UK Rocker took over..not quite so magical. A nice fact he it was who recommended our accommodation to use a couple of years before, but just not the sort of music I want to hear on my Greek holiday, Besides it seemed to draw all the Uk visitors out and we found ourselves sitting with a couple from Preston!!! (where I was born )
Made Symi seem a little less remote and special somehow.

We also enjoyed some lovely meals at the Windmill taverna. I must mention that. Beautiful food and great service. This was a favourite with ex-pats so I suppose I can't complain about mixing with my own nationality can I?

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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