Birthday, Boats and Beaches!

Today is my birthday and we decide to take a boat to some of the beaches that we haven’t yet had time to explore. Symi is turning into a ‘bit’ of a beach trip but with that said – the beaches are fabulous!

Firstly I head down the Kali Strata – Peter about 10 minutes behind me as he is always on Egyptian time!

I realise that I am photographing the same mansions each time I walk this way but they are so beautiful and characterful that it is hard not to.

As I reach the midway point an elderly Greek lady shouts good morning to me. I respond with a ‘Kalimera’ and then see that she is beckoning me over to where she is sitting on the steps. A wicker basket comes into view and she tells me that I need to buy some beautiful herbs from her. Before I know it she is putting oregano, bay, rosemary, eucalyptus into a carrier bag for me. At this point Peter arrives and joins us. She tells us it is 10 euros and without even really knowing what she has put in the bag we pay and go on our way.

We continue down the Kali Strata and rendezvous with our compadres at the taxi boat stop. It isn’t long before we are heading off to Nanou Beach. Today we are only going to visit 2 beaches. After all it’s about the quality and not the quantity! I think we have to accept that 5 days on Symi isn’t really long enough and is probably an island I will return to in the future.

The taxi boat drops us off on a short jetty and it is a short walk along a pebbled beach before we find the sunbeds and some welcome shade under a parasol. We are located close to the beach front taverna and it isn’t long before we can see what one of the local attractions are. Goats. Goats that obviously know that if they hang out in front of the taverna they are going to get fed. My sister takes pity on one of the cloven footed beggars and gives it water from a pair of goggles which it does seem to appreciate!

At 2.00pm we catch the water taxi to Agia Marina beach – it had looked like a pretty setting as we passed it on the way to Nanou Beach. No goats here but some free sunbeds and an opportunity to swim out to the little church on an island close by. A nice way to spend the afternoon.

When we return to Gialos we decide to meet up in the Chora later for a meal. I had read that a really nice place to eat was the Secret Garden which served meze type plates.

When we arrive at the Secret Garden we are greeted by an English lady who explains that the meze plates are really quite small and something really to just accompany drinks. We decide on a few meze plates and some wine whilst we decide what to do in terms of eating later. The setting is really pretty and a lot of thought has gone into creating this lovely place – pergolas have been constructed to support trailing bougainvillea and you really do feel like you are in a garden – though no very clear on my blurry photo.

Within half an hour of us arriving we can hear English accents all around us. It looks like the Secret Garden is one of the local meeting places for Symi’s expats. Before long several other Brits arrive with guitars in hand and one man starts singing a rendition of Bye bye Mr American Pie.

Everyone is having a really good time but it’s not our cup of tea. At that we point we decide to leave and head back to the Chora.

When we arrive in the square we can see that a military band is playing. We sit in one of the taverna’s for a cup of tea whilst we listen to the music. We get talking to a local couple called Mike and Venetsiana who tell us that the military do a lot for the island including providing medical services. As tomorrow is our last day, we ask Mike and Venetsiana if they can recommend a really nice restaurant for us to eat at. We had found several of the taverna’s in Gialos quite mediocre, if not disappointing – clearly aimed at the day trip market. Without hesitatation they tell us Tholos down in Gialos.

There is a lovely atmosphere in the square but once the music finishes we decide to call it a night. This has been a relaxing and yet exhausting way to spend my birthday.

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