Nisyros to Symi
10 September 2019
Nerida Matthews | 31 degrees and light winds
Hello it’s Naomi here again. Nerida and Glenn haven’t thrown me overboard…yet! We made it to Nisyros which is a really interesting island. We moored in the smaller town of Pali, which has a gentle rhythm and a lovely ambiance. Here N and G took me to the taverna run by George who is from Port Melbourne who returns to the homeland every summer to keep the family business going. George always provides a very warm welcome to his Australian, especially Melbourne visitors. George also ran a chicken shop in Horsham for a time in the 90’s but as I was living in Melbourne by then I was unfamiliar with it. Also working in the restaurant was George’s gorgeous sister from Adelaide and her husband. They were so friendly and keen to chat with us when they weren’t too busy. Here we ate the most delicious slow cooked lamb that George had been working on all day.
During the day we hired a car and drove up the hills to the crater of the volcano that dominates the centre of the island. It’s a dormant (but not extinct) hydro-thermal volcano that leaks yellow sulphur and gas that you are warned to walk down into at your own risk. We were very happy from the viewing platform however busloads of others were keen to explore closer to the roped off areas. There are two small towns perched on the highest edges of the crater who have the most amazing views of the ocean and inside the crater. Quite a unique vantage point really. The towns are traditionally Greek with narrow winding paths between stone houses, some painted white with blue trim and others kept in the more natural stone colour. The town of Nikia was more preserved and kept better and Emporio contained many derelict houses in ruin. Of course, there is always a church on the highest point, to be closer to God I presume. Or maybe to keep the locals fit.
Symi – Panormitis bay
After our lovely day in Nisyros we headed off to the island of Symi and Panormitis Bay. The attraction here is the Saint Michael’s monastery which has the most stunning bell tower. The bell tower has been lovingly restored over the last two years and this was the first time that N and G had seen the tower without scaffolding and wrapped in green shade cloth. They were pretty impressed, as was I. The bell chimes the time every hour and also with a single ring for the half hour. When a tour boat or ferry approaches with visitors it plays a special tune to welcome them. Needless to say, there were many boats and ferries and we were a little bit over it by the time we left.
Symi – Marathouda bay (aka Goat Beach)
Just a short trip around the south of Symi island and we were at our anchorage for the next night. The infamous Goat beach. Here the goats have free reign of the beach and you need to keep your bags closed or you just might turn around to see a goat going through your belongings looking for food. They even have a fence around the taverna to stop the goats taking the food off your plate. Many of the patrons feed the goats over the fence and we were horrified to see someone give a goat a lit cigarette! The goat seemed less horrified than we were and didn’t seem bothered at all as it munched away. It was a beautiful bay for a swim or two with crystal clear warm water and we had lovely quiet gentle night.
Symi – Symi town
Arriving into Symi town harbour was amazing and a bit frenetic. Boats were leaving, ferries were arriving and we just had a sit it out until there was a small break for us to have a chance to moor. Meanwhile we just took in the amazing view of Symi town. Tucked into the hills surrounding the harbour are layers of gorgeous quaint houses all painted in a particular palette of soft colours. I’m just going to say look at the photos as I will never be able to do it justice by describing. Symi town sure is busy. Ferries arrive and release hundreds of passengers into the town. Some people head for the closest beach they can find, others wander through the lanes and take in the sights of the beautiful town, some shop and others find a taverna to settle in for lunch and few beverages. This is the best harbour for people watching by far. We have included a short video to give you a taste of Symi.
Tomorrow we are off to Turkey!