Daytrip to the island of Symi

Trip Start Mar 18, 2011
Trip End Apr 02, 2011

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Flag of Greece  , Dodecanese,
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marian, our hostess, was good enough to drive us down to the ferry wharf in time for the 8:30am sailing of the fast ferry.  The service owns two ships which Marian says "are the saviors of the islands."  They can handle about 240 passengers but it's the freight they carry that's interesting -- everything for the 6-7 islands they are scheduled to visit this day (and back, one-at-a-time).  There is everything from housewares to nursery plants to plumbing supplies -- and stacks of produce.  It gets unloaded along with that contingent of passengers in 4 minutes, flat.

We arrived in 55 minutes.  Symi is a wonderful sight coming into its harbour.  The houses are almost all in good shape and freshly painted in a palette of pastels.  They spill over the hills and cascade down to the harbour boardwalk.  Yes, a few cafes but this is not Mykinos....the cafes are just that and less-so bars.

We meandered through some of the back streets up the hill, past the school, past the local Nautical Museum (closed).  As in Old Town/Rhodes, everyone with a small business is renovating in preparation for the tourist season that begins in earnest about 3 weeks from now.  That's when the cruise ships come.  Bookings are up this year so hopes are high for a good season because this next 6 months will make or break the islanders.  Susan thought we should open a Benjamin Moore paint franchise in Symi and Rhodes!

The island is famous for its natural sponges and for spices.  Marian put her order in for some saffron which we found in a harbourside shop.  Yikes, 4 Euros a gram.  I felt like I was doing a deal with the local dealer!....3 tiny zip-lock packets of the stuff for a discounted 10 Euros.  We snuck away.

For a cheap tour, ride a bus.  The Simi Bus runs a 40-45 minutes route starting at the top of the hour that takes you to the interior of the island -- basically over a ridge and down into the next bay where there is a beach and some small hotels.  When it returned, we hopped onto a second bus for a trip to the Monastery on the far side of the island, 45 minutes away.   
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