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    • Day 54

      This place is Syros-ly nice

      August 20 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      After a sea sickening ferry ride and more stairs than Dubrovnik 😵 we arrived in our lovely little tiny house in Syros! It is in a neighbourhood up on a hill with tiny winding streets designed to fend off pirates back in the Venetian days (those guys just keep popping up everywhere).

      We popped into a cafe just down the road (because we didn't want to walk up and down the stairs) and had maybe the best lunch of our whole trip !? We then went to do our best impression of skinks and sun ourselves on some rocks and go for a little swim. We nearly got SNAVed again when the Fast Ferries boat arrived but we were more prepared this time - can't say the same about the French couple near us...

      We again just ducked into a little place down the road for dinner and had some amazing drinks with a wonderful view over the whole town. Alfred also got visited by one of the famed Syros cats who did not want to stop being petted. We ended the night by trying to watch a replay of the soccer but settling for the highlights bc FIFA+ sucks.
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    • Day 24

      Saint Nikolas and the Ritzy Area

      June 12, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      This morning I had brunch at a place called Jar, near the town square. It is located in a little alley way and has limited seating. I was lucky to get a table. They have a varied breakfast and lunch menu and a pleasant atmosphere. The staff are nice and attentive. I had the omelet with a frappe.

      After brunch, I went to see the church of St. Nikolas. It is a large church that is in a different part of Ermoupolis town. This is the part where wealthy merchants used to live is called the Vaporia Quarter. It is dominated by Saint Nikolas Church. There is a monument out in the courtyard. I'm not sure what it means but it looked interesting. Anybody have better Greek than me? This is a Greek Orthodox church and is beautiful. It is very much influenced by the Venetian architecture of the area. The columns in the front give it a very old world feel. The service was just getting out when I went in, so there were still people milling about. I did get some pictures though, check them out below. The church was started in 1848 and completed in 1870. It is very ornate, which seems to be in keeping with other Orthodox churches that I have seen. It also has the slate blue colouring in the ceilings.

      After the church, I proceeded to walk down some of the other streets. Here you find cobblestones and narrow walkways to the homes with glimpses of the sea. I went down one particular walkway and got a great photo of the local swimming spot. Ermoupolis does not have a beach but it does have these cement slabs that were probably used for boats and have now been re-purposed as a swimming platform. A lot of the homes in this area are being restored and turned into residence or boutique hotels. I have included a photo of the port I took on my way back to town, just so you could get an idea of how big the place is.

      It is a pleasant day out with a little overcast and a nice breeze. Thank goodness, otherwise this would have been a very hot walk. I meander back to my place and enjoy an evening at home. I love the views from my first-floor window. We have a full moon tonight and it looks very pretty shining on the water.
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    • Day 22

      Syros, Last Island of My Trip

      June 10, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      I’m in Syros now. Last island before I hit the mainland and Athens. That means that I am almost finished my vacation.

      I arrived at my place in Syros but as always, it was an adventure. Returning the car and having one last lunch on Tinos was no problem. The ferry over to Syros was only 35 minutes, no not much time do write or anything. I didn’t rent a car for Syros and a good thing since parking would have been a nightmare! My host gave me directions to go to a street corner basically, then look for an alley way and then a house with green shutters. Clear as mud. The street corner that my trusting Google Maps brought me to, didn’t quite look like the one in the picture he sent me. So, I called him and he said that the picture was several years old and they re-painted since then. This is the problem I have with absentee landlords. He lives in Athens and has not updated his information. When your landlord is in the area, it is much easier to get help when you need to. The walk to the place was up about 25 stairs (carrying luggage) and through an alley way (up more stairs). I’m bushed when I get to the door.

      The place faces a courtyard and the place seems to be swarming with mosquitos. I finally get inside (with about 5 hungry mosquitos). The place has been locked up tight for a while (owner said 3 days) and had a strong musty smell. It is an older house and the kitchen is very old. He should have had someone air the place out this morning. Also, it is hot as outside. There is a bottle of water in the frig, thank goodness. So, I strip down, take a drink, and rest for a minute. The listing said air-conditioning but I can’t find it. There are two windows but no screens, if I open those more mosquitos will come in. There is a fan in the living room so I turn that on to at least move the air around.

      This place has 2 floors and a rooftop balcony. I head upstairs and find an air conditioner on the second floor. I turn that on but it is old and has minimum air flow. I do open the windows on the second floor and turn on the fans up there as well. The place starts to air out a bit. Now for the oddities, there are 2 bedrooms and a main bathroom on the first floor (2nd floor for us Canucks). However, the wardrobe to hang all your clothes in is on the ground floor. The bathroom has no shelf space for toiletries and the sink has no vanity. The washer is on the ground floor, where you hang your clothes to dry is the rooftop balcony. (Two sets of stairs up). The kitchen is very old and I have my suspicions that is where the musty smell is coming from. The final insult to injury is: there are only two mirrors in the house; one in the bathroom (5’ off the ground) and one in the second bedroom. Both mirrors are 6” X 8”. Can’t see anything other than you face.
      The good part is that the bed is comfy and there is decent water pressure. I head out for my grocery run and find a lovely pedestrian area where there are several food vendors. Yeah, all is not lost, I have found food. I make my purchases and head back for a well deserved shower and bed.

      There is a church right beside me (surprise). The bells from this one start at 7:00 AM. This should be fun!

      The views outside are good from the second floor and the rooftop. I have a 10-minute rain shower (first time since I have been in Greece) and it does cool things off a bit. I get some neat pictures of the cruise ship leaving and the ferry.
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    • Day 23

      Shopping and Cooking

      June 11, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      After a good night sleep, I have my coffee and breakfast (yogurt, honey, sliced plum and muesli). I head down to the water area to get some pictures of the waterfront. I should mention that Syros is not your typical tourist island. It is actually the Administrative Capital of the Cyclades Islands. Therefore, although there is a lot to see for tourists, this island does not ‘shutdown’ in the winter months. The restaurants and hotels are open all year. There are 25,000 residents that live here year round.

      It is hot today and my clothing choices are too hot for here. I spot a little shop with cooler looking cloths. The lady there helps me find a few pieces that are much cooler (linen vs the cotton I brought) to wear. I actually where the pants out instead of the shorts! Now that I’m not dying of heat exhaustion, I continue down to the water and get some decent shots. I stop at a little café for a light lunch and then head home for a nap. I have a cooking class tonight and want to rest up.

      The cooking class meets at the Town Hall. Elisa has sent her husband to fetch me and two other gentlemen. Guess what? We get to walk up more stairs! Yes, the 3-minute walk (I have no idea who times this but it must be a 100-meter sprinter!) takes us about 10. I do cave half way through to catch my breath and get some water in me. Once there it is a wonderful house that is also a villa with rooms to rent. Wish I had seen this place before the one I rented!!

      There are 6 of us. A couple in there 40’s or early 50’s from London, the two gentlemen, also from London, who are in their 30’s and a food writer from Australia probably in her late 20’s. We have the Commonwealth very well represented!

      Elisa has prepared an entirely vegetarian menu. There are two dips, an olive pie, aubergine stuffed with cheese, fava beans with a tomato sauce, a beetroot salad, peppers and tomatoes stuffed with rice and a wonderful traditional Bundt cake. Elisa explains how Greek food is simplistic in that it does not use many ingredients but the herbs used give it a wonderful flavour. The herbs primarily used are sage, mint, oregano, parsley, and garlic. Some paprika, salt and pepper, with cinnamon and cloves round out the spices used. We all start chopping, filling, take turns stirring and generally talking about where we have been and where we are going. Getting to know each other. As we go Elisa expertly guides us to create a meal we will all share up on the rooftop. This meal is delicious and so filling without being heavy in your stomach. An interesting thing about eating in Greece that I didn't really notice until Elisa mentioned it; is that food does not have to be served hot. One of the things I always fret about is timing dinner so everything is hot when it hits the table. Not so in Greece. The stuffed peppers and tomatoes are done first and they are set aside to cool. The olive pie comes out next. By the time we get everything up to the rooftop, have a relaxing toast and appitizers, our meal is still warm but not hot. The flavours have had a chance to meld and merge and everything is wonderful. Perhaps another thing to take back to Canada with me. Elisa is going to send us the recipes for all of these dishes for us to prepare at home. (The kids are never going to know what they are eating!)

      Interesting side note here. The picture of the pretty flower is actually the flower of the caper bush. Capers are buds of the flower picked before they bloom. Neat huh?

      It takes us about 3 hours to prepare our meal and then another 2 hours to eat and gab. By this time, it is dark and Chris and Clive offer to get me back to the main square. My night blindness is in full swing on the stairs going back down. Once at the main square there are street lights and the route home is just one street and somewhat level (for Greece!).
      I make it home safe and sound and am ready for bed. Talk to you tomorrow.
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    • Day 4

      Insel Siros

      September 18 in Greece ⋅ 🌬 22 °C

      Leider wies man mir auf der Fähre den falschen Weg, so dass ich mit meinem Fahrrad leider das Ausfahrtstor erst erreichte als dieses bereits geschlossen war und die Fähre bereits wieder von meinem Bestimmungsort Mykonos abgelegt hatte. 🤬
      Es half nichts: ich mußte bis zur nächsten Insel Siros mit, wo ich kurz vor Mitternacht nach einer 25 Stunden Schiffsreise die Fähre verlassen konnte. Ich hatte mich schon so sehr auf das gebuchte Apartment mit Meerblick und Terrasse auf Mykonos gefreut. Stattdessen durfte ich auf Siros draußen unter freiem Himmel im Schlafsack Nähe des Hafens übernachten. Dafür konnte ich vor der morgendlichen Fähre zurück nach Mykonos noch die schöne Altstadt von Siros besichtigen
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    • Day 29

      Ermoupoli Port, Syros

      October 2 in Greece ⋅ 🌬 24 °C

      I have arrived safely to Syros on ⛴️ #1

      Apano Meria SCE my home for the next 3 weeks, and I am so excited to get started. After a walk of the island this evening, I am now just as excited to explore the island too!

      I think the first thing I should do is speak to the local municipality about the disabled access provisions?! 🤣
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    • Day 25

      I Found a Roman Catholic Church!

      June 13, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      Today is the last full day in Syros so I’m taking myself up, up, and away to the Ano Syros. This is the original town that was built high on a hill (Surprise!) to keep the marauding pirates at bay (literally!). Back in the day, pirates would plunder coastal villages, so this one was built high up. Now, I would like to elude to the fact that I walked up (you can, if your in your 20’s and are fitter than I was in my 20’s) but I walked down to the port and grabbed a taxi. He dropped me off at the beginning of the town (no roads up here) and I start my climb.

      I have come to see the Cathedral of St George. Originally built in 1200’s it was destroyed in 1617 by the Turks, who then hanged the bishop and his vicar. In 1652 it became the cathedral for the Roman Catholic diocese for Syros and Mykonos. There are only 50,000 Roman Catholics in Greece (left over from the Venetian rule) and most live on Syros. This is not a huge church as other cathedrals are in Europe however; it is just a serene and beautiful. The walk up is through little paths that lead to people’s homes. I have no idea how people found their way in these little villages. They must have known everyone and just kept thinking: “Turn left at Mary’s house, up three sets of stairs, turn left at Peter’s house with the cat, up two sets of stairs, turn right and Paul’s house is the first one on the right”. Other than a different house plant on the stoop, I can’t tell the difference.

      I do make it up to the church (there are signs and my trusty Google Maps). There are not many people up here today, if I have passed 6 people the entire time that would be pushing it. The church sits at the very top of the mountain and has a commanding view of Ermoupoli below. It is quiet and peaceful up here. The church has columns and a walkway around the entrance to shade you from the elements. Inside the church is cool and quiet. It has the same blue colour of the Orthodox churches I have been in, which makes me think that this is just the colours in Greece and not a secular thing. It looks as if some repair work is being done on the ceiling but the overall effect is very nice. There are some wonderful paintings but no stained glass that you would expect in a cathedral. The baptism is the oldest part of the cathedral and is off to the one side of the main church. There is a grave stone inside the church but I couldn’t find out who is buried there.

      I leave the church and make my way down the village to the camara which is where the village begins. On my way, I find sleeping cats, houses adorned with flower pots on their door steps and only one other person. I do see a pharmacy but no other stores. Where do they get groceries? Do they drive down to Ermoupoli for their food and stuff? Don’t know. When I get to the bottom, I find a taxi dropping someone else off. Bonus!!! I ask if he will take me back to port and hop in. Yeah, I’m a wimp but I have more than made my step count every day (most of it up stairs and hills!).
      Back in Ermoupoli, I pick a restaurant for dinner. This place was called Mammo and was on the main port street. Service was awful, food mediocre, the view is what saved it. I ordered an appetizer, glass of white wine and a main. The main course came, with no wine or appetizer. I called the waitress over (someone else delivered the dish) and she went and got the rest of my order. She never came back to check on me. I had to get up and walk into the main part of the restaurant to pay. Guess how much her tip was!

      I head back to my place and pack. Tomorrow I’m off to my final destination in Greece, which is Athens. Talk to you there!
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    • Day 45

      Protesting War

      October 18 in Greece ⋅ 🌬 20 °C

      🇮🇱 🇵🇸

      Conflicts have caused humanitarian crises for all peoples 💔

      Syros organisations rallied locals to gather in solidarity with Palestine, with the latest conflict killing many. Of course, I was going to join in!Read more

    • Day 54

      I see no pirates up here

      August 20 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      Other than us 🏴‍☠️🏴‍☠️
      Our accommodation is in Ano Syros, which is up the biggest hill near the old port. The town was designed by Venetians in the Middle Ages to protect the inhabitants from pirate raids. Either it doesn't work or we aren't pirates - given the maze and stairs everywhere, I really can't say.Read more

    • Day 7

      Anos Syros

      July 16 in Greece ⋅ 🌬 29 °C

      C’était horrible, escaliers à perte de vue, pente à 30° et une chaleur à crever mais c’était l’une des chose les plus belles à voir sur l’île.
      Je n’y retournerai plus jamais en sac à dos
      Hormis la marche, pleins de petites boutiques et petits bars familiaux cachés donnant sur des panoramas de la ville incroyables
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Ermoúpolis, Ermoupolis, Ermoupoli, Ερμούπολη

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