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Clare
Clare

Day 5: Symi

We spent some time yesterday evening sitting on our balcony with a glass of wine and enjoying the view. We were facing the wrong direction to see sunset, but we did get a glimpse of the clouds turning pink.

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By the time we set out for dinner, it was starting to get a little dark.

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We chose a restaurant with Greek specialities. I tried stifado, a dish involving beef in tomato sauce...

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...while Helen ate gigantes, sometimes described as "Greek baked beans"!

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It was properly dark by the time we'd finished eating and walked back round to our hotel.

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We got up early this morning and had the first coffee of the day on the terrace.

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We wanted to visit Symi's upper town and the plan was to make an early start, to avoid climbing in the worst heat of the day.

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There are various sets of steps leading uphill from the harbour area, but it's often hard to tell whether they're a public staircase taking you to the town centre or a private staircase just leading to someone's house. We managed to track down the starting point of the Kali Strata, a series of 500 wide steps which leads from the lower town around the harbour (Gialos) to the upper town (Chorio).

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500 steps sounds like a lot, but they were arranged in manageable small doses.

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As we climbed up we had beautiful views of the churches above us...

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...and occasional glimpses of the sea below us.

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We climbed past many of the colourful houses which we'd been admiring from down below in the harbour.

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There were lots of yellows...

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...but also some lovely blues...

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...and even the occasional red.

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After a while we came to a resting place with a bench, which was quite welcome. From there we had a fantastic view of the sea.

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From this point there weren't too many more steps to go.

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Soon we had made it as far as the main square in the upper town.

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From here, little side streets led in different directions.

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We were looking for Symi's castle, which we knew was somewhere on the hill up above us.

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We got slightly distracted from the route when we caught sight of this beautiful church, slightly downhill from where we were...

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...but once we found these blue steps we were back on track.

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Blue seemed to be a theme, as we walked this bright blue doorway with matching blue flowers :) 

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There were a few more steps to go...

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...and then we had a view down the opposite side of the hill, towards part of the town that we hadn't been able to see when we were at sea level.

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Final steps...

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...and then we'd reached a stunning white and blue church on the top of the hill.

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The views from up here were incredible.

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We could look down on the entire town of Symi and beyond.

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You won't be able to make it out on the picture, but we could even see our hotel and terrace.

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With the help of a map we figured out that we could see a peninsula of the island sticking out, and then that the land on the other side of the sea beyond it was part of Turkey.

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We were so excited by the view that we even tried a selfie :D

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There was one more church, a little bit further up the hill...

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...plus a smaller chapel.

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The views from everywhere were fantastic; the sea was so calm.

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When we eventually found the castle, it was a bit underwhelming though. The entrance seemed quite overgrown, so we didn't go in.

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Instead, we headed back down towards the upper town's main square. After a couple of iced coffees to cool down, we had a belated breakfast which involved Greek coffee, yoghurt and honey...

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...as well as what was described on the menu as "special omelette".

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It was a lovely place to sit and relax.

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Before climbing back down to the harbour, we had a walk around the upper town to make sure we hadn't missed anything exciting.

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We could see that we'd already come down quite a long way from the white church.

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We realised we were near the town's old windmills, which we'd seen from afar when we were at ground level.

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Some of them seemed to be converted and potentially had people living in them...

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...others looked like they were in need for a bit of restoration.

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We found a short trail we could walk on past some of the windmills.

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The views from up here were potentially even better than from the church.

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As we walked along we realised that we could see the ferry that we'd travelled on yesterday making its way into the harbour.

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It looked like it was packed full of people again!

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When we got to the end of the trail there was another castle signposted.

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This one was behind a gate which appeared to be locked, so we didn't go in.

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It had definitely been worth climbing up here for the views of the sea, though.

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The walk downhill required far less exertion than the climb up (although you did have to take care on some of the steps - where people had been cleaning them and they were still wet, they were a bit slippery).

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Once back in the harbour area we found a taverna for lunch. We were still quite full from our special omelette, so we went for an assortment of sides, including haloumi and cheese balls!

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Then we had a little stroll around the harbour...

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...where we stopped for some pomegranate sorbet...

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...and an iced espresso.

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As we walked back around to the apartment, we realised we could now look up to both the windmills we'd been walking alongside...

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...and the little white/blue church.

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All in all it was a really fun day in Symi :)

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So much of that food seems great!

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That looks fabulous, @Clare! Just missing some walnuts!

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