We are currently snuggled in our apartment in the West End, listening to the rain, catching up on blog posts. Enjoy!
Nicholas, the owner of the family run Albatros Inn was waiting patiently for us at the dock. He immediately offered a hand with our luggage. We did not have much luggage but it was a nice gesture. We instantly felt welcome!
We had forgotten all about passport control and were in no hurry to leave the ferry. Rookie mistake. The line moved fairly quickly and Nicholas appeared with bottles of cold water to battle the heat. He told us about the inn, his family and his upcoming wedding in a couple of weeks. It was to be a typical Greek wedding with about 350 guests. Had we arrived for a sequel to the Mama-Mia movie? It certainly felt that way as Nicholas led us through the cozy town centre to the four room inn. Nicholas had a detailed map of the island ready, pointed out his favourite beaches and provided the ins and outs of the island. We were all set.
There are no beaches in Symi town so one needs to walk about 15 or 45 minutes, take a bus/cab, hire a scooter or take a water taxi to get to the water. We did not mind. The town core is super cozy with the colourful neoclassical houses, restaurants and cafés. It is a bit touristy but at no point was it over the top. Diana had read the key to a quaint and authentic Greek experience is to go to an island with no airport. We arrived by ferry from Bodrum, Turkey. Wherever we went in Symi, we were met with smiles, professional service and a welcoming atmosphere. I especially hit if off with the local grocery store owner. He had been to Vancouver in the seventies and loved it. On our last day he gave us a bottle of local wine to take home. Opa!
On day one we opted for the bus; final destination St. Nicholas Beach. From the bus stop the hike to the beach is roughly 20 minutes. A chance to take in the scenery en route and feel you deserved the swim to cool off once you arrive. The featured photo above is Di hiking into St. Nicholas. We hung out all day and took at water taxi back to town at the end of the afternoon. Sorry to rub it in…….but we were all smiles.
Life’s a beach in Symi and on day three we decided to start the day with a walk. Nimborios Beach, a large bay with a pebble beach, is about a 45 minutes from town. There is a taverna with sun beds but no shops. Translation - an almost surreal quiet day. We enjoyed a good lunch and dove into our books as well as the crystal clear water. The 5 pm water taxi took us back to town. Early evening I headed out on a photo walk in the hills above Symi while Di stayed back in the air conditioned room with the book she couldn’t put down. The golden hour meant several keepers, enough for another upcoming post.
We had two beaches on the program for day four. We had visited St. George a couple of days earlier on our cruise. With a steep rock face the cove took our breath away. The bay was in the shade late afternoon and it was a mesmerizing swim from the boat. This time around we arrived via water taxi mid morning and there was a different feel to it with nowhere to hide from the scorching sun. The daily temperatures of 30 (felt like 40) were an enduring challenge. We stayed for a couple of hours and continued via water taxi to Nanou Bay where we rented sun beds and repeated our read, swim, lunch pattern from the day before. Water taxi at 5 back to our room for cooling showers and AC.
Day five was a relax, hang out, ‘get ready for the next move’ day. We had a couples massage and started packing. We booked an 8 am ferry as we discovered we could catch up with our good friend Alice and family, vacationing in Rhodes, before our 10 pm flight to Copenhagen. Dinner at Tholos, a famed Symi restaurant, with harbour views, was a fitting end to a fantastic visit.
Last but not least we cannot forget to mention Fabien. Fabien is Nicholas’ mother. She and her husband originally built the Albatros Inn about thirty years ago. She is French/Greek and now lives in Athens. She was in town for the wedding and served our daily breakfast. Thank you for wonderful conversations about children and your experiences running the hotel. We had a wonderful stay and hope the wedding went well.