Symi road walk
As you know, we try and get out of the house early for a walk before and during sunrise; that’s because, after sunrise, things start to heat up. Even so, I usually return home looking like a drowned rat, strip off my soaked t-shirt and hang it up to drip-dry in the courtyard. Yesterday we headed off up the road to beyond the bridge. Although today’s photos are from another walk, this is what you can expect to encounter on an early morning walk from the village square to the bridge. You will also find out what I mean about ‘bridge.’
Ag Triada at dawn
The first person we usually see is Lefteris at his kafenion. He arrives early to set things up and gives us a cheery morning wave as we pass. The Jean And Tonic bar is sometimes still lit up or has its courtyard doors open as the staff tidy up after another all-nighter. Occasionally you might find a moped passing you on the lane to Taverna Zoi where we turn left to stroll down to the main road. From then on it’s uphill all the way. Further along, we usually encounter two ladies in black walking up to the cemetery at Agia Marina where they tend the graves of lost and loved ones. Another ‘good morning’ is exchanged. Often, we get a toot from Sotiris in his white van as we walk up through Leoni, following the twists and turns in the road as we climb higher and pass Lavinia Studios.
Sunrise over Turkey
I stayed there when I first came to Symi in 1996, and this part of the journey always reminds me of that day I set out to walk to Panormitis. (See Carry On UP The Kali Strata for that adventure). In those days, the road stopped half way across the island, at least the smooth tarmac did; after that, it became a rubble road. Now it’s fully surfaced all the way. After a couple more bends we are above Ag Triatha and, depending on the time of year, the sky over Turkey is now streaked with orange as the sun approaches. Yesterday there was mist in the valleys over there, a ‘grey-hang’ as they say in my made-up world of Saddling. (My loyal readers will read about that when we get to the next instalment of the Saddling Quartet, in time.)
Through the trees on the road
Sometimes we see goats or sheep on the road, but every day we see some of the military officers heading to the barracks at Roukouniotis. I believe that the ‘ordinary’ soldiers, those on trailing, stay at the barracks (unless they are locals) and the officers are allowed to live off camp if they can afford it. When I say, ‘live off camp’ I mean, live off the base, not earn a living from doing drag, though they may do. Who knows? Our neighbour passes us on his working days, so that’s another cheery wave from a captain or sergeant or whatever rank he is.
Ah, there it is
Chickens make the occasional appearance for no reason, as they did yesterday, but that’s usually it unless a passing farmer or shepherd (‘Looker’ in Romney Marsh language) passes us. The Kantina up there has now moved lower down, but we pass that and the 0.5 Km marker – not sure what that’s 0.5 km to or from – and to the ‘bridge.’ This is where the road crosses the old river bed on arched supports. Just along from there is the bench which marks the 1.5-mile distance from the square. Here we glug down some water, turn and head back downhill. We have been passed here by Tassos and his mules coming down from his smallholding, and depending on the time, more soldiers drive past on their way to the barracks.
Pedi valley hills
The way back is usually just as quiet, but one regular wave comes from the skip-lorry driver who is already out and about collecting the rubbish to take to the dump. He’s probably been at work before most visitors to the late-night bars have gone home. Back in the village, there’s then the smell of fresh bread to contend with as we pass the bakery, and then that’s more or less it until we reach home. There, now you can put your feet up and revel in the knowledge that you’ve just walked three miles before seven in the morning.
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