This year I am spending lots of time on some Greek islands (Naxos, Rhodes and Crete, so far). Each one is pretty much unique, and Greece is always home for me. But Syros wasn’t even supposed to be on this website; its beauty took me completely by surprise.
It all (kind of) started once I hopped off the ferry coming from Naxos. I headed to the travel agency to buy a ticket to Rodhes, and the kindness of the blonde woman behind the counter rang a bell inside my head.
‘You can leave your backpack here. Your boat is at 10 this evening…we close at 9, okay? En daksi?’ she ordered – her eyes glued on the screen, a serious look which always makes me smile because isn’t serious at all. It’s just the Greek way of being lovely, for no reason at all.
Out of the agency, I forgot all about the heatwave and the perspective of waiting 7 hours sipping iced coffee at the local cafè. I got some iced water and headed straight to the old town, camera in hand — and iced coffee in the other 😉
While trying to zoom on the church, I noticed two locals chatting, not too far from me. When I looked at them again, they came closer and smiled. Obviously, they thought I was Greek.
‘But you look like a Greek woman! Where are you from?’ the youngest man — about 60 years old — asked.
‘Oh! Milate Elliniká?‘ (Do you speak Greek?).
‘Ligo‘ (A little bit).
When the man let go of the bicycle and came to shake my hands, he introduced himself as a painter.
‘You should visit the Archeological Museum’ he kindly switched to English, as he noticed I couldn’t go very far with my limited Greek. When I explained I would have sailed to Rodos in a couple of hours, he pointed to the tallest church on top of the hill.
‘Climb up there, the view is amazing! You are in Ermoupoli, the capital of the Cyclades…people go to Santorini, but this is Greece!’ he smiled again. ‘You can leave your bag here, in the middle of the street. Come back tomorrow and you’ll find it’.
I am not sure how many of you have been to Greece – especially on the islands. But in Greece, this kind of scenario is very common. You need a smile and five minutes minute to make friends.
When I left the two men chatting and went on exploring, I was already wondering why I had a ticket to Rodos for that same night.
Climbing the steps brought me closer to the real locals. (Cats are everywhere on the Greek islands).
For the first ten minutes, it felt weird knowing I was on a small island. Ermoupoli gave me a sense of completeness (because you can tell it’s a city) but was also calm – and it wasn’t just because of the siesta time. There is actually lots to do and visit – and this is not an island you normally hear about – but the feeling we get from a specific place is also very personal. It always answers to who we are and to a certain extent, what we are looking for.
And suddenly, it got VERY steep – and very local.
What you can’t see from the pictures: the old granny shouting to barefoot kids playing with a ball, old people spying from behind the windows, the smell of fried oil and aubergines, balcony-to-balcony neighbours loud chit chat, the smell of basil and rosemary from the small pots.
When I reached the top, I was sweating – but the view…
I took a sit close to the church, enjoyed the breeze and the silence. What else?
I think I climbed a hundred stairs – you’re welcome, my gluteals 🙂
Going down was easy and quick. I tried another route, looking for something a bit different.
…until I reached the main square.
See you soon Ermioupoli! You were short and full of passion – like the best love stories 🙂