Tinos and Syros are two islands I find it quite difficult to distinguish between when it comes to my photo album. One thing I do remember vividly was the heat on disembarking at Tinos. The prospect of crawling on hands and knees along this seafront and up the steps to Panagia Evangelistria each 15th August was not a happy one. Yet that is precisely what takes place each year. The devoted crawl the 800 metres from the harbour to this pilgrimage church, with its miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.
It was still Spring in the Cyclades and pleasantly deserted as I ambled past the trinket shops on the harbour, with my partner in crime. The shade of the awnings was a sure temptation to linger.
A fine looking pelican waddled past us. I had expected to see the resident pelican on Mykonos, but, like us, he must have been away day tripping that day. Perhaps this was his double.
And then, the approach to the church.
Our base was on Andros and we had made the sailing to Tinos from there. All too rapidly it was time to return to the ferry. Once aboard there would be no regrets. I am never happier than when sailing between these islands. I dreamed that I could island hop for ever.
It wasn’t easy deciding where to allocate most of our time, but, checking the ferry timetables an overnight stay on neighbouring Syros seemed like a good idea. The ferry sailed into the island capital, Ermopouli, amid a cacophony of noise. My research had not revealed that local elections were taking place, with loudhailers and all the accompanying paraphenalia. Threading through the hustling crowd, it was a relief to find a friendly gentleman in the local TI. The rooms he found us were a world away from the Greek mayhem.
You can see that the harbour has two hills, Ermopouli and Ano Syros, the medieval quarter. Our room was at the top of the hill by the church. Guess which hill we climbed first? Give me a choice of two! Fortunately we were travelling light.
This is the end of my sojourn in the Cyclades. In 25 years I have never been back, though I would love to. The Greek odyssey continues, but with the addition of a small person.