A tale or two : Tinos and Syros

Arriving at Tinos

Arriving at Tinos

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.

The ferry landing on Tinos.  My favourite way to travel.

The ferry landing on Tinos. My favourite way to travel.

My partner in crime!  Doesn't he look young?

My partner in crime! Doesn’t he look young? (and tanned!)

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.

Pelican crossing

Pelican crossing

And then, the approach to the church.

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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.

Syros harbour

Syros harbour

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.

As you can see, it's a long way up.

As you can see, it’s a long way up.

The prettiest blue church I ever saw

Maria Della Grazia church at Poseidonia

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.

Six word Saturday

Looking back on those golden days

It’s been a dreary week weatherwise so I haven’t been out and about as much as usual.  I’ve used the time well though and written a couple of Italian guides.  The old albums came out and took me back down Memory Lane, and I thought that you might like to come too?

Malcesine from Monte Baldo

Lake Garda was a family favourite when James was small.  Icecream, pasta and pizza- need I say more?

He was quite keen on the Power Rangers too!  Remember them?

We stayed that first year in a small family run hotel in Bardolino.  Our welcome was warm and the food memorable.  A simple tomato sauce with the pasta was the best I have ever tasted.  The tureen went round and around the dining room, till everyone was stuffed full.  You just couldn’t refuse!

Our days were spent hopping on and off ferries to explore the lakeside towns.  James especially loved the hydrofoils and his face would light up whenever he saw one.

Gardone Riviera

Limone del Garda

Castello at Sirmione

From the battlements at Sirmione

And then there was Gardaland!  Not on a par with Disney, but it was a good old family romp, with pirates, parrots and sealions.  The day ended following the procession, led by the park mascot, Prezzemolo (Parsley), a friendly green dragon.

Sunset in Bardolino

We had so much fun in Bardolino and still had lots to see, so the following year we returned to the top end of the lake, staying at Torbole.  This time we had a pool but the water was FREEZING!  James ventured in with his blow up dinghy, but I much preferred the ferries.

Torbole sul Garda

Windsurfers on Garda

A much younger Michael, lakeside at Riva del Garda

The moat at Riva

Torbole is the windsurfing centre on Lake Garda and some days the wind was quite fierce.  The surrounding scenery was spectacular however, and one day we went on a walking trip to Arco.

Spectacular Arco

James was mostly just impressed with the icecream, and playing in fountains, of course.  Another firm favourite was a tabletop game, a bit like pinball but played with a cue.  We’d seen it before in Austria.  Anyone else played it?

The following year we couldn’t possibly return to Garda again, so we went to Lake Como and lovely Bellagio instead.  More ferries to ride.  Still in love with Italy, Sorrento came next…. but perhaps I should save those memories for another day.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my Six word Saturday.  It’s all down to Cate at Show my face, who had the idea to share your week in six words. (which often lead to many more)  Go  check out her page so you can join in?  Use the link or my header above.  The button below will take you to my previous 6WS posts.  I promise to be briefer next week!