On most trips, I plan one "interesting" thing to do....I won't say it's off the beaten path (I'm still a tourist), or adventurous (look, this is me, right?) to do. Just something a bit, well, "interesting"....like spending the night in a tent (a "Four Star" tent mind you)in the Sahara, or hiking the Great Wall from one province to another, perhaps it's hiking the supposedly longest gorge in Europe, I'd even say some of the meals we've had filled the bill, whether at a restaurant or something lovingly made by the relative of a friend.
For our trip to Istanbul and Rhodes, I really wasn't sure what to do. So I started reading through things and the words, "the most beautiful harbor in the Greek Islands" popped out at me. The harbor is named Gialos and the Island Symi. Once the home to master ship builders.....the "Argo" the ship used by Jason and the Argonauts was supposedly built on Symi.
Now we could have easily just done a day trip....but I decided why not stay on this island with a population of 2500....and not even in the main city, but on the other side of the island....in a little fishing village named Pedi Beach? Which is how we took the ferry and arrived on the island of Symi with a boat load of day-trippers.
When they say that Gialos Harbor is the most beautiful in the Greek Islands, they aren't kidding....
The vivid colored buildings lining the mountains contrasts with the blue waters in the harbor to create a dramatic and romantic backdrop. The clock tower, named Roloi guards the harbor.
After disembarking the boat, we wandered a bit looking for the "bus" to take us to Pedi beach, eventually finding it near the South side of the harbor. We were off to Pedi Beach.....
The bus actually drives on the side of the harbor, right along the deep blue Mediterranean,which is a bit disconcerting as it looks like you'll be treading water at any moment. It then maneuvered it's way up then down the winding roads of mountain, some that seemed scarcely wide enough to hold the bus. At the end of the line you end up at Pedi Beach and if you're staying there, the Pedi Beach Hotel.
The Missus took a look around; all the occupants seemed to be older couples, many of which were tanning on the lounges in front of the hotel or couples with kids......asking me, "so, this is where we're staying huh?"
And the actual "beach" seemed to be a tiny spit of something...which wasn't quite sand about 10 yards long in front of the hotel. "So, this is the beach, huh?"
I'd gotten us a superior room, which had a wonderful view of the harbor. You had no choice but to decompress looking out from the deck.
We'd definitely get in a quiet night here, but that would have to wait, as we unloaded and the Missus decided we'd head back to Gialos for lunch.
We caught the bus back and had them drop us at the top of mountain. We'd walk down taking in the view of Gialos Harbor all the way.
I'd say this might be the most beautiful harbor in the Greek Isles, what do you think?
We wandered about peeking into the tavernas that dotted the harbor. Most were rather uninspiring....mostly expensive tourist fare.
For some reason, it was this little taverna a bit away from the water's edge near all the jewelry shops, that caught our attention. Named Taverna Trata (Trawler), maybe it was the little rough around the edges look of the place, perhaps it was the two tables of what looked like locals eating here. But something drew us to the place.
It did have the look of many of the other tourist type tavernas, with plates of prepped ready-to-go-in-a-minute seafood dishes.
But the place was just a bit more quiet and relaxed, so we decided to have lunch here....
We started off with the house version of Eggplant Salad. Not bad, lots of garlic flavor, better than we expected. This seemed to revive us in a way.
The Missus is a big fan of Horta, the boiled wild greens.
This was nice, not over done and mushy, still a bit firm, lightly seasoned, quite good with a squeeze of lemon.
At this point we decided to veer away from the standards. The next thing I saw on the menu was sea urchin....you know how I love my uni (that still kinda sounds wrong all these years later). I was curious to see how this was served.
I was interested in how Mediterranean Urchin would taste. These were small, a very bright, almost orange color. Doused in olive oil, the flavor was more briney than I was used too....not quite as sweet as well. The texture was much more mushy....
Then came something both the Missus and I had heard about, Symi Shrimp.
These tiny shrimp are a local delicacy in Symi and now I know why. The shells are thin, but firm and really crisps up nicely. The shrimp have an amazing, almost condensed shrimp flavor and sweetness. Seasoned simply with salt and pepper, man, these were so good, you just pop them in your mouth and crunch away to your hearts content.
The Eggplant Imam, stuffed eggplant had nice seasoning.
The tanginess from the tomato paste, nice black pepper, onions adding a bit of crunch and sweet-pungency. Though the skin was really tough, the flavors were nice.
And for dessert???? Are you kidding me? Another plate of Symi Shrimp of course!
The tall, husky, fellow running the front of the house was a man of few words, but very nice.....he laughed when we ordered more Symi Shrimp, "very good....very good, huh?"
Very good indeed!
Near the bottom of the Kali Strata steps
Mission completed, we headed back to Pedi Beach. It was time for a nap!