Happy snaps from Syros

SyrosAs you may know, the Zagora archaeological season is six weeks long. We work six days a week every week, Monday to Saturday except for the middle weekend, after the third week of work, when we get all of Saturday and Sunday off.

This year, Andrew Wilson, Paul Donnelly and Kristen Mann and I decided to go to Syros. Paul had been many years ago and remembered it fondly so he wanted to revisit the place.

It was an occasion to relax and unwind, and prepare for the last three weeks of the season.

We arrived at Syros by ferry around 10pm and then, after only being moderately lost for about 15 minutes, and a phone call by Kristen saving the day with her Greek, that we found our way to our accommodation which we had booked a couple of days before.

The pensione, On Hermoupolis, was perfect: quiet, clean, comfortable and only about a two-minute walk to the main plateia of Ermoupoli, which is the capital not only of Syros but also of the Cyclades. The plateia is only about a two-minute walk from the harbour.

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A view through the plateia (Miaoulis Square) to the Town Hall of Ermoupoli. Many of the buildings here are neo-classical. It is an elegant town.

To beat all that, two of our rooms had magnificent views over rooftops to the town of Ano Syros built by the Venetians in the early 13th century on the hill of St Giorgio. You can see it in some of the photos below.

We really only had a bit of Friday night, Saturday and Sunday morning at Syros before catching a ferry to Tinos for lunch, as you do. So I learned little about Syros – except that it is beautiful, and I hope to return some day to spend more time there.

Arriving so late, Paul, Andrew and I ventured out only briefly to have a drink with a view to the plateia, and gradually introduce ourselves to Syros. Kristen decided on an early night – but we were not out for long.

In the morning we all met up to wander to the harbour for breakfast which was plentiful and delicious.

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From left: Kristen Mann, Paul Donnelly and Andrew Wilson, enjoying breakfast by the waterfront at Syros.
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The place where we had breakfast is just beyond the white chairs in this shot.

Kristen felt she had to return to her room to work on her PhD while Andrew, Paul and I took a taxi to Ano Syros at the top of the hill of St Giorgio. We then spent about the next two or so hours gradually wandering the wonderful winding paths down towards Ermoupoli.

There won’t be much text that follows. Only an avalanche of photos to provide a few tantalising glimpses of Syros. At every corner is a beautifully composed and coloured photographic moment. For once Paul and Andrew took just about as many photos as I did. Thank goodness for living in a digital age.

Let the tour begin:

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Paul is da man wid da moves. Here he is showing us how narrow are some of the spaces between buildings in the Cyclades – possibly just wide enough for a donkey with a pack saddle. Archaeologists always seem to be looking at how things are constructed and how they may have been in antiquity.

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I especially liked the two sculptured birds on the door frame.
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From left: Andrew Wilson and me (Irma Havlicek). This photo of us next to a gum tree was taken by Paul Donnelly.
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On our way down the hill, we came upon this house collapse, and remarked how it was probably collapsing much like the houses at Zagora had collapsed. After the house is abandoned and the roof is no longer maintained to keep it sound, the roof becomes sodden with rain, making it heavy, and eventually it falls in within the walls, as has happened here.
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Without the roof to provide support between the walls, eventually the walls collapse. If anything, for example, ceramics, were inside the building, they would likely be crushed by the falling debris.
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Couldn’t you just dive into that beautiful water on a hot day!
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I just loved this sleeping lion with his paws gently crossed.
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Kristen was still working away in her room while we had a snack at this outdoor cafe. She joined us later. From left, the proprietress, Andrew Wilson and Paul Donnelly.
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A view in the other direction from the outdoor cafe.
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The view into my pensione room from the balcony. There is a ladder in the background, to climb up to a single bed which is above the bathroom. Smart use of space.
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Even I did some work for this blog on the balcony of my room. But just look at the view!
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The night view from my balcony.
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Another night view from my balcony.
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Before we went to dinner on Saturday night, we had a pre-dinner drink on the roof garden of the building Kristen and I were staying in. Andrew and Paul had rooms in the building next door. From left: Andrew Wilson, Kristen Mann, Paul Donnelly. The town hall is on the plaka is illuminated in the background.
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The interior of Kouzina restaurant in Syros where we had dinner on Saturday night.
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‘Kouzina’ means ‘kitchen’.
Kouzina, Syros
From left: Paul Donnelly, Andrew Wilson and Kristen Mann at our outside table at Kouzina. Tablecloths are white paper, and the restaurant supplies oil pastels – Paul and Kristen had a very happy time making wavy colourful rainbow shapes. The restaurant photographed their creation and put it on their Facebook page.
We made it to the end of our meal and even found room to share dessert.
We had a lovely syrah from Crete, to wash down our pork belly and beef in truffle sauce (mmmm). We made it to the end of our meal and even found room to share dessert. Happy times. From left: Andrew Wilson, Kristen Mann and Paul Donnelly.
We made it to the end of our meal and even found room to share dessert.
The kind hostess of the On Hermoupolis pensione where we happily stayed.

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6 thoughts on “Happy snaps from Syros”

  1. What a beautiful place! I’m avidly reading your blogs at work Irma because they make me feel like I’m still over there!! Your texts and photos bring everything to life. Syros is a must then, for next time!! Regards to everyone. Sue

    • Hi there Sue – we miss you over here. Starting the last week on site today (Monday). The pressure’s on. Everybody’s working very hard but, as you know, it is deeply satisfying. Very glad you’re enjoying the blog. And I do recommend Syros – wish we’d had more time there.

  2. We spent 2 weeks on Syros in 2012 and these photographs took me straight back ! Its just one of our favourite islands but if you only manage a day trip its worth it for Ermopoulis. This is a spectacular town, streets in white marble and the Town Hall on the square.
    Your balcony views will take some beating !

    • Hi Robert. Yes, Syros was delightful. You were very lucky to spend two weeks there. I agree, a day there is better than not seeing it at all. But I’d encourage people to try for at least two days there – so they can go up the hill, and meander down the picturesque winding cobbled pathways down the hill, at leisure, absorbing the architecture and the views. Cheers, Irma

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