the first place we visited on Symi island was a monastery

the first place we visited on Symi island was a monastery

[ Sept.2019 ] We joined a tour to Symi island from Rhodes in Greece.

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the ferry to Symi Island

This tour was cheap, only €25 per person, but that was because it included only the ferry transport and no guided tour, which we realised after we got on the ferry.

The ferry was full.

The flight from the UK to Rhodes had been almost empty, so I had been wondering who were those tourists on the island and now we know that they were Russian speaking people.

The donkey driver we met the day before said “The tourists on the Rhodes are poor” and probably he meant these people.

Apparently, when the hotels started offering cheap rates for their rooms some time ago, these people started coming to the island.

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the detail of the bell tower

I could not tell if those people speaking Russian languages were all Russians or not.

One person in the group who sat in front of us on the boat was reading a Russian book and rolling around with laughter.

I stole a look at the book and found that the meaning of the title was something like “The sharks made of steel”, though I could not see the author.

I would love to read it if there is a translated version.

After sailing about one and a half hours, we arrived at the Panormitis monastery which is located at the inlet in the south of the Symi island.

There is a church in which the icon of archangel Michael is enshrined here.

Michael is apparently not only the patron angel for Symi island, but also protects all the sailors in the Dodecanese Islands which Symi belongs to.

And it is a destination for the pilgrims who believe in the Orthodox Church.

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people gathering in front of the Michael’s icon

The legend says that this icon mysteriously appeared on this spot and when people moved it to somewhere else, it came back to the same place on its own.

They think the monastery was originally built around 450 AD at the site of the old temple of Apollo, but the current buildings were built in the 18th century.

The pink decorative bell tower stood out among simple white buildings.

Many people were jostling to get into the church to see the Michael’s icon.

We had to see it, too, as we came all the way, so we joined the crowd and gradually approached the entrance.

Finally we got into the church and found that the inside was full of frescoes all over the place.

It was a very dignified place.

The Michael’s icon was quite big and people were gathering in front of it.

They were kissing on this icon and others and some were blessed by a priest.

That reminded me of our Cyprus holiday some years ago.

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the bench in front of the bakery

At that time, too, there were many Russian tourists and one of their purposes was to get blessed in churches.

You can see some other old icons and some offerings at the museum in this Panormitis monastery, apparently, but we did not go in there.

Instead we went out and found a sign saying “charcoal baked breads”.

There was a small bakery at a corner of a small square and people were queuing, so we joined them.

We bought a couple of bread, similar to bagels, and they were very rich and heavy.