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A Greek island in winter: this is my personal experience

Symi ● 16 June 2017
 
The most people think that Greece is a summer destination, and that is true when it comes to the Greek islands. Millions of tourists visit them every summer, and the truth is that their beauty has to do with the warm weather. Sun, crystal waters and stunning beaches are their characteristics that can be enjoyed in summer. However, the Greek islands are something more than just places to swim and sunbathe. They have a unique character and a strong attitude that comes from the beauty of their landscape, the architrcture of their villages and towns as well as from the hospitality of their people.

These thoughts I had when I decided to visit Symi during winter. I had a conference in Rhodes, and after my work, I wanted to do something alternative for the weekend, to visit an off-the-beaten-track island and live a different experience during the off season. Symi is an island with impeccable architecture of Italian style that impresses everyone with its colourful houses and its style. So, I was sure that I would spend a couple of days walking around the streets and admiring the stunning scenery.

In southern Greece, the sun shines and the temperature is warm even in December. Symi welcomed me with perfect weather after 2 hours by boat from Rhodes. I arrived on an island that reflected an authentic peace and calmness. The most people of Symi leave their island for the winter and live for 3-4 months in Rhodes or Athens. However, some loyal residents of the island stay there the whole year, and in my eyes, these people seemed like the protectors of this island at the edge of Greece, near Turkey.

Their hospitality was nicer than I thought. They welcomed me with their glowing smile, and they opened their houses to eat with them so that I won't feel alone. They cooked for me, and they treated me every day coffee and ouzo in the traditional cafe of the island, which was besides the only open shop in Symi. The atmosphere was very warm, and I spent my hours discussing with these people or walking around the calm streets of the island. I had time with myself in a peaceful scenery that took me far away from the daily routine and the worries of my busy life. I felt like I have travelled back in time, when Greece had nothing more to show than it's authenticity. I was so refreshed that I promised to myself to visit a Greek island each year during winter.

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