A Symi Holiday: Day 7

Today I had a “reset day”, took holiday snaps of Symi in infrared, had pasta instead of pizza, was verbally abused by local children and watched a man jump from space.

But firstly, hello to all my new readers! People from all across the world have visited the blog in the past few days including the UK, Greece, Australia, Italy, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, the United States, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and even South Africa. Amazing! It would be great if you left a message using the Comments box below. Let me know where you’re from!

Sunday is a day of rest. I had feared with Symi being a fairly religious place that bells by the dozens would ring out from dusk till dawn. Thankfully not. Instead I slept like a baby. Saturday evening had been a late one, stretching into the early hours as I spent quite a while going through the photos for the test time lapse, tweaking and editing here and there to get it looking good. Of course, those images were just a dry run. From Monday onwards I intended to capture various areas of Symi to make a short picturesque trailer. The idea was to have it look almost like a slideshow of photos, with just the tiniest amount of movement in them as the sun passes, stretching shadows across walls and reflecting off windows, etc. But this was my “reset day”, basically meaning a day to get back on track. I do this if I’ve been on a week of nightshift and I’m switching to dayshift, for example. Effectively it can either be a long or short day, in order to defy the jet-lag style shift to my body clock. This was a short day.

I had woken up with food on my mind. Any single self-catering holidaymaker will understand the fridge being empty, apart from bottled water. The only food of substance in the apartment was some form of Nutella I had bought alongside my essentials (instant coffee and milk). Two spoonfuls of chocolate spread had been my breakfast.

Come mid afternoon, after doing some hand-washed laundry (there’s no dry cleaners around here, nor a washing machine in sight) I decided to try some infrared photography around Symi. For those unfamiliar, infrared is a type of light that humans can’t see. So these aren’t normal looking photos. Spectacularly in infrared green foliage looks blue, the sky can be black and everyday colours lose their saturation. It’s a world away from the norm.

Below are three images taken today of the same place; one black and white, one full colour and one infrared.

Infrared comparison

Notice the subtle differences between the black and white version and the infrared version. It adds a twist to everyday photography giving dream-like results, sometimes producing images that look like they could be from another world. It’s fascinating, considering it is our world. We just can’t see it.

Kali Strata walkway, Symi
Click the image for a 360-degree interactive panoramic of Kali Strata in Symi, Greece.

When reaching the end of the Kali Strata steps I realised my legs weren’t burning with pain, like they were when I first walked this route. Clearly, a sign that my body was slowly customising to help with all these stairs. At last, another step towards being fit and healthy! So I headed to the pizza place…

At the Dolphin restaurant I was pleased that the owner recognised me. With a wide smile and genuine pleasure he took my order of number 22 and 7; garlic bread and cheese followed by pasta with fresh tomato sauce, tuna, onion, garlic, green pepper and herbs. A fabulous meal indeed, finished off with a fresh coffee. Although clearly my eyes were bigger than my stomach!

To burn off some calories, I took a short stroll along the main street and across the bridge, snapping a few images along the way. I had left it quite late in the day for doing infrared photography. Strong sunshine causes object to absorb and reflect a lot of infrared, but this was late afternoon. I had already worked out when doing the time lapse stuff that even a few hours before actual sunset means the harbour and most of the valley are already in shadow. The sun was sinking fast enough that whilst looking through the zoomed lens on the camera you could actually see the shadows racing across the landscape. It was now or never. Or next week.

Infrared Symi Harbour

Some of the images came out really well. They have that look of scratch art, where an image is created by etching off black ink painted over coloured layers of clay or paper. Given the race against time which the sun was clearly winning, I didn’t stay downtown very long.

One thing I noticed today was that the kids playing in the basketball court down in the village were nowhere near as loud as their projected voices were by the time they got up  the slope! I wondered if they were aware of this amplification. I’m sure the locals up the hill knew all about it.

Wandering back up the dreaded stairs of doom, I noticed there had been a lot more kids around than usual. I didn’t know if this was just a lack of observation, or if there was a reason for it. My walk took me passed a little girl sitting on her doorstep who’s hair was being plaited by a little boy, possibly her brother. The boy and another friend looked up at me as I walked by the trio, so I responded with a whispered “calimera” which I had heard Ian, The Saviour, use on our walk on Tuesday. Unbeknownst to me till later in the evening, this meant “good morning”. I’d been saying it all week to everyone, at all times of the day. The boy not pleating hair looked over at me, frowning in a puzzled way. I kept walking. He looked to the other two and asked them a question in Greek before turning to me and saying something. I didn’t catch it, nor did I respond. He chose another Greek word and shouted it in my direction. I still didn’t respond. He shouted again. The other pair were quietly giggling by this point, so I only assume it was some form of childish goad or insult. I had no way to respond, so I just kept walking. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the verbal one shrug his shoulders and glance over at the girl, mumbling something under his breath which I imagined to be something similar to “why did he say that!?”. It was funny to them. Looking back, it was funny to me too.

Symi by infrared

It would be a great shame for me to post a blog without mentioning a stray kitten or cat. So here’s a mention for day 7. Just down the path from the flat was one of the cutest but saddest ones I’d seen. A kitten that could only have been a few weeks old, curled up asleep on top of a wheelie bin. It was clearly homeless due to the mess it was in. Its dominant white with black flecks were splattered with dirt and it had dried mud all over its face. It had obviously been in a scrap or two as well. Such a terrible way for something to live, considering the small life it’s already had and the life a loving home could give. I’ll try get a photo of it for next time.

And so, that was that. Short and sweet. The body should have been successfully reset, meaning I could plan a sunrise time lapse for early Monday or Tuesday morning.