Kos, Rhodes and Symi as you have never seen them before

Rodi, Grcia, Belvedere fiorito
Belvedere fiorito sulla costa di Rodi

Since I became passionate about photography and combined a love of travel and the camera, my way of seeing things has completely changed. Even though I've been here a while ago, I feel like I've never seen these islands.
Walking for miles, turning around, waiting, getting lost, talking to people, made these ten days truly incredible.
Not to mention all the times people have stood in front of the camera, seeing you busy with the tripod and, perhaps, they thought they were in front of a professional photographer (which I am not). But it's fun to laugh, joke, maybe find someone in the middle of a photo. They are always memories of life.


Sunrise over the sea in Kos
Sunrise over the sea in Kos

Quando ho prenotato il volo per Kos ed era giunto il momento di scegliere l'hotel, ne ho preferito senza dubbio uno sulla spiaggia. Non sono stato fortunato come l'ultima volta ad avere una vista sul mare ma, in pochi minuti, mettendo la sveglia, ero sulla spiaggia e scattare qualche foto dell'alba sul mare. Il terzo giorno, o piuttosto la terza mattina, lo spettacolo che si è presentato davanti a me è stato unico (foto sopra). Pace, colori unici e silenzio. Pochissime persone in giro (c'era solo una ragazza sulla spiaggia con il suo cagnolino che è fuggita non appena sono arrivato quasi  avessi invaso la sua area di quiete e privacy).

It may happen that you see and photograph something that catches your attention, but is no longer there a few hours later. This is the case of this burned-out shack in the port of Kos that I photographed passing by but, on the day of my departure for Rhodes, it had ended up under the rubble and the strength of Greek bulldozers. I don't know where this chair that I borrowed will be. Maybe someone will be sitting there or maybe they will be there alone listening to the sound of the sea waves.

There is one thing I learned from reading photography books written by professional photographers, and it is that you have to walk a lot, knowing how to wait, observe and look around. The day I went up to the Asclepeion, an archaeological site dedicated to Asclepius, God of medicine, I preferred to walk for miles rather than use the tourist buses or colorful trains and surprises were certainly not lacking, despite the scorching heat.

The title of the article promises to show you unusual photos of three Greek islands so I avoided as many monuments as possible on the way to Asclepeion (and there would be quite a few!). However. First photo: close-up of one of the many cats in which the Greek islands are populated. This one, however, unlike others, lives on an ancient road built inside an archaeological site. An honor for a cat, I think!
Second photo: at the beginning of the climb, after the last village before Asclepeion, there is a shop selling ceramic objects. In the parking lot this old Ford is arranged with several "flower pots" created inside the pants (there are others that I have not included in the album)
Third photo: a monument that I had to put. Part of the Asclepeion archaeological site seen from above.
Fourth and last photo: a rather special encounter. On my way back from the Asclepeion, I saw a very old car in a fenced field, so I tried to get inside. Unfortunately there was a gate and a (guard?) Dog slowly approached. I was a little scared to see it but, I think he was just a little thirsty for the heat.

... and when the evening comes, Kos showcases colored lights that reflect into the sea and make it even more beautiful.

I know. I tend to take a lot of photos of the sea. But do you know something more beautiful? However. First photo: water reflections right in front of the hotel where I was staying. One of the many restaurants had the good idea of creating this space on the beach to make dinners more romantic.
Second photo: Agia Paraskevi church in the center of Kos. Although this facade is in very good condition, the rear one is all cracked and sagging. A pity not to be able to enter for a visit! Third photo: a fisherman on the tourist pier. There are a few there. Fourth photo: the road leading to the main port. The color of the sky obscures everything else.


The initial program included a visit of only two days here in Rhodes but, arriving at the airport, I decided to change my flight to stay another 4 days more. I admit. Traveling as a photographer makes everything much more beautiful and fun. There are many more friendships, new encounters and the days are more intense. Anyway, the best photos were taken in these four days, in my opinion.

How can I say: the holiday you don't expect.
About 3.20 at night.
I hear noises in the street and open the window from the sixth floor balcony. The roof of the old windmill caught fire!
I am very afraid because it is windy and from the 6th floor it is not easy to get off but the firefighters seem very prepared. We got the idea that Greece is a beautiful country, full of hospitable and cheerful people, but perhaps not prepared for such eventualities.
The photo (third) is not very clear but watch as the fireman comes out of the roof and with the hydrant sprays the water towards the burning roof!
And the first photo shows well how the attic was hot and on fire! Despite this, these brave men, breaking the glass and wood of the roofs, made their way to the top.
Applause!!! A little less for me, than with a little more courage I could have gone to the street to take better photos.

Finally some beach? No not yet! After six days and 15 kilometers of walking, I saw the sea only through the lens of my Canon and Relax is not mentioned yet. I walk and walk again and this time I get lost in the countryside along the coast. But I promised you in the title that you would see Rhodes like never before, right?

After passing through the (almost) unspoiled countryside, a strip of divine beach began but the encounters made in these kilometers under the scorching sun were extravagant. Meanwhile, the lizard, (third photo) that with its mutant colors was hiding on a wall near the road. But in the end, here it is! The butterfly, (second photo) as I chased it through the dust and the still tall cornfield, until it decided to settle for a moment. The first photo instead is a wonderful orange Volkswagen van, perhaps abandoned not far from a couple of houses a few steps from the sea.

Man driving motorbike in Rhodes, Greece

It was more or less when I passed this nice gentleman on this little bike that I was able to lie down on the beach for the first time after a few days. Along the west coast where tourism is less pressing and in some places it is possible to have tens and tens of meters of beach all to yourself. Some natural shade too, of course.

Kite surfing in Rodi, Grecia

The same goes for those who "surf". There are kitesurfing schools around here, as there is no conglomeration of tourist ships like in the center of Rhodes, and you have all the space you want.
And finally I too can relax for a few minutes ...

Sea, sea and other sea. After this day, apart from Symi, my days I can become a real "tourist", trying to observe the sea, the beach and all that I had lost in the first two days, with a different eye.

onde che si infrangono su un piccolo molo durante il tramonto a Rodi, Grecia

This is one of the most exciting images of the second part of my photographic journey: on the west side of Rhodes, the wind and waves are much stronger than on the small beaches of the old town. The same goes for sunrise and sunset. If you want to see the sunrise over the sea you have to go to the old town or to the beaches to the east, to see the sunset to the west. Obviously the first two days I was in a hotel in the center, while the last four, here on the west side. The wind and the colors of the sunset are unique!
No doubt!

I can't calculate how much time I spent on the beach waiting for someone to jump from the highest diving board (photos two and four). Children are fearless but others waited for tens of minutes ... and I with them to take a picture of someone jumping into the sea

It must be said that Rhodes also has a beautiful old town, with really interesting views that not everyone can notice ... I hope to show you something new, even if you have already seen hundreds of photos of this fascinating island and its beautiful city center. Before moving to Symi and, with a little sadness, at the last sunsets before leaving for home ...

One of the most attractive streets in Rhodes is the one leading to the castle. At night it is illuminated by many lights that you can see at the top right of the wall

Well! First two photos: views of the old town of Rhodes on a beautiful sunny day. Beware of scooters. Many people quickly pass by paying little attention to those who walk. And in the summer, almost everyone walks! Third photo: a mythical character of the island: The crow. Early in the morning, when I left for some excursion, I found this cute bird busy eating from waste bins, while during the day it can be seen on some light / telephone cables. With the seagulls it shares the airspace of the island.
Airliners permitting.
Fourth photo: the lighthouse with the inevitable Greek flag. From the marina you cannot miss it. It is one of the symbols of the city.

.. and so the evening fell in Rhodes too ... Needless to say, after sunset there is an incredible multitude of lights.
Anyway, first photo: the beach in front of my hotel. I tried to use the street lights to leave shutter speeds longer and see how the sea wave photos came out. Experiments.
Second photo: one of the many colorful and illuminated restaurants in the historic center. Impossible not to notice it at night!
Third photo: a small colorful street in the center. Here is the importance of walking a lot and looking for every corner of the places we visit.
Last photo: detail of the Church of the Annunciation, near the port of Mandraki. Passing outside in the evening, you can see this strange effect through the iron grates that serve to protect the "mausoleum" inside.


Symi is a small island or about an hour by boat from Rhodes. Its architecture is very particular and, for this reason, it is "overrun" by tourists during the high season. As you can see from the photos it is also the island of stairs, in fact each small staircase leads from the lower part of the village to the houses located higher up. In winter, of course, the island empties completely and, as some locals told me, only 300 remain here! An indescribable calm, I guess ...

Among the many boats that depart from the port of Rhodes, you can choose between two different ports on which to land in Symi: the village where I posted the photo above or that of the Monastery of the Archangel Michael in Panormitis, where you can often do a bathroom and go back. Here, to tell the truth, there isn't much, except the monastery, a few houses, a small beach, a bar and, exploring well, a small artisan shop hidden behind two flights of white stairs where few tourists seek refuge in the shadow. But, if like me, you don't want to miss every corner of the island, you can also choose mini tours that touch both the picturesque village and the monastery. At least you can sit for a while listening to the silence and enjoy the warm calm of this divine place.

All the desolation and charm of the Dodecanese in this photo. Tourists behind me. Who inside the monastery, who sat at the tables of the bar to eat ice cream or to drink something fresh.
With the free range I took the opportunity to pull out my wide angle and immortalize this part of the port, with the view of the arid and dry hills.
A single boat in the small dock and an empty but perfectly preserved bench.
This is Greece too: beautiful and perfect in its seemingly desolate corners, ready to fill with tourists in an instant.

Well. Five photos of this little known corner of the world.
First photo: a nice detail. Rubber sandals for the sea. In the Dodecanese many beaches are rocky and for this reason many prefer to enter the water with this type of "protection" rather than barefoot. There is no need to know how many people live in a house. Just count the number of shoes outside the door to dry in the sun. Photo two: a detail of the bell tower of the Panormitis monastery. Colors, colors and colors.
Photo three: the small white ladder I mentioned above. If you follow it, you will arrive in a mini square where some people are sitting and there is also a small craft workshop.
Fourth photo: the king of the Mediterranean skies. Ladies and gentlemen, the seagull! With my 75-300mm telezoom, that's the best I've been able to do. But it shows in all its beauty, I think.
Last photo: the mill that welcomes ships at the entrance to the port. Behind it all the ruggedness of the Symi hills.

and finally...

I tried to reduce as much as possible the infinity of photos I took in these ten days because, you know, when you travel, you tend to get involved in the excitement of photographing everything but then, when you come home, you find mistakes and you notice a lot of repetitiveness of many photos. Also, for some people who were in front of the camera to play and joke that I took great photos, I didn't ask for permission to publish. In any case, there is a photo that moved me a lot. The last one with which I will close this article. The last one I did from the sixth floor of the hotel waiting for the cruise ship to pass under the blazing sun.

PS: if you are an expert photographer, any comments or judgments are welcome (even negative of course!)

Cruise ship passes under the sun during sunset in Rhodes, Greece
The last photo from the 6th floor of the Rhodes hotel, waiting for the cruise ship to pass under the sun

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