A Sense of Anticipation

A 19th century riveted door on an old shopfront on the Kali Strata.  The plastic sheeting at the bottom is to keep driving rain out during the winter, while the owner is away.

There isn't much topsoil left on the hills and slopes of Symi but a fine green bloom of scrubby herb bushes and tough bulbous plants is visible at this time of the year.

The view from my office window today.  There is a brisk and somewhat chilly north wind blowing and the locals are in the cafes rather than out fishing or working on their boats.

As Christmas approaches those businesses that are still open are starting to put up decorations.

A Christmas star on the fish market roof, near the bridge in Yialos.

It is typical of the times, alas, that while we have a Christmas star on this lamp post in the town square, the streetlight itself lacks a globe and has done for some time.

The Dodecanese Seaways catamaran calls in on Mondays, en route to Kos, bringing in fresh produce from Rhodes.  We won't see anymore until Wednesday afternoon's Blue Star from Rhodes.

A designer polar bear in a designer boutique.

The window of the cake shop next door.

A patch of sunshine finds a rogue bougainvillea and a couple of pithoi on a rocky outcrop between the Kali Strata and Yialos.

What we are eating on Symi at the moment.  Those huge loose-leafed cabbages on the left are often used to make dolmades at this time of the year - an economical alternative to vine leaves.
The weather feels increasingly wintry as the wind blows down from the north, lowering temperatures and finding all the chinks in the doors and shutters.  We had rain showers and squalls all weekend and there was a shipping ban on Saturday due to strong winds further north.

Christmas decorations are appearing around the town although there won't be much in the way of festive food in the shops until a few days before Christmas.  There is no pressure here to listen to interminable carols and eat turkey dinners from September to Christmas.  Treats really are things to look forward to in the old fashioned sense of the word and there is a sense of anticipation in the days before Christmas as the ferry brings students returning for the holidays as well as festive goodies.  As the island's young people have to go to Athens and Thessalonika to further their studies and travelling is expensive and time-consuming, there will be many happy reunions with children that have  not been seen since term began in September.

There is going to be another shipping strike this week which will probably affected Friday's Blue Star. We are waiting for further information on this.

Have a good week.



Rosy-Fingered Dawn and A Lone Duck

Homer's rosy-fingered dawn has been very much in evidence this week - and one doesn't have to get up very early to see it either. This was just after half past six on Wednesday morning.

It is amazing how different the same landscape can look. This was Pedi bay at half past seven on Friday morning.  We had had some heavy showers during the night which moved away towards Turkey, defining hills and valleys that remain hidden from view for most of the summer.

I took these two photographs on Wednesday. The sunken yacht has finally been raised. She has a damaged bow including a big hole just on the water line.

Those drums the gypsies were selling from the truck in Monday's blog evidently came in useful for extra bouyancy during the salvage operation. Through the slime of a fortnight's immersion in Yialos one can make out that she is the Lavinia of Prague.

Eye-catching colours in Chorio.

For those too impatient to wait for the flowering of the wild cyclamens in January, the gaudier cultivated ones are available from the Symi flower shops.  

Breakfast in Chorio.

This bright yellow fishing net hanging outside a house off the Kali Strata caught my eye on the walk to the Symi Visitor Accommodation office this morning.

We don't get much in the way of traditional autumn leaves here on Symi but the Virginia creepers more than make up for the deficit.

Some of the recent showers were heavy enough to flatten the grass that is growing among the stones on the Kali Strata.

There are at least four cats in this photograph.

Parking can be a problem on Symi, just like anywhere else, but even so I wasn't really expecting to see a little girl's bicycle balanced on some ropes outside a window above Antoniades' hardware store this morning.  On Symi you can always expect the unexpected - and there is usually some sort of rational explanation for it too!

As I was sitting at my desk this morning I heard the resident duck quacking vehemently and went downstairs to investigate.

There didn't seem to be much happening so perhaps he was just asking where everyone has got to. He seems to have the harbour pretty much to himself these days.

He uses the slip at the customs house to get in and out easily.  Yes, that is a small Christmas tree on the left, behind the hazard tape that usually marks the slip way.  The municipality has started to put up Symi's Christmas decorations.  Of necessity they are placed next to streetlights so that they can be tethered securely in place and power is available for the illuminated decorations still to come. The man just visible on the other side of the bench is chipping rust off an anchor chain - not, however, the big black chain that you can see on the right which belongs to that huge anchor in front of the car.  One way of getting round the shortage of parking on Symi is to park on the pavement but that is another story.
The big area of low pressure that has brought storms and heavy rain and strong winds to the Adriatic is now winding its way eastwards.  So far the weather has been better than expected.  More rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow and then showers on Monday.

As you can see from the photographs, it is very quiet on the island now.  Forget about Christmas shopping hordes on Symi - any significant Christmas shopping is done in Rhodes and a lot of people went over on the Blue Star this morning. The boat was an hour late as there were so many vehicles waiting to board. A casual analysis of 'foreign' shopping bags in the island's skips reveals that the usual destinations for Symiots shopping in Rhodes are Jumbo, M&S, H&M, Lidl and Carrefour. Looking at the ferry schedules, weather permitting there are only 2-3 more shopping days until Christmas - unless one is planning a mini-break on Rhodes as Friday is the only day of the week where there is a day return to Rhodes that offers a reasonable amount of time.

Have a good weekend.



About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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