Winter Ferries Past and Present

The view from the Symi Visitor Accommodation office balcony at 9 this morning.

And again an hour or so later.  

If you see a house decorated like this in Greece it means that there is going to be a wedding very soon.  The dowry house is prepared by the women  in the family, cleaned from top to bottom and decorated with ribbons.  A special ceremony then takes place in which the bridal bed is made up with beautiful linen and blessed.  Lots of babies and young children in their best clothes are then rolled across the bed to bring fertility to the happy couple.  An ancient and charming tradition that probably goes against all sorts of modern beliefs about marriage but has withstood the test of time this far so is unlikely to die out any time soon.  

Cabbages, caged birds and camo pants for sale in the Kampos parking area.  You can buy anything on Symi as long as you are prepared to wait long enough!

The acorns are falling from the big oak tree in Lieni.

Oranges and lemons ripening in old Yanni's garden in Lieni.

The rain has softened the earth and it is time to start planting before the weather turns too cold.

Herbs and vegetable seedlings outside the Symi Flower shop in Yialos.

Old hand-forged wrought iron in a window in Yialos.

Christmas decorations in the window of the Greek produce shop in Yialos.  If you want to support small Greek businesses, this shop stocks a veritable cornucopia of artisanal goodies and traditional organic groceries including sweets, wines, dried fruits, herbs, spices, bottled Greek delicacies, Greek pastas and so on.  It is also a good place to look if you need gluten-free products or health food items.
After a weekend of very unsettled weather with thunderstorms and showers the week ahead looks calm, clear and mild.  I will take a chance and leave the webcam and router plugged in!

It is three weeks to Christmas and I spotted a chocolate Santa in Hatzipetros supermarket this morning so some goodies are reaching the island, despite the on-going Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) strike.   Dodecanese Seaways is not affected by these strikes but the Blue Star is and as the Blue Star is the only way trucks and freight can reach Symi and other islands, not to mention our post, it does affect us all one way or another.  Dodecanese Seaways is only serving us with a catamaran at the moment and then only on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  As their routes are the 'wrong way round' we can't use them for a day's shopping in Rhodes. Those of us who have lived here a while get nostalgic at this time of the year.  Not for Christmases past but for the days of the ANES boat 'Symi I'  and Captain Phil who always got us to Rhodes to do our Christmas shopping,  no matter what.  In those days the boats used to operate out of Mandraki and most of the shops were in the centre of town so we used to trot back to the boat at intervals to drop off our purchases on board and then make a fresh foray.  Very civilised. Now the 'Symi 1' takes day-trippers to the old leper colony of Spinalonga off Crete, Captain Phil has long since retired and ANES' only nautical activities take place at the other end of the Aegean instead of serving the people of Symi as was the original intention.

Enough reminiscing.  At least Dodecanese Seaways is fast and the Blue Star is punctual when not affected by strikes and there is talk that the Mayor's appeal for a third Blue Star a week has been successful so maybe we will have boats on Mondays as well as Wednesdays and Fridays!  Keep an eye on Andy's travel blog for more information on this and other travel stories.

Have a good week.



On a Cold Friday in December

Over the hills and far away... my camera  is not quite good enough to pick it up but there is snow on a mountain peak just to the right of the highest peak visible on the left on the Turkish coast.

The northerly gales  have brought some extraordinary cloud formations.

These are the skies that summer visitors to Symi seldom see.

The bottom of the Kali Strata.  That cardboard box is serving a useful purpose.

I am not sure how many Symi cats are living in there but I didn't want to disturb them on a bitterly cold morning to find out!

Still life with yellow plastic tablecloth.


In a garden down in Pedi

A classical face on a crumbling house in Chorio.

Christmas kitsch in Chorio.  Yes, that is a lifesize replica Santa playing a plastic saxophone!
The idyll is over.  Heavy rain and thunderstorms on Tuesday turned into plunging temperatures and gale force northerly winds by Thursday and Symi is in single figures today.  Showers and  more thunderstorms are forecast for the weekend so unfortunately we will have to leave the webcam unplugged when we are not in the office.

There are very few people about on the streets as there isn't much to do on Symi at this time of the year.  A  handful of men are in those coffee shops that are still open but that is about it.  Everyone is tucked up indoors out of the wind and that is what I will be doing soon myself!

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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