Functioning Fine

Who needs cute kittens on the internet when Symi can provide a cute foal?

A group from the Symi Sea Dreams excursion boat, listening to a potted history of Symi from their guide.

The water taxis are back on their berths but aren't fully in operation yet as there aren't enough people around and the beach tavernas have yet to open.  Instead they have been taking locals out to waterside chapels for name days as much of Symi's shoreline is so precipitous that there is no other means of getting to many places except by sea.

Looking across at Harani and Nimos from the bend at the top of the Kali Strata.  That is a group of gulets lying at anchor off Harani.  They are large wooden motor-sailers, built in Turkey and sleeping up to 30 passengers.  Gulets often include Symi as part of their cruising itinerary although the island derives little benefit from them as they usually arrive fully equipped and the guests eat on board rather than in Symi's many waterfront tavernas and restaurants.

Wild oregano is irresistible to butterflies.

Pedi bay at 7 a.m. looking down from Lieni.

Looking up the Kali Strata from about half way down, still bearing the scars of a very wet winter.  At some point someone from the municipality will come along with bags of whitewash and do the backbreaking annual task of painting about 370 steps, working down from the top.

The carpenter's cats at the bottom of the Kali Strata.

Another view of Lemonitissa church, this time from one of the lanes at the back of the harbour. That is a caper bush growing out of the top of the building on the left.

The noddy train has a new coat of paint.

Looking across the head of the harbour from outside the National Bank.  That is Lemonitissa church with the red dome on the hill on the right.  The ruins of the kastro are on the peak above the church.  The Lemonitissa apartment and studio are in the trees to the right of the church.
It is a warm and hazy day on Symi. It is about 26 degrees centigrade and quite humid. The excursion boats are coming in and a truck has just driven past my office window, festooned with ropes of garlic for sale.  The Blue Star was only an hour late this morning, coming through from Tilos. This is the only direct connection between Tilos and Symi.  On the other days of the week one has to go via Rhodes and stay over night to make the connection with Dodecanese Seaways.

We have been hearing from regular visitors that there have been stories in the British tabloid press recently that there is no money in the Greek banks and that there is no food in the shops. Well, we can assure you that the banks on Symi are functioning fine and there is an abundance of food in the shops now that we have daily connections between Rhodes and Symi.  One can even buy such obscure items as agave syrup and a full range of sushi ingredients as well as the usual succulent sun-ripened tomatoes, crispy sweet cucumbers and voluptuous aubergines so please do not believe what you read in the tabloids!  While there are indeed many poor, unemployed and homeless people in Greece, particularly on the mainland, that does not mean that there is no food in the shops or the tavernas in the islands.

Have a good weekend.



May Postcards from Symi

The Greek flag, flying high above the harbour.

Sponge sellers along Symi's waterfront.  When I first came here, 20 years, there were lots more sponge shops along the front. some of them scions of old Symi sponge merchant families.  It is not an easy life, earning a living from a small business on Symi.  Rents have to be paid all year round, even if the business itself is only open for the summer months, and of those months, only a few weeks in the peak of the season are lucrative.

A promising sight - a water taxi back on its berth.  The engine access hatch is open, hence the eccentric angle of the seats.  The water taxis should be getting their licenses soon for the summer season.

Doing the shopping by dinghy.  They are probably from yachts lying to anchor off Harani or Nimborio, or even as far afield as Pedi bay.

Unraveling fouled anchors in Yialos - a common sight on Symi in the summer months as Symi harbour is very deep and full of the clutter of centuries.

The crew of the Symi Sea Dreams excursion boat taking advantage of a few hours in the sheltered waters of Yialos to touch up the paintwork along the waterline.  

Where's our breakfast then?  I spotted this little family living under the balcony of the flower shop in Yialos as I was walking to work this morning.


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 16 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

Adriana Shum

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