Views from the Top

Sunset from the Vigla, looking towards Datca on the Turkish coast.  That is Nimborio bay, Symi, and the island of Nimos on the right.

Looking from the telephone station on the Vigla towards Orhaniya and Bozburun on the Turkish coast.  The hill in the foreground is the headland that separates Yialos and Pedi.  On the left you can see part of the motor road that connects Yialos and Chorio and ultimately Panormitis monastery on the south-west side of the island.

Looking down at Yialos from the telephone station.  This was my first glimpse of Symi town when we first arrived here in 1993 as we were anchored in Panormitis bay and walked across the island to send a fax home to let our families know where we were.  No mobile phones and emails then!  There was also no surfaced motor road either - it was just a dirt track.

Symi's telephone station on the Vigla. This was built in 1993/94 and replaced the very unreliable undersea cable to Rhodes.  It was not uncommon in those days for the island to be cut off from Rhodes telephonically, particularly in the winter months, if the cable failed.  Now, of course, we have another undersea cable, this time a fibreoptic one to bring high speed broadband to the island.  So far we know people have their names down on the list but we don't know of anyone who is actually connected yet.

Rhodes, as seen from the top of Symi.

Meanwhile, down in Chorio...  a local donkey drover stops for a chat with a friend in a passing car.  Cars are all very well but donkeys can get through the narrow lanes and up and down the ancient steps of the old town.

Cistus or rock roses, growing near the road in Lieni. There are quite unusual in that area. The best displays are along the coastal road to Nimborio.

With Symi's precipitous coastline of rocks and sheer cliffs, there are few places for locals to keep their boats out of the water, hence this line up, about 350 metres above sea level!
Temperatures remain relatively low for the time of year and we had a few muddy showers on Saturday night - just enough to cover everything in dust but without sufficient moisture to actually wet anything.  It is about 22 degrees out of doors in the sun at the moment and much cooler indoors.  It is that odd time of the year where the day trippers are optimistically clad in shorts and T-shirts and the locals are still dressed for winter, particularly if they travel to work by bike or have to work indoors.

Friday is the 1 May bank holiday here in Greece. There is also a ferry strike scheduled for that day in solidarity with employees of one of the larger shipping fleets who have not been paid for several months. This should not affect the operations of Dodecanese Seaways but may affect the Blue Star which operates out of Piraeus and is therefore more vulnerable to strike action, particularly if the dockworkers join in.  Union action aside, the first of May is usually celebrated in Greece as a traditional holiday.  People pick wild flowers and decorate the doors of their houses and businesses with posies and wreaths - the finishing touch to the spring clean and annual repaint.

Have a good week.



Busier by the Day

Calm seas early on Friday morning.  The monastery over on Nimos is just catching the morning sun.  Trucks are gathering by the clock tower, waiting for the Friday morning Blue Star Diagoras.

The Panagia Skiadeni has resumed service from Rhodes on a regular basis so there is a lot more fresh stuff in the shops.  This photograph was taken yesterday,  in a brisk cold breeze.  We have had strong north-westerly winds all week which have kept temperatures below 20 degrees.

The Poseidon is back in the water and round the island excursions will be starting soon.

This old building on the waterfront belongs to Panormitis monastery.  The downstairs is now a shop but the elaborate pediment houses an icon to St Michael the archangel.

This old vine hasn't seen any formal attention for many a year but is still flourishing.  That curly bracket on the wall, just to the right of the main stem, is a latch, to hold the door open.

Swallows posing on a cornice of the clinic in Chorio.

Still life with chapel and lone black sheep.

Same chapel, different day, different sheep!  The cold wind has blown away the haze and visibility has been very good this week.  That is Pedi bay in the background.

Not all of my neighbours are sheep.  I spotted this chap on my way to work this morning.
It  has been a chilly week with lots of northerly winds but temperatures are forecast to rise into the mid twenties next week.  If we don't have rain in the next fortnight or so, that will be that until October as it is very rare to have rain in the second half of May.  It is about a month since we last had rain and the ground is starting to harden and crack. The drying wind is speeding up the rate at which the vegetation is wilting and the sheep, donkeys, ponies and goats are munching as fast as they can.  Unless we have a late shower to give the plants a boost, by the time the first package holiday arrivals start to come in mid-May Symi's greenery will just be a distant memory.

The island grows busier by the day. The Panagia Skiadeni is in nearly every day now, bringing small numbers of day trippers from Rhodes plus supplies for the shops on the island.  More businesses are opening up and there is a steady trickle of new arrivals including walking groups, artists, writers, botanists and those who enjoy Symi in the spring and aren't forced to plan their vacations around school holidays.

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 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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