Symi Summer Colours

Chorio cool cat. That is a solar water heater on the roof on a house neighbouring on this taverna in Chorio.

Bougainvillea pot pourri gathering in drifts on the Kali Strata.

Heavenly blue plumbago against sorbet-coloured walls on the Kali Strata.

Early morning haze off Harani.  Nimos is almost invisible on the horizon.

Lowering the tone of the line up - it takes a brave crew to hang laundry out to dry on the railings of a gin palace!

Spot the carpenter's cat.

Shopping for summer gear in Yialos.

That is Pachos kafeneion in the background, one of the oldest traditional cafes in Yialos.  A great people watching locale but don't expect any fancy Starbucks nonsense. This is 100% authentic Greek.

The chandlery opposite the entrance to the Symi Visitor Accommodation office in the lane.
Another sizzling week on Symi.  With midday temperatures in the forties and the humidity high, even the nights remain hot and it can be in the mid thirties at midnight.  Anyone who isn't on the beach during the day is browsing in shady shops or sipping the traditional Greek iced coffee frappe in one of the many cafes.

The first two weeks of August are traditionally the busiest time of the year in Greek island tourism in general and on Symi in particular.  Everyone works long hours to meet the needs of the many visitors who arrive daily, by ferry or yacht and it is a hectic couple of weeks as the island's population swells to double its usual number.

Symi isn't a luxury destination, how can it be with no natural water and a landscape that is more perpendicular than horizonal, hence all those unavoidable steps?  It is, however, one of the most beautiful as the island's neo-classical architecture has been strictly protected since the 1970s so there are no big hotels, resorts, swimming pools or other tourist developments.  No concrete cubes and tacky neon signs or rusty reinforced concrete.  Instead most holiday accommodation is within the community, in restored traditional houses and apartments or in small hotels, giving an authentic experience that has discerning visitors coming back year after year.

Symi's houses and imposing mansions are surprisingly small inside - a combination of thick stone walls, the necessity to incorporate cistern capacity for harvesting winter rains from the roof and the steep landscape which leaves no level or easily accessible ground for building.  The interiors of the houses incorporate all sorts of space-saving measures similar to those used on boats, including ladders rather than staircases and sleeping lofts and platform beds tucked in wherever there is space rather than lots of separate bedrooms.  A certain agility and level of fitness is required, particularly if one is staying in Yialos where steep steps are impossible to avoid as there is very little accommodation at water level and vehicle access is limited. If you have any mobility problems, Chorio is easier as although you may still be some distance from the nearest vehicle access, there are more lanes than steps and what steps there are are not as steep!

Have a good week.

Regards,
Adriana



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July Postcards from Symi

Heading down the Kali Strata in the early morning, a small ginger cat preceding me.

A cool hammock for an early morning nap, the Chrysalis cat likes his breezy spot on the bamboo.

Essential supplies at a taverna door - garlic, lemons, aubergines and cucumbers.

Unravelling anchors in Yialos.

The Blue Star ferry, a 3 masted schooner, a gulet and a miscellany of power boats - there is always something different coming or going in Yialos at this time of the year.

Motor yachts facing off in the harbour.

A picturesque Turkish vaporetto-style wooden motor yacht lies alongside the Panagia Skiadeni on Thursday morning.


Symi is famous for its many steps, particularly in the harbour area where the houses are built into the cliffs. This distinctive flight is next to the war memorial.  

Hand made leather goods, sponges, pumice and other unique gifts for sale along the harbour front in Yialos.

Sunhats, sunhats...

...and yet more sunhats.  There is no need to squeeze sunhats into your luggage when there is such a good range available for sale locally.  
July sizzles to a hot and humid close with temperatures in the forties and high humidity.  It is the season for hot summer nights with live music, dancing and other diversions to take our minds off the heat. There was a successful rock concert by a local band in the Chorio square last night. There is an event on the quay in Pedi this evening, on Sunday night there is the Symi Shrimp festival in the square in Chorio from 9 p.m.  This annual event is organised every year by the Symi Women's Association and involves plentiful sauteed shrimps, Greek wine and traditional dancing in the square. The Sunday evening film show has been shifted to Monday so that everyone can attend both if they wish.  Most events are free and everyone is welcome to attend.

We are heading into the busiest time of the year now, with lots of arrivals coming into the island this weekend as the first two weeks of August are official holiday time in many Mediterranean countries including Italy, Cyprus and France as well as Greece.  We have lots of Turkish visitors on the island too as well as various Scandinavians and long haul visitors from America, Australia and South Africa.

Have a good weekend.

Regards,
Adriana


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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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