Holy Week

Free grazing in the Pedi Valley.

Profiti Ilias monastery, framed by pink bindweed. According to local tradition, this was originally the site of a temple to Apollo. All that remains of that is a portion of very ancient stone wall below the monastery.

A tide of nasturtiums.

Calm but overcast.  

Everyone has to have their steps whitewashed by Easter weekend.

Ruins, run down houses and the immaculately restored are all neighbours on Symi.

Looking across the harbour and Harani from the corner of the Kali Strata.

Yachts are starting to arriving, mainly flotilla yachts heading to their summer berths but also a few live aboard cruisers.

Monday morning rush hour on the Kali Strata.  The man on the right is holding a 'pooper scooper' as the trains are not allowed to foul the pavements and have to clean up after themselves.

It is Holy Week or Big Week, the most solemn week in the religious calendar.  Everyone is busy juggling church attendance, preparations for the season and preparations specific to Easter.  The tavernas traditionally switch to a fasting menu at this time of the year, offering various seafood dishes as well as pulse dishes such as Fakes (lentils) and Revithia (chickpeas).  Even the gyros bars switch over to taramasalata and fasting food.  The butchers have cleared the decks and are taking orders for lamb and goat for the traditional Easter feast on Sunday.

The weather remains overcast with a small possibility of showers. Temperatures are around 22 degrees centigrade and it is fairly chilly in the evening as little sun is penetrating the cloud cover. 

The island is filling up steadily with Greeks returning to their families for the holidays, foreign property owners arriving to open up their houses and celebrate Easter here and some tourists including an Australian painting group that comes every year. 

Have a good weekend.



Seasonal Occupations

Painting chairs - a seasonal occupation.

Symi's iconic clock tower and police station.

Down in the Pedi Valley - a pretty patchwork of tiny terraced fields defined by old dry stone walls.

There are at least 3 Easter chicks in this photograph, progeny of the free range family that hangs around the skip at the end of my road.  So far Mother Hen has managed to keep them safe from the dozen or so cats that are also part of the colony.

Rural chapel with poppies.

The shoe shop and dress shop near the square in Chorio.  

The new Village Cafe in Chorio is now open.

Wild chamomile growing among the flagstones in Chorio
The April showers have caught up with us just as the first tourists and day trippers of the year are arriving.  The photos in today's blog were taken earlier, when the sun was shining.  It is a murky overcast day today and this unsettled weather is expected to continue tomorrow too.  The forecast for the Easter long weekend, however, is for fine sunny weather.

The general strike on Wednesday was not as disruptive as expected and everyone arrived on time.  As I write the Panagia Skiadeni has just come in with day trippers from Rhodes. With the showery weather the shops and cafes should be busy.  Meanwhile the Easter baking marathon has started.  The grocers and supermarkets have great mounds of cheese, sacks of flour, eggs, sugar and all the traditional ingredients. This weekend the lanes of Chorio will be scented with vanilla and mastic.  There are little sachets of red dye for eggs, sachets of ammonia to use as a raising agent and bottles of orange flower water for flavouring traditional short breads.  Most people do their own baking, using recipes that have been passed down from mother to daughter through the generations.  Plates of homemade delicacies are then shared among friends, family and neighbours, always accompanied by traditional red dyed eggs to break for luck.

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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