February Postcards from Symi

The view from the Symi Visitor Accommodation window today - rain for the first time in a fortnight.  The forecast is for 25 mm or more in the next 24 hours followed by gale force winds

Hooray!  The bus  is back!

There are very few big trees on Symi and those that there are really are landmarks. This is the big valonia oak at Lieni, leafless now and covered in moss and lichen.

The oak in Lieni.

The bougainvilleas are now naked.  They won't start shooting again until April when the weather warms up.

The Kali Strata.

Looking across the harbour from the lower part of the Kali Strata.

Alexanders, flourishing in the ruins.

A child's toy on the Kali Strata.
It is a wet and stormy day on Symi, the first rain in about a fortnight.  Heavy showers are forecast for today and tomorrow. So far the anticipated thunderstorms have held off. The weather is expected to improve on Sunday but more rain and storms are expected midweek.

This week's ferry strike has been extended by another 48 hours so the Blue Star did not come through at all today.  We are waiting to find out what is happening with the Blue Star next week. Between the weather and the strikes, travelling at this time of the year can be a tricky business. February is deepest winter in Greece and is often the coldest, wettest and windiest month, even though the days are growing longer.

As Greek Easter only falls on 1 May this year Carnival is later than usual so should miss the worst of it but the years where Easter is early and Carnival falls in February, celebrations sometimes call for contingency measures.  I remember one year where the Carnival party was actually held in the vehicle hold of the Symi car ferry in the pouring rain. That was back in the days of ANES, when Symi had its own ferry company and we were not subject to the whims of bigger players, trying to fit us into a much bigger picture. We tend to get a bit nostalgic at this time of the year as we remember the days when the Symi I would run at the last minute if there was a gap in the weather and Symi was not as isolated in the winter.

Have a good weekend.



Life on Symi in January

There are few clouds about but no rain is forecast for the next 10 days or so.

Baa baa black sheep among the daisies in Chorio.

As I walked up the short cut this morning I heard a snort behind me and  it turned out to be this dark brown donkey, also taking advantage of the abundance of daisies.

A palette that Gainsborough and Constable would envy.  

Looking  up the Kali Strata, the historic 19th century flight of steps that connects the old town of Chorio with the harbour, Yialos.  The lower storey of the houses on the right would  have been shops. The access to the upper floors is from steps at the side of the buildings or from the lane behind.

Pebble work outside one of the mansions on the Kali Strata.

The view from the Symi Visitor Accommodation office this morning. The Dodecanese Express was a welcome sight, stopping off from Rhodes on its way to Kos and beyond, bringing some essential supplies from Rhodes.  The ferry strike has been extended for another 48 hours so the soonest we are likely to see the Blue Star Diagoras again is likely to be Monday. when it does a special trip (currently not confirmed on their website).

A cheerful display of cyclamens and azaleas outside the Symi flower shop.
It is still chilly but the temperature is slowly rising into double figures again and we should have some balmy 15s and 18s in the next few days with light westerly winds.  Nights will remain cold and clear with heavy dew.

The on-going ferry strike is affecting the big boats operating out of Piraeus, specifically Blue Star ferries in the case of Symi.  Dodecanese Seaways is serving the island four days a week - Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday at present but as it is running in the 'wrong' direction, unfortunately it does not help anyone who needs to be in Rhodes during business hours during the week. The lack of big boats means that the bus is still stuck in Rhodes so we are sharing taxis and lifts and doing rather more walking than usual. Fortunately at this time of the year with most of the businesses on the island closed for the winter most of us don't need to go anywhere on a daily basis. It is the season for hibernating and doing all those domestic jobs there is no time for in the busy months of summer. We also watch a lot of television, read copious books and catch up on DVDs. Organising dinner parties and other social activities helps to keep us sane, particularly when one has to work around what is available on the island at the time - a tremendous spur to culinary creativity. Life on the smaller Greek islands is very quiet indeed in the winter and it is really important to be able to keep oneself amused and occupied.

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

Copyright (c) 2001-2015 Adriana Shum.

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