Some Wonderful Stuff

It is a cool and cloudy autumnal day on Symi with the thermometer still at 18 degrees at midmorning. The weather is expected to remain calm but chilly for the next few days with the possibility of rain early next week as the depression which is currently pounding Italy and the Balkans slowly drifts eastwards. Very little came out of Wednesday’s showers apart from a significant drop in temperatures and it is almost cold out of the sun. Definitely time to switch from iced frappes to hot coffee!

Up in Chorio a few lingering hawkers are still forlornly peddling toys and cheap Chinese tools left over from last weekend’s Panormitis festival. The Symiot housewives seemed to be more interested in the truck next door, however, which was selling cauliflowers, potatoes and some impressive loose-headed cabbages, perfect for lahanodolmades. At this time of the year the vegetable hawkers that come over from the market in Rhodes have some wonderful stuff and it is difficult to avoid buying far more than one can conceivably eat before it deteriorates, just because it all looks so splendid. Although we can now buy mangoes and avocadoes in Symiot supermarkets more or less any old time, fresh produce on Symi is still predominantly seasonal and arrives cheerfully naked in crates with mud still clinging here and there. While the Eurocrats may have finally realized that legislating against crooked carrots is daft, the Greeks have been eating their fruit and vegetables as nature made them for years.

Down in the harbour the main focal point is the yellow no-parking lines which are creeping round the waterfront, carefully painted by two municipal employees under the watchful gaze of the locals. The blitz on parking offences has turned into a continuous patrol and the issuing of pink parking tickets. The double yellow lines all round the quay ensure that no one can now plead ignorance. The main issue now, of course, is where do people park their cars and bikes instead? A problem which the town hall is going to have to address with some alacrity as parking in Yialos is in short supply at the best of times and the town square is home to some vehicles that haven’t moved for years. And, at this time of the year, small boats are traditionally pulled up the customs slipway and tethered to the oleanders in the square (a precaution taken ever since the flood in December 1999 when some of them floated back into the sea!) for winter maintenance. There could be some interesting arguments ahead!

Fortunately all this is taking place well in advance of the 2009 tourist season so a solution will no doubt have been found by the time the first visitors arrive in the spring. Certainly it will have the effect of discouraging visitors as well as locals from bringing vehicles into the harbour area and that means a more pedestrian-friendly environment for everyone.

Have a peaceful weekend.


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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 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

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