Small Pleasures and Simple Things

It is a warm sunny day on the small island of Symi in the southern Dodecanese. A strong westerly wind is pulling the clouds into ragged shapes and the pretty new umbrellas on the balconies of one of the waterfront pensions have all blown inside out like giant tulips. Waiters are chasing menu cards and escaped paper napkins down the quay and visitors are keeping a firm hand on their sun hats.

It is amazing how cool 30 degrees feels after temperatures in the forties. We are all sleeping better and even the mosquitoes seem to have taken a break for a few nights. Symi is a lot busier than it was a month ago, though still not up to the levels of two or three years ago, before the global economic crisis sent the developed world into a belt-tightening panic. The trend on Symi is for shorter holidays with a strong emphasis on self-catering. Visitors are weighing up whether to buy a slice of water melon from a cafĂ© for a euro a slice or buy a whole watermelon at 40 cents a kilo from the hawker’s truck in the back of the harbour. With a family, the whole watermelon and dad’s penknife definitely works out as the better deal!

Every morning there are queues at the bakeries as visitors buy the ingredients for picnics and packed lunches. Walking is back in fashion and there are fewer hire bikes and hire cars to be seen on the roads. The round the island excursion boats have reduced their prices considerably despite the huge hikes in fuel prices this year. The atmosphere is not one of austerity so much as a renewed delight in small pleasures and simple things. A glass of cold wine with friends on the terrace of the apartment rather than several rounds of drinks in a bar. A much anticipated boat trip as the culmination of a perfect holiday rather than a different organized outing every day. Talking to some of the visitors who have passed through the Symi Visitor Accommodation office in recent days, now that spend-spend-spend is no longer a life style option for most people, many find that life has become a lot less complicated and rather more enjoyable.

On that profound note I wish you all an enjoyable 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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