Shorter Holidays

The new supermarket is in the cream building on the right.

It is a bright sunny summer’s day on the small island of Symi in the southern Dodecanese. While the rest of Greece grumbles about striking truck drivers it is business as usual here on Symi and the main news of the day is that Taxas Supermarket’s amazing new premises are finally open. A stately neo-classical mansion has been successfully transformed, over a number of years and with a great deal of hard work, into a modern and convenient supermarket. While most readers of this column might not find the concept of a supermarket with trolleys in any way worthy of excitement, for Symi this is indeed a first and ranks along with the arrival of the first bus and the advent of the first car hire as an milestone in the island’s modern history. As it is the only supermarket on the island that takes credit cards there are also two check out desks, one labeled CASH ONLY and the other labeled CASH AND CREDIT CARDS. Various visitors have been spotted lingering by the cold displays, murmuring ‘It’s just like Tescos’ while Yanni proudly takes regular customers on conducted tours to admire the chilled fruit and veg display and the deli counter. As an aside, when I first came here in 1993 this was the only supermarket on Symi to sell pet food and then only in the summer so that sentimental tourists could feed the feral cats ‘proper’ food instead of taverna scraps. Now every grocer and supermarket on the island sells pet food all year round.

Another landmark on the island’s retail map is Gompos, the new ‘cash and carry’ which has opened in the old Fish Farm building next to the fuel station at Petalo. Tavernas and restaurants can now place their bulk orders locally and as it is also available for private individuals who want to buy in bulk there are many Symi householders wrestling with that classic cash and carry conundrum, how to fit all those toilet rolls into a very small house…

Still life with shutters, taverna table and two cats.

Survival of the cutest

Symi is now heading into the busiest time of the year and for the next fortnight or so the island will be bursting at the seams. We have visitors arriving or departing on every boat tomorrow and that marks the start of a month where that will be the case more often than not. Hotels, houses and apartments are full but as so many people are taking shorter holidays than usual this year there are still occasional short stay gaps available in the latter part of the month so if you are looking for a last minute minibreak and can find flights, it is worth enquiring.

Have a good 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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