Peaceful as Always

The Kali Strata in the early morning.

Today is not just the first day of a new month but also the first day of what is generally regarded as high season on Symi. July, August and September are the three high season months, with the first 2-3 weeks of August traditionally being the busiest of them all. Symi has been filling up steadily with people, not all of them guests for the various high profile weddings taking place on the island at the moment. Apart from visitors staying on the island there is a constantly changing population afloat as cruise ships large and small pass through Symi, not to mention yachts and megayachts, humble liveaboards and flotilla boats. I never know what sights will await me as I turn the corner at the top of the Kali Strata on my walk to work each morning.

Old style elegance...

... and new style opulence.

Now that we have a reasonably reliable twice weekly connection with Pireaus in the form of the Blue Star Diagoras on Tuesdays and Wednesdays the hawkers are back. These trucks sell everything from pot plants and garden furniture to cooking pots, onions and live poultry. When I first came to Symi in the 1990s these peripatetic sellers were an essential service to the islanders, not just Symiots but many other small islands besides, providing many of life’s basic necessities, even if the patterns seldom matched what one already had and it was often a case of buying what they had or going without. Then came the boom years with more shops and better shopping available locally and buying cheap items from a truck at the corner of the street went out of fashion. Now that the recession is taking its toll and many small businesses have closed their doors because there is not sufficient trade to pay the rent all year round, the hawkers are once again in the ascendant. Trucks trundling up and down the hills with load hailers, broadcasting their wares, are a colourful part of island life, even if it is a gruelling lifestyle for those who do it.

Poultry on the move

While Athens and the decisions taken by the Greek government may be making the international news, here on Symi life is peaceful as always. Even the two days of Greek strikes followed by a day of UK strikes had little ripple effect here and those who arrived late on Symi yesterday morning did so because they had overslept and missed the boat rather than any great drama or adventures en route.

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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