Cruise Ships of All Shapes and Sizes

Winter has come to the small island of Symi in the Dodecanese.  The trappings of summer are being packed away and the winter drop cloths and weather proof furniture being packed out at the various coffee shops around the harbour. It is only a matter of time before the gas space heaters appear behind the plastic weather curtains.   Most tourist businesses are now closed and it is only those who get some lingering day tripper and yachting trade that are still open down in Yialos.  As business life on the island winds down, Symi’s winter cultural life is perking up.  Last weekend Ian Haycox’s art classes for adults and children began and and the posters are now up to advertise Rhiannon Wheeler’s very popular ballet and dance classes. 

Cruise ships in Rhodes on 19 October 2011

Rhodes has a large pack of feral dogs and while we were taking the photograph above, the whole bouncing crew came out of the gate of the Old Town, waited for the traffic lights to change, and then rushed across the road to the beach.  In the past on hot days we have seen them swimming at this little beach between Kolonna and the main commercial harbour but this time they were intent on checking for left over sandwiches and other edibles.

 With all the strikes many of the fuel stations around the country are running low on fuel. We tried several before finding this one near Akandia which still had one pump open.

Fresh food for Symi - with no car ferries at the moment Symi and the other islands are dependent on whatever can be crammed onto the Dodecanese Seaways catamarans as they pass through.

This cruise ship was anchored off Nimos on Wednesday. Guests came ashore in small boats to visit Symi.

I was in Rhodes earlier in the week, sorting out my Aegean Airlines flight to the UK which was affected by the strikes mid-week so I am now flying tomorrow instead.  Rhodes was packed with cruise ships of all shapes, sizes and levels of glamour.  They did not seem to be affected by the various strikes whereas the commercial ships were all lying at anchor off shore and there were no ferries, just the trusty Dodecanese Seaways service from Kolonna.  In the absence of a car ferry service to the islands this week this was packed with produce when we came back on it on Wednesday morning.  Mr Spanos himself was supervising the loading when we left Kolonna and the slickness of the operation is impressive.  When the ferry got to Symi and the saloon doors opened to let the passengers out, the wheeled crates with all the goods and luggage for Symi were already on the dock for locals to unpack.  Those crates which were emptied in the time it took for the new passengers to embark were hauled back on board and the remainer left on the quay to be picked up when the boat passed through again on her south bound route in the evening. Turn around time 10 minutes.

Rhodes reflects the changing demographic of tourism in the area, with many signs up in Russian, Polish and Hebrew.  We hired a car to get to the airport and back as it worked out cheaper than taking the taxi both ways and as we were in Rhodes anyway we had other errands to do to make the most of the time.  The man from Budget Rent-a-Car who served us was a Lebanese Greek from Beirut, fluent in Greek, English, French, Arabic and Hebrew.

All being well I will be in England until 10 November so my next blog will be on my return.


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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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