Capers and Caterpillars

Stavro working on giving the Chorio clinic a facelift.  At an age when most of his counterparts in more prosperous countries are retired he is still to be seen up ladders and painting houses.  Very few Greeks can afford to retire and many carry on working well into their seventies and eighties.

Mavrovouni, the hill behind the town hall in Yialos, is a mixture of ruins, restored genuine 19th century neo-classical houses and rebuilds in the same style.  As the hillside is very steep the houses are connected by flights of virtually perpendicular steps and little lanes running along the contours between the houses.  There is limited vehicle access from the back as the road to the helipad goes along the top of the hill but as with many areas of the harbour there is no escaping the steps.  The views, however, are well worth it.

The Blue Star ferry easing into Yialos on Wednesday morning.  The gulets lying off Harani would have been tied up at the clock tower for the night and then told to move for the arrival of the Blue Star.

Capers and caterpillars.  Every night the caper bushes produce these short-lived but wonderful white and pink flowers with exaggerated stamens. They shrivel and burn up in the course of the day so one has to be up early to see them. The tender leaves, which the Symiots also pickle, are irresistible to caterpillars and if you look carefully you will see green and black ones munching their way up the stems.  Unfortunately without caterpillars we do not have butterflies - as with so many things in life, compromise is the name of the game.

Close up of a caper flower. This one was growing in a ruin on the Kali Strata and the caterpillars have not found it yet.
Symi grows busier by the day and our phones are ringing off the hook with people looking for last minute accommodation for August. There are a few gaps here and there but it is largely a case of taking what one can find, when one can find it.

The island's water department is still juggling the water supplies to different areas and in Chorio we are still rationed to 3 mornings a week.  With the island's population swelling as we go into the busiest time of the year we are all being very frugal.  Our office air conditioning unit has a bucket under the vent pipe so the water that the air conditioner pulls out of the air during operation can be used for flushing the office loo.  Others are collecting this free water for mopping floors and watering plants.

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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