Happy Anticipation

The Blue Star, our lifeline for getting major goods and supplies onto the island at the moment.  This is the 'big boat' from Piraeus to Rhodes which stops off in Symi twice a week.  As it is subsidised to some extent it is considerably cheaper than the Dodecanese Seaways vessels but as it has to operate out of Akandia, the further most part of the commercial harbour, one can make up the difference in taxi fares into town.

Old chimneys on the Kali Strata.  Until the advent of electricity and bottled gas, everyone cooked on a wood fire on a small hearth.  As kitchen space was very small and in the summer no one wants to heat up the house, it was traditional to take dishes to the bakers for cooking in  his big bread ovens in the afternoon.  This was actually still happening when I first came here in 1993.   In some neighbourhoods there are also communal dome shaped ovens on a bit of open land.  First bottled gas appeared on the scene with two burner rings placed on the hearth and then when the electricity supply became more reliable, compact table top ovens with 2 or three burners on top that can be plugged in.  Very few homes on Symi have space for big Western style kitchens with full size ovens and hobs and these are usually only found in new builds.  Restored traditional houses have whatever appliances can be squeezed into the space available, bearing in mind the location of old fireplaces, cistern access hatches, niches, doors and windows.

The fig trees are starting to sprout again.  That is the Milos area of Chorio in the background, so called because of the row of ruined windmills ranged along the crest of the hill.

Sotiris supermarket in  Chorio with Spiros dutifully sweeping the street outside.  Shopkeepers and householders largely take responsibility for keeping their own stretch of pavement clean.  The packages ranged along the wall are big packs of frappe kits - disposable plastic shaker/cups sold with a sachet of Nescafe, a sachet of sugar and a small tub of evaporated milk.  These, with a big bottle of water and a packet of cigarettes, are what keeps the manual working population of Greece going through the day.  In the summer months the supermarket owners often freeze down bottles of water so that labourers can enjoy iced frappes on the job.

A comfortable place to sit with a frappe (see above) between hand mixing cement for repairs to the large house behind.

My bale of oyster mushrooms is continuing to produce. As long as shade temperatures continue to rise no higher than 20 degrees the funghi will keep on coming so we may have mushrooms for a couple more weeks before it becomes too hot.  Fresh mushrooms are very much a luxury in Greece in the summer months and it has only been in recent years that they have been available at all.  Tinned mushrooms of various types used to be the norm in tavernas and pizzerias.  Householders didn't worry too much about cooking dishes requiring fresh mushrooms in the summer because Greek island home cooking is still very much seasonal.  Why stuff a mushroom when you can stuff beautiful red peppers and tasty tomatoes for a fraction of the price?

Muscari, the wild grape hyacinth, is starting to appear on the embankments.

Poppies in the Pedi Valley
It is a little cooler today with high hazy cloud.  We may have a shower or two in the course of tomorrow, hopefully not on the Independence Day parade.  The children have been practising their marching and folk dancing in happy anticipation and mothers are escorting tots in delightful traditional costumes.  It is a lot noisier in the harbour than it has been in a long time with excited squeals and shouts coming from the children forming up over at the war memorial.  It is less than a month to Easter and about half way through the Lenten fast so having a celebration day tomorrow where meat and wine are allowed is most welcome.

Have a good week.


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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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