Expect the Unexpected

The view from my office window at Symi Visitor Accommodation on Tuesday - a touch of glamour.

The view from my office window at Symi Visitor Accommodation on Wednesday - note the bicycles!

The view from my office window at Symi Visitor Accommodation on Thursday - that party banner appeared over night.

The view of the Mouragio with Harani behind, as seen from the look out point near the top of the Kali Strata above the Gymnasium (high school).  Accommodation on that face of Harani includes Villa Nicola and Villa Karnayo.

The end of the holiday - a family wheeling their suitcases through the deserted lanes to catch the 7.45 Dodecanese Seaways catamaran to Rhodes.

There is going to be a satirical play in Symi dialect in the square in Yialos on Saturday night.

Pedi Bay in the early morning mist.

Pedi bay on Thursday afternoon.  Much quieter and cooler than Yialos, this little seaside village is only a few minutes from Chorio on the bus.  Villa Jasmine, the house in the centre of this photograph, one tier up from the sea, is a beautiful holiday home only minutes from the beach.

A tranquil moment in Pedi Bay.

One of the oldest parts of Chorio, as seen from the town square.  This area is most easily reached on foot by climbing the Kataraktis path, the original route connecting Chorio with Yialos, and many people living in the area use that route rather than the long way round via the centre of Chorio and the Kali Strata.  Although scooters and motorbikes can get relatively close, using the round that goes round the Kastro from the back of the Chorio square, the nearest car access is Periotissa, a good 10 minutes walk or more for most of the houses you can see in this photograph. The houses have views of the back of the amphitheatre harbour and the town square rather than sea views although some are high up enough to have panoramic views across to Nimborio bay and Nimos island.  As you can see the area has a semi rural feel to it and there are some old farm houses straggling off to the right.  Symi's sheep are accustomed to steep slopes!

Far from the hustle and bustle of glamorous Yialos sheep graze in a field in Lieni at the top of the Pedi Valley.

With more steps than roads, donkeys, mules and ponies are indispensable for transporting building materials. This is far more expensive and time-consuming than being able to just drive up to a building site with a lorry and dump a load of materials.  Restoring old houses on Symi is very much a labour of love. 
Symi is full to over-flowing. The normal population is about 2500 permanent residents.  In the first two weeks of August this more than doubles to around 6000 people and the island's infrastructure is stretched to its limits.  Every year the municipality has to juggle Symi's resources to make water supplies stretch as far as possible and the power company has to cope with the increased demands of all those air conditioners.  So far this year power cuts have been minimal and the only area that seems to be experiencing serious water issues is Harani - not surprising really as when the reservoir for that area was built there were far few buildings, restaurants and holiday lets in the area and the infrastructure has not been able to keep up with the increasing demands over the years.

Fortunately Symi is more than just pressurised water and air conditioners.  Indeed, when tourism first started on the island in the 1970s the island had neither and people were still happy to visit and come back for more.
Symi has an idiosyncratic charm all of its own and demands that its visitors 'go with the flow'.  Expect the unexpected and savour those moments that are unique. The clear warm sea.  The beautiful architecture. The ever-changing show of yachts large and small in the harbour. The pavement cafes.  The grilled octopus on your plate at the water side taverna, caught only this morning.  The perfection of a sun-ripened tomato or voluptuous fig, still warm from the tree. When celebrated author, Lawrence Durrell, was told of water shortages in Rhodes after the Second World War he famously proclaimed that he was happy to bathe in wine if need be.  It is that sort of attitude that can carry one through a high summer water shortage on a Greek island.

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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