Kalo Mina!

The remnants of a child's birthday party on the Kali Strata. Look out for this rather distinctive facade and plant pots on your way up or down as the building opposite is...

... the current home of the Symi Gallery where a new exhibition opens this evening.

An amazingly detailed facade on an old mansion on the Kali Strata. This building is a true landmark.

Street names are largely ignored on Symi.  This is the official name of the Kali Strata.  Ierou Lochou means Sacred Band, the group of crack Greek troops formed during the Second World War, named after the Sacred Band of Thebes.  Virtually have town, city and village in Greece has an Ierou Lochou street.

As we go into the first week of August, the busiest time of the year in Greece, Yialos remains packed with yachts and gulets.

The line up of excursion boats and water taxis at the head of the harbour, Yialos.

The big floating crane that is operating near Petalo and the fuel station, arranging the concrete blocks for the new commercial jetty. Yes, that is the road from Yialos to Chorio, Pedi and Panormitis passing above.

A chapel bell tower in Lieni.

As the figs ripen in the sun they start to exude sugar syrup.

An old trunk from a house that is being gutted for restoration.  As Symi houses are very small and have limited storage space, trunks and chests were a common form of storage, particularly in the days of sponge fishing when the menfolk would be away for months at a time and lived out of their seachests.
Kalo Mina!  Good month!  The traditional greeting on the first of each month and particularly significant at this time of the year as the first two weeks of August are the busiest of the tourist season, coming to a peak with the Assumption Holiday on 15 August.  In all the Catholic and Orthodox countries the celebration of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin is a major holiday which is why the first two weeks of August have traditionally been the summer holiday period in those countries.  As the Eid visitors from Turkey depart, the August holiday makers are arriving in their droves and Symi is bursting at the seams.  All of our houses are full and there is very little accommodation still available on the island. Anyone who has left it to the last minute to find somewhere to stay - or to book ferry tickets - may well be disappointed as the ferries are packed too. The ferry websites are www.12ne.gr/en and www.bluestarferries.gr and it really is important to book your tickets well in advance.  Now that we no longer have ANES, Symi's own ferry company, we are dependent on boats that serve many other destinations as well so naturally they are serving a far wider client base.

This is the fortnight when many seasonal businesses have to make their winter rent money and hope that their earnings will tide them through an increasingly long and hard winter as economic recovery is slow in coming to the islands. No wonder, then, that the shopkeepers, barkeepers and taverna owners of Symi are wishing each other Kalo Mina!

Cultural events this weekend include the opening of a new exhibition at the Symi Gallery featuring photographs by Ged Horton and collages by Ian Haycox, and the annual Symi Shrimp Festival on Saturday evening.  This will take place in the Syllogos Square in Chorio and will feature traditional music and dancing in addition to bountiful Symi shrimp!  You are all welcome.

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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