Panormitis 2014

The carpet sellers, at the entrance to Panormitis monastery.  The building on the left, just inside the gates, is a taverna with accommodation above.

Handmade baskets for sale next to the memorial to the Abbot and the Allied soldiers who were killed in the Second World War.

Popcorn, pancakes, doughnuts, grilled corn and Nescafe.  There were tables and BBQs set up in the area behind for those who prefer souvlaki and salad.

Artisanal cheeses from Crete.

The queue at the ferry ticket office.  As the strong winds and heavy swell had disrupted the ferry schedule for the festival, many people found themselves stranded and forced to spend another night at the monastery. The lucky ones stay in the rooms behind those colonnades.

The less fortunate ones sleep on camp beds or mattresses on the verandahs of the monastery courtyard.  There were also quite a few elderly women sound asleep on the pews inside the church.

Once the ceremonies are over, everyone wants to go home - tricky when home is on another island and the ferries aren't running.

The Italianate angels and stars inside the entrance to the monastery, beneath the bell tower.

Killing time at the kafeneion, waiting for news about boats.

The Dodecanese Seaways catamaran was finally able to make its first trip of the day at 4 p.m.
The first time I ever went to the Panormitis Festival was in 1993, when we were living on board our boat at anchor in Panormitis bay.  In those days it was still a dirt road from Panormitis to Chorio and Yialos and very few Symiots had vehicles capable of making the journey across the island on what was quite a hair-raising track.  Instead the majority of people came by boat, not just Symiots but also from other islands. ANES, Symi's now defunct ferry service, had the Symi I and Symi II and then dozens of caiques and small inter-island ferries from places like Tilos, Nissyros and further afield, filled the bay, all brightly decorated with flags.  Those who didn't have rooms booked at the monastery slept on the boats on which they had travelled.  That first year I remember there was a Luna Park (fairground). This arrived, with great difficulty, via the dirt road, having come off the Milena or the Marina, one of the two big car ferries serving Symi at that time.  We sat on the after deck of our boat, watching the convoy slowly inching down the mountain a couple of days before the festival and then crawling back up again in the days that followed.

Now the Symiots hop into their SUVs and whizz across the island in half an hour and everyone else comes with either the Dodecanese Seaways catamarans direct into Panormitis bay or with the Blue Star into Yialos, taking the bus across from Yialos. A few stalwarts, Symiot and foreign residents, came across on foot - a walk of about 3 hours if you know the short cuts using the old traditional footpaths, longer if you stick to the tarred road.

There was a big thunderstorm with torrential rain in the early hours of Sunday morning, doubtless not appreciated by those camping on the terraces at Panormitis, but the wind settled after that and the Blue Star came through Yialos only about half an hour late on Sunday morning.  Most of the pilgrims have left now and this week really marks the beginning of the winter season on Symi.  From here on Dodecanese Seaways will only stop in Symi on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  The Blue Star on Wednesdays and Fridays is the only way to get to Rhodes during the week and as this is affected by weather in the Saronic Gulf and the central and northern Aegean, our connections with the outside world become more precarious.

Another weather front is expected to reach us towards the end of the week, bringing more rain and wind.  Temperatures, however, still remain mild with midday highs of around 22 degrees centigrade and evening lows around 18 degrees centigrade.

Have a good week.

Regards,
Adriana

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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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