August Panagia Holiday 2015

Some of the motor yachts at this time of the year are the size of small ferries.

I wonder what the refugees waiting in line on the verandah of the police station (the white Italian villa on the corner) think of it all.  From war zone to refugee camp to long overland journey on foot and in trucks, then the dangerous journey across in an overloaded inflatable boat - it must all seem somewhat surreal to then be confronted by the obvious affluence of the megayachts visiting Symi in the summer. 

This big blue yacht has been in Symi all week.

Thursday afternoon, looking down from the area of Charitomeni restaurant.

Early morning and there's that blue yacht again. The sun is just catching the monastery on Nimos, an island separated from Symi by a very narrow and shallow channel of water.  Nimos is a barren place populated by flocks of goats.

The Panagia Skiadeni, our current daily connection between Symi and Rhodes.  Look at those bougainvilleas among the houses behind.

Excursion boats, fishing boats, yacht tenders, yachts both sail and power - Yialos is a busy place in August.

The Symi branch of the National Bank of Greece (Ethniki).  The ATM is just inside the entrance and we once again remind visitors that it is only Greek account holders who are restricted to 60 euros per day (420 euros per week).  Visitors and foreign account holders can make withdrawals up to their usual daily limits.

Steps in Chorio.  Look at how the ochre ones change direction.

A touch of the exotic - lantana on the Kali Strata
The first fortnight of August is traditionally the busiest period in tourism in Greek. This year is rather quieter than usual as so few Greeks are able to take their summer family holidays but Symi is still bustling.  When I come down the Kali Strata in the mornings, visitors from yachts are toiling up, cameras in hand, to look at the mansions and examine the architecture for which Symi is famous.  When I reach the bottom, the grocers, supermarkets and bakeries are full of liveried yacht crews, picking up fresh bread and other provisions for breakfast on board.  Most food-related outlets open at 7 or thereabouts at this time of the year to catch the lucrative yachting trade.

The evenings are not as busy as they usually are for this time of the year and the tavernas and bars are quieter than usual, with fewer customers.  There was traditional dancing in the town square in Yialos last night and there is a recital at the clock tower tonight.  There will be the usual late night festivities at the Alethini on the Pedi road to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin.  Various posters are up around the town, advertising the different events.

We have been getting a lot of last minute enquiries for late August, September and October bookings so not everyone has been deterred by the hyperbole in the media regarding the situation in Kos and various other related Greek dramas. Please remember, sensationalism sells papers and draws television viewers.  No one is going around interviewing happy holiday makers lying on the beach at Nanou or eating an elegant lunch at Agia Marina because that isn't exciting or dramatic and doesn't reinforce preconceived agendas.  Please feel free to email us if you have any questions about what life is really like on Symi right now.

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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