The Last of the August Postcards from Symi

An armada of Turkish yachts in Yialos.  This photograph was actually taken on Tuesday morning last week, the last time the verandah of the police station was empty as the previous refugees had left and the newcomers had not yet started to arrive.  At the moment there are about 500 refugees on Symi, all at various stages in the bureaucratic process, including the family of the Iraqi teenager who was tragically killed in an incident between the coast guard and three people traffickers on Saturday afternoon.  Most of these refugees should be able to leave on Wednesday's Blue Star but as there are arrivals nearly every day the spaces don't remain empty for long.

It does not rain on Symi for many months in the summer so arrangements like this one where an outdoor living room is created work very well.  With Symi's exceptionally low crime rate one does not need to worry about taking everything in every night and on hot summer nights it is actually very pleasant to sleep outside, under the stars.  This Greek gazebo is on the Kali Strata.

The gable of one of the neo-classical mansions for which Symi is famous.  This one is on the Kastro, overlooking the Kali Strata.

The taverna downstairs is well maintained but the upper storey of this building in Yialos, like many others in the back streets, is declining quietly into abject neglect. The next time you are wandering around the back lanes of Yialos, look up and you will see many elegant buildings subsiding into dilapidation.  Restoring  and maintaining Symi's houses is an expensive business and not every absent property own can afford to do it.

The view from the Symi Visitor Accommodation office this morning.

Wrestling a pram onto a water taxi.  Most of Symi's beaches can only be reached by boat as they are surrounded by cliffs. The island's only motor road runs down the centre of the island, with rugged crags and cliffs running down to the sea on both sides.    

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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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