September and Solidarity on Symi

This week's cruise ship was quite glamorous.

The homely and dependable Blue Star Diagoras.

The fish market in Yialos serves a dual purpose these days - a venue for locals to sell their fish and also shelter for refugees who often sleep on the benches overnight.

There used to a castle on this mound, variously referred to as either the Kastro or Symi's acropolis.  All that is left now is the remnants of stone walls that you can see below the white and blue church.  Built by the Knights of St John, it was already fairly tumble down when it was blown up by the retreating Germans during the Second World War. They had been using it as a munitions store.  While the explosion destroyed much of upper Chorio, the only fatality was, apparently, an elderly woman who refused to leave her home. The rest escaped because a German soldier tipped off the locals.  Some of the ruined houses have been rebuilt but as they are difficult to get to through the narrow winding lanes and thus expensive to reconstruct, many of the displaced families relocated to other more accessible parts of Chorio and Yialos, selling off their ruins to foreigners who enjoyed the challenge of rebuilding a pre-neoclassical ruin and did not mind the expense.

Symi has two clinics.This is the one in Chorio.  The blue trim is a recent addition.  This building was originally a flour store and granary for the nearby windmills and then an army barracks before being converted into a clinic about 8 years ago. The road to the left of the photograph is the main road that connects Chorio with Yialos, Pedi and Panormitis. The narrow road to the right runs down to the Taxiarchis Hotel.

The untidy old sheds between the clinic and Kampos supermarket in Chorio were demolished this week. As is so often the case on Symi, the remains of an old house were revealed below.  We are all waiting with interest to see what happens next.

An eye-catching touch on the doors of the herb and coffee shop at the top of the Kali Strata in Chorio.

This photograph was sheer fluke but I am quite pleased with it.

Giving our equine neighbours a drink on a hot day.

It is September, one of the busiest months of the year as many of Symi's regular visitors come at this time of the year.  It is still hot but not as crowded as August and as the schools are back it is very much a couples month. September is also a popular month for weddings and we are organising one at Agios Emilianos and Toli bay tomorrow.

Meanwhile the Solidarity Symi refugee centre received an amazing donation yesterday.  A group of expats and Turks from Datca chartered a gulet, the Bora, and brought over a boat-load of donations of all kinds which they had collected in the Datca community over the course of a week.  At the moment the most immediate need is for mens things, particularly shorts which can be used for swimming (this helps with the shower issues!) and men's shoes. We have been overwhelmed by items for children and as we only have very limited storage at the old post office we need to prioritise. There are regular daily updates on the Solidarity Symi Facebook page, announcing whatever items are currently in greatest demand.  Cash donations are also very welcome as they help to pay for food and water which we distribute on a daily basis. There are collection boxes at the Symi Visitor Accommodation office, the Old Markets Hotel and also at the refugee centre at the old Post Office next to the police station. You can also donate on line here.  On line donations will be used to improve infrastructure in time for the winter.  People are doing things at a grass roots level to help and it is making an amazing difference to the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

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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