Symi in September

Don't be fooled by this autumnal view of Pedi bay - the temperatures on Symi have been in the forties this week, an abnormal heatwave for this time of the year.

One morning this week, on my way to work, I spotted this black cat watching a desiccated bush with great interest.

Closer inspection revealed two hens and two chicks hiding in the undergrowth so I tossed a pebble against the wall behind the cat and distracted it while the mums and their young made a dash for the safety of  a nearby stable.  As of this morning both chicks are still accounted for.  What is interesting is how well camouflaged the local feral poultry are in this landscape.

A young donkey shares a joke.  He has fresh vine prunings for his breakfast. The two terracotta buildings in the background are the Taxiarchis hotel in Chorio.

Travelling salesmen and hawkers are very much a part of the island landscape. The one on the right is taking advantage of the fact that the hunting season opens next week and is selling strong boots, camo pants and safety jackets (well, if you are camouflaged to blend into the landscape, of course you need a luminous red vest so no one shoots you by accident...). The blue van on the left is selling bananas and potatoes and evidently prefers a lie in in the morning. That is the Chorio clinic in the background.

Waiting for the Blue Star on Wednesday morning.  

There are still a few late season motor yachts around.

The departing Blue Star on Friday morning.  These big boats really dwarf the clock tower and surrounding buildings.

Symi is quite full at the moment and the water taxis are very busy. September has always been a popular month with the island's regular visitors and this year is no exception.

A flourishing vine on the Kali Strata.
Symi has been sweltering in a late season heatwave as the big dust storm that has affected Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon and Israel also pushed up temperatures in the south-east Aegean.  The wind direction should change this weekend, bringing some relief from the extreme heat and fine, all pervading dust.

The school year started today and when I went out to do some errands an hour or so ago local mothers were accompanying their children home from their first day at primary school.  Here on Symi, the island's schooling covers all ages from kindergarten to high school so children only have to leave home when they go on to college or university - one of the advantages of having a reasonably large permanent population (about 2600 people).  Many Greek islands have populations that can be counted in the hundreds rather than the thousands and young families are forced to go further afield to educate their children.

It has been a quiet week in terms of refugee arrivals. Dark nights mean fewer people risking making the crossing in inflatable boats and those who have arrived have been processed quite quickly and have already moved on to the next step of their journey.  We never know from one day to the next how many people may be arriving so we have to be prepared to cope at short notice with however many may arrive. The closest thing to advance notice is when refugees are spotted on the rocks around Symi and the coastguard goes to rescue them as at that point Solidarity Symi gets a call to say that so many people will be coming in in the next hour or so.  If you would like to donate to our winter collection, please click on  If you are on the island and would like to make a cash donation which goes to providing basic food, water and medicines for those in need, our collection boxes are at the Symi Visitor office, the Old Markets hotel and also at the refugee relief centre in the old post office by the police station and clock tower.

Still on the subject of refugees I was talking to someone in the office today who was under the misconception that when refugees arrive here their on-going journey is paid for by the Greek state. This is not the case.  The refugees must pay for their own ferry tickets on to Pireus and beyond.  All they get from the Greek government is the normal 'prison rations' for the 24 hours that they are effectively in detention on arrival and travel documents that enable them to travel legally through Greece within a restricted time frame.

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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