Life on Symi in August

Waiting at the clock tower for the Blue Star Paros on Friday morning.  The exodus has begun and many people who have summer houses here or who have been visiting friends and relations for the August holidays are now heading for home.  It is a little odd at first, hearing people wishing each other 'kalo chimona' (happy winter) when winter is still several months away and temperatures remain steadfastly in the thirties but that is the traditional farewell at this time of the year.  Everyone hopes to be reunited, same time, same place, next year.

The tinsmith's shop building is undergoing a major restoration.  It has a new roof, new ceilings and floors, fresh plaster and lots of attractive exposed traditional stone work.  It is encouraging to see a project like this being undertaken at a time when there is little money circulating. As Symi is a heritage site and the architecture is protected a project like this requires a great deal of attention to detail, particularly as it is in a landmark position.  It is not clear in the photograph but the horizontal lines above the windows and beneath the pediment are the edges of embedded tiles, matching the ones on the adjoining half of the building.

Symi's new wellness centre at the back of the town square is another landmark building.  Activities and events are advertised on the chalkboard as well as on Facebook and visitors are welcome.

Presumably the location for this sundial was chosen for decorative reasons rather than functionality as it is quite emphatically in the shade.

The back of St John's church, Symi's cathedral, in Yialos. The adjoining building with the blue windows is the Petrideon, the junior school that serves Yialos.  Out of a population of about 2800 people there are around 300 children of school-going age so there are schools in both Yialos and Chorio for the younger children and then a high school, the Panormiteon, just below the Kali Strata as well as a technical school on the bend in the road in Chorio.  Once upon a time there was also a school house down in Pedi but this is now the mini-market.

Symi has many contrasts, not least because the owners of many properties have long since emigrated to far flung places like Australia and the USA, leaving their houses to slowly crumble away.  At the time of their departure, a house on Symi had little or no value and subsequent generations may have had neither the time nor the money to return to the island. It is not unusual to see scenes like this one, where immaculately restored buildings and neglected ruins co-exist side by side.

Strutting their stuff - three pullets below the road in Lieni.  They are surviving remarkably well considering that they are living free range on the busiest bend in the road to Panormitis and can often be seen making a mad dash from one side to the other in search of some new morsel.  The origins of all those jokes about chickens crossing roads must have started in similar situations.
August is drawing to a close.  It is still hot and humid and people do tend to linger wherever there may be a fan or air conditioning.  Twenty years ago few houses had air conditioning and fans were the only method of cooling.  I was working in a taverna in those days and often had to walk home late on hot summer nights.  As I passed houses in Chorio I would pass people sleeping on their balconies and terraces or with all the doors and windows open and I would hear the whir of fans and gentle snoring.

We have had quite a lot of late bookings, mainly for September and October and it looks as though the end of the season may well be busier than the beginning. We are also getting lots of enquiries for 2017 which is always encouraging.  Remember, we start confirming bookings for 2017 at the end of October but if you have a specific property in mind you are welcome to email us now to hold it for you.

Have a good weekend.

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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