Chickens and Kittens

Yialos, 9.25 this morning and the Dodecanese Seaways docks, en route to Kos and other points north.  We are now on a reduced ferry schedule for the winter and the Pride or Express only comes through on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings.  The water taxis are conspicuous by their absence - they are now out of the water for the winter.

The view from the Symi Visitor Accommodation winter at half past nine this morning.  The flags are for the Ochi Day parade which will take place later today.  That is also probably why there were quite a lot of people coming off the catamaran, over from Rhodes for the bank holiday long weekend.  Many Symiots now live, study and work in Rhodes and come back to see their families for holidays such as this one.

No matter where one is in the world, fishing boats are irresistibly photogenic.

Do not disturb.  One of the kittens living outside the carpenter's shop at the bottom of the Kali Strata enjoying a lie in this morning.

Colour co-ordinated in Chorio.

A still and misty morning in Pedi.

Symi is a famously steep island and it is very difficult to get away from steps, particularly in the celebrated amphitheatre harbour where the houses are built into the cliffs and hillsides. This may be a contributory factor to the famed longevity of the Symiots as they are constantly going up and down steps all their lives. Very few properties in the harbour have vehicle access in any form and many entail climbs of 100 steps or more to reach them.  Up in Chorio the terrain is gentler with winding lanes, slopes and occasional shallow steps rather than perpendicular flights like this one. This is why when people contact us about accommodation and say that they have mobility problems, we usually recommend houses such as Villa Anastasia in Chorio rather than properties in the harbour where steps may be unavoidable.

As the traditonal buildings on Symi are quite small no one wants to waste precious internal space on staircases.  Accesses like this are not unusual in the back lanes of Yialos.  While most furniture can be dismantled, moving fridges and other heavy items must be quite a challenge when confronted by a spiral like this one!  Ropes and pulleys spring to mind.

Lining up to cross the road in Lieni.  Amazingly, despite the proliferation of free range or effectively feral poultry living on the only road out of town and at one of its busiest stretches, I have never seen so much as a feather, never mind a fatality, so perhaps Symiot chickens have more road sense than most and can cross the road with impunity.
Symi continues to enjoy exceptionally mild weather this October.  Temperatures are still in the 18-25 degrees centigrade range and rain continues to elude us.  The long range forecast predicts a slight fall in temperatures from Sunday with quite strong northerly winds.   The clocks change in Greece and the rest of the EU on Sunday.  As Symi is so steep many places on the north-facing slopes are already in shadow for much of the day and we will soon be smelling wood smoke in the evenings as the evenings become chillier.

Today is Ochi Day, the day General Metaxa, the dictator governing Greece at the time, said 'No' to Mussolini and Greece found itself embroiled in World War 2.  It is a bank holiday so many businesses are closed today.  The day starts with a church service in St John's church, Symi's cathedral at the back of Yialos and the seat of Metropolitan (similar to a bishop). This is then followed by a parade and wreath-laying ceremony at Symi's war memorial in Yialos. All the school children take part in the parade and it is an opportunity for families to get together afterwards for gyros or lunch at one of the traditional tavernas in the harbour.  In the big cities of Athens and Thessalonika there are big military parades and fly-pasts but on Symi celebrations are much simpler and involve the whole community.

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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