Symi Christmas Countdown

If there are any mycologists out there, does anyone know what kind of fungus this is?  It is growing on the stump of a dead deciduous tree in my garden on Symi and is quite impressive.

This shack probably has one of the best views in Pedi, high above all the other buildings. It does,  however, seem to lack some basic creature comforts. Sometimes one needs a bit more than just a panoramic view!  For a more comfortable stay that still has fabulous views, try Villa Jasmine.

There isn't much for children to do in a small and isolated place like Symi and treats are scarce, so this travelling fairground that has appeared in the town square in Yialos is a welcome sight for any parent of children under 10. There has also been a 3-day Christmas fair with face-painting and other amusements for Symi's children in the new sports facility in Chorio which was, by all accounts, a great success.

Symi's 'train station' . The noddy train has been packed away for the winter and the travelling vegetable hawkers make use of the spot instead. Boats are a popular motif for Christmas decorations at this time of the year. The Greeks are a sea-faring nation and have been since ancient times.

An elaborately painted pediment on the waterfront in Yialos.

Garlic in the boatyard in Harani.

Autumn colours.

Indoor bathrooms are a relatively recent innovation on an island that has always been short of water.

Working underneath a boat can be backbreaking work.  A little stool to sit on is much more comfortable that squatting  or perching on an old crate.

The Poseidon excursion boat from an unfamiliar angle 

A neglected and uninhabited old mansion in Harani.  It has not had to good fortune to be restored like the one next door which is now the Dorian hotel or the one in front which is the Aliki.  Restoring these old places is very expensive and a real labour of love.  In the present economic climate few people  have the resources to tackle such ambitious projects which may offer no real financial return.

Looking across at Pitini and Milos (the windmills) from the Mouragio, the section of Yialos by the clock tower.

Oranges ripening outside the police station in Yialos.  The oranges on Symi are usually very bitter and not suitable for anything apart from making glykos, candied rolls of orange peel.  Some of the foreign residents make marmalade as the bitter flesh is so full of pectin there is no problem with getting a good set.
It is a chilly Monday morning on Symi.  Midday highs are around 12 degrees centigrade and night time temperatures are around 7 degrees.  North facing properties that get little or no sun in December are much colder than this.  Symi's elegant neo-classical houses with their high ceilings, stone walls and tiled floors are very difficult to heat, not to mention expensive, so everyone is well wrapped up even when indoors.  In the late afternoon, when everyone is home and has settled down, wood fires are lit and little plumes of smoke can be seen rising over the rooftops of Chorio.

Symi post office will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday this week as the staff are going to Rhodes for the post office Christmas party. As there won't be any post on the island until Thursday anyway this won't have much of an impact on our lives.  Symi's post comes and goes on the big Blue Star ferry. The couriers, on the other hand, also use Dodecanese Seaways which is more expensive.

The foreign community on Symi has had an impact on what is available in the shops in Symi in the winter.  When I first came here parsnips and Brussels sprouts were unheard of and met with some bafflement as they don't grow very well in a Mediterranean climate.  Now at least two shops on the island make sure that they have imported stocks of both to keep the British expat festive table going and I have heard that one of the supermarkets in Chorio has packets of stuffing mix. The Greeks themselves are not tied to a turkey dinner and their traditions are very different.  Pastitsio, a sort of hybrid oven dish that combines macaroni cheese with lasagna is more likely to appear on the Christmas table, as may roast suckling pig.  Italian coffee, prosciutto and various salamis have also become Christmas supermarket staples as the other significant group to come to Symi over the holidays is the Italian property owners.

At the moment it looks as though we will have a dry albeit chilly Christmas.

Have a good week.


Willy Lambert –   – (Tuesday, December 27, 2016)  

Dear Adriana,
Below you can find a link for the identification of the fungus in your first picture.
Thanks for all your nice pictures and comments on the daily life on Symi. We stayed on Symi already three times (2009, 2010 and 2012 I believe). We really enjoyed the life on Symi and hope to come back.
Two times a week I read your blog with great interest and this brings back all nice moments we had on Symi.
Wishing you the very best from the cold city of Gent in Belgium.
Willy Lambert

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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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