Life on Symi in the Winter

View from the Panormitis road, a couple of bends up from Marathounda, looking towards the Turkish promontory that marks the approximate halfway mark on the ferry journey from Rhodes to Symi.  After Monday's heavy rain, Tuesday was dry and fairly clear.  I  had hoped for better visibility but there was still too much moisture in the air.

A small farmstead on the slope above Marathounda.  Look at how green the island is after all the rain.

A rather hazy view of the windmill that guards the entrance to Panormitis Bay

There  is major restoration work going on on the Panormitis bell tower.

In the monastery courtyard at Panormitis.  Note the no smoking sign.

The entrance to the souvenir shop.  It was not actually open for business.  Apart from a few workmen Panormitis was deserted.

An icon on the first floor verandah overlooking the courtyard.

Round the back, out of the wind, a quick movement caught my eye.  When one is slim and svelte one can sunbathe in the smallest of suntraps.

Meanwhile, down in Yialos I spotted this rather precarious arrangement.  The ladder was actually balanced on the awning.

The heavy rains have destabilised a lot of walls and ruins. This wall collapsed behind our old office, blocking the access to some houses.

Wild cyclamens below the high school.

It is a very wild and windy day today (Thursday). As the barometer is falling the water level is also quite high, flooding the harbour with sea water this time.  Not surprisingly the taxis aren't running today as they don't want to be doused in salt water.

Slosh!  Not very good for cars and the taxis are not running today.

The storm is churning up all the mud and topsoil that has washed into the harbour with the recent rains.  Around the customs slipway and the bridge, there are deposits of small stones and debris and the sea delivers back what it recently received.

Greetings from a very chilly Symi.  It was minus 2 centigrade in my green house this morning and 6 degrees in my kitchen.  The Symi layered-look is very much in evidence as everyone who is out and about is wearing as many clothes as possible and still move.

There is a Force 8 northerly gale blowing today so the wind chill is finger-numbing, even in the Symi Visitor Accommodation office, with a 3 bar heater on.

The wind should ease later today and we have a few more dry - though chilly - days ahead of us before the next round of rain arrives in early February.  Things are starting to dry out a bit and as long as the washing is well secured it is finally possible to get towels and trousers dry.  By Monday the ground may even have dried out enough to plough and plant.

I had the opportunity to go over to Panormitis earlier this week.  As I myself don't drive, I don't often get the chance to go anywhere that I can't walk to so I accepted the invitation eagerly.  Diversions on Symi in January are seriously limited. 

The condition of the road is still poor in places.  Above my house, on the first bends up the Vigla, the wash aways from the November storm have been exacerbated by subsequent rains. Further up, there is evidence of collapsed terrace walls and on the descent to Panormitis on the other side, the road is badly undercut in places.  The lack of proper storm water management when roads are built always comes back as expensive damage later.  This is not unique to Symi.  We have seen the same short-sightedness in Israel and Cyprus. When it doesn't rain for many months, it is easy to pretend it never happens - until it does.  Perhaps someone is learning a lesson somewhere but I wouldn't count on it.

I am going to Rhodes tomorrow, weather and ferries permitting,  hence this blog appearing a day early.  Have a good weekend.

Adriana typing with numb fingers.

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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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