Signs of the Times

Friday midday in Yialos and there wasn\t much happening apart from a handful of locals fishing for their dinner.

Painting taverna tables outside Pantelis, a popular waterfront seafood taverna.  The seasonal nature of Symi's tavernas and restaurants ensures that at least once a year everything is stripped away, cleaned from top to bottom, repainted, repaired and replaced if necessary.  The traditional months for spring cleaning and preparation for the season are March and April, once the winter storms are over.

Once a week, very early on a Friday morning, there is a direct connection between Tilos and Symi on the Blue Star.  This woman comes over then to sell her fruit and vegetables, returning on the Blue Star late at night.  Tilos is about 2 hours away from Symi on the ferry and, unlike Symi, has abundant water and rich fertile soil.  It has a permanent population of only a few hundred people and is very isolated, even in the summer.

Every few years the Ministry of Random Signposts hits Symi with a spate of vaguely incomprehensible signposts. The last lot included one to the Ruins of Old Drakos which directed walkers into the bottom of my garden.  This time we have acquired a new Symi destination,  Palia Poli. This literally means old town, better known as Chorio (the village) to the rest of us.  While you may eventually hit the Kali Strata by dragging your suitcase up this ramp and then dithering between the steep steps directly to the high school or the not quite so steep steps to the school playing field, you will actually have missed most of it as you will arrive at the top of the Kali Strata, not the bottom.  A sign post marking the start of the Kali Strata which is behind Bella Napoli and the Vapori Bar in the back corner of the harbour would be much more sensible  - not to mention beneficial to people looking for the Old Markets hotel or the Krysallis boutique.


Sunday was bright and clear, if a little windy, and we drove up the mountain to see how the rest of Symi was faring.  This is one of the hidden valleys above  the descent to Panormitis.

There aren't many ponds on Symi but those that there are are full after the heavy rains of November, December and January.

Yes, this is on Symi!
It is carnival season in Greece, although you would not think so here on Symi where life continues at its usual snail's pace.  Only the occasional bedraggled streamer in a gutter or fleeting glimpse of a child in fancy dress gives a clue to what used to be a very boisterous and fun-filled time of the year on the island.  The mood on Symi has been very subdued since Storm Eurydice hit the island on 13 November last year.  The economic losses suffered by many households and businesses at a time when there is little spare cash around will have a lasting impact. 

Nature, having caused so much havoc, now teases us with temperatures well above seasonal averages and weather that is only consistent in its inconsistency.  Showers, squalls, bright sunshine, downpours - February is the new April.  While Western Europe struggles with snow and bitter cold, the other side of the continent is experiencing a premature spring that is just as unusual.  Heavy rain is forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The rain showers we had this morning, however, did not appear on any forecast.

Next Monday is Clean Monday, the first day of Lent in Greece. Traditionally celebrated with picnics in the countryside and the flying of kites, everyone is keeping a close eye on the weather forecast to see what will come our way this time.

Have a good week.


Anonymous –   – (Tuesday, February 13, 2018)  

A beautiful verdant island at the moment!

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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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