White sails gliding past on an indigo sea

It is a beautiful clear day on Symi. A fresh northerly breeze has blown the haze away and visibility is superb. White sails gliding past on an indigo sea, embraced by the distant lavender hills and far purple mountains of Asia Minor... There are times when life here really does look like the glossy brochures and postcards. There is a lot of yachting activity at the moment as Symi is a popular port of entry for yachts that have over wintered in Turkey and many pass through here to complete immigration and collect their Greek sailing documents.

The Symi car ferry has just docked. At this time of the year the day trippers are often elderly people and the stair lift on the ferry sees quite a lot of use. Symi might be full of steep steps but enough of the harbour area is accessible for people with mobility problems to still derive a great deal of pleasure from visiting the island. One does not need to be able to climb the Kali Strata to be able to enjoy looking at the Neo-classical houses lining the amphitheatre harbour and, controversial though the number of cars on the island may be, one cannot deny that being able to hire a car to explore the interior and see the amazing views from the top has opened up the island to a vast number of people who previously would have been excluded. The enjoyment of a beautiful environment should not be restricted to those who are young and nimble.

Symi's hospitality is open to all. One of the things that first attracted me to the island, aside from the obvious stuff like the scenery and the architecture, was the fact that the island has quite a large permanent population, unlike many other islands. There is a good balance between young and old and the island has a life of its own all year round, not just in the tourist season. There may be a certain amount of 'sales patter' trotted out for foreign visitors on the quayside (which is not really surprising as it is important for shopkeepers to equip their sales staff with the vocabulary necessary to sell their wares, and this can come out parrot fashion) but it doesn't take long for a new comer with an open mind to feel at home in the community. The fact that most holiday accommodation is also within the community rather than stuck in artificially created tourist ghettos also helps to explain why so many visitors come back year after year.

It is serious spider season now and there are some wonderful specimens around. My camera isn't good enough to pick up the one I saw this morning which had crafted its web between two electricity poles in Chorio, high up in the air to catch the insects attracted to the street lights at night.

Have a good week.


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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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