Sticky Elbows

It is a scorching hot day on Symi. Italian, Greek and French are the main languages heard on the streets and in the cafes of Symi at the moment as the weekend’s new arrivals sort out their hire cars and bikes, book boats and arrange to have their groceries delivered from the local supermarkets. It’s August and Symi is humming with activity. Yachts are milling about in the harbour, untangling fouled anchors in a variety of colourful languages and jockeying for berths on the quay. Tenders from those prudent enough to anchor off shore nip in and out at speed, dropping off laundry at the Sunflower and collecting fresh bread and vegetables from the shops in the town. Children race to finish their ice creams before the heat sends them trickling down their arms to drip off sticky elbows. In the lane below the Symi Visitor Accommodation office Lucas and Stelios push endless trolleys of fruit crates and bottled water from truck to shop while yachtsmen wait patiently for Dino the chandler to weigh out bales of anchor chain.

Chorio is quieter during the day time as visitors are on the beach and residents are at work. The old village comes to life at night and Sunday evening was no exception when the Symi Women’s Association hosted a Symi Shrimp evening as part of the Symi Festival. Chorio has a very different character to the harbour as this is the oldest inhabited area on Symi and most of the Symiots still live in and around Chorio. The old town sprawls from the windmills up to the lower slopes of the Vigla and although much of it was badly damaged during the Second World War many areas have been rebuilt and restoration projects are popular with foreign property owners. The stone houses are connected by a network of winding lanes and ramps with very few steps and it is rare to find the perpendicular flights of stairs that are characteristic of the harbour’s tiered neo-classical neighbourhoods. Instead the remains of ancient tunnels and arches looping over the lanes hint at centuries of continuous habitation at a time when space was short and there was safety in numbers.

Have a good week.



Norman Askew  – (Tuesday, August 04, 2009)  

We are scorching in 20c too - except it's a wet scorcher as there is, as always, plenty of rain about!

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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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