Quiet Symi

While mainland Greece has had violent thunderstorms and deluges heavy enough for the fire brigade to be called out for basement pumping in various residential areas, Symi is sweltering under the shimmering haze of yet another heat wave. The air is heavy with humidity and the only relief is to be found out on the water or on the beach. As the Greek schools have closed for the summer holidays the local children are making the most of the beach down in Pedi and it is not unusual to be sharing the afternoon bus with various inflatable toys and lilos. Symi may be short on swimming pools due to the architectural restrictions and lack of natural water on the island but there are plenty of sheltered places where children can safely swim, usually under the watchful eye of an aunt or grandmother because at this time of the year much of the adult population of the island is working in the tourist industry.

Yialos is very quiet with most visiting yachts continuing to favour swinging at anchor in Pedi bay rather than coming stern-to in Yialos. The water front tavernas are not as busy as they usually are at this time of the year as those yachts that do come into the harbour seem to prefer on board catering to dining ashore. This is a pity as Symi has some extremely good tavernas and can offer a wide range of dining experiences to suit all tastes and budgets. On hot summer nights it is far pleasanter to let someone else slave over a hot stove and sample the local fare.

One spin off of the recent increase in fuel prices is that there are far fewer motor bikes and cars on Symi’s roads and few teenagers can afford such mindless pastimes as driving up and down the Vigla. Symi has become quieter in the new austerity Greece but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Have a good week.



Anonymous –   – (Monday, July 05, 2010)  

I am not surprised that there are fewer yachts in Simi town this year. I am sure you know most of the visiting boats are from Turkey. Usually the port police turned a blind eye to boats popping over for a wonderful Simi meal. This year all official charges and procedures are being strictly enforced. It cost us €15 for immigration, €5 tying-up fee, and €5 harbour dues for 1 night, plus a good hour and a half of walking and queuing. Electricity and water were extra. Our friends were charged €33 for 2 nights. I am afraid it will be hitting the tavernas hard. It is a lot to find for 2 people. Word has quickly spread. It would not be so bad if we could just pay on the quay, instead of 3 separate bills and long marches. I am left aboard alone for hours worrying sick that a gullet will pull our anchor out, before the formalities are completed. We love Simi, despite the pollution in the harbour, the noise until 3am from seemingly empty cafes with outward facing speakers, and the constant threat of crossed anchors. but we and many others will not be coming back any time soon. We simply cannot afford it.

Mike Gadd  – (Tuesday, July 13, 2010)  

Speaking as a yachtswoman myself, until such time as Turkey becomes part of the EU there will always be bureaucratic controls on this international boundary and while EU flagged boats have often managed to evade their legal obligation to clear in and out properly, the fact is that immigration procedures have to be observed. People trafficking is a serious problem in these waters and yachts are often used for the purpose so the police and port authorities cannot 'turn a blind eye'.

If you don't mind swinging at anchor, Pedi bay is a peaceful alternative to Yialos town quay and there are good tavernas in Pedi where you can enjoy a good meal while keeping an eye on your yacht. As they are all waterfront venues you can tie up your dingy virtually next to your table :-)

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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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