Idyllic Surroundings

The crumbling pediment of Villa Roussas above the Kali Strata.
Many of the old mansions on Symi have their date of construction marked,
 either in the pediment or somewhere in the decorative wrought iron work.

Costas, the taxi driver, contemplating the new crazy paving outside Pachos. 
The harbour is filling up slowly with yachts and small local boats.

It is a breezy day on Symi with a cool northerly wind plucking at the flags and a parade of raggedy clouds marching across the sky. The date palms outside my window are waving fronds at well-wrapped motorcyclists and we are all rather wishing we had put on more clothes this morning. The day trippers who came over on the Spanos (local shorthand for the Dodecanese Seaways catamaran) are sipping their steaming Greek coffee behind the plastic drop-cloths at Pachos rather than licking ice creams in the sun.

The motor road that connects Yialos with Chorio. 
 It has become a favourite walk for locals wanting a cardio-vascular work out. 
One can either walk up the motor road and come down the Kali Strata steps
or do the circuit the other way round. A lot depends on the state of ones knees!

With Easter only a fortnight away the Great Greek Baking Marathon is underway and Symiot housewives are laying in huge supplies of flour, oil, eggs and cheese. Unsuspecting lambs continue to munch their way to the Easter Sunday spit roast; their lives may be short but at least they are happy ones spent in idyllic surroundings and their end is usually swift, in a green field rather than in some brutal abattoir of terrified animals. There is no sentiment attached to such things here and Greek islanders do not divorce themselves from the realities of where their food comes from as, until recently, virtually all of it was produced by the family one way or another. Centuries of eking out a livelihood on what is a picturesque but largely inhospitable lump of rock breeds realists.

Wild gladioli share space with a stack of old Symi doors.

Have a good week.


Anthony –   – (Tuesday, April 12, 2011)  

Many thanks for explaining 'Spanos'. I'd often wondered, and during my recent visit even looked it up in the dictionary expecting to find that it meant something like "Pride" or "Express". (In perhaps typical male fashion, I'd been reluctant to ask!!).

That recent visit also emphasised to me, yes, the disadvantage on Symi of my increasingly arthritic knees.

Finally, re the slaughter of Easter lambs, I can assure you that there are people in Crete at least, who hold off wielding the knife until a party of squeamish Brits is passing by. Frank at Taxiarchis has often urged me to visit over Easter and join his spit roasting, so I was glad when he was telling us about the effort he puts in the night before into marinating the meat. Assuming that the beast has to be dead when that is done, I felt reassured that the Easter Day invitation wouldn't be beginning with the slaughtering, for which failure to arrive might be a serious breach of Greek etiquette!

Unknown  – (Friday, April 15, 2011)  

Dear Adriana,

This is a friendly follow-up to our first message to you (May 2010), to warmly invite you again to list your blog on our Expat Women Blog Directory ( Blogs like yours are excellent sources of information for relocating expats, so we would love to include it with our other 1,700+ self-listed blogs.

We are also excited to let you know that we just re-launched our main website (, so please drop by and have a look if you are interested.

Many, many thanks and wishing you success abroad!

Jessica Perez for

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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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