Food for the Imagination

It is a bright sunny spring day on the small island of Symi in the Dodecanese. Day trippers are inspecting the racks outside the tourist shops for bargains and yachts of varying sizes and styles are rocking gently on the quay. Temperatures are pleasantly warm rather than searingly hot and it is still quite chilly in the shade. The water taxi boats are not in operation as the beach tavernas are not open yet but round in Harani the sunbeds at the Nireus Hotel and NOS Beach are seeing some use. It will be a while yet before the sea warms up but some hardy souls are already braving the waters. May is more of a month for hikers, walkers, photographers and painters rather than dedicated beach babes.

Despite a dry spring there are still a lot of flowers around and the gardens in Chorio are a wonderful sight. As there is so little arable land here Symiots have to create gardens among the rocks and make small stone terraces for planting hardy and drought resistant flowers. Courtyards usually have a lemon tree or a grape vine for shade. Old feta cheese and olive cans are often used as plant pots. Their straight sides make them fit neatly close together, shading each other’s roots and maximizing on space in a way that more curvaceous plant pots never can.

Many of the larger mansions are still closed up for the winter, waiting for summer owners from Athens or further afield to bring them to life in July and August. The rest of the year they guard their secrets behind sealed shutters and wrought iron gates, food for the imagination of those of us who pass by in the lanes. Apart from the Symi Dream Photography Walk on Sunday mornings which I mentioned in Monday’s blog there is also another guided walk in Chorio that will appeal to those who are curious about the island’s history and want to explore the labyrinth without fear of getting lost. This is run by Ian Haycox and takes place on Friday mornings from 09.00 to 13.30. For more details and to book please contact Symi Visitor Accommodation at

Have a good weekend.


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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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