In the Heat of the Day

Narrow lanes in the oldest part of Chorio.  Too narrow even for a laden donkey to pass, restoring houses up here means many hours of moving materials by wheelbarrow or on shoulders from the nearest access point, often a good 20 minutes away. This is one of the reasons why houses on Symi tend to be expensive.

Greece continues to bask in unseasonably high temperatures and here on Symi the thermometer has been hovering around 40 degrees all week. With so much sunshine Symi’s rocky landscape is really soaking up the heat and even late at night the stones are warm to the touch. In the heat of the day the lanes of Chorio are quiet with hardly a soul to be seen. The Symiots follow the traditional lifestyle of the Mediterranean peoples, rising early in the morning to get all their chores done before it is too hot to move and retreating into the shade of their houses for the siesta, only to emerge again once the fierceness of the sun has passed. Many of the locals find the foreign desire to sleep late a very strange thing as it does not make sense to waste the coolest part of the day in bed! In the summer sleeping is something one does when it is too hot to do anything else.

Symi museum in Chorio - closed for the afternoon siesta.
Those solid doors conceal a shadey courtyard and many fascinating artifacts from Symi's
distant and recent past.

Villa Wookie - high up in the top of Chorio, in the museum quarter and one of the
 oldest restored buildings in the area.

When I set off at 7 in the morning to walk to work, I pass shepherds, builders, carpenters and plumbers. Locals are out in the terraces, picking the sweetest, most tender shoots of the caper bushes to pickle and are tossing last night’s bread leftovers to their chickens and goats. The aromas of cooking follow me down the Kali Strata as the sensible housewife prepares the main meal for the family first thing in the morning, to serve when they all come home at 2 o’clock. Down in the harbour the fishermen are tidying up their nets and discussing the night’s catch over strong cups of Greek coffee.

One of the many beautiful old door knockers to be seen on the neo-classical houses.

Views open up suddenly between the houses in Chorio. That is the island of Nimos in the background. The church with two spires is Agios Elefterios in the centre of Chorio

Unlike many other places in Greece, visitors to Symi are living within a functioning community and everyday life goes on all around. While it may mean that it is sometimes a bit noisy in the early mornings, it is a far more authentic Greek island experience than staying in some ‘made for tourists’ resort and this is why many Symi visitors come back to the island year after year.

Have a good weekend.



Anonymous –   – (Monday, June 27, 2011)  

This was a lovely post. Your words helped me feel I was there, experiencing an ordinary day in Symi.

My grandfather immigrated to America from Tripoli Greece in 1911. Someday -- I had thought this year -- I will come and see for myself. For now, I have your journal. With gratitude,


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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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