A Share of the Glamour

The Mary-Jean II, chartered by Michael Douglas, as seen from the
Symi Visitor Accommodation balcony on Saturday 25 June 2011. 
That is a small day excursion boat from Rhodes tucked in along side.

The Star of Macedonia, emblem of Alexander the Great,
on the pediment of an abandoned house in upper Chorio.

This little house in the same neighbourhood, built in 1931, is far from abandoned and
old Yanni and his wife keep it in meticulous condition. The whitewash on the trucks of the lemon trees on the left of the picture is to protect the trees from insects and fungus attacks.

The grand restored mansion on the Kali Strata and this ruined house in upper Chorio have something in common.  Both are built out of roughly finished stone and then plastered in such a fashion as to create the effect that they are made out of dressed stone. 

The heatwave has finally broken with a refreshing breeze from the north west. Unfortunately it also meant that the excursion boats and water taxis could not operate for a day or so as the choppy seas make it unpleasant for passengers as well as for the boats to dock safely in the various little bays. Those places that can be accessed on foot, however have done very well. The wind is dropping now and we should have nothing stronger than gentle breezes for the Italian wedding that is taking place here this weekend. Last weekend there was a big German wedding on Symi. These events introduce a lot of new visitors to the island of Symi and many of those who have only stayed for 3-4 days for a wedding have promised to be back for a longer stay.

On Saturday morning all Symi was all agog when it was discovered that the shiny new superyacht that had just docked in the harbour was being chartered by the British actor, Michael Douglas, and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones. In a departure from normal protocol the mayor and his wife went on board to greet them and a rash of paparazzi-style photographs has appeared on the internet from various sources. Despite this unusually effusive welcome, Symi is no stranger to Hollywood or the rich and famous and the island prides itself on taking celebrity in its stride. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton visited in the 1970s, signing the visitors’ book in Kyriakos’ restaurant (now the Gefaraki wifi café by the bridge). In the time that I have lived here we have seen Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Tom Hanks and Richard Gere and there are probably others that have slipped below the radar. Fashion names like Armani and Todd of Todd’s Shoes, political figures such as George Bush senior and the Belgian royal family and countless others pass through Symi in the summer time, either on their own yachts or on chartered ones. The general rule is that in Mykonos and Santorini they are fair game to the photographers but on Symi their visits are incognito – or at least as incognito as one can be with a team of bodyguards lurking among the palm trees and a yacht larger than many ferries. Symi welcomes guests at all levels and even the most humble budget traveler can have a share of the glamour when the superyachts come to town.

Greece is in the midst of a 48 hour general strike. The air traffic controllers are participating in a limited way. They were on strike this morning (Tuesday) from 08.00 until 12.00 and will be on strike again from 18.00 until 22.00 on Wednesday evening. This may cause some delays for visitors coming into Rhodes on Wednesday evening flights but most Wednesday charter flights should not be affected as they land well before the strike period comes into operation.

Have a good week.



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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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