Heading for the Beach

Heading for the beach - the water taxis are busy.

Fresh figs.

According the stone above the door, this house was dedicated in August 1878

Our link with Pireaus - the Blue Star Diagoras. 
Those gulets had raised their anchors before realising that something far too big to argue with was coming round the corner.

Yialos - Mouragio, with Harani beyond the clock tower.

The Symi Gallery is in the upstairs of the lower of the two houses on the left of the picture.

It is August, the busiest month of the tourist season in Greece. The taxi drivers’ union has decided to call off their strike until parliament reopens at the end of the month but the taxi drivers in Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and the other holiday islands were already fed up long ago at losing their incomes for the summer and resumed service this week. We just hope that an agreement is reached at the end of August and the whole sorry business does not start again in September. Not surprisingly the Greek car hire companies are reporting an increase in business and many tourists visiting Athens have discovered just how good the metro railway system is.

Symi is busy but not as full as the island normally is at this time of the year. With fewer Greeks able to afford holidays this year and the lack of big name events at the Symi Festival to draw Greek visitors from neighbouring islands, there are markedly fewer Greek visitors on Symi this year. The BASE jumping event at St George’s Bay has, however, attracted an unusually large number of athletic types running up and down the mountain in temperatures of 40 degrees centigrade to the astonishment of the locals. Italian and French are the main languages heard down in the harbour these days as many of the island’s foreign property owners have now arrived for the summer.

The figs are ripening in the ruins and the melon man is hawking his wares at street corners. A truck has been rattling around the island, selling pithoi, the traditional clay pots from Crete that have not changed in design since Knossos was new and bull-dancing fashionable. These days they are used for patio plants rather than for storing oil and grain but over at the folk museum at Panormitis monastery they have some on display that were certainly used for food storage in the centuries before the invention of Tupperware. While I don’t want to knock the advantages of the advent of plastics and safe food storage, there is no denying that potsherds are far more attractive in the environment that discarded plastic.

Last night was the name day festival at Megalo Sotiris, a small monastery at the top of the cliff above Panormitis. For an evocative description and photographs, please read James Collins’ blog on http://symidream.com/wp/night-culture-candles-dancing-megalis-sotiris/ As he says, “Somehow these events draw into focus a fact that is easily overlooked: You don’t have to go out of your way to feel part of the community you live in. You’re in it every day.”

Have a good weekend. And if you are on Symi, don’t forget that the Symi Gallery is opening at the top of the Kali Strata at 3 p.m tomorrow and will be open every day until dusk.



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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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