An Encouraging Sight

After a bright and sunny weekend Symi is once again under cloudy skies as another low pressure system moves slowly across Greece. This time we will see showery and unsettled weather for much of the week but temperatures should be between 8 and 18 degrees rather than the bitter cold we experienced last week.  As Symi’s traditional neo-classical houses have high ceilings and thick stone walls they are very difficult to heat adequately, even for those who have the rare luxury of central heating.  While one can set the air conditioner to warm, if one has one of course, this is a very expensive way of heating a house and these days few can afford that kind of electricity consumption.  Instead an increasing number of fireplaces are being put back into service and cast iron wood stoves are very popular.  Scrap wood, pine cones and wind blown branches don’t lie around for long and truck loads of firewood are being brought down the mountain and sold.  It is as well that we will only have cold weather for a few more weeks as it would be sad to see the island’s forests disappear in a wave of austerity-driven frugal heating.  The planting of mulberry trees in the town square in Yialos does not really count as reforestation. There are, however, an increasing number of self-seeded conifers growing out of the rocky slopes and less accessible places that are an encouraging sight.  The reduction in the feral goat population combined with the fencing off of property as part of the Land Registration Act a few years ago which reduced indiscriminate grazing had a role to play in this.  There are now far more fences between the trees and hungry livestock.

Supporters of the winter cat feeding scheme will be happy to know that Symi Animal Welfare now has a dedicated website which is worth a browse. 

Summer visitors often ask what people do to amuse themselves on the island during the winter, when everything is shut. Well, apart from swopping books and DVDs and hosting dinner parties and going for long walks on sunny days there are also musical evenings, poetry readings, art classes, group crossword sessions, weddings, christenings, name days…  There is a poetry reading at the Symi Gallery on the Kali Strata this afternoon at 16.00.  The theme this time is ‘Naked’ which sounds intriguing – particularly as we are all particularly well muffled up at the moment!

Have a good week.


That is a little patch of snow visible on the distant mountain in the middle of the picture.

A tenacious cypress growing out of a cliff.

The old part of Chorio, above the Kataraktis.  

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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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