The Busiest Week in the Whole Year

Sunrise over Pedi Bay with the mountains of Turkey in the distance.

Villa Iris and Spiti Grande Helene on Mavrovouni, as seen from the Kastro.

This is the busiest week in the whole year for Symi and any other part of Greece that is dependent on tourism for its livelihood.  15 August is an important holiday in the Orthodox as well as the Catholic countries, hence the tradition for many of these countries to take the first 2 weeks or so of August as the official summer holiday.  French, Italian and Spanish are the main languages to be heard in Symi harbour at the moment, with a few Athenian Greeks who have managed to take a break despite the prevalent economic gloom.  We also have a surprising number of Irish visitors this summer.  It is as though we PIIGS are sticking together and supporting each other’s economies.  I have noticed that one of the supermarkets in Chorio is carrying an extensive range of Spanish biscuits and crackers which I have never seen before.

Here at Symi Visitor Accommodation we are still trying to help last minute booking enquiries as although most people book their August accommodation months in advance, there are always those who leave things to chance or who, through change of circumstance, find themselves on a different island to the one planned.  Symi’s infrastructure is stretched to the limit in August when the population doubles from 3000 to 6000 people.  As many regular visitors to Symi know, the island has no natural water.  What isn’t produced by the small desalination plant on the Pedi Road has to be augmented by deliveries from the water ship from Rhodes and in these days of austerity the water ship is an increasingly rare sight. As usual, at this busy time, water is in extremely short supply and many houses, particularly in the harbour area, have run dry.  It is particularly galling for residents in the houses lining the amphitheatre harbour to look from their balconies and see visiting yachtsmen make free with the island’s limited water supply to hose down decks etcetera while they themselves are having to lug expensive bottled water up to their houses for washing, cooking and cleaning.  This is a situation that occurs sooner or later every year and yet the problem remains unresolved, as though the town hall is taken by surprise by the number of people who chose to spend their holidays on Symi or have summer houses here.  Water and ferries are the two main problems that the island has to cope with every year and the town hall seems to be making precious little progress with either. 

On a more cheerful note, the meltemi breeze has been blowing for two days now and the temperatures have dropped to more tolerable ones.  At midday it is about 35 degrees centigrade and at midnight it is about 25 degrees centigrade. The wind has cleared the dust and humidity.

The annual celebrations at the Alethini church on the Pedi Road will be taking place tonight and everyone is invited to celebrate the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin.  The music and dancing usually continue into the small hours and tomorrow is a national bank holiday.

Have a good week.


This is one of the most unusual of the neo-classical houses on the island.

Orange bougainvillea

Roof garden at Milos

We may be short of water but pickled beetroot and detergent are in plentiful supply -
Sotiris' supermarket in Chorio on delivery day.

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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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