The Truth about Marble

Early poppies near the gymnasium in Chorio.


A hearty breakfast near Agios Elefterios church, at Kampos in Chorio.

Composition in pale green and dressed stone.

Marble is no big deal in this part of the world as it is a readily available natural resource and cheaper than many man made alternatives.  This little house near Kampos has marble window sills and thresholds.

A marble and pebble terrace along the front of a recently restored house on the Kali Strata.

Crazy paving with marble and travertine off cuts.

The Kali Strata is paved with a random selection of stones from all over Symi.  

A Cat who can't face Monday.
It is a hazy grey day with low cloud and mist.  Visibility is low and there is a feeling of chilly damp as the mist settles on the old stone surfaces.  The weather is changing as we head towards spring but temperatures this week will remain in the teens and rain is expected later in the week.

Dodecanese Seaways have announced their ferry schedule for the season. As it is very complex it is taking them a while to get it up on their computer so it is available as a download. There are 10 different time periods covered so just because a boat does something on a particular day of the week in one month doesn't mean it will do the same in the next. There is a general feeling of dissatisfaction on the island as Symi is being sidelined in favour of other destinations and in April, May and October the situation is particularly bad. The link to the PDF is

There has been some talk in the German media recently about the 'extravagance' of using marble to finish various surfaces in the new gymnasium in Chorio, somehow interpreted as proof of Greeks living beyond their means.  This attitude shows a remarkable ignorance of local tradition, geography/geology, architecture and materials.  Symi, like much of Greece, is made of limestone and various types of stone, including marble, have been a standard building material here for centuries.  Marble is not a sign of lavish wealth and high living in this part of the world and it is often used in quite a casual fashion in even humble dwellings.  It lasts forever, requires no maintenance and there is plenty of it about.  Modern synthetic laminates and ceramics, on the other hand, are no where near as durable, don't fit with the local aesthetic and can be considerably more expensive as they are usually imported.  The new gymnasium could only be built if it was in an architectural style that harmonised with Symi's neo-classical architecture, which it does very well and the island is justly proud of this new and long awaited amenity. The red colour is somewhat controversial but that will fade in the bright Mediterranean sunshine.

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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