Cats and the Kastro

Please sir, may we have some more? Foraging in bins is a way of life for the Symi cats and even those that have homes tend to go exploring to see if pickings are more interesting down at the skip.  Symi Animal Welfare also puts out dried food and containers of water at selected locations around the community.

Symi's golden citadel - or rather, what is left of it! The area around the Kastro is slowly being rebuilt, largely by foreigners who have bought ruins on Symi to fix up as holiday homes and summer houses.

The castle itself was already largely in ruins by the time the Germans decided to use it as a munitions store during the Second World War.  The churches within the fortifications have been rebuilt and sections of the walls survived the explosion.

Crocuses share space with a Virginia creeper in a planter in Chorio.

The canary is well out of reach, even if Ginger felt so inclined.  He does so well on deli counter scraps he seldom ventures further than the supermarket store room!

We don't have much by way of tides in this part of the world but the water level does reflect changes in barometric pressure. The abnormally warm mild weather we are experiencing on Symi at the moment is caused by a high pressure system over the Southern Aegean, hence the current low water level in the harbour.

Shoals of small fish sometimes gather at the head of the harbour, by the bridge. This harbour cat is keeping an eye open for an unsuspecting pawful.

Symi really seems to glow at this time of the year.  Autumnal sunshine on old stone and ochre-tinted lime wash are a delightful combination.

The summer tourist season is drawing to a close.  No Dodecanese Seaways boats today - only the Sea Dream and the Nikolaos X excursion boats.  Blue Star ferries have put up their schedules for November to January with a seriously early start on Wednesday mornings as the Paros has to fit in a day return to the distant island of Karpathos, between Rhodes and Crete, once a week.  5 a.m. in the dark chill of  a Greek winter's morning is not an attractive prospect, whichever way one looks at it!  As the Paros has far fewer cabins than the Patmos, anyone planning an overnight trip to Athens will have to book very far ahead to be sure of getting a bunk. The Wednesday schedule remains as is, leaving Symi at 7.45 a.m. and leaving Rhodes at 7 p.m. (give or take half an hour or so as the boat does a trip to Kastellorizon in between).

The weather is marvellous. Sunny and mild with little wind.  If the long range forecast is to be believed, this is all set to change on Tuesday next week when we can expect three days of rain, wind and thunderstorms.  About time really as the ground is too hard to plough at the moment and those first deep rains are crucial for softening the crust, as well as washing the dust off the rooftops.  As Symi does not have a natural water supply, harvesting winter rains off the roof into big cisterns is an important part of the island's infrastructure. The first rains clean the roof and then when the flow is clear, the pipes are diverted to the cisterns. 

Symi's lack of easily accessible water is one of the factors that has saved the island from mass tourism and the culture of 'villa holiday with pool' that puts pressure on the infrastructure of Rhodes and many other places in Greece. Symi's steep and mountainous terrain has also kept the developers at bay.  It would literally take a seismic event for Symi to ever have a golf course or airport!  People visit Symi for a totally authentic Greek island experience, staying in quirky old neo-classical houses accessed by dozens of steep steps and swimming in the warm waters of the Aegean.  It is a place where time literally seems to stand still.

I am off to Rhodes for the day tomorrow - the first time off the island since May so the list of errands and shopping is long!

Have a good weekend.


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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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