Spring on Symi and a Walk in Rhodes

Yialos at half past eight this morning.  The calm after yesterday's storm.  We had very strong winds on Sunday and there was a shipping ban.  The flags are up because Saturday was the investiture of the new Metropolitan (bishop).

The many priests and officials who came over for the investiture ceremony and celebrations on Saturday were unable to get off the island on Sunday because of the wind.  I spotted this group waiting for the Dodecanese Seaways catamaran this morning.  People came from all over the Dodecanese for the event.

Meanwhile, in the Pedi valley, Nature is staging her own celebrations.

Who would think that the barren dust of summer would hide such potential abundance?  Just add water for a wonderful wild garden.  This is along the roadside in Lieni, Chorio.

Mother and child, out for a morning stroll in the Pedi valley.

The olive trees are smothered in millions of tiny pale green flowers.

I had to go to Rhodes on Friday for various appointments.  Inevitably I had several hours to kill between finishing my business and taking the Blue Star back to Symi.  It seemed a waste to spend them reading in a corner of the Plaza Hotel so I took my camera for a walk.  If you chose to walk from Akandia, the commerical ferry port, into town, you will pass this attractive kiosk (periptero) near the old town walls.  An ideal pit stop for an ice cream.  

Rhodes is full of ruins spanning millenia of continuous occupation.  Invaders came and went and everyone left their mark. Somewhere along the line the end wall of a Byzantine church became the wall of a house, with windows overlooking what would once have been the nave.

This is the altar of the same church.  You can take a short cut through the open area into a park on the right of the photograph that takes you eventually to a gate in the old town walls that opens out over the moat, near the kiosk above.  There is a more direct  route out onto the waterfront on the left, through another gate.

Rhodes old town closes down during the winter months and all the tourist tat disappears, leaving the underlying architecture exposed to view.  A great opportunity to see the buildings as they really are.

Spring flowers are everywhere, even on the old town walls.

A gargoyle leaping from the roof of the old library.

There are many Ottoman drinking water fountains dotted around Rhodes. This one is near Kolonna.

The Rhodes municipality has provided an information system that enables you to download an app on your smartphone.

The old shopping area behind Mandraki.  Bits of it have been restored like this section. Others are still falling down.  Many of the old speciality shops have disappeared, replaced by trendy cafes, bars and eateries.
The spring equinox is only days away and the weather is very unsettled.  Calm hazy days alternate with strong winds and shipping bans.  The major weather fronts generally pass to the north of us in March and April after causing disruption in the Ionian and on the Greek mainland.  Saharan dust is a familiar sight, turning the sky pink and leaving a film of red on everything when it rains. Temperatures are in the low to mid twenties.  It is still chilly in the shade, particularly in places still damp from the winter rains.  Distant snow is visible on the Turkish mountains but it is disappearing fast.

The weather this week remains unsettled with gale force winds forecast for Thursday and the possibility of thunderstorms over the weekend.

Rhodes was still very quiet on Friday with little sign of activity yet for the forthcoming tourist season.  With the main focus these days on all inclusive package holidays in the resort areas, Rhodes town is a lot quieter than it used to be.  It was quite sad really, walking around, to see so many small hotels and businesses closed up, not just for the winter but probably for a year or more judging by the hoardings and piles of dusty post visible on empty shop floors.  When you book a package holiday with a big holiday company, very little of your money actually finds its way into the local community and eventually the community withers and dies.  When you travel independently, dealing with Greek businesses and eating in family tavernas, you are putting money directly into the local economy, keeping small businesses and communities alive and growing.  Food for thought.

Have a good week.


Richard  – (Wednesday, March 21, 2018)  

Don't worry! I shall continue to use local shops, bars and cafes as usual on my next trip.

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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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