Good bye September! Hello October!

Celestyal Cruises called into Symi on Wednesday afternoon.  With the current uncertainty regarding Turkey and Egypt as cruise ship destinations, Greece in general and Symi in particular are seeing a lot more cruise ships.  They only stay a few hours and it is good publicity for Symi.

Salamis Filoxenia from Cyprus is another cruise ship that is a frequent visitor to Symi.  In this case, however, the passengers are not in pursuit of hedonistic pleasures  and all inclusive banquets but are predominantly Greek Orthodox Cypriots visiting the main religious sites in the Dodecanese.   As Symi is home to 3 well known monasteries dedicated to St Michael, the chief of which is Panormitis,  Symi is a place of pilgrimage.  

The  colourful scene from the Symi Visitor Accommodation office balcony on Thursday morning.  As you can see, the fishing caiques are moving back into the head of the harbour now that the summer excursion boats are heading for the boat yards.

Just in case you hadn't noticed them in the previous photo, I zoomed in on the pigeons to bring them to your attention.  I don't know who is feeding them but this is a new phenomenon  Perhaps the pigeons have taken over from the lonesome duck of previous years. They certainly look fat enough.

Smiling down serenely from a pediment on the Kali Strata.

There is no way of escaping steps on Symi. This is idiosyncratic collection of random flights connects Villa Papanikola, just visible with the cream paintwork and dark blue shutters, with the mid section of the Kali Strata. The piecemeal nature of such routes is because each property owner built his own access steps when he built his house.

This flourishing fig tree must have its roots in the cistern of this ruined mansion on the Kali Strata. As Symi has no rivers, lakes or streams to provide a water supply, every house has a cistern.  Originally used to harvest rainwater from the roof in the winter, these days most houses get top ups from the municipality with varying degrees of frequency during the summer.  There are very few places where there is a continuous water supply and most neighbourhoods only receive water for a few hours a week.  Cisterns, pumps and water shortages are a fact of life here


Walking in the Valley

A privately owned solar farm in the Pedi valley.  The main use of solar power on Symi, as in many countries in the region, is in the form of solar water heaters but there are quite a lot of solar panels around once one starts looking out for them. The combination of ever increasing electricity prices and a steady reduction in the cost of solar power systems makes this an attractive proposition for rural dwellings.  Some years ago Symi municipality installed solar panels on the roofs of some of the island's reservoirs to provide power for streetlights.

Looking across the Pedi valley towards the Kastro, the oldest part of Chorio, from the path to Drakos, an early settlement on Symi that has had little archaeological attention, despite being about 2000 years old. One can see why that hill would have been an appealing site for the knights to build their castle. All that is left now are fragments of the castle walls and there is now a cluster of churches at the apex.

The path to old Drakos in the Pedi Valley - overgrown with thistles but reasonably easy to find as one follows the wall.

We were last here 10 years ago, when the wall was capped and the sign put up.  It doesn't look as though anyone has done anything to maintain it since then.  That is a small goat perched on the wall on the left, beyond the squill.

Symi has no shortage of mysterious old walls and terraces and in many cases little is known about who built them or why.  As you can see, this is an incredibly arid landscape with little soil to sustain agricultural activities.

This length of dry stone walling has collapsed along the path and the vegetation is taking over.

If you are on Symi now and are wondering why your eyes are itching and you are sneezing you may be allergic to tamarisk pollen.  Tamarisk trees have very fine wispy flowers and produce clouds of very fine pollen.

The Symi Flower shop is in autumn mode now - lettuce and brassica seedlings, onion and garlic sets and broad bean seeds have taken over from flowers and pot plants.  The rainy season can't be far away now and it is important to make the most of the crucial combination of warm days and water to get the vegetables started before the cold dark days of winter take over.  The rainy season runs roughly from October to March and is the main growing period in the Mediterranean basin.

The water taxis are busy, taking visitors and locals to the beaches.  With temperatures in the mid to high twenties and the sea still pleasantly warm, a day with friends on one of Symi's picturesque beaches is an important part of any Symi holiday.

Yialos in the early morning light.
Autumn is taking over from summer and the season is drawing to a close.  Temperatures are pleasantly mild - between 25 and 28 degrees during the day, falling to around 18 degrees in the evenings. The breeze has turned cooler and the humidity is gone.  The harvest moon has been replaced by clear star-spangled skies and visibility is infinite.

Many of the boutiques in the harbour have clearance sales now as they will be closing in a week or two.  If you want to buy designer beachwear with 50% discounts, now is the time.

The ferry schedule for October comes into effect at the end of the week. If you are planning on coming to Symi in October, it is a good idea to check Dodecanese Seaways and Blue Star Ferries when making your plans as overnight ferries from Rhodes to Symi come to an end after 1 October.

Have a good week.



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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