Water Barrels and Holy Basil

Clouds over Pedi on Sunday morning. A group of yachts spent the night tied up to the water boat jetty at the head of the bay.  The sails you can see at the entrance to the bay are those yachts departing.

Yialos, Harani and Nimos on Monday morning. The only vessel to be seen is the patrol boat out in the bay. The buildings in the foreground are the Panormition, the island's academic high school.

We had some muddy rain on Saturday.  It didn't last long but when it was over all the cars looked like this. With luck the rain later in the week will wash it all off again.

Magical rockery gardens are sprouting in the stone walls of Chorio.  Completely self-seeded, these gardens of  indigenous stonecrops, ferns and mosses are an attractive sight in the lanes and alleys throughout the rainy season.

At this time of the year it is possible to walk to the shops in Chorio and see more animals than people en route.

Shadow-play in Chorio on Sunday morning.

Acorns ripening on the majestic valonia oak in Lieni.  Once upon a time Symi would have been covered with these grand trees but 3000 or so years of continuous habitation means that most of them were chopped down for boat-building, fire wood and other domestic purposes.  It takes centuries for a tree to achieve any sort of size in this climate and these days there are so few of them left they are practically landmarks.

This is what happens when a poinsettia is planted in the ground in a suitable spot - old Yanni has been nurturing this poinsettia in Lieni for years and it is almost as much a landmark as the nearby oak.

A new addition to the neighbourhood.

Water barrels and holy basil - an unusual combination of goods to sell. The gypsies won't be leaving with an empty lorry though as they are collecting scrap metal, old batteries and dead domestic appliances to take back to Athens on Wednesday.  We do not have any formal recycling system here as it is not economically viable so they are providing a valuable service.

Symi's orange dump truck has turned up its toes so the municipality of Halki has loaned us theirs. Well, with a population of 200 people, most of whom leave the island for Rhodes in the winter, they probably won't need it again until the spring.
The weather is changing again and we are heading for a sustained period of unsettled and stormy weather as the weather system that has caused havoc in the central Mediterranean works its way east. Temperatures will continue to fall and later this week midday temperatures will be below 20 degrees for the first time since March. It is becoming decidedly chilly indoors and the layered look is the style of the day so that one can peel off or add on, depending on whether one is in or out. Symiot houses are difficult to heat as they have high ceilings and very few houses on the island have oil-fired central heating systems - aside from the expense to install such systems, it is extremely difficult to get the fuel to the houses as very few homes on the island have close vehicle access.  Running air conditioning on heat is very expensive as electricity tariffs are high in Greece.  So we all put on more layers a la Michelin man.

Anyone with Christmas travel plans is keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts as shipping disruptions are common once it becomes stormy in the Aegean and with so few boats in November and December, there may not be a second chance to catch that plane. The Chinese say that a 1000 mile journey starts with a single step.  Well, on  Symi that single step is often the challenge of getting off the island!

Have a good week.



November Postcards from Symi

A splash of colour outside the carpenter's shop at the bottom of the Kali Strata.  Just in case you are wondering about the fast food signs - the premises were a gyros bar many many years ago, long before I came to Symi and I have been here for 20 years.

This house in Chorio was completed and blessed in 1914 - a momentous date if you think about all the things that happened that year and in the century that followed.

Not all bougainvilleas are magenta or purple - this one on the Kali Strata is a splendid opulent crimson.

Oranges slowly ripening in a walled garden on the Kali Strata.  Symi oranges are very bitter so not much good for breakfast juice but they make excellent marmalade and the locals also candy the peels in sugar syrup.

Friday morning rush hour.  Note the heavy dew on the cars in the foreground.

Hello!  Where's everyone going?  A foal watches the train go by.

A cardiologist is offering free basic checkups at the Cultural Centre this weekend and Symi's seniors are taking advantage of the opportunity. The alternative is a day trip to Rhodes plus at least 50 euros to see the cardiologist.  Pensioners in Greece don't get travel discounts, bus passes, pensioners' discounts or free medicines like they do in many other countries and at the same time pensions have been cut repeatedly, making life very difficult for the elderly here.


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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