Sleepy Symi

Monday morning Yialos. There are far fewer gulets than usual. These boats come over to Symi from Turkey as part of a cruising itinerary and the passengers are usually foreign tourists so if fewer tourists are visiting Turkey this year, the knock on effect is that there are fewer gulets visiting Symi and the other border islands.

8 a.m. and not a lot happening.  I think the bright orange looks better on the fishing boat than it does on the building behind.

Early morning coffee at Pachos, waiting for the day to start.  Symi Visitor Accommodation is in the diminutive buildiing set back between Pachos and the shop with the sky blue sign.  Our entrance is in the lane around the corner, between Pachos and Enigma boutique.

Looking up at Lemonitissa church on the Kastro from opposite Symi Visitor Accommodation.  For some reason my little Nikon really battles to make sense of this view and I don't think I have ever really managed to capture just how perpendicular that hillside view is without winding up with leaning lamp posts like the one you see to the right!

It is not just the gulets that are conspicuous by their absence. We are seeing very few really big motor yachts and sailing yachts these days and in comparison to years gone by, Symi harbour is quite restrained this season. The rich must have another playground this summer.

Mind you, some of the local boats haven't seen the water in years.
This is the quietest July on Symi that anyone can remember.  It is as though Symi has slipped back to the 1980s and the early days of tourism to the island. Rhodes is fairly busy as the big resort hotels have benefited from the package holiday companies placing people there who would otherwise have been in Turkish resorts so we are getting a lot of Russian day trippers but in the evenings, when they have departed, there are very few people around apart from Symi's regular visitors that come year after year and the foreign property owners.

This morning as I was walking down to work a slightly battered white van pulled up along side me and one of the Yialos supermarket proprietors offered me a lift down to Yialos.  It was a very fragrant ride as he had just come down from gathering herbs on the mountain to sell in the shop and the back of the van was full of bundles of rigani, the Greek mountain oregano.  The smell reminded me of the very first time I came to Symi back in 1993. We were anchored in Panormitis bay at the south-western end of the island and decided to walk across to send a fax to South Africa to let our families know where we were.  It was July, just as it is now, hot and dusty and the hillsides were aromatic the wonderful smell of hot sage, oregano and thyme bushes. The plants themselves had dried to dust and appeared dead but the smell was fantastic.  Come the first rains in October and overnight these tough scrubby little bushes start shooting tiny green leaves again, a botanical symbol of Greek resilience.

Have a good week.

Regards,
Adriana

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Life on Symi in July 2016

A flotilla of cruising yachts sailing out of Yialos early this morning.  It was nice to see so many sailing boats, many of them obvious live-aboards, all rafted up in the harbour while their crews enjoyed breakfast ashore in the many waterfront cafes and bakeries.

A water taxi loaded up and ready to head for the beaches.  Most of Symi's beaches are not really accessible by any other means as they are surrounded by steep cliffs and hillsides.  Apart from the stretch from Harani to Nimborio, there is no coastal road on Symi due to the sheer nature of the coastline and the road that connects Yialos and Chorio with Panormitis monastery at the south-western end of the island, goes along Symi's spine.  If you ever get the chance, it is well worth going up on the Panormitis bus or hiring a car or scooter for the day as the views from the top are quite spectacular.

The state of the art new Hellenic coastguard cutter rounding the bows of the Panagia Skiadeni while a tourist gulet from Turkey waits patiently to depart. There is always something to watch in Yialos and Pedi and anyone who spends their time in the water front cafes peering at cat memes on a device instead of watching the passing parade is missing one of the many reasons for coming to Symi on holiday.

A very unusual high speed motor craft, all the way from the Ukraine and painted in the Ukrainian national colours.

Symi harbour is not all hustle and bustle and glamour yachts.  Sometimes Symi harbour is peaceful fishing boats and sparkling reflections.

Look up as you walk around and you may be surprised at what you see.

Fishing nets below the Symi Visitor Accommodation office this morning.  

Steps to no where on the Kali Strata.  Many of the ruins have had their doors and windows blocked up with stones to discourage people from wandering about and possibly having an accident.

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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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