December Postcards from Symi.

The Nikolaos patisserie - shrouded in plastic and ready for Christmas.  Not many customers, though, on such a wet and blustery day.

That yellow trailer belonging to Dodecanese Transport is part of the network of how goods arrive on Symi. Every week it leaves on the Blue Star and returns, laden with goods.  If you were to move house to Symi, your furniture and packing cases would do the last leg of its journey in that trailer.  And even if your freight company assures you of 'door-to-door' delivery, your stuff will wind up either in a yard somewhere on the island or on the bend in the road up from the harbour and you will have to organise some means of getting your things from there, through the lanes and up countless steps, to your home.

The trees on the square have all been lopped for the winter - the electricity cables were in jeopardy and the cafes on either side wanted to let in more light.  

Locals buying fish from the back of a truck by the bridge.

Christmas decorations in Chorio, next to the Windmill restaurant (now firmly packed away for the winter).  The model sailing boat is very traditional and its lines are picked out in lights.  It is riding a wave of blue light tubing.

Three healthy olive saplings, loaded up and ready to be planted. This is the best time of the year for planting trees - there has been enough rain to be able to dig holes without recourse to a pick and, of course, once the trees are planted, they won't need much in the way of watering until about May.

Breakfast on the hoof.

This patriotic quadbike belongs to an elderly gentleman who lives somewhere quite high up as I often see him on the road.  As you can see, the boutique in the corner is shuttered for the winter.

Water-swept weeds and fallen fig leaves on the Kali Strata.  In the absence of storm water drains and gutters, Symi's numerous flights of stairs quickly become torrents when it rains.

This wall came down as a result of heavy rain earlier this week.  That is the Pantheon hotel next door.

A flower and a face on a facade on the Kali Strata.  

Moss growing on the steps near the top of the Kali Strata.  They will be whitewashed again in the spring and the tourists will never guess that they turn green for half the year.

Wet limewash.  

A calm morning this week. The red ship on the quay in Pedi is off-loading building materials.  There are a number of builders' yards near the football pitch and the power station.
Well, there is no shortage of rain at the moment.  Apart from a few very brief intervals it has been raining since about midnight. There has also been a fair amount of hail.  The harbour is turning muddy with the run off and there are odd bits of paper and plastic bobbing about.  The Blue Star was about 2 hours late this morning, delayed by strong winds in the Aegean.  There are no proper all weather harbours in the Aegean and docking in stormy conditions adds delays at every port.  Fortunately we should have a sunny weekend in which to dry out and the next round of rain should only reach Symi around Wednesday.

This will be my last blog for a few weeks as I am off to England to spend Christmas with my mother. Weather and ferries permitting I should be back on Symi on Wednesday 7 January so my next blog will be on Friday 9 January.

I hope you all have a very merry and peaceful Christmas and wish you all the best for the New Year.



More Festive Cheer, Symi Style.

The official Symi town nativity scene, set up on the stage in the town square.  It is illuminated at night.  I apologise for the rather unpicturesque municipal car park in the background but it cannot be helped.

The butcher was putting an illuminated plastic festive elf in his window as I walked past this morning.

Merry Christmas on the Kali Strata.

Meanwhile the work continues at Pachos, next door to the Symi Visitor Accommodation office. For those of you who don't know, my desk is just behind the green doors on that balcony to the right, above the Sunflower laundry.  That small white blob on the balcony railing is our famous webcam which broadcasts a live view of Symi harbour, updated every 30 seconds 7 days a week, except during power cuts.  Our entrance is actually in the lane to the left of the photograph, on the other side of Pachos.

And it's off again!  A third attempt at sorting out the leaks in the massive roof of the new undercover sports facility.  The architectural style had to be in keeping with Symi's existing aesthetic but building a typical Symi neo-classical roof on such a huge scale is proving problematic.

This time they seem to be replacing the original battens with much thicker ones so that the roof will be more rigid.  They are going to have to speed things up as heavy rain is expected tonight (see below).  I wonder if the ancient Greeks had the same problems when they built the Parthenon...

The lambing season has begun and these chaps really aren't too fussed about whether the gym roof leaks or not - they're enjoying some fresh horta, the soft wild greens that sprout everywhere at this time of the year.
A big storm is heading our way and even the BBC mentioned rain and strong winds in the Greek islands and along the Turkish coast in their weather forecast this morning.  The heaviest rain is expected to reach us this evening with up to 50 millimetres anticipated on Rhodes and environs.  For those of you who don't think in metric, that is about 2 inches which is a not inconsiderable amount of water.  The floods we had a few weeks ago were more than 60 millimetres of rain - that was as far as my rain water gauge could go before it overflowed so I don't have an exact measurement.  As the wind is from the south temperatures are quite mild and it is very humid.  It looks as though it is going to remain wet and unsettled for the rest of the week, with midday highs around 18 degrees and lows of about 12 degrees.

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 16 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

Adriana Shum

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