Happy New Year!

A glimpse of distant snow-capped mountain peaks in Turkey.  When the wind blows from the north in the winter visibility is amazing and one can see literally for miles. At the same time the low angle of the sun and the increased vegetation highlights features on the landscape. Roads and buildings become far more distinct.

I may have been away a month but somethings haven't changed. There are still chickens crossing the road in Lieni.

Municipal workers are still shovelling mud in the town square.  In the week that I have been back the Kataraktis has flowed twice, first on Saturday night with a lot of stones and then yesterday, depositing silt and sand.

Happiness is a warm black roof in the sun.

Well, why wouldn't you buy mattresses at the car hire shop?  On Symi one has to diversify to make a living.

Optimists can plant onions and cabbages and hope that they won't be washed away.

The Blue Star Paros is undergoing maintenance so the Blue Star Delos is currently serving Symi. The stormy weather in the Aegean delayed her departure from Pireus yesterday so she only came through at about half past eleven today instead of seven forty-five.

The crowd at the clock tower, waiting to board the Delos.

Pedi bay during a sunny spell earlier this week.
After three dry winters, Symi has been experiencing an extremely wet one.  By all accounts there have been more rainy days than dry ones in the time that I have been away and the trend certainly continued this week on my return.  Cisterns are overflowing, which is just as well as in some neighbourhoods water pipes destroyed in the flood of 13 November 2017 have yet to be repaired. As I have mentioned many times over the years, Symi houses are difficult to heat, particularly the old stone ones, and damp can be a recurring problem.  Wood fires are a popular source of dry heat and our cast iron stove is not unusual.  Looking around Chorio on a winter's day, little plumes of smoke rise from many chimneys even quite early in the day.

The long term forecast is for heavy rain on Sunday and Monday followed by some cold dry days next week when we can all get our washing dry and our houses aired.  On the rainy days, temperatures range from 16 degrees at midday to around 10 degrees at night, feeling colder due to the damp.  On the clear dry days when the wind blows from the north, temperatures drop into single figures - around 9 degrees in the day and about 5 at night.  It can be warmer if you find a suntrap out of the wind or if you are lucky enough to be on the south-facing side of the harbour.  Location, location as the real estate agents say, is crucial on Symi if you live here all year round.

There are not many people about in the harbour as most businesses are closed for the winter. Apart from a few random building projects there is not much activity on the island at this time of the year.  It has been too wet for agricultural pursuits as the fields and terraces are totally water-logged.  Symi is still in snooze mode.

One bit of ferry news is that Dodecanese Seaways will not be coming through Symi tomorrow, Saturday. They had to cancel their Thursday route to Halki and Tilos due to the rough sea conditions so they will be doing that on Saturday instead of the usual Symi run.  If Symi seems quite at this time of the year, with a permanent population of around 2500, can you imagine how quiet it must be on Halki and Tilos where the population is in the hundreds, even in the summer? 

Have a good weekend.  I will bring you more news and photographs from Symi on Monday.



Season's Greetings and See You on Symi in 2018

It doesn't take much to make the Stanni patisserie next door to the Symi Visitor Accommodation office look festive.

A festive glimpse through the door of the butchery.

The Symi Flower shop is always a cheerful sight.

This is how fuel arrives for the petrol station in Yialos. Tankers roll off and drive round to the fuel station to fill the bunkers.

Oranges and lemons for sale in the square in Yialos.  Most Symiots have lemon trees somewhere but Symi oranges tend to be extremely bitter and are only suitable for marmalade or glykos.  Oranges for squeezing or eating come from Rhodes or Kalymnos.

Fresh fish for sale, straight from the boat. The cats are optimistic.

Down in the Pedi Valley.  The  bare brown bits are where water washed through in the storm.
This will be my last blog for 2017 as I am going to England to visit family and friends for the festive season.  Leaving Symi is often a fraught business in the winter. This time I will be missing a 24 hour shipping strike by a mere 24 nail-biting hours!  The 5.50 a.m. departure on the Blue Star is not an attractive prospect either!  In the winter the Blue Star serving Symi fits in a quick trip down to Karpathos and back on a Wednesday so instead of the extremely civilised 8.15 departure from Symi that we enjoy in the summer, in the winter we have to be down in the harbour in the dark at 5.30 a.m.  Fortunately the weather forecast is good so there are no gales to worry about and it won't be raining.

Christmas is only a fortnight away and a few more decorations are putting in an appearance. There still isn't much in the shops - the main holiday supplies will arrive on the big boat on the Friday before Christmas.  Anyone with premature Christmas cravings has to take the Blue Star to Rhodes on Wednesday or Friday to buy goodies at Lidl!  No Aldi in Greece - they pulled out early in the economic crisis - but Lidl and Praktiker are stalwarts, particularly in these times of austerity. The other great source of Christmas bling is Jumbo, a huge jolly junk Greek chain store out in the middle of the island and thus only accessible by car or taxi.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

See you in January!



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

Copyright (c) 2001-2017 Adriana Shum.

All Rights Reserved.

Keep in Touch with Symi

Symi Accommodation Accommodation for the discerning traveller to Symi Island Greece.

Back to TOP