Midsummer Symi

The Cypriot cruise ship, the Salamis Filoxenia, nosing her way into Yialos on Monday afternoon, as seen from the Symi Visitor balcony.  Symi is a traditional port of call for Greek Orthodox religious tourism as both Panormitis and Roukoniotis are important monasteries dedicated to St Michael. As the ship is too big to get into Panormitis bay, pilgrims take taxis and mini buses across the island to visit these holy sites. The boat stays in Yialos for about 6 hours before heading on northwards to Patmos, to visit the place where St John the Divine wrote his Revelations.

Repurposing is nothing new here.

Mummy hen and family, wondering if they should cross the road or not. They actually roost in a shrub on the right and she hasn't lost anyone yet!

Hand made wooden chairs and baskets for sale in central Chorio.

In Greece your garden pots and outdoor furniture come to you by ferry and truck. These pithoi come from Crete and haven't really changed much in design since the Minoan days in Knossos.

Looking across the Pedi valley from central Chorio towards the Vigla, the highest peak on Symi

Looks like the weeds came back after the whitewashing was done.

The random light rain showers through the early part of June have kept the sage bushes on the mountain sides vaguely green for longer than usual. The domed building on the top right edge of upper Chorio in this picture is Agia Trianda, one of the biggest churches in the town.  The upper reaches of Chorio may seem remote and inaccessible now but there was a period, before the Kali Strata was built, when this was the focus of main village and a thriving community.  If you stroll around up there, among the ruins, you will see many buildings that were obviously shops, cafes and other businesses in the 18th century and even earlier.  In those days, the access route was the old donkey path, the Kataraktis, as well as through the terraces of the Pedi valley which, if the Turkish traveller, Peri Reis is to be believed, was an elegant garden of orchards and vineyards ranging down to the sea.

A vegetable garden at the bottom of the Pedi valley.  It is now so hot nothing grows unless it is specifically watered and even then it is a bit of a struggle.  You are looking at tomatoes ripening and assorted bolted greens.  When the temperatures start to rise, so do the lettuces and greens, unfortunately, which is why fresh leafy stuff is strictly seasonal around here.

The view from Charitomeni restaurant at Pithini is one of the best on the island.  It is a great location for yacht watchers and on Friday evenings you can see the Blue Star ferry come in on her way from Kastellorizon and Rhodes to Pireus.

The elegant O'Mega, photographed in Yialos last night, once again from the terrace of Charitomeni restaurant.  It is unusual to see such a large vessel lie alongside but in the absence of evening ferries, why not?


Greetings From A Quiet Island

That could be you on that water taxi, heading for Agia Marina, St Nicholas, St George, Nanou or Marathounda! The view from Symi Visitor Accommodation at 11.20 this morning.

On Symi it is always worth looking up!

This year the seagulls have been replaced by fish.  Apologies for the loss of sharpness - I cropped this from a larger photo so that you can get some idea of the detail on that mobile.

Looking through a window on the Kali Strata to the opposite side of the harbour.

The figs are plumping out nicely in the ruins.

A line up of motor yachts from Turkey.

Boats clearing in from outside the EU have to dock at the clock tower first to go through customs and immigration before being allowed to berth in Yialos or anchor in Pedi.
Symi is still very quiet considering that we have passed the halfway mark of June, a month that used to be one of the busiest in the year on Symi.  While there is a lot more boating activity in the harbour, mainly due to Ramadan as many Turkish boats come over then, there are still very few visitors actually staying on the island.  There is still plenty of accommodation of all kinds available on the island as those hotels that don't work with package holiday companies have availability and we also have houses, studios and apartments available.

Where I live, up at the top of the Pedi valley, the ambient noise in the evening is the buzz of cicadas and the tinkle of sheep bells rather then the murmur of distant conversations and snatches of music on the air.  There are far fewer people about and many houses are still closed up which is sad.  Houses with their shutters closed and no lights visible on summer nights are an unusual sight.

As I write this, the Salamis Filoxenia has just winkled her way into Symi harbour so at least the Cypriots have not forgotten us!

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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