For the last twenty or so years I have walked down the Kali Strata to work in the harbour. This year, with all the changes in my life, my daily ‘commute’ is a walk down the Pedi road. When we first came to Symi the Pedi road was very familiar territory as we lived on board Salamander, our boat, at anchor in Pedi bay and, much later, after we bought our farm, I used to work at the Valandia, a taverna half way down the Pedi road, run by a couple from Wolverhampton. Once I started working for the Symi Visitor, I seldom walked that way and recent weeks have really been a ‘walk down memory lane.
The road has become a sort of light industrial strip with two garages, a petrol station, the power station, the desalination plant, a stone cutter and all the warehouses for the island’s supermarkets lining the downhill side of the road, as well as the various suppliers of building materials and assorted storage facilities. The uphill side of the road, however, is still pretty much as it was in 1994. The photograph at the top of this page shows detail of some very old terrace walling on the hillside, including very basic but effective steps to climb from one terrace to another.
Before the sponge diving and the ship building boom of the late 19th century, Symi was known for its sweet wine. All that is left of Symi’s wine industry is the remnants of old terraces clinging to seriously stony and inhospitable hillsides. Grape vines don’t mind poor soil and require surprisingly little water once established. They can be grown successfully in conditions inhospitable to virtually anything else. Samos, Symi’s northern neighbour, is still a significant producer of a sweet muscadel-type dessert wine similar to that enjoyed by 17th and 18th century visitors to Symi.
Today’s slide show includes some photographs of Pedi bay, Panormitis bay on the south western end of the island, the bell tower and famously windswept tree at the mountain monastery of Kokkimides and the entrance to the Alethini church on the Pedi road with all its flags.
We are halfway through July, traditionally regarded as the first of the three ‘high season’ months. Symi is still very quiet in comparison to the pre-economic crisis days and there are few boats swinging in Pedi bay. The days when the boats were so tight packed that Steerforth, our ship’s cat, could jump from boat to boat as they swung close are over.
Temperatures are still around the forty degree centigrade mark with a strong hot wind blowing some afternoons. The deciduous trees are shedding their leaves in great drifts of crispy green as the trees struggle to cope with the low humidity, searing temperatures and falling ground water levels.
I am about to set off on today’s walk down the Pedi road as three baskets of sheets and pillowcases in need of ironing await me at the bottom. Ironing sheets is quite therapeutic. I plug in my tablet, select an audio book and the time flies by! Enjoy your Sunday.
7 thoughts on “Symi Summer Sunday”
Ah, the Valanidia with J&J. After all is said and done, 23 years ago, over a bottle of Metaxa, they introduced us to people who have become really lovely friends and I like to think that includes you, Adriana.
In one of the sheds alongside the Valanidia is an electric fan and a parasol, left there to be used on the next Symi holiday, but………… I do hope they are still there; it was only 20 years ago!
Where are the “ bus stops “ on the Pedi Road?
Officially at Kampos at the top, in Chorio, and then down at the head of the jetty in Pedi but the driver will stop to let you off at other spots if it is practical for him to stop.
I remember that restaurant. We ate there the first time we visited Symi in ‘95 or ‘96 when we came over with Laskarina. Last time we were there, 2 years ago I was sad to see it was not there.
The building is practically derelict now. Just an unhappy ‘guard dog’ in a kennel and no other signs of life. Very sad.
I miss Symi. Last time i was there was 2005.
Is Lakis stil the busdriver?
What about the old couples taverna down in Pedi?
I have to come back…
Lakis shares the job with his son, Thannassi. If you mean Mike and Lucy, Kamares has closed down. There are still two tavernas in Pedi – Apostolis by the boat yard and Katsaras just past the Pedi Beach Hotel.