Pedi Peregrinations

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Nets
blog 12 March 19 a
This home owner has channeled the seasonal stream that passes his house.
blog 12 March 19 b
In a courtyard by the sea.
blog 12 March 19 c
Moss, weed, water grasses and algae are all flourishing in the flooded areas of Pedi bay.
blog 12 March 19 d
A fig leaf for spring.
blog 12 March 19 e
Sunlight catches wet rocks on the slopes above Pedi.
blog 12 March 19 f
Revealed.
blog 12 March 19 g
One of the places where the fresh water is seeping out of the rocks and into the sea.
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Boat-painting season on the beach at Apostoli’s in Pedi.
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The truth about crop circles.
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Clearing the football pitch and running track after the flood of 13 November 2017.
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Does blue suit me? Even the local livestock are doing their bit to clean up the sports field.
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Rural idyll.
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Twins!
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Clean Monday sky
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Early morning view.
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This was the island’s only bus when I first came here. Thanassis who is now a taxi driver was the bus driver. It was just narrow enough to make it down the steep short cut through Chorio and drop people off at the Chorio Hotel.
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The calm before the storm – Clean Monday afternoon.
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Considering the lilies of the field.
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Symi Spring Snapshots

blog 5 March 19 a
On the beach at Apostoli’s.
blog 5 March 19 b
A chilly little breeze.
blog 5 March 19 c
A shack in a desirable location.
blog 5 March 19 d
Beach house.
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No umbrellas.
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Pedi pastoral.
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This stone and wrought iron gate was washed into the bay by the flood on 13 November 2017. Watch out for it coming alongside the taxi boat jetty.
blog 5 March 19 h
Seaweed along the waterfront in Pedi. On the right you can see how the winter storms and salt spray have nibbled away at the reinforced concrete framework of a house. The framework might be earthquake proof but it isn’t weather proof.
blog 5 March 19 i
When winter storms literally come knocking at your door.
blog 5 March 19 j
Co-ordinated colours at Apostoli’s. In the summer this is a beach, in a winter it is part of the boat yard.
blog 5 March 19 k
A useful shed
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Almond blossom in the mist
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Almonds and olives
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Perhaps they should arrange for someone to collect their post in the winter.
blog 5 March 19 o
The men from DEH, the Power Corporation. No matter how cold the wind, they climb the poles with crampons and get on with the job.
blog 5 March 19 p
A carpeted foredeck
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Sunlight catching the wind on the water.
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Jungle cat, wading through the swamps of Pedi.
blog 5 March 19 s
This is supposed to be a barley field.
blog 5 March 19 t
How did this survive the winter?
blog 5 March 19 u
Rhapsody in red

Symi Blues in February

blog 20 Feb 2019 a
A small fishing boat in Pedi.
blog 20 Feb 2019 b
Where there are castles built by the Knights of Rhodes, there are also canon balls. It is only in Hollywood that canon balls explode. Real ones are made of stone or iron and there are literally thousands of stone canon balls in Rhodes as well as a few in Symi. This one is on a doorstep in Pedi.
blog 20 Feb 2019 c
Homage to Knossos and Sir Arthur Evans.
blog 20 Feb 2019 d detail
When it says Outdoor shower on the listing…
blog 20 Feb 2019 d
Well, it does stop the kids from tracking sand and salt into the house.
blog 20 Feb 2019 e
A Pedi fisherman’s cottage. I didn’t notice the cat among the fish baskets until I downloaded the photograph.
blog 20 Feb 2019 f
Water colours
blog 20 Feb 2019 g
There is water seeping out of the hillsides
blog 20 Feb 2019 h
and draining from gardens
blog 20 Feb 2019 i
and flowing into the sea … (BTW the shell case is a more recent relic, left by the Germans during the Second World War)
blog 20 Feb 2019 j
from neat canals
blog 20 Feb 2019 k
Kamares
blog 20 Feb 2019 l
A slightly fancier fishing boat
blog 20 Feb 2019 m
Almond blossom
blog 20 Feb 2019 n
Sand shovelled into heaps outside the Pedi Beach Hotel.
blog 20 Feb 2019 o
A calm morning in Pedi
blog 20 Feb 2019 p
Pedi pond. In the summer this vanishes totally, just leaving a few clumps of grass to mark its location.
blog 20 Feb 2019 q
Sandbags instead of sunbeds.

 

The weekly storms are still vicious but the sunny intervals between them are growing longer and milder.  There is a feeling of spring in the air and there are more people around.  It is that time of the year where it is warmer outdoors than in and everyone is relishing the sunshine.  Walkers of all ages promenade past under the watchful gaze of grazing sheep.  The ground is still to water-logged for much agricultural activity.  More heavy rain is forecast for the weekend as another storm system passes over Greece. As we near the spring equinox the storms increasingly pass to the north of us so while they may disrupt the big boat schedules they are not as destructive locally.

Wherever one looks on Symi there are bits of history tangled up with the present day.  The sense of continuity has a steadying effect.  Invaders and occupiers have come and gone and people are still here, growing olives, grazing sheep, fishing …

The photograph at the top of this blog shows the Kastro, Symi’s acropolis.  This has been a fortification of one sort or another for thousands of years although the most recent structure was a castle, built by the Knights of Rhodes.  Much of the remaining structure were destroyed during the Second World War when the retreating Germans blew up the munitions store they had there but there are still chunks of wall visible.  The main habitation was always huddled around the acropolis rather than the sea.  Trouble came from the sea.  Pirates, invaders – anyone on the shoreline was vulnerable.  Ancient settlements tended to be on high ground where you could see trouble coming before it arrived and defend yourself.  Symi’s hill tops and mountain peaks are dotted with the remnants of ancient fortifications and settlements.  They are not always easy to spot, particularly in the summer months when everything is uniformly dry and patterns are not so easily distinguishable on the landscape.

If you have any topics about Symi that you would particularly like me to focus on please let me know via the comments section or by emailing me or commenting on Facebook.  I would love to hear from you.

 

Adriana

Symi in February

blog 8 Feb 2019 a
A moss garden on a wall in Pedi. The barbed wire is to keep the goats out.
blog 8 Feb 2019 b
St George’s church, Pedi
blog 8 Feb 2019 c
Splash!
blog 8 Feb 2019 d
The taverna may be closed for winter renovations but the cats at Katsaras are still dining well.
blog 8 Feb 2019 e
Date palms by the Pedi Beach hotel. That is the monastery dedicated to Profiti Elias – the Prophet Elijah – on the slope in the distance.
blog 8 Feb 2019 f
Reflections.
blog 8 Feb 2019 g
An abandoned farmstead on a mountain top above Pedi.
blog 8 Feb 2019 h
The almond trees are what is left of what must have been quite an extensive orchard.

blog 8 Feb 2019 i

blog 8 Feb 2019 j
Sheep in a walled garden in Pedi.

 

January was wet and windy and so far February has not been much better.  They didn’t give a name to the storm that pounded Greece on Tuesday night and Wednesday but it delivered a lot of damage, particularly in Rhodes where large boulders were thrown about by the sea and many small seaside villages and beaches took a hammering.  Once again there were shipping bans and flight disruptions as winds topped Force 9, gusting Force 10.  There are another 6-8 weeks of winter still to come so it isn’t over yet.  Heavy hail storms on high ground took their toll of the new lambs in the mountain pastures on Symi and the local shepherds all have stories to tell.

In the quieter corners the almond blossoms are opening and the countryside is very green.  When the sun comes through it can be as much as 20 degrees centigrade, out of the wind.  Most of the time, though, midday temperatures are around 14 degrees and last night the thermometer on our car was reading 7 degrees centigrade.  The wind makes it seem chilly, particularly as the water has found its way into everything indoors and out.  Most Symi houses, regardless of age, have damp problems in the winter.  Either condensation turns surfaces black with mould or water seeps through walls, turning green with algae if there is any sunlight.  Apparently tea tree oil helps with the mould spores, if one can get hold of it.  Everyone else is constantly swabbing down with bleach solution.  It is not for nothing that spring painting is an annual necessity.

The bus is back, still running on a reduced winter schedule but much better than wading against the flow in the rain.

We have a few breezy partly cloudy days ahead and then the showers and next rainy spell is forecast to arrive on Monday night or Tuesday morning.  As the Blue Star came in from Rhodes last night there should be fresh stuff in the shops this morning.  Time to go foraging!

The cover photograph shows some of the sand and gravel that Tuesday night’s storm threw up along the waterfront road in Pedi.  The small terracotta fragments are potsherds, fragments of ancient amphora and pithoi that have been smashed and polished by the sea over centuries.

 

Stormy Symi January 2019

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The view from the top of the island, looking towards Nissyros and Kos
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Agios Andreas Church, next to the Pedi Beach Hotel
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A seasonal brook near the Ancient Fortifiation of Old Drakos in the Pedi Valley
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A quiet interlude between storms
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Double rainbow across Pedi
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The same rainbow, as seen from the top of the Pedi valley
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The first almond blossoms, in a field behind Taverna Katsaras in Pedi.
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A flooded garden near the Pedi Beach Hotel
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Lemons in an old walled garden.
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Moving a nanny goat.
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Walled orchard in Pedi
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Rainbow’s end in Pedi bay
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Seaweed tide line after a winter storm in Pedi
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Vegetable garden in Pedi

 

Winter in the Mediterranean may conjure up visions of mild temperatures, sunny days and pavement cafes.  This can happen, if you are lucky, but most of the time, particularly in January and February, it can be very wet, extremely windy and, on occasion, even snowy.

This year the snow even crept to sea level in places like Corfu, Skopelos and Thessalonica. Rhodes had heavy snowfalls on the mountain tops and the Evzones found themselves strutting their stuff outside Syntagma, Athens, surrounded by the white stuff.

We have had ferry disruptions of one sort or another every week since December and the Best Western Plaza hotel in Rhodes is offering special rates for Symiots hanging about, waiting for boats and doctor’s appointments.

On a personal note, I have been out of circulation for many weeks, due to severe back problems.  A strict regime of bed rest, exercises and medication under the supervision of an orthopaedic specialist in Rhodes seems to be working but I have to be very careful about how much time I spend sitting at the computer and have only recently been able to go for short walks, with the help of a stick.  It is unfortunate that the Symi bus is out of circulation so I cannot venture further afield.  At the moment my perambulations are strictly local but I can at least provide you with some photographs to give you an idea of what Pedi looks like in January.

 

Enjoy!

October Postcards from Symi

blog 22 Oct 2018 a
Once upon a time the small island of Symi was parcelled up into a number of small ‘kingdoms’, each centred around an easily defensible position.  The Kastro in Chorio, overlooking Yialos, is the most obvious as it lingered on in use into modern times, as has Kokkimides.  A sharp eye, however, can see traces of many other ancient fortresses that have long fallen into disuse. This one overlooks Nanou bay, the sea towards Asia Minor and Rhodes, Marathounda bay and a sheltered valley near Megalo Sotiris.  If you look carefully you can still see the dry stone walls marking the perimeter and also an interior fortification above the trees.
blog 22 Oct 2018 b
There was a tremendous thunderstorm on 30 September with some quite heavy rain – the first after a long hot summer.  We spotted this chap in our road, slurping up from the puddles.  We had to move him carefully to a safer spot to reduce the danger of being run over.
blog 22 Oct 2018 c
Just as well we saw him and stopped in time.  In the dark he would not have been so lucky.
blog 22 Oct 2018 d
One of the corner cats.  Regular followers of my blog over the years will be aware that there is a happy community of cats, cockerels and chickens hanging out by the bins where our dirt road joins the road to Panormitis.
blog 22 Oct 2018 e
All new builds on Symi have to harmonise with the existing neo-classical architecture.   Someone took the easy route when making the bull’s eye in the pediment of this modern construction – that is a ceiling boss!
blog 22 Oct 2018 f
Elegant squills along the Pedi road. They came up early this year, in September, and are already starting to fade. The broad strap leaves are forcing their way through.  
blog 22 Oct 2018 g
I took this in Rhodes last week.  That is the Panagia Skiadeni, the Dodecanese Seaways car ferry, in the background, about to set off with a boat load of day-trippers for Symi.  Akandia, the car ferry port, is just beyond the main boatyard.
blog 22 Oct 2018 i
Just add water – a few days after the rain the grass started to come up in all the places where the damp lingered.  Although day time temperatures are still in the twenties, humidity is high with heavy dew falls at night and plenty of mist.
blog 22 Oct 2018 j
Spotted in a side road.

Waiting for Zorba

The weather is turning early this year. The first part of this week shipping was disrupted by northerly gales in the Northern and Central Aegean caused by Storm Xenophon.  Now we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the optimistically named Medicane Zorbas.  This sounds like some sort of weird Greek pharmaceutical but it is actually a meteorological term for the Mediterranean version of a Category 1 Hurricane.

blog 28 Sep 2018 a
An old oven near the technical high school in Chorio.  There used to be a lot of these communal ovens in the residential areas of Symi but many have been demolished or have literally collapsed in recent years.  Symi houses are small and fuel is scarce.  The big cast iron range cookers that were fashionable in 19th century Europe never made it to Symi.  Instead there was an open hearth in the kitchen with wrought iron trivets for cooking over a small wood fire.  Once a week or so or on special occasions an outdoor oven such as this one would be used to bake bread, roast meat and prepare other specialities that required an oven.  When I first came here in the 1990s it was still common to see housewives carrying trays of food to the bakeries of Chorio to cook in the ovens as they cool in the afternoon.  Nowadays they have modern electric ovens like everyone else – and air conditioning to cool the house after a day’s cooking.
blog 28 Sep 2018 b
Most doors and windows on Symi are wood.  There are, however, quite a few steel courtyard doors around if one looks about.  This one is relatively recent in that it was welded rather than riveted.  The floral motif on this one caught my eye.
blog 28 Sep 2018 c
These days the bulls eye on the pediment is usually a solid motif but in the older houses this was an important part of ventilation for the house.  Heat rises and escapes from the roof space through the lacy ironwork.
blog 28 Sep 2018 d
The Blue Star 1 powering past the entrance to Pedi, on her way to Rhodes. 
blog 28 Sep 2018 e
Playtime in Pedi Bay.
blog 28 Sep 2018 f
The monastery of Profiti Ilias (Prophet Elijah), perched on a crag overlooking the Pedi Valley.
blog 28 Sep 2018 g
Sand and straw in a builder’s yard in the Pedi valley.
blog 28 Sep 2018 h
Those brown bottles must have been there for a very long time, probably since long before I started work at the Valanidia on the Pedi road, yet I only noticed them this summer.  The labels have washed away and they are held in place by a bit of fencing.  They aren’t broken so it is possible that they were originally in boxes or some kind of packaging which has rotted away over the years, leaving the bottles to gently topple over against the pig wire.
blog 28 Sep 2018 i
Preparing for the rain in one of the walled gardens behind the beach in Pedi.
blog 28 Sep 2018 j
Pomegranates ripening in a garden up at Megalo Sotiris.
blog 28 Sep 2018 k
And down at sea level on the north shore of Pedi bay.  There is a bit of a cave in the hillside behind the tree which has been waterproofed with cement and secured with a door which you can just see on the right.  When houses are small, the occupants tend to spill out into their surroundings and before the advent of the ‘marina’ the north shore of Pedi bay was a picturesque row of outdoor kitchens and living spaces in the summer.
blog 28 Sep 2018 l
Doesn’t that sparkling water sing you siren songs?  Pedi bay last week.
blog 28 Sep 2018 m
A windy sky.  My pomegranate tree is never very productive. This year it is providing support to a random handful of ipomea (morning glory). Reach for the skies…

The weather is turning early this year. The first part of this week shipping was disrupted by northerly gales in the Northern and Central Aegean caused by Storm Xenophon.  Now we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the optimistically named Medicane Zorbas.  This sounds like some sort of weird Greek pharmaceutical but it is actually a meteorological term for the Mediterranean version of a Category 1 Hurricane.  The Mediterranean Sea is over-heating and feeding storms more commonly associated with the tropics.  Zorbas is currently revolving over the Ionian and South Peloponnese.  Crete is already feeling its effects in the form of storm surges and gale force winds.  It is moving slowly towards us and the various computer projections seem undecided as to when and where it will hit the Eastern Aegean and Dodecanese.  The bulletins are changing hourly, the shipping companies are struggling to keep up and travellers are worrying about planes, ferries, connections and insurance.  Somehow the last weekend in September is behaving like the last week in October.

I had to go down to the harbour this morning to see the dentist.  Symi may be a tiny island and somewhat inaccessible but we do have two excellent dentists and, despite the various ferry disruptions, my new bridge arrived in time to be fitted this morning.  The harbour, Yialos, was very busy as some late season fancy yachts had decided that retail therapy was the answer on a grey blustery day.  The water taxis and excursion boats aren’t running today due to the anticipated storms so late September visitors were also in the coffee shops and boutiques rather than sunning themselves outside the Pedi Beach Hotel.  Workmen were banging in battens and balancing on ladders, rigging the plastic ‘tents’ that provide protection against the elements for those hospitality venues that stay open through the winter.  This ritual is usually performed in late October or early November, not the last week in September.

It is by no means cold.  It is about 28 degrees today and very humid under a heavy blanket of cloud.  The day has been punctuated by intermittent showers and the wind is starting to rise, buffeting the yachts at anchor in Pedi bay.

Have a good weekend – and I will let you know if Zorba came to visit or passed us by.

Regards,

Adriana