Tables By The Sea

On one of my daily walks around Pedi bay I noticed how many tables there are by the sea.  Not formal taverna and restaurant tables but informal, quirky ones, put out by people who enjoy simple pleasures.  These photographs share some of them with you.  The one of the breaking waves gives you an idea of what the wash looks like when the Blue Star 2 ploughs past the entrance to Pedi on a calm day and there’s no wind to break up the wake.

 

Time moves in strange ways on Symi, possibly because we don’t work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, with weekends to mark off the passage of time.  In the summer months most of us work 7 days a week and often evenings too, depending on what we are doing, and the weeks flash past.  There is plenty of time for days off in the winter, when the tourists have gone home and there is no work to be found.

The worst of the heat is probably behind us, as July draws to a close. The humidity is rising as the evenings grow longer and pockets of sea mist linger in the early mornings.  Temperatures are around 38 degrees centigrade at midday and around 28 degrees at midnight.

Symi found itself rocking to Sunday visits from a crowdfunded yacht flotilla company called the Bucketlust.  As they held a weekly fancy dress party at the Harani Club in Yialos the locals were agog to see what the young crowd were – or were not – wearing as costumes.  Whether this will bring a new generation of Symi fans remains to be seen.

An alternative kind of aquatic Symi holiday is offered by Strel Swimming Adventures .  They specialise in swimming long distances in beautiful locations and have recently added Symi to their portfolio, with the Pedi Beach Hotel as their base.

The Rodos Cup Regatta passed through Symi last week, bringing 537 sailors from 13 countries to Symi.  We were also visited by the highly distinctive super sailing yacht, Maltese Falcon,pictured below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A fabulous new portfolio of rental properties, Select Symi, has now been launched, featuring some seriously high end properties.  If you want a waterfront villa with 5 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and a jacuzzi, this is the place to look.  Drool here!

The Symi Festival 2019 has been launched.  The program is available on Facebook and there are also random posters around the town, advertising events.  This is all in addition to the usual name days, weddings and baptisms that fill the July calendar.

The first fortnight of August are traditionally the busiest weeks of the year in the Mediterranean countries and Symi is no exception.  Athens is emptying out and the islands are filling up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Greek Island Herbs

smartcapture
The butterflies are enjoying the thyme as much as the bees.

blog 16 June 2019 b

blog 16 June 2019 c
The path from Pedi to St Nicholas beach, fragrant with thyme, oregano and sage.
blog 16 June 2019 e
On a more prosaic note, the new recycling bins have appeared in various places around the island. These ones are in the commercial port in Yialos.
blog 16 June 2019 f
The Nissos Chios, the big car ferry that serves Symi on Wednesdays and Fridays during the summer.
blog 16 June 2019 g
The wall is old but the tree is older. As the tree grows the dry stone wall is adjusted and modified to accommodate its changing shape and dimensions.
blog 16 June 2019 h
Harani at dusk.

Symi has turned into a garden this year.  Those long soaking rains for months on end during the winter gave us a spectacular spring and the mountain herbs are putting on a show for far longer this year.  Even people who usually come in June are commenting on how bright the thyme flowers are this year.  While other countries may be worrying about their bee populations, Symi’s bees are absolutely wallowing in thyme pollen at the moment and the hills are humming.

Recycling has been a big topic for all parties involved in the recent elections.  In reality, the bins have obviously been in the pipeline for a while regardless.  Rhodes has had them for some time and this is not the first time we have seen bins for collecting aluminium cans on Symi – we covered the same story in the days of the Symi Visitor newspaper, more than a decade ago.  The crucial thing is not so much encouraging the locals and tourists to use them but that the contents are then actually taken away and recycled in a sustainable way.  Greece has very few recycling facilities and they are all on the mainland, a 17 hour ferry journey away.  Rubbish, whatever it is, tends to be high volume, so a cost effective way of transporting paper, bottles, cans, plastic and so on has to be provided to form the next link in the chain.  Otherwise we will see yet another recycling initiative fall by the wayside as the contents wind up in a landfill somewhere.  In the long term the real solution lies with the packaging industry finding better alternatives that are still effective for their purpose but without the negative environmental implications.

As many of you probably know, I look after holiday homes for various people and provide the services they need to keep them running smoothly.  Recently I received a consignment of all the sheets and towels necessary for one particular house. Three sets of everything.  They were ordered from an on line source by the owner of the property and arrived in big boxes by courier. Every single individual item, whether it be a sheet or a pillow case or a towel, was folded around a piece of cardboard to give it a neat shape.  It was then encased in a printed paper sleeve, giving details of the item.  Each of these was then in a separate resealable plastic envelope. That means that for each item of bedding or towels there were 3 items of packaging. What kind of madness is this?  Even if those separate pieces of packaging are recyclable, in a place where those particular materials can be recycled, bearing in mind that facilities are not universally available, is it really necessary to fold a pillowcase round a piece of cardboard, wrap it in a piece of printed paper and then put it in a plastic bag?  Many of us are old enough to remember when someone would have counted out the appropriate number of items. Laid them on a sheet of brown paper, wrapped it up into a parcel with tape or string and that would have been that.

Simples, as the meerkat says on the BBC!

 

 

May Postcards from Symi

blog 7 May 2019 a
Symmetry
blog 7 May 2019 a1
The waterfront in Pedi bay is slipping into summer mode.
blog 7 May 2019 a3
Waiting for parasols
blog 7 May 2019 a4
The tiny church dedicated to St Thomas celebrated its name day this week.

blog 7 May 2019 a5

blog 7 May 2019 b
This stone wall next to Apostoli’s is turning into a work of art as the fishermen clean their paintbrushes on it and test that they have the colours for their boats mixed just right.
blog 7 May 2019 b2
Essential supplies – cases of beer and bottled water, waiting to be loaded onto a boat to be taken to one of the beach tavernas. The water taxis are still in the boatyards in Harani and Pedi so opening is a while off yet but it takes time to get stock out to places that can only be accessed by sea.
blog 7 May 2019 c
Roses flourish in sheltered gardens around Pedi and Chorio.
blog 7 May 2019 c2
Windows
blog 7 May 2019 d
In need of a little TLC.
blog 7 May 2019 e
The view from Evangelismos church in Harani, looking across the entrance to Yialos.  The Nireus and Aliki hotels are along the waterfront and the Merchant House is one tier up, above the Aliki. The green hills in the background are the south wall of the Pedi valley with the Vigla, the highest point on Symi, on the right.  
blog 7 May 2019 f
Outside bathroom
Eilish and Allen petunias
Pedi petunias

The Symi summer season starts later than it used to as fewer tourists come to Symi for Easter and spring break.  With little pressure, businesses now unfurl from the winter hibernation at a more leisurely pace and most set their targets for the end of May rather than the beginning.

Every day brings more changes, particularly in the harbour where the day boats from Rhodes provide more of an incentive for shops and cafes to open up but here in Pedi things are still very quiet.  The first Saga Holidays people have arrived at the Pedi Beach Hotel and the last bus is now at 9.30 p.m. from Pedi.  We had supper with friends at the newly re-opened Katsaras Taverna in Pedi and we were the only diners.

The weather is still unsettled, with random red rain showers, occasional blustery days and temperatures ranging from 16 degrees to 25 degrees.  Even on the hazy days of Saharan dust it can be very bright and the sun cream days are definitely with us.  Over the weekend there were countrywide ferry and flight disruptions due to strong winds.

Tomorrow is VE Day and a local holiday.  German General Wagener surrendered the Dodecanese to the Allies at the building on the waterfront in Yialos that now houses LOS club (previously Katerinettes pension and taverna).  There is still a big parade here on Symi every year.  When I first came to Symi, nearly 30 years ago, veterans and their families would make a point of coming to Symi to attend the parade.  Now they are long gone and very few of the people taking part or watching have any real first hand connection with the event.  It is still, however, an important part of Symi’s recent history and a reminder that tiny islands are not immune to the ripples of world events.

On the ferry front, ANES released a schedule for the Sebeco that covered the Easter and May Day holidays and runs out tomorrow, 8 May, so we still don’t know which evenings, if any, there may be boats from Rhodes to Symi or which mornings there will be boats from Symi to Rhodes. The promised extra Blue Star Sunday routes also don’t appear on any schedule. The Blue Star 2 made a diversion through Symi this Sunday past in order to pick up morning passengers from the Sebeco who would otherwise have been stranded as the wind was too strong for the Sebeco to run.  Generally speaking, if you are making plans, it is probably best to stick with what is on the Dodecanese Seaways and Blue Star websites and regard anything else as a bonus!

April Postcards from Symi

blog 22 April 2019 a
Having a little Cape Town moment, the Vigla sports a rare ‘tablecloth’.
blog 22 April 2019 b
A goat on a mission.
blog 22 April 2019 c
She went over the old call box, along the colonnade, hopped over the wall and disappeared up the alley.
blog 22 April 2019 d
Feline supervision is essential to ensure that all is perfect for the new season.
blog 22 April 2019 e
Yum. Broadbeans.
blog 22 April 2019 e2
A mother and child moment.
blog 22 April 2019 f
A tranquil Pedi – before the sunbeds and parasols are packed out for the summer.
blog 22 April 2019 g
The ghost of a cake shop long gone.
blog 22 April 2019 h
Poppies on the Pedi road.
blog 22 April 2019 i
Free range, Symi style.
blog 22 April 2019 j
Symi colours.
blog 22 April 2019 k
Apostoli’s taverna, still in boatyard mode.
blog 22 April 2019 l
There’s wild chamomile everywhere down in Pedi at the moment. The smell is like Golden Delicious apples.
blog 22 April 2019 m
Cock of the walk.
blog 22 April 2019 n
A sledge, waiting for a boat.
blog 22 April 2019 o
Wheel barrow hitching a ride on a quad bike.
blog 22 April 2019 p
There has to be a logical explanation for three taverna chairs balancing on a boat in a yard in the Pedi valley, but I really don’t know what it is.
blog 22 April 2019 q
All tied up.

Symi Spring-cleaning and April Showers

blog 12 April 2019 ablog 12 April 2019 b

blog 12 April 2019 b1
The wooden sledge for moving boats in and out of the sea hasn’t changed much since Homeric times.  The plastic chairs, however, bring it right up to date.
blog 12 April 2019 c
An old slipway in Pedi.
blog 12 April 2019 c1
Seaweed at Apostoli’s.
blog 12 April 2019 d
Why gardening on Symi is such a challenge.  There’s not much that can cope with being submerged for most of the winter and then baked in the sun for months in the summer.
blog 12 April 2019 e
When the pond overflows down the driveway…
blog 12 April 2019 e1
… the pond’s amphibian inhabitants move too.  Unfortunately I don’t think these guys are going to survive as they are already cut off from the main pond as the water evaporates and the shallow water is disappearing fast.
blog 12 April 2019 f
Changing Lightbulbs.
smartcapture
Hello!
blog 12 April 2019 h
Wild Chamomile

blog 12 April 2019 h1

blog 12 April 2019 i
ASymi Residences, the new hotel in Pedi.
blog 12 April 2019 j
Stairway to Paradise.
blog 12 April 2019 k
Wild Fern Garden.
blog 12 April 2019 l
Wild Sage.
blog 12 April 2019 m
Graveyard for Slightly Used Pedalos.
blog 12 April 2019 n
The End of the Line.  A casualty of last Saturday’s storm.
blog 12 April 2019 o
Random Decor?
blog 12 April 2019 o1
A Place in the Sun
blog 12 April 2019 p
Waiting for the Pedi Beach Hotel to open.

 

Actually to call them April Showers is a bit of an understatement.  Deluge is more like it and on Monday the rain was so heavy that all the water courses flowed, coming down in torrents through the square in Yialos, under the bridge and into the harbour.  The water remained muddy for several hours after that.  Lightning strikes knocked out phone lines in parts of Chorio and a number of home owners had floods indoors when their roof gutters failed to cope with the downpours.  An inconvenient quirk of Symi’s pretty neo-classical architecture is that the gutters are channels in the tops of the walls, converging on some sort of down pipe inside the wall leading to the house’s rainwater cistern.  If the down pipe gets blocked or the rain is so heavy that it cannot drain away down the pipe fast enough, the gutters overflow over the sill under the eaves and down the inside of the house.  Very exciting if you are inside at the time – but worse to come back to if your house has been closed up for the winter and no one has been inside to clean up the resultant mess.

Greek Easter falls on the last weekend of April this year, giving everyone a bit more time to prepare for the start of the Easter.  Just as well really, considering that there is yet more rain forecast for Monday next week.  The charter flights into Rhodes started about a week ago and Dodecanese Seaways started a daily catamaran service to Symi this week.  This was a bit of a mixed blessing as the weather disrupted the schedule and some people experienced a very bumpy ride on Wednesday.  Mal de mer aside, I have seen a few tourists about, exploring Pedi on foot with Nordic poles (Tuesday) and with hire bikes (Thursday).  Neither of the tavernas is open at the moment.  Apostoli’s is still in boatyard mode and Katsaras is working frantically between storms to get their waterfrontage open.  Both minimarkets, however, offer hot coffee and one can buy rolls, chocolate and so on for an impromptu picnic.  Of the hotels, the only one that is sort of open is Galini , the small pension on the road, opposite St George’s church.

With the elections coming up, more candidates are coming forward for positions on the town council.  Will the status quo be disrupted? This could be interesting!  As Brexit has been stalled until October 31 those British expats on the Symi Voters Roll can vote in the Mayoral and EU elections this year, possibly for the last time.  Among other things, the opposition candidate, Ilias Tsavaris, is pushing for more resources to be directed to the forgotten areas of Chorio and Pedi.  As parts of Chorio still bear the scars of the storm of  13 November 2017 and the old town area, which is where a large proportion of the population lives, has been underfunded for years, this could be a hot ticket.  If you are on Facebook, you can keep abreast of all these developments as campaigning hots up.

Meanwhile, the Easter lambs are munching their way through the daisies, the chamomile is fragrant under foot, the tadpoles may or may not turn into frogs and toads and the street lights are back on in Pedi.

Have a good weekend.

Regards,

Adriana

 

Pedi in the Poppy Season

blog 3 April 2019 a
Even churches need spring cleaning. St George’s church in Pedi.
sdr
Designer flocks with ear tags take the place of lawnmowers round here. Well, why waste good food?
blog 3 April 2019 c
An orderly view.
blog 3 April 2019 e
A disorderly view.
blog 3 April 2019 f
The end of the road.
blog 3 April 2019 g
Villa Jasmine, the house with the blue shutters, was a popular Symi Visitor property. You can now book through AirBnB.
blog 3 April 2019 h
Pedi bay
blog 3 April 2019 i
Wet lands in Pedi.
blog 3 April 2019 j
This seasonal pond in Pedi is swarming with tadpoles. We hope that they reach maturity before the pond evaporates completely.
blog 3 April 2019 k
Reflections
blog 3 April 2019 l
This was supposed to be a marina in Pedi but something went a bit wrong with the dimensions so it is a haven for small boats instead. Yachts can moor on the outside. Unfortunately there are no actual shoreside facilities available as yet.
smartcapture
Checking out the food chain. Pedi cats are generally very well fed, even in the winter months.