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

 

Advertisements

Symi Faces

A wide range of languages can be heard on the streets of Symi, including Mandarin and Hebrew in addition to the more usual Russian, French, Italian, German, Danish, Norwegian…

blog 2 June 2018 a_marked
Semi-detached Symi style.
blog 2 June 2018 b_marked
Generally speaking, Symiot village houses are not big – often just a kitchen downstairs with the rainwater cistern behind and then a salon above with a moussandra sleeping loft above that.  When flush loos and showers arrived in the 1970s, there was seldom space indoors for the plumbing arrangements so they were build on wherever they could fit.  It is not unusual to see facilities separate from the house or tagged on in the courtyard or even, in some cases, actually across the lane on a separate plot.
blog 2 June 2018 c_marked
Not quite en suite but it will do!
blog 2 June 2018 d_marked
The Harani area of the harbour has become very built up in recent years.  Quieter than the main harbour during the busy months of summer, it is also one of the very few places on the island where one can live within walking distance of a beach.
blog 2 June 2018 e_marked
This narrow concrete track was the original motor road connecting Yialos with Chorio.  Apparently it was built by the Italians with motorbikes in mind and the angles of the zigzags are acute to say the least.  Chopped off when the new two lane motor road out of the town was built in the 1980s, one can still see remnants of the stone foundations of this original road up by the windmills.
blog 2 June 2018 f_marked
Now abandoned, this intriguing house on the Pedi road probably has the most ornamental faces on the island.  The winged Hermes/Eros motif also appears on the dentist’s surgery at the bottom of the Kateraktis lane at the back of the harbour.  The grimacing man is also a central motif on a pediment near Kampos in Chorio and several other houses in the area.
blog 2 June 2018 g_marked
The faces even continue round the corner.
blog 2 June 2018 h_marked
A neighbour was not so extravagant.
blog 2 June 2018 i_marked
Stars and flowers above a door below the windmills.

 

June has arrived, hot and sticky with the rumble of far distant thunder storms over the embracing Turkish coast.  We actually had a couple of hours of steady light rain one evening earlier this week, enough to make the gutters drip and wash the dust off the citrus trees.  Every night we hear the desalination plant, squeaking away on the Pedi road as it frantically turns sea water into an approximation of the fresh stuff to keep our lavatories flushing and our showers running.  We had a lot of rain this winter but it came to an abrupt halt at the end of February and cisterns are emptying fast.

The water taxis are back in business. The beach tavernas are opening up, albeit with limited menus at the moment.  A wide range of languages can be heard on the streets of Symi, including Mandarin and Hebrew in addition to the more usual Russian, French, Italian, German, Danish, Norwegian…  There are still lots of British visitors around but they are no longer the dominant group they used to be.  June used to be referred to as ‘the English month’ on Symi.  Not any more. There’s a polyglot cosmopolitan vibe that used only to be in evidence in the high season months of July and August.

Have a good week.

Regards,

Adriana

Symi Pastels

Symi is famous for its beautiful neo-classical houses.  The pediments are adorned with all sorts of devices such as stars, crosses, concentric rings and, sometimes, faces.  I spotted this one recently in Chorio, near the windmills.

blog 19 May 2018 a
Looking across to the old Kastro from Milos (windmill) ridge of Chorio.  The tree-topped hills on the right form the back of the famous amphitheatre harbour.  There is a narrow winding road along that crest, leading to the ancient monastery of Roukoniotis and the precipitous descent to Toli Bay.
blog 19 May 2018 b
Another view from the same vantage point, showing the back of Yialos far below.  The diagonal row of houses visible just above the pergola in the right foreground are on the Kali Strata, the famous steps connecting Chorio with Yialos and Harani.  Symi is a very compact island, only 8 miles long and 5 miles wide at its broadest, and most habitation is clustered around this north-eastern group of hills.  Getting about, however, involves a great deal of legwork. Those tiers of pretty houses are connected by steps rather than roads.  The motor road that connects Yialos with Chorio is an incredible feat of engineering, sweeping far into the countryside and back again, to embrace the steep incline.
blog 19 May 2018 c
Symi is famous for its beautiful neo-classical houses.  The pediments are adorned with all sorts of devices such as stars, crosses, concentric rings and, sometimes, faces.  I spotted this one recently in Chorio, near the windmills.
blog 19 May 2018 d
When I first came to Symi in 1993 ochre and brown were the dominant colours.  Indeed these seemed to be the only colours stocked ready mixed by the local hardware store.  If you wanted anything else, you bought packets of pigment and mixed them into the whitewash yourself.  Gloss paint was limited to white, ochre and mid-brown – colours that are still common in some neighbourhoods.  Then along came acrylic paints and computer mixing and the fun began.  The archaeologia, the government department that looks after heritage sites such as Symi, still has final say on what colours are permitted but Symi’s palette has expanded in many directions.
blog 19 May 2018 e
An immaculate house in a quiet lane below the windmills.
blog 19 May 2018 f
Dragon’s breath has scorched the tender petals of roses and other flowers, turning them into pot pourri overnight.  Falling humidity and rising temperatures are taking their toll.
blog 19 May 2018 g
This tottering three storey mansion house off the main square in Chorio has some delightful touches of whimsy.  A few months ago, when I was still writing on my original blog, I posted a photograph of the Greek flag held to the balcony railing by a yellow measuring tape.  Now the sun brings emphasis to an otherwise ugly electricity meter.
blog 19 May 2018 h
Agia Trianda (Holy Trinity) is the last of the really big churches at the top of Chorio. There is the small church of Periotissa (Our Lady of Pireus) above it but that is little more than a chapel.  Those pink blobs on the slopes of the Vigla behind are oleander bushes flowering along the motor road that connects Yialos and Chorio with Panormitis monastery at the south western end of the island. The oleanders continue as far as the turn off to Xisos, Roukoniotis and Toli.
blog 19 May 2018 i
The Markle Sparkle was felt even as far afield as Symi. This was the Olive Tree on Saturday. They were selling Royal Wedding themed elderflower cupcakes in aid of the local high school.  Further up the steps, at Lefteris Kafeneion, otherwise known as Bulmas, Pimms was being served with ever more fanciful garnishes as the island’s British expat community arrived, armed with plates of nibbles.
blog 19 May 2018 j
A fallen bag of barley made a great breakfast for these two. They were both trailing loose tethers but showed no signs of going anywhere further than the bag of barley.  Ponies, donkeys and mules are still commonly used on Symi, particularly to take materials to building sites and to remove rubble.  Most places are just totally inaccessible to any other form of transport. Foals are taught the routes, following with the trains on the various jobs, so that by the time they are old enough and strong enough to carry loads, they know all the lanes and steps.