Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Symi walks: Horio to Yialos, the mountain way, part 3

I left you overnight at the small church of Ag Raphael. It was here, while on our healthy, afternoon walk, that we were invited in to take photos and join the name day festivities. We celebrated our health-walk with a beer and donuts. Actually, we didn’t eat the donuts there, we took them home, but we did have a souvlaki. It is rude not to. We also took some photos inside and around the church. Here are a few:

Images from Symi Greece

Images from Symi Dream, Greece

Images from Symi Greece

Images from Symi Dream, Greece

Images from Symi Greece

Images from Symi Dream, Greece

Images from Symi Greece

Beer time, very important

Back to the Symi walk and, slightly lightheaded, what you do is this: You can looks one way and see the other side of the island, across the main road and towards Ag Michaelis Roukouniotis…

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Looking towards Kos

… and you can look the other way towards Symi harbour. Looking that way, with the church on your right, you head down the semi-made up road a way.

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Towards Yialos

Keep an eye out to your left where you will, after a short distance, see red marks and arrows that apparently point to nothing in particular. Look more closely and you see you’re on an old calderimi, a ‘donkey path.’ From here on it’s easy.

Images from Symi Dream Greece

Images from Symi Dream Greece

All you do now is walk, very carefully, downhill following this old path. There’ also a water pipe at one point, but don’t follow that all the way as it has business elsewhere. Follow the track past the copse, zigzag down and you will, eventually come to a gate by a ruined house. Through there and the path is more made up, but still uneven. But follow that all the way and you will, eventually, come out at the back of the harbour at the Grace Hotel.

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Stop for views

From then on it’s easy enough to find your favourites Symi bar, or taverna, or coffee shop or find your way home. This walk took us two hours from home to harbour, but we did stop at the church for about 20 minutes and we don’t amble, we kind of hurry-walk, especially between one beer and another.

Images from Symi Greece

Images from Symi Greece

That’s it! Have a good weekend! (Normal sized photos will be back next week, I was just seeing how they looked in this kind of format post. Remember you can click one and you should then be able to run a slideshow of all of them in the open window.)

Images from Symi Dream Greece

Images from Symi Dream Greece

Symi walks: Horio to Yialos, the mountain way, part 2

Good morning! How was your night on the mountainside? Had breakfast?

Right, done that, carry on walking. We have just passed Ag Pareskevi on the path from Horio to Xissos. Just past the church there is a Tardis style WC on the hill, keep going. Then there’s a house above you, and just past that the path turns off to the right. It’s a bit hard to spot but there are red marks here. It’s going to get rubbly from now on, so you should be wearing good walking boots or shoes. If not, leave your party there and pop back to your hotel and collect some, you will regret it otherwise.

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‘The Wall’ path

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Stop to take in the view

Now we are heading off track a little and following an ancient wall through an area marked on the map as TEIXOΣ which, strangely, means ‘Wall.’ This path takes us through the area known as Nimoraki, but I don’t know what that translates as, little Nimoros perhaps? It also takes you past the croquet lawns, which are, of course, not croquet lawns at all. But, with a little imagination and a lot of rock moving, there’s no reason why they should not be.

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Game anyone?

Pass on by, after admiring the view – here’s a tip: Look at your feet while walking on these paths, but stop and look up every now and then or you will miss views, plants, birds and other stuff.

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These are coming out now

So, now we can carry on to the top of the path where you will pass the small church of Ag Raphael behind the fence on your right. This is a tiny pre-fab church which is lovely inside and where, if you happen to be walking on our walk (which you weren’t) you get invited in for a look around as the name day event is taking place. But that is for tomorrow. I’ll let you draw your breath here, find your Symi map and mark the route, ready for when you do it on your next visit.

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Don’t forget to stop and admire the plants and things

More tomorrow…

Symi walks: Horio to Yialos, the mountain way, part 1

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Leaving the cat asleep under the bench…

So, this walk we went on, on Tuesday, where was it to? (Reaches for the maps…) It took us up Ag Paraskevi, then down an old river bed and broken calderimi under Ag Fanouris to the back of Yialos behind the Grace Hotel.

It started, as most of our walks do, from home, so if you want to follow it, start from the village square and walk towards Ilemonitisa church along the road that winds out of the square. Follow that all the way around until you can see the back of Yialos on your right. Stop and take a look and a photo.

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Yialos from the back of Horio

Now carry on past the cats in the bins on your left and the hut on your right. (And the sheep on a balcony to your left. What? I know, welcome to Greece.)

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I’m on the verandah Amanda.

Then… Well, now it gets tricky, but head to Lambos supermarket (you may need to ask directions but at the end of the road, keep going into the path and when you have to go right or left, go left, up, and then 2nd right, and then straight on). Pass the supermarket ‘Pandapoleon’ on your left and go up, then right and up to Ag Stavros, the church on your left. Then turn right past that, straight through the little square at the end of that path, then up a small lane on the left and follow that, and, apart from a couple of wiggles which are obvious, just keep going up until you start on an old track out of the village.

Stop beyond the bedpost-come-gate to take photos:

Images from Symi Greece

View from start of donkey paths

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Always something to photograph

Say hello to the pony that may or may not be there and follow the sign to Xissos. If that’s not there, then keep straight on using the lower path; the one that heads up takes you up to the main road, and we are not doing main roads today. Now you stay on this path until you find a church to your left, Ag. Pareskevi. But, if you are here in early season, it’s worth looking down to the terracing you can see from this path. You can clearly see the difference between dry un-terraced land and terrace land; the clue is in the colour, even in April.

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Click to enlarge to see the difference more clearly

Okay, enough walking for today. You rest up there and admire the view, and I will be back avrio for path two. I mean part two.

April Symi sunrise

Images from Symi Greece

April Symi sunrise

Here’s this morning’s Symi sunrise for you. We were up and out by 6.20, walked fast up to the Kantina and then down again, Neil ran back along part of the road and I stepped it down through the village.

When I say we were up by 6.30, I mean I was up at 3.30, 4.15, 4,57, 5.30 and 6.10 all thanks to the cat sitting on my head, and a mosquito, but I finally gave in around 6.15 and got on with it. Mind you, I had been in bed since 9.30 the previous evening. We’d been for another long walk after lunch, as an alternative to falling asleep in front of ‘Game of Thrones.’

Images from Symi Greece

Profitas Ilias

There will be photos tomorrow, today’s photos are from Profitas Ilias which is an easy walk from Horio. Yesterday though we went out on the west donkey path out of the village, along to Ag. Paraskevi (Patron Saint of eyes) and then, just after the lonesome house on the left, took the path to the right. Here we followed the ‘Wall’ as marked on the map, and there are plenty of old stone walls to admire, and a croquet lawn, until we came to the church of Ag. Raphael. And, would you know it, it just happened to be the name day and the festival was still going on.

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At the monastery

We were invited in to take photos of the church and then to have a beer, after this we were given a souvlaki and a box of sweets to take away. Each. So much for a healthy walk.

And then on and down into Yialos, then back up the steps to the village. But that’s for tomorrow. Today, it’s half seven, I am at the desk, the sun is up, the cat is outside contemplating the open gate and wondering if he should explore the lane.

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Inside one of the chapels

Neil is seeing Yiannis this afternoon about the bar, I am intending to get some bits and pieces done, the Blue Star is due in and I can see a gullet heading out of the harbour and across towards Nimos. Is this the first Turkish gullet of the season I wonder?

Symi Summer Starts Here

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Jack contemplating an Easter walk along the lane

It’s a question of where to start today (Tuesday), we’ve packed so much into a couple of days.

Easter Sunday lunch with the boys, great fun, great food, sitting on the terrace in the sun, then later around the kitchen table, listening to music, chatting, playing games – just like Christmas. And then Bank Holiday Monday dawning fresh and clear, but also with no commitments for the day, nothing to do and nowhere to go.

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The boys gathering wood (the last of the ‘Hanging Tree’ from ‘The Judas Curse’) for the bbq

So I did some work in the morning and then had a computer crash. Strange, on a new machine, but I reckon it’s because I actually paid for the real operating system and it’s done via that online thing properly, so it doesn’t work very well. It suddenly stopped doing anything and then, after a few minutes, told me in a rather embarrassed voice, such as that of a teacher handing back a small child to its parents: ‘Microsoft has encountered a little problem,’ to which I answered, ‘You’re telling me.’ ‘We are working on finding an answer.’ ‘Well, get a move on.’ ‘We are very sorry but your PC needs to restart.’ ‘As long as the auto save was working.’ A restart later and it was back to normal but auto save hadn’t saved all the work. But the thing is, it hadn’t just not saved it at the time of the crash, it apparently had stopped working sometime before and not just the auto save as one file that I definitely had saved, was not there either; like it hadn’t registered my typing for a good hour before it encountered its ‘little problem.’ So that’s a few thousand words that the world shall never read.

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Easter feasters

I am hoping that was a one off glitch and it won’t happen again. Last time I had to ring them about a minor issue they wanted to charge me €85 Euros for a kind of call out fee – when it was me calling them, and after I’d paid so much for the programmes in the first place. I told them I thought that was a bit steep, I’d sort it out myself and they could RAM it in their oscillator.

Images from Symi Greece

Easter Monday walking weather

Meanwhile, back here on sunny Sunday on Symi… After lunch we went for a walk up to Profitas Ilias, as Neil hadn’t walked up that way before. A climb up through the village to the road, and then down the cemetery, and then up the hillside a short way to the church, into and around two of the chapels, the third was locked, and then a stroll back through the quarry to the main road and down. En route, phoning Jenine to see where she and the boys were and then meeting up in the square for a glass in the afternoon sun.

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Up the hill

And then, later, watching the boat come and go taking friends back to the UK and France, and then later still, greeting more friends who are back for a couple of weeks, also from France funnily enough, before putting on a film and falling straight to sleep. Waking up to go to bed, to be woken by the cat coming in, falling asleep, dreaming of going to work in an office, waking up to feed that cat on demand at 3.30, falling asleep, dreaming of running this very busy office, waking up to put the ear plugs in, falling asleep, dreaming of handling a crisis in this very busy office, waking up to get to work. Writing this in a hurry.

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Old frescoes in the chapel

So a great Easter weekend, now done and dusted and everyone is ready to start the season. Looking forward to a great 2015; the summer starts here!

Easter Sunday morning – Symi

Greek easter Symi

Sharing the light

There are a few photos and a short video of Easter Saturday night/Sunday morning for you today, and probably tomorrow as well. The events of a Greek Easter are well documented elsewhere so I won’t go into detail, but on Saturday night we see the resurrection, symbolised in the lighting of candles from priest to people and from people on to people, which is what you can see in the video below.

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Inside Agios Athanasios

There is much dynamite (though more on Friday than Saturday this year) to ward off the evil spirits, and there are many joyous bells, after Midnight on Saturday, plus flares and sometimes fireworks. On Sunday there’s the traditional breaking of the fast and the burning of Judas in the evening. We are usually so full of Sotiris’ lamb by then that we can’t move. I’m writing this on Sunday late morning, before the barbeque, because I want to make sure there is something ready and posting itself first thing Monday, as I doubt I shall be up in time.

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Harry and his ‘Lambada’

The weather seems to have settled, at least it looks like it’s going to finally settle down. This time last year we were out and about early in the morning and heading up hills and down to the sea, but this year it’s been so wet and windy as to be too unpleasant. But I am hoping that from Tuesday onwards we shall be able to get back into the early morning walks so I can bore you all with photos of the same old sunrises. And also, of course, get rid of some of the Christmas & Birthday-season weight.

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Our Easter party

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Neil and his Lambada

It also feels like, now that Easter is almost over, it’s time to knuckle down to summer work. Just about every business is up and running now, though not all. Up here in the village the Rainbow is due to open again soon and Taverna Zoi will open when more visitors arrive. The Olive Tree should be reopening this week too. Of course the Symi Dream shop won’t be open, it’s gone. Well, the building is still there, and no one has taken it yet, as far as I know. But all other places from the herb shop up to Dimitris at the ‘Lambros’ supermarket at the back if the village are running and waiting for customers.

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Processing outside after midningt

And as for me, well I have my coursework book staring me in the face across the desk, I have one novel plotted and the first few chapters written, I have other ideas, I have the collection of tales book dithering about and Lonely House just needs some final editing and a cover; but I’m still feeling a little bit blocked, can’t get myself down at the desk, or note book, and get on with things. I blame the weather, and why not? I’m hoping things will unblock after today and I can then spend the summer finishing a book, or at least starting on one.

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Meanwhile up at the Castro…

But that’s enough from me on this calm, crisp Easter Sunday morning. We are expecting guests in an hour, I have gigantes to cook, a beard to shave off (or down) and the cat litter to see to. Oh joy!