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

Climb Every Mountain

Climb Every Mountain

Continuing the spring theme, I found some photos from last April, and some from the other day, so I thought I’d show you what Symi looks like in the spring. Or at least, the parts of Symi that I get to see.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

If all this greenery is going on around the village and Pedi, imagine what it’s like out on the hills and far away, over towards Marathounda and then to the west beyond Xissos. Wild herbs, trees, birds, wildlife, it’s all out there, you just need to go and find it. Which is what makes Symi so good for walkers, especially at this time of year. You can ramble safely, following the old red or blue dots from the Kalodoukas walking book, or you can buy one of the newer maps of the island which now have contour lines and details. (See below.) You can just follow the road if you want, and take one of the minor roads off it.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Head up through the village, for example, following the main road, so you don’t get lost, and you’ll eventually summit behind the Vigla. You can summit the Vigla itself if you want and my Skai map of Symi tells me it’s 617 metres above sea level. That’s just over half the height of Snowdon if you’re interested (1,085 m). Not as high as Greece’s highest mountain, Mount Olympus which summits at 9,218 meters, I am told, but still, the Vigla is our tallest hill, and we’re rather proud of it.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Carry on the main road and you will see a turn to the left (after the monastery of Ag Konstantinos but before the recycle tip) and that will take you towards St George and the hinterland. Or, keep going and you’ll pass through the pine forest and eventually reach Panormitis. I’ll leave you with a few tips: The walk from Village to the top of the zigzags to Panormitis took me two hours. The shortcuts didn’t make it any shorter or easier. It’s another two hours down the zigzag to Panormitis itself. Make sure you have a lift back organised. Always take water, a hat and a mobile, in case…

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Here’s a link to the map I use. I think it’s one of the best around at the moment.

A Bit of Bothersome Blather

A Bit of Bothersome Blather

(And some photos today taken recently.)
Wednesday brought with it a strange dream. For some reason, I woke just before six and, blundering about the house, saw the Blue Star leaving Yialos. Perhaps I’d been woken by its arrival. Not quite ready for the day ahead, I thought I’d sit for a minute… And woke up an hour later after a dream in which all the children of the island were being taken away on a ship. Very odd, but no doubt inspired by the Blue Star I’d seen in my half-awake state. Anyway, I got on with Wednesday which started cooler and with that cloud cover again, but with the thermometer in the garden reading 20 degrees by ten.

Waiting for the Dodecanisos

Waiting for the Dodecanisos

I’ve also been watching the day boats coming in and out, and each time they arrive, they seem to be bringing more visitors with them. That can only be a good thing. It feels like we’re in that lull between Easter and the start of the season, and I suppose we are, seeing as how Easter was several days ago now. We have already had visitors coming, staying for a holiday and leaving, but have not yet seen the numbers that we expect to see in the summer, and that’s probably because it’s not quite summer season yet. I’m just blathering on here.

The now nearly daily 9.20 arrival

The now nearly daily 9.20 arrival

Now there’s a thing. Where does the word Blather come from? I know it as a Scottish word, or rather, being more used in Scotland. I just went and had a look and, no surprise, it is. It comes from the Old Norse word, blathra, meaning ‘talk nonsense’ which is based on the Old Norse word blathr, meaning ‘nonsense.’ So, how about getting yourself a copy of ‘Symi, Stuff & Blathr’? (That link leads to the real book, Symi, Stuff & Nonsense.) The word came from Old Norse to Scottish and Northern English via the Vikings, I imagine. As a bonus, you also have this from an etymology site:

Testing out my summer seating

Testing out my summer seating

1520s, blether, Scottish, probably from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse blaðra “mutter, wag the tongue,” perhaps of imitative origin, or from Proto-Germanic *blodram “something inflated” (the source of bladder). Related: Blathered; blathering. https://www.etymonline.com/word/blather

On which note, I need to go before I bother you with my bothersome blather.

Sea Dreams slipping in

Sea Dreams slipping in

Spring Springing, Swallows Swallowing

Spring Springing, Swallows Swallowing

I was sitting at my desk the other day when I looked out of the window and thought, ‘What’s that?’ Then I realised. A little later, I was in the courtyard, and I saw the same thing overhead; a massive flock of swallows. Where had they come from? Well, I guess they are migrating, and we get them here every year about this time, but I’d never seen so many turn up on one day. A few minutes later and they were gone, leaving only the usual few. Then I realised what was going on. The flying ants (or whatever they are) had hatched, and the swallows were up there living up to their name and swallowing them all. We were invaded by little lack bugs for a while, they dropped their wings and crawled off, or were eaten, and then that, too, was over.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

That used to happen at the old house where we had a couple of families of them living in the roof. One or two days a year, in April, I would have to leave the saloni where I worked and keep the doors and windows open while the things descended from the ceiling and took over the room. An hour later and they were gone, leaving behind a covering of tiny wings. So, the dots you see in these photos are actually swallows (or martins) on their way to somewhere, stopping off for lunch on or above Symi. There are still some around mixing with our usual neighbours, the sparrows, pigeons, a few seagulls, some ravens from time to time and, again at this time of year, a few hawks.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Monday’s breeze blew into a wind in the evening but calmed during Tuesday morning to once again leave us warm and calm. The sun came out and the sky, although not yet the painted blue of summer, was reasonably cloudless though a bit pale. Spring flowers are out still, even the weeds are attractive at this time of year and our courtyard plants, such as they are, are coming along. The chilli is growing, and now I’ve separated some other plants and thinned them out a bit, they are also doing well, and the vine is growing at the rate of about two inches per day. Spring is still springing here on Symi.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos Symi Greece Symi Dream photos