Life in Austerity Greece is Never Dull

Yialos at 11 a.m today.  Not a lot happening.

Yialos an hour later.  Here is something we have not seen for a long time - the Proteus proudly gliding into Symi harbour.

A gleeful toot on the horns as she turns ...

... as she reverses into her berth at the bus stop with a boat load of day trippers.
The emblem at the stern is the Hellenic Duty Free logo.

It is the start of the Easter long weekend in Greece and as I was coming down to work this morning I passed many elegantly clad local ladies heading for church.  For many it is a dramatic transformation from practical trousers and slippers to tailored suits, black tights and high heels. All the more astonishing because as soon as they leave the church and head for home they will revert to the track pants and slippers so that they can resume whitewashing steps, washing windows, baking hundreds of cheese pies and dyeing innumerable eggs red, all the while keeping an eye on the children who are on holiday from school at the moment. Greek Easter would not happen without the incredible stamina of Greek women. Throughout the next few days we will see the Symiot ladies alternate these roles several times a day without complaint as they juggle church attendance with the equally demanding domestic obligations that the season requires. 

With the trials and tribulations of life in austerity Greece, more is home made and less is shop bought.  For example, the supermarkets are experiencing record sales of yeast as more women are baking their own tsoureki, the sweet plaited loaf that is traditional for Easter breakfast, rather than buying the ready-made long life version that arrives, cellophane wrapped, from Athens.  The two day shipping strike called by the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation has had a severe effect on what is available in the shops as a lot of the bulk supplies come in on the ‘big boat’ and a lot of Greek fresh produce was left stranded in Crete instead of reaching the markets for which it was intended.  The disruption was compounded by the current 3 way spat between Symi Town Hall, Dodecanese Seaways and ANES regarding which boats are running when and which resulted in Dodecanese Seaways suddenly dropping the Panagia Skiadeni’s Symi routes and the Proteus coming out of moth balls to do tourist trips between Rhodes and Symi under the sponsorship of Hellenic Duty Free.  One thing is for certain.  Life in austerity Greece is never dull.

The forecast for the Easter long weekend is showing thundershowers and squally weather which could be a nuisance for those with large groups to feed outdoors but temperatures are mild and the anticipated rainfall is not expected to be heavy. 

As tomorrow is Greek Good Friday and Monday is Bright Monday my next blog will be posted on Tuesday.

Kalo Pasca to all my Greek friends and a good weekend to everyone else.


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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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