It is a bright, if chilly, Monday morning on Symi and this was the scene that greeted me as I reached the bottom of the Kali Strata this morning. While many of you have today off for Easter Monday, here in Greece it is the start of our first 5 day week in a long while, after a month of long weekends. The bunting is still fluttering from the lamp posts, a relic from Friday's parade, but it will soon be down. Meanwhile more chairs and tables are being dragged out of tavernas and bars after the long winter sleep as it really is time to get cracking on the spring cleaning for the season.
A few bemused tourists have been spotted, wandering around the harbour having been sold a 'day trip' to Symi on the Dodecanese Seaways without being warned that most places are still closed - or advised that it really is worth hopping on the bus and doing the round trip up to Chorio and down to Pedi and back again as there really is far more to Symi than just Yialos. This early in the season it really isn't beach weather, particularly when the north wind blows, but Symi's unique selling point is her beautiful architecture. This can be appreciated at any time of the year and taking the bus up to the top of Chorio and then walking down through the steps and lanes, armed with a camera, is a better way of passing the time before taking the return boat to Rhodes in the late afternoon than moping about, moaning that the tourist shops are shut and there's nothing to do. Rambling through Chorio's winding lanes brings many surprises and offers insights into the realities of Greek island life that may not be so obvious during the main season. There are also cafes. bakeries and shops up there, places that serve the needs of the island's permanent community, so there is the possibility for refreshments even though you would probably have to still make do with a snack in the harbour for lunch as the tavernas in Chorio are not yet doing lunch trade. That should change in a week or so as more places open up.
The clocks changed yesterday and it felt weird, getting up in the dark again, but the feeling of jet lag should pass in a day or two. This is a land of early risers and long working days, something that is often forgotten as somehow the afternoon siesta is interpreted as a sign of sloth rather than a realisation that people may have been working from 7 until 2 or 3 and start again at 5 or 6 in the evening, working again until 8, 9 or even 10 at night, depending on the time of year and what they do. When northern Europeans are heading home for a quiet evening with family or friends, southern Europeans are usually going back to work!
Have a good week.