Symi in April is very different from the island which most people see in the heat of Summer. Sadly, thanks to Covid-19 there is no possibility of going there this month, or next, or for the foreseeable.
Not only are charter flights cancelled, the Foreign Office advises against all but essential international travel. In Greece all hotels are closed, visits to the islands limited to permanent residents, and all returnees have to go into two weeks strict quarantine checked randomly by police. Apparently leaving the house for shopping or exercise must be notified to the police in advance. The measures in Greece were taken early in the crisis, far-reaching, and probably the most successful in Europe with the result that the death toll is significantly less than elsewhere.
So, I’m taking a nostalgic ‘virtual’ trip to Symi, looking at photos from previous years while I’m cut off from social contact at home. It can’t substitute for trekking into the mountains or sitting outside Lefteris’s Kafenion with a cold beer chatting with friends but it’s good to remember what the island is like in early April. All the photos below are before the 15th of the month in previous years.
Three things are different on Symi, and other islands, in early Spring. The weather is changeable. Sometimes the sky is clear, sunny, warm and calm. Other times dark clouds, heavy rain and stormy winds. After winter rains the ponds, such as that at are Gria, are full. Many if not most businesses including shops, restaurants and tavernas are making ready but not yet open. Sunbeds are stacked up and tied down at Agios Nikolaos and other beaches. And there is the vibrant colour of wild flowers everywhere, ranging from swathes of tiny, shy shade-loving cyclamen to 2-foot spathes of sun-loving Dragon Arum.
So, this is a pictorial essay. Next year maybe more people will be inspired to visit early and enjoy it.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already, why not take a look at, ‘Greece Unpackaged: travels in a foreign language’ available from Amazon on Kindle. Dream about next year.
Or check out my new book: ‘A small life in twenty memories’