Well, it has certainly been quite a summer here on Symi, ‘post Covid’. Not that it is really ‘post Covid’ – the platform for the next round of shots has opened for the over 60s and we will be reporting at the clinic on Wednesday for ours. What I really mean is that for the first time in years Symi has been open for business – and really busy – since April. This wasn’t just hitting 2019 levels but more like being back in the good old days before the economic crisis and the banking collapse. May and June were positively humming and people who have not been to Symi at that time for years made a point of being here. Fear that doors may close again as quickly as they opened may have been a driving force. Also frustrated travel-lust finally had free rein.
For the first time in three years we heard Australian accents in Yialos as Diaspora Greeks made the long journey from Oz to visit their ancestral homes in July and August. It is also ‘business as usual’ with our Turkish neighbours as far as yachting is concerned and many of the big shiny boats in Yialos and Pedi this summer have had either Turkish or tax-haven US Delaware registrations. (Delaware has particularly favourable yacht registration laws so many of the ‘US’ boats you see have never been further than 30 nautical miles from Bodrum!)
October looks to be a bit quieter. We are not seeing the ‘digital nomad’ phenomenon of 2020 and 2021, where people who were working on line anyway decided they might as well combine it with a few weeks in Greece as it didn’t matter where they were working from. This autumn most of the people I have spoken to have definitely been on holiday rather than riding out a lockdown at home in more congenial surroundings.
2022 has also seen the best ferry connections ever as the Blue Star has been through on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday during the peak weeks, the Sebeco has been providing a continuous daily shuttle from 7.45 a.m. to 6.50 p.m, the Sea Dreams King Saron has been shuttling between Symi, Rhodes and Marmaris, the SAOS Stavros has been chugging along, the Panagia Skiadeni has been in daily and we have had the Dodecanese Seaways catamarans over weekends. And if you feel exhausted reading that, that’s how we have all felt as tourists have arrived and departed at all hours of the day and cleaners have battled with fast changeovers between guests. The buffer imposed by Covid protocols has all but fallen away and incoming guests are coming off the boats before the outgoing ones have waved their farewells. If you ask anyone in the tourist accommodation business what their plans are for the winter, ‘sleep for a week’ is likely to be the reply!
The leaves are falling, the squills are poking their way through the hard-baked earth and there is an autumnal feel to the air. The angle of the sun is low and the shadows lengthening. We had a strange interlude of thundershowers on 24 and 25 August but no signs of rain since then. Temperatures are around 18 degrees at night and 24 at midday with a chill in the wind. Apparently it will be a bit warmer next week as the wind shifts to the south.
Who knows what October will bring?