When I grew up I (Daphne) had a certain vision of what the future would hold for me. You think of the future without taking into account that a war, an economic crisis or a natural disaster can turn your life upside down and what you thought would be your future isn’t your future any more. I know everybody in the world experiences this phenomenon in one way or another but I realize that I have to get ready for a different world.
The move from a big city in the Netherlands to a small island in Greece was a radical change of environment, culture and daily way of life, but most of the changes over the years I could adjust to in a normal way. I was living on a Greek island and because I was part of a Greek family the assimilation process over the years was quite smooth.
What was harder to get used to was the rhythm of this island. The period when the island welcomes visitors is very different from the other, quieter, period without them.
The summer period is a very busy time for many islanders, because the main income of many people is dependent on it, but don’t forget the period before that when builders, painters, carpenters, electricians and others have to make sure everything is working, in the holiday places that tourists will stay in. The summer homes that foreigners and Greeks own need to be made ready for their arrival and all the places like restaurants, bars, beaches and roads need to be in a state where they can receive visitors. The autumn and winter period are much quieter and when a natural disaster like the one on the 22nd of September last year happened the following period was very difficult to get through, because parts of the island needed to cleaned, to be mapped out again, to be maintained and to be cleared. With bad weather slowing down this progress many people felt that nothing was happening or was getting better.
The past six years, Greece has been in an economic crisis and, although we own a house, have work and live in a safe environment, the economic crisis has affected us in one way or another.
Changes are ongoing in tax affairs, healthcare and at government level. Everybody needs to keep up with these changes, which is very hard sometimes. You don’t know where you are standing because laws keep changing and money needs to be paid.
The refugee crisis has shown that a country like Greece which has its own problems will not turn its back on people in need. The Greek people have shown a remarkable empathy towards other people suffering. This is why I think many visitors will keep choosing Greece as their holiday destination. It is not only the beauty of the land but also the beauty of the people that attracts many to Greece.
The flood of the 22nd of September caused a lot damaged for people and businesses, but Skopelos is still worth visiting. The same people are here and will be so thankful that you have come again. The island’s beauty is still the same, but there are a couple of roads that need to be repaired and in general the roads to and from the villages on the island are in need of repairs. The prefecture is responsible for these roads and needs to help out too.
This does not mean that you cannot visit the beaches or the villages. There are two harbours that need to be repaired. Agnondas was already damaged and Skopelos was damaged on the 22nd of September. Boats can still dock in these harbours, though. Some money is available. It is never enough and some works will not have finished or started because of various reasons, some of them are bureaucratic, maybe others because requests for help were late. We have to get used to this fact and be ready for this summer.
There is almost no place on the island that cannot be accessed in one way or another. If you know the island you will know how to get there and if you do not know the island yet you will find out. Most restaurants and tavernas will open their doors again. Only a few will not because the damage was too great but I have heard rumours of proprietors starting to work somewhere else. Life goes on, it is a slightly different life to the one we were used to, but we need to keep going and we will.
Have a good summer!!!