Then And Now, from Michelle Duffy, is the first of our Guest Posts; these will run until 14th December with a new post every day (except Sundays). There are a lot of interesting posts coming up, today Michele starts us off with:
I first sailed into Symi harbour in August 1987, more by luck than choice. We wanted to go to a Greek island, and fate lent a hand, as although I had never heard of Symi it was the cheapest one we could find. Little did I know then that this was the place to which we would both be forever drawn back. I always love seeing old friends again – both two legged and four pawed, and am always amazed by the number of people who not only recognise us when we return, but also give us such a warm greeting.
So what has changed over the years? On our first visit the volume and condition of the stray cats was very upsetting, and that has definitely improved. Also so has the plumbing – thankfully. There was virtually no traffic, – and that is most certainly a change for the worse. I remember lying in the road and admiring all the stars (don’t ask) on our first visit, – now I would just get run over, and there are too many lights to be able to see any stars anyway.
The bus driver in 1987 was a slightly grumpy young man by the name of Thanassis. There were so few visitors in those days that he used to toot his horn each time that he passed our apartment, and it is a joy to find him now older and just as grumpy driving a taxi. The food and wine have improved beyond measure. The sheer variety of wonderful, fresh food on offer is one of the great attractions, and it is no longer necessary to take a packet of Rennies with you if you are planning to have a wine or two.
One of the great joys of travelling has always been the lost in translation menus. Sadly over the years many of these have been corrected, but while I mourn the fact that we can no longer go into the kitchen at Georgios and admire the wonderful “Pissoles”, we can still delight in a visit to Syllogos to sample the “Cock Wine- Coloured”.
Actually I decided to play safe and ordered the chicken with prunes, which was delicious.
I now live in a small Spanish town in the Guadalhorce valley, but I still miss being on Symi. I miss the people, the food, Captain Yiannis’s boat trip – not to mention the barbecue lunch, and the sheer beauty of the island. I have consoled myself by reading all of James Collins books, then all of Anne Zouroudi’s Greek Detective series, and Sara Alexi’s Greek Village books. All great reads, but nothing can quite take the place of the real thing.
Symi and I have both lost our innocence, and had to grow up and face the realities of life. I always take hundreds of photographs, and am in the process of using some of these as inspiration for my art work. I usually paint murals ( www.micheleduffy.com ) but am now working on a series of 3 or 4 pictures based on Symi. I would then like people to choose the one that they like best, as I plan to turn this one into prints, with all profits going to Solidarity Symi. I have just completed the first one. Hands up who knows where this wall is?
You can contact Michele through her website: www.micheleduffy.com