Monday, 28 May 2007
Greece ought to be a boring country for the Dutch. We like to talk about the weather and in the summer there is not much to talk about here in Greece: blue skies, sun and heat. The only things that can vary are wind and temperatures.
This May was a big exception. For the whole winter we had beautiful weather, that ran into the first weeks of May, where it finished in a heat wave. This meant that everybody had the feeling that the starting season was in the middle of the summer. This was the hottest May for 47 years in Greece.
Another record was beaten after this: rain, wind and clouds. Not for just two days, but now already for more than ten days the weather forecast and the clouds are promising rain. We did not see that much rain and clouds during the whole winter and we are pretty glad of them, because we really needed some water. Now we do not have to water all plants every day, the plants are growing in a super humid climate and the yellow landscape slowly turns green. Even the empty riverbeds are filling up.
The bad weather however caused some problems: on the mainland many houses were flooded, flights had to be diverted on some islands and in Athens, roads washed away and of course in some places the electricity failed. While we picked some drowned strawberries from our field, whole crops of wheat and cotton were destroyed by hail storms in the North of Greece, snow threatened the harvest of peaches and citrus fruit and beets drowned in flooded land.
The saddest accident happened yesterday in Arcadia, where a group of hikers crossing the river Lousios were surprised by a torrent that swept them away. Six were killed, two are missing.
This year it was again stated that many houses were flooded not due to the bad weather but due to the bad water management. Rain is supposed to drain away through riverbeds. Many of them get clogged by illegal dumps.
The mayor of Zephyri declared that he has already waited two years for money to clean his riverbeds. Well, waiting in Greece doesn't bring you anything. The mayor of Elliniko, the 'rivièra' of Athens, knows this very well. Christos Kortzidis has been on hunger strike now for over a week. It is his way to protest against the illegal nightclubs and other bars that took possession of the beaches in Elliniko and ask up to 7 euro for admittance to the beach. It is an (unwritten) law in Greece that all beaches should remain accessible to all people. The government doesn't do anything, so Christos Kortzidis continues his hunger strike. To the horror of locals, fee-paying beaches were recently inaugurated on the island of Mykonos in the Cyclades.
So it might be a hot Summer, even though the weather continues to be sulky. Long range weather reports keep on forecasting various weather.
The natural world was already confused by the summer weather during the winter. It's happy with all the water, but still doesn't know what to do exactly. Spring flowers re-appear, mosquitos act like it's high summer and yellow field turn to green, like in autumn.
And then there are the tourists. Last week many of them arrived in the pouring rain. Welcome to Lesvos. Nobody can help it that the weather has gone crazy these last few days. Although it must be said that most days do have some hours of sunshine and temperatures are at summer levels.
Nice weather or not, Greece keeps on being a magically attractive country, which was proven last week by the 90 year old Englishwoman Kathleen Searles. Her whole life long she dreamed of coming to Isvoria (close to Naoussa, Macedonia). Last week, together with a nurse, she took a cab and drove the 3,000 kilometres to Greece in order to visit the site where Alexander the Great was taught by Aristotle. After a half hour stay she got back in the cab and disappeared back to England!
Copyright © Smitaki 2007