The House with the Pink Shutters – Samos Island Greece
It’s taken two years of hard work, planning and saving to enable us to return to Samos. Armed with ideas on how to modernize the house in Paleo, live on a tight budget and assist the charities and locals working with the refugees who were arriving on a daily basis, we sold up our possessions in Australia, handed in our notices and headed off.
We arrived in May and in the time it took to cross the globe, with a stop off in Thailand, and land in Greece the EU had struck a deal with Turkey. Since Samos is extremely close to Turkey, the prospect of being returned seems to had diverted the refugees to more hazardous alternative routes.
Its June and we have not seen any boats land or heard of anyone being picked up at sea to date. There are no life jackets stranded on the coastlines beaches or cliffs and no sight of the daily human caterpillar making its way across the island to the reception points set up by the authorities and charitable organisations. The temporary camps in the ports have closed and the majority of asylum seekers have been transported to Athens or back to Turkey. Unfortunately those remaining who seem to be considered as ‘economic’ refugees have been re incarcerated in the Vathy detention center and conditions are reported to be overcrowded.
Sadly for the local people, who dealt with the crisis with compassion and generosity, tourism is at a low. Beaches have a sprinkling of bathers, cafes and restaurants are quiet, hotels empty. Media coverage highlighted misery, suffering and deaths and raised awareness of the refugee plight. They got their copy and viewing rates but possibly also instilled an unreasonable fear about travel to the island. So I am here to add my voice to the few who are trying to reassure travelers that all has returned to normal. I have beaches, forests and mountain villages to myself.
Come and join me.