The first charter flight of the season has arrived. Thomas Cook from Manchester.
You can spot the tourists from a mile away. A couple of hours after the arrival, they walk in pairs or small groups slowly up and down Papadiamantis, looking totally lost. Papadiamantis is the small main street in Skiathos town, a pedestrian street. They are pale. Very pale after a long winter in England. They wear shorts. They have paid a lot of money to wear shorts for a week, sun or rain. The legs are extremely pale. Some of them wear funny hats, first thing they shop on the holiday. Hats that they would never even dream of wearing on High Street in Doncaster. You see the same groups several times, first walking up Papadiamantis and then down Papadiamantis. A slow walk, looking lost as if they haven’t yet understood that they are on a holiday.
The bar and café owners along Papadiamantis and down in the harbor have waited six months for them. “Welcome!” and then “Where are you from?”. Everyone in the street knows that they are from England but “Where are you from?” is one of the standard introductory phrases. “Sit down!”
Some of them sit down and have the first pint of beer of the day (not counting the ones they had on the plane). The café owner is happy. The first catch of the season.
Skiathos has got two seasons, the winter season and the tourist season. The face of the island is now changing into tourist season mode. Total contrasts. The winter population of the island is 6,000 people. In August, the peak tourist season when the Greeks and the Italians have their holidays, there are more than 60,000 people on the island. In January, there may be one car passing by on the coast road below our house every half hour. In August there is bumper to bumper traffic on the road.
Let the tourist games begin!