Only 20 people live in Vathy all year round but the population swells to 200 during the summer, augmented with day visitors arriving by bus and from anchored sailboats. There are only a couple of dozen foreign tourists, most are local Greeks who now work in Athens but still have a family house on the island.
Greeks who emigrate usually keep close links with their family home. One day a large wedding of third generation Greek/Americans brought the entire village out of their houses. The 250 guests descended on the village by mega-yacht or fancy car and milled around outside the little church of Taxiarchis, only capable of holding 25 - 30 people. After the service the guests trooped along the beach to a modern but traditionally styled hotel complex at the edge of the village. It was a bizarre sight to see men dressed in shirt and tie in dinner jackets but with their trousers rolled up and carrying their shoes as they paddled along the beach. But best of all was the bride, accompanied by mandolin and fiddle players, holding up her wedding dress, splashing through the surf and laughing hysterically.
There’s not much to life in a Greek fishing village or perhaps it’s that all life is there. In such an intimate place that you soon get to recognise everybody who lives there - pregnant women, babies, toddlers, semi-wild children, teenagers, grizzled old men and grannies in their black widows garb.
So as I get ready to leave, I don’t seem to have done that much, although it feels like I’ve been here for an age; as if I’ve been more alive and that each moment has been indelibly etched on my re-awakened Greek soul.