Sivota Bay, Monday morning

The swallows, the flowers, the morning light. Cigarette smoke, petrol fumes, coffee vapour and spray-on sun lotion. Dutch, Italian, French, Serbian, English, German, Swedish and of course Greek. Here as in every village, the widows still wear their habits of mourning, despite some of them not being much older than my suntan-wearing parents.

Cat on fishing boat, Sivota Bay, Lefkas. Photo by Jessica Zarins, August 2021

In the cafe where my mother does a bit of long-distance work on her laptop in the mornings, there is a photo of the village and the bay from 1905. A collection of maybe seven houses and a chapel. The land looks as virginal as the olive oil that is distilled in the hills. The holiday villas, pools, the boats, cars, the full English breakfasts and special price mojitos are recent immigrants to the bay, which now support the locals and their grannies and cats. The country’s largest industry, tourism, meets the still pristine paradisal natural beauty of the landscape.

Photo of photograph of ‘Lefkada, Syvota Bay / 1905. From the album “Wilhelm Dörpfeld’s Lefkada” by Fagotto books’

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