Spring sunshine in Athens

I’m sitting on a bench outside Athens airport, drinking in the beauty of the pale azure sky and the grey-green silhouette of a rocky mountain ridge. Can’t quite believe that I’m here once again. Started to well up as I came down the steps of the plane. There’s nowhere I’d rather be; and it all feels quite familiar now. In the queue for passport control I wondered vaguely if I would come up on their computer system because of the trouble I had at Hara in April 2016, but no, the man just glanced at my photo and waved me through.

It’s 6.15pm Greek time, which is 4.15 UK time. Still almost broad daylight, though the sun is heading downwards and will disappear behind a mountain within an hour. I think it will be light till 8pm. What a treat! The air has a slight sharpness, but apparently it was nineteen degrees in Athens at lunchtime.

On the plane at least half of my fellow passengers were Greeks. I sat with an Israeli heading for a holiday in Corfu, and a British man who has a house there. ‘Corfu is the wettest island,’ he told me, ‘not like Lesbos, where it never rains’. We’ll see. I have a full set of waterproofs in my bag, and my only pair of Goretex lined shoes. My flight to Mytilini leaves at 8.30 tonight.

I’ve made as many plans as I can to meet as many people as possible in the dozens of refugee NGOs, big and small but mostly small, still functioning in Lesbos. This weekend it’s two years since the start of the infamous EU-Turkey Agreement, which drastically slowed the flow of refugees into Europe via the Greek islands. I’m not sure how many people are arriving weekly at the moment. Will find out soon.