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Postby D and E » 02 Oct 2014, 11:48

So we set off from Llanddeiniol on Tuesday at 14:00 and made good time along the M4 on our way to Gatwick. That was until we hit the M25 and then M23 which saw us take just over two hours to cover the last 40 miles.
That soon became a memory as we checked into the Sofitel and availed ourselves of a cocktail before dinner in their excellent Brasserie. Starters of breaded quail on a quinoa salad and smoked salmon was very delicately presented and wonderful to taste. The fillet steak to follow was perfectly cooked rare whilst E's black garlic crusted chicken with a cheese brûlée was amazing. This restaurant does excellent wines by the glass which makes E's preference for sparkly stuff easy to cater for whilst D samples the reds and whites. Espresso plus an impressive selection of beautifully made petit fours ended another memorable meal in one of the best airport hotel restaurants we have come across.
So a 6am start and the shuttle from North to South Terminal which takes all of 5 minutes. One of the first to check in for the 09:00 flight to Rhodes but despite this D's window seat was the only seat on the plane without a window and for some reason E was sat on the opposite side of the aisle. Thanks to a very understanding single traveller she swapped and everything was good. A single bar service didn't impress D but the 3.5 hour flight time did. It was good to see that a trend has been set and several co-travellers were cracking open the first Mythos from the airport vending machine as we waited for the bags.
A bit of a delay on the transfer bus whilst other UK flights arrived but we were at Kalona by 17:00 where Justine, the Olympic Rep, was dealing with the 42 transferees, including some old friends that we were delighted to see again. There was time for our traditional visit to Socrates Garden and the first draft Mythos and an ouzo. Then walked back for the 19:00 ferry.
Got chatting to a young police officer returning to work on Symi after his short vacation and this made the swift journey even swifter.
Justine's logistics had the luggage on the truck and 18 of us for Chorio on the minibus in minutes and by the time we arrived at the Windmills the luggage was there and a shirt walk to Anastasia and Sam's wonderful welcome at their apartments.
A lovely evening temperature saw us walk up to Yannis Rainbow Bar for a quick aperitif and then a light Mezes in Giorgios of bourataki (of course), green beans, mushrooms and spinach fitters washed down with retsina and then home to bed after a long day.
But we were on Symi and it felt wonderful.
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Postby Gemma1 » 03 Oct 2014, 08:37

Loved your May report so really looking forward to reading more :) My plan was to write my Symi report when I came back last weekend but a poorly laptop and modem scuppered that and work has taken over since. Notes are written up in preparation so I will get round to it in the next week or so.
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Postby D and E » 03 Oct 2014, 11:15

Thursday and we are straight back into our normal routine. Light starts entering our room around sevenish and the church bells confirm it. D waits for the single strike that says 07:30 and heads off. One of the simple pleasures of Symi is the morning bread run. When staying "up" in Chorio the bakery just up from Zylygos is visited each day. The walk, the kalimera's exchanged with the Symiots heading for work and then the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread is a great way to start the day. On the return leg the supermarket is visited to get the breakfast supplies of ham, cheese, yoghurt, honey, tea, coffee and milk.
After breakfast and the unpacking is finished we head down the Kali Strata and have the mid morning frappe watching the water taxis load up and head for the various beaches. A very short walk around the back streets saying hello to all those we haven't seen since May is a pleasant way to spend the morning. One of our Symi friends reminds us that we should not be here - that we had said that due to a trip to see family in the USA in November that we would not make our usual second visit. All we can say is thank goodness for Olympic and their wonderful last minute online deal that we got for a short but very welcomed visit.
The storms we heard of and read about last weekend are replaced with blue skies and temperature of around 28 degrees.
As we are only here for a week we had the 7 days all planned out but that was soon forgotten about and we spent a happy day just watching the world go by, seeing three passengers sprinting past Elpida's only to miss their day boat back to Rodos and seeing a very nice yacht being told in no uncertain terms by the Mooring Man where they should berth.
E went to get her haircut late afternoon so D walked to Pedi and back with a very pleasant Mythos stop in the Secret Garden.
Evening as ever started in Yannis Rainbow Bar where we exchanged our days experiences with M and C and then we headed for Zoe's where we had the tuna salad, baked aubergine with sweet onions (imam) followed by beef stifados and moussaka. Tuna salad is one of those dishes that differs in each restaurant and Zoe's is excellent with more body than what we sometimes have - we have yet to have a bad one. After catching up with Zoe and Nikos's news it was home to bed just before the witching hour.
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Postby D and E » 04 Oct 2014, 10:09

Friday and we had a plan to go to St Nicks on George's boat from Pedi but as we always find, having a plan on Symi is never a good plan. We didn't wake until around 8 and there was the bread run, a supermarket stop for the things D forgot the day before, writing up the SV entry, breakfast, pack the day bag - it's all go !
However the day did see us make progress. The previous day we had made it is far as the Clock Tower so with a determined effort, a frappe stop to watch the taxi boats load up, then a Mythos stop at the Stella Bar, we did make it round to TzaTze which is a favourite lunch stop for us.
We had this idylic bar to ourselves to begin with but as passers by saw our cold meats plate and bruchetta appear with a nice carafe of retsina the place started to fill up and we left it busy.
Passed by a new restaurant in between Vaporetta and the Nireus and doubted if we will have time to sample it. There is another new restaurant which we understand is part of the Manos Fish Empire - it is called LOS (Lobster, Oyster, Sushi) located before Elpida's and it was doing quite well when we passed - in fact an old face from our very early visits seems to have returned to work there.
A quick stop at the ATM to get funds and then we headed up the Kali Strata mid afternoon and have a very deserved cold beer in Yannis.
We were soon back in Yannis for the pre-dinner ouzo / retsina and caught up again with M and C who had made it to St.Nicks and who informed us that it had been very busy.
We completed the normal hat-trick having done Gorgios and Zoe's the previous two nights so Zylogos for dinner saw us have green beans and aubergine with feta to start. Like Tuna Salad mentioned yesterday each restaurant has its own take of these dishes and they can be completely different. E had the signature dish of chicken with prunes whilst D had rabbit stifados. Judging by the size of the rabbit leg, which just melted in the mouth, the bunnies on Symi at this time of year must be awesome !
And so an earlier return to the apartment saw us plan for Saturday - who are we kidding ?
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Postby D and E » 05 Oct 2014, 11:16

Saturday saw us achieve the third way down from Chorio to Yialos by way of what we call the donkey steps as the route from the square in Chorio towards the church and down into the back of the square in Yialos is wide and rough enough for donkeys.
Didn't see anyone coming up or going down this route - not even donkeys.
A frappe and fresh orange stop in Elpida's and then round to Nos to visit our good friend Margarita and discuss possibilities for 2015's visit at this time of the year.
We then headed to Nimborios being overtaken by a well stocked "train" that stopped at the turning point to take photos of this beautiful part of the island. It is good to see that the train is popular and that someone is making a living from it.
A Mythos stop at the shack below the Nirides Hotel was welcome and that little venture appears to be doing well with sunbeds and food available.
A light lunch at Nimborios was excellent as usual with tzatziki and a Greek salad accompanying beautifully grilled sardines.
Headed back to Yialos over the route that takes you past the church and then the best kept cemetery one is ever likely to encounter and down the steep hill into the main square. A coffee stop and then the 4 o'clock bus up.
Yannis for retsina / ouzo and catching up with the adventures of other visitors including M and C.
Dinner was at the Windmills where a Mezes of prawns in garlic butter with parsley and lemon; the freshest cabbage and carrot salad; pork in paprika and yoghurt and chilli beef was just fabulous. We are talking proper prawns. Prawns that were as long as your hand and cooked to perfection. The food at the Windmills is a bit different and always worth a visit.
Having given up on planning the last 3 days we retired to bed after yet another enjoyable day in Paradise.
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Postby mrobson » 05 Oct 2014, 18:29

Having arrived on Saturday for what must be my 10th visit, staying up in Chorio too, I'll look out for you at Yannis- and planning to join the gathering on the steps at Symi Dream tomorrow evening unless I am wiped out by a day on the beach at St Nicks!
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Postby D and E » 07 Oct 2014, 10:31

Sunday, and as the bakery in Chorio doesn't open D's early morning walk is pure exercise and watching the sun rise over Pedi.
The "Plan" continues to be to get to St.Nicks but as we have our yoghurt and honey breakfast there are some ominous skies gathering above the Vigla. We have a lengthy "will we, won't we" discussion and decide - avrio.
A visit to the ATM in Yialos is required so we set off. As we pass a house near to our apartment a familiar voice calls to us and it is Giannos. We have spent many a happy afternoon in the Corner Cafe with him and his brother George discussing our different cultures and playing damas (a complicated version of draughts). He asks us in for coffee and we have a wonderful hour catching up.
We head down to the port by the School Steps and the Sunday buzz in the harbour cafés is all around us. A frappe stop, a Mythos stop and an ATM visit and it is 1pm : what is it with time on Symi that it just seems to disappear.
We still don't have a plan so we head back up the School Steps and decide to have a light lunch in Cafe Manteo where a chicken salad and saganaki hit the spot.
A leisurely stroll back to the apartment followed by a walk to Pedi and back and it is time to think about getting ready to go out for dinner.
After busy Friday and Saturday nights when many people come up for the music at Giorgios, Sunday is relatively quiet in "The Village". After the usual retsina / ouzo in Yannis (another 100% attendance record so far) we think about heading down but that word "avrio" crops up again so we take the easy option and head for Zylogos. Lefetris serves us excellent tuna salad and beetroot with skadalia to start followed by Symi lamb and lemon potatoes plus a Mousaka to follow. All excellent, washed down with retsina and followed by complimentary melon.
And so to bed - our earliest yet - thinking : will we get to St.Nicks tomorrow ?
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Postby D and E » 07 Oct 2014, 11:16

Monday and the bread run sees blue skies over the Vigla again and so a visit to St.Nikolas is on - so no access to wifi sees this post being a day late.
We head down the steps from the apartment onto the Pedi Road and walk down and as always round by the boatyard to see how the latest projects are progressing - boats still being built out of wood by hand are due admiration.
We are early so sit taking in the quietness of Pedi before George arrives on his motorbike and we are off on his first boat trip of many for that day. Apart from the family who run the taverna we are first to arrive and get our favourite spot. The next hour or so sees the place fill up which suggests "the season" is lengthening.
Lunch at St.Nicks is always a highlight for us and is calamari, tzatziki and a greek salad with a half kilo of retsina in this the most perfect of settings.
The sea is warm and clear and the weather is perfect and so we head back and walk up the Pedi Road to the apartment for a short respite before a quick visit to the supermarket.
Drinks at Yannis as usual where we meet friends from Taxiarchis and exchange adventures before heading to Giorgios. A Mezes of bourataki (this will be our last of this wonderful delicacy before next May), the best beef stifados ever experienced, imam and artichoke (which is another firm favourite) saw us have the best dinner of the holiday and perhaps of all our many visits to Symi - it was that good.
The evening was also enhanced by "Stamatis", a kitten who is resident in Giorgios, who decided that he liked E's sweater and decided to 'pad' himself into a very comfortable position and fall asleep nuzzled against her leg. He was not at all happy when his jumper had to leave!
So tomorrow will be our last day and we have yet to have lunch at Nos - we will see.
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Postby Gemma1 » 08 Oct 2014, 08:37

Really enjoyed reading your reports. When people ask why I have visited Symi more than any other Greek island I explain that even if you've nothing planned for the day you don't get bored on Symi because you can spend a day just wandering round Horio or the port without really doing much and I think your report shows that ;) Hope you enjoyed your last day and have a stress free day of travelling today.
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Postby D and E » 08 Oct 2014, 09:59

Tues / Weds - the last day of our visit and after the bread run and breakfast we head for our mid morning frappe. E then heads for the shop Spago at the back of the square where she has seen a very nice light. Problem is size and weight. However the shop cannot be more helpful and the Post Office is consulted to see what the cost of posting the light would be and the deal is done.
As E has got into the swing of this shopping game (she's a natural) D heads for a Mythos stop, first at Stella Bar and then at the bar of the Nireus Hotel.
Lunch is back at TzaTi this time having the cheese plate, which comes with honey, making the cheeses even more interesting. This is accompanied by the freshest tomato and basil on bruchetta.
A wander back to the taxi rank via a stop at Elpida's - so handy for Anna's where we add to our growing collection of ceramic houses - and then a stop at the Corner Cafe. Our very good friend and taxi driver - Konstantinos - drives us up to the Village Hotel.
Back at the apartment it is time to pack and then to Yannis where we say our farewells including to M and C who have been good company.
Traditionally we have dinner at Zoe's on the last night and there we have tuna salad and bouyeradi (baked feta with sliced pepper) to start followed by giouvetsi and chicken souvlaki.
We say our farewells to Zoe and Nikos and head back to Anastasia's as the bags have to be at the Village Hotel by 06:30 for the 07:35 Dodek sailing.
All goes well with the crossing and we have breakfast in a cafe near the International Hotel on Rodos. A wander around the old town and a final small Mythos in the Yacht Club (using their wifi to post this) before catching the noon transfer bus and the 15:35 flight to Gatwick. Tonight we will stop around half way, in Swindon, and will complete the trek back to Mid Wales collecting Greyam out cat enroute tomorrow morning.
Thanks to all who have read our ramblings and have a good winter.
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Postby D and E » 08 Oct 2014, 10:03

Hi MRobson - pity we didn't meet up - you will see the only constant in our time on Symi was Yannis Rainbow Bar each night : perhaps next time. Hope you have a wonderful time on Symi.
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Postby dilys.jones » 08 Oct 2014, 17:35

Thank you so much for your diary, i,ve followed you every day.

As you might have seen we were also supposed to be there for two weeks, coming back today. Really hoping we can be back next year.
Hope you have a safe journey home
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