Trip Report - September 2015

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Trip Report - September 2015

Postby Gemma1 » 03 Oct 2015, 15:58

Flew from Manchester to Rhodes with Germania on 23 September on the afternoon flight which was due to depart at 1720. The flight was about an hour late leaving and arrived in Rhodes around 0030. I travelled with Olympic and overnight accommodation was provided at the Hotel Lisabeth in Falaraki, a fairly short transfer. Arrived at the hotel at 1.45 so it was a quick wash and straight to bed for the early start to Symi the following day. Apart from the top sheet feeling damp the room was fine and as the Lisabeth isn’t on ‘The Strip’ it was nice and quiet and I managed to get a few hours sleep before the coach transfer to the port at 7.20 the next morning. The coach picked us up on the main road in Falaraki and we arrived at Akantia around 8am, in plenty of time to catch the Panayia Skiadeni to Symi which left at 9. The weather in Rhodes was a bit mixed and it was threatening rain as we boarded the ferry. An hour and a half later we arrived at a cloudy but dry Symi harbour – it was lovely to see the island with its beautiful harbour appearing on the horizon and I stood on deck as we approached. As always when a ferry arrives, the area around the clock tour was very busy with vehicles and people milling about but it didn’t take me long to spot Katja the Olympic rep and I was soon on the Symi Tours mini bus to Horio. I was dropped off at the bus stop in Horio for the short walk to the Anastasia studios where Anastasia was waiting with a warm welcome and the key for studio 2 which is where I stayed last September. After unpacking and a quick freshen up it was off to the Sunrise where Kev made me a delicious bacon sandwich (3.5 euros) and I caught up on the local news. Next stop was the supermarket where I stocked up on essentials before spending a pleasant half hour relaxing on the balcony and then a walk down the road to Pedi where I turned left at the junction. I walked from one end of Pedi bay to the other before stopping to watch the boats on the bench outside the little church close to the path to Agios Nikolaos beach, enjoying the sunshine and the peace and quiet in this lovely seaside village.

At 5pm it was time to meet up with friends at the Olympic welcome meeting at Brasserie Mantico where we sat in the sunshine enjoying a complimentary glass of wine. We all booked on the St Michael, Winepress, Panormitis and Marathounda trip for the following day which was 15 euros each. After a quick shower and change it was back to the Sunrise for a pre-dinner drink before walking down the Kali Strata for dinner at To Spitiko where we shared a Greek salad starter and I had an excellent moussaka for mains (8 euros) and half a litre of house white (5 euros). Complimentary dessert of delicious moist orange cake followed and we got a taxi back up to Horio (4 euros) for a nightcap in the Sunrise.

The following morning we were picked up from the bottom of the steps by The Secret Garden shortly after 10 in the Symi Tours mini bus for the excursion. The first stop was at the Monastery of Roukouniotis where we had a tour of the monastery with its impressive frescoes. I have walked past here several times but never been inside before and it’s definitely worth a visit. Back on the mini bus we took the road past the Vigla before being dropped off on the main road for the pleasant walk through the shady pine scented forest, stopping to look at several old Byzantine wine presses constructed out of the limestone rocks. We emerged on the road with stunning views of Panormitis and Marathounda where the coach was waiting for us. We had a brief stop at Panormitis before continuing on to Marathounda where I had an excellent Greek salad for lunch (6 euros). Several cheeky goats were putting their heads over the fence surrounding the tavern wanting to be fed. We left Marathounda at 3.30 to return to Chorio. This trip was excellent value at only 15 euros and a very enjoyable day out.

In the evening my friends had reserved a table at the Secret Garden for music night listening to Clare, George, Marcus and Terri. For dinner we shared mezes of spicy cheese salad, meatballs, big beans and chicken Roquefort. The bill including several glasses of wine and water was 52 euros for the 3 of us. Last drinks were at the Sunrise and it turned into a late night!

After our late night I got up fairly late and decided to walk to Emborio. I set off walking down the Kali Strata and round the back of the square before taking the steep road to the right passing the cemetery and the chicken/turkey farm. This is one of my favourite walks with stunning views out to sea. I stopped for a while at the monastery of Agios Georgios Drakoundioti, admiring the view down towards Emborio before walking down the hill on the rocky path and joining the road to Emborio. I passed the taverna which was quite noisy due to building work next door, and continued along the beach before taking the inland path along the stony river bed track and turning left at some steps to walk up to the church where there are some Byzantine mosaic remains in an enclosure in the church yard. After leaving the church I took the path through the gate onto the hillside overlooking Emborio to have a look at the catacombs. Had a peer into the darkness but I’m not a fan of dark places so after a look round I returned down to the beach for tuna salad at the taverna.

Tonight’s dinner was at Mythos roof garden restaurant with its lovely views over the harbour with some of the Symi regulars that I’ve met on previous trips. I shared a delicious seafood starter and had an excellent stiffado for the main course accompanied by 2 glasses of wine. After the meal we were presented with a delicious selection of small desserts which included a gorgeous chocolate cup and a light and fluffy lemon mousse. There were 8 of us and the bill came to just under 200 euros including wine and water. We finished the meal in time to catch the last bus back to Horio – the bus fare is still 1.5 euros each.

The following morning after coffee and orange juice on the balcony I decided to walk through Chorio and up to the Acropolis, taking my time walking through the narrow streets passing local houses and several ruins. I spent a pleasant half hour relaxing with my book and taking in the beautiful views before returning to the Sunrise for a crispy bacon sandwich - delicious. After my late breakfast I walked down to Pedi and on to Agios Nikolaos beach where I spent a few hours relaxing on the beach and swimming in the crystal clear sea. Sunbeds were 3 euros each, it’s the first time I’ve had to pay for sunbeds here, on previous visits they’ve been free if I’ve eaten at the taverna. After a late lunch of Greek salad and bread with a large bottle of water (8.5 euros) I took the rocky path back to Pedi and continued up the hill to Chorio.

In the evening I met up with friends in the Sunrise for a pre-dinner drink before walking down the Kali Strata to the Dolphin where we had an excellent and very reasonably priced dinner. We shared a large garlic bread and a Greek salad and had 2 x tuna pasta and one margherita pizza, accompanied by a litre of red wine and 2 glasses of white wine. The bill for the 3 of us was 52 euros. Wine here is a very reasonable 2 euros a glass.

After an excellent breakfast with friends at Taxiarchis I set off along the road towards Aghia Marina cemetery and continued along the quiet road with views over Horio and Pedi to Zoodhochos monastery where I spent a pleasant hour relaxing and reading my book and enjoying the view. I returned the same way, turning left at the main road and walking slightly up the hill before taking the quiet road entering the top of Horio where I wandered round the back streets before walking down to Yialos via the rocky steps of the Kataraktis. I stopped off for an excellent chicken gyros (2.5 euro) in the harbour which was very busy with day trippers with the herb shop doing a roaring trade. After my cheap but tasty lunch I decided to walk over to where they are building the new harbour for a nosey round, though progress seems very slow, before returning to Chorio via the lazy steps.

After pre-dinner drinks at the Sunrise tonight’s dinner was at the Windmill where we each chose one vegetarian and one meat dish. We shared a meze of hummus, big beans, courgette fritters, pork with apple and metaxa, slow cooked beef and chicken with saffron. The food was delicious as was the white wine – the best wine I’ve tasted on Symi. Total bill including a litre of white wine, 2 glasses of red, bread and water was 72.5 euros. Dinner was followed by drinks at Lefteris and then back to the Sunrise for the usual nightcap.

The following day I had breakfast on the balcony before walking through the village and turning right along the old donkey path with beautiful views over Horio and the Turkish coast. I stopped for a while at the little church before continuing along the path and turning right where it joined the main road. After walking along the road for a while I took the path below the army checkpoint and following the rocky path down towards Horio. The path became rockier before emerging next to the cemetery where rather than taking the road down to Horio I took the path opposite, walking past an enclosure with some very noisy geese and a beautiful little deer. After walking down some very steep steps I arrived in Horio at the back of the square and had a pleasant omelette for lunch in the harbour. After lunch I had a walk round the harbour and past Harani boat yard before walking up to the church where I relaxed and read my book for half an hour. Mid-afternoon I walked back to the harbour and paid a visit to my favourite cake shop with the scary ice-cream outside, before walking back up the Kali Strata to Horio.

Dinner was at Georgio’s where we shared starters of Greek salad and hummus and I had chicken in cream and mushroom sauce which came with chips and rice and was delicious. Total bill including moussaka, chips, half a carafe of red wine, a quarter carafe of white wine, diet coke, bread and water was 42 euros.

After a final breakfast on the balcony overlooking the Pedi valley, I went for a stroll down to Pedi, where I sat for a while overlooking the sea, reading my book and enjoying the peace and quiet. As I walked back round the bay I passed the travelling ‘shop’ and noticed several people looking at his wares, which included socks, shoes and lots of other merchandise. I returned to the Anastasia for a shower and to finish packing as check out was at mid-day. Then it was off to the Sunrise to meet up with my friends for a final bacon and mushroom sandwich before making my way to Ringo’s bar where I was picked up at 1515 for a 1615 departure. The Symi tours mini bus arrived on time and I was soon in the harbour and boarding the Panayia Skiadeni back to Rhodes. Katja was there to meet the ferry in Rhodes and directed us to a mini bus which took us to the International Hotel where I left my luggage until it was time to depart for the airport at 2110. Had a wander round Rhodes and something to eat before it was time to leave. Our flight departed on time and arrived back in Manchester half an hour early.

Another excellent Symi holiday with some lovely meals, great company and wonderful walks comes to an end.
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Re: Trip Report - September 2015

Postby Val » 04 Oct 2015, 04:26

Loved your report Gemma. You really give a wonderful taste of the joy that is Symi and I so much enjoyed reading about your stay, especially as this year there was no Symi for us sadly. My son Neil was knocked off his bike last week and is in intensive care in Newcastle so life is hard at the moment. This gave me a tremendous lift. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
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Re: Trip Report - September 2015

Postby D and E » 04 Oct 2015, 06:25

Hi Gemma,
You captured the essence of a Symi holiday perfectly.
It made a wonderful read out here on the balcony as the sun starts to shine on Nos Beach.
The post from Val makes one think very seriously about how fragile our lives are and hope that things turn out well for that family.
I will now put fingers to keyboard and report on yesterday's trip to Tolis.
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Re: Trip Report - September 2015

Postby Gemma1 » 04 Oct 2015, 09:22

Val wrote:Loved your report Gemma. You really give a wonderful taste of the joy that is Symi and I so much enjoyed reading about your stay, especially as this year there was no Symi for us sadly. My son Neil was knocked off his bike last week and is in intensive care in Newcastle so life is hard at the moment. This gave me a tremendous lift. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.


Val, I remember you saying we would overlap on Symi and wondered if you had changed your mind. So sorry to hear about Neil, I hope he will be ok :( Thinking of you, Dai and the family x
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Re: Trip Report - September 2015

Postby silverfox » 07 Oct 2015, 18:49

Great report Gemma thanks for sharing! :)

Another post leaving us wanting to book next year!

Hope everything turns out well Val.
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