May Mythos & Mezes

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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 19 May 2016, 09:54

Thanks for the posts and so good to read that Val's son has done and is doing so well.

Those on Wednesday flights that have to overnight in Rhodes have just arrived on the Skiadeni but hardly an influx.

Come on UK - Symi needs you :D
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 21 May 2016, 12:04

Thursday - Day 9

The plan was St.Nicks but what are plans for if not changing.

So after a very leisurely breakfast we head down. But rather than use one of the direct routes we head along from Yannis Rainbow bar and simply follow a natural decline through the myriad of paths that go through the houses of Chorio. A new property quite high up has seen the removal of some of the trees which provides a stunning view down into the harbour. This time our route brings us out at the Accountants Offices close to the bottom of the Kali Strata.

The Poseidon has gone for the day - round to Pedi to pick up the guests from the Pedi Beach Hotel. The taxi boats remain in port for now - Monday start is the current thinking. So we have our frappe / wifi stop and watch the Sea Dreams day trip from Rhodes arrive - a large number of people today which is good for Symi. Then the Skiadeni arrives, hopefully bringing summer visitors. George of Alexandra's jeweller arrives back on Symi so E goes to visit one of her favourite shops and comes away with a bangle from his new season collection - even D is impressed.

A wander round the harbour and a Fix / frappe stop at a deserted Elpida's and a visit to the ATM. We then went up the slope behind Odyssia to the church and over to Nos Beach as a holiday on Symi without lunch at Nos would be unthinkable. The same reliable cook that we have known for years so the traditional lunch of her light and herby meatballs accompanied by grilled aubergine with skadalia followed by a shared plate of whitebait ("little fish") makes a perfect light lunch especially when we share the bread with the voracious fish that swim next to the taverna.

Back over through the church but taking the steps down and round the harbour and back up the Kali Strata with a stop at Cafe Aigialos on the way.

The 100% Yiannis record remains in tact. The plan was to head down but on a day of changing plans we headed for Giorgio's for braised mixed vegetables, Mousaka, humus and imam which was possibly the best dinner yet.

We are home by 22:30 with a plan to go to St.Nicks tomorrow.
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E adds to the Symi Collection
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 21 May 2016, 12:10

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From them St.Nicks Steps


Friday - Day 10

We woke up to a perfect Symi sky - one of those that you know is going to produce "a hot one". So D headed for the bakery's whilst E prepared breakfast. The plan to go to St.Nicks for a second time was on.

Heading down the Pedi Road we grab a frappe from the corner shop and jump on George's boat for his first sailing of the day. There are some impressive motor yachts in Pedi Bay. When we reach St.Nicks there is only one other couple there - they have been coming for years and we have got to know them (you know who you are :-) ). We get our usual sunbeds and then D heads up the new steps that have been constructed into the rocks over the winter - an impressive job that makes it much easier for those who wish to walk over.

It may be our imagination but the sea felt slightly less cold. The Cabin is now open and so an 11:00 frappe was enjoyed. The lunch menu had also been extended slightly with sardines and chicken souvlaki being available. We had the Greek salad; feta cheese, tomato and onion omelette; and the sardines (4) which were excellent. We headed home on George's 16:00 return and walked back up the Pedi Road with the firm intention of heading down to Yialos for dinner.

For the second day running a cloudiness formed in the late afternoon. As we sat in Yiannis our "exertions" of the day caught up with us and the plan changed and so we ended up in Zoe's where we started with those earthy lentil based dolmades with tzatziki and her creamy tuna salad. E then indulged in the prawns saganaki which have become a firm favourite and D had wonderful Symi lamb which is cooked on the bone and is all the better for that. A complimentary plate of fresh apples with cinnamon and a Nescafé & ouzo ends another superb meal.

We are told that the weekend weather looks changeable with wind on Saturday and the threat of rain on Sunday. We have arranged to meet Margarita for coffee on Saturday morning to try and sort out dates for our September / October visit and as we head to bed to the feint Greek music emanating from The Secret Garden's music night we think tomorrow may be a walking day.
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 21 May 2016, 12:17

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George's Taxi Boat to St.Nicks
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby silverfox » 21 May 2016, 12:22

Many thanks for your updates and talk of all the nice food.

Great pictures too!

:)
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby Olga » 21 May 2016, 13:02

Love the bangle E, Alexandras is one of my favourite shops, and this year it was a ring that caught my eye. George wasn't in when we visited, and we were told by the lovely girl with the Australian accent who was looking after the shop that he was in Scotland, I said "buying stock?" and she said "no getting married" We were leaving on Wednesday, when he was due back, so all we could do was leave a card with congratulations. Love the pictures of the food, we seem to have been eating in the same places, except that we had two visits to Harotomani where the food was very good.
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby Gemma1 » 22 May 2016, 09:05

Great weekend reading and I'm looking forward to trying out the new steps when I walk over to St Nick's :D
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 23 May 2016, 09:04

Saturday - Day 11

This is turning out to be the most changeable weather we have experienced in all our visits. Yesterday blue skies and today a wind that blows the plastic chairs along our communal balcony. There are clouds over the Vigla and the promise of rain. After breakfast we head down to meet Margarita for coffee, get all her news, and take a note of the dates she can accommodate us in October. As we are having our coffee the rain starts and clearly someone is being entrepreneurial selling rain-proof ponchos to the day visitors coming off the Sea Dream.

It is not a day to venture far. Normally one day of our visit turns out like this. D heads to the Stella Bar for a Mythos that becomes two as E takes a look around the shops. We meet up to share the small Mezes plate again at Elpida's - this is a real find and clearly you get whatever Elpida has cooked that day. Today it was some roast chicken, some potatoes, tomatoes, a ewe's cheese and some coronation chicken - tasty doesn't start to do this justice. And of course it tastes all the better with retsina. This is starting to turn into a bit of a boozey day as the sun comes out.

With the wind whipping up a high sea and spray being blown off the tops of the waves we decide to have another carafe of retsina in Elpida's whilst watching some very expensive boats tackle the tricky mooring manoeuvres that the weather presents.

E's earlier shopping escapade did identify some nice clothes that she wanted to take a look at again so D was "sent" to Cafe Alegrito to have an ouzo which turned into three. E returns with some very nice Greek made shirts for D to choose from. Symiot shopkeepers remind us of how things were when we were younger - very trusting and putting the customer first. E also made one or two purchases and sat down for a well deserved retsina and all of a sudden a freshly made omelette was put in front of us and the locals who were playing backgammon. The kindness of the Symi people has only increased even with the financial difficulties that they have faced - quite amazing.

In the circumstances a taxi up seems appealing but there isn't one to be found in the rank but as luck would have it the time is 16:58 so a bit of a sprint (poetic licence) and we catch the 17:00 bus and get off at the windmills.

D tries on and likes all three shirts so that will means a visit to the ATM for "debt settlement" the following day and a pair of trousers that E has bought will need adjusted and Debbie on the square is the girl for that as we found during our first week.

We then headed for Yiannis to watch the FA Cup Final which runs into extra time and so extra ouzo / retsina. After a thoroughly deserved victory for Manchester United which makes D very happy (or was that the abundance of ouzo he has consumed) we headed next door to Giorgio's where the liver was now on the menu. Simply grilled with a squeeze of lemon - perfect and we were in good company as the proprietor was having the same. We had the braised mixed vegetables, the bourataki and the Mousaka to accompany this and some more retsina.

So as we headed back in a less than straight path another lovely day on Symi ended with the threat of rain the next day.
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One of the Day Boats
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 23 May 2016, 09:09

Sunday - Day 12

We woke up to some dark clouds but they are interspersed with blue skies so it is difficult to say which ones will win out.

We seem to have fallen into yet another pattern with a Sunday breakfast of poached eggs on toast at The Olive Tree. On the way back to the apartment we do a final supermarket run just for the essentials to see us through the final three days. We both agree that these two weeks seem to have flown by in record speed and in future we must really consider staying for three, something we haven't done for what must be a decade now.

After a rather "busy" Saturday, and with the weather being a bit uncertain, we headed down the School Steps for a frappe stop where D summoned up the energy to start writing the daily blog. We then visited the shops and paid our "debts" and made our way back up through yet another route on the right hand side of the Kali Strata up a herb strewn set of steps that took us out by the square in Chorio. We avoid the temptation of a chilled Yiannis beer despite the blue skies now winning through and return to the apartment for a simple lunch of cheese / chicken pie with fresh tomato.

We read a bit and then head down the Pedi Road mid afternoon. We stop for a frappe and a fresh orange juice at the supermarket and sit outside as The Panormitis supply boat unloads and then sets sail for the next port. George the taxi boatman and Costas the supermarket man sit with us and tell us all about the ship and other interesting things. We are told that Taverna Tolis in Pedi will not open due to one of the family being involved in a serious motor cycle accident.

We head back up from Pedi through the route that takes you past the football stadium and then we get ready to visit Yiannis and Zylygos. This visit has turned out, totally unplanned, like one of very early visits when we hardly ever left the village and focused our outings on Pedi and St.Nicolas bay.

The wind has picked up again and most people sitting in Yannis Rainbow and in Lefetri's next door have fleeces or jumpers on. We sit inside Zylygos and return to those dishes that we know we won't see again until October. We have meatballs, very plain but perfectly light and herby; the imam which always says Symi to us; tuna salad and those five large juicy barbecued prawns - a very light dinner. After a complimentary piece of coconut cake we head home at the relatively early time of 21:30 with a full mon rising over Pedi Bay - magical.
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The "Boys" always come to Symi
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 23 May 2016, 09:14

Just an additional note for those who may be arriving soon.

It is Monday morning and Irini's taxi boats have started to run. It is a beautiful day with a fresh wind. There is still no Olympic Rep and we are told Symi Tours are taking care of transfers - we have yet to hear what boat we are on Wednesday but are currently assuming the new Blue Star as the Diagoras made its last visit on Friday.

Full update either tomorrow or the day after as we may do St.Nicks tomorrow - it being our last day.
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby Val » 23 May 2016, 21:32

Enjoy your last day D & E and hope it's lovely and sunny. Thanks for sharing your holiday with us and you have certainly entertained us in style with your daily accounts and great photos. Loved your blog as ever and look forward to many more to come. Safe journey home and thanks again. Xx
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 26 May 2016, 08:21

Monday - Day 13

The wind is still blowing but it is blue skies, sun and warm. We decided to postpone St.Nicks to the following day. We head down for our frappe / WiFi / ATM by way of the Donkey Steps. So we head through the square in Chorio and along by those majestic pines that so beautifully frame the harbour and head down into Yialos bumping into quite an aged Symiot on his way up with a large box on his shoulder - we think he welcomes the opportunity to stop and chat although he has no English and we have no Greek but somehow we communicate and that is one of the joys of Symi.

We have our frappe and freshly squeezed orange juice and there certainly seems to be a buzz around the port. Two of Irini's boats aren't there so we assume they have started although when we chat to her late in the morning she says "avrio". Poseidon has headed for one of its Pedi Beach Hotel charters.

D heads for a farewell Fix in Elpida's and E pops into Symi Tours to see if what our departure arrangements are and they are well organised. They find us on the list to depart Wednesday and tell us the Symi Tours bus will pick us up at 07:00 Wednesday morning at the same point where we were dropped off which is the same routine as las year. The girl advises that we can pick up our tickets for the boat on Tuesday which we will do having read that there were some problems the week before.

We get the bus up and when we get to our apartment find that the Olympic Board has been updated to explain the role of Symi Tours and the time we will be picked up from the International Hotel on Rhodes for the Gatwick and Manchester flights on Wednesday.

We then picked up our beach stuff and headed down through the small holdings to Pedi where we have a lazy afternoon sipping frappe on a sunbed - with cheese & ham / sausage pies for lunch. D takes a wander round the bay and finds a new studio for rent that looks tempting for one of our future visits. We head back up the Pedi Road indulging in a shared ice cream from the corner supermarket.

As usual we head to Yannis for ouzo / retsina before our final dinner in Giorgio's where in addition to the normal menu we are offered "daily specials". E is delighted as one of her favourite dishes is on offer - stuffed courgette flowers. The flowers are stuffed with feta and then deep fried I a very light batter. Also from the specials we choose Lamb Stiffado which is cooked on the bone and in its sumptuous sauce was divine. With humus and the meatballs - a very fine dinner.

We head home planning to go to St.Nicks for our last day on the island
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby Gemma1 » 27 May 2016, 07:26

Glad to hear that Olympic - with the help of Symi Tours - seem to be getting their act together and sorting out the transfer information etc.

Hope you enjoyed your last day and managed to get to St Nick's :)
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 27 May 2016, 08:16

Tuesday - Thursday : Days 14 - 16

The last day, the journey home and some reflections.

On the Tuesday we woke up to lovely blue skies and so we headed down the Pedi Road one last time. George the boatman explains that we are watching the Coastguard tow a half submerged Turkish boat that has been abandoned in Pedi. They will sink the boat in deep waters beyond the Pedi headland. We watch this quite dramatic event as we are taken over to St.Nicks which is still the only beach where the taverna is open. Despite this we estimate that we see less than 30 visitors during our day there. We do brave the water which remains 'bracing" before having a frappe from the cabin. We have lunch in the taverna with a verbal menu that has grown again. We have tzatziki, a quite substantial chicken souvlaki and the omelet. We asked George to collect us at 3pm as we had to pick up ferry tickets and of course pack.

After walking back up the Pedi Road, dumping our beach stuff at the apartment, we head down the Kaki Strata and our ferry tickets are waiting in the Symi Tours office. We say some final goodbyes over a small beer in the Corner Cafe and then head back up in the luxury of a brand new taxi. We pack and head for Yannis - the 100% record achieved :D :D :D (There was never any doubt in this front). E says farewell to her friend who runs the wee shop opposite - this is well worth a visit as she sells quite unique things, many made locally.

Our traditional last night dinner when staying in Chorio is always Zoe's so off we head where we had the dolmades with tzatziki and the meatballs to start. E then had the saganaki prawns and D the beef Stiffado which he continues to declare the best although admits that Giorgio's lamb Stiffado gave it a very close run for its money this time. Our Welsh friends from St.Nicks say cheerio to us and we have a final discussion with Zoe & Nikos about the UK's EU Referendum, hugs & kisses and home to bed.

We never sleep well before the return journey - the fear of missing the alarm - so we are up and at the pick up point by 06:40 and the Symi Tours bus is there within 5 minutes and we are first on. We then pick up from Sevastis, Taxiarchis, Pedi Beach Hotel and finally Iapetos - 11 of us in total. We are at the Clock Tower by 7am for the 8:15 sailing. This gives us time to have a frappe / espresso fredo at the cafe nearest that end of the harbour and then walk to the bakery by the harbour bridge and share a cheese & ham pie for breakfast. The Paros arrives on time and is an impressive replacement for the Diagoras. There is a great number of Symiots heading over to Rhodes with us. We sit out with our new found friends P&J and have a very pleasant crossing - thanks for the coffees P&J. When we arrive at Akantia there is an Olympic mini-bus and we are taken to the International Hotel (see comments about the rep-free approach in our reply to Mr Wotsin on this subject). We wander to the Old Town and to a favourite pottery shop where E buys a beautifully crafted small bowl. A small beer stop at Socratous Garden where despite us only ever passing through three of the waiters recognise us and greet us as regulars - quite amazing when you think of all the people they encounter. A last stop at the Yacht Club and back for the transfer to the airport. A very slick check-in, security check and passport control which we then find is due to there being only 17 of us on the Enterair flight back.

The return flight is uneventful. There is a limited trolley service of drinks and snacks and no perfumes / aftershaves etc. We are back in Gatwick earlier than planned. The car is delivered back to the South Terminal where we have landed. We drive to the Sofitel to pick up two night bags we had left with them on the way out and then drive to the Crowne Plaza, 10 minutes away in Crawley, where we have decided to stay the night as neither of us have work the following day - a much more civilised approach than we have taken in previous years. We find it exceptional for airport hotels to be anything more than functional, exceptions in our experience being the Sofitel Gatwick (expensive) and the Crowne Plaza Manchester (great Thai restaurant), so we were not disappointed. A dinner of tempura prawns followed by a quite decent dish of pork belly (D) and pork terrine followed by a well cooked chicken dish (E) was expensive for what it was but we have been spoiled by Symi in terms of both flavour and value for money for the last two weeks.

A very decent and generous buffet breakfast sets us up for the next day which sees sunshine but not the temperatures we are used to. We set the SatNav to avoid the M25 accepting this will add an hour to our journey and set off across country through some beautiful villages finally picking up the M4 at Newbury. We are home by 17:00.

So reflecting on this Symi Visit -

The island was quieter than we can ever recall for this time of the year. This impacted the opening of tavernas at the various beaches and the day boat taxis / Symi Tours bus trips. The exception being St.Nicks.

Olypmic's unintentional 'Rep-Free' approach may be fine for regulars like ourselves but we do recognise that this may leave visitors feeling vulnerable and uncertain about arrangements. They really need to address this and D will be writing to them and we would encourage others to do the same. After all the price does includes access to a Rep.

The weather was strange for this time of the year. We have experienced small rain showers and some coolish evenings in the past but this time most evenings needed a jumper or something more substantial and the rain that we had was more intense and lasted longer. May just have been a blip but we are convinced of a general global change in weather patterns so such uncertainty may be the shape of things to come. However the general weather pattern experienced was warm, sunny and extremely pleasant.

Prices for food, drinks and other purchases remain very reasonable which is surprising when one thinks about the rising tax burden Symiots face.

The welcome was as warm and genuine as ever.

The dish of the holiday was small but the simple Mezes plate at Elpida's gets our vote.

Will put up some more photos later today and happy to answer any questions anyone has.

And thank you to all those who took time to read our ramblings and for the positive feedback which encourages us to post.

So until October ........
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 27 May 2016, 14:07

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Pedi
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 27 May 2016, 14:09

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Pedi
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 27 May 2016, 14:10

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The New Steps at St.Nicolas
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 27 May 2016, 14:12

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Departure on the Paros
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby silverfox » 27 May 2016, 16:47

Many many thanks for all your updates D & E. I've really enjoyed reading about all that nice food and drink.

It's you that encouraged me to try a blog last year and I intend to do the same again this year.

Only 26 days to go!

:)
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby D and E » 28 May 2016, 07:03

Hi Silverfox,

I remember the brilliant job you did last year and all those superb photographs and we are really looking forward to reading this year's blog. We find it very interesting to read how people view Symi. By the time you visit everything should be in full swing.
Have fun and keep Yannis busy :o
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby Gemma1 » 28 May 2016, 08:46

Thanks for taking the time to write your blog and share your holiday with us. As always it's been a great read :D When I first started going to Greece I always used to travel in May and mostly had good weather, even on islands further north such as Skopelos and Thassos. However after a week on Lefkas when it rained for half the week and a chilly week on Lesvos when I had to iron the bed before I could get in it (I knew the travel iron would come in useful one day lol) as it was so cold in our ground floor room, we switched to early June with its more guaranteed weather, more reliable ferries and more places open. The downside is that you do miss the spring flowers and freshness, though I'm hoping there might still be some greenery on Kefalonia when we arrive next week.
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Re: May Mythos & Mezes

Postby bill » 28 May 2016, 10:31

Always a pleasure to read your Symi muses. I think that everybody can relate to your feelings and everyday activities, and that just makes people green with envy.
Thank you again.
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