A Jolly Jaunt in July

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A Jolly Jaunt in July

Postby D and E » 10 Jul 2017, 09:41

Many thanks to Silverfox over the last couple of weeks for putting in such a wonderful first leg and in such heat. So the baton is now firmly in our hands and here we go.

Friday

So our unexpected and unplanned short Symi Visit starts at 08:30 with Greyam, our cat, being taken to his holiday home in the nearby cattery. He loves the car and is soon purring himself to sleep. E has to work the morning and we leave Aberystwyth around 13:30 heading for Manchester Airport via Shrewsbury where D exchanges a new pair of shoes that failed first time out.

An uneventful journey up in the Friday afternoon traffic and we are in the Crowne Plaza by 18:00. This is our hotel of choice when flying from Manchester as it houses the superb Sanpans Pan-Asian restaurant. After an aperitif in the very busy hotel bar we have an excellent dinner of dim sum, tempura prawns, stir-fried beef and a superb Thai prawn curry, with coconut rice and pak choi as sides. With a glass of fizz and a nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc this place remains a firm favourite.

Saturday

Up at 05:00 and the sun is coming up over the airport as some night flights start arriving. We catch the 05:45 shuttle bus and are one of the first at the Olympic Desk on the ground floor of Terminal 2. A very quick check-in with D very happy having secured a window seat. Then up to level 3 for the scrum that is security at that time of day - almost worth paying the £5 for FastTrack one thinks but after an initial bottleneck it starts to flow and we get through quite quickly apart from E having a problem with the body scanner.

E is a T1D (Type 1 Diabetic) and has an insulin pump. Manchester is the only airport where she has a problem. The pump manufacturer recommends avoiding the body scanner and to ask for a swab & pat down and this always causes a fuss which stresses E which is not good for a T1D so a letter to the airport manager on our return is on the To Do List.

After that hiccup we push in a bit of time over a coffee and then we are called and bussed out to the ASL Boeing 737-700 which is quite dinky. A French run airline with the drop down screens that keep us informed of the route which D always likes - bless. The bar service commences about an hour into the flight which seems quite a long time - not so much D wanting his G&T but E wanting a coffee. Having bought the usual “smellies” they find that they were out of stock of the free candle offer - well who wants a candle on the way out to Symi anyway - so they offer us a complimentary drink - result ! Another glass of fizz and a G & Fever Tree Tonic.

We land at 14:30 and whilst D has his traditional can of Mythos from the vending machine and awaits the bags E goes to tell the Olympic Rep that we have decided to make our own arrangements for the evening and to ask about what ferry we are on the next day. Another couple bound for Symi are told they will be in the Blue Ocean hotel which we know as a good hotel. Thinking that we may have been premature with making our own arrangements E is told that we would have been housed in Falaraki. Olympic explain that the choice of stop over is dependent on the class of accommodation you choose on Symi. The Blue Ocean people are dropped at Iapetos the next day.

So we are clear of the airport and in a taxi to our hotel by 15:00. Still €25 from the airport to Rodos town centre. We have a room booked in the Koykos which describes itself as a Traditional Guest House. This is a real find within a couple of hundred meters of the Plaza which is a known stop over for many independent travellers to Symi.

The staff could not be more pleasant and helpful. The whole place is quirky and themed around cuckoo clocks. The rooms have some amazing original features like the stone sink and the bed is ultra comfy. We head out for a walk to our two fav places - Socrates Garden and The Yacht Club before returning to Koykos via a shoe shop sale where E avails herself of a new pair of black espadrilles.

We have dinner in Koykos. The welcoming barman George and owner of the hotel greet us and after an ouzo & retsina (what else) with a mezes of pickled yellow pepper, olive and anchovie we have a table reserved outside where Greeks and tourists are queueing to get a table. We have moussaka, spetsofia, pork in a spiced sauce, cheese & courgette fritters and excellent flat bread with water and half kilo retsina - €35. Great staff, superb hotel and excellent value at around the same price as the Plaza so we will more than likely stay there again when we have to stop over in September.

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Sanpans at the Crowne Plaza
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Re: A Jolly Jaunt in July

Postby D and E » 10 Jul 2017, 09:43

Sorry about that photo !
Out of practice !
In cafe Aiglios trying to resize - may move to Elpida's and see if a bottle of Fix helps fix things.
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Re: A Jolly Jaunt in July

Postby D and E » 10 Jul 2017, 12:37

Well we are getting to Elpida's but met George from Alexandra's jeweller and then one became two with Giorgio & Yannis in The Corner Bar; then the ATM; then Stella Bar looked inviting and E has now gone to visit Takis - one of those Symi Day.

However here are the pics that should have accompanied earlier post -

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Sanpans at the Crowne Plaza
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Re: A Jolly Jaunt in July

Postby D and E » 10 Jul 2017, 12:40

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Fly ASL


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The Comfiest of Beds in Koykos


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The Ensuite Koykos
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Re: A Jolly Jaunt in July

Postby D and E » 10 Jul 2017, 13:43

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Flight path over Symi
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Re: A Jolly Jaunt in July

Postby D and E » 10 Jul 2017, 13:52

Sunday

After a very nice but a bit rushed (should have got down for 07:00) Koykos breakfast of eggs, those lovely small smoked sausages, ham, cheese, tomato, bread, cakes, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice we get a taxi (€7) round to Kolona for the 08:30 Dodecanesos Express. It is worth mentioning that the hotel has an extensive breakfast menu and it's own bakery where you can go and choose anything on offer for breakfast.

Olympic have improved the process. The welcome envelope we got at the airport the previous day has details of the ferry and a booking reference so we just present that at the booking office at the port and we get our tickets for what is a very busy boat.

Arriving Symi at 09:30 we are met by Fotini the new Olympic Rep on the island. We are whisked up to Chorio via Iapetos and dropped at the bottom of the stairs beside the Secret Garden. To be fair they asked where we would like to be dropped but as the minibus is too wide to take the Village Hotel route, and D is almost 60 going on 16 (in his mind), he carries the bags up to Anastasia’s and we find that we have been allocated Room 5 - our favourite, which delights us no end. Room 5 is a large room with separate bedroom and a secluded balcony which gets shade until around 10am and then again after 5pm.

Anastasia is just returning from church and we catch up on family news and D secures the transaction for the air conditioning. As he needs it even in May / September it is going to be essential for now.

Unpacked and in Yiannis Rainbow Bar by 11:30 for a well deserved chilled beer. Some Symi virgins staying with Olympic at Sevastis find their way to Yiannis and we swap stories of the journey over and provide some insights to our fav things to do on Symi.

Back to the apartment via the supermarket and we just laze around reading and dozing in the mid thirties heat of the afternoon. There is a pleasant breeze but this is July and as regular readers of D’s blog know, we are May / September people. We are acclimatising fast but the pace will be slow this week.

Before we know it, it is time to shower and head up to Yiannis for the usual. It is 7:30pm and our usual seats are taken so we sit bar side. Habit dictates that we sit in the seats nearest Lefteris looking in as this has often afforded D his fix of sport on Yiannis’ TV. Toby & Neil greet us and there are many familiar faces next door waiting for the Sunday Film Club to show The Full Monty in Lefteris.

We meet a couple from North Wales who we have spoken to on many occasions. They look very well on their extended two months stay and so nice to bump into them again. One of the many lovely things about returning to this magical place.

There is a local wedding and many guests pass by on the Kali Strata on their way to Haritomeni and as they do fireworks are glittering in the sky above. Reason to have another ouzo and retsina before we head next door. Before we do E visits the small but growing boutique that is opposite Giorgios. The young girl that has set up this business and E have become firm friends who love their nightly chats. E buys D a much needed beach bag.

First night dinner when “up” is traditionally Giorgios so we head there and have an excellent dinner of bourataki which is a standout dish that we always look forward to. We have the green beans, mushrooms cooked in garlic & wine, lambs liver which is cut into small pieces and fried, and the peppers stuffed with feta and of course the half kilo retsina.

It is quite sad to see Zyllygos, Windmills and Cafe Manteo all closed as we head back to Anastasia’s but that is the way of things. We thought Chorio would be a lot busier at this time of the year but it is not much busier than we see it in May / September. We sit out on our balcony and listen to the Greek music coming from the home of the wedding somewhere up towards the Castro. D tries to emulate Silverfox by photographing the moon but it seems he has a long way to go to master his zoom (an almost Tobyesque phrase worthy of Remotely). We feel we are “home” and so to bed.

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First Chilled Beer in Yiannis


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First Chilled Beer in Yiannis
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Bourataki in Giorgios - To Die For
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Re: A Jolly Jaunt in July

Postby D and E » 10 Jul 2017, 14:12

Have made it to Elpida's but as you can see from the photos the Fix may not be having the desired effect on D.

The picture of the harbour was at 11am this morning. A few yachts have arrived this afternoon but things are quiet except for the day boats - there were four today.

E has visited Anna's and has a very nice top for our visit to Zoe's tonight.

Now to go and catch the 5pm bus up.
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Re: A Jolly Jaunt in July

Postby silverfox » 10 Jul 2017, 18:16

Ahhhhh....it's as though we are still there! :)

More of the same please!

:)
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