Yamas Yialos

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Yamas Yialos

Postby D and E » 10 Oct 2019, 08:59

Yamas Yialos

Monday - Wednesday : The Journey Over

On a wet Monday morning Zoé the cat was waiting for D when he went down at 7am and knowing her powers of sensing what we are up to he sensibly blocked the cat flap. The sight of a suitcase and there is every chance Zoë would go into hiding.

Her normal holiday home which is only 10 minutes from where we live closes for most of October and so we had her booked into a new cattery some 40 minutes drive south. Usually she doesn’t like the car but she was much better this time so fingers crossed she is getting more accustomed as she gets older - she’s only two.

She took to her new surroundings quite happily and so we were home by 10am and started the packing.

G, who had been with us to Symi in June and who lives closer to the station than we do, is providing parking and a shuttle service to the train plus he gave us some super tasty home made sausage rolls for the journey. And so on Tuesday morning we caught the 11:30 supposedly direct train from Aberystwyth to Birmingham International, but as is often the case with the recently established Transport For Wales, they decided to swap trains in Shrewsbury. Despite this we arrived on time.

E needed to pick up an item from the Amazon Lockers on the airport so she headed over on the monorail and made it back just in time for us to catch the Holiday Inn courtesy bus which was just pulling away but he heard our shouts. A five minute journey and we were checked in by 15:30.

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Birmingham Original International

The item E had to pick up was a wallet that ensures her insulin is kept cool. E has an excellent social media support group for her Type 1 Diabetes and a long term online buddy who lives close to Birmingham Airport offered to lend her his wallet. After reassuring him that Amazon had come up with the goods they still agreed it would be great to meet up so T came over to the hotel and we had a very enjoyable hour over a drink with him.

We had booked dinner in the Marco Pierre White Italian / American themed Brasserie in the hotel. It was very busy and we started with a rather large crab cake and lovely blackened shrimps that came with a mustard mayo. We both decided to have the ribeye steak which was good enough but not that good to justify the £25 price tag.

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Crab Cake & Blackened Shrimps

We hit the sack around 10:30 but as usual when we know we have a 4am alarm slept fitfully. The alarm came far too soon and as ever with D we had time to spare to catch the first shuttle bus at 5am. A very friendly driver took us the short hop to the station where we jumped on the monorail and then down in the lift to the check-in desks on the ground floor.

TUI’s desks were relatively quiet and having done all the necessary online we simply used the self-service bag drop and then headed up to security. E’s medical lanyard that she got back in June when we went from Manchester did the business and we were put through the express lane and had absolutely no problems with all E’s medical equipment. Birmingham outshone June’s experience in Manchester.

After getting a few last minutes bits and pieces - there’s always something - and a quick visit to the Jo Malone shop our gate was announced and off we trotted. We were boarded and doors closed by 06:50 and were taxiing down the runway at the allotted 7am.

A full Boeing 737-800 gave us a very smooth flight. The passenger beside us mentioned that they had switched to TUI when Thomas Cook went bust so as ever one business’s loss is another’s gain.

The usual fare of an early G&T and cheddars got the journey going. Flying over the Alps never fails to impress and with clear skies the views were amazing. Then the usual smellies trolley and then the last bar service as we started our slow decline over the most beautiful of blue seas accompanied by Merlot and Pringles.

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Flying In Over Symi

After a perfect landing we were bussed and through passport control relatively quickly - perhaps for the last time as EU Citizens which we both regard as a a tragic misjudgement - but let’s not go there in this blog.

The ATM spat out the first of what will inevitably be several transactions and charged us €3 for the courtesy. Diagoras is undergoing a make-over and the toilets are looking superb. By the time we had inspected them and had the obligatory can of ice cold Mythos from the vending machine the cases were there; we picked up our pack from the Olympic Desk and were on the X10 bus with a handful of others, most who were dropped off in Ixia.

We were dropped at the Mouragio Taverna which we adore. A first ouzo and a half kilo bottle of a new brand of very nice retsina accompanied a superb lunch of oven baked peppers stuffed with cheese, fried squid and a very good tzatziki that was mopped up with toasted garlic bread. Superb value at just cents over €30.

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Stuffed Peppers & Tzatziki

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Fried Squid

Just as we finished lunch another bus arrived and at long last we met our fellow blogger Silverfox and the lovely Liz. We headed off to the port to allow them to have their lunch in peace and agreed to see them on board. We went to the cafe just opposite the harbour side for a frappe and found that it has a Blue Star counter so we were able to give them the Olympic letter in exchange for our tickets.

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Akantia Cafe

The Blue Star Patmos arrived around 17:30 and we were one of the first on and headed up to the upper deck to watch the usual “chaos”. We were soon joined by S&L and spent a very pleasant crossing under the moon kissed sea exchanging stories over a couple of drinks as you do.

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Tricky !!!

As S&L were heading up we were taken round to Iapetos and depending heavily on D’s memory of over 10 years ago set off to find Irini Apartments. Of course it was dark and so we left the big bags opposite the Opera House and set off up the twisting stairs and after knocking on a few doors - apologies if any of those guests are reading this - found Room 2 which is a bit of a disappointment as we had correspondence with Olympic and our confirmation suggests Room 1 which we paid a small supplement for and of course it has the full view of the harbour whereas we have a view of the left hand side of the harbour sitting in effect below the Vigla which does look very dramatic.

It was bags dropped and back down the stairs to Cafe Alegrito where the ever pleasant Dimitris had the ouzo and retsina served in seconds with a quick hello to Manolis and Debbie who now has her shop opposite. After a second drink to compensate for the energy expended on the climb up to Irini’s (any excuse) we popped round the corner to Trata who with only one table taken looked set to shut but then this is Symi and the waiter who we have known for many years welcomed us in and we had a wonderful dinner of a shared plate of dolmades to start followed by E having chicken souvlaki (note the homemade chips S&L :D ) and D had the moussaka and with a couple of bottles of water to go we headed home and were asleep within minutes after a lovely trip over.
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First Night in Trata
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Re: Yamas Yialos

Postby silverfox » 11 Oct 2019, 06:38

What a fantastic start to your Blog! (The Masters are back!)

Great to meet you both at last and I'm finally up and running after computer problems.

We need to meet up somewhere soon for another beer!

:D
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Re: Yamas Yialos

Postby D and E » 11 Oct 2019, 07:26

Thursday - First Day On The Rock

The 4am to 11pm (less 2 hours of course) previous day had taken its toll and it was around 9am before D got going. His first job was to unpack which gave E longer to recover. Whilst E did her unpacking D went out on the balcony, which has amazing views down to the harbour and up to the churches in Chorio with the Vigla as a stunning backdrop which feels right above us, and this allowed him time to start the blog.

And by the way many thanks to those who say they anticipate and welcome our ramblings and to those who take the trouble to read the thing.

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The View From Our Balcony - Room 2

The Welcome Meeting was scheduled for 10am in Iapetos but we felt our time would be better spent getting the day one photos sorted and then heading to Cafe Aiglios for the morning frappe at around 11:30. By this time the taxi boats, which are on the end of season reduced service, were gone and the Poseidon, which was doing one of its private hires, was also out at sea.

Over our frappe E called Nancy, the Olympic Rep, and explained the position regarding our room. Being slightly defensive she explained that there was clearly a communications breakdown as she had not received the proper information from the UK. Alas Room 1 is now occupied by someone who is staying two weeks until the Saturday before we leave so Room 2 will have to suffice. D is on the case through email with Olympic central.

It was a beautiful day with blue skies and sun, and the temperature was a very pleasant 28C. We walked to the new ferry port and on the way back stopped off in the very new and very nice Cafe Rementzo where the girl who used to work in the Stella Bar is now working. It has a very simple drinks and snacks menu and has lovely views across to Nos and back into Yialos and worth the walk out that way to visit. Upstairs there is a roof terrace with tables and E was very impressed with the Ty Bach.

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The View From Cafe Rementzo

First day is always a “chill day” that allows us to just wander about and acclimatise and so it was. We headed back into the port and had a small beer with Giorgios and Yannis in the Corner Cafe and watched the day trippers, of which there were quite a few, avoid the slipway.

We will of course want to dine in Tholos so knowing how popular it can be we thought we would walk out to the restaurant and book face to face rather than phone. On the way we passed Odyssia - well you can hardly pass and we were invited in for a beer and chat with Manolis and Chef Stavros who is now working there until the end of this season and again next year. This is quite exciting and the mood was very upbeat.

After booking a table in Tholos we sauntered back around the harbour and could not resist the lure of Elpida’s where the carafes of retsina and ouzo were accompanied by a mezes of lightly curried mussels and meatballs with oven baked potatoes. Having devoured those another small plate of meatballs this time in a tomato sauce appeared - to die for.

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Elpida’s Mezes To Die For

E wanted a look in a shop (nothing new there regular readers will say to themselves :-) )so a rendezvous in the Stella Bar was agreed and D spent time catching up with Vasilis who had been in Rodos when we visited in June due to his late father being very unwell at that time. The conversation took an interesting turn when the Mooring Man sat down beside us and we gained a much better understanding of the refugee issues that face Greece, especially in view of the breaking news coming from Turkey - all very worrying, even frightening for places like Symi that are on the “front line”. Takis came to say hello in his own way - thank you so much Takis :-)

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Some Familiar Boats

Our intention was then to head for the supermarket to stock up, but that morning D had noticed that the Opera House has a sign up for a €10 breakfast, and as we had missed the intended visit to the Nireus Buffet Breakfast that morning, we should perhaps think about going there the following day and thus avoid the shopping trip.

So we climbed back up to Irini and whilst E had a short siesta D wrote the first half of the blog.

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The View From Irini At Night

It was soon time to head back down from the heights of Irini and with no plan for dinner once again descended on Cafe Alegrito for the nightly ouzo and retsina, or two. We then decided that too often we miss going to Meraklis, which had been a firm regular in the earlier visits, and it was just starting to quieten down as we got there. A shared plate of a very good tuna salad where the tuna played first fiddle to the creamy background was followed by E having a very good sized (set price) silver bream and D had the beef stiffado which comes direct from the often in a deceptively sized bowl. The melt in the mouth beef with small sweet onions with a herby sauce and nothing else got a huge thumbs up.

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Meraklis Beef Stiffado

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Meraklis Silver Bream

After a complimentary raki and piece of cake it was time to head up to the apartment with the moon above the Vigla and that satisfied feeling that is quite unique to this magical place.
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Re: Yamas Yialos

Postby D and E » 11 Oct 2019, 07:32

silverfox wrote:What a fantastic start to your Blog! (The Masters are back!)

Great to meet you both at last and I'm finally up and running after computer problems.

We need to meet up somewhere soon for another beer!

:D


Many thanks & loving those photos of yours.
Glad to read that you have settled in.
We are sure to converge on each other but if too much time passes we will fix it for a Fix :D
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Re: Yamas Yialos

Postby Gemma1 » 11 Oct 2019, 08:53

What a great start :D I stayed in room 2 at the Irini on my first visit in 2007 and although I agree the view from room 1 (which I stayed in the following year) is better, the view from room 2 isn't bad and better than the views from the rooms in the block behind. Glad you managed to get your luggage up there as it can be a challenge - unless you travel light which is something I have not yet mastered :P I'm drooling at the thought of all that delicious food and a pleasant 28 degrees sounds wonderful :D
Have a fabulous day and I can't wait for the next instalment :)
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Re: Yamas Yialos

Postby rockbottom » 11 Oct 2019, 22:38

Really enjoying both your blogs D and E and Silverfox. We've been back two weeks now and we're missing the sunshine! We also stayed at Irene studios where we've stayed many times before. We were in the back building so not such a good view as we've had previously and we counted 95 steps up to our apartment but sadly we didn't lose a single pound in weight!! We also discovered that the landlady had employed a chap to carry cases up to the apartments but we didn't see him at all! No matter we've already booked for September 2020 to stay at Taxiarchis (not stayed there before). In the meantime we'll enjoy your blogs!
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Re: Yamas Yialos

Postby D and E » 12 Oct 2019, 07:04

Friday - Meandering Again

We fell asleep the night before with the plan of going to the Opera House for breakfast but we both agreed we would not do it justice after the fine food of the evening before. We also agreed that we had to get to Taxas Supermarket and get provisions in.

But before heading down D was determined to stick with his routine and get the blog up and posted so he sat out on the balcony taking in the wonderful views and started with sorting out the photos. Over the years we have developed a system - we both take photos with E normally getting the best ones and these have to be put onto the iPad either by text, email, Twitter, iCloud or Airdrop and, if from the camera, by wifi or with the adapter. D does a first draft in the Pages word processing App and cuts and pastes it into the Forum. E is Editor in Chief and whilst she does that D resizes the pics in an App, inserts them and that then hopefully helps tell the story of the day. After we are both happy with it the Submit button is pressed. It takes around 30 minutes.

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The View From The Shared Balcony

As the blog was being finalised E received a message from our long time Symi friend M inviting us to Tolis the following day which is ever so kind of her. We jumped at the chance and then headed down for the daily frappe in Cafe Aiglios and low and behold just as we sat down M passed on her bike and stoped to join us, catching up with family news and finalising times for the next day.

Whilst that is happening S&L arrived for their morning coffee and then N&J joined them so we were given our usual warm welcome and all is good with the world.

Before we could face the supermarket we decided a small beer would be in order and so we installed ourselves in the renamed cafe next door to the pharmacy where Yiannis, the perfect gentleman, served us. The place was very busy with many Greeks having just arrived on one of the day boats. One beer turns to two and before we knew it the clock had passed noon and we had still to do the shopping !

E wanted a simple black T-shirt so with the end of season knock-down prices she got one in the shop next door to Cafe Aiglios and then we finally headed to Taxas and as we did we passed S&L and N&J having what looked like an excellent lunch in Meraklis (see our co-blogger - Silverfox’s postings to learn more about what they had hopefully).

We left Taxas with two carriers and a 6 bottle pack of water and climbed back up to Irini and stowed the goods. D made the fatal mistake of lying down -“just for a couple of minutes” and an hour or so later we summoned up the energy to head out for a short walk and watch the day trippers return to Rodos from the comfort of the Nireus.

We wanted you get some fruit and D had forgotten to pack his swim shoes which he had bought specifically for this trip - the old boy needs to start using lists :-) So we wandered back to where E had bought her T-shirt and got fruit from across the road. It was that time of day when the sun starts to go down and Yialos is bathed in that wonderful light so we just had to have a small beer and a retsina in Cafe Aiglios to absorb that.

Then it was back up these keep-fit steps and whilst E was getting ready the blog got partially drafted. For a change we knew where we were dining so we got ready and headed to Elpida’s for our retsina and ouzo and then onto Odyssia as we were advised by Manolis the previous day that he was intending to close this weekend.

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Friday Night Cats On The Town

There was the usual Friday night buzz around the port with the Blue Star arriving and lots of meeting and greeting. Our ouzo & retsina was accompanied by firstly a mixed plate of minted couscous, tomato & cucumber, cheese & salami and then a place of lightly curried chicken. As we were finishing our second round Elpida’s son arrived back off the Blue Star and we had a chat and just as we stood to go one of those mysterious ouzo & retsina’s appeared with a Yamas.

We walked round to Odyssia past a rather busy Kavos and were greeted warmly by Manolis and Katholiki who was home for the weekend celebrating her dad’s birthday. Stavros was resplendent in his immaculate chef’s whites and without asking a small bottle of retsina arrived to say welcome. We say it every time but the generosity of this small island is remarkable.
There is a very interesting and comprehensive menu to choose from and so we started with the tempura prawns that came in one of the best tempura batters we have tasted. An expensive dish at €15 but for 5 good sized prawns cooked this well it was worth it. They came with a little herbed sweet jam, could have been fig, and was a true stand out dish. The hand of Stavros was plain to see.

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Tempura Prawns

We followed this with E having the chicken in a Gorgonzola sauce which was amazing. A well seared piece of chicken that was as moist as could be with the amazing sauce served with garlic mange tout and the thinnest of home made fries - wow, just wow.

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Chicken Gorgonzola

As there was no amberjack Manolis suggested the sea bass for D and this was another standout dish. Two fillets cooked with not a bone to be found, the skin cooked crispy, yet the flesh still melt in the mouth as clearly it had been finished off in oodles of butter. Again with the lovely garlicky mange tout, the fries and just to give it some sweetness, some grapes. Superb cooking.

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Sea Bass

A complementary sweet of a custard with fig jam looked professional and ended one of the top five meals we have ever had on Symi. We have to say that Stavros Mezes when he was at Mythos above the gym would also feature in that top five.

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An Amazing Sweet

After politely turning down offers of more retsina and a glass of ouzo we took one final glass of lemoncello, complimented the chef and said our good nights. A truly memorable meal and as D said to Manolis as we left - you will need more tables next season :-)

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What a Backdrop - Odyssia

As we walked back the lights from the super yacht had attracted the usual shoal of small fish and this has attracted a barracuda that the guys from Los were trying to spear. We stood and watched and whilst we didn’t see the fish landed we did see the impressive creature swim by.

And with that bit of excitement we headed up to Irini and ended a great day on the rock.
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Re: Yamas Yialos

Postby silverfox » 12 Oct 2019, 07:31

Sounds like you had a great day and that food by Stavros means we will probably have to make the effort to go there soon!

Stunning pictures by the way!

:)
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