An August Adventure

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An August Adventure

Postby Robert » 20 Aug 2017, 14:34

Our August Adventure
Inspired by D and E we thought we would try and pen our own adventures for a change. We don’t normally go to Symi in August, much preferring September – or Easter! Just not August, but here we are anyway.
How envious we were of D and E and their trip to Manchester, dinner in the hotel and relaxing start…..for us it was quite the reverse, far too much going on in the days before meant we were not packed until 9pm and anyway I was out singing and didn’t get home till then. Not helpful!!
We did manage to grab some sleep but were up at three for a cab and - may be the one benefit of living in Croydon – were at the airport in 25 minutes, through security and bag drop in 20 minutes and sitting in Pret having a coffee.
Flight on time – packed and not restful. Out through customs and wait for the bus to Rhodes - same driver as last year! We always like the bus ride into Rhodes; fun to see what’s been added – or closed. And then a walk to the Savoy Hotel – dump cases and the first Mythos of the holiday in Au Bon Bistrot, just round the corner. Sam had a really excellent house salad and I had my first club sandwich of the holiday – also excellent. Then it was back to the Savoy and a rest! I’m not sure we would stay there again – it’s not really us but it’s handy and a good price.
And so to the evening – of course we could have got the evening boat but we have done this before and find the late arrival when you are staying where we are (up 150 steps) just a bit much…and for us there is one other important factor – eating at Nireas restaurant in the old town and which we consider to be the best by far. For us, it is an essential part of our stay and as we are not returning via Rhodes it had to be done! We ate, taziki, the home made cheese pies (Sam dreams about these when back home!) grilled vegetables and a shrimp saganaki. All delicious all washed down with 75cl of house white – and then ……. The fig panacotta! That’s what I dream about!! And poached pears in red wine with ice cream. A couple of glasses of Samos wine rounded off an exceptional meal!
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby silverfox » 20 Aug 2017, 17:38

Great stuff Robert!

Any updates from Symi are welcome and we await your next update!

:)
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Gemma1 » 21 Aug 2017, 07:29

Great start, these trip reports certainly cheer up a working Monday morning :) Looking forward to hearing more about your holiday on Symi :D
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Pink » 21 Aug 2017, 13:38

Loved D & E adventures and look forward to a new one from Robert I am coming on my first visit on 20th Sept and can not wait x
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Eliza » 21 Aug 2017, 21:27

Not forgetting Symi Hat Trick by Silverfox. Thanks Silverfox
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby D and E » 22 Aug 2017, 13:35

Great start Robert - it is a great pleasure reading how others get to and what they get up to on Symi.

As you know from our Blogs we live to eat rather than eating to live :D

So you have now whetted our appetite with the mention of the Nireas which will be a new restaurant for us.

We are heading out to Symi again in September and flight times dictate that we will be overnighting in Rhodes. Like last time we will be relieving Olympic of the need to find us overnight accommodation as we have already booked the Plaza Hotel. We will visit our usual Socratous Garden for our aperitifs and from there the iPhone shows the Nireas as just a few minutes walk - fig panacotta sounds heavenly.

Keep up the good work on the blog.
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Robert » 22 Aug 2017, 16:17

Thanks for you comments!
Days two, three, and four (Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
Saturday morning saw us arrive bright and early at the harbour to collect our tickets for the trip to Symi and our onward travels after. A pleasant crossing soon brought us to Panormitis and the smell of fresh bread from the wonderful bakers. We bought lunch of cheese pies and what I think must be the Greek equivalent of a cheese twist - anyway it was lovely! The church was packed as always but it does have a special magic and we always make a point of arriving this way.
1pm saw us in Symi harbour and greeted by Nicholas from Symi Visitor who drove us, our cases and 3 x 6 packs of water to our house high up above the square. A lovely place to stay but slightly inaccessible! Time for unpacking, a rest and then down the 150 steps to the square and our first visit to Pachinos and hence our first ouzo! Then to the ever reliable Trawler for a feast of stuffed peppers with feta, gigantes, vegetarian moussaka for Sam and the proper thing for me! A nice bottle of white wine and then pop into the supermarket for supplies and its back up the 150 steps…….
We spent Sunday sleeping in, resting and reading and generally chilling before it was time to venture down and have a walk down to the clock tower and a nose around the shops before Pachinos again and this time Spitiko where Jordana was her usual welcoming self. This time we shared grilled feta, courgette balls (delicious!) and then the veggie had a mushroom risotto whilst I had prawn sagagnaki – very different from Nireas. Feeling we had had an economical day so far we splashed out on a bottle of Hatzimichalis red which was full of body and just what we wanted. Baclava and a glass of Samos wine followed.
Monday was our first beach day – Ag Marina, busy but lovely to see the brothers and get all their news. A lot more children on the beach than we are used to and it’s quite noisy but still magical and of course there was lunch too…. We both had gazpatcho to start and this was especially delicious and different. Then spaghetti with pesto and linguini vongole a treat! A half litre of house white and a Greek coffee rounded things off before the taxi boat home – goodness, how busy they are at this time of year – and straight to Pachinos for ouzo! It’s interesting that unlike September when there is a mad rush off the boat to Pachinos or other bars it’s quite different in August – everyone seems to head home!! We decided to eat in after our beach day and – after the obligatory oregano crisps!! - enjoyed a homemade salad of lettuce, tomato, olives and feta along with some eggs ham (for me) and cheese all washed down with a bottle of Greek Pinot Noir from the very good wine shop next to the supermarket.
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Pollychops » 22 Aug 2017, 21:46

Hi Robert, sounds fantastic and its whet our appetite for our visit which starts next Wednesday. Cant wait till your next post.
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Gemma1 » 23 Aug 2017, 07:44

Sounds wonderful, though you've left me drooling for Greek food - and I've not long finished breakfast ;)
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby JeffHaynes » 23 Aug 2017, 08:36

Great write up! Good to hear of nice veggie options on Symi as Mrs H and I are recent converts (health reasons). 15 Days to go until we get there (not that I'm counting!) :D
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby silverfox » 24 Aug 2017, 18:53

Thanks for the update Robert.

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time!

:)
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Robert » 26 Aug 2017, 09:41

The day of a thousand steps……….
Tuesday, too much sun on Monday suggested a day in Symi town so off we went down 150 steps across the harbour and slowly up the 370 steps to the Olive Tree. Orange juice, a shared fruit salad and then poached eggs restored us and after the usual gossip with the ladies it was time to walk down again. Another 370 steps, beers in Pachinos and then up 150 steps home. An afternoon rest and then down the 150 steps and across the harbour for a bit of shopping at Blu. Blu is at the bottom of the Kalistrata opposite Kaludakis and is a wonderful boutique where Sam has bought things the last two years. And today was no exception another top has been purchased – not cheap and hence another evening at the Trawler! This time stuffed mushrooms, the stuffed pepper with feta (again), an aubergine imam and sea bream and chips! House wine and then the most delicious and huge baklava and ice cream! Oh yes and house wine too.
Then it was back up the steps …. Total steps 1350 rather too many really.

Wednesday – Agia Marina again the fried courgettes with yoghurt are especially delicious! Plus a cheese omelette and scallops and a portion of chips with house wine.
Fashion note: White shorts for ladies - short shorts are definitely in! Also whereas in years back it was bare boobs that were in, it is now, and I have thought about how to describe this for a while, it is bare cheeks! Even bathing costumes as opposed to bikinis have the obligatory cut that exposes max cheek! Whatever next I wonder??
Literary note: Sam is in a panic by now as she thinks we will run out of books before the end of the holiday – every year before we come away we go to Hatchards in Piccadilly and buy our holiday books (followed by dinner at Shampers in Kingly Street, Soho). This year we set off with nine, but she has already read 4. For the curious the books are: Simon Sebag Montifiore ‘A Night in Winter’ (well written but grim and not holiday reading! My fault!); Freeman Wills Crofts ‘The Twelve Thirty from Croydon’; Imogen Robertson ‘Instruments of Darkness’; Bruce Holsinger ‘The Invention of Fire’; E. F. Benson ‘The Luck of the Vails’; John le Carre ‘The Looking Glass War’; John Wray ‘The Lost Time Accidents’; Chris Pavone ‘The Travellers’ and Ken Follett ‘On Wings of Eagles’.

Anyway, I digress, the one advantage of August is the Symi Festival and various events – we have heard some great music – especially Konstantina live in the square on our first night and it’s good to see things returning to normal and attracting visitors but Wednesday was the Feast of Nimos and 8.30 found us on a taxi boat again this time heading out to the island which we had not visited before. As we arrived we could hear the sounds of traditional music and there in the lovely setting in front of the tiny church we were treated at an evening of Greek music and dancing which is put on by the locals for the locals and is not at all touristy. Our highlight was what we now discover is the fisherman’s dance involving a stick and some virtuoso dancing which tells the story of a fisherman being restored to full health (we think). An amazing buffet catering for hundreds was also a highlight and it seemed to us that by 10.30 the whole of Symi had arrived! It goes on till 2am but we decided to head back and up the stairs once again, but it was a truly memorable evening.
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Gemma1 » 27 Aug 2017, 08:29

Another great report, though I will have to be 'unfashionable' when I'm next on Symi as short shorts are definitely a thing of the past for me, though I do remember buying a white pair the year I went to Barbados. They weren't very practical (being white) so never got much wear. As for showing bum cheeks :shock: not a pretty thought ;)

I'm looking forward to reading your next instalment and good luck with all those steps :)
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby Robert » 28 Aug 2017, 15:07

Gastronomy
Wednesday’s late night meant I slept in and we decided to forego Marina for lunch at Tholos and a walk to Nimborio. We love Tholos and I have to say we were not disappointed – the cooking is really in a class of its own. New to us were sauted greens with herbs, tomato and yoghurt; we also had gigantes… then Courgette with egg and lemon sauce for the veggie and sea bass for me plus our first sampling of the lemon potatoes – which won’t be our last I am sure. A half litre of wine wasn’t enough so we had another quarter – and we also had watermelon – sadly they had run out of the walnut cake.
And then off up along the road to Nimborio – in the heat of the day. It’s a lovely walk and we took it slowly – refusing a lift from the train! And clutching our bottle of water – we had spent 2 hours in Tholos and we just made the 4pm taxi boat back. We also were curious to see where the new Old Markets hotel is - but failed to find it. Back at the harbour it was straight into Pachinos for beer and water. More shopping or rather browsing followed – Takis leather shop being a must visit place for me. Then we decided to pop into Elipidas and ended up having 3 ouzos between us plus a delicious mezze of sausage, salted cucumber, tomato and finally spinach pie. We were there from 5pm to 6.30pm watching the world go by and as an illustration of why August is strange we were the only customers during this time. Bill 7.50 euros – people do not know what they are missing. We also bumped into Michalis, late of the Windmill and Syligos who is now at LOS – which is open till 5 or 6 in the morning apparently.

We were so full of food by this time that we headed home and had oregano crisps and a bottle of Hatzimichalis red.
Friday is of course foodie day and we started off by getting the bus up to the village and going to the Olive Tree for breakfast – orange juice – a breakfast in a glass for Sam and poached eggs, tomato and mushroom for me followed by coffee and a chat and another walk down – this time we went down the long way – the bus route - so I could take a few pictures and we could inspect the new quay – which is looking good. The new and posh sun beds just by the petrol station were very busy – strange as no sand and it’s near the road but it was pretty full.
More browsing the shops followed – and then up the stairs and a rest, a light lunch of salad and it was time to descend again for our second evening adventure! The brothers who ran Muses and who run Agia Marina have closed Muses and are running dining evenings on Tuesdays and Fridays at Agia Marina. Its 50 euros a head but this includes taxi boat from Pedi, food, house wine and taxi boat back! We had planned to get the 8pm bus to Pedi but we were early so we got a taxi so we could walk round Pedi as we have not been this year. Talking about taxis this is the biggest issue on Symi at the moment the taxis or lack of – as you will know the taxi drivers themselves are fine but there is no system where they work a rota – they just work when they feel like it – hence on Sundays there is only one cab operating and everyone is complaining. Certainly compared to the other islands where they all have a rota and central contact system and as the island is so busy it really isn’t fit for purpose currently.
Anyway foodies here we go – there were about 30 people who arrived by taxi boat and their own boat. The place looked fabulous all lit up and we had such a memorable evening.
Appetisers were a green bean puree, a mussel in a spicy sauce and a thimble of gazpacho. There was a choice of starters – beef carpaccio or smoked mackerel – I had the latter and Fernando had made a surprise starter for Sam (they know she is a strict vegetarian) it was a cream of feta with dried fruits and tomato and dill water. My mackerel looked amazing a thin strip decorated with peach puree and coconut cream and glazed lemon. Amazing!! Next was a mushroom risotto with truffle oil – delicious – the other choice was tuna fyi. Then there was a pre desert treat of green apple, yoghurt and ? forgotten sorry. It was a great palate cleanser anyway – and then puddings three chocolate assortment or pineapple sorbet with meringue with black pepper and star anise foam – we had one each and shared and it was absolutely delicious! We didn’t do the house wine – we had a bottle of very special white wine first – hence we paid more – but we ended up on the house wine! And it was a smashing night – we left at 11.15 and the bus was waiting when we got to Pedi.

Back in Symi town it was heaving. There was plate smashing at Pantelis and at Manos – but we decided we would really do the steps when still vaguely sober and headed back home.
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby D and E » 28 Aug 2017, 15:55

Delighted to read that the evening opening at Ag. Marina has materialised. That venue in the evening must be as magical as you describe and the food sounds pretty special. Here's hoping that they keep this going during September. Keep those knives & forks working - great reading.
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Re: An August Adventure

Postby silverfox » 28 Aug 2017, 22:00

What a great blog....we could be there....

So special that we get these updates!

:)
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