First thoughts of Symi.

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First thoughts of Symi.

Postby Kon » 25 Feb 2008, 10:42

Going on the topic of our new member Valr on first taste of Symi ,thought it might be a good idea on what was everyones first thoughts on their first Visit on Symi.

My first thought was where have my parents brought me ,that lasted for the first half hour then i completely fell in love with the place .It was 1982 i spent most of the 2 weeks up in Horio with relatives and every morning i would wake up and eat outside on my cousins Veranda overlooking the harbor ,it was so quiet and the smell of food came from everywhere.Down at the harbor our hangout was Pachos. The entry to the harbor still gives me goose bumps.
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Postby maziemoo » 25 Feb 2008, 11:29

On my first trip in May 2006, friends and I arrived on the Wednesday evening ferry and after a long journey which had started the previous evening, we were exhausted so unpacked and went to bed.

Next day we were woken by the sound of children in the playground opposite our accommodation and so had our breakfast on our balcony watching them taking a games lesson...a birds eye view of Greek life you might say.

My friends still suffering from the journey didn't feel up to doing much so later in the day I went exploring on my own up to Horio.

On the way back down I bumped into Gorgio (recent stroke victim from the taverna) who was enjoying a glass of wine outside one of the bars way up the Kalistrata. He invited me to stop and join him for a drink...this was my first (of many) ouzo on Symi. I think he would have had me there drinking all afternoon given the opportunity.

Walking back to my accommodation, I remember thinking wow this place is beautiful and if this is an example of the kind of welcome you get from the islanders, how wonderful a place it is to be staying.

From that point onwards I new I felt at home and I still recall that heart sickening feeling I had as I left for home the following week. However I lifted my spirits by immediately booking a return trip on my own for the September. My next visit will be my 5th since 2006 and every time I leave, it gets harder and harder!
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Postby Kyriako » 25 Feb 2008, 12:30

I remember boarding The Aegli in Rhodes harbour and buying a celebratory ouzo on board. They had threatened to put us up overnight in Faliraki as the sea was quite choppy, but to everyone's relief a decision was made to make the sailing that evening. I remember my first view of Yialos as we approached and thinking how idyllic it looked - a slice of paradise! Then there was all the fuss on the harbour side when we docked - and there was Katja, our rep, to meet us. Another lasting impression was the chap from the leather shop saying "welcome my friend" as I walked past ... a very genuine comment which endeared me to the place - for ever. I nearly forgot about my suitcase which had been deposited at the bottom of the steps by the clock tower!
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Postby SymiDream » 25 Feb 2008, 12:41

My first thought back in 1996 was 'this is a place where I could live and write.'

End of story.
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Postby Joanie » 25 Feb 2008, 18:09

The first time for me was 2005,i'd had a rather traumatic time after loosing my husband Norman the year before,and a friend asked me to go with her,she had been before.I was'nt sure how i'd cope as for the last 34 years i had always gone with Norman.As we turned into the harbour i fell in love with Symi,i knew i would love it.I also knew it would be a sad time too,because Norman adored Greece he loved all the islands we had visited,even though he had been all over the world as a seaman,Greece was the place for him.We stayed in Pedi it was beautiful very quiet just what i wanted at that time in my life.We stayed at Pedi Beach Hotel and had a room on the front,it was so peaceful after a day out walking about or on the beach,to sit on that balcony with a drink was bliss,watching the yachts coming in.Although Pedi was a little too quiet at night i loved it.I know Norm would have loved it too.There was a little problem,my friend only drank black coffee,so when we went out i was getting pleasantly p****d while she was stone cold sober,it was ok though she made sure i got back every night.

Its the most i've written on here,i shed a few tears while typing,never mind it does one good to have a little weep now and then...............................

End of story
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Postby Mille » 25 Feb 2008, 18:44

Aw, Joanie sweetheart. That brought tears to my eyes.

My first trip to Symi was back in the 80's, 86 I think. I was only a wee teenager who was pissed at my parents for bringing me.

But stepping out of the airplane in Diagoras, the scent of goats and oregano (YES! Scent of goats and oregano!) hit our noses.

We spent most of the day wandering around the old town and finally got aboard a very tiny floating shoebox. It was a rough ride, but turning towards the harbour and the houses emerged, I was in love.

We spent two weeks at a small house with full view of the harbour and it was with tears in our eyes when we left.
Returned the next spring, for easter, just as fantastic.

Life changed while I grew up and I came back to Symi in 2006, thanks to friends from the SV. I still love the island. Love the people, the whole enchilada, even though it has changed.

I made a promise to myself, to come back once a year and I really look forward to my next holiday at God's little acre here on earth
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Postby Richard » 25 Feb 2008, 19:05

Well said, Babs. This extraordinary place has had such a peaceful and relaxing influence on all of us which is probably the main reason for returning again and again. There are times when we need to escape and see another world. We are fortunate to have found a place that so fulfils this need.
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Postby The Deedle » 25 Feb 2008, 20:27

My first vision of paradise was at the end of August 2006. I had just spent a week floating around the Datcha coast and we docked in Bodrum, stayed the night and were due to mooch on over to Rhodes in the morning and catch the ferry to Symi. Disaster struck during supper, when we received a call to say the ferry wasn't sailing the next day. Panic was etched over mine and my friends face. In the end we had to go Kos, stay the night and catch the ferry in the morning. Thereby depriving us of a very precious night in Symi. Grrr!

But once I rounded that mountain and saw the beauty of Yialos, I knew I was home. Have been back three times since and will continue to do so. I have made some very good friends on the island and also off it.
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Postby Dave » 25 Feb 2008, 21:22

We came with friends - Chris and Carol. We'd chatted about a Greek holiday ( they went every year but I hadn't been since I worked with the Greek Army in '72) and decided that Symi appeared to be somewhere they hadn't visited and looked to offered something for the four of us.My Dad died and the cost of the funeral, headstone etc.,etc.. used up our budget so we told Chris and Carol we were out of it.

I had nipped round to their house for a chat and - their idea of a gin and tonic would have stunned an ox ! - a quiet bevvie. Carol asked if we would still have gone if it hadn't been for my Dad's death. I said that we would. Her reply - " Good because it's booked and paid for!" What friends, eh?

Fast forward - can't remember if it was Symi 1 or Symi 2 but, as we approached the island, saw a certain sign of sparseness and bare countryside a question mark was raised ( not enough to spoil anything, you understand) and then - as sun was setting and the lights twinkled the vista of Yialos opened up. A smell of wood burning, faint aromas of herbs and of meat being grilled. Boom ! Instant love ! I'm sure there maybe other places ( the approach into Paxos is similar in effect) but that did me ! And has done every time we have been back !
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Postby hilarias » 25 Feb 2008, 22:20

My first trip to Greece and Symi was in 1980 as a 16 year old. It was my parents first trip back since they left 30 year prior as children. Coming into Symi I watched my parents and their tears flowed as they were coming home. Having heard about this magical place since I was a child I know knew why my parents and grandparents yearned to visit as aften as possible. I wondered as a child who was born in Australia why the pull to go to a foreign country was so strong. For me when I returned in 2001 with my children pulling into Panormitis set my tears flowing.

The magic and the beauty is always there and puts all who visit under her spell.
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Postby Anthony » 26 Feb 2008, 00:21

I read 'Bus Stop Symi' when it was published by the book club "Readers' Union" in 1973 (I think it was their 'Book of the Month' so it came automatically with your subscription, I don't think I chose it): I thought "that sounds an interesting place, I really must go there some time" - by which I meant 'later in life', because in those youthful days all my summer holidays had been fairly strenuous backpacking, usually in the Alps, and I felt I wouldn't find that sort of thing on Symi!

I first went to Greece in 1981, backpacking on Crete (I remember walking up the Samaria gorge with may pack on my back, something which I last did around 10 years ago!). The following year another backpacking trip, in the Pindos (Northern Greece) ended with a couple of days relaxing in a beach resort, and I found myself thinking "I'm rather enjoying this!".

To keep a long story short(ish), I soon found myself going to islands like Naxos and Samos where there was plenty of walking, but organised in a way that you didn't have to carry more than a day sac (and could also enjoy the other delights of Greece). By the mid-90s I discovered that Symi was in the Manos brochure; but for the first two years, by the time I came to visit the travel agent Manos's Symi holidays were sold out.

In 1999 I booked really early - success! The blessed Sylvia was my rep, but the holiday didn't start well. Our flight was seriously delayed, and she met us at the airport with the news that we had missed the ferry - and that we were therefore going to be put up for the night in Falaraki! Fortunately the place - chosen because Manos had booked and paid for the whole hotel for the season but it was full of empty rooms - was actually on the edge of Falaraki and not too dreadful.

The following morning we got up early for the 9.00 departure of the Symi I, and yes, all our troubles were forgotten when we rounded the corner and saw the houses rising up the hillside! I was staying in the Lavinia Apartments, right at the top of the town, but in those days (remember those backpacking holidays!) I didn't mind. It must have been my first afternoon when I was looking for somewhere to have a large beer in the harbour, walked round looking at prices and the comfort of the chairs, and selected a bar about half way along on the clock tower side. Yes, Pat's!!

For the rest of that holiday I was in that bar after dinner every night until around midnight, then set off up the Kalistrata towards my distant bed. I'd read in the guidebook of course about the 'Jean and Tonic', but thought with a name like that it must be run by a crusty old gent who was fond both of his (lady wife?) Jean and his G and T! Not my style - but nevertheless a few nights later I felt a thirst coming on as I approached it and decided to have 'one for the road'. I was very pleasantly surprised, and one [or more] for the road there soon became a regular habit after Pat's. The rest, as they say, is history.

That, as I say, was 1999 and I've been back every year since, soon making it twice a year and more often recently three. When last October's holiday approached, I was starting to wonder whether I wouldn't really have got more enjoyment from going somewhere else (though I had been to the Dordogne in September), but as soon as we rounded the corner past the windmills I thought "Oh, it's marvellous to be back!

The magic of Symi lives on!
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Postby Ange » 26 Feb 2008, 17:21

We chose Symi as we had always gone to somewhere with an airport and we fancied somewhere quiet where it seeemed more challenging to get to, and not as busy full of bars and discos. We always chose somewhere where we could go walking and visiting places of interest as well, neither of us are big beach people.

I luckily found this website after we booked for a week in June 2004 and found out a few things, 'sit at the front of the ferry' was one.

On arrival at Rhodes there was a little group of us seleted for Symi and we was to be the last drop off for the 18.30 ferry. When it got to past 6 one of the people who had been before told the rep we'd all be missing the ferry and they'd have to find us accomodation, he changed plan and rushed us to the port! We'd never been on a catamaran and the front seats were full the sea was choppy and I found out I get seasick :| but we didn't mind too much.

When we arrived at the harbour and was taken to our rooms by the clocktower. We quickly unpacked and went for our first meal. Just eating our meal and watching the harbour was so relaxing and peaceful and we couldn't take our eyes off the view at the other side. We had a busy week we enjoy walking and bought the Lance Chiltern book from the Visitor centre and did a couple of walks. The week was soon over and we didn't want to leave, we hadn't managed to visit Panamortitis and wished we had, but a week just isn't enough. We'd never met such friendly Greek people either they always greeted us even if we hadn't been in their shop or taverna.

When we got home we went online and booked for a further 2 weeks in the September. Symi has us hooked. Each time we feel like we are coming home.

We also realised that hopping between the Greek islands is easy and we've visited most of the Cyclades since.

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Postby Anthony » 26 Feb 2008, 23:00

Yes, I've only travelled once with Olympic (Holidays as opposed to Airways, who are my normal choice for independent travel nowadays), which was after being cossetted by Manos and Laksarina. The difference was enormous! On the island, Katya was fine but on our return trip I was surprised that she didn't accompany us to Rhodes (I later learnt that it wasn't laziness, simply that Olympic refused to pay her to do it). Nobody met us at Mandraki (and I assume the same still applies at Kolona where help/guidance can be even more important), and we were fortunate that Sylvia was there with her Manos group and helped guide us to the Hermes.

On that occasion the flight out was not scheduled to arrive until after 6.30, so Olympic had organised for us a night in a decent hotel in Ixia, where I found an excellent local taverna nearby. Apart from one night fewer on Symi, no complaints on that score!
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