Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Symi travel

Here are some random thoughts based on some of Neil’s photos I found in the ‘to post one day’ folder.

Symi Greece Simi

Blue Star DIagoras

Let’s start with the Blue Star Diagoras coming into Yialos of an evening. This would be Friday as it comes in during the afternoon on its other visit day, Wednesday. If you’re traveling here and coming via Rhodes, you can catch this boat at 3pm on a Wednesday and around 7pm on a Friday. I say ‘around’ as on a Friday it heads down to Kastelorizo as well, and there is more chance of it being delayed. Having said that, the summertime usually means calmer seas and so a more accurate schedule. If you’re planning on this as your boat to Symi then make sure you land at Rhodes well before 1.30pm on a Wednesday and before 5.30 on a Friday – giving just enough time to taxi to the commercial harbour.

Symi Greece Simi

Symi bus

And while we’re on transport, here’s a photo of the sign at the bus stop. The bus runs on the hour every hour between eight (maybe seven) and midnight (maybe 11) I’ve not looked at the summer schedule, but let’s say ‘regularly’ through the day. It goes from Yialos to Horio to Pedi to Horio to Yialos, you can’t get lost. Each journey is €1.50 regardless. There is also the Panormitis bus to take you to Panormitis, and if you want day trip on the island and other bus excursions, visit Symi Tours and ask there.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Water taxis

And, as we are doing travel, if you want to get to the beaches you can take a water taxi. There are several of these on the harbour front serving Nimborio, Again Marina, St Nicholas, Nanou, St George and (I think) Marathunda. You can also get from Pedi to Ag Marina and St George with the two boats in Pedi. Check the boats’ advertising boards for prices and times.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Horse and carriage

And while you’re in Yialos or just on Symi having a holiday, you can also take the horse and carriage ride around the harbour, the train half way to Nimborio and back, and also take day trips on the day boats such as the Poseidon. There’s plenty to do and that includes car and moped hire, from a couple of places, see the travel agents, and you can also hire boats from by the Nireus for the day. And if all else fails you can always go walking up the hills, down the hills, beyond the village and into the forest (to grandmother’s house under the big oak tree…) and back again.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

And you can always eat. In this case a courgette fritter at the Windmill

So, there is plenty to do on Symi during your stay, and that’s on top of the days on the beach, the long lunches by the sea at a taverna, the live music, the concerts and festivals, name days and dinners. Or you can just sit and read and put your feet up, which is what I am going to do now as I finish off Alison Weir’s great book about the Princes in the Tower.

Symi weddings & Gigantes

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Congratulations!

Today’s photos are a few from the Wedding that Neil photographed on Friday. The wedding was organised by The Symi Visitor and took place at the town hall, and then later on the island of Again Marina. The reception was held at Mythos, where the couple had first become engaged.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Neil Gosling photography

Neil’s obviously now working hard on the processing of the images and the photo book – something which has replaced the usual album. There will also be a selection of prints and the CD of all images. So, you can see that Symi is still a popular destination for couples being wed, and for the instantly available honeymoon afterwards. Saturday was a gloriously sunny day, after some early haze and cloud and being out at sea for part of the day would have helped cool everyone down. Oh, and part of the party was to go on the train, so that’s twice in two weeks Neil has been on it.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling

Saturday we spent preparing for a small dinner party, preparations that included shopping in Yialos and stopping for lunch, and then making various kinds of meze including big beans. Joe dropped me a line and asked me for my recipe for this traditional Greek dish, but my recipe is anything but traditional. For a start, I believe you are supposed to cook the things in the oven, but when it’s 38 degrees in your kitchen you don’t really want to add heat, so I use the slow cooker. Anyway, here’s a rough guide to making ‘Gigantes.’

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling

Buy beans (big, white ones), soak them overnight, boil them until they’re nearly done, meanwhile make tomato sauce, bung both things together, put in slow cooker until done. There, that’s my kind of recipe book guide, none of this pretentious twaddle: ‘Take 3oz of beautifully chopped Angora onions from the south-side slopes of the Daggapingo fields of Western Samoa. Mix with parboiled baby snafflegiff (Sainsbury’s have this) and two thirds of a third of a cup of Tesco’s own pligga pate, from the Darconna region of ancient Rome. Pick wild dill from the plains of Tonga-Tonga, wash and set aside for no reason. Dash down to ASDA for some authentic French Creme-a-laree mix and leave to boil for three days. Serve with grated iguana tail and a light Chablis.’

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling

None of that jazz for me. For a start we don’t have a Sainsbury’s or a Tesco and if we had an ASDA I’d probably rather pick up a pizza for when the pretentious recipe went inevitably wrong. The Chablis I could cope with. So, basically: soak beans, make tom sauce to your taste (onion, carrot, courgette, chili, garlic, all done in a little butter, with tomatoes and tomato paste, plus stock of course, until you’ve got enough) bung it all in slow cooker until done. Add dill just before serving. I always forget the dill! And, if in doubt, leave it to the master:

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Stavros, by Neil

Symi and photos

A quiet, still Saturday morning. A gullet is heading out on a calm sea, the sun has just come up, a perfectly round ball of fire that took its time rising out of the haze in the east, and I’m just back from a walk/run up the hill to the bridge across the old riverbed. The cat is asleep on the coffee table, where he shouldn’t be, after a busy night spent trying to keep me awake. He’s like a bored teenager most of the time.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

A misty summer morning

The alternative Symi Festival (my title) is well under way. I could hear the Spanish guitar concert from St Evangalismos from the balcony last night. I sat out for a short while before going to bed at 9.30, ready for an early start today. Not that today is going to be terribly busy. I have some work I want to do this morning, and then I need to go to Yialos to get some things for tonight’s supper, prepare the courtyard, make some big beans, and then we’re entertaining this evening. Looks like it’s going to be a relaxing, but rather warm, day. I already have the fan on me and it is only 6.42.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

The sun soon beats the mist away

And so, a quiet weekend is planned and a quiet week next week. It’s getting far too warm to be doing anything too strenuous after seven in the morning, so I am trying not to. One thing I do have to do next week is take a phone interview with one of the private health insurance doctors, to have a bit of a medical chat so they can assess me for my insurance. I think I have decided which company to go with, in fact, I am pretty sure I’ve decided. I need to tell the other one and I suspect I’ll then get phone calls telling me of the evils of my chosen path and trying to persuade me over to them. Such phone calls would be the reason I didn’t go with that company in the first place.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

The Romanian patrol boat heading out

And that’s about it from me this Saturday, apart from a few more photos, or in the case of the weather at the moment, a ‘phew!’ more photos. Have a good weekend.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Symi at eight in the morning

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Boats to hire for the day

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

On a slow boat to… Rhodes

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Flying the flag

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Symi at eight thirty in the evening

Alternative Symi Festival 2015

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

The Blue Star arriving on a calm morning

If you look over to the right… No, not there, to the right of the screen, you will see the list of Books and things, and then some other handy stuff and then, further down… No don’t scroll now or you won’t be able to read what I am about to tell you… Oh heaven’s to Betsie! In a moment, have a look down to the right of the screen and you will see a list of events that are taking place on Symi this summer. This is what you might call an alternative Symi Festival, as the official one is not running. I am not sure how official this one is but it’s keeping the arts alive and well and living on Symi with classical and modern music, books and poetry. Everything is free, so if you are here on one of these dates, you can go and have a look and a listen.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Not so calm as hundreds of visitors get off at Symi

So, back to Rhodes, where I was on Wednesday and where todays’ photos are from. I didn’t take many during the middle of the day as that was work time. Having two in depth discussions with two different insurance companies within a four hour time frame was a bit exhausting. I was glad I’d booked to return at 7pm on the Scooby as I didn’t finish until 2.15 and Diagoras leaves at 3pm on a Wednesday.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Chairs at the Symi cafe

The first office was near the Lydia hotel and the man picked me up from the boat. The second was out more towards the hospital and I walked there using a very rough map I’d downloaded. It was an interesting walk through the back streets of the new town and I arrived in plenty of time, drenched with sweat and looking rather like a drowned rat. After that meeting the lady I saw was kind enough to drive me back to town. ‘Not because I want your custom,’ she said. ‘This is simply Greek hospitality.’

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Rhodes excursion boat

A lunch at Napoleon was called for (out of the Plaza turn left and over the road on the corner) as they do a wonderful tomato soup, slightly spicy, and a nice spag boll – makes a change. It also came with a free ouzo – more Greek hospitality. And then, a wander to H&M to get a new shirt as the wet one I was wearing was, well, wet. The five litres of water I drank that day were going in and coming out kind of at the same time. So, I found a very nice new shirt for €15.00 (interesting to see the prices were in Euros and in Roubles) though there was a bit of scrummage through the Russian visitors to get to the racks.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Completed boardwalk

A nip to the convenient conveniences in the old fish market beneath the ‘bandstand’ which is not a bandstand, new décor, looked after, only 50c a throw, or for whatever you do in there and a good top-half wash at one of the sinks. Putting on the new shirt afterwards felt good, and so, refreshed, I went to see Maria at the Symi café. Heading towards the harbour later, I could see the Panagia Skiadeni (which is not really called the Scooby) had just come in so there were some Symi leavers to wave at as they passed. The boardwalk has been completed now, all the way around to Akandia and Commercial harbours, so it’s now a safe and rather pleasant walk. But it does take some time.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Afternoon on the beach

And so, back on the boat and a good read of a history book about the Princes in the Tower and safely deposited back on Symi for a walk up the steps and a quick stuffed pepper before a nightcap and bed. And so far (Thursday morning) only one of the insurance salesmen has called me to see why I’ve not made up my mind yet. Hmm, if that carries on they won’t be getting my business out of sheer pique.

A few photos

Good morning. I’m only going to put up a few photos today as I didn’t have a chance to get the blog done yesterday as I was away, and I want to get straight on with other things this morning. There will be more photos from Rhodes and news on the trip over there before long, and normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

It was a very calm crossing as you can see:

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Calm crossing

“I hear the accommodation in steerage is quite good on this ship.”

“The best I’ve seen ma’am. Hardly any rats.” [Titanic]

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Dog house

A change from my usual sunrise photos – here’s a sunset over Symi.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Sunset

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Sunset

Arriving back at Symi:

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Throwing the line

And finally:

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

The boat docked on the south side becasue the water boat was in its place on the north side

Banks, insurance, boats and dreams

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

The first signs of dawn

Wednesday morning as you read this and I should be sailing off to Rhodes for the day – so I am getting this ready the day before. Tuesday:

Tuesday morning after a pretty dreadful night’s sleep, I was up at 5.15. I didn’t know why it was so bad. I kept waking up thinking it must be time to get up and my mind was wide awake; this was at 3.00 a.m. I did drift in and out of sleep and had some very strange dreams. We’d watched ‘Behind enemy lines’ in the evening and I was, at one point, in WWII and behind enemy lines. That’s odd as the film was set in Serbia. Later there was something to do with a huge bridge lifting up, but not the road part of the bridge, the pillars that hold the suspension cables…

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Not much on the road but mules and mulettes

So, after all that mayhem we were up early and out on the road by half five, way before the sun was up. We did our quick walking up to the museum and up the steps to the top road – often the worst part of the exercise, and then on to the main road and carried on up. Stopping at the Kantia for a quick swig of water, the sun still not up, and then back down again to home. During the morning Neil went to his ‘trampettes’ class and then…. Hang on. What? Trampettes? Are they some sleazy close harmony girl group perhaps? An a capella group of street ladies?

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Early morning over the village

No, rather disappointingly it’s an exercise class where you do stuff on small trampolines. Anyway, he did that while I was at home working and then he went to get my boat tickets and then went to explore the bank. It was open and he says it was quite busy but he was able to pay a tax bill. Horary! The Greek economy is saved at last. If only. So that’s good news. Another one to pay next week – all on the old business which it seems is never quite done and dusted. I am sure the accountant keeps finding random bits or paper behind filing cabinets and thinks, ‘Oh, Neil will pay that.’

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Same thing on a different setting

So, Rhodes today. I’m going to see about this health insurance thing so I’ll let you know how that goes, in case anyone is interested to know. I’m doing it because my IKA runs out early next year and as I’m no longer earning money in Greece I can’t be in the Greek system. All a bit of an adventure and the day may well start with another walk up the hill, as the boat is not until 8.15, if it is on time. Mind you, if I have another night of enemy action and flying bridges I might not feel like going for a run.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

On the way home just before the main attraction