Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Preparing to Sail to Symi

Following on from yesterday’s chat about preparing to visit Symi later in the year and what hotels in Rhodes we’ve used, here’s some information about the ferries from Rhodes to Symi in the summer.

There isn’t any. Not right now. That’s because the ferry companies don’t release their schedules until nearer the time. The Easter schedules need to go up first, then you may have the complete summer ones from one or two of the companies, and possibly a schedule right through to October, but that may not be online yet, and you may not see it until April. The only thing you can go by is what they are doing now and what they have done before.

FireShot Pro Webpage Screenshot #3141 - 'Αρχική - Saos' - saos.gr

So, if you’re starting to plan your summer trip, don’t panic if your flight arrival does tie in with a ferry crossing, or if you can’t see a boat advertised. Yet. It doesn’t mean there won’t be one. What you can do is keep an eye on the ferry’s online schedule and information.

Three companies are coming in and out of Symi right now, and there’s nothing to say they won’t be operating during the summer. There’s also another one that only runs in the summer (Sebeco). Here are the links to each one so you can bookmark them and call in now and then to see what’s what.

Blue Star Ferries

The main Piraeus to Rhodes line with stops at Symi in both directions, usually runs Rhodes to Symi on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (late afternoon or evening from Rhodes).

Dodekanisos Seaways

Aka ‘the Spanos boats’ usually leave Rhondes at 08.00 in the morning, arriving at Symi at 8.50. Days of the week…? Not sure yet.

SAOS Ferries

Tbh, I’ve never used this line, but it’s been coming in and out of Symi doggedly and reliably for some time now. You’ll need to check its website for dates and times as it’s not a daily service.

Sebeco Lines

For the last few years, our island ferry company has been connecting Symi to Rhodes morning and afternoon, and Rhodes to Symi twice each morning, during the summer season, when the weather is good. (It doesn’t run in high winds.)

FireShot Pro Webpage Screenshot #3142 - 'Ακτοπλοϊκά εισιτήρια από Ρόδο για Σύμη I SEBECO Lines' - www.sebeco.gr

A few notes:

All websites are available in English (look for a flag icon or the letters EN)

All bookings can be made online

If you’re traveling to Symi on the Dodekanisos Panagia, and can’t find tickets, you may need to buy a ticket from Rhodes to Panormitis, and another from Panormitis to Symi because the boat sometimes stops at Panormitis on its way, but you have to buy two tickets for one journey, and no, I don’t know why either.

The larger boats (SAOS and Blue Star) leave from Akandia harbour in Rhodes and arrive at the ‘new’ dock in Symi on the south side, beneath the road, so it’s a fair old walk into town if you have luggage. The Dodekanisos boats start at Kolona harbour in Rhodes, and stop at the clock tower, and the Sebeco leaves Rhodes from Kolona and leaves Symi from the bus stop. No, honestly, it does.

If you want to find out the latest and more reliable news about Symi travel, then keep an eye on Andy’s Symi Travel Blog where Andy puts up information about planes, trains and travel when he can. Like Symi Dream, this is an independently run blog put there as a favour to interested parties, so don’t hassle him if he doesn’t have the info you want. Head to the websites linked above and start your investigation there.

*All info above is subject to change.

Preparing for Summer – in February?

I’m not talking about Symi businesses, though I expect many have already turned their minds to the summer season. I am talking about people asking for advice because they are heading this way later in the year. Recently, I’ve seen questions about where to stay, how to get here, what to expect, where’s good to eat, and other pre-visit questions asked, I’m guessing, out of a mixture of excitement and wanting to plan the best use of time. Some visitors are only coming for a couple of days, others for longer, some only for a day trip. It’s all very understandable, and good to see, and such questions, when asked on social media, bring up so many answers that are useful to others. One I saw recently was about where to stay in Rhodes if/when caught there for an overnight.

Naturally, anyone who has done it and had a pleasant experience will have their favoured hotel, or vice versa if it was an unpleasant experience, so, you’re going to get a myriad of replies and ideas. Other variables include your personal taste, budget, whether you need to be close to the harbours or not, and so on, and there is no one definite answer. If, though, you’re asking for personal insight (and nobody was asking for mine, but you’re going to get it), then I’ve a couple of places you might want to explore via one of the online booking sites. These are places I have used and enjoyed, or used and not been so happy with.

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It’s long been an unspoken tradition that Symi folk use the Best Western Plaza, and for a while, we used it for overnights too. These days, due to budget restrictions, we tend to use its bar and dining room as the prices are reasonable, but stay elsewhere, because it’s cheaper for the room, depending on the time of year. The Lydia is one we’ve used and enjoyed. They once gave me and my older godson a two-bedroom suite on the top floor as opposed to two single rooms, at no extra charge, which was a nice gesture the night before his spoken English exam. Then, we have used the Savoy, though on one occasion I couldn’t get into my room and on another, Neil couldn’t get out of his. These three are in the New Town. The Hermes, down by Mandraki, has been popular for its closeness to the harbour, as it’s only a short walk to Kolonoa for the Dodekanisos boats. I stayed there once as an emergency, and for €50.00, got to use a room only minutes before vacated by a courting couple, who had just had a wild time and showers. It was three in the morning, I was knackered, and should have walked out, but at that time of night… to where?

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Recently, we have discovered the Castellum Suites behind the Old Town. This is an all-inclusive with massive rooms, and great if, like us, you’re on a budget. All-inclusive? I know, I know… but, for convenience and for saving money, it’s one idea. Then, there’s the Mediterranean opposite the Aquarium. I stayed there only one night last year with the other godson before his English exam, and it was excellent. (HP sauce in bottles at breakfast. Can’t beat it.) Once, I rented an apartment at The Perfect Spot in ‘Bar Street’ in Mandraki, another great place to stay and central, though not a hotel.

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All of these places are near enough to the ports for either a walk or in the further away cases, a short taxi ride. There are, of course, loads of other hotels also worthy, respectable, clean, safe and not too costly, I’m only giving you my experience and then, only those places I can remember. I have stayed in the Old Town, but that place has now gone or changed hands, so I can’t comment. If you do opt for the Old Town, though, remember, it’s not easy for taxis to get in and out, and some may even have to leave you at a gate, and you’ll have to find your own way.

Happy planning.

A Remote-Control Symi Spider, anyone?

Nothing much to report this morning, except a new line in toys I noticed last night at the kafeneion. A remote-control Symi spider toy operated by little Yiannis. Nothing like acclimatising yourself to one of the more unusual examples of wildlife on the island, the massive Asian tarantula, or whatever they are. It was very funny, though, with light-up eyes and eight juddering legs as he chased it around the tables.

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That, a short walk up a long hill, and book editing took up my day yesterday, and today will be much the same. I’m a little late up this morning, so won’t hang around. I also need to do a short blog post for my other blog, and then get back to the business of writing. More, the business of trying to sell what I write, and if you think writing a 150,000-word novel is hard work, you should try selling one. Hey ho! Upwards and onwards, and all that.

Not photo of the spider, but here's one of the long-abandoned neighbourhood toilets in horio.

No photo of the spider, but here’s one of the long-abandoned neighbourhood toilets in Horio.

First Time in my Life #1

Yesterday’s post was titled ‘Quiet Day Ahead (?)’, one of my random, ‘What shall I put as a title today?’ titles, yet, the question mark was portentous, as was my last line: We could be in for a week of not much news. Not that this is much news, but it was the first time ever I have done this…

Neil was at the gym, I’d just finished work and thought I’d pop out for some pastry because we fancied a pie, and if I make pastry it comes out like a flagstone floor. I shut the bedroom window and left the house. My usual routine is to collect the keys from the back of the gate on my way, but as I opened the gate, my mind slipped to our landlord, who used to live opposite, and who recently passed away. Apparently, he’d said some very nice things about us as his tenants, and I was giving him a silent farewell when I realised I’d just shut the gate and locked myself out. A quick check of the bag where the keys always go… No. Nor the pockets, not the pockets of the bag I never use, nor the bag (again), nor my jacket pockets. So, that’s that.

Three random spring photos today

Three random spring photos today

I can’t buy the pastry now as it will defrost before Neil gets back which will be in… Checks bag for phone. No phone. Ah. Stands back to look at the wall, as it’s possible to climb it with a ladder, or from next door’s garden. Agapitos’ moped isn’t there, so he’s not at home. Ah, the bedroom window… I just closed it. Jenine has a spare key, but without a phone… So, I wander off halfway down the Pedi road only to see her moped’s not there either, and Harry will be at school. Back to the village and I think I could pop in on Anne and see if she can ring Neil to make sure he has his keys, if not, I’ll have to find Jenine, but then I think, Anne’s not been back on the island long and she’ll be busy. Or maybe not, it depends on the time, so I pop into Sotiris to find out the time (and check the pasty situation, but there wasn’t any anyway). Hm. Decide not to disturb Anne.

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I’ll go for a walk instead, which I do, back past the house to the end of the lane and on the way back, bump into Steve who will ring Neil for me but doesn’t have his number and I don’t know it. Steve will happily lend me a ladder, and I’ll take you up on that if all else fails, thank you. Back to the house. Ring the bell just in case, but no-one’s home yet, so I go and sit in the square to watch the world go by because both cafés are closed.

If you sit in the village square long enough you will see the whole world go by, I’m sure of it. A mother and two young children wandering around waiting for someone, the electrician came past in his van, and then two fully grown guys crammed into a tiny three-wheeler, Michaels from the empty peripteron, the keeper of the Chinese shop hanging out on his steps, sunshine, and other morning activity I don’t usually see because I am at my desk… and now I need the loo, but I’m not going in the corner of the Village square as some do.

So, I sit there and plan the afternoon’s piano lesson; scale of D major at speed, finger exercises, the grade four piece, some work on the Beethoven, then start a grade 4 exam piece… And decide I’d be better off waiting at the top of the Kali Strata where I can see Neil coming up or down. I have to make t a quick journey, because he might come up the side of the square as I am coming down the steps, and I might miss him, but I keep an eye out… And arrive outside what used to be George’s butcher shop to see Jenine at the flower shop and Niel coming from Sotiris’ direction. Luckily with his keys.

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So, all’s well that ends well, and at least I got some walking in, and have something to tell you about. Oh, and when I did get in and back to my phone, I discovered Anne had been trying to call me because she had no power and wanted my help figuring out why. I should have called in after all. She might have had some pastry.

Quiet Week Ahead (?)

Back to the desk after what feels like a weekend off. Saturday morning was spent preparing for Saturday afternoon: Transforming the sitting room into a dining room, hanging the floating candles, moving furniture, while, at the same time, making bread and putting together a prawn cocktail. The godboys came to assist, one cooking, the other rehearsing his piece and his song, and we four had time to sit in the sun in the courtyard before mother arrived for her birthday day. A great meal, entertainment from the piano pupil, then a slob out on the sofa watching Hamilton (the musical), an action film, a couple of episodes of Have I Got News For You, and the party came to an end. Except Neil and I carried on watching random YouTube videos until a late hour, which more or less wiped out Sunday.

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This week, things are returning to normal, as in, no parties or social functions are planned after a week of lots of social things happening. The wind is down, the sky is streaked with morning cloud, gradually changing colour, and I have a book to improve and finish. We are still working on the courtyard shutters and windows, Neil’s heading down to the gym later, me, possibly up the hill before I get so over it I can’t manage it, and that’s about all until piano lesson and model building this afternoon. We could be in for a week of not much news, a few old photos and not a lot of chat, but that’s February for you.