Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

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Nothing much to report today. I’m here, not there, as I’m now going there next week, so today I can stay here and edit. That’s about all the news I have, as I spent yesterday at home pottering about, and don’t intend to do much more than that today. I’ve got some snaps I took last week when I was in Yialos. The first one I thought might interest anyone who comes here in the summer and wondered what the harbour front looked like during the out-of-season months…

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Closed, obviously, as are many places, leaving only a few cafes and general shops open. Things like the pharmacy and supermarkets are all year round, of course, as are the services like the post office. On which note, the model had indeed arrived only four days after being ordered, and two of those days were the weekend, so that’s something of a record. It looks like my kit-building companion has his work cut out.

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That’s only one side of the instructions, there’s another set of hieroglyphs on the other side. Yesterday, I came across an image of the Cutty Sark in her current location and noticed she doesn’t have sails, so I’m now thinking I will leave the sails off my version and just have the rigging on display. The sails are a strange plastic which doesn’t paint well anyway, so it might look better as it is, and it means I can start my Phantom at the same time as my godson starts his Yamaha. Interesting that, as his piano is also a Yamaha. There’s a discussion starter. As is this, which I saw online yesterday and had to keep. How many of these words do you use? There are only around three that I’d never heard of before.

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And that’s enough of that. Must get on. Have a good day.

Weather, and Whether the Weather Changes

We had something of a storm blow through yesterday afternoon and evening. The edge of it is still hanging around in a stiff breeze and a few clouds, but otherwise, everything’s calmed down. We’d been summoned to Rainbow to see Yiannis who had been away for ten days, and were inside when the steps became rapids, as you might be able to see from the photos below. For a better idea, check the Symi Dream Facebook page where I shared one of Neil’s videos.

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At least the rain watered the plants and washed away the dust and debris from the courtyard painting extravaganza which the boys finished on Sunday. Just a couple of minor touch-ups to do when the sun’s out and it’s all done. Meanwhile, I’m keeping an eye on the weather for Friday as I am meant to be off to Rhodes for the day. Having said that, I have asked to change my appointment and go tomorrow, but I’ve not heard back yet, and if I don’t hear by this afternoon, I’ll assume it’s a no, and will go on Friday when the wind is forecast to be force eight or nine. I.e., no boat. However, on the forecast, it’s since come down and is hanging around at six, so I might be okay. If there’s a blog tomorrow, then I’m here; if there isn’t… You get the picture. (I’ll let you know if there’s a change in the singing plan, L, for now, it’s tomorrow as usual.)

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You know how I was wittering on about this model-building season? Well, my Cutty Sark is more or less finished, just the sails to put on, which I will do on Thursday. However, you might remember that H had finished his Porsche, all bar the damaged windscreen which the model shop in Athens is ordering for him. Meanwhile, I ordered him a motorbike on Thursday afternoon, the shop rang on Friday to check if it was okay to replace one make of paint with another, and yesterday, Monday, the Symi post office rang me to say I have a package waiting. I mean, that’s pretty good going, so bravo Elta Courier and Fasma Models. As H is starting on his Yamaha on Thursday, I will be starting on my Atlantis reissue of the Aurora Phantom of the Opera (glow in the dark). I already have one of these built and on the shelf, but this time, I want to experiment with some tiny lights I bought from Temu. Watch this space.

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Talking of which, I need to watch this space and fill it will draft one of the next book, as I have two weeks to finish my edits. So, I’ll get on with that, and, by the looks of things, I’ll see you tomorrow as I’ve still not heard that my appointment has changed.

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Weekend Update

Let’s kick off the last week of February with a photo of the harbour Neil took on Friday, which, apart from the lack of boats and people, could have been a summer view.

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Right, that’s done, now back to work. The house has been a hive of industry since we last spoke. I have finally finished the draft of my next book, ‘Follow the Van,’ and now have two weeks in which to perfect it before it goes to be proofread. While I’ve been doing that, Neil and Sam have been painting the courtyard. This enterprise started when we had the outer walls of the bathroom redone because the paint was falling off everywhere. That being pristine white then showed up the rest of the walls as being gone-off white interspersed with aged woodwork, so we began repainting the shutters and windows. Now, the boys are finishing off the walls, and before long, we will have a newly painted and restored courtyard.

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That’s quite an enterprise considering we don’t know if we will be living here in two months or two years. The owner of the house passed away, and we have to wait and see to whom the property belongs, or will belong when the will is dealt with, if there is a will. Then, we will have to wait and see if the new owners want to rent it or want it back, and if they want to rent it, if it will be at the same price, because we certainly can’t afford to pay any more. They may decide to turn it into a holiday rental, in which case they will have to fork out a lot of money to bring it up to scratch, or they may want it for themselves. Obviously, we’re more than happy here and would like to stay, but that decision isn’t up to us, and we won’t know any more until… Well, who can say? We have a lovely man in Rhodes who has been our liaison, and he will keep us informed as and when there is news.

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Meanwhile, other activities around the house… Harry finished another model and we’ve ordered a third, a motorbike this time, while I am still putting the rigging on the effing Cutty Sark. We visited a model shop in Athens when we were there, and the two guys who run it were funny, charming and very knowledgeable. So, it made sense to order our new models from them via their website. Also, something went wrong with the windscreen of the last one, so I sent them an email asking where I might find a replacement. They rang me the next day to get the serial number from the box, and told me they would order one. Then, when I ordered the motorbike and popped in some new paints, they rang again to say they didn’t have the make of ‘rubber black’ we needed, but had the same colour, same price (€2.50), but different make, and was that okay? Talk about excellent service. Last time we ordered a kit it arrived in five days, so hopefully, H can start his new kit on Thursday.

That’s enough of a ramble for a Monday morning. I’m off to give my draft novel its final check before proofing.

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.

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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.)

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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.