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

Let’s go on holiday (Day one)

Let’s go on holiday (Day one)

I’m not going to have much to talk about over the next few weeks because we’re lockdown again here on Symi. We can only go out for a few essential reasons and only then with permission, so I shan’t have any new photos. If I hear of anything suitable for the blog, I’ll put it up, but otherwise, I thought it high time I took you on holiday. Over the next however-long, we’ll be travelling from Symi to Athens, London, Canada and back on a journey that began in early March before the world changed. Basically, I’m going to tell you what we did on our last holiday and share some of our photos with you, and it might take a couple of weeks to get through, but hopefully, it will see us through our lockdown, and take you away from the pressures of your own.

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Background

Last year, Neil and I, decided we would take that ‘trip of a lifetime’ and journey across Canada by train, something we’d always wanted to do. We were booked to leave Symi at the beginning of March, and when the time came, were faced with a dilemma. If we cancelled, we would lose a substantial sum of money because everything was, more or less, open, and there were no travel restrictions. If we went, we might find ourselves having to turn around and come back. Our insurance and travel companies were not paying out for cancellations at that point because things weren’t so bad, and the countries we were visiting were operating as usual, but under the ‘wash hands and be careful’ guidelines. Airports were open, nothing was cancelled, it was all going to pass us by as long as we were nowhere near Italy, and there were no cases in Greece, the UK or Canada. Things didn’t look too bad.

Day one

The first day of the much planned and anticipated trip started at the new dock on Symi waiting for the Blue Star to Athens. The ferry is much our preferred way of travel to the mainland (rather than flying), and we had booked a berth on the Xios for the 17-hour, overnight journey. The boat was very quiet, as it often is in the out of season months, but operating normally. We found our berth, dumped our bags and headed to the stern to wave goodbye to Jenine and Harry who had come down to see us off, and when the tailgate lifted, the adventure was underway.

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The itinerary was set. Two days in Athens, a long weekend in London to see a couple of shows and catch up with some old school friends and family before meeting our tour at Heathrow. We then had 10 days in Canada including Toronto, Niagara Falls, five days on the train, and Vancouver. The journey home was to include another two days in London to see the Tutankhamen exhibition, and two nights in Athens to chill out before the boat back. All in all, about three weeks of travelling.

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We were not travelling alone, of course, and you’ll see more of this chap as we go…

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The first stop, after dinner, was Tilos, as this was a Friday night sailing. After that, we were up and about long enough to see the docks at Nissiros in the dark, and then Kos, but were asleep in our forward cabin by the time we reached Kalymnos. I have difficulty sleeping when on the move but managed a couple of hours in my bunk before waking up, creeping around and out so as not to wake himself, and watch the sun rise over day two. Which we will get to tomorrow.

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Tilos

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Kos