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

Monday morning drizzle

Monday morning drizzle

It’s Monday morning as I write, we’ve had a glorious sunrise made so because of the cloud rolling in from the south. and around eight o’clock, it started drizzling. According to reports, this is going to continue for a few days and become a little worse. Good news for the plants and the sterna, not such good news for those of us looking forward to walks up the hill. It’s too drizzling and cold (well, 14 degrees) for me, though diehards might make the effort.

Gemma (left) chief organiser - bravo everyone!

Gemma (left) chief organiser – bravo everyone!

An event was organised for Sunday which was a dry day, luckily. The event was an international street party with tables set up offering food and wears from islanders from several different counties. These included Australia, Greece, Colombia, South Africa, England, Scotland and the Czech Republic. Symi is clearly international. I was keen to try one of the Colombian dishes out of interest and because money raised there was for the music school. Other funds were being raised for the Symi football team. What I hadn’t expected was to be given a massive plate for my donation, and it wasn’t until halfway through that Neil reminded me we were having lunch at Yiannis’ house an hour later. I managed (both).

November 25th 8

The event was well attended. The Mayor and the Dimos gave wine and souvlaki which the mayor cooked on the barbeque. Lefteris’ kafeneion supplied the beer, and the whole thing went off swimmingly, though not literally, luckily. I’m not sure how much was raised but will let you know when I find out.

You might be able to see the road behind; they've done about one-third and should be digging up outside our house over the next couple of weeks. It's looking great!

You might be able to see the road behind; they’ve done about one-third and should be digging up outside our house over the next couple of weeks. It’s looking great!

Afterwards, we headed up to upper Horio for lunch with Yiannis and feasted again, and then, after an hour off at home, popped out for a glass at Rainbow where we had been on Saturday night. Saturday was to watch a football match, and we wore our new AEK tops. Not the official strip (I’m not that much into the game) but sweatshirts with the team logo and colours which went down well. Sadly, it didn’t help the team who lost 2-1 to someone, but it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. And so, on with the rest of Monday which, so far, promises to be a ‘staying in and keeping warm’ day with plenty of hours ahead to think about a new book to write.

The boys in the bar (well, in the kitchen in this photo)

The boys in the bar (well, in the kitchen in this photo)

Piraeus to Athens

Piraeus to Athens

Before we get to my photos of Symi from the weekend, let’s just finish off in Athens. A few people have said they would like to make this trip from Symi to Piraeus by ferry but aren’t sure what to do at the other end. It’s actually pretty simple. You get off the ferry…

On the bus

On the bus

…and a courtesy bus or two is supplied to take passengers around to the main gates of the port. This is because they Blue Star ferries for Symi leave and arrive at gate E1 which is one of furthest from the main entrance. [Map] You simply pile on with your luggage and sit or stand wherever you can. The bus takes about five minutes (it’s a 40-minute walk otherwise) and drops you at the gate. Cross the road ahead (carefully!) and turn left between the shop fronts and the kiosk and you’ll come to a small square where you find the train station. This is the Green Line, and the routes are displayed as they are in any other metro – easy to follow.

Athens november 50

You have real people selling tickets, or you can use the machines which come in various languages. I was only going six stops to Thissio, so I bought a 45-minute ticket which lets you travel for 45 minutes from the time you put the ticket on the scanner at the entrance. There are other kinds of tickets you can get depending on where you’re going.

Athens november 48

That done, you’re now in the city, and it couldn’t be easier. However, there is another, easier way to do things. We have recently started using a taxi company called Welcome Pickups. You can find them online. You get a quote for a collection and, if you like it, make the arrangements. We used this for when Neil arrived in Athens at 1.10 in the morning the other weekend. You send a photo of yourself, so your driver knows who to look for, and nearer your pickup time they assign you a driver and give you their name and phone number, plus their image, so you know who is meeting you. This makes it safer for everyone concerned and your fare is paid in advance, so there’s none of that being ripped off business. We used them for a trip back from our hotel to the boat to save the long walk from the gates as that courtesy bus only runs from the ferry and not to it.

Just a washroom in a cafe

Just a washroom in a cafe

Also, there is a bus to the airport which leaves from the Blue Star ferry dock every 30 minutes during the day (check times for winter schedule in case it’s not as often). This goes from just behind the Blue Star ticket office, and you can see the bus from the ferry as you dock. It takes about an hour and a half on this bus, depending on the time of day and traffic, and it terminates at the airport, so you can’t get lost. You can also take it back the other way, and it costs €5.00 last time we used it.

Athens november 44

So, let that be the end of the Athens trip for now. It’s Sunday as I write and we have the International Street Party to look forward to this morning, raising funds for the football teams, followed by lunch at Yiannis’ house and a visit to the godboys. I’m off for a morning walk soon so there should be some new images for you from tomorrow.

Athens november 40

Rooster cafe just of Ermou Street - if you eat here be warned, the portions are huge!

Rooster cafe just of Ermou Street – if you eat here be warned, the portions are huge!

Street music at Monistiraki

Street music at Monistiraki

The observatory

The observatory

Evening light

Evening light

Symi Saturday Photos

Symi Saturday Photos

Which today will be more of our trip to Athens. Actually, today, I will just share the boat photos, some of which you may have seen on our Symi Dream Facebooks page, but whether you have or not, there are others here that might give you an idea of what it is like to take the overnight ferry from Symi to Piraeus and back.

Since returning, our dance card has started to come back into use with a few things to go into the social diary. An international street market day has been organised for Sunday morning 11 onwards in the village square. This is to raise money for the football teams who still have no pitch to play on other than the five-aside following the storm of last year. We are also planning a couple of hours sat Rainbow to watch a football match – I know, but it’s fun, and we have bought sweatshirts with the bar’s favourite team’s logo (AEK). We have a vague invitation to Yiannis’ house for lunch on Sunday and a birthday party next week. So, there might actually be some photos of Symi for you next week!

Symi

Symi

About to board

About to board

An internal cabin for two (bunks) includes bathroom.

An internal cabin for two (bunks) includes bathroom.

One of the outside decks, all have cafes open until quite late and the bow cafe stays open all night.

One of the outside decks, all have cafes open until quite late and the bow cafe stays open all night.

Tilos

Tilos

Nissiros

Nissiros

Kos

Kos

Mykonos the following morning

Mykonos the following morning

Inside

Inside

The shop

The shop

Approaching Piraeus

Approaching Piraeus

And waiting to leave a few days later

And waiting to leave a few days later

The same boat on the way back

The same boat on the way back

And back at Kos on the return journey, about 2.30 in the morning.

And back at Kos on the return journey, about 2.30 in the morning.