Here’s the photo of the Audrey 2 that has taken up residence in the garden and appears to be enjoying its stay. No idea what it is.
Sitting at home yesterday, at the desk in the afternoon: door to terrace open, balcony doors open, still warm, little breeze, listening to the birds have a good old chinwag out in the olive tree. Someone exploding bangers down the lane, the church bells announcing various parts of various services for the crucifixion; the sea flat and grey in the haze across the way. The Alarm Cat taking up his position under the piano stool that I’m sitting on, giving the occasional squeak as he asks to be taken back to the kitchen for the fifth time today. Me refusing as there’s no reason at all why he can’t go on his own. Watching the ferry glide gently towards harbour.
Reminding myself to pick wild flowers on the way home as it’s May Day and a tradition. Not leaving the house all day. Staying in, writing, making lentil soup for lunch; where did that idea come from?
Neil staying late at the shop to take some customers through some photos, coming home for lunch of lentil soup, dozing slightly in the heat afterwards, then back to the desk, back to work.
The night before: popping down to the square again, needing something to eat, calling in to Georgio and Maria’s for a light dinner; lentil soup actually, there’s the inspiration for tomorrow’s lunch. Putting away the newly washed blanket, watering the garden, listening to the neighbours’ music, and then lying in a blanket-less bed listening to mad laughter ringing out from somewhere across the village.
The afternoon before: washing the huge blanket from the bed, in the bath, good old fashioned way, dragging it outside dripping wet, laying it across the clotheshorse and chairs, drip dry, ready in a few hours. Checking out the garden and a few shoots from cuttings growing in jars, chasing away a stray cat found investigating the kitchen, watching the Alarm Cat stare at a roach outside, wondering what it was and should he be doing something about it, he doesn’t; being hot, sitting in the sun for a few minutes reading; wondering why I am reading “The lair of the White Worm” again after all these years.
Wondering about nothing; it’s nearly summer, it feels like summer, we’re on a Greek island, no need to think about tomorrow, tomorrow will happen ‘avrio.’
Kalo Mina, happy May 1st, Happy May Day! Happy Labour Day in Greece. I am on strike today so I am writing this last night and having it automatically posted.
In case you missed your free copy last year, here is the Olive Tree guide to Paska on Symi. This is a DPF file which you should be able to download and save, print, or open and read online. Click here for your Guide to Symi Easter.
Another hot day yesterday, and calm with temperatures up in the high twenties or early thirties I’d say. I managed to get some housework done; putting the heaters upstairs and away, that kind of thing.
Last night was the first time I had watered the garden since sometime last year, November I think, and now it is cleared I can try planting a few things. I know it’s a bit late but there are fewer snails around now, I hope, so things might stand a chance. Two chilli plants have survived alongside a great big, and getting bigger, ‘thing.’ Trouble is I don’t know whether it’s a weed, wanted or what; I’ll get a photograph and put it up for the experts to advise about.
Neil’s Easter Sunday photo walk is now almost fully booked, with only a couple of places left. If you are quick you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and see if you can get on it. If not, then don’t worry, the walks will be going every Sunday morning through the season and along various routes. This Sunday is the Pedi valley, but other available routes are the upper parts of Horio, the lower parts of Horio and the evening walk to a sunset vantage point, or as good a one as you can find from up here. [More photo walks details here.]
The two photos today are from our walk into upper Horio the other afternoon, and were taken by me.
I had a kind of day off yesterday as you might have noticed; the blog post wasn’t by me. Hope you found it interesting.
Not that we were busy or anything. Over the weekend Neil weeded the garden and I gave the kitchen a spring clean, we took a walk through the upper part of the village and out to the donkey track and took some photos. Neil intended to paint the steps outside the shop on Monday morning but arrived to find it had been done for him by the owners of the new shop, opposite. That’s getting ready to open sometime this season selling herbs and teas, coffees and other ‘spicy’ things.
On Sunday the first cruise ship of the season called in, or rather anchored off a bit and ferried people ashore, there was a buzz in the village square in the afternoon and evening with some of the first of this year’s visitors leaving already. Leaving? I know! The season hasn’t really started yet and some people have called in had a break and gone again. There are more arriving soon and spaces on the photo walk for this Easter Sunday are filling up fast. But don’t worry, Neil can always arrange extra walks and other days if there are there or more people interested.
I’ve had a couple of emails in recently about the boats and getting to Symi. Some people have booked their flights and then found that there is no connecting boat that day and they will have to stay in Rhodes for the night. As far as I know the Panagia Skiadeni (that operates as a day trip boat with Dodecanese Seaways) also has a ferry license, so you should be able to get one-way tickets on that. At the moment it runs on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening at 18.30 from Rhodes, and on Friday and Saturday at 15.00 in the afternoon, with morning sailings on Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 8.30.
BUT: check with the company that a) you can use this boat and b) it is sailing on the day you need it and at what time. Otherwise there are the morning boats and, currently, the Blue Star on a Tuesday and Friday afternoon/evening from Rhodes. So, if you’re arriving independently check your travel arrangements carefully, you may have to spend a night in a Rhodes hotel.
But that’s just another good reason to come this way, that and the fact that it is currently so warm people are considering putting on their air conditioning already. Holidays are already happening on Symi and it looks like it’s going to be a hot one.
A trip to Greece promises a culinary adventure like no other. Each region of Greece and its islands provide some tantalising local fares that originated centuries ago and provide travellers with the tastiest of trips.
The region of Halkidiki provides a gourmet journey of delectable aromas, fabulous flavours, infamous Greek wines and an all-round gastronomy experience that brings to life the culture of the country. A number of hotels in the area offer cooking classes from their esteemed chefs as well as wine tastings.
The area of Crete will delight visitors with fresh, healthy foods including pulses and wild herbs. The cuisine of this region is a blend of Turkish, Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern influences. The largest Greek island is famous for olives and olive oils, its cheeses, snails, barley baked fares and cheese pastries. Some traditional dishes include Cretan wedding pilaf made with fresh chicken stock and honey-dipped spiral pastries that have been fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds, cinnamon and walnuts.
Eastern Macedonia and Thrace boast a culinary history of sesame baklava, hot peppers, sugared almond cookies and dishes with Turkish influence. Travellers to the region will be spoilt with soupies krasates – a cuttlefish dish cooked with bay leaves, red wine and onions which may be served with psomi spitijo – a homemade white bread. Braver travellers must try tyrokafteri – a hot pepper cheese dip made with hot green or red peppers and generally served with mezes or a meal.
Recipes from the group of Cyclades Islands will have visitors coming back for more. Tahini soup with angel hair pasta is a speciality on the island of Syros. The soup is actually a traditional dish served on Fridays, the Greek holy day of the week. Soumatha is a traditional almond drink that is served on special occasions like wedding and engagements. It has a distinct white colour and is made from ground almond syrup.
Corfu has been influenced by Italian, French and British and later on Turkish cuisine. Basic menu items like cheeses, olives, olive oils and fresh fruits will entice taste buds, but the emphasis is on the fresh seafood. Traditional dishes in Corfu include sofrito – fried beef in a white wine sauce and bourtheto, a scorpion fish in a spicy sauce.
Greece holidays tantalize with a promise of traditional meze, calamari, lamb and moussaka finished off with the sweetest of deserts like ravani and patish that taste as exotic as they sound. Mouth-watering food can be washed down with ayrani, a traditional milk drink whose recipe varies across the regions.
Now though, if you search for package deals from Thomson for great memorable experience together with the families and love one’s, you will find plenty of choices and options to choose from. Whichever region is visited, Greece will undoubtedly offer an unforgettable experience that will definitely leave asking for more.
So, a weekend is on us and not a lot is planned in the run up to Big/Great/Easter week that starts on Monday.
In fact, we seem to have very little going on now, after the dash around that was last weekend, the dance show, the sweeping up and all that. There’s a possibility that the garden might get cleared this weekend, if the hay fever tablets work, otherwise it will have to stay as a jungle for a bit longer. I did try planting things but the snails made off with them and no amount of pellets seems to get rid of them. But the chili plants might be making a comeback, hard to tell at the moment. The cat went out there recently and wasn’t seen for several days. He came back with this chap who had been hiding out and didn’t now the war was over, so we really should get something done about it.
The fruit trees are doing nicely and have really grown since their cut back last winter. The lemons are going in our morning juice and the orange has done its blossom thing; the apricots should be getting ready to flower and the surviving plum tree is far more accessible now, so we may even get something from that later in the year.
Meanwhile, out and about, the fig trees have fruit on but I think that’s the early variety that you can’t eat? I did have a talk once from a man who said something about birds, bees and the gender of a fig tree, and I got mildly confused. But there is still plenty going on in the valley to make for an interesting photo walk. And on that note:
The first Photo Walk is going to be on Easter Sunday, Neil has taken a few bookings already, and you can email him direct if you want to put your name down email@example.com – it’s quite easy to remember. I am pretty sure that this walk will be going through the Pedi valley to Pedi and, being Easter Sunday, it’s a good opportunity for taking your lunch with you and having a barbie on the beach afterwards, or you could take an Action man or Ken if you feel so inclined, or eat at one of the tavernas, if they are open. I may pop down there over the weekend and take a look, anything to avoid weeding the garden. Say, I might even spring clean the kitchen.
And the first wine night of the season is going to be on the following Monday, not Easter Monday as we have a wedding to photograph and video on Easter Monday, but on May 13th. Everyone will be welcome.
Before then there will be Great Week:
Holy Thursday, make your tsoureki, dye your eggs red, Holy Thursday evening, church services include a symbolic representation of the crucifixion, and the period of mourning begins
Holy (or Great) Friday, a day of mourning and no work, not even cooking is allowed for the very devout, there is the solemn service on Good (Big/Great) Friday morning, but this is the only day of the year in church when the divine liturgy is not read, the bier, the epitaphio, is decorated, the death bells sound during the day and you hear that ‘silence of the lambs’ effect (see Symi 85600).
On the Saturday, the holy flame is brought to the country by military jet ready for the late night service and the dimming of the lights, followed by the passing and sharing of the flame. Meanwhile the μαγειρίτσα is made, ready for breaking fast after midnight. (Ingredients include: About 2 pounds of lamb or kid offal (liver, heart, lungs, and other organs), Intestines from 2 lambs or kids, juice of 2 lemons (as if that’s going to help!) and several other things.
And then on Sunday you can eat the nice parts of the animal, have barbeques, spend time with the family and celebrate… with a Symi photo walk!
Have a nice weekend and for more details of Greek Easter and recipes see this page.
A bit late with the blog this morning as I didn’t do it last night in advance, but waited until this morning, and then had a lie in.
We took a walk yesterday in the late afternoon, through the village, up to the Kastro and around, and then followed the path around to the square. I think it was having this cold but even the Alarm Cat couldn’t rouse me this morning, and the church bells tried but they failed as well. I finally dragged myself out of bed and to the desk though, and found this wonderful wildlife photo from Neil. You can see some more of his images at his new Facebook Page, Neil Gosling Photography.
Where I also found this other one (below) one taken in the Old Markets Hotel a while back, and it reminded me to publicise the Symi Dream photo-services department again; if you need your hotel, apartments, business, food, group, event, wedding or whatever photographed for publicity, then you can call Neil: he’s legal, licensed, and gives receipts, oh and good photos too. [Symi Dream photo services here.]
On the domestic front, the new cooker is in, slightly bigger and deeper than the old one so a new worktop needs organising, but ‘the man who can’ has that in order. Not tried the oven on the cooker yet as we don’t yet need to, but it has a fan and all kinds of variations and images on the control. There’s one with a fan and what looks like a drip coming from it, if anyone can tell me what that means I’d be interested. (There’s no instruction book as it’s second hand, though hardly used.)
And so, after that quick ramble I must catch up on the day and what a day it looks like being: more brown rice and veg on the menu and with some big beans as well, yesterday I spring cleaned the bathroom and today… I may not bother with cleaning as the weather has suddenly become so hot and pleasant. But there are jobs to be done and mail to answer, washing to sort out and all those chores to do. I will just pause a while and have my juice first: lemon, orange, carrot, ginger and pear this morning, and a herbal tea to follow. Joy!
Well, not just brown rice, but brown rice, beetroot and other veg, with the occasional tin of tuna. That’s the new regime for the next week as we give ourselves a bit of a detox after the winter.
We did this 13 years ago (OMG!) for a whole month, and that month included a week in Lefkada, where I still managed to get to the end of the sentence, I mean, time period and yet be on holiday. Not so tricky in Greece where there is lots of opportunity for salad, fish and potatoes, all of which are permissible. I can’t remember the name of the book we used then but the ingredients are stuck in my head. This time round we are only doing a week, and some items may creep in, like tomatoes and oranges which I remember we weren’t supposed to have, but we’ve got some so may as well use them up.
The hard parts will be the usual staples like wine and bread, bacon and all things nice really, but we will manage I am sure. So far today the order of the day has been:
- Herbal tea
- Fresh juice: pear, orange, lemon, carrot and beetroot
- A bit of work
- Taking delivery of a new cooker (Neil and Ian did the heavy work)
- Shopping (Neil)
- Getting over the worst of a head cold (Me; bad sleep last night fever and raging throat which then seemed better in the morning)
- Then the highlight of the day, lunch: Brown rice, peas, carrots, beans, garlic, herbs, cucumber, tuna all mixed up with itself.
- And, as I am writing this late afternoon yesterday, the evening plans are to have the rest of that rice thing if hungry.
Only problem is the only brown rice we can get is Uncle Ben’s and not the really rough raw stuff we like. But we will press on as best we can. Looking forward to the caffeine withdrawal symptoms later today but as I have to take an antihistamine later I shall be well and truly knocked out. That’s why I am writing this now as I’ll never get up early tomorrow after an ‘X-tab.’
Panormitis and Chrysanthi opened the five apartments this year (2013) and each one has its own name and character. The building stands on the south side of Yialos, just behind the taxi rank, making it easy to get to the taxis, bus, and all that Yialos has to offer. The websites says about the 1913 building: “The house is built of traditional stone of Symi, by craftsmen from Patmos. It was erected by Archimandrite Seraphim Panagiotaki and endowed to his nephew Marouso, the grandmother of the current owner of the house. During all these past years it has been a family home with its own history full of warmth and love.”
And the new hotel/apartments is a good example of how Symi Dream and Symi Best work.
The owners contacted Neil to commission him to take some of the photos for the site, there is a gallery page here. Neil did the job, including a nigh shoot, and individual rooms, the full building and some general Symi shots. The business then gets added to Symi Best and, for a while, is featured on the front page. Symi Dream doesn’t charge for advertising, though we could, but instead, money from photo jobs like this goes to help pay for the Symi Best (and Dream) site. You don’t have to hire Neil for your photos, but businesses that do get better billing on our sites, plus a free write up and mention in a post like this one.
So, if you are looking for somewhere different, smart and very handy for the harbour facilities, run by two great people, then you’ve got a tip off from us that Thea Apartments could well be the place to be seen to be staying this season. Check the website (it’s in Greek and English), look out for the special offers page or just give them a call about bookings.
Το Thea Apartments λειτουργεί από τις αρχές του 2013 προσφέροντας πολυτελή φιλοξενία και ξενοδοχειακές υπηρεσίες ποιότητας. Η προνομιακή του θέση προσφέρει μοναδική θέα στο απέραντο γαλάζιο και στον εκπληκτικής αρχιτεκτονικής ομορφιάς οικισμό της Σύμης. Το Thea Apartments αποτελείται από 5 αυτόνομα διαμερίσματα με φινετσάτη επίπλωση, παρέχοντας τέλειες συνθήκες διαμονής. Ο επισκέπτης απολαμβάνει μοναδικές διακοπές με εξαιρετική διαμονή σε ένα νησί συναρπαστικής ομορφιάς !!!
Telephone: +30 22460-72559
Telephone: +30 6997-517517
FAX: +30 22460-72559
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org