Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Brexit ...

A puff of white smoke ...

Latest rumours are ...

  • Britons will not need visas to travel to the EU even if there is no Brexit deal, Brussels conceded today. Anyone staying for less than 90 days will be able to visit freely as long as the UK reciprocates.
  • The reassurance from the EU will be a major relief for holidaymakers - and businesses across the continent who thrive on British tourism. (TUI and TC)
  • The commission said: 'In the scenario where the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this would apply as of 30 March 2019. (or if there is a deal whenever that is)
  • Despite the good news on visas, the commission's new no-deal guidance said UK driving licences will no longer be recognised automatically by EU states. Motorists will need to check with individual countries, whether they will require an international driving permit /Green card (just like that unique reference number thing no one takes any notice of)
  • UK nationals will no longer be able to use the priority EU passport queue and will be subject to extra questions about the purpose and length of their visit, (Hopefully the UK reciprocates with the UK Nationals and Commonwealth only queue)
  • In response to the EU saying if we want to sell our fish to them after Brexit, The UK have to let them fish in our waters, a radio listener had the perfect riposte...
"If France wants to sell us wine, will they have to grant our farmers access to their vineyards"
  • The last PM who called in her Cabinet ministers one by one, was Mrs Thatcher. She resigned the very next day ...

Will we wake in the morning for another episode of "Bed and Brexit" ?
Prediction: Theresa's toast ...

Previous Blog: Armistice day ...

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Armistice day ...

100 years ago today ...

Not officially remembered in Greece, However on Skiathos the ex-pats will be gathering, and holding the usual two minutes silence at 11am this morning.

All especially welcome to mark this, the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 by the Katsonis memorial. on the old port ...

The Tower of London ...
Click the link to hear a recording of that moment 100 years ago, when the guns fell silent at 11am, and the birds started to sing ...

My Grandfather came back from the trenches, his injury took another forty five years to kill him. His brother was lost as a boy sailor, on HMS Russell. Sunk off Malta 26th April 1916 ...


He spent his last Christmas anchored at the island of Imbros (Now called Gökçeada) in the Aegean whilst my Grandfather was in the trenches in Northern France.

A whole family line that would be different, had he survived like his brother ...

Today Poland will also celebrate its 100th anniversary of regaining independence in 1918. After 123 years of occupation and partitioning by Prussia, Austria and Russia.

Previous Blogs of the Athens adventures:

1. Athina ...
2. Athina with friends ...
3. Came all this way ...
4. After Acropolis ...

Friday, 9 November 2018

After Acropolis ...

Back to base, after a reviving coffee ...

Coffee for me, a take away cheese pie for SWMBO, and and EPSA and Ice cream, for junior. Whilst we watched the world and seemingly half of Athens pass by in their sunday best ...

Even a few ballerinas practicing their art, and being gracefully photographed in a number of poses on the cobbles. The kolouri seller doing a good trade ..

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/ 
Reunited with SWMBO, Our 'meet you' call today came at noon, for around 13:30 to meet again at Thissio. We had to change Metro at Omonia station.


There was a break in service so Junior sat on the platform, and got out the pad and pencils. We are used to this. Athens folk are not, and soon we had a crowd admiring the artwork. I should have passed the hat around, as we had quite a following ...

Yvonne if you are reading, the artwork is still going well ...

We made it to Thissio in plenty of time, We were still there at 14:00 sitting in the sun once again, watching the stalls, and the sunday promenaders. Our friends arrived en masse, as they had to change cars, the previous unit, having been deprived of its number plates yesterday, for a minor parking infringement.

They could not pay the €20 fine and get the plates back until Monday. The plates are in the police station, but you pay the fine at the town hall. Pay online? Of course not, Yes this is Greece, show us the paper with a pretty stamp ...

The flea market was busy once again ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
This time we went up the hill and found a coffee place, with spare seats by the park. The childrens part was well and truly locked and bolted. Well it was Sunday, and why would anyone want to use it on a weekend at all?

No problem, the children just scaled the fence, and let themselves in, to use the swings etc ...

Rather busy up on Acropolis, a snake winding its way up the hill. Seems we made the right decision going up there earlier rather than later ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
Good time had by all, and we were surprised by some more friends, who had visited us in London. After a couple of pints of coffee we wandered back through the flea market, loaded up at the nut seller, as we were getting quite hungry.


Then after wandering the stalls, we went back up towards the Psiri (Psyri) district. After telling our friends about it, they were keen to explore it too ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/

Plan A: Was to go to a museum, but the queue was too long.

Plan B: Was a much better option -  coffee and cake, at a themed restaurant, But again the queue was too long to contemplate ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
We wandered round the Psiri (Psyri) area, where there are a great many places to eat. Its quite a popular place, even if it is known as the antique and flea market district.

Plan C: Evolved from the queue at Plan B, the boys suggested a Tsipouro Meze. We struck gold at Taverna Penteli on Plateia Iroon, and it ticked all the boxes, including plate Gyros for the children.


© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/

Junior quite insistent and expert on Gyros, since we had one on the beach at Megali Amos. Quote: 'Not eating that its disgusting' ... 'Whats it made of' ... Then ate SWMBO's version - Alexandros at Bus stop 4, got the thumbs up ...

I left it to friends to order, and we had a great selection of plates, wine for the ladies and the 200ml tsipouro bottles for the boys ...


We also had the most delicious portion of Spanakopita. Certainly the finest tasting one we have had in Greece ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
A side order of proper chips, well its rude not too ...


The pork stifado was amazing, so good it was scoffed before the happy snapper could take a photo. Calamari, Mussels, Garlic bread, Tomato fritters. 

Followed as usual by the 'Greek' argument about who was paying the bill, but surprise surprise (I WON !!) not with dignity, but a fist pump, and a great victory. 

Even the feminine eye roll to the back of the head, could not defeat me - I had paid the bill as well as the earlier one for the coffees.

Greece 0 - England 2 ...

After dinner we went for another wander, it really is quite a pretty area to stroll around by night ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
There followed a slow stroll back to Monastraki, taking in the views ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
Then a waffle for Junior, from Gretel, before taking the metro back to base.

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
How could you resist ...

Previous Blog: Came all this way ...

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Came all this way ...

... and they still have not finished it!


Rubble everywhere, not even a nod or a wink to Health & Safety. Trip hazards galore, and they let anyone walk round the building site. Look at the state of the roof, if they don't get it covered the rot will set in during the winter ...

Last time I was here it was 2014, with SWMBO on the way to see a surgeon. We had stood on the hill next door, and admired the view. Not having time to visit the ruins, and other things on our mind.

Junior and I set out early to be there before opening time, and had arrived 10 mins before the ticket office opened. Security are on the ball - "You need to get a ticket, office opens 8am, go and wait" ...

We joined the other 100 or so waiting, and got chatting to a lovely French lady with a German accent. Travelling the world, and she had arrived that morning from the far east. Slightly flirty and made this old boy feel young again.

Its 8am and the door opens, the traveler, and us two tourists made it in, as the other 97+ stormed the entrance, and up to a grumpy sales attendant. who issued the ticket. Probably another failed paleontologist, overqualified, and in the wrong job, and wanting to be somewhere else on a Sunday morning.

Tip 1: Watch out for security on the turnstiles to the famous hill.

Heaven forbid they catch you with a croissant in your carrier bag. 'They are not allowed on Acropolis. Either eat it now, or pick it up later, or throw it away' ...

She had probably not eaten breakfast, (judging by the sugar dip) so we shared it, and ate it (Filled with apricot jam) slowly in front of her, as she confiscated and binned koulouris bread discs, left and right.

Tip 2: Walk right past with a rucksack filled with your picnic, if you are lucky.

I saw the Great Escape, so she never spotted the bottle of water in my shorts pocket, and we stormed the turnstiles and headed off up the ancient hill, Sadly not on a motorbike, but on foot ...

Get here at 8am, and you meet the soldiers from the military band coming down, and the evzones.

© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
The Greek Presidential Guard or Evzones are a group of elite Greek soldiers who are trained to perform various ceremonial duties. Also known as Tsoliades, they guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament at Syntagma square.

Quite a sight, to see them descending the steps and we assume they are up there for the raising of the Greek flag each morning.

© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
Have no doubt, Acropolis and the Parthenon, are stunning, and its worth every minute to be up there.
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
The ruins are amazing, the views outstanding. Everyone is in awe of the place, for very good reason. It still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck, just to have been there ...

© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
Met some lovely people from Italy, Scandanavia, Korea, Japan, Slovenia and the USA as I took souvenir photos for them, and asked my favourite question 'Where are you from' as I always find 'us foreigners' so very interesting ...

Junior posed for photos, took photos, we had a ball up there, on the famous hill. We went all over looked at the view, listening to the church bells ringing out all over the city below. We had the whistle blown at us for breaking the rules. Must have been the port policeman from Skiathos - with a new pea. Admired the huge Greek flag fluttering in the breeze ...

The sun broke out through the clouds, a sunburst of light illuminating the ancient ruins.

© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
Of course we also tripped a few times, and almost fell flat on our faces a few times, after all there are plenty of things to trip up on up on the hill. Your eyes are easily averted from where your feet are meant to be going ...

The cheapest souvenir is free, its a bruise from a short trip ...

Previous Blog: Athina with friends ...

Monday, 5 November 2018

Athina with friends ...

We will meet in the morning for coffee ...

Which in 'Greek speak' means anytime lunchtime onwards, to anyone from the UK. It takes a bit of getting used to but 'When in Greece' go with the flow ...

I had slept very soundly, well we are on holiday, but we are here in Athens to see friends, thats what the weekend is all about. So we had plenty of time to spare - After a good meal last night, strangely we woke up hungry, and were fancying a kick start coffee'  I already had a destination in mind. So off we went ...

There are plenty of places to eat in Athens, but we went on the metro to Monastiraki  ...

Monastiraki - Line 1 station sign ...
Then walking along to the antique and flea market area nearby, known as Psiri (Psyri) district. I finally hunted the place down, after walking past it twice :)

It was named Spiti mas = "our home" in Greek ...

Tip: Don't take too much notice of Google Maps, but if you do, you will certainly get to explore the area before you eat. It was well worth the effort to find the best breakfast in Psiri (Psyri), and a warm welcome from the lady owner, with her wonderful energy.

We loved everything about this place. The breakfast, and especially the attention to detail, and explanations of the menu choices on offer. (Also great local advice on where to go or what to do next)

The Live in breakfast, (you may want to share this) for SWMBO ...

Live in

The Apple Bavarois (Stunning) was mine ...

You inject apple essence into the cream ...
Yoghurt with Granola (Delicious) was chosen by Junior ...


The options we went for were a 10/10 for us with great coffees, and a Banana milkshake with cinnamon for Junior ...

Next time - I will go the 'full Athenian' and try 'Breakfast in bed' - Yes they have a double bed, you can even have your breakfast served there if you wish. However it was warm enough for us to sit outside, and watch the world pass by on this Saturday morning, even though the locals were well wrapped up.

Plenty of nice antique places to browse, if that takes your fancy. I rather liked it and the area, on a busy Saturday morning in Athens. Our meet you call came at noon, for around 12:30 to meet at Thissio which is a 10 minute stroll away.

Its an open air flea market and very busy it was too. A mixture of locals and dealers with their tables set up, and plenty of customers out for a stroll, with their family and friends. Many coffee shops and restaurants and a distant view of the Acropolis.


The area of Thissio (Thiseio) is a park, and also has a railway station. Along the side of the tracks are ruins, that were uncovered when they built the line in 1895 ...

As you know 12:30pm in 'Greek Maybe Time' is anytime 13:30pm onwards, so we got a touch sunburnt watching the world go by. To help pass the time, wandered the stalls and a few of the coffee shops, which have amazing cakes and pastries.


Our friends arrived, and we were whisked away to the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center in Athens - For a coffee, and a slow roast in the sunshine ...



The complex is located in the bay of Faliro in Athens which includes new facilities for the National Library of Greece (NLG) and the Greek National Opera (GNO), as well as the 210,000 m² Stavros Niarchos Park. The Center was designed by architect Renzo Piano and its construction was funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The €566 million project was completed in 2016, and was donated to the Greek state in 2017.

After a couple of coffees, we met up and had a chat with Nasos Kavathas (The Joker) and the children rode bikes around the boating lake. (You can rent a Greek Boris bike or the childrens version) We explored the childrens park, and the musical park (I am still tone deaf). Then we climbed up onto the roof of the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, for some amazing views over Athens ...



After a long walk, and a climb, you build up an appetite. and we headed back to Monastaraki, walking past the numerous restaurants, gyros and dessert places. The evening in full swing as the light faded, and the twinkling lights came up and the evening glow became night ...

I learned that it was now 'time for Souvelaki' and we were taken to the best of them - O Thanasis. Apparently the place you go to eat before going to the football. There followed the usual Greek discussion about the only team you can support is 'insert your own Greek friends team here'  ...

Feeling a tad sticky under the collar, a swift beer was in order. Never has a Kaiser evaporated so quickly, or been so very much appreciated.

Athens Greek salad -Peppers and capers added ...
Normal Souvelaki serving ...
Souvelaki with yoghurt and sweet paprika ...
Followed by the 'Greek' argument about who was paying the bill, (I lost with dignity) and a slow stroll back to Monastraki, and the metro back to base. In my case there followed a sleep like a bear after that souvelaki ...

Previous Blog: Athina ...



Sunday, 4 November 2018

Athina ...

'I am a name not a place' ...

What a lovely friend said to me many years ago on Skiathos. Well this time we have made it to the place, and its as lovely as my dear friend back on Skiathos ...

Athens is amazing!

Thats got that out of the way, yes I love the city, and its great to be here again. We met up with another lovely friend from Skiathos for drinks, before heading out to the Plaka area ...

The Plaka, 'the neighbourhood of the Gods' as old Athenians used to call it, is located in the shadow of the holy rock of the Acropolis, where picturesque narrow streets and beautiful houses make this the most wonderful place to explore in Athens, especially by night where the places come alive.

It was a split decision, between going somewhere for a meze, or what I fancied which was Bakaliaro (Salt Cod) and Skordalia (Garlic sauce) Mr Google went with my choice of location, Taverna Saita and we had both menu options available ...

Dinner outside in the cool evening air, service was friendly and unrushed. Even better than the place (Plaice) for me was the salt cod.


The bakalario - (salt cod) and skordalia (garlic sauce) was just what i wanted. It is salty but thats how the Greeks like it. The skordalia is more of a flavoured olive oil mash here. Its toned down probably for the tourist palate, compared to what we are used to on Skiathos. But I thoroughly enjoyed it (€9) and 200ml (= 4 bottles on Skiathos) of tsipouro (Just €5) and they are known for the bakalario dish.


Horta was tasty, and a nice side dish with the fish. The fava (yellow lentil puree) served with courgette is very good. Plenty of vegetarian options, if you want them and recommended by the waiter.

Junior went with Calamari, Chips and Tsatsiki, as they had run out of the much loved Octopus. The waiter was very impressed indeed ...

Tip: If you want fish and chips then buy it in the UK. Here you try the Greek version (From Norway) with 500ml of house white, if you want to take away the saltiness of the dish.

The taverna, is in a quiet location off the Plaka, with outdoor seating, It’s even better when the entertainment shows up. We had a Greek Wedding next door, car horns for the arrival of the bride, showers of rice and almonds.

The bride walked past and looked stunning, as she went off to her wedding reception ...

After dinner we went for a walk - When in Athens -Why not, there are so many places to see and explore ...

Previous Blog: Tsitsiravlo ...

Friday, 2 November 2018

Tsitsiravlo ...

For beginner's ...

Or the TA Skiathos forum, where the Flying visit post, caused quite a debate, regarding photo 6 ...

'During the period of great poverty, the inhabitants of Pelion experimented with all the plants of the rich flora of Pelion and developed a series of recipes for their consumption. The striking is that although the same plants grow in almost all of Greece, they are nowhere else to be eaten, even in equally poor areas such as Epirus. Tsitsiravla is such a case. We are talking about the young shoots, the male plant of a wild species of wild pistachio (formerly called Pistakia or Terevinthos). Every April the Pelicans, like wild boars, are hung on the cliffs to gather their sprouts. The aim is to prepare with a brine a well-known meze, which fits impressively with tsipouro'

Come spring, the shoots of the wild pistachio, will appear, in the olive groves up in the hills. They are harvested by locals and pickled.

Its not the easiest task, but you will be rewarded for your efforts. Here my friend Dimitri who harvested a table full earlier this year.


Still quite a while until that happens, but Dimitris is also very good at finding wild mushrooms. More on that later ...

You will need a lot of tsipouro, and tuna to make a meze from this harvest ...


Thursday, 1 November 2018

Kalo Mina - Νοέμβριος ...

Καλημέρα και Καλό μήνα σε όλους ...

Good Morning, and Good Month, to the fans of the blog, Or if you prefer, only 54 more days until Christmas ...

Its Bonfire time, not only for Guy Fawkes, but also islanders with stockpiles of twigs branches and accumulated piles of rubbish.

Now November is here, and the days are cooling, the bonfire smoke will be rising this morning, as the summer ban on lighting fires is lifted. Across the island lit matches will be applied to all those heaps of things that cant go up the chimney or the woodburner instead ...

The fire brigade will still be ready to attend, but the ticket book for the application of fines, will stay in the fire engine glove compartment, at least until next May.

Previous Blog: Ferry Timetables wef 1st November ...

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Ferry Timetables wef 1st November ...

The timetables have now been released ...

The Proteus of ANES Lines is operating only until Sunday 4th November.
From 5th November until 3rd January she will be off to the boatyards for dry dock, and the annual inspection/overhaul.

ANES Proteus timetable up until 4th November (Not 31/10 - extended one weekClick here

Express Skiathos will operate daily on the Sporades route until 9th January with an amended service

Volos - Skiathos - Glossa - only on Monday / Wednesday / Saturday
Volos - Skiathos - Glossa - Skopelos Town - Alonissos only on Friday
Volos - Skiathos - Skopelos Town - Alonissos only on Tuesday / Thursday / Sunday

Hellenic Seaways timetable wef 01/11/2018 - 09/01/2019 : Click Here

Express Skiathos will replace the Artemis on her Cyclades routes for a month early next year and after that will go into  dry dock, and the annual inspection. for 2 weeks at the end of February ...

Previous Blog: Small Planet Airline & Charter Flight Centre ...

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Small Planet Airline & Charter Flight Centre ...

Both have gone into insolvency in the last few days ...

Small Planet airline: 

Lithuania-based Small Planet Airlines has followed its German and Polish subsidiaries in filing for insolvency.

Small Planet, based in Vilnius, claimed it recorded “a successful and profitable operational performance” this year.

It said it had been forced to declare insolvency to restructure free of creditors’ demands after the group’s subsidiary operations in Poland and Germany filed for insolvency last month.

In a statement, Small Planet described the filing as “a vital step to protect its business”

SP operated into Skiathos from Warsaw and Katowice this year ...

Further info: Click here

Charter Flight Centre:

The Birmingham airport-based company, which operated a small fleet including a Boeing 737-300 and a BAE Systems Avro RJ100, ceased trading on October 12.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, Cello traded under the names Charter Flight Centre and websites Ski-Flights.com, www.charterflights.co.uk and www.ski-flights.com.

The Gatwick flight operated by the Polish airline Enter air, sold seat only tickets via this website. The charter using the Boeing 737-300 supporting villa holiday companies on the Sporades islands, and over on Pelion. Where the aircraft stopped to drop off and pick up passengers at Volos ...

Now watch the price of the flights from the monopoly owners ...

Further info: Click here

Previous Blog: All change with the clocks ...