Saturday, 31 March 2012

The 2012 IN-Guide for Skiathos

The 2012 IN-Guide for Skiathos, has been published.

Lots of interactive information to assist your travel planning, written in both English, German and Greek

Click the link here  to visit the site ...

Friday, 30 March 2012

Hellenic Seaways - Easter/Pasca timetables ...

The Easter/Pasca timetables have been confirmed by Hellenic Seaways

Fastcat - Flying Cat - From Aghios Konstantinos
This will be the connection with the Bus from Athens operated by Alkyon Travel

Fastcat - Flying Cat -  From Volos

Ferry - Express Skiathos - From Volos

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Service Interruption ...

The blog will be quiet for a while - Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible ...

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Olympic Air - Timetable latest ...

Reply from Olympic Air to my latest enquiry ...

Thank you for contacting Olympic Air.
Regarding your inquiry, kindly be informed that a tender is being held during this period to determine which airline(s) will serve the Public Service Obligation flights. We do not know how many or which of the PSO routes will be given over to Olympic Air. We expect, though, that there will be an official announcement soon; most probably by the end of April. For the time being, flights from/to Skiathos Island are available until 13th June 2012. Bookings may be completed through our official website (www.olympicair.com).

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Austerity - Take 2 ...

As austerity bites, our fragile economy, its hitting our eco-system too. 


Concerned residents have noticed that the must have product this year is Loo Paper.
Our Island branch of Carrefour seems unable to obtain stocks at all in recent weeks. I had noticed stocks were an issue over the last two weeks, but it appears from reliable sources,  its four weeks with no deliveries.

So - It appears trees were not cut down, after all for firewood this winter - actually they were pulped for essential services. Kitchen paper is in abundant supply, and rolls are being chainsawed to the correct size up in the hills, by a dedicated band of workers

 The 2012 'must have' Island index are as follows ...

  • Petrol - Up again, Its €1.98 and about to break the €2 a litre barrier this week. 
  • Tsipouro Meze €3 (No Change) Thanks God !
  • Loo Roll/Black Pudding/Seriously strong cheddar (Totaly unavailable - Open to offers by word of mouth on the black market) 
Island residents - 'Andrex by mail' is now available, Plain Quilted or Velvet. - 160 Sheets per Roll (4) £2.98 per pack. The postage is £6 a kilo, delivery 3-5 days. You know who to ask ...

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Independence Day ...

Hopefully no low flying spaceships today ...

Today its patriotism, parades, lovely new flags, and bunting flying everywhere. Its a time to be proud to be Greek.

There will be many people on the paralia in the sun, for the parade today. The cafes and tavernas will be packed, and everyone will put their troubles behind them - for a few hours at least ...

Happy Independence Day
25 Maptioy 2012 ...

Express Skiathos ...

Is back in Volos ...

Returned from Piraeus yesterday - See location here.

Back on the route from Monday ???

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Bougainvillea ...

Got its comeuppance today ...

It grows like crazy but does not reward me with any flowers. I get lots of foliage and trunk like thickness to all the stems. So today a gentle prune, became a severe haircut.

This is what it has very rarely looked like ...

I noticed it had gripped the telephone cable,and was prising it away from the wall, with its vice like grip. The vertical stems had hit the gutters and were pushing upwards, it was clearly winning the argument - until now that is ...

So it did put up a fight, but i was not as badly wounded as last year, when the trail of blood from its huge thorns, revealed it did some serious work to my head. This time my hands look like they have been in a fight with one of the local tomcats, and are rather swollen from the scratches and deep laid splinters.

I cut up the trailing branches into small twigs, and put them in the rubbish bin. That raised a few eyebrows from the passing technical experts. There is a nice tidy pile of thicker branches neatly stacked by the bin, for the Dimos to 'leave behind' in the morning.

I am severely tempted to take the chainsaw to the main trunk tomorrow. Then as my father used to say with his roses - 'Well it has two chances' after all today is the first day of spring ...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Average price of unleaded gas/petrol in Greece ..

... is €1.786/litre or $8.90/gallon - www.gasprice.gr


So why is it €1.98 here in Skiathos ?

Last days of winter ...

Spring is officially just a few days away.

This morning dawned with blue skies and a promise of spring sunshine.We were not to be dissapointed, as it has become a beautiful warm day.

The windows are open in the house and warm - Yes warm air is coming in.

Earlier - I made a quick trip up to the supermarket.There is a ferry strike today, and again tomorrow. Much to my surprise, it appears they took delivery yesterday (Sunday) as the loading bay was full and the shelves were being stocked with fresh supplies.

Later after breakfast, a trip to the paralia with junior, to enjoy the swings and slides. The warm sunshine had drawn out all the Greek children, with their parents to the activity area.
It must now be officially warm enough for them as locals, however parents and children alike were wearing body warmers, coats and large thick jumpers.
Those of us from north of the alps, were removing layers, for very good reason as our own internal thermometers were reaching critical level ...

So no ferry today, but the fastcat is working, lawyers on strike later this week -otherwise all systems normal as work has started in earnest with preparations for summer ...

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Ferry Strike expected ...

There is a national 48 hour ferry strike called this week ...

Its somewhat hard to decipher what they are planning, or if our route will be affected. However as we have a Piraeus based ferry, then it seems likely that it will be.

The strike starts at 6am on Monday 19th March ...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Petrol hits a new high ...

We had another delivery on Friday ...

So it went up another five cents, to a new all time high

€1.98 Unleaded & €2.04 Regular

So in theory - My unused chainsaw fuel has made me 25 cents just by sitting in the can ...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Ferry slow ...

No improvement in the old ladies speed ...

Despite its grace and cruise liner appearance, Express Pegasus is anything but fast. My latest hobby is watching her steam into view and the clanking noise she emits when engaging reverse to dock. The noise is like when you first learn to drive a car and the gearbox, makes that rattling screech when you do not engage the gears properly ...

The ferry office window says the Express Pegasus departs daily for Skopelos at 11.45. However she is just arriving at midday. Departs for Volos daily at 15.45, however is leaving Skiathos around 16.45 !

Now on Sundays, departs at 17.00 = 18.00hrs in reality. That means there is no time to connect with the bus to Athens as the old girl is taking three hours to get to and from Volos.

Its only possible to miss the Express Pegasus in Volos as a passenger, nowhere else, as its always late. But if you are after a connection, it will take some serious thought ...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Olympic Air - Summer Timetable ...

Full summer programme, now on the Olympic Air web site
Daily flights (Every Day) wef Sunday 25th March  ...

Update 15th March

You can only book up to June 13th - Its a PSO or 'Public Service Obligation route' the decision on who gets awarded the route is due by the 24th March. After that date keep an eye on the Aegean and Olympic Air web site to see who gets the route ...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Taverna O Batis ...

Is open again after the winter break ...

I spent a lovely few hours this evening, with a friend and reader of the blog in O Batis ...

Its a firm favourite, and an oasis of warmth, on a cold winter evening.
A glass of tsipouro, and a meze to die for ...

Eleni and Christos are wonderful hosts, give it a try next time you are here ...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The next ferry will be ...

Late as usual - Its the Express Pegasus ...

ellinikiaktoploia.net wrote:
Moored in Piraeus are up to this hour and 3 ships (Pegasus, Santorini and Skiathos) that they could perform the service line Sporades - Volos.
According to the website ellinikiaktoploia.net the Express Pegasus, will depart Monday afternoon from the new Molo Drapetsona for Sporades guaranteed in order to take from Tuesday routes the Express Skiathos, since it has not completed the annual stillness and the Sporades has been left without a boat.

We usualy have a Ferry called the Express Skiathos, in February it has a maintenance period,where it gets a service,a new coat of paint. Its now getting towards the middle of March, and its still not back after three sea trials ....
The Express Santorini covers, but its engine failed over a week ago. Its laid up in Piraeus.
The Skyros line Achilleas came to the rescue so we had food in the islands. (We were linked to Skyros again)
Now the Express Pegasus is sailing in - but not yet - it is the slowest boat in the fleet, and cannot service Skopelos town so will serve Agondas instead.
So come Tuesday the Pegasus will steam in as usual around 30 minutes late from Volos. Around one hour late by the time it gets back to Skiathos. They take the timetable and throw it in the bin.
We always wondered why, we no longer have a Saturday ferry in winter any more. Well it gives the Express Pegasus a day off to make up the time it looses in the week.


Now if the Pegasus conks out ... !

All part of the rich tapestry of life, living on a green island in the aegean ...


Friday, 9 March 2012

Wood you ...

Burn it if you had to - Its really rather beautiful ...


Usually delivered with its own colony of ants, rehoused gratis, and interested to see what's cooking. Sometimes if you are really lucky, maybe even a scorpion !

Woodburner it is then - Have you got a light ?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Island ferries ...

Express Skiathos has completed its annual maintenance, and is expected to return to service shortly. It completed a test run earlier today from Piraeus.

The Skyros shipping company stepped into the breach, following the major breakdown affecting the Express Santorini. Achilleas kept the islands fortified, sailing this week

Wed - Kymi/Skyros/Alonissos/Skopelos/Volos
Thur - Volos/Skiathos/Skopelos/Alonissos/Skyros/Kymi



Thank you to the people of Skyros for lending us their boat ...

Olympic Air - Timetable extension ...

Olympic Air have extended their timetable, from 25th March until the end of April. 

Daily flights (Except Wednesday and Saturday) will start wef Sunday 25th March up until Monday 30th April. There is still no official news whether Olympic Air will be operating the summer schedule. However wef 1st April the air fare increases from €60 to €69 plus taxes of €18.94. Taxes only apply from Athens to Skiathos and are not applied on any Skiathos to Athens booking.



The water bill is due ...

Naturally it has not appeared, neither has my neighbours ...

So splashing through the puddles on a wet morning, I made my way down to the water office. I explained the predicament, to the lady and, it seems she remembers me well. Once again she had a good look around and managed to find mine - minus a stamp - so probably it had not been posted. My neighbours bill was not to be found anywhere, either in the not posted or in the returns pile.

Over two years now trying to get the bill correctly addressed, now it does not appear at all, and i go and pick it up - Some progress at least ...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Great Video ...

Reasons to visit Skiathos ...


Greek island Skiathos from Nikolakis Hector on Vimeo.

... You know you want to

Monday, 5 March 2012

Ferry Funny ...

The Express Santorini, has broken down ...

Looks like no ferry service before Friday and possibly even Sunday - We do not have a ferry service on Saturday in winter.

Not much point in going to the supermarket this week ...

Solidarity tax ...

Seems we are being chased to pay the Solidarity tax ...

The 'pay now or pay much more later option' was presented, I offered the 'would have paid earlier, but never had a bill' this fell on deaf ears.

Wondered aloud what the 'pay much more later, but not told I had too option' was - The response was 'they find out on their tax return with a fine'

Customer service remains at the forefront in public services ...

Rubbish day ...

Not the weather (Although it could be) ...

Monday is becoming rubbish day, it seems we now only have a waste collection Monday to Friday. That still does not stop the residents putting it out seven days a week.

The trouble is on Monday there is too much to collect. So the truck makes three visits to the street.
If it is still like this at Pasca, then they will still be clearing it in May ...

Its a grey cool day here on the rock, The odd shower of rain passing through too - not a great day at all ...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Such a delight ...

To enjoy some more spring sunshine ...

This morning, I watched the Flying Cat depart in glorious sunshine. The older Greeks acknowledged me as i passed by the cafes, where they were taking their coffee, and a tsipouro in the sun. Th rattle of the backgammon board evident even at 8.30am.

This afternoon with friends at the play area. Well junior needs some fun,and its a good time to spend time with parents with similar interests - The little ones. I spent some time discussing worldwide issues, and chasing after junior along the paralia.

The sun was scorching, I retreated to shade, and noted the air was warmer, than yesterday. I was reminded by my Greek friend, that March is the month that you burn your skin, and everything else in the woodburner. I posted something similar last April here last year.

I was invited for lunch, but had to decline, however it sounded lovely - fresh fish on the coals and drink some tsipouro, whilst sitting in the sun. However tsipouro in the spring sun, for me means the sleep of the gods - from around 4pm - So perhaps another day, when i am not on best behaviour ...

It is much cooler once the sun sets, however a sprint around town this evening,  with Junior kept the pulse rate up. Tonight we lit the woodburner later, and are preparing some jacket potatoes to bake in its fiery interior ...

Word is after Sunday its a return to unsettled weather,so we must enjoy it whilst we can ...

Friday, 2 March 2012

The sun returns at last...

Nothing to do with Rupert and his Global media empire - this publication has been seven days a week for some time. Always open to offers though ...

Amazing bright light and burning skin. Lovely spring weather here today. The sun has been out in a clear blue sky right through, until the violet skies of sunset. Most of the afternoon the moon was also visible, rising over the pounta, and hovering almost overhead in a turquoise sky. One of those days, that you wish you had not left your sunglasses in another country - and the trusty baseball cap had not been hidden somewhere by junior ...

I also visited friends, in their lovely cafe - a long standing invitation. I was out for a morning stroll and there it was - So I popped in, a little oasis of spring warmth overlooking the sea. Great banter between Greek friends that always looks like an argument. What a find and a great location.

I spent the rest of the morning criss crossing town, and helping out our postman, by picking up the mail. Well it saves him putting a note through the door - telling me to go and pick it up on Monday.

Picked up some bills, and a tip to buy some UK postage stamps before the price goes up (Books of 1st and second class are honoured regardless of the forthcoming price rise) Now 46p/1st 36p/2nd class each stamp !

A walk with junior and some time spent sitting in the sun, the wind although from the south was cool. The chill being directed from the snow clad mountains over on Evia. Most of which is snow clad and viewed clearly across the sea ...

Tonight the woodburner is swallowing up branches, and small logs at am impressive rate. Its around woodmark 5 in here, and we have the impressive sight of our chimney smoke, passing the window downwards into the street ...

Looks good for the weekend too - enjoy yours wherever you are ...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Kalo Mina !

Happy New month ...

However March has arrived like the months before it, Cold Grey and very wet ...

In fact its tipping it down once again, however island optimists are saying 18 degrees next week.

We have all had grey days especially at work. I remember attending an excellent course where we were taught a fresh approach, the way to make the working day fun as a team - They then spent another five years, beating this out of us though ...

However I have never forgotten the course, and its objectives ...



So remember however 'grey the day' - No matter what the job, you can always make it more interesting, and fun, whilst you are there ...