Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Greeker than the Greeks ...

Its the time of year ...

Many friends are on countdowns, to their 'two weeks/three if you are lucky' favourite 'Rock in the aegean'

Many refer to it as home, however even if you live there, you will always be, a xenos or stranger.

Here is a great blog article, by Cathy Catsanou-Katerina Zanna who has lived in Greece for forty years. So if you want to swot up before your holiday, then click the link ...

Greeker than the Greeks ...

Shrove Tuesday - Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday:

Yes Pancake day to you and me, and suitable for the lenten diet ...


"Flip them here, flip them there, flipping pancakes everywhere!"

Happy Pancake Day everyone - Recipe click here ...

My effort - Strawberry stuffed pancake, with whipped cream and chocolate ...



Astra Airlines - Flights: Thessaloniki to Skiathos?

The air connection between Skiathos - Thessaloniki seems to have been registered to Astra Airlines and the final announcements expected from the same company.

Reportedly at the instigation of the Company | Mouzenidis Travel | - Working closely with Astra Airlines for passenger traffic from Russia to the second largest city - has sent a request to the competent ministry for air connection from Macedonia Airport to Skiathos.
The first flight is expected in late May of 2017.
Source: www.skiathoslife.gr

Monday, 27 February 2017

Kathari Deutera (Clean Monday) ...


Καλή Σαρακοστἠ - Good lent ...

The party is over, today is Clean Monday, and is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions.


Today is about the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food, a special kind of leven bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites.

λαγάνα ..
Lagana is a traditional flatbread baked for Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent before Easter. For those fasting most strictly, the lagana is made without oil. For those less strict, then olive oil is used but no dairy products.  Sesame seeds are the most common topping and often fresh, or dried herbs are added for even more flavour. These are plain with sesame seeds and medium softness.

Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted in European denominations.
Καθαρή Δευτέρα μεζέδες ...
         
On Clean Monday Greek people usually take their picnic baskets and put inside fasting foods because it is the day that Lent begins, so if its sunny - off to the beach for a picnic ...
Could you eat meat and dairy free for forty days ?

Lovely recipes for lent from Kouzinacooking.com

Fáva – https://kouzinacooking.com/recipes-2/fava/
Stuffed calamari – https://kouzinacooking.com/recipes-2/stuffed-kalamarakia-kalamarakia-yemista/
Seafood Kritharóto - https://kouzinacooking.com/recipes-2/seafood-kritharoto-kritharoto-me-thalassina/
Black eye beans with chard – https://kouzinacooking.com/recipes-2/black-eye-beans-with-chard-mavromatika-me-seskoula/
Yígantes – https://kouzinacooking.com/recipes-2/yigantes/
Red pepper and olive ‘Relish’ – https://kouzinacooking.com/recipes-2/red-pepper-and-olive-relish-mezedaki-apo-elies-kai-piperies-florinis/

Καλή Σαρακοστή Και για να μην ξεχνιόμαστε...48 μέρες για το Πάσχα !!
Good Lent and to not forget ... 48 days for Easter !!

Later news:

The Dimos successfully organised today's kite event ~ celebration of the municipality of skiathos at the Bourtzi. Young and old enjoyed the event,  although the weather didn't help in terms of wind to fly the kites! Sarakostianá dishes were provided and there was  music, drinks and dancing. Followed by the award of best kite with prizes courtesy of the municipality of skiathos, of whom the first prize, the biggest kite from all went to Christos Tsiótra ...

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Original Skiathos A- Z by Chelleb

Skiathos A-Z

This guide was compiled by a collection of Skiathophiles according to Tripadvisor. Actually it was started by Chelleb on the Skiathos Bulletin board. It was further updated by the members of the forum. But all credit goes to Michelle.

Airport When its time to come home your luggage will be collected form your hotel and left at the taverna at the airport. Collect your luggage check it in then go back to the taverna until you see your plane land (approx. 1hr before you take off) then make your way through passport control. Where else in the world can you do that! The duty free is small and there is not much air con inside the terminal.  They now have a tannoy enabling you to hear the passenger calls from the taverna.            

Buses Taking the bus is the easiest way to see the island. (If you want to beat the queue's from Koukounaries beach, just walk to the next bus stop and catch the bus heading back to the beach and stay on board).

Banks Open 8am till 2pm Monday to Friday.

Bars Loads of them. Note the cushion bars are expensive for shorts and cocktails so stick to the lager.

Beaches Always make your way to the uncrowded and unspoilt beaches i.e. Mandraki/Agistros.

Car hire Hiring a jeep is recommended to get high up in the mountains.

Churches in monasteries and churches, no shorts, bikinis or sleeveless shirts. Take your hat off when you enter a church and look for "No Photos" signs before you start shooting with your camera.

Cinema The Cinema is located off Papadiamantis Street and shows English speaking films with Greek subtitles. It is all open air.          

Credit cards All major Credit Cards as well as Euro-cheques are recognised and accepted in most hotels, shops, travel and car rental agencies and restaurants. Stickers in the front windows will advise you as to which cards are acceptable            

Days out Book your own trips direct from the boats in the harbour - much cheaper than booking through your rep you can sail round the island or go island hopping and who knows you may even get to see some Dolphins. The Athens trip is not recommended as you will be travelling for 10 hours and only get to spend 2 hours in Athens itself.

Dogs home Well worth a visit for adults and children. All the staff are unpaid and really appreciate your help whether you take a dog for a walk or make a donation.      

Electricity The standard in Greece is 220V AC (50Hz). Appliances from UK require an adapter            
Entertainment Look out for Bouzouki nights with traditional Greek dancing and plenty of wine……..

Feta Greek cheese, found every where. Its what makes a Greek salad. Do not eat late at night or you will have Feta Cheese Dreams !        

Food Eat where the locals eat - its as good a recommendation as you can get.

Gifts Leather goods and plentiful as are some good wines and herbs and spices to make that Greek salad or souvalaki when you get home.            

Greek salad Mmmmmmmmmm. Great as a starter to share or as a snack.

Health The health centre is located at the top of the town in the area known as the acropolis.   Remember to take your EHIC card with you, These cards replace the old E111 form and stands for European Health Insurance Card and you apply in the same way, ie a form from the post office.

Maps At the airport you should be able to get a map of Skiathos town and the island sometimes this is free other time you may have to pay for it . It is well worth it as it has all the bars and restaurant on it.            
Money You will find automatic cash machines in Skiathos Town.

Mopeds Most of the hire firms will do a special offer for you 13 days for the price of 10 etc            

Mobile phones Most Mobile Phones work in Skiathos,  you will find that Vodaphone, Orange,T-Mobile, Virgin and O2 work well on most of the Island. You cannot top up uk mobile in Greece so make sure you either have enough credit or are able to do it by phone.          

Mossies These will be the bane of your holiday, use a plug in mossiecutor and mossie repellent at night.            

Nightlife Most of the bars will stay open as long as there is someone in them buying drinks. Just remember that the staff have to sleep as well though!!            

Passports Your hotel will probably want to keep 1 passport per room for 24 hrs - don’t worry, this is perfectly normal as it is Greek law to do this.

Photos The island is beautiful grab the opportunity to take some great photos.

Restaurants Loads of them ranging from the cheap (gyros bars) to very expensive (Asprolithos, Windmill).  Always listen to find out what the house specials are for the evening meal. Don't order starters unless you are REALLY hungry, the main courses are generally HUGE!!!

Sailing One of the best things you can do while in Skiathos is to rent a boat for a few days or even for the whole week and explore the hidden beaches, not reachable by foot or car. You can find a boat from verified greek charter companies.

Shopping Leather goods, jewelery, glasswear, clothes, you can buy almost anything in Skiathos town. The larger supermarket esp. the one just out of town on the ring road are a lot cheaper that the smaller resort ones.

Swimming Pool You can use any pool you wish, but please buy your drinks from the bar whose pool you are using. Also there will be a crackdown next year on towels being deposited to save sunloungers when people then go off for the day, as happens a lot! Another tip, buy a LI-LO, you can use it if no sunbeds are available and when you go to the beach use it to lie on rather than pay 7 euros a day for a sunlounger!!!!

Taxis The Taxi rank is situated on the new harbour side of the town, you can't miss it. If you get a taxi into town hail one on the street that is going back to town, as, if you phone for one they will charge for coming out to pick you up and taking you back into town.

Torch Always take a powerful torch for those late evening returns.  Also for those constant power cuts.

Toilets Toilet paper goes in the bin and not down the loo as Greek plumbing is rubbish.

Vangellis If you see the old guy selling roses in town - be nice to him …

Water Drink bottled water, however you can brush your teeth in tap water.            

Wine Always drink the Taverna house wines, they are invariably excellent.            

Working hours Banks are open 8.00 until 14.00 Monday to Friday, Shops 8.00am till 22.00. Kiosks can be open 24hrs.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Have a ...

... Piece of cake ...

Carnival cake and Skiathians Limoncello !


Καλές Απόκριες ...

Thursday, 23 February 2017

A friend has left the beach ...

Litsa we will miss you ...

Skopelos, and especially Panormos will be missing a friend this year ...

Litsa, Destination Expert for Skopelos over on Tripadvisor, and friend to many Skiathos friends via the internet and across the world) from New York City, has passed away...

Lita (Litsa) Balaury R.I.P. 
I'm sure many will know she was a mine of information always delivered with patience and humour. A great friend of the island basing herself at Panormos each May and September, with a smile and a glass of red wine ...

Quote: 'The beautiful waters of Skopelos, my ban de soleil, a glass of red...and spread out on my 'psatha'..toes in water:-))

I spent a very lovely time in her company on Panormos. I was told to sit down, after a very warm hug. Wine arrived, more wine, then some more wine, delivered by a wave in the direction of her friends taverna. She loved to chat and had a great recall of posts, and people on the forums. Somehow I made it back up the steps onto Kalypso with legs like Bambi ...

The sight of her waving, glass in hand from the beach, will stay with me. Lovely lady, and will keep on 'Enjoyin' her memories ...

Links: 


Καλό ταξίδι φίλε μου Λίτσα ...


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Amended timetable for Flying Dolphin Erato ...

Amended routes for the Flying Dolphin Erato, as announced by the Central Port of Volos.

The timetabling of  Flying Dolphin Erato will run modified schedule as follows:

Tuesday: February 28th, March 7th, March 14th and
Friday:  February 24th March 3rd March 10th and March 17th

Departing from Alonissos 06.30 - Skopelos 06.50 / 07.00 - Glossa 07.25 / 07.35 - Skiathos 07.45 / 08.00 - Volos 09.15 / 14.00 - Skiathos 15.15 / 15.35 - Glossa 15.50 / 16.00 - Skopelos 16.25 / 16.35 - Alonissos 16.50

Sunday February 26th & March 5th &  March 12th

Departing from Alonissos 06.30 - Skopelos 06.50 / 07.00 - Glossa 07.25 / 07.35 - Skiathos 07.45 / 08.00 - Volos 09.00 / 16.00 - Skiathos 17.15 / 17.35 - 17.50 Glossa / 18.00 - Skopelos 18.25 / 18.35 - 18.50 Alonissos.

Source: http://magnesianews.gr/

Feeling hungry?

Anyone for Barbounia ?


Tough job, but someone has to do it ...

Late News:

Καλό ταξίδι φίλε μου Λίτσα (Destination expert - Tripadvisor, and friend to many Skiathos friends via the internet) ...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

"The Master Builder and haunted arch" (And late newsflash) ...

"The Master Builder and haunted arch" - New Sonata classical guitar and violin Anthony Mitzelos Will take place in Skiathos Saturday February 25 at 19:00 in the hall of the High School.


"The Master Builder and haunted arch", the new musical work of Antoni Mitzelos inspired by the Alexander Papadiamantis and Nikos Kazantzakis, presented for the first time in Skiathos, Saturday, February 25, 2017 .

The Cultural Association "Skiathos" and the International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis in Geneva, organized the event "Alexander Papadiamantis - Nikos Kazantzakis two leading literature" on the occasion of completing 60 years of the death of Nikos Kazantzakis.

In the first part of keynote speakers will be George Stasinakis (Dean of the Law School of the University of Geneva, Senior Administrative and Legal Officer at CERN), John IV. Solari (Head of the Directorate of School Activities Secondary Messinia and professor of Secondary Education) and MALAMO Stamelou (philologist of D / Secondary Education Skiathos and responsible cultural and environmental programs).


In the second part, the Skiathitis composer and soloist Anthony Mitzelos will first present his musical project '' The Master Builder and haunted arch '' Sonata in D minor for violin and classical guitar. Music composed and founded on the familiar folk legend and myth of Greek tragedy, inspired by the manner described in this perennial issue and Greek Alexandros Papadiamantis and Nikos Kazantzakis.

Completing the composer will improvise on the basic theme, detecting common elements in the work of two great writers, accompanying the recitation of passages from students Skiathos.

#Newsflash:#

The Myrtidiotissa ferry broke down this morning, just before the port of Skiathos. Opposite Koukounaries at 11.15 leaving the ship immobilized, and informing the passengers that were due to depart, that due to mechanical defects they will be delayed for disembarking in the port of Skiathos.

Reportedly there was a problem at the helm of the ship, which was restored and at midday the crew were disembarking passengers in the port of Skiathos.

The "Myrtidiotissa" conducted its route Skiathos - Skopelos - Alonissos departing from the port of Volos 8.30 this morning ...

Friday, 17 February 2017

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (17/02) ...

Thanks to 'Steve in Skiathos' and 'Skiathos Island News' for very kindly, allowing us to share the following update, and photos of the ongoing works ...

Steve has been out and about, with the camera, once again, and yesterday had a peek behind closed doors ...

"Had a look at the Xenia hotel work again today. The guys working there asked if we would like to have a look inside, which we did. Lots of glass interior walls & the place has a nice bright & airy feel to it. 

Some of the trees appear to have been cleared and the views should be excellent.The rooms are coming along well and from what we have seen they are going to be a bit on the small side but very comfortably appointed with some smart furniture. One interesting aspect is the full length mirror you can see in one of the photos. It is also one of the walls of the shower - you can see out but not in! 

They now have a site office inside & the guys there told us they are hoping to start work on the bungalows in March. This information, however, was accompanied by the traditional Greek shrug of the shoulders so who knows"











Steve in Skiathos and 'Skiathos island News' posted regular updates during 2016, as the works have progressed during the year. You can see them here ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (12/01) ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 28/01) ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 11/03) ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 28/03) ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 03/08) ...


Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 30/10) ...

Update on the Hotel Xenia (Update - 25/11) ...

Watching the inbox, for another chorus of 'Its never going to happen' but very clearly it is  ...

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Tsiknopempti time is here ...

This post is not suitable for Vegans, Vegetarians or any tree huggers ...

Still here ? OK ...

Today its Tsiknopempti - Thursday of meat week in Apokreas (Greek carnival)

Tsikna is the smell of burning meat. It was the custom on Tsikonpempti for everyone (including the poor) to charcoal grill meat, and to melt fat over it so the smell of  'burning' meat permeated whole village.

It is still the tradition to eat meat on Tsiknopempti, although nowadays it is usual, to go to a taverna for the meat feast (Perhaps a few glasses of wine). You'll find that taverna's everywhere, are packed and many have live music too

(Some of it impromptu and more raucous as the afternoon progresses) ...

Καλές αποκριες ...
Tsiknopempti is the beginning of the last weekend that observant Greek Orthodox Church followers can eat meat prior to Lent. Because of this, Tsiknopempti is often known as ‘Grilled or Charred Thursday’ The‘Feast of the Carnivores’ as everyone heads out to the taverna's to feast on their favourite grilled meat dishes, eating as many different varieties as possible!

You are also quite likely to find a BBQ set up in the street ...

Apokreas means literally saying goodbye to meat – 'Apoxh apo kreas' …
In Latin the roots of the word Carnival has the same meaning – ‘carne’ is meat and ‘vale’ goodbye.

Later Update: Read this tweet

Keep Talking Greece ‏@keeptalkingGR
#Tsiknopempti: The day #Greece is covered with smoke http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2017/02/16/tsiknopempti-the-day-greece-is-covered-with-smoke/#.WKXNkAAS8o4.twitter

Monday, 13 February 2017

Very British Problems ...

Very British Problems ...

Does anyone have contact details for?
I've booked not direct, with a tour operator. I have never been before, what is "Accoladdes" like?  I want room number * facing west in the afternoon, with a sun terrace for breakfast, air con at no extra cost, and a sea view ...

"I've emailed them, half an hour ago, No reply"
"They are busy preparing for the season, Give them a call tomorrow"

"They can't be that busy, I understand the islands are dead, if we are not there. I sent them a text last night as well, its been delivered"
"Be easier and quicker to just call them, if its that important. When are you going?"

"29th September for a week. I've emailed them, and texted them twice, and still no reply. Its no way to run a business. I thought our money was important to them"
"Just call them, speak to them, you will get an answer"

"That will be expensive, calling Greece, I have not got time to sit on the phone. I'll send them another email. Just a thought -Does anyone know about a trip to "Alonissisos" and the best boat to swim with the dolphins" ...

Only 79 days to go to the start of the UK season :) ...

Friday, 10 February 2017

Ferry fun - a solution ...

At last, well they did not want anyone on the islands to starve did they  ...

The passenger ferry Myrtidiotissa of Aqua Ferries, is now expected to serve the needs of the islands from February 14th to April 6th, covering Volos - Sporades,


Its a crucial time as there were no ferries planned to operate, when the boats were away for their annual service and paint job ....

The ANES Proteus will depart for its standard annual service  on February 13th, whilst the "Express Skiathos" of Hellenic Seaways is currently also in a phase of technical work.

The "Aqua Jewell" of Alpha Ferries, currently tucked up in Piraeus, is planning to start service in mid-March between Volos and the islands.



The Myrtidiotissa will then operate between Agios Konstantinos, and the Sporades for the second summer running.

source: www.taxydromos.gr

Thursday, 9 February 2017

If things were not tough enough ...

This report on the 'Keep talking Greece' site yesterday ...

Shock for cancer patients: “Life expectancy” needed for prescription medication
See: http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com

This on a day when 64% of people in the UK think the NHS has got worse in recent years according to a @SkyData poll

Yesterday. I watched as someone who could not communicate a word, was being given assistance, and treatment in the NHS 'Wait whilst we find you a translator' ...

In Greece it was 'This is Greece, you are not Greek, and you must speak Greek' In addition you had to have two years IKA (National Insurance) stamps to avail yourself of the service. Or the details so it could be charged back to the NHS, if you did not have private medical insurance.

I have learned a lot about hospitals, and treatment over the last five years. I know where you are considerably better off, as does the rest of the world ...

Question of the day:

What will the weather be like in (Insert Month here) ?
Answers here ...

Flying Cat 4

Those who may recall the earlier post, of the Thessaloniki service here Will be pleased to know our friends at SkopelosNews have published the timetable. You can view it here ...

Dolphins

Friends of Νικος Μπαντιδος on FB will be enjoying his video of Dolphins in the old harbour this morning. When the water is cold, you often get dolphins in the old harbour ...

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Countdown ...

Silly season is well and truly here ...

Wishing your lives away ...

Seems everyone is posting countdown clocks, shame they are all out of date by the next day. Oh you know what to do post another one. So here is mine ...


Its unique and its never out of date ...

Stand by for my alternative  A-Z coming soon :)

I was on a countdown of a different type this afternoon, well passing time with SWMBO. Well this is how I did it watching time roll by ...


Best coffee, I have had in a very long time ...



Saturday, 4 February 2017

#WorldCancerDay ...

Something we feel quite strongly about ...


We are supporting @Bowel_Cancer_UK and @CR_UK today for World Cancer Day, wearing a Unity Band as an #ActofUnity.

Together we will #STOPbowelcancer #WorldCancerDay #StandUpToCancer #WeCanICan

Friday, 3 February 2017

Lettuce crisis ...

A well known supermarket earlier ...


Who knows what effect this will have, on the friday night takeaway kebab market. However our man in Lancaster, reports no shortages down at the Water witch.

My earlier pre e-bay auction offer to UK friends remains available ...


Bids accepted, via the usual channels, ot BA vouchers in kind ...

Thursday, 2 February 2017

British Airways to Skiathos (3) ...

A happy ending ...

After a chorus of, 'its never going to happen' and 'you must be mistaken' the flights crept silently onto the BA website overnight.

Certainly there seems to be  lot of interest, which is keeping the prices high on some of the dates. It will be interesting to see if prices drop once the interested, are separated from the actually very interested.

It seems the flights are just covering the peak holiday period - school holidays. They will operate from 26th June until 5th September. Flights will be on a Monday, Tuesday and a Wednesday departing London City airport at 07:10am and arriving at Skiathos at 12:30pm.

Price wise they seem to be in the Thomas Cook/Thomson price bracket. You get 23kg luggage allowance and can opt to go with cabin baggage only cheaper if you have a bag that fits their size requirements with no weight restriction,

You get the advantage of taking off from one very short runway (LCY), and landing on another that used to be a rather short runway (JSI).

Seems they are testing the water with the trip, after all the other Greek flights run for a much longer period ...

But its extra seats and competition, at least for those who do not want to be restricted to the package market. That can only be good for the islanders, and the folks that stay with friends ...

Link to

British Airways to Skiathos (2) ...
British Airways to Skiathos ...


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

British Airways to Skiathos (2) ...

The plot story continues ...


A post on the Greek news (In English) site ekathimerini.com, further detailing the apparent good news regarding flights, However in the fine detail ...

"The carrier will offer three flights a week from London’s City Airport through the summer season, starting this year on June 26 and running until the end of September. The new flights will add over than 2 million seats for passengers to the northern Aegean island"

I am no mathematician but ...
  • 13 weeks of flights = 39 trips each way
  • 78 flights total
  • BA Embraer carries max 98 passengers
  • 78 flights x 98 passengers
That's 7644 Passengers nowhere near, and certainly not anywhere near 2 million ...

Skiathos never went on the BA site last night, but all the other summer destination islands did ...

https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/destinations/europe/greece

Like all things Skiathos, when something good comes along (Assuming it does) - The BA sale ended midnight  last night ...

Link to
British Airways to Skiathos ...