Saturday, 11 July 2020

Here is something ...

You will not see again ...

At 04:20 in the morning.

The comet Neowise (C / 2020 F3) looking north from Skiathos, towards Mount Athos. Which is to the left of centre on the photo.


Photo shared by kind courtesy of my friend Nikos Paschalis ...

Virus update:

The Serbian people were repatriated this morning by air. Who knows when they will be back ...

Previous blog: A flight ban lifted here ...

Thursday, 9 July 2020

A flight ban lifted here ...

A flight ban reinstated elsewhere ...

So D-Day is the 15th July when, holidaymakers scramble to the airports, as the Brits led by Jet2 takes to the skies and the battle for the control of the airport taxi rank begins in earnest.

By then the Serbians may have been allowed to fly home, as they were due out on the 13th, and their new ban runs to the 15th. If it does get lifted the new arrivals will be there too, that's if the lockdown over there is lifted ...

There will be random testing on arrival, and we assume you will have spent your time at the UK airport, and on the plane in your PPE ...

I have to get to Skiathos ...
Who knows what will happen next? A call to say you are being transferred to the Covid hotel,  for a different stay to what you had planned?

What about vaccination for your vacation. That still seems some time off, However "We hope to have a conclusion, on that matter before the collision of the Milky Way & Andromeda Galaxies in 4.5 billion years"

Not any time soon then ...

Meanwhile on Crete ...

A stir has been caused in Crete, with a tourist who was walking around, while she was diagnosed positive for coronavirus.

The woman from Romania was located by the authorities after three days. She was staying in another hotel than originally stated. As soon as the tourist arrived at Iraklion airport, she underwent a coronavirus test and was then given - as the protocol stipulates - the instruction to be transferred to her hotel and stay there for 24 hours until the results came out. However, when she went to the hotel she had booked for her vacation, she found it closed. 

So, she went to a tourist office and found another hotel available, according to cretapost.gr. They were searching for her for 72 hours. This change was not announced to the authorities, with the result that when the results came out - which were positive - the EODY team went to the declared hotel to find her, to no avail.

The search operation was launched immediately and the authorities finally found the right hotel. However, when they went there they did not find her, as it seems that she did not sit in her room but was walking around.72 hours had passed since the Romanian had undergone the coronavirus test when the authorities finally managed to locate her.

She was told that the test came out positive and that she had to be placed in isolation at the 'quarantine' hotel. 

This news caused severe reactions by the tourist who did not want to cooperate saying characteristically that "she doesn't want to ruin her holiday". Finally, with the assistance of the police she was persuaded and taken to the quarantine hotel.

Latest easing of restrictions ...

Greece has eased further the coronavirus restrictions and reversed the mandatory use of masks in shopping malls and scraps the cap of six people per table in bars and restaurants. The strict protection measures were aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus.

The rule allowing no more than six customers per table in bars and restaurants has been withdrawn. However, the maximum number of people in the facility is kept as well as the safety distance among the tables and chairs.

All public transport means as well as touristic buses are allowed to transport people with 65% of their capacity. (Just the 45 then on each of the two Skiathos buses)

The decision is valid from July 7 to July 12, 2020 – when apparently a new decision will be taken.

Watch this space ...

Previous Blog: First charter ...

Thursday, 25 June 2020

First charter ...

The first international flight ...

Will be the Air Serbia ...


It will get the customary wash and brush up from the airport fire crew around 6am, on the 1st July when it arrives from Belgrade with 144 passengers.

The passengers will receive, a welcome reception and gifts from the Municipality of Skiathos and the Hotel Owners Association ...

Jet2 -UK

Jet 2 have cancelled the friday flight from Manchester, until 28th August, and are letting 102 pilots go, and around 380 cabin crew...

TUI - UK

The TUI flights to Skiathos will start on August 4th from Manchester and there will be two more flights on August 7th from London and Birmingham. No other UK airport will operate to Skiathos.

There will be three flights a week, in August and September, and are scheduled to operate until September 18, when the last flight is scheduled.

Previous Blog: Summer solstice ...

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Summer solstice ...

Happy Summer solstice ...

The summer solstice has happened, at 00:43 Skiathos time. Now as its June 21, its also known as the longest day of the year ...


Sunrise in Skiathos will be at 6:00 AM
Sunset in Skiathos will be at 8:56 PM

That's 14 hours, and 56 minutes of midsummer fun.

Meanwhile at Stonehenge, and most of Britain you can enjoy 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight.

As the sun will rise at 4:43am and will set at 9:21pm


Or if like my good friend Stig, up in Norway, he will still be there with his (Last) bottle of Evagelistria monastery tsipouro awaiting the sunrise at 03:54

It's going to be a warm one, So where would you rather be? sunkissed, at Stonehenge, (No live dancing this year, its being streamed to ensure you all social distance) or in Norway instead of Spartacus, with my currently grounded good friend Stig?

Either way it will be a lot of fun ...

Today, its also my 'Half Birthday' so only six months to go to the full one on the Winter solstice.

It's all downhill from here, Summer starts today - Kalo Kalokeri, Good summer, even if we are not sure yet, what kind of summer it will be ...

Happy Fathers day to all those celebrating the event today.

Top tip boys and girls, when the Chianti is on special. You rub your hands in sanitising gel, you grab a trolley and fill the car boot with it. Sounds good, It is but try not to sink it all in one evening  #JustSaying ...

Late news ...

Looks like TUI are planning to operate to Greece from 11th July.

Not to Skiathos. Initial destinations include Rhodes, Corfu, Crete and Kos. They're the only Greek ones. This article says they'll add more at the end of July ...

Newsflash ...

Coronavirus: Germany's R number rockets again - from 1.79 to 2.88  https://t.co/msF8YS1aaC and they are cleared to land ...

Previous Blog: First airport arrivals in July? ...

Thursday, 18 June 2020

First airport arrivals in July? ...

This update is from Skiathoslife via the Taxydromos newspaper ...

The first flight with tourists from Austria will land at Skiathos airport on July 4 and a specific business plan has been drawn up. Preparations are in full swing in the island of Magnesia and especially in the Northern Sporades for the reception of tourists. The first flight from overseas to Skiathos airport, which serves the three islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos will land at midday on 4 the s July from Austria.

(This will be news to those expecting to arrive on the 1st July, from Dusseldorf on the Condor)

"We are fully prepared to operate based on the new data imposed by the State, observing all health protocols and following the" guide "that has been announced," Skiathos airport official Stefanos Lambropoulos told TACHIDROMOS.

But how do tourists get off the plane? According to the instructions given by the competent authorities, the passengers are categorized into two groups depending on the country they come from. 

Group A includes passengers coming from Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Ireland, Iceland, Croatia, Cyprus, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Malta, Norway, Ore. , Czech Republic, Finland.
They will be screened for coronary artery disease upon arrival.

(A free heart check up? - Who needs BUPA)

For Group B, which includes travelers from Albania, Belgium, France, Italy, Northern Macedonia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, other countries outside the European Union, mandatory diagnostic tests for COVID-19 will be performed upon arrival.

Of course, all those who land at the airport of Skiathos will be given a passport information form, which they will have to fill out and submit to the local authorities.
Passengers who have undergone a diagnostic test for COVID-19 are required to remain self-limiting for 24 hours at the address they will declare, until the results are announced.

Two doctors for a test:
According to the director of the Skiathos Health Center, Giannis Rizodimos, for the sampling tests for COVID-19, it has been decided that two doctors who are being trained in this direction have been responsible.

The management of any cases of positive cases that will occur in the three islands of the Northern Sporades has been undertaken by the Skiathos Health Centre until of course their preparation is prepared at the Reference Hospital, which is the University Hospital of Larissa.
In the next few days, according to Mr. Rizodimos, the molecular control equipment that will be used for the tests will be expected in Skiathos.

Three-day readiness exercise:
EKAB, however, in view of the general preparation in the islands, based on its pan-Hellenic action plan, plans a three-day readiness exercise in the Northern Sporades.
Based on the announced program, today, Thursday, June 18, a program will be carried out to check the readiness, training and exercises of the medical staff of the Alonissos Regional Clinic and the delivery of a new ambulance from the EKAB Larissa branch.

Tomorrow, Friday 19 June, there will be a program to check the readiness, training and exercises of the Health Personnel of the Skopelos Health Centre and the officials of the Skopelos Port Department regarding the management of a suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-20 case, while on Saturday In June, there will be a program for checking the readiness, training and exercises of the Health Personnel of the Skiathos Health Center and the executives of the local Port Authority regarding the management of a suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 incident.

VASO KYRIAZI

You get a general idea ...

Previous Blog: Aegean flights update ...

Monday, 15 June 2020

Aegean flights update ...

For all those asking about flights from UK, here is an email i have received from Aegean ...

To help you plan your next travel, here are some key points of the flight restrictions currently imposed by the Greek Government for arrivals to Greece effective June 15th and until June 30th 2020.

Arriving passengers are categorized in accordance with their origin in three distinct groups as follows:

GROUP A: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland.

GROUP B: Albania, Belgium, France, Italy, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, other non-EU countries.

- Passengers arriving at Athens International Airport originating from GROUP A will be subject to random Covid-19 testing upon their arrival.

- Passengers arriving at Athens International Airport originating from GROUP B, either with a direct flight or through a country included in Group A, will be subject to 100% Covid-19 testing upon their arrival.

- Passengers arriving at Thessaloniki Airport, will be subject to 100% Covid-19 testing upon their arrival.

All international passengers will be provided during check in or on board, with a Passenger Location Form, to be filled and provided to the authorities upon arrival.

Tested passengers have to compulsory self-isolate in the address they will declare for 24 hours, until the testing outcome is available.

Connecting Passengers are subject to COVID-19 testing upon their arrival in Athens or Thessaloniki and will be able to continue their trip to their final destination, where they will self-isolate until the testing outcome is available.

Furthermore, the Greek Goverment has extended flight restrictions from/to UK and Turkey until June 29th, 2020.

For more details please review our Travel Updates page.

We look forward to travelling together again. With safety and confidence.

Previous Blog: Tourism  is coming ...

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Tourism is coming ...

Two days to go ...

Skiathos and Greece, opens for business on Monday June 15th, and the holidaymakers are eagerly awaited. A step in the right direction and the start of summer 2020.

If you were at an interview in 2015, one of the questions may have been. Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I like everyone else would have got that question hopelessly wrong ...

SWMBO certainly would have got that hopelessly wrong too. However as many will recall from the dark days of 2015. her future was very uncertain indeed.

However like a car, she has just had her annual MOT, Only hers is at the Royal Marsden in London. Probably one of the most difficult places, to access at the moment with the strict controls in place.

See you next year, quite a result and we celebrated the event with a bottle of 'Rose Lagioiosa' that was gathering dust. Very nice indeed ...

So you are probably thinking, what happens if I head off down to Skiathos?

What are the controls in place, the who what why and where?

It seems likely you will have to wear a mask on the aircraft, you will be admitted in limited numbers to passport control, and through the airport.

The island had visitors from the mainland, last weekend for the Pentecost weekend holiday. It went well, and no issues.

Tables are socially distanced, in the cafe and restaurants, you do not have to wear a face mask, however the staff working in shops are required to wear a face mask.

As people start to travel, there have been issues in Greece as people return home from abroad. Mainly where people do not follow the current quarantine rules, and there have been outbreaks of the virus reported across the country, but not on Skiathos.

“The ban [on passenger flights from] Great Britain remains in place” for the next two weeks,” the tourism minister, Harry Theoharis, said in a televised presentation where health policies bolstering medical care on islands were formally unveiled.

Greek officials told the Guardian the decision was in line with the EU commission’s latest recommendation that travel restrictions at the bloc’s external borders be phased out gradually and in “a strictly coordinated” manner. UK passenger flights are expected to be reinstated from 1 July onwards.

#cough #cough (Doubt anyone will fly before 1st August from UK)

If I travel, what happens if ...

Skiathos has a health centre, just the same as a small town in the UK. It cannot support a full-time hospital, like on the larger islands, Corfu, Kefalonia, Rhodes etc. The nearest is in Volos on the mainland, with ICU beds ...

The Greek government has announced the complete plan for the islands, and the connections to hospitals on the mainland.


Skiathos will be the centre, of the Sporades network, and will be the hub, for Skopelos and Alonissos. Who will connect via a water ambulance and from Skiathos, then if necessary the airforce C130 air ambulance, will operate. Probably either to Athens or Thessaloniki ...

So what happens next, do you travel or not?  That's up to you ...

Previous Blog: Whats it like ...

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Whats it like ...

So what's it like arriving from a country not on the list arriving in Athens? ...

Here is the report from Popy Halkias, who travelled from Newark via Frankfurt to Athens this week.

Greece has always prided itself on its sunny weather, beaches and islands. Now, Greece has spectacularly outperformed many countries in its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. I was really impressed on the way we were handled upon arrival. All costs are government subsidized. FREE! The test, transportation, hotel stay and meals are all courtesy of the greek government 🇬🇷

Note: Many are asking for my trip itinerary. I flew from Newark (EWR) with a stop in Frankfurt. The airline I flew was Lufthansa. Athens was my final destination.

First we had to fill out this form before arrival. Then we disembarked the plane, 40 passengers at a time.


A police officer escorted us to this hall to get tested.


Testing for COVID-19 involves inserting a 6-inch long pharyngeal swab (down the throat, NOT through the nose).


The head of Security explained to us what to expect in the next 24 hours.


After we got our luggage, police again escorted us to the buses that will take us to the hotel. We will remain there for 24 hours until the test results come out. If one is positive, he/she will remain at the hotel. If one is negative, he/she will go home for a strict 14-day quarantine.


Hotel arrivals are conducted by Civil Protection. We checked in a 4-star downtown hotel called “The Stanley”.


With a partial view of the Parthenon


And a direct view of the Lycabettus Hill.


We were given flyers about Covid-19


And instructions for our hotel stay.


And in english.


We were told that meals would be left outside our room door in a paper bag in disposable containers. We had instructions, once we finished with our meal to leave our waste outside the door and it would be picked up by hotel personnel. This is dinner. It arrived before my luggage did!!





Later Update from the excellent 'Keep Talking Greece' site ...


Greek Foreign Ministry Press Release

Phase 1 – Until 15 June

  • International flights are allowed only into Athens airport.
  • All visitors are tested upon arrival and are required to stay overnight at a designated hotel. If the test is negative, then the passenger self-quarantines for 7 days.
  • If the test is positive, the passenger is quarantined under supervision for 14 days.

Phase 2 – Bridge phase- 15 June to 30 June
  • International flights are allowed into Athens and Thessaloniki airports.
  • If your travel originated from an airport not in the EASA affected area list (https:/…group-easa-downloads), then you are only subject to random tests upon arrival.
  • If you originate from an airport on the EASA affected area list, then you will be tested upon arrival.
  • An overnight stay at a designated hotel is required. If the test is negative then the passenger self-quarantines for 7 days. If the test is positive, the passenger is quarantined under supervision for 14 days.

Phase 3 – 1 July onwards
  • International flights are allowed into all airports in Greece.
  • Visitors are subject to random tests upon arrival.
  • Additional restrictions regarding certain countries will be announced at a later date.

In addition:

Land border arrivals from Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria will be allowed as of 15 June. Visitors will be subject to random tests upon arrival.

Arrivals by sea will be allowed as of 1 July. Visitors will be subject to random tests upon arrival.

Greece at any stage retains the right to modify any of the above in light of changing circumstances.

Previous blog: Are you on the list? ...

Friday, 29 May 2020

Are you on the list? ...

Or not ...

Greece announced early afternoon Friday, May 29, the list of 29 countries from which it will accept tourists as of June 15, 2020, when it opens its borders again. According to a statement by the Greek Tourism Ministry, borders will be “open” from June 15, with flights permitted to land only in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Among the countries are Greece’s neighbours in the North, some countries in the East Mediterranean Sea, Scandinavian and Central European countries as well as some in the Far East and Australia.

These countries are:

Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Finland.

Sample testing will be carried out on some visitors from these 29 countries in Greece.

The list of 29 countries was drawn up after a study of the epidemiological profile of the countries of origin of tourists and after taking into account Thursday’s announcements of the European Air Safety Agency (EASA), as well as the relevant proposal of the Infectious Disease Committee.

The existing rules – ban – continue to apply for all other countries.

The list will be expanded starting on July 1 and the new added countries will be announced in time.

Source: keeptalkinggreece.com

Previous Blog: Had a break ...

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Had a break ...

From the experts ...

You know the ones who ask 'if someone knows if their flight will depart on' those who 'say they think' (Which are best ignored as they don't know at all) ...

The ones who are traveling on, have rebooked to (Insert month/year here), the ones who have cancelled and lost deposits, those who are waiting for a refund, have yet to ask for a refund, who have had a refund. Those with a voucher, those  who cannot get through on the phone, those who could, and those with a magic telephone number.

Those who have already missed out, been cancelled and don't want you to go either ...

There are epidemiologist experts, the insurance experts, and of course the legion of experts about aircraft engineering. Here is something from someone who does know, BALPA  ...


Then there are the ones who are definitely going, those who are on the first flight out, the ones swimming there, and those who are coming via another country. They know something the rest of us do not - The date ...  

From Monday 25th May domestic travel to the islands is permitted, by ferry/air.

However, Greece opens for tourism on June 15th, if you return before that you will probably have to quarantine in the UK, for two weeks when you get back, as mentioned back on May 9th ...

German leisure airline Condor is getting ready to relaunch its 2020 summer schedule as of June 25, with flights to Skiathos. If you are on the Laudamotion coming via Vienna there is the compulsory £190 health check before you can fly ...

Update: Laudamotion (Vienna) went bust today. The Vienna operation only as the Austrian unions would not accept the pay cuts required by their owners Ryanair.  They will continue to operate from their German and Spanish bases using Ryanair aircraft.

The Blue Panorama from Rome and Milan appears to have been cancelled along with the Norwegians until after August 20th at the earliest.

Social distancing on an aircraft ...

You know I have been trying to find out how to do it.

The proposed social distancing seats for the economy class by EarthBay. This solution comes as a low-cost kit that's quick and easy to install with no modifications to the seats.

Is this the future of travel for economy flights?



The middle seat will be €25 each way, and come with IKEA instructions and an Allen key. The other two will be €10 each way ...

Complaints dept ...

Our complaints dept read one the other day, we delete most, as its a great way to remain positive. After all as they always say on FB, we all apparently 'need something to look forward to' ...

Someone took my advice, one day, and filled their account under the stairs with Euros. Around a Christian Louboutin shoebox full of them, before the fall. Sadly since then, they have been laid down with the virus, and thankfully now well on the way to a full recovery.

However the box full of fresh readies, will have to stay under the stairs for a little while longer. Even if they are burning a hole in the good ladies designer purse ...

Mines a Negroni at a place, and date TBA ...

Express Skiathos ...

The Skiathos Express returns to the islands on Monday, June 1st. It departs at 08:00 in the morning from Volos to the islands whilst the return from Skiathos to Volos will be at 15:45. No sign yet of a flying Cat or Dolphin ...

Beach cleaning

Tomorrow - Sunday 24th meet at the Bourtzi at 9am and its Aghia Eleni ...

The Mayor, and the Dimos are working hard to have the island ready for tourism, when the light switch goes to green. Island friends are eagerly awaiting your arrival. 

Good to hear from Ann & Derek, Dawn, Steve & Linda, to name but a few ...

Be kind, stay safe ...

Previous Blog: Next steps ...