Well, can’t believe we’ve only two full days left! The last week and a bit has flown by so quickly .... not because we’ve been really busy, as we have gone into full-on lazy mode, but probably because the weather has got hotter and hotter & it’s also quite humid with it. Will do a food post later, as I’ve been taking notes. We’ve been over to Koukounaries beach a few times, but yesterday put us off a little as it was quite full and there was no breeze at all. The sunbeds are also very close together these days.
I had planned to hire a car so we could reach Eleni and the Mandrakis, but we haven’t even had the energy to do that! We decided to wait until September, when we’re here with family and can show them more of the island in a Jimny. May even get to the famous Ligaries, Dennis!
Well, can’t believe that we’ve been home a week today and I still haven’t finished this off! *hangs head in shame*
In my defence, it’s been a pretty hectic week - all the usual post-holiday chores, plus after four weeks away, dust & spiders had taken over the house and the garden had turned into a jungle. (Serves us right, really!) There were also the final preparations for my ‘50 years since O levels’ school reunion last Saturday, which was absolutely brilliant. Such a lot of laughter and reminiscing..... the summer of ‘69 has a lot to answer to!
Anyway, enough digression ... our final two days were more of the same ...... sunbathing, eating and a few tipples. On the final morning, we said our farewells to the lovely Panorama family, plus some friends we’d met round the pool, and were collected at 11 am by Anna, the lady taxi driver. We diverted to Skiathos Diamond to collect another couple and then continued to the airport. (Anna may be a lady - but her driving is not very girlie! She was on the phone and car radio almost continuously & when not talking to whoever (seemed like a lot of other taxi drivers) was shrieking with laughter at Paul, sitting next to her, and who must have been looking nervous as she swooped and swerved round anything going slowly enough in front of her!). A safe, but memorable journey 😆
The airport experience was not pleasant. I’d picked Tuesday flights as past experience had put us off Fridays, however it was queue-central .... the Departures area was jam-packed with lines of people, and the reps were working so hard to organise everyone. It seems that there were two London flights departing very close to each other and then our Manchester one shortly afterwards. We had managed to beat the coaches for our flight, which was a good thing, but we were in the check in queue, then the security queue, followed by the passport checking queue for over an hour and a half. There were plenty of seats in the Departure lounge, but it was lunchtime by now and everyone was starving - so, yes, back in another queue for the snack bar! For some very strange reason (even the snack bar staff didn’t know why) the new and smart-looking cafe area was closed to all of us. Some airport staff were eating in there (and looked very smug) but the rest of us had to make do with sandwiches, crisps and dodgy burgers, at exorbitant cost! Note to self: take own food to the airport next time, or take the risk of food poisoning 🤢. (On a serious note, I was asked if I wanted the cheeseburgers hot or cold! I said ’hot, please’ & she vanished for ages. They looked nice, but were decidedly lukewarm, so I ditched most of mine. Paul didn’t ..... and guess who was really poorly that night & next day? Apart from that, the flight was uneventful .... except the cabin crew were short by two people and it took two hours to serve a drink or food. They were so frazzled they asked us to make a complaint to Tui, which we have.
I’ll post this now and then finish off when I’ve had a cuppa ..... it’s 6 am & I’ve a busy day ahead, as I’m off on a four day ladies’ trip early tomorrow and have to organise both my stuff and Paul - who will be Home Alone - feeling guilty already 😱
Your airport experience was on a par with mine last September Kate, pretty horrendous. I joined a queue that went down the hall, then up the hall then down the hall before coming back up to the zig zag lane to check in, then a repeat performance to get to security. It was so bad that I was still in the security queue when my flight was called! That time I was on a TUI flight. More than a third of departures had been sectioned off for the TC flights, which remained completely empty whilst the rest of departures was in chaos. When TC customers arrived, they had a very easy check in. The TUI reps themselves could not understand why the check-in experience had been changed for the last two weeks of the holiday season.
However, I comforted myself with the thought I was on a direct flight home, no stopping at Kavala for a refuel like TC. What is that saying? Don't count your chickens before they are hatched! Yes we ended up stopping at Kavala to refuel. I have now seen both sides of that airport.
We ate in Koukounaries every evening except one, when we went on a last shopping trip into town and a last visit to our favourite (Paraxenos - carbonara and chicken a la Crème, food and service excellent 😍).
As we were staying at the Panorama, we had lunch there most days & worked our way through the smaller dishes, plus we ate there three times during the two weeks. The food is very good (portions large) and you usually get salad, rice and chips with grilled meat/fish dishes. At lunchtime Paul would have a toastie, omelette or bacon sandwich. I’m not a sandwich fan, so had the following on different days - giant beans (twice!), spring rolls with dipping sauce (also twice), Greek salad, orange superfood salad, cheeseburger, baked spicy feta and feta in filo pastry with honey. (I discovered that you can order a half portion salad, which is more than enough for one person). All were lovely, and lunch for two came to either €13-14, including either beer or a soft drink.
One day, the lovely Apollo made a special cheese dish for me to sample, when I mentioned that cheese is my favourite food. It was a round cheese containing mastic (called something like mastika) and the texture was similar to halloumi, but less ‘bouncy’. He halved the cheese to make two thinner rounds and grilled one half on a George Foreman type grill, then spread a thin layer of strawberry jam on the cut side. It was absolutely delicious!
On on the days we didn’t eat there we walked to the supermarket for supplies and ate on the balcony, but tended to spend more as we would give in to temptation and also buy crisps, biscuits and chocolate!
Panorama - three evenings, Mr Dependable aka Paul had lamb chops each time and really enjoyed them. I’m also boring this year- chicken a la Crème twice (nearly as good as Paraxenos) and grilled sole, which was delicious. Evening meals (including wine) around €40.
AlaMar - twice. Love this place (the old Village tavern) - the food, decor and staff all hit the right note, for me. The first time we went we bumped into Jenny Eclair (comedienne) and her husband outside and she was asking us if it was ok, as they were staying at Elivi and were horrified at the food prices 😱. In fact, they were quite disenchanted with the whole place and said it was almost empty. (Am pleased we didn’t stay there, then!!)
That first time, I had the sea bass (tasty fish and just a few oven potatoes and ‘proper’ veg!!) and Paul chose steak and frites, which he said was extremely tender and delicious. We made the mistake of ordering a carafe of rose - then Paul decided he definitely doesn’t like rose wine and ordered himself some red. Silly me ..... I polished off all the very quaffable rose and can’t remember anything else that evening - oops! Paul tells me the bill was around €50, so probably one of our more expensive meals, even though still v reasonable (the steak was quite expensive, I think). I blame Jenny 😂
The second time was our last night and we went with three friends. Again, a lovely atmosphere and warm welcome. Two of our group had seafood pasta and said it was good, the other had carbonara - also good. I had pappardelle ragu - pieces of tender steak in a lovely, light sauce - new favourite! Paul made a terrible choice (unusually) and didn’t have lamb! He asked for chicken ribs .... an unusual thing to see on a menu. He did ask the waiter how they were served- apparently a different/traditional way of carving the chicken. Anyway, when it was served we all looked at it in horror. It looked like road-kill - chunks of meat attached to the spine - yuk! Paul, to give him credit, managed some of it but the meat was hard to get off the bones and was also tasteless. When the waiter collected the plates he asked Paul if he liked the food - Paul said no, awful, so the head waiter came over to apologise, asked if he wanted anything else (no) and said he would knock it off the bill. They then brought us orange cake, ice cream and hot chocolate brownie cake on the house, still apologising! As we were leaving the manager also apologised .... we told her not to worry, as it was a one-off and we would return. Which we will - 5* customer service.
Under The Pines - three visits. Again this year, very reasonable and loads of food. Approx €20~25, including wine or beer. We hate sending food back - it seems rude - so we had to be so careful when ordering. My favourite there is on the starters list - crispy chicken strips with sesame and a dipping sauce ... just lovely. Had this three times - once as a shared starter, along with their beetroot salad & followed by chicken gyros, and twice as my main! Paul had the pork kontosouvlaki (some of which we took away to feed to the cats round the corner), mini kebabs and pork belly. All very good, though enormous portions. (I wonder who can eat this much food - not only do you get tzatziki, salad and chips with all the meat dishes, but also pitta bread!)
Big Bad Wolf - once. This place is always very busy and seems popular with holidaymakers and Greeks. No starters, lamb chops for Paul (which he had trouble with as there was lots of splintery bone and the meat was a bit tough), chicken in a blue cheese sauce for me (very nice). With wine, the bill was just over €30. Although I would go back, I always find this place a little underwhelming- though I know many people love it.
Agustera - once (though we did intend to go one morning for the delicious breakfast, but never made it). On the Sunday when England played football - I think! - we ate at about six, early for us, as the match had started at four. I had penne bolognese and Paul had Soutzoukakia (I think), aka meatballs in a tomato sauce, with chunky skin-on chips. Very nice, as always in the Agustera, and also reasonable... approx €20 for the food, not including drinks.
Myrtia - once. We would have eaten there more often, as the food is lovely, but it was quite a long trudge away from our hotel and down a track ... not recommended after a couple of vinos! We had the usual warm welcome from Vlatko and Stefanos, plus the bonus of meeting up with friends from home also staying there ..... and seeing EGG and family (though, unfortunately, we didn’t realise it was him at the time)! Paul chose lamb chops (giving them full marks) and I had the Special - also lamb chops, but in a red wine sauce. I enjoyed them, but they were difficult to eat because of the sauce (and I was wearing a white top!!) I would recommend the Myrtia - for both quality and value for €. It’s often overlooked as a taverna as it’s off the main road, but it is excellent and you will always get a lovely welcome.
Sunset - once. The setting is very nice, by the pool, and we received a lovely welcome from the two guys. Paul had a mixed grill and I (again) had chicken (Mrs Boring) in a mushroom sauce. The food was nice, but not memorable - usual price of just over €30, inc wine.
Finally, Cookoonari - once, because we ran out of time! We went with a couple of friends and sat near the front of the garden. It’s such a lovely setting and each year they have made more improvements. Paul had ..... bet you can’t guess??? - yes, lamb chops and said they were definitely thebest ever! I had the pork tenderloin in lamb slips with delicious creamy mash and veg ..... Heavenly!! Probably my best meal, however .... it was very rich and I really suffered next day 😨. Our friends both had chicken souvlaki and said it was very good. Good value (but can’t remember how much) although I was VERY disappointed that the Dancing Cat has deserted Cookoonari and now dances at ALaMar!
Ok, so that’s about it ..... lots of other stuff has no doubt escaped me over the past few weeks, but I’ve droned on quite long enough. I hope you’ve just scrolled past if it’s bored you silly! Oh, I would just like to add, though, that although a month in Skiathos sounds like an awfully long time - it actually isn’t & we really needed two months (though my alcohol-soaked kidneys would no doubt beg to differ 😂)
Whoop whoop! Thanks Kate. That’s really got me ready to start packing for NEXT WEEK! Eek 😬 It’s very Dark, Damp & Dismal here today & if I wasn’t in charge of a 2 year old for the day I’d be sifting, sorting & packing right now! Meanwhile, I’m needed to build a train track 😅
Really enjoyed all your reports kate, getting me in the mood nicely, we have alaways eaten in town or swell bar (lunch ) this time we intend new places every night in kolios area including infinity blue