Not a great nights sleep ( my fault for accepting a Greek coffee in the evening, I'm decaf these days) but up and at Athens airport for bag dropoff at 6. Unfortunately it's a communal dropoff and heaving and then security were going at a snails pace. Then it turns out my gate is what they call a 'bus gate' for short hop flights and they are a good walk from security. Thought I'd just got there in time to board, flustered. But of course the locals just do it in their own time, ambling up like they had all the time in the world. Result? 25 minutes late taking off. Ah well, go with the flow. I timed the a trial time in the air (40 mins on schedule) and we flew for less than 23 minutes!. Picked up car at airport, a few exploratory wrong turns but I've ended up in Magazia as planned for breakfast. Bit like Lindos, hilly with little narrow streets. Couldn't work out where cars accessed so I'm doing it all on foot, less stressful.
Sounds very intrepid, Kev and obviously it hasn’t changed since I did something similar a zillion years ago - the locals didn’t bother with hold baggage, there was plenty of space in the aisle and on my lap! I admired the way cabin crew managed to give us all an orange juice by climbing over everything.
No drink on this one, she just had time to bomb up the aisle dishing out a cereal bar each and then it was time to land. For anyone with interest in planes it was an ATR 42-600 apparently. You forget how much turbulence those things pick up at their low altitude routes.
Just a quick fill-in of the remainder of yesterday. The roads from the airport aren't so obviously signed as I hoped, still feeling not quite with it after poor nights sleep. I knew it was a shared military/civilian airport and there is a presence of uniformed people in the area. When I got to a point where the road went 2 ways and one had a military checkpoint with barrier, looking like entrance to a military base and the other just a normal road which would you pick? Needless to say as soon as I took the normal road there was much shouting from uniformed man. It would appear the barrier is the exit point and you've flown into a military zone in the first place. Presumably the innocent looking normal path leads to their secret stash of arms or whatever. So I pottered about going round the Molos peninsular but didn't stop, it's a bit uninspiring but may call back if I get chance. The only way to get close to the village bit is by parking up in one of 3 or 4 areas in the lower sections and then walking up through occasionally steep narrow backstreets. It levels off when you get to the little square with shops and cafes nearby. It's nice but on balance think I prefer Skiathos town. Rest of day spent finding accommodation, partially unpacking (enough for 3 nights) and a couple of hours late afternoon on the beach just over the road from apts. Been allocated a 4 bed family room with a little upstairs mezzanine type bit with the 2 extra beds, accessed by a little wooden staircase. It's all quite cute but it wasn't cheap, neither was car hire. There's a currently not flowing stream running down side of apts which will be mozzie heaven but not been bothered yet, battened down the hatches putting screens up before sundown and didn't use outside terrace except for drying swimming togs.
Drove to Linaria port ( only 10 min away ) for evening meal. Of course they are all fish oriented restaurants and I'm not a fish lover but one had goat in lemon sauce on menu. However when I ordered he says 'all finish, try beef. It better' so it was fried courgette followed by beef in lemon sauce with a couple of veg. Bread, big bottle of water, half litre house red final total 20 euro. Think the food and drink will generally be on a par with Skiathos and neighbouring islands.
'Skyros Internatioinal' terminal buliding
View of the area near the airport, very different from the other Sporades
The main town perched halfway up a steep hill
View from town out to Molos peninsula
View from town up to castle and monastery on neighbouring hill
Shops, town hall and adjoining square in main town.
Won't need to go back to airport as I leave by ferry on Monday. I did go part way back to a place called Palimeri as there are archaeological doings there but considering the extra driving I wouldn't recommend it unless you are a real fan of ruins. All free entry though. Mainly this morning I've headed south into the wilds to find the burial site of Rupert Brooke and had a little birdwatching session among the olive trees there until some Greeks turned up with a priest in tow. I don't think they were there in any official capacity,maybe it was his day off (odd for a Sunday). I'm now at a beach bar at Aspous beach just outside Skyros town. For a Sunday which is usually Greek 'family day' it's really quiet. Decent sized beach but no beds or umbrellas provided (a lot of them bring their own) but still barely double figures of people on the sand. My beach at Acherounes was much busier yesterday but it's more developed, more facilities.
More later when I've lounged a bit and got a bit of sun (been driving a fair bit today) and think where I might venture for evening meal.
Part of the ruins at Palimeri
The beach at Acherounes where my accommodation was just behind
Accommodatrion grounds (Pegasus apartments)
My room at Pegasus
Balcony area and view from it of Pegasus lawn area
I know you like to get the most out of your visits Kev and whilst you have a car, have you thought about going to see the Skyrian horses on the island? There is a horse breeding and conservation centre on the island - Mouries Farm at Kalikri Skyros on the road to Kalamitsa, where they have around 45 horses. That may be a nice trip out for you?
And so on to tonight's meal. Ahhh, where to start... Well this has probably happened to us all and no one died but... Had a quick look over what was available locally. I won't have the car by eating time tomorrow so decided I'd eat at the beachfront place in front of my digs tomorrow, hence needed somewhere local but worth getting car out for. Already eaten in Linaria. Look at map, next cove up the coast in other direction is Pefkos (nearly every Greek island has a Pefkos, at least any with pine trees). It only has 1 taverna. However the reviews seemed good on the whole. So I made some effort, smart casual and all that. First table I saw when I walked in, one of the two blokes didn't even have a shirt on. So I waited for what felt like an uncomfortable time until a waiter ambles over. Quickly assesses I'm (a) not Greek and (b) on my own and shoves me as far away from the nice tables as he can. At this point I'm the only non Greek in there. Subsequently 2 other parties of non Greeks turn up during my meal and we all end up adjacent to each other down the slightly duff end. Coincidence? I think not. Worse still one of them had found their own way to a table only to be told it 'was reserved' so they could be herded down the end with the other infidels. The family that took the better table were obviously on close terms with staff and brought children who proceeded to run round the restaurant playing tag and screaming at each other. Behaviour like that from foreign tourists children would not be tolerated for sure. But how was the food you ask? Well a mixed bag frankly. Tzatziki was nice, couldn't knock it. Main course of meatballs looked like they had come out of a packet and served with chips and a tiny bit of salad, literally a sliver of tomato and a bit of lettuce. No sauce. To be fair the big Greek family groups seemed be getting quite nice stuff but I should have known better than be 'guided' by the waiter, they just wanted to offload some surpluses on the foreigners. It arrived so fast it must have been premade and sat warming up. At least the bill wasn't a shock. Starter, main course, bit of bread, 1.5L bottle of water, half litre of house rose, freebie extra glass of wine and a little pud that arrived with the bill all for under 19 euro. The 8 euro for the main course was a bit of a joke though. I can this stuff off, once you see what is going in its obvious but the message is clear - go here with a Greek family and you will be fine.
what a dissapointment, never had that ever. If i was asked to move to a table i didnt like , i would say no thank you forget it i'll go elsewhere. meatballs no sauce ! I avoid places that serve rice and chips with everything. We have been spoiled in stoupa last 3 years ,because of abundance of water from underground springs, fields of vegetables in the area, no costly bringing in on ferries, so get lots with meals didnt see rice to fill up plate once.
I know that Skyros does not depend on tourism to flourish but treatment like that is unconscionable! Obviously, the waiter has a dislike of 'foreigners', so different to the usual warm and friendly Greek hospitality!
The bit about the children brought back a memory of my sister who was dining on a boat which had been turned into a restaurant onshore. This was in Bulgaria and the restaurant was full. There were a couple of children who had eaten their dinner and then we're let loose on the other diners, running around the aisles and tables, screaming and generally causing upheaval. Parents, waiters and manager doing nothing about it. Other diners looking extremely uncomfortable at what was happening. My sister took it as long as she could but then slapped her hand down very hard on the table (making everyone jump in their seats) and told the children to shut up, sit down and behave themselves! The kids immediately went back to their table very quietly and did just that.
The parents did not say a word and after they left the restaurant some of the remaining diners thanked my sister and told her that they wished they had been able to do what she had done but were afraid of upsetting anyone! I guess the majority of us feel that way too.
I hope this hasn't soured your experience of Skyros.