Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Arrival & first day 16th/17th September 2015

WELCOME TO MY BLOG OF
OUR TRIP TO THE BEAUTIFUL GREEK ISLAND OF SKIATHOS.

Other blogs of mine;

HERE (Gran Canaria)
HERE (Lanzarote)
HERE (Madeira)
HERE (Peak district walks)
HERE (Majorca)
and HERE (Fuerteventura)


After an uneventful flight, apart from our first-ever delay - two and a half hours -  we were airborne. Thanks to lots of cloud, it was a lot of nothingness, apart from the odd glimpse of the sea below, as we continued.


However, we did get a FEW glimpses of land as we flew over. I think this was a mountain pass in Spain. I do think these features look amazing from high above, the way the road snakes through the deep pass.

The mountains were, as always, very impressive.

Snow caps and all.

This reservoir was like looking at a large scale map, features so well defined, it was stunning.


After a smooth and enjoyable flight, we saw the coastline of Skiathos from the plane.
Now to prepare for that well-recorded short landing at the airport.



The airstrip is short, so pilots have to get pretty low early on, they fly RIGHT OVER your head!
You can see a video of our landing by clicking HERE


Customs was a quick affair at the airport, and in no time at all, we arrived at our hotel, the Kanapitsa Mare.

We got exactly the room we requested, 206, with this stunning view over the sea.


No time to mess around, we unpacked only the absolute essentials (trunks, snorkel) and went straight to the local beach, Tzanaria.
It was lovely, warm and relaxing. The holiday had started!

After frying for the afternoon, and doing our first lot of snorkeling, we got changed and went to the local bar/restaurant - Johnny's.
Now this is how I like my lager beer served, WELL chilled!

Johnny's was quite popular, and it was easy to see why. Friendly, good food, nice ambiance and comfortable seating. We would come here several times during the holiday, as it was just across the road from our hotel.


The next morning, we intended to catch the local bus, known as the 'sardine express', into Skiathos town but as we stood at the stop, a taxi pulled up and the driver leaned out of the window and said; 'five euros to town?' - we accepted, as the combined bus fare was three euros twenty, so not a lot of difference. On the way, he stopped and picked up two more people, another five euros.

We got out at the top of the main street in Skiathos town, Papadiamanti street, named after a famous son of the island.
You can read about him if you CLICK HERE.

We had had some local knowledge from some friends who had been here several times. The recommended a cafe bar called the Lobby. We soon found it, and started to people watch while sipping our lattes.
 After coffee, we began to explore. "Just get lost in the back streets", our friends had said, so we did. We saw some great local fruit and veg shops, just look at the size of those tomatoes! I can tell you too from experience, they are SOOOOOO sweet on salads.

We called in to the lobby of a 'boutique hotel', The Bourtzi, (with boutique prices) and I got this shot of their lovely horse sculpture.

Sue noticed this 'bird' on a chimney, then we realised it wasn't real! It was to scare the real thing away (apparently).

It looks like it's done a long, brown dropping!

The streets of this town are lovely. Lots of them, and lots of interesting sights to see, and not an inch of Tarmac - all beautifully paved and rough.

The island is COVERED with small churches and chapels, also loads of tiny little shrine-like things (more of those later).

This guy was making the famous 'Baklava' cake, so loved by the Greeks. We tried a mixed box of their cakes, including Baklava, and they are far too sickly sweet for our taste. They are dripping in what looks like syrup, almost impossible to eat by hand.

The guy was below this shop, this is where his wares were sold, all hand made. The lady, who MUST be some relative, gave us two little profiteroles. I have to say, they were the best we had ever tasted, and that's one of our favourite sweets.

So MANY to choose from!

We walked to the top of the street to come out above the ocean.
This seat would produce a magic moment later on in the holiday.

With the sun beating down, Sue was determined to find us a place to catch some rays, and soon.

All the buildings were whitewashed, so the sun reflected, and we were getting VERY warm

Soon, we reached the start of a promontory, the views from which were terrific.

Over to our left, a dilapidated building, once a bar? It looked to be in the PERFECT  position, but sadly derelict.

The peaceful bay in front of the bar.

This place was perfect, and we spent a long time sitting here and swimming. The water was deep right away, so the snorkeling was good too.

This really is the perfect place. OK - no sand, but we were VERY comfortable on these slightly angled flat rocks. Best of all, the sea was RIGHT THERE.

So - only one thing for it - GET IN.

The views over the harbour to town were just perfect too.
  Also, we could watch the planes coming in to land. You can see what we saw by clicking HERE.


A panorama taken from the rocks, click on it for a larger picture,

The water taxi passes by. You can see where we caught it by clicking HERE


After three hours relaxing, we walked into town, via the old harbour.

We visited the Bourtzi bar (same name as the boutique hotel) on the lump of rock that divides the old harbour and the new one. The rocks you can see behind the boat are where we had been sunning and swimming earlier.

Lots of shade from pine trees here, a very pleasant spot to tarry.

 We then ran the gauntlet of cafe owners trying to talk us into their own establishment.
We could see the famous clock tower above us (another restaurant), which we earmarked to visit at some point.

The prom' was lovely here, with no traffic for the most part. The 'road' began just beyond those tree, and Papadiamanti street was just ahead on the left.

The sun was over the yardarm, so cocktail time was in order.

Then it was into the bustle of Papadiamanti street, with all it's shops, cafes, etc etc.

All over Skiathos town was the buzz of small motorbikes/mopeds. NO-ONE seemed to wear crash helmets, and they carried all manner of things on them. During our stay, we saw sets of golf clubs, fishing rods, FOUR members of a family, and even a guy driving one-handed, with a BABY tucked under his other arm!!

In this one snap, there are FIVE motorbikes!

The local cinema was open air. This was because there had been a fire there in the past, which burnt the roof off. They thought; 'why do we need a roof?', and so now it shows films 'topless'. Twice a week, they show 'Mama Mia', as this island, and neighboring Skopelos, was where a large part of it was filmed. They are, understandably, milking the connection.
It is a MUST DO to see the film here (even though we have the DVD), so we bought tickets for the following Monday showing.

By now, night was falling and we were getting peckish.
This place did a really lovely mixed grill for two, with bread, wine AND a sweet for just 18 euros - super value (and a nice meal).

The pace was relaxed and informal. The evenings warm and balmy. This was a GOOD place to be, and we were getting well into holiday mode already.

At every turn, a beautiful courtyard or walkway.
 Shops spilled out onto the street with wares to try and catch the last of the tourist trade. Greece has a very short season, which is why we were here in September. We usually don't go away until mid-October, but this two week period was the last for the island this year. We could see evidence of this towards the end of our stay, with places closing, beaches being stripped of sunbeds and umbrellas, etc.

Just to walk these beautiful streets was a delight.
We couldn't get enough of it.


Finally, we decided to catch the boat taxi back to our hotel, just three euros each for the trip. With the soft harbour lights twinkling behind us, we made our way back.

Day one done, and were were already in love with this island.


4 comments:

  1. It was Joyce, and we miss it (but not the insect bites) lol x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great! Nice writeup too 😊

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Odeta xxx Thanks, & hope you're well??

    ReplyDelete