Category: Syros

From Syros to Athens: Final Night in Athens

By , 24/07/2014 21:42


Arriving back in Athens following the four hour ferry journey from Syros felt a bit like arriving at Gatwick after a flight. It was that “I’m home from holiday” feeling.

My time from Syros was, if you like, a “holiday within a holiday”; it did make me feel rather Greek to jump on a ferry and go to an island for a two day visit, then jump back on the ferry and return to the mainland.

After checking out of my room this morning, I headed to Galissas Beach for a final swim; spent so long in the water my hands aged by about 50 years… but then, my hands only need 5 minutes in water before they start to go wrinkly.

Later, I popped to the office where Yannis of Galissas Studios works; that was where we stayed last year, and Mum has already suggested that we may go back independently in the future – so I called in to get his contact details so we can look at it properly.

The time then came for me to pay my bill, say goodbye to Antonis, and get the bus in to Ermoupoli.

From Ermoupoli, I took the 16:00 ferry (on the Blue Star Naxos / Μπλου Σταρ Νάξος boat) back to Piraeus – I stood at the back of the boat for about 50 minutes as we sailed along the coast of Syros, before turning and then seeing the island Syros fade away in to the distance.

The journey back was rather pleasant – as I found a spare seat on the sundeck, and sat there as we sailed past island after island… and whenever we were close enough to land to get a 3G mobile signal, I’d quickly boot up my laptop and do my e-mails. The on-board wifi was a bit too expensive for me.

Arriving back in Piraeus, we had some excellent views of the city as we approached – I could clearly see the Acropolis and Lykavittos Hill. As a sign that my Greek is definitely coming along nicely during this trip, I was able to understand every word of the stream of tannoy announcements as we docked in Piraeus, and didn’t need to listen when they were translated in to English afterwards.

On arrival in Piraeus I headed for the Metro station, got a 24 hour travel pass, and went back to my hotel in Metaxourgeio; changing trains at Omonoia, the journey took about 40 minutes.

Tonight really is my final night in Athens: and it occurred to me that after 24 days in Greece, I was back in the hotel where it all started – in the room next door to the one I had during the first week.

Leaving Syros

By , 24/07/2014 16:51

After two excellent days on Syros, the time has come for me to get on the ferry and return to Athens. It took about an hour before Syros disappeared completely from view; plenty of time for photos as the island faded in to the distance.


Above: View of Ermoupoli from the ferry.

Below: And we’re off! Next stop Piraeus.



Below: I used my very best Greek to ask someone to take a photo of me…. «Μπορείτε να κάνετε φωτογραφία μου; Να στέλνω στη Μαμά μου στην Αγγλία».



Above and Below: The Northern tip of Syros, starting to fade in to the distance.



Above: Syros continuing to fade in to the distance – look, I can see Kini (below the clouds).

Below: Almost gone…


Morning at the Beach, Afternoon in Ermoupoli

By , 23/07/2014 22:51


I made the most of today as it is the only day between now and Saturday that I am not travelling.

I’ve spent the day enjoying my (very short) stay on Syros. Breakfast was included in the room rate, and of all the breakfasts I’ve had so far in Greece, the continental breakfast provided here has by far been the best: cheese & ham toastie, a croissant with butter and cherry jam, a hard boiled egg, and a drink: which I was able to take up to my room to enjoy.

In the morning I headed for a nice swim at Galissas Beach – it’s quite quiet at 10am! I spent quite a bit of time there, floating about on the surface of the water, before I returned to my room to have some lunch.

This afternoon I got the bus in to Ermoupoli, where I wandered the streets for a bit. I went to find the t-shirt place where I got my shirt made last year, but had forgotten it closes in the afternoons. Will try and go tomorrow if I have time, if not I’ll find somewhere in Thessaloniki to make a personalised Greek t-shirt for me.

I got some postcards and some stamps – some postcards for my collection (I’ll be putting a photo album together with my postcard, photos, tickets and other things I’ve collected); and some to send to friends and family in the UK. I sat in one of Ermoupoli’s many cafés with a drink and an ice cream while I wrote the postcards.

This evening for dinner it was back to Ταβέρνα Σάββας (Taverna Savvas) – one of our favourites in Galissas from last year – where I enjoyed my μοσχαράκι (beef). Savvas was, as usual, very busy: I had to sit inside, but didn’t mind this at all.

So tomorrow, I go back to Athens. The ferry’s not until 4, so I’ve got time to do things during the morning; I’ll probably get the bus at about 2:15 to make sure I’m at the port in enough time. The 3:15 bus would probably get me in on time but I’d be at the back of a very long queue, especially if it is five or ten minutes late, as it sometimes is.

I’m off to bed now.

Good night,


To the Cyclades

By , 22/07/2014 23:13


Part 3 of my Grand Tour of Greece takes me 144km (89m) to Syros: Capital of the Cyclades, and of the entire South Aegean region.

Getting here was very easy, but did need an early start. I checked out of my hotel in Athens at 6:50 this morning, and waited outside for my taxi. I had prebooked the taxi before leaving the UK – and it arrived right on time at 7. It took me straight down to Piraeus – the whole journey takes no more than 20 minutes, and costs €25. An advantage of taking a taxi was that I was driven right up to the ferry, so didn’t have to carry my cases too far.

220720142308For the journey out, I took the 08:05 Hellenic Seaways service, on the Nissos Mykonos boat. We left on time – and arrived on time in Ermoupoli, at 11:30 on the dot. My €30 ticket was an economy class ticket; I sat up on the sun deck, right at the top, and got breakfast from the café bar just below.

A tip for travellers with lots of luggage: You can leave your cases down below; there is storage space in the garages at the bottom – all marked according to destination. Alternatively, do what I did and take them on deck with you – but remember the escalators only go as far as reception…and they don’t go down!

Back to Galissas

For my brief stay in Syros, I am back in Galissas – the small village I stayed in last year. This time though I’m staying in a room at Peter & Tony Rooms. The ground floor is the village café bar, serving a range of drinks, snacks and ice creams. At a cost of €76 for two nights, this is the most expensive part of my trip, but definitely worth it.

Antonis met me at the port and took me to Galissas on his motorbike. He took my suitcase at the front, while I sat on the back, holding on to my hand luggage and bag of shopping in one hand and the motorbike with the other. I wore no helmet, of course – this is Greece: Health & Safety doesn’t really exist out here. Riding on a motorbike (even if just a small, not very powerful one) was slightly scary, but I survived – and secretly enjoyed it.

I was able to go straight in to my room – a double room with a private bathroom, there’s also a fridge, tea/coffee making facilities as well as a knife, fork and spoons – which is quite useful, because I can get lunch, or keep some juice and water in the fridge.

220720142298After getting settled in to my room I headed for the beach. Galissas Beach is probably the best beach on the island, but never too busy. It is a shame though that what last year was the quieter end now has a (small) beach bar and a some sunbeds. It’s not a massive amount of sunbeds, but it is enough to encourage a few more people to use that end of the beach, so it’s not as quiet as it was last year.

I also note that a couple of the local tavernas have closed since we were here last. It’s a shame to see places close like that in such a lovely little village, but I guess that is the effect of the financial crisis in Greece at the moment.

After lunch and a siesta in front of the afternoon’s news bulletin on NERIT TV, I got the bus in to Ermoupoli. Forget the €3,90 each way cost for the busses in Leivadia: here, it’s €1,60 each way. It was only a quick trip to Ermoupoli today, to go to the cashpoint and to get a top-up card for my Greek mobile (you can’t top up by debit card on the Greek networks).

For dinner tonight, I went to the mezepoleio Κάππαρη Σύρου, and had chicken fillet and chips – as well as bread and a dip, and a drink – cost €10,10.

Tomorrow, after breakfast I’ll have a morning swim; then I think I’ll head back in to Ermoupoli for a bit of shopping, and then back to Galissas for an evening swim. Tomorrow is effectively the “last day” on Syros I was meant to have last year, before the tour operator sent us back to Mykonos, 24 hours before out flight, with 12 hours notice.

I’m off to bed.

Good night.



By , 22/07/2014 19:27

Ermoupoli (Ερμούπολη) is the capital of Syros Island, the capital of the Cyclades, and the capital of the South Aegean region.

A Greek lady there wanted me to take a photo of her – and she was more than happy to do the same for me.





The Nissos Mykonos ferry which I arrived on a few hours ago.

Galissas Beach

By , 22/07/2014 14:24



First Glimpse of Syros

By , 22/07/2014 11:20

The Northern tip of the island of Syros.




Piraeus Port

By , 22/07/2014 08:14

Sitting on the ferry, looking over the port of Piraeus (Πειραιάς), shortly before departing for Syros.




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