Greek Islands, Syros, Bus Ride and Gyros

Syros Helmet Greece

After the Herculean exertions of the day walking to the top of two high peaks and negotiating hundreds, maybe thousands, of steps we were in no mood to march a great deal further this evening and so rather than walk to the town or the harbour we stopped instead at a gyros restaurant (and I use the word restaurant in its loosest and most generous sense here) and ordered some fast food and some white wine served from a plastic bottle.

After two weeks we were ready for this and the really good thing about the Greek Islands is that there are no McDonald’s, Burger King or Kentucky Fried Chicken because fast food here is all about the gyros which is a Greek speciality (sold all over the World now of course) where the object is to cram an entire meal, meat, chips, vegetables and sauces into a pitta bread wrap and then try to tackle it without it falling apart and the contents dribbling down the front of your shirt or falling onto the floor.


Well, this was absolutely divine and I am not knocking all of the restaurants and tavernas that we had eaten in so far but it just might have been the best evening meal so far.  We drooled over it, we described it to each other in ever-increasing gastronomic superlatives and we mopped our plates clean.  Disappointingly of course this was fast food and it was all over in a flash and were back in the hotel sitting on the balcony and looking out over the lights of the town and the reflections on the water which spread and shifted like a kaleidoscopic diesel slick over the water.

The next morning over breakfast on account of the fact that we had completed two days intended walks in just one we had to make some alternative plans so we thought we might find the bus station and take a ride around the island.

Syros Street Decoration

Bus services in the Greek Islands used to be reliably unreliable but things have changed since our last visit and the entire bus service thing appears to have been privatised.  Gone is the inefficient fleet of state-run cream and green coaches with their tatty seats, worn out curtains for shade, belching engines and groaning gear boxes and they have been replaced with a fleet of modern Mercedes-Benz vehicles with engines that meet EU emissions standards and have air conditioning, recliners and seat belts.  The price to pay for this little bit of progress is that the new bus service is much less regular.

Those were the days – Serifos (2009)…

Old Greek Post Pre-Privatisation

So we took the ride to the nearby village of Vari on the south coast.  As we left the bus we instinctively knew that this wasn’t the sort of place where we would want to spend the entire day so we examined the bus time-table and noted that the next bus back was in forty minutes, which was too soon and after that an hour and ten minutes and we thought that we might be able to manage that.

To be fair there was a nice beach and we had a swim in the sea and then a drink in the water side taverna and then strolled back to the bus stop and waited, and waited, and waited and waited.  The bus did not come so after half an hour we gave up and started to walk back to the taverna.  Suddenly a bus appeared and we sprinted like Olympic athletes back to the bus stop only to have our hopes dashed and be told that this was a school bus and there was no way we would be allowed on that even though we had just given a whole new meaning to the term ‘school run’!

The driver told us that the next bus back to Ermoupolis was in about an hour so we wandered back to the taverna and ordered lunch and waited.

To be honest I wasn’t at all confident that there would be any sort of bus back at all but sure enough one eventually arrived and we thankfully got a ride back to the port.

Syros Church and Statue

It was our third and final night in Syros and because we had enjoyed the gyros so much the day before we just went back to the same place for our evening meal.

The following morning we had an early morning ferry to Tinos and then on to Mykonos so after settling our account we followed the steep path down to the ferry terminus and waited for the Blue Star to arrive.  It turned up dead on time and Kim immediately stood up and started pushing her way to the front of the line.

Kim is from the North-East of England where most people have a lot of Scandinavian heritage but I swear Kim is an exception and has French blood pulsing through her veins because she just cannot be in a queue without wanting to get to the front of it.

When the boarding gates opened she did her best Lionel Messi impression and swerved and weaved her way skilfully through the crowds of people, scattering children and elbowing people aside if anyone dared get in the way.  I have reminded her several times that it is all completely pointless because I am left way behind and eventually she will have to wait for me because I am the one with the tickets!

Anyway, we eventually got on board the Blue Star, made our way to the top external deck and watched as the pastel colours of Syros faded away behind us as the ferry made its determined way to nearby Tinos.

Tinos Greece Ferry

28 responses to “Greek Islands, Syros, Bus Ride and Gyros

  1. Sounds like she’d be at home in Italy, where there are no queues! >.<


  2. I hope Kim is happy with your description of her as a queue cheater…! Jeez…if there is one thing that sends me over the edge, it is those. Tell her the story of me and the queue for the Boyes sale…!

    “I’d get out more, but I’ve torn my anorak.”


  3. She is proud of it Dai. She has a talent for it. Only this week we were at the boarding gate at Alicante airport about a third of the way from the front. Then an announcement switched gates and by the time we got from 33 to 23 we were right at the front. I’d back her any time against any French queue jumper!


  4. Still drooling over that gyros….


  5. Ah- I wondered where you’d been (Alicante, among others 🙂 ). Back to British Winter now, Andrew? I have ‘almost’ fond memories of waiting about at a bus stop with ever decreasing hope. Love the description. We ran after one in Poland and the driver was non too chuffed that it was the wrong bus. Totally different attitude. We were delaying his schedule!


  6. I’ve wondered more than once if Kim got through the crowd, where were you? Left behind? And with the tickets, too. 😀 😀 😀


  7. Haha I snorted my coffee at the description of Kim mowing over children to get to the front of the line. Oh yes the tickets! Good point. 🙂
    I can’t imagine why the school bus driver didn’t want you to leap on after your Olympic efforts. Oh darn another beverage at the taverna. Sigh


  8. I could never push through lines… unless I was desperate to catch an airplane, but I do show up early so I can get a good seat. Waiting in lines has never been my cup of tea, Andrew. –Curt


  9. I used to be so embarrassed when my mother used to push me ahead of her to push ahead to the front of the line. I bet she could have given Kim a run for her money.


  10. I’m the same way when it comes to getting on board but not the other way around.
    Gyros is part of the adventure and pleasure when traveling in Greece.


  11. Your gyro story reminds me of a koshari & kufta place on the beach in Sharm el Sheikh. The boardwalk is lined with hotels offering elaborate full meals with impeccable waitstaffs, but my husband keeps going back to the Tam Tam. The food is remarkable and the price is so low my husband over-tips – something he never does anywhere else.


  12. lol, good on Kim. My sister-in-law is exactly the same. She clenches her fists and off she goes to get to the front of the queue. Doesn’t matter who is in the way, she’ll get the seat she wants.
    I would have probably been having a minor panic attack about a bus turning up. But, it sounds like it adds to the fun of the holiday for you, Andrew?


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