Holiday in Thassos - May 2008

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Holiday in Thassos Town (Limenas), Thassos, Greek Islands.
Sunday 18th May - Sunday 25th May 2008

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I have also provided some links to information on other websites. Some of the photos have been optimised, cropped or rotated to display them better. For anyone that is interested the camera used is a Panasonic model DMC-FZ8 7 Million Pixel with a 12x Optical Zoom Lens.

Written during the stay on my new Asus Eee PC using the built in “Open Office Writer” application and transferred to my home PC and converted to HTML format, on return home.

Holiday Cost Breakdown ("Package Deal" booked on 11th March 2008)
Thomson Holidays Birmingham/Kavala (Thassos) Hotel Galaxy, Thassos Town 1 x Studio
Sh Wc Bal/Ter
7 Nights B/B 2A
Lloyds TSB Own Annual Travel Insurance through
Lloyds TSB Bank Select Platinum Account Benefit.
7 Nights   £0.00
NCP Ltd Parking BHX2 - Birmingham Long Stay 1
8 days   £39.90
Total Cost

Where possible I have provided Hyperlinks to other websites giving further information on any of the places visited. All information in this "Holiday Report" should be taken as a guide only and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. I compile my reports as a service to visitors to my website who may have a Holiday booked in the future at any of the resorts or accommodation listed. I welcome any feedback or comments you wish to make or any questions about any of the information or establishments featured in the reports.
My "Report" writing has become a bit of a ritual now, after I wrote a smaller but similar "report" when we visited Menorca in the year 2000 and the feedback I got from that was very encouraging. Some people have their books to read (The wife!), I have my Eee PC!! If it helps one person in finding info' on their holiday resort, then it's been worthwhile.

Holiday Summary

I did not write a full report during this visit as I think I covered most things in my 2006 report, therefore this is just a summary of the holiday mainly concerning our accommodation, written during the stay, as and when I felt there was something to add!

We once again returned in May 2008 for a third year to the beautiful Greek island of Thassos. As a general rule we prefer to visit somewhere new every year instead, but for the past 2 years this magical island and in particular it's capitol “Thassos Town” has captivated our hearts. We again stayed in the same resort (Thassos Town) but couldn't get a room at our favourite accommodation, Finikas. So we had to settle for B & B rate room at the Hotel Galaxy instead.

We met a lovely Dutch couple during one evening at the Thasiian Restaurant. There were Tenny and Hans van Mourik. We had a nice chat about all sorts of subject and Hans offerd to send me some of his "Thassian Sunset" photos upon his return to Holland. I have now finally got round to adding them to my website for all to see. If these photos don't make you long to visit Thassos, nothing will!

Tenny and Hans van Mourik Hans van Mourik Thassian Sunset taken by Hans

His photos were taken on a Canon Powershot A10 1.3 Megapixel Digital Camera with a 3x Optical Zoom. Given the simple camera used makes the images taken even more outstanding in my opinion. To view all his photos Click here.

Sunday 18/05/08

We once again flew from Birmingham and drove to the Airport through the night setting off about 2am for the 7.05am flight. We booked our holiday on-line through Thomson Holidays (Part of the Thomson TUI Group) and flew with "Thomsonfly" again who were superb in every respect the last time we traveled with them. The in-flight movie was "27 Dresses" which looked pretty boring so I didn't even bother watching it. The flight and transport to the Hotel was very good and uneventful as always. However the same could not be said for the Hotel.

We got to the hotel around 3.30pm local time and were directed to our room (105) in the lower basement part of the hotel. Due in part to my wife being very tired and irritable after the long journey, we were not overawed  with the first impression of our room. Much smaller than at the Finikas and with a small bathroom, we were very disappointed to find no facilities at all in the room to allow us to do the occasional self catering. We put this down to the fact that this was a B & B hotel which provided breakfasts, even though we'd heard they were poor, along with the odd snacks, drinks and beverages available from the Hotel's bar. However the lack of even a kettle, for the occasional coffee, let alone a fridge to keep the milk or cold drinks in was a great disappointment.

The twin beds The very small Bathroom Dressing table

Had we had advance warning of this aspect of the room, we would have at least packed our travel kettle so that we could make the occasional coffee. It would have been nice to see this facility provided in the room as it is a common feature of UK hotel rooms.

The room was okay if a little on the small side. There were twin beds with two bedside cabinets with drawers, along with a dressing table, large wardrobe (with drawers and hangers), a “suitcase” trestle table (not sure if that's what they are called!) and a easy chair. Plenty of lights, but strangely only one power socket poorly located next to one of the beds. It would have been better put next to the dressing table for easier use of hair-dryers. The bathroom was particularly small, the old phrase “barely room to swing a cat” coming to mind! It housed the customary washbasin, toilet (with usual Greek toilet tissue bin) and a rather small shower with pretty useless curtain that only served to flood the bathroom floor quicker than normal! There was a switch cable, a bit like a pull light switch, that luckily didn't appear to be "live" within the shower cubicle. Not an issue once you became aware of it, but a little alarming at first glance. The patio doors led out to a terrace which held a table and two chairs and was surrounded by a rather attractive garden.

Also in the room was a lovely vase of flowers. This had been delivered by our friends and owners of the “Thassian” restaurant in the town, Rigas and Katrin. Along with the flowers was a card wishing us both a happy birthday for the previous day (17th) which happens to be the birthday of both myself and my wife, Marie. This was such a lovely gesture and did help a little to settle Marie's initial irritations with the room.

The hotel has a foyer/dining area (for breakfast), a large swimming pool ...which I never saw anyone use throughout the duration of my holiday, so it must have been extremely cold I guess...and a small bar near the pool. We didn't use the bar very often as in my opinion it was a bit overpriced by Thassos standards. No visible price list that I could see, so you were relying on the honesty of Yannis in his prices charged being consistent.

The Galaxy Hotel Complex The poolside bar The swimming pool

Anyway, after settling in and unpacking we decided to wind down a bit and got some drinks from the hotel bar and sat on the patio chilling out for a while soaking up the rather hot afternoon sun.

About 4.30pm we were so tired after the long journey that we decided to have a sleep for a couple of hours. Both quickly falling asleep we woke up around 7pm, got showered and changed and made our way down into the town to dine at our favourite restaurant Thassian.

This was the first time we'd seen Rigas, Katrin and their staff since our last holiday and everyone gave us such a warm welcome, it was wonderful. We had an excellent meal as always and I see no reason, for us anyway, to dine elsewhere during the duration of our holiday. We had tried a few others on our first holiday on the island and found most of them to be sadly lacking in comparison to “Thassian”. Of course, there will be readers of this report who have their own personal favourite bars or restaurants that they choose to frequent daily and that is of course your own personal choice. Why risk spoiling your holiday by dining at a new restaurant which may not live up to your expectations, when you can play it safe and only visit somewhere you've become accustomed to. It's your choice, obviously!

Monday 19/05/08

We woke up about 8.30am, got showered and changed and then went up the stairs to the hotel's dining area to sample the delights of the “Galaxy” breakfast I'd read so much about on several Internet “Reviews”.

Breakfast is served daily between 8am and 10am in the foyer/dining area of the hotel. A bit regimental maybe (a nicer term would be organised), but not too bad. You collect a red tray from the kitchen serving counter, upon which is a plate with 2 slices of bread (for toasting), a cup, saucer and teaspoon (for your tea or coffee) and a glass of orange squash (Not fresh orange juice, which I would have preferred). Finally on the tray this morning was a boiled egg (later found to be very hard boiled and not particularly edible!) which was today's “special” (if I can use that term) and the only part that appeared to change on a daily basis. After collecting your trays you can go sit at whichever table you like and then go help yourself from the breakfast table. On this was found tea, coffee, milk, cereal (appeared to be Kellogg's “Special K” everyday!), a selection of cold meat and cheese slices, butter, jam and marmalade and a toaster for toasting your bread slices. There were also more slices of bread if you wanted some more toast later. Not too bad a selection, in my opinion and just enough to set you up for the day generally.

The Lounge area and Breakfast tables Thomson Guest Information Board Reception Desk

I have to mention the safety deposit boxes. When we stayed at the Finikas the safes were in your room inside the wardrobe with a key provided and free of charge. At the Galaxy they are in the main foyer of the hotel, which I consider a security risk in itself as this a public area. The cost to hire a box for one week is 15 euros. Also to open your box you need two keys, one is given to you when hiring and the other is held by Poppi who therefore has to be present when you open the box. What happens if you can't find her when you need something? Due to these points we decided against hiring a box, preferring to keep our valuables with us.

The rooms are cleaned everyday except Saturday and Linen is changed once a week. Lack of a rubbish bin meant us resorting to using the carrier bags from shop bought products to put our rubbish, such as bottles, cans and old newspapers, in. The hotel is ideally situated in a very quiet part of the town yet within easy walking distance of the main amenities. To get to the main harbour front where all the shops, bars and restaurants are, you walk out the front gate and turn left. At the end of the road, turn left again and then just follow this road straight down to the harbour, past the “Pigi” restaurant in the main square until you come to a T junction with shops on your left and right. It's about a 10 minute walk.

The road leading down to the Town centre Just walk straight down the road towards the front,
past the "Sanctuary of Herakles"
Basically keep walking straight down the main road until you reach the shops and bars/restaurants.

Around 10.30am we made our way down to the town to the "Zodiac" taverna for the usual Thomson "Welcome" meeting at 11am. The rep' this year was new girl Emma and all in all she was fine and was a regular visitor to the Galaxy hotel if you needed anything.

Tuesday 20/05/08

Breakfast's “Special” today was Greek Yogurt and Honey. After breakfast we went for a walk around the town, then around 12pm went for a spot of lunch at “Thassian”. Marie ordered sardines which she said was lovely. I ordered a Spaghetti Bolognese, which unfortunately when it came had a cold Bolognese topping. I told the waiter the problem and it was quickly rectified by being taken back and a freshly cooked piping hot bolognese was served shortly after. The sign of a good restaurant is if they can take on your complaints and rectify them to your satisfaction without any bother. The “Thassian” ticks all the right boxes on this count.

In the evening we went back to the “Thassian” where Marie had the Sea Bream and I had Pork Souvlaki both of which were excellent. You could dine here all week (as we did) and have a different dish every time, if you wanted,  as the menu is so extensive.

Wednesday 21/05/08

Breakfast's “Special” today was a Fried egg, a small serving of beans and half a sausage (Not a proper breakfast sausage though, in my opinion, it was half a Frankfurter type sausage). I cannot be sure but I also get the impression that the breakfasts are pre-cooked and then warmed up in a microwave as more guests came down to breakfast.

Observations: I'd read some Internet reviews that stated that this Hotel was not very well soundproofed and that you could hear every clang and clatter. I have to say I pretty much agree with this comment. Room 105 where we were, was below the kitchen/dining area and every morning you could hear chairs squeaking across the tiled floors, plates and cutlery clattering. Toilets and water flushing seemed to be amplified from every room. The tiled floors and painted brick walls everywhere throughout the hotel do little to cushion any sounds. It's not too bad at this time of year as the hotel doesn't seem very full, and with the average age around at the moment seeming to be +50 most people were in their rooms by midnight. I'd expect it to be a different story if you were trying to sleep in the middle of the peak season and there were several parties coming back to the hotel in the early hours making lots of noise. Obviously this is just an assumption as I would never visit a resort in peak season, but I would be interested in any Galaxy Hotel guests with any first-hand experience of noise at that time of year, so I can update this report with any comments. Please use the on-site “Feedback Form” to send me your comments or thoughts on the matter or anything else you feel holidaymaker's should be made aware of.

Thursday 22/05/08

Breakfast's “Special” today was Apricot slices in juice. The breakfasts overall we thought were not too bad by Greek standards and just about right to set you up for the day. Just don't expect 5 star full English and you'll be fine!

On various Internet reviews I'd read wildly differing comments on the friendliness or otherwise of the Hotel's proprietors, Yannis and Poppy. While maybe not being as outgoing and friendly as Vaso at the Finikas studios was, we found them to be pleasant enough overall, with Yannis even waving and saying hello to you if he saw you walking by, whilst zipping about town on his moped! I think their daughter Katerina, was more outgoing saying hello whenever you saw her around the hotel.

After breakfast, we spent most mornings of our holiday down at the Thassian restaurant chatting to Katrin and her staff, enjoying some coffee, drinks and a spot of lunch before returning to the hotel around 2-2.30pm where Marie would generally have an afternoon kip (Siesta!) and I would sit out on the terrace with a cold drink typing up some more of this report or just reading the newspaper (Always yesterdays editions despite the paper's claiming to be printed in Greece).

Whilst this may not be everyone's idea of a relaxing holiday, we found it enjoyable as it got us walking down to the harbour front daily, sitting out under the shade of a parasol with a nice long drink and good company. As anyone who has read my previous holiday reports will know, neither of us are sun worshippers or beach bunnies and I can find no enjoyment sitting around the side of a pool or on a beach day in, day out, attempting to get a tan, whilst looking like a load of oven basting turkeys!! At least I shouldn't have to worry about skin cancer in future years, unlike some other holidaymaker's might.

...and whilst I'm on my can skip this bit if you're already asleep!!...Greece is one of the few countries we can still visit where Marie doesn't have to feel like a leper or criminal if she wants to enjoy a cigarette after her meal in a Restaurant. Unlike the “police state” do-gooders paradise that the UK is fast becoming! For all you do-gooders, anti-smokers, “what about my rights to breathe clean air” brigade, I suggest you never visit Greece or any Greek Islands as you probably won't enjoy them as much as we do. Judging by the amount of other smokers in the Restaurants and bars here (English and Foreign), Marie is certainly not in the minority here! Strange then that in this den of inequity that some people envisage a Smoker friendly country to be, why is it that the Greeks are overall healthier, more independent and live a damn sight longer than the English?

Friday 23/05/08

Breakfast's “Special” today was Greek Yogurt and Honey (for the second time).

Saturday 24/05/08

Breakfast's “Special” today was a slice of dry Ginger sponge cake!  Our final full day in Thassos and time to get in some last minute souvenir shopping. Greek honey and olive oil usually find their way into the returning suitcases along with Ouzo and Metaxa among other the souvenirs.

Sunday 25/05/08

Departure day and an early start for most guests returning home today. The suitcases are collected first, then about 30 minutes later your coach back to the Ferry port arrives.   As a guide for information, the times below are as I copied them off the Thomson Notice board at the Hotel, but obviously you should confirm the times for yourself once on holiday:

Sundays 2008 Coach Departs Cases Depart Ferry Departs
Gatwick Flight TOM6348 8.00am 7.30am 9.00am
Birmingham Flight TOM1382 9.00am 8.30am 10.00am
Manchester Flight TOM5268 10.15am 9.30am 11.00am

As it was, due to the low number of guests leaving from the Galaxy, we were all picked up by Taxis, which made for a pleasant comfortable ride down to the port and we all arrived there much sooner than those picked up by Coaches from other Hotels.

Check-in went fine, if a little slow (as usual) and we didn't have to pay any excess baggage costs, despite Thomson's warnings of the Airport being strict on over Baggage allowance, charging €11.00 per kilo overweight.

The return flight to the UK is always longer at around 3 hours and 45 minutes, but the in-flight movie outbound was "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" which neither of us had seen before and we both enjoyed watching it pass by a couple of hours. It was a bit of a bumpy ride home due to turbulence over Western Europe, but we arrived back safely into a wet and windy Birmingham Airport around 3.15pm UK time.

Thassian Restaurant Enjoying a meal at Thassian Your Thassian hosts, Rigas and Katrin

We had another very relaxing week in Thassos and enjoyed meeting up with our friends Rigas, Katrin and all the staff at Thassian again. We were very disappointed in the Hotel Galaxy overall and it is highly unlikely we would ever use it again in the future. It is however highly likely that we will return to Thassos again in the future.

Chris & Marie, May 18th - May 25th 2008.

Useful links:
Thassian Restaurant
Thassos Island
Greek Island Postcards - Thassos
Portland Holidays
Thassos (Kavala) Weather

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