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The Skyros Blog

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5 Top Tips to Get the Most from Your Skyros Holiday

Skyros offer holidays based on holistic ideals that allow people to address and develop all parts of ourselves – mind, body and soul. See skyros.com.

This happens through a unique combination of activities, proven communication structures, community building techniques, wonderfully wholesome cooking, sun, sea, local culture, superbly facilitated courses and your full participation and willingness to push out of your comfort zone and into the world of possibility.

Here are 5 Top Tips to help you get the very most out of your session, a sort of insider guide that paints a picture of:

Tip Number 1: Dive In

Dive in to your Skyros Holiday

In Atsitsa you can sign up shortly after arrival for up to three courses a day. You could, for example, do yoga before breakfast, kayaking before lunch and salsa dance before dinner – and that’s just in week one if you’re on a two week holiday. In week two you could do 3 completely different courses. At The Skyros Centre there’s always yoga before breakfast and then the main course for 3 hours before lunch (writing, art or wellbeing). At nights and afternoons there are visits to local eateries and sometimes activities.

At both centres you can wake up after your first night and take a yoga class!

Definitely attend the community meetings that set up the community feeling and join an Oekos group (small listening group) and 1-1 sharing/support partnerships (co-listening) that are so much a part of the Skyros experience and have been tried and tested over 40 years. The facilitation of the forming of these groups is first class as is the ongoing support for them. You can also join a ‘work group’ and volunteer a small amount of your time chopping veggies or sweeping, this is a great way to contribute something to the running of the holiday and get a feel of it from the inside. There’ll also be opportunities to attend interesting talks and presentations given outside of main course times usually in the evenings and at siesta too.

Luxuriate in the beautiful Aegean Sea and enjoy the daily Demos (whole group meeting after breakfast) and contribute to it as you see fit. On the last night there’s an informal cabaret, so bring your party piece for that. Enjoy the beautiful meals and the lovely bar/s and don’t forget in Atsitsa there’s always an evening activity on offer from a quiz night to a dance event or a talk on the stars to a walk to a local beauty spot. Even if you do this for a day or three and then dial it down a bit you’ll have got a feel for the abundance on offer and will know where to put your focus.

Tip number 2

Remember you’re in Greece.

Although this applies more to Atsitsa than Skyros centre remember you’re in Greece! It’s possible to get so busy with the courses and community that you forget about the incredibly rich nature of what’s all around you.

In Demos there’s a short Greek lesson and you can try out your new found language skills on the local Greek staff and neighbours or villagers if you’re at the Skyros centre. Like the village Atsitsa is rich with things dripping in Greekness. There’s the on-going archaeological dig at Palamari just a short taxi ride away, Cook-Nara a Nuevo-Greek beach/bar Taverna, the ruins of an early 1900s German mining facility that are in and all around Atsitsa and neighbour Adonis’s fishing/farming/room letting/taverna multi industry ‘complex’ just to name a few.

For those at the Skyros centre the village is steeped in all things Greek; beautiful Orthodox churches, wonderful family restaurants/cafes, Juicy Bar at the lovely Molos beach, the Faltaits museum of Skyrian History and Folklore, the Skyros archaeological museum (with many exhibits from Palamari), St Georges monastery overlooking the village and sea, the weathered faces of many elderly Greeks whose families have lived on the Island for centuries and much more. You can also travel further afield to see the port of Linaria, Rupert Brooke’s grave and the mini port at Pefkos.

Tip number 3

Take some time to investigate your immediate surroundings.

In Atsitsa the grounds are so rich and beautiful it’s easy to let them slip by without fully appreciating the finer points. You’ll find figs, pomegranates, olives, apricots, apples, oranges, pears, plums, almonds, mulberries and grapes growing in corners, behind buildings and over roof tops. There’s also wonderful flower gardens with geraniums, oleander’s and bougainville set among the pine trees and fruit trees.

The main house in Atsitsa is a remnant from the iron ore mining industry of last century that has variously been a school house and a ruin harbouring goats! Atsitsa processes its own sewage and draws its water from a nearby private well. All the kitchen’s food waste goes to local goats and a good percentage of the hot water is heated by solar. Dotted around the grounds are numerous pieces of art that enrich the experience of all and stand as a testament to their creators’ talents and generosity. In Atsitsa you’ll also find several ancient amphoras on display that were dragged up in the nets of a local fishing boat. The site really is a treasure trove of creativity, innovation and determination to make an oasis in what is a very harsh environment.

Gardener Manolis and chef Takis are very approachable and well worth talking to about the physical environment in Atsitsa. At The Skyros Centre the main building was once a factory that dyed textiles and began life as a single story construction. The Melagonia apartments opposite were built around 20 years ago and the location necessitated the bringing in of all building materials by donkey! Cook Vaso can relay many a story about the Centre and its surrounds, she lives nearby, but you’ll need to work on your Greek a bit!

Tip number 4

Have a holiday within a holiday.

Both Atsitsa and Skyros Centre are hives of learning, creating and group/course participation. As a result it can sometimes slip past us that we are on a holiday, albeit an educational one. So make sure you allow yourself to have a holiday among all the wonderfully nourishing courses and other structures.

The Skyros Centre is only a short walk from one of the most picturesque villages in the Aegean and offers excellent tavernas and restaurants. As The Skyros Centre is half board you’ll be in the village at least once a day to eat but due to its proximity to the village you can easily go there and find a quiet seat in a lovely cafe for a coffee, sweet pastry or even a beer or Ouzo. At times the village is dotted with Skyros Centre participants sitting comfortably in cafes, writing, reading, people watching or even sharpening up their Greek skills with the locals. Not far, downhill in the other direction from the Skyros centre, is the lovely, spacious, sandy Molos beach where you can swim, frolic, sunbathe and satisfy your appetite. There’s also numerous beach bars that offer cold beer, iced coffees and snack food all served to your table or recliner.

Twenty minutes walk from Atsitsa is a lovely, sandy bay with modern taverna and drinks service provided to your sun bed, there’s also a cafe and a tavern a minute’s walk from Atsitsa’s main gate. All places to have a break from your rich learning experience and turn up the volume on the Greek island beach holiday experience.

Tip number 5

Make a point of meeting everybody on your holiday.

Skyros Holidays are renowned for being populated with interesting, engaging and talented people, and that’s not only the participants. The teaching staff, permanent staff, local staff and other support staff are also a diverse bunch with a passion for providing you with a unique personal development experience. So it’s worth meeting and speaking to every person on your holiday and there are ample opportunities to do that whether it be in the courses, meetings, during meals, on excursions, while chopping veggies or while sipping a glass of wine by the sea. In fact the informal time spent with fellow participants on your holiday helps with the integration of learning, the building of community and, occasionally, the formation of lifelong friendships.

The permanent staff who are accessible in a way not usually associated with the hospitality industry always have a fabulous story about how they came to work at Skyros and the direction their lives are taking and are not only approachable but generous with their time. Skyros Island is one of the most authentic, genuine and unspoilt destinations in the Aegean and so are its inhabitants so getting to know the locals is well worthwhile too. The onsite Greek staff are always very welcoming and like to teach you a bit of Greek as much as they like you to teach them a bit of English. Local cafe and Taverna owners also appreciate a language exchange and to hear about life in the UK and beyond.

You might find yourself at lunch sitting next to a head teacher and opposite a facilitator who’s top in their field and then realise you're all on the same course. At dinner you could have people on either side of you who are taking the course you’ve got your eye on for week two and they’re more than happy to tell you all about it. After all connection, learning, goodwill and good times is what a Skyros holiday is all about.


 

 

If you would like more information or to book online see our holiday dates here >>>

 

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