New border crossings into Greece: A revival of the old routes in the Aegean?

Kos
Beautiful Kos

Recently the greek news are talking of a revival of the old routes into Greece through the Aegean islands. Since two years Evros has been the main entrance for sans-papiers into Greece with steadily increasing numbers of arrivals. Since the beginning of the governments massive pogrom against sans-papiers in Athens but also in Evros and the further periphery in the beginning of this August, numbers of arrivals have been shrinking in Evros and increasing again slightly on the islands of the Aegean (mainly: Mytilini, Samos, Patmos, Leros, Symi etc.). In August 397 sans-papiers were arrested on the Aegean islands compared to 168 in 2011. The greek government following this increase and the medial hype around the “revival of the island routes” asked Frontex for more support in controlling their sea borders. The request concerns 4 additional aircrafts, 4 coast guard ships and specialised extra staff.
Concerning the fate of the arriving sans-papiers, as it seems, the authorities on the islands have the order to keep new arriving sans-papiers as long as possible in detention on the islands and not transfer them to Athens. In some cases solidarity group denounced the lack of access to the asylum procedure for the detained. In a long-term perspective if arrivals will continue and grow this could result in the creation of new detention places on the islands (or the re-opening of old ones). It is yet unclear if the slightly increasing arrivals on the islands can be interpreted as another change of routes or if it is more of a short term phenomenon. Clearly, the medial referral to a “revival” of the old routes and de facto arrivals of the last days anyway also lead to an increased use of a fascist discourse by some people within the local societies (i.e. in Symi but also elsewhere).

In Samos the local solidarity group published a number of press releases concerning the very poor detention conditions of newly arrived Syrian and Afghan refugees (among them also children, women and UN-recognized refugees from other countries) and the lack of access to the asylum procedure for the about 50-60 refugees. Since a few days the Syrian refugees are on hunger strike protesting their inhuman situation.

In Mytilini the last month there have been also repeated arrivals (50 and more in the last period). Sans-papiers seem to be detained in the police stations of the island.

In Symi a boat carrying 38 sans-papiers was seemingly shot by the authorities and thereafter sank (on September 4th). The passengers were saved and are in detention now. In total there were about 100 (or more) arrivals in this period. The police station does not fit any more detainees so that the new arriving have to stay in the yard and next to it in outside spaces. The Doctors without borders are offering some medical first aid, while the police is responsible for the catering. At the same time during a recent municipal council on the island one of the speakers proposed to call members of the fascist party GD (golden dawn) to “solve the problem” and “so that the guys don’t allow the boats of the coast guard to disembark the sans-papiers on the island”. The mayor of the island at some point said: “if nothing happens (from the side of the government?) then we have to tak the weapens and protect our island!”.

In Leros a few days ago 60 sans-papiers arrived – originally having arrived on Farmakonisi. Amog them were also small children. They were all detained in the yard of the coast guard and the police station.

In Rhodos 20-30 people were reported to have arrived in the last days. At the same time their are rumours about the construction of a new detention centre on Kos island.

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Samos Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

Kos Island
Kos Island

Based in Athens – Greece, one of the most beautiful charter destinations in the Mediterranean, the luxury charter yacht DALOLI (ex AA Absolute, Teeth, La Bella 2) is currently offering a 9 days charter special at a price of 7 days. DALOLI superyacht was built by Heesen Yachts in 1995 with two recent refits in 2007 and 2012. She is available at an excellent charter rate of € 45,500 per week plus expenses and you will get two additional days for free if booking minimum of 7 days in the month of September. Stylish accommodation is offered to 8-9 guests in four luxurious cabins.

Motor Yacht DALOLI features modern interior design and styling with a 2007 refurbishment including a full interior refit as well as a full mechanical refit. In 2012 she has received an additional refit, making this vessel looking better than ever.

Although her spacious salon is furnished in a ultra modern style, it is very comfortable, featuring low couches to port and starboard. One of her most striking features is the central staircase, incorporating charcoal burled wood veneer, stainless and Lucite handrails.

Superyacht DALOLI provides her charter guests with elegant and comfortable accommodation layout in one master cabin, two queen bedded VIP cabins as well as one twin cabin with two single beds.

The upper deck of Daloli yacht hosts a sophisticated high-tech wheelhouse with the latest in electronics. Just aft of the wheelhouse the newly decorated sky-lounge / office can be found, where two semi-circular, camel ultra soft leather sofas with accent pillows and built-in tables assure guests’ comfort at any time. One side of the sofa is convertible into a lounge-type sofa that is the ultimate spot to relax while indoors. Built into the cabinetry is a U-Line icemaker and a Sony Tv with DVD & surround sound.

Accessible through full-sized glass doors is the sun deck area, which can be found aft of the sky lounge. Here we have an L-shaped settee forward to port accompanied with a hi-lo table that converts into a sunpad. There is another settee aft as well as a wet bar with sink, icemaker, refrigerator, four stools, Jenn Aire grill, and generous sunning area.

Furthermore, the aft deck offers a great space for al fresco dining and relaxation thanks to a large table and a built in couch located to aft.

Measuring 36 metres (120 ft) charter yacht Daloli is a very speedy vessel, able to reach up to 38 knots with a cruising speed of 25 knots. She is managed by a professional and friendly crew of 7.

Greece Yacht Charters

Situated in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece offers its charter yacht holiday makers an amazing selection of destinations to explore.  Greek Islands are renowned for their ancient history, modest yet striking architecture as well as beautiful little waterfront villages scattered around. In addition, chartering a motor yacht or a sailing yacht in Greece will give you the opportunity to discover its beautiful aqua or dark blue waters and the wonderful warm Mediterranean weather.

Greek yacht charters can be divided into four major destinations, including the Ionian Islands, the Aegean and Sporades, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.

Ionian Islands offer such cruising destinations as Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Ithaca, Paxi and Kythera – also known as The Seven Islands or Eptanisa.

The Aegean and Sporades are perhaps one of the less visited destinations in Greece, making them the perfect place for a quieter yacht charter holiday. Art lovers and those interested in culture and history will certainly feel sattisfied around here. Some of the islands to explore include Samos, Lesvos and Samothraki.

The Cyclades are another popular yacht charter destination offering both culture as well as natural beauty. Boasting ancient sites, Byzantine castles, museums, lively nightlife, great shopping, dining and excellent beaches, some of the Cyclades most sought after places are Mykonos, Delos, Santorini, Sikinos, Paros and Naxos as well as Serifos.

The Dodecanese is the most southern group of islands in the Southern Sporades. Here you have 14 large islands to discover and cruise around, including Lipsi, Parmos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Astypalea, Nisyros, Symi, Tilos, Rhodes, Khalki, Karpathos and Kasos as well as around 40 smaller islets and rocks.

Samos, Greece: The Land Of Wine And Honey

Vourliortes
Close to Vourliortes

This is an interesting article about the island of Samos, where the luxury resort Halcyon Hills is being built, by Dave Seminara.

“The name Samos means “high” in the ancient Ionian dialect of Greek, and historians assume the island was thus named after its mountainous interior. By mid-summer, the island’s terrain is mostly brown, but in early June, it was still delightfully green and punctuated with wild flowers and aromatic pine trees.

As we drove west on a dizzying, but scenic, road from Pythagorion towards Kambos, the base we chose in the southwest, we passed a slew of stands selling honey, one of Samos’s best exports. I didn’t indulge at first, but after seeing so many of the places, my curiosity got the best of me and I spent the remainder of my week drizzling honey on anything that moved.

Near our base in Kambos, a pleasant enough one horse town that serves as a convenient base for exploring the beautiful west end of the island, we fell in love with a psili ammos beach. I say “a” rather than “the” because psili ammos means “fine sand” in Greek and you find lots of beaches with this name all over the Greek isles, including two on Samos.

Both are great, but the Psili Ammos beach just outside Kambos may be the best beach for kids I’ve ever experienced. It’s a lovely beach with unbelievably shallow water, so even my 2- and 4-year-olds could comfortably wade very far out from the shore.

From Kambos, take a drive out to Kalithea and Drakei to see one of Europe’s last great, undeveloped coasts, filled with stunning cliff top panoramas of the blue Aegean and the surrounding islands. Around every curve, you’ll want to pull over and get our your camera. Western Samos has the feel of a wild, virgin paradise. There are no tacky souvenir shops or much of anything, save the odd taverna here and there but the natural beauty is astounding.

Just as interesting as the coastal drives are excursions into the mountainous interior. We drove up to the enchanting mountain villages of Vourliotes and Manolates for stunning views and a taste of village life and stumbled across a group of drunken seniors celebrating a religious festival on a Monday morning.

You could easily idle away a week on a beach in Samos but the most rewarding part of my ten days on this addictive island were hikes I made up to Panagia Markini, a 13th Century cave church near Kallithea, and the 10th Century Evangelistria convent, near Kambos. Both are fairly strenuous but the views are astounding and the icons behind the curtain in the cave church are haunting and beautiful.

If you look at a map of Samos, you’ll see little black dots with crosses, signifying churches and monasteries that were built all over the interior of the island, many of them in hard to find locations to ward off invaders. Working monasteries like Panagia Vrontiani and Megali Panagia have beautiful frescoes and are well worth a visit.

Samos also boasts good, sweet wine that can be bought straight off the back of a small vintners pickup truck for a song. I feasted on grilled souvlaki, calamari, octopus and other treats, always for about 7-9€, and I never had a bad meal. We experienced remarkable hospitality wherever we went and even our buggy car owner turned out to be a gem. We disliked the small rooms in her hotel but rather than pout or blame us, she helped us find a more suitable place to stay.

Our car rental experience seemed to sum up the island’s laid-back charm. We picked up our car in Pythagorion, in the island’s southeast, but later on decided that we wanted to drop it off in Karlovasi, where our ferry was to leave up in the island’s northwest.

A branch of National car rental, which also offered by far the lowest rate for an automatic transmission car at 30€ per day, told us not to worry about making the 1.5-hour drive back to Pythagorion to return the car, even though they have no location near Karlovasi.

“Just leave it at the ferry, and put the keys under the mat, we’ll go get it,” said Alex, the young man we dealt with who told us there was no extra charge to leave the car anywhere on the island.

“But is that safe?” I asked. “I mean, what if someone steals it?”

“This is Samos,” he said. “Things like that don’t happen here.”

If there’s no bill for a four door Hyundai on my next credit card statement, I’ll know he was right about Samos.”