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Write under the Greek Sun

  • Mind

Writing Holiday

Discover Skyros, a well kept Greek Secret

Skyros, Greece
11 Days
€ 835 combadi price

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Holiday Type
Fixed date/Solo friendly
Running Period
2014: June 7th - Feb 24th (2015)

The Combadi Insight:

It is rare that so many special elements come together in one holiday. An island unknown to the common tourist, a true travel discovery. A writer's lab with extraordinary reputation. And you, relaxed beyond imagination dipping your feet in the sea.

Holiday Code: AQ1

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Experience a Greek island as only a writer can in this 11 day writing holiday in Skyros! Each morning you'll take part in English writing courses taught at a writing center by distinguished writers. They'll help you develop your writing skills in a relaxed Mediterranean environment, expanding your creativity and insight. Courses are open for novices passionate about writing as well as for established writers - tutors will assist writers of any skill level.

The writing center is situated in Skyros village, the picturesque main village of the island characterized by traditional square houses with white-washed walls. Built on a hillside in order to repel Mediterranean pirates, the village is accessible only by foot through narrow, cobblestoned streets. The writing center's courtyard is shaded by fig and pomegranate trees and offers a panoramic view of the valley and the Aegean below. A long, sandy beach is also only a pleasant ten minute walk away. You'll find the rich history of Skyros, which dates back to the bronze age, showcased in the local archeological museum.

Skyros is traditionally warm and open - doors are left unlocked, children play unattended in the streets and weddings are celebrated by the entire community. Nearby, a different century is populated by fashion conscious youth experiencing the island's vibrant night-life. Skyros literally lives in two centuries at a time! As one participant wrote, ‘Skyros is sunshine for the soul’.

Evenings are usually reserved for dinner in the village - a Dionysian event that encompasses a plethora of exquisite local dishes, moonlight dances and walks through the island's magical landscape.

The writer's lab has built up an excellent reputation over the years. Famous authors, as well as Booker and Pulitzer prize winners have graced the center with their presence, giving hundreds of people the benefit of their experience - won't you be next?

Day 1

Upon arrival at Skyros island, we will be transferred to our accommodation that will serve as our home in the next few days. We will have a meeting and welcome dinner especially prepared for us.

Note: We offer transfer from Athens to Skyros Island.

Day 2

There is optional morning yoga. If you wish to join, we suggest that you rise up early. After breakfast, there will be a site tour and then an introduction of the program of courses and activities.

Lunch is at 1:30PM.

After a hearty lunch, we’ll have our first late-afternoon course that will last for around 2 hours. This is set at 5PM. Dinner is at 8:00PM.

There are fun evening activities prepared.

Day 3 to 5

We’ll greet the early morning with courses. Breakfast follows right after. We’ll have another session in the mid-morning. The late afternoon courses are set to begin at 5:00PM.

We’ll have dinner and another set of fun activities in the evening.

This will be our routine for three days.

Day 6

We’ll take a momentary break from writing courses. Today, we can join the optional excursion and explore the quaint Skyros village and the famous Skyros Center.

We can definitely get inspiration from this magnificent place.

Day 7

The perfect combination of early morning yoga and courses – there is no better way to jumpstart this beautiful day! We reach the second half of our courses. Get ready to sign up for areas of interests. The 2-hour courses will commence in the late afternoon.

Day 8 to 10

The next three days will mimic the itinerary for days 3, 4 and 5.

Day 11

We say goodbye to unforgettable and encouraging holidays! While parting will be difficult, you will leave Skyros a much better writer and storyteller.

We’d love to help you out again if you want to come back here.

Sat 19 - Sat 26 Jul 2014: £695 The First Novel Shelley Weiner Hatha Yoga Alexia Bibi

Sat 26 Jul - Fri 8 Aug 2014 : £1245 Aspects of Novel Writing Mez Packer Hatha Yoga Alexia Bibi

Sat 9 - Fri 22 Aug 2014: £1245 Writing Successful Fiction Leigh Russell Hatha Yoga Alexia Bibi

Sat 23 - Sat 30 Aug 2014: £695 Screenwriting Phil Gladwin Hatha Yoga Alexia Bibi

Sat 30 Aug - Fri 12 Sep 2014: £1195 Your Writer's Voice Crysse Morrison Hatha Yoga Alexia Bibi

Sat 13 - Sat 20 Sep 2014: £645 Creating Comedy Arthur Smith Hatha Yoga Alexia Bibi

Goat Festival Tue 17 - Tue 24 Feb 2015: £595 Greek Island Life Michael Eales Hatha Yoga Alexia Bibi

The price of the holiday is inclusive of accommodation in a twin shared room, two meals per day (usually breakfast and lunch, but sometimes dinner instead) and participation in your main course, yoga and activities. Single upgrades are available. Travel costs are not included.

Accommodation

Simple and organic living is the secret to success as a writer. Asista Bay participants will be live comfortably and modestly in a place that is just a stone throw away from the sea. Guests will be given the option to stay in spacious stone villas or two-person bamboo huts in the midst of the gardens and fruit trees.

Notes: - Some single huts are available at a supplement of £175 per session. - Shared twin rooms in the house carry a supplement of £75 per session - Atsitsa has its own cafe-bar where you can sip cool drinks, watch the glorious sunsets over the sea and dance the night away

‘Abandoning every last vestige of dignity, I find myself humming to this group of strangers. Later on, I look in the mirror and decide my eyes are beautiful. Something has definitely shifted in the way I see myself.’ - Elle

Food

One of the reasons why Atsitsa Bay has gained solid following from locals and visitors alike is their impeccable lineup of good food. Their cuisine is highly regarded for both the quality and quantity aspects. A lot of previous participants have confessed that food is why they keep coming back.

Wondering no what’s the secret? Atsitsa Bay only uses the freshest produce locally – seasonal fruits and vegetables, natural yoghurt, cheese, pulses and grains.

Vegetarian and Mediterranean flavors overflow during lunchtime, while sumptuous meat or fish specialties are served in the evenings. If you follow a strict vegan diet, you are assured that your needs will be catered accordingly.

‘Despite initial reservations, I found myself relaxing into the warmth and camaraderie of the group. I talked for England, laughed, danced Zorba-like on the terrace as the sun set, reflected on life and the universe, boogied the night away in the local Music Bar and drank too much retsina.’ - Time Out

Daily life

Each session is divided into two – three or four days of courses in each half, punctuated by a day’s break in between. During the second half, the participants can are given the liberty to choose different courses or continue with the previous ones.

The day usually starts with an hour of early morning courses. It will be followed by community events and two hours of mid-morning courses. In the late afternoon, another two hours of workshop will take place. The actual program or activities are identified at the onset of each session, with participants signing up on the spot.

During the breaks or free days, participants may join a variety of events happening around town such as forest walks or island coach tour.

Nightlife

Every time a day comes to an end, participants can expect fun activities and happenings. Spontaneous games, storytelling, talks and comedy shows will keep everyone entertained in the evenings.

During the breaks of free days, participants may go around the town of Skyros and party with the locals in clubs, bars or tavernas. There is a wide array of selection of hangouts in here.

Flights to Athens

We highly suggest that you arrive in Athens at least one day before the commencement of Skyros Holiday. Flight back home is on the last day of the holiday. If you will opt to join the Group Transfer to Skyros island, our courtesy bus will pick you up from the Athens Airport Tourist Bus Park at 7:00pm. The bus will take you to the Metropolitan hotel for an overnight stay in central Athens before next day’s coach and ferry trip to the island. For the return journey, please book flights to depart on the last day of your holiday after 3:00pm.

To book your flights, book direct with your local airline provider.

For UK residents:

You may contact The Flight Centre on 0113 243 4572 and ask for Laura. Inform her that you are going on a Skyros Holiday. Make sure that you have travels dates and details with you. She will be able to book the best flights available for you.

For other international travelers: You may directly check with the airlines or hire a reputable travel agent.

Flights to Skyros

You can also take a 22-hour (more or less) Aegean flight from London Heathrow to Athens, and then another 6-hour (more or less) flight from Athens to Skyros island via Airbus 320. Departures from Athens/Departure from Skyros Island: - Mondays - Wednesdays - Fridays

This flight connection, which is available to passengers of other Aegean flights to Athens from numerous European cities, is the closest we have come so far to direct flights to Skyros island from European airports. Aegean also handles the transfer of luggage from one aircraft to another.

If you will go for these connecting Aegean flights, please ensure that your arrival to Skyros Island is on or before the day the holiday begins, while departure is on or after the day it ends. This plan will give you an extra day or two in Skyros Island. It may entail extra costs, however.

You can check Aegean airlines via http://en.aegeanair.com/

Reaching the Transfer Hotel

In the event that 7:00pm courtesy bus to the Metropolitan Hotel is not convenient for you because of conflict with the time of your arrival, we suggest that you take an airport taxi to the hotel. You will get just in time for the transfer. Another option is to use the hotel's hourly shuttle from Syntagma Square, in the center of Athens to join the transfer. The Athens metro travels directly from the airport to Syntagma Square.

The Metropolitan Hotel, Athens

The Metropolitan Hotel in Athens is a 4-star hotel. Faleron Olympic Coastal Park is right across. It is located approximately 35 kilometers away from the airport and 5 kilometers away from Syntagma Square. The hotel has successfully achieved the perfection fusion of contemporary vibe and old-fashioned luxury. It boasts an outdoor swimming pool and marble steam bath. There is also a gourmet restaurant found inside the hotel. You may refer to www.chandris.gr/athens.

Group Transfer to Skyros Island - The return group transfer to Skyros Island includes: - 1 night accommodation in a twin-shared room (Metropolitan Hotel) return coach and ferry to Skyros Island

Please take note that single upgrades at the hotel are available for additional fee of £45. Group Transfer costs £155.

Public Transport

If you opt to travel independently and will not join the transfers, we suggest that you take the Athens – Kymi coach from KTEL Evias, 260 Liosion Street.

Responsible Travel Policy

Syros extends holistic holidays to everyone. We would like to emphasize that we advocate “being rather than having”, “doing rather than consuming” and “cooperating rather than competing”. The entire staff is made fully aware of these principles. The same way, we will brief and introduce this ethos to the participants.

We hold and attend regular meetings that pave the way for the entire community to interact and give participants a say in the structure of what their daily life would look like during the holiday. Participants are given pre-trip information on the host community. They will also receive a “Responsible Travel” orientation that includes practical advice on social interaction with the local people.

During the holiday, you will be given several opportunities to immerse with the local community, learn their language and sample organic cuisines.

Our goal is to create an honorable mini society that can spark changes that will be both beneficial to individuals and the world we live in.

As a testament to our commitment, each of the travel site below targets to build eco-friendly future and welcome creative ideas from our staff, suppliers and the participants.

Social Responsibility

In light with our goals, Skyros urges responsible integration with communities. These include teaching of local history and culture, teaching language and sponsorship of events such as mini marathon. Similar to what was done in the Southeast Asian region (guests teaching English lessons to locals), Skyros also support purchasing of technology equipment that would advance the academic pursuits, improvements of medical facilities, renovation of school theaters and protection of forests. Skyros also supports the welfare of the Skyrian horses, dogs and cats, work of the island’s folk dance society and the local children’s Tae- Kwon-Do group.

Economic Responsibility

Skyros promotes local products and services. In this way, we will be able to strengthen local economy. We use locally owned and maintained facilities. We encourage guests to shop around, visit bars and tavernas, sample fine cuisine in different restaurants and explore the city – all activities aim to provide additional income for the locals. We also employ people from the community to promote the local traditions. In Cuba for example, we have Salsa dancing holidays wherein each participant is matched to a local dance partner specifically employed for the purpose. Environmental responsibility

Atsitsa Bay has aligned its advocacies to protect the natural environment. The management has entered into a pact with the local authorities to reinforce recycling activities for plastics, glasses and aluminum. We also have never attempted to introduce the use of motorized sea sports. Kitchen and shower water is recycled. The showers are heated using solar panels, and the external lighting is also fueled by solar energy. Sustainable Living

Skyros’ efforts and resources are allocated accordingly. We have a sizeable chunk to fund communal projects and promote sustainable living. We have also revisited our culture and made sure that we eliminate being materialistic, consumer-centric and technocratic. This only means that we support ethic consumption of energy and resources. Skyros does not compromise. In fact, we always meet to review our goals and make sure to partner with the community in advancing the interests of the locals.

An instant community with whom one feels as close and relaxed as with great friends. All in a hypnotically beautiful setting. Anon

Reasons to go: 1. I've been three times now and each time has had its own magic and memories. 2. A place to make new friends - to keep! Bo

We arrived with rounded shoulders from carrying the burden of a very difficult year. We left with our shoulders back, head held high, re-energized and ready to enter the battle ground again. Atsitsa worked its magic! Karen

It's always different. A deep experience this time and it has given me the trust in myself to deal with different circumstances with a peaceful heart and hope that life is manageable. Amanda

A true community spirit and experience with enough gaps in-between to really relax and be creative and full of joy. Martina

This holiday works wonderfully for people on their own or just wishing to get away from it all, for those wishing participate in everything or nothing. And they're virtually guaranteed to come away with new friends. Pam

Great holiday. Friendship, food, fun and a beautiful location and excellent teachers. Barbara

The trip I took to Greece with Skyros Holidays was one of the best in my life. I am 25 years old and traveled all the way from Minnesota, USA. I came by myself but was welcomed and made comfortable by all the staff. Each staff member (including chefs, course teachers, bar assistants and cleaning help, etc) were friendly, fun and professional. The food was fresh and the chefs accommodated to all different diets. The courses were inspiring and enlightening, as well as fun and entertaining. My overall trip and experience was amazing and I came back home a much better person. Frances James

A must for people who are struggling to find the perfect holiday, inspirational and soul searching. Unforgettable. Fliss

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