Category Archives: Greece

Taking the crash position on Santorini

3rd July 2013

Well, after my appalling behaviour yesterday about Sarah’s driving, I’ll never be allowed to live down today’s antics. This bloody so-called “smart car” feels like it takes up way more of the road than it should and is nowhere near as easy to handle  as our little “topless” model was on Paros.

I’m not sure how many times I wandered to the wrong side of the road but Sarah did assume the classic “crash position” with her head down and arms up protecting herself at least once – or, ummm, maybe twice. But, in my defence, I think she was giving me dodgy navigational information at the time of these lapses!! On the other hand, the driver of the car I almost ran into by being on the other (notice how I said “other”, not “wrong?) side of the road didn’t seem particularly fazed. It could be that my style of driving is the norm here – or maybe that’s just my story and I’m sticking to it, lol……

The beautiful Red Beach, Santorini

The beautiful Red Beach, Santorini

Even with my dicey driving we did manage to make it to Red Beach and Akrotiri and back in one piece. The track to the Red Beach was just that and so unlike anything I’ve ever encountered before. We followed another person who looked like they knew where they were going. We clambered up, down, over rocks and bits of wood sort of nailed together into a makeshift step and came to the amazing sight of the Red Beach. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before and just a tiny bit further along is another beach with some of the whitest sand I’ve seen here.What was even more astonishing was that the umbrella’s and sun loungers had been unpacked from their storage areas built into the red cliffs and were lining the beach at 8 in the morning – and there were people using them already. Talk about keen, but I do think it’s one of the places not to miss on Santorini.

It was only a short drive back to the archeological site of Akrotiri. Not much chance of car related mishaps you’d think, but even then I managed to drive into the car park via the exit, and of course bloody eagle eye Sarah didn’t miss that one either. thank goodness we were both seeing the funny side of things today, unlike yesterday.

Inside the Akrotiri site Santorini

Inside the Akrotiri site Santorini

On a more serious note though, it’s difficult to believe this city dates back to something like 4,000BC and was buried about 1,500BC by a massive volcanic eruption. It’s also harder to believe excavation of this site began in 1967 and that it’s still relatively not well-known. Like Pompeii the city was quite well preserved and the tour through the site was well worth the small cost. The drainage systems and three-story buildings must have been really something that far back in time – sort of makes me wonder if we really are as clever as we think sometimes. The site is enclosed in a huge building  which makes for easy strolling  so we spent quite a while there.

We bought some fruit from a vendor in the car park when we left and headed back to the hotel. I must have been all tuckered out from the early start and the excitement of scaring everyone silly enough to be on the roads – I tootled off to our room and had a nanna nap while Sarah calmed her nerves with a cocktail or two by the pool!!


Filed under Greece, Travel

Stunning Oia

Santorini port and winding road up the cliffs

Santorini port and winding road up the cliffs

2nd July 2012

Santorini is living up to my expectations already – the view while zigzagging our way up the cliff from the port was amazing – you run out of superlatives when writing about places like this. Even the road up the cliff was crazy, buses looked like toys from the port, hope you can see them in this pic.

Sarah in her smart car on Santorini

Sarah in her smart car on Santorini

A quick walk into Fira for dinner last night ended up in another photo shoot and a couple of quick purchases by Sarah. I swear that girl is secretly posting things home, she just keeps finding more room in her luggage where I just about have to sit on mine to get it closed. We booked a car for a couple of days and also booked a sunset cruise for one afternoon. Sarah’s turn to choose the car so we ended up with a little red and black “smart car”.

How close is that guardrail!!! Santorini

How close is that guardrail!!! Santorini

I do have to admit I was an absolutely TERRIBLE passenger today when Sarah drove from the hotel to Fira and then on to Oia – sorry chickie, but you were really, really scary!! Have a look how close we were to the guard rail – I almost got my hands taken off taking photos – honest. By the time we arrived in Oia we had ceased to see the funny side of things though so it was a bit frosty for a wee while – but you just can’t stay cranky in a place like this, so it wasn’t long before we were talking again.

Could it get any better? Oia, Santorini

Could it get any better? Oia, Santorini

Oia is stunning, captivating, amazing, friendly and totally gorgeous. We spent hours just walking all over gooing and gahing about everything we saw. I was looking for the museum but it was closed when we eventually got that far – another day hopefully. Stopped a couple of times at cafes to have a drink, (maybe something to eat, too), soak up the atmosphere and pinch ourselves to make sure it really is happening to us. I’m so pleased we didn’t just do a cruise around the islands but have spent a few days on each one and have the time to take it all in.

Eating again!! This time at the black beach, Santorini

Eating again!! This time at the black beach, Santorini

We dragged ourselves away late in the afternoon and took a scenic drive down and across the island to Kamari. Kamari Beach is one of the most popular on Santorini apparently, there were absolutely hundreds and hundreds of loungers lined up along the beach – and the sand is black! I was going to be  polite and say it was nice but I wasn’t a huge fan, it was great to see a black beach but it wasn’t something I’d rush back for.

Now, dinner on the other hand was worth the drive, the beachfront was lined with restaurants and we fell willing victims to another old sweet talking Greek waiter. Had a lovely dinner and made our way back to the hotel for an early night. Big day coming up tomorrow!

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Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel

Leaving Paros, but watch out Santorini

1st July 2012

It was a long way down

It was a long way down

Packing - or maybe just thinking about it

Packing – or maybe just thinking about it

Our last day on Paros and we spent half the time packing!! Poor old Kanales was hopping this morning with a full house of Greeks making the staff run around like crazy, it was actually peaceful to be in our little apartment trying to stuff pack everything in our suitcases. OMG I don’t know what we’re going to do by the time we leave Santorini. Apparently my face was priceless this morning at breakfast when I thought about how many steps there are in this place, the fact that reception is at the bottom, we’re at the very top and we have 2 extremely heavy suitcases plus assorted other crap.

Lunch time view from Taverna Glafkos, Naoussa

Lunch time view from Taverna Glafkos, Naoussa

Lunched at a place we stumbled upon one other day right on the beach. It’s quite surreal, you’re wandering around these little laneways and all of a sudden through an open door wow there’s the beach and ocean right there. So different to anywhere at home. It took a bit of finding again and we ended up at their back door but they were so gracious and friendly, welcoming us to traipse through the kitchen all smiles and no worries.  I had the best risotto ever and Sarah had a gorgeous bolognaise – neither of us really should have but we didn’t leave a thing on our plates. Then because of course that wasn’t enough the waitress bought out a couple of little ice-creams. I’d really, really like to say we said “no, no, we couldn’t possibly”, well actually we did say that but then we did eat them because she looked so crestfallen, hahaha!!

Didn't think about this when we were shopping

Didn’t think about this when we were shopping

Anyhow it was back to Kanales to face the big haul down the stairs with our luggage, which we did with just a couple of trips each, much laughter, stops for photo taking and crossed legs (because it was sooooo funny). When Kostas realised what we’d done he was terribly upset, gave us a lecture and wanted to know why we’d do such a thing instead of just calling on him to carry them down. He just couldn’t understand, but to tell the truth even though he carried it all up to the room it didn’t enter my head to ask him to bring it down, ooops. And the fact we were laughing fit to wet ourselves just made him shake his head at us more.

Well, that’s the end to another amazing phase of my holiday, it’s on to Santorini now but I really think I may have found my favourite place in the Greek Isles on Paros.

I’ve taken I think a gazillion photos of doors and building features since I’ve been away, here’s a cool little collection with a few from today’s fun and games, hope you enjoy them.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel

Naoussa on foot

30th June 2012

If yesterday was Paros by car then today has to be Naoussa on foot and oh boy did we help the Greek economy today.

Sarah found a handbag range she fell in love with and walked away with two new ones. The story goes that George and Gina were German climbers, they married and had Lucy. One day as they were climbing George died or was killed, I’m not sure which and some time after that Gina started the brand in his memory. Funnily enough it’s called George, Gina and Lucy.

Beaded clothes hanger from Paros

Beaded clothes hanger from Paros

Personally I think the story influenced her as much as the bags did. But then again – we found a store where every piece of clothing was on a hanger covered in multi coloured beads and I’d have to say my purchase there was heavily influenced by the fact that I’d end up with one of the hangers so I guess Sarah is no worse than I am. What did insult me was that she then asked the shopkeeper if she could just buy one of them and he gave it to her for nothing – the advantages of youth!!

Coincidence sure is a funny thing, I have not long ago heard about fish spa’s and today we stumbled on one here on Paros. The couple who own it were both there and had just recently fed their fish but said we were more than welcome to let our legs dangle and hopefully the fish would have a nibble!!

Paros Fish Spa

Paros Fish Spa

They were a totally enchanting couple, we talked with them for almost an hour and the fish did a little nibbling at our feet while we were chatting. It was so very interesting to hear about their life. He grew up on Paros and would like for them to live there all year round although at the moment they still spend half their year in Athens. They wouldn’t take any money from us when we eventually left and invited us to return later for another go because the fish weren’t very active.

Sarah's lunch!

Sarah’s lunch!

What a hard life – lunch by the water, more exploring around Naoussa then back to the hotel for swim, sunbake, siesta then drinks.  Sakis and Stellios were stressed this evening, a large group of Greeks had descended on them and were apparently quite a bit more demanding than we’d been. They’re still trying to get Sarah to go out with them, although I don’t like their chances. We made our usual trek back down town for dinner and amazingly found places we hadn’t seen before – I find it hard to believe with all the miles we’ve covered but there’s probably more still if we only knew. We did call back to our new mates at the fish spa and spent even more time sharing stories of our different homelands and ended up swapping email addresses, we also met their daughter and niece who were just as lovely .

Sakis and Stellios were winding down by the time we got back to the hotel and were in for another big chat – I feel like all I’ve done here is talk, eat and drink.

I’ll be a wee bit sad to leave tomorow, again I’ve had a fabulous time, met some really lovely people and discovered a little bit of paradise I think.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel