Tag Archives: midlife traveller

Paros by Car

29th June 2012

"topless" on Paros

“topless” on Paros

I’ve been busting to hire a scooter at some stage on this holiday but my handbrake (Sarah) isn’t too keen on the idea. So…. we collected some hire car brochures yesterday and this morning I tootled off downstairs to see about organizing one for today.  Seeing as I had to opt for a car I chose the “open-top” version. I was feeling very pleased with myself on the way back to our room and looking forward to surprising Sarah with my news. Bugger  – I should have known better – she had been checking out the brochures while I was away and greeted me with “I bet you picked the open top one”!! Oh well, we had a good laugh about how well she knows her Mum.We had a few chuckles too about the hire car guy, his name was Achilles and he was so obvious in his flattery it was hilarious. I was elevated from plain old Julie to Julia in no time at all and we were on our way with hardly a glance at paperwork. I hadn’t given any thought to driving on the wrong side of the car and road so took it very slowly at first. I kept going for the gear stick with my left hand much to Sarah’s dismay, but thankfully (for everyone else’s sake as well as ours) there wasn’t much traffic around .

Costas from Kanales had marked a few places on the map for us so we pretty much followed his recommendations when we could find them. I don’t think either of us should get a job as map readers any time soon – we have a hard time working out where we are let alone getting somewhere else. I can’t even begin to imagine how boring it would be if everything was plain sailing – or navigating, we sure gave our laughing muscles a work-out.

Trying to do an open-top photoshoot Paros

Trying to do an open-top photoshoot Paros

Our fist stop was a really pretty beach for a paddle and photos and our second was for a photo shoot of the “open-top” car with a pair of loons jumping around inside. I will admit the sunroof was quite large for a small car but it was still just a sunroof and to try and take photos of us both looking out of said sunroof was quite an achievement – comical but still an achievement. I can’t remember now whose wonderful idea it was to try and capture this truly unique shot but we gave it our all.Because I know how to work the timer on my camera I ended up doing all the running around. Sarah is about half my age and size but she just propped herself in the passenger side of the car looking all elegant with half her body out of the sunroof smiling  serenely. I on the other hand was left to set the camera up on the hood of the car, run around the open door, get out of my thongs (flip-flops for non-Australian readers), get in the car and out the roof all before the timer went off – f#@%ing impossible for me to do without ending up looking like a total twit and both of us just about wetting ourselves laughing. Talk about stupid, I did all this at least 6 times before it sank in that we’d be a lot better off if Sarah had a go at being the speedy contortionist-photographer. We had an absolute ball and got some pictures to be proud of and some that should never see the light of day. Doesn’t take much to keep us happy does it?

View from old church on the hill, Paros

View from old church on the hill, Paros

You wouldn’t believe it but we got caught in a traffic jam in Parikia, took us ten minutes to go about 500 hundred metres – and then we went round the roundabout and back the way we’d just come because we couldn’t find anywhere to park. Enough of civilization, we decided to try and buy some supplies for a picnic lunch and head out of town again. Between the terrible map reading, neck craning and wrong side of the road driving we spotted a supermarket just after the traffic jam episode. About this time I decided if you can’t beat them you might as well join them – I parked just like a local. Pulled in next to some garage’s driveway, almost on top of another car and nearly over the edge into a six foot ditch – perfect!! Sarah was just about having kittens but it was either that or keep driving round and round wasting good sightseeing time and risking having an accident to boot. Anyhow off we went back to the supermarket for our goodies with me acting all brave and Sarah all worried that we wouldn’t have a car when we returned. It was all good though, they probably thought we were locals.There was just so much to see for such a little island and so many questions to ponder. How they hire out sun-lounges and umbrellas on a tiny patch of beach smaller than our lounge room, then the waiters serve food and drinks to people on those beaches, why are there so many buildings just left to go to ruins,  how there is such a contrast between the brilliant blue ocean to the dead looking paddocks and rocks, do many tourists follow the “no toilet paper rule”, how friendly the locals are and how many of them speak English so well.

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Discovering more of Mykonos

27th June 2012

On Mykonos

On Mykonos

Do you know that feeling when you’ve got all day to shop and you don’t really feel in the mood or find anything you like and then an hour before the shops shut all of a sudden it hits you and you run around madly buying things and having a great time?? Well, so do I – and that’s a bit what Mykonos was like for Sarah and I, bugger!!!

We’d had a lovely time until now but nothing really to write home about and then we walked to town this morning and found the cutest, prettiest little streets, shops, cafes – you name it, we found it.

Lovely shop under the windmills - Mykonos

Lovely shop under the windmills – Mykonos

SOOOOOOO of course, we dashed around like mad things trying to see, photograph and experience it all before we had to leave for Paros. We found the hill with the windmills and spent ages in the shop there chatting to the owner about the jewellery he makes and sells – and bought a few pieces as well as a little ceramic fishing boat that I just fell in love with. He told me it was called Lady of the Sea. We wandered down to Little Venice and had lunch at a café named Venezia – highly original name (not) but great food and setting right on the edge of the water.

Little Venice - Mykonos

Little Venice – Mykonos

We could have spent days wandering around but it was back to the hotel then the port for another hydrofoil to Paros this afternoon. I don’t think I’ve stayed anywhere before that had such lovely staff, they are all so friendly and genuinely helpful without being obsequious. Really we couldn’t have had anything better – food to die for, day-spa on our doorstep, sea views in a beautiful hotel. Just what you imagine the Greek Isles are all about I guess – kinda sad to leave in a way but looking forward to what’s next.

It was a much shorter trip than the last one, maybe only an hour or so and we were like seasoned travellers this time – only problem is our luggage is getting heavier already. We had a chuckle at the rep’s sign with our names – apparently we are now Mrs and Mrs – guess that’s what happens when you’ve come from Mykonos.

The minibus we were directed to made a few stops dropping other guests at different places that didn’t look to be in terribly wonderful locations. We were both getting a bit worried about where we’d end up and whether our trusty Flight Centre guy Dan had kept up his hundred out of a hundred score for picking awesome places to stay. Then we headed out to the country – and we really started to raise our eyebrows as we passed paddocks and straggly crops with a few animals thrown in for good measure. But …….. Dan had done us proud again, of course, we shouldn’t have doubted him. We were being driven to the other main town on the island – Naoussa. We’re staying at Kanales in a one bedroom suite with a huge rooftop balcony on the highest level and it’s simply gorgeous.

Dusk on Paros

Dusk on Paros

We didn’t venture out again but made ourselves at home, had a few drinks and dinner at the bar and chatted with Sakis the chef/caretaker and Stellios the bartender as well as a couple of Aussies from New South Wales. Oh yeah – took another thousand photos between us I think, it is just too stunning for words.

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Mykonos – cruising, eating, relaxing and pampering

26th June 2012

Maybe no-one is taking any notice but I seem to have my days out of whack somehow. I know that what I’m writing about today definitely happened on the 26th – not that I’m obsessing about it or anything, much.

Anyhow, after a few early mornings it was nice to have a sleep-in today, neither of us stirred until about 8:30. The buffet breakfast was astounding, it all looked delicious and the variety was huge.

Twinkling lights of Mykonos by night

Twinkling lights of Mykonos by night

We had booked a cruise that left from Platis Gialos (i think) at twelve – missed the bus and all the cabs were busy!! The girls on reception were lovely and eventually got a cab for us but when we arrived at the beach we realized we’d left the cruise tickets back at the hotel. Neither of us had a clue what the tour operator’s name was or even the name of the boat. Eventually we found the right one, after a few offers from other tour operators, just in time though, think they were almost ready to leave without us.

Blue, blue water around Mykonos

Blue, blue water around Mykonos

There were only about a dozen people on the cruise but there were a few who were good people watching value, they gave the rest of us something in common to talk about if nothing else!!

Shipwreck through glass bottom boat - Mykonos

Shipwreck through glass bottom boat – Mykonos

One middle-aged Italian couple strutted around like they were god’s gift to everyone – he probably wasn’t just too bad but the woman was a real piece of work. Looked like she’d had lip fattening gone wrong and wore her bikini top with the neck strings tied around her body instead of around her neck so everyone was copping an eyeful of her nipples all day – not cool at all. Then there were a couple of guys who had eyes only for each other – they preened all day and I kid you not, if they rubbed sunscreen on each other once they must have done it ten times.

One of the quiet parts of Mykonos

One of the quiet parts of Mykonos

The rest of the passengers were nice and fun to talk to, more Italians, some Brits and a couple of sisters who were Argentinian although one lives in London. We stopped a couple of times to swim, had a yummy bbq lunch and a couple of wines, saw quite a bit of the coastline of Mykonos and soaked up the beautiful weather.Even though it was after 5 when we docked it felt like we still had a whole day left to do more. We had a swim and sunbathe back at the hotel and had more treatments at the day-spa before we even went for dinner. The Thalasso Spa Centre is just gorgeous. During our stay we had pedicures, massages and enjoyed the Thalassotherapy pools. There are five pools in one big room, each pool is a different temperature and salinity and contains different minerals or oils. It was great, wonderfully relaxing.

The days are just so long, they never seem to end and it’s soooooooooooo much fun.

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Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel