February 3, 2013 · 11:52 am
from Naoussa, Paros
28th June 2012
Poor Sarah had a very red and sore eye this morning, it hurt to open it anywhere near light. Sakis thought she’d been out last night and might have a hangover – he offered her an extra strong coffee! Apparently a few of the staff partied last night and he had about an hour sleep. He’s a funny guy, only young and came to Paros a couple of years ago from Pakistan. Breakfast wasn’t quite the same standard as the Myconian K on Mykonos it was still more than enough for us.
More laneway goodness in Naoussa, Paros
We couldn’t wait to go walking down to the town, it’s just so gorgeous here. Took Sarah to a pharmacy where they gave her some antibiotic cream for her eye, so hopefully it will come good quickly. We spent quite a long time talking with the owner of a lovely store named Tantanac. Apart from having beautiful items in his store he was a delight to talk to and we had our first lessons in the Greek language, learning how to say hello, please, thank-you and a few other simple words. He warned us (while laughing) not to say ‘calamari’ for good morning – it has to be ‘kallimera’ – so, no asking for squid for us.
Shady spot in Naoussa, Paros
We finally got round to trying gyros – they are every bit as good as everyone has been telling me. We bought some fruit on the way back to Kanales, it was so tasty and juicy. Can’t you just imagine the ancient Greeks laying back biting on ripe nectarines with the juice running down their chins being all very decadent?
Seeing as we had the whole resort to ourselves now I braved getting out in my swimsuit. The pool water was quite cool and the sun-loungers were definitely built for sleeping – we both dozed off. I woke Sarah when I startled myself awake and started laughing hysterically and couldn’t stop. A few chosen people will have heard how I startled myself, suffice to say it was hilarious but not very ladylike, so I won’t share here. Will leave that one to your imagination!!
Oh what a life – back to the bar for a cocktail before heading up to our room for a shower and change of clothes and a wander back to town for dinner.
Secret men’s business??? Naoussa, Paros
Naoussa’s own version of “Little Venice”
Take me to the beach – Naoussa, Paros
How cool – Naoussa, Paros
Mending nets, Naoussa, Paros
Sunset from our favourite ruin in Naoussa, Paros
Naoussa, Paros, Greece
Gorgeous old Greek couple – Paros, Greece
Laneways of Naoussa, Paros, Greece
Dusk on Paros, Greece
from Naoussa, Paros
Even the stairs look nice, Paros, Greece
Mother & daughter photo op on Paros
January 6, 2013 · 1:33 pm
24th June 2012
Due to my new-found love of a glass on wine at just about any time of the day or night we had a nice cold glass of white in the bar before heading out for a quick walk. We spent most of the time catching up on each other’s news but took quite a few photos as well. We are staying pretty much in the heart of the city, quite close to Syntagma Square and the Parliament.
We saw some really sad sights this arvo, lots of abandoned and graffitied buildings as well as quite a few beggars. I’m not sure if it’s worse here than other parts of the city but it certainly feels quite depressed. There wasn’t much in the way of restaurants open so we resorted to a Pizza Hut for an early dinner with a carafe of sangria. Sarah enjoyed the sangria but it wasn’t really my cup of tea although you never know if you don’t try do you?
Don’t quite know why but it took a bit of work to find our way back to the hotel – probably talking too much and not looking where we were going. Between Sarah’s phone and our somewhat dodgy sense of direction we found our way back to familiar territory. Another lesson learned though – we should always have a map of some sort! Sarah was astounded that it was still light at nine at night, that’s us Queenslanders for you, no idea what daylight saving is like at all.
Birds eating oranges in Athens park
Unusual sights around Athens
I’ll push my trolley on the street if I want to.
Unusual sights in Athens – he caught up to the traffic with his trolley
I’ve died and gone to heaven – shop in Athens
But wait there’s more! Athens
Lollies in GIANT bags – Athens
Wow! Like kids in a lolly shop. Athens
Bags and bags of died fruit, nuts, all sorts – Athens
December 18, 2012 · 10:15 pm
21st June 2012
Looking towards the Spanish Steps from via Condotti, Rome
Today was a nothing day really – pretending to be locals, sitting around drinking coffee and eating took up a big chunk of time, but I really did need a day off. It was great to catch up with my mates and we weren’t completely lazy, we meandered from my patch of turf to the more luxurious shopping areas around the Spanish Steps. Via Condotti was just for window shopping, although interesting to see the big name brands there wasn’t anything I lusted after. Some of the streets around and off via del Corso were little havens of quiet and shade which was a nice change from the hustle and bustle. I saw plenty of unique and interesting pieces there but kept thinking of the ten or so kilos of presents I already have to post tomorrow so “just looking” was the motto for the day!
Interior Basilica di San Vitale
There is a lovely little church just across the road from my hotel that I’ve been meaning to write about so as I’m having a slow news day here we go. It’s called, wait for it because it is a mouthful – Basilica of Sts. Vitalis, Valeris, Gervase and Protase or more commonly Basilica di San Vitale. I have intentionally not visited the Vatican this trip and when I found this little gem I knew I wouldn’t regret that decision. It’s a peaceful little oasis in the middle of Rome, I’d much rather sit and contemplate life for a while here than fight the crowds at the Vatican this time round. Probably next visit I’ll go there and wonder why I didn’t go earlier.
Looking up to street level from San Vitale church
The little church is about 20 or 30 steps below the current street level with awesome intricately carved wooden doors and has wonderful paintings on the walls and ceiling. Some of the wall frescos seem almost like trompe l’oeil in places. It’s hard to believe it was built in 400 AD – although it’s been restored a number of times, there’s still a whole lot of antiquity in this building. Coincidence is a strange thing isn’t it? This little place was extensively rebuilt in 1475 under the direction of Pope Sixtus IV, the same pope who donated the statues that began the foundation of the Musei Capitolini – a fact I had no idea about until yesterday.
What started out as a relaxing day actually became quite tiring in the end as we sat and talked and laughed for hours after dinner, not that I’m complaining, it’s just what I needed after my little teary last night. So once again it’s off to bed tired but so thankful to be here and happy to have spent the day with friends
Wooden doorway of Basilica di San Vitale
Basillica di San Vitale
Basillica di San Vitale detail
Roof detail Basillica di San Vitale
December 12, 2012 · 4:45 pm
8th December 2012
My work social club function was held last weekend and I thought I’d write about that for something different. We are a small group in the social club and we usually go somewhere reasonably close to home for a weekend away. This year we made our way to Cherrabah Homestead Resort situated about 30km outside Warwick, a small town in southern Queensland Australia. The area is known as the Granite Belt because of the prevalence of large granite outcrops and massive rocks. The resort has operated for many years and has undergone quite a few changes of ownership with varying degrees of success. The current management team have only been in place for about 2 months and are trying hard to turn the downward spiral around. If our visit was anything to go by they’re well on their way.
The sign says “closed for servicing”!!
The resort is part of a 5,000 acre property with a great variety of activities suited for all tastes. Some of the facilities have seen better days, like the four little spa huts dotted around the accommodation blocks. One was completely trashed, another looked like it needed some TLC but the other two seemed fine so hopefully with the new management things like that will gradually be attended to. Even though the accommodation is only about a 3 star experience these days there was nothing actually wrong with it, just a tad tired in some areas. The main “homestead” building has a lovely big open fireplace in the main bar area which looks out over the pool and surrounding mountains. I can just imagine sitting there in winter curled up in one of the oversize armchairs with a good book and glass of red wine – heaven.
We had a barbecue lunch on Saturday followed by the “Cherrabah Challenge” held in the indoor bull riding arena!! They have often held bull riding competitions there apparently. We didn’t have any bulls, just a couple of barrel ponies we had to lasso and saddle as part of the challenge. We were divided into teams and competed against each other in a round robin type of thing until there was only one team left who then competed against the Cherrabah team.
First leg of the relay had to run the length of the arena, light a fire then run back. Someone who shall remain nameless ran so fast her body went faster than her legs and she landed flat out on the ground. But up I got, ran to the end, lit my fire and ran back again all before the boss’s wife had even lit her fire. Yay me!!!! The following legs of the relay had to don a Driza-Bone coat and crack a stock whip, lasso the barrel pony, saddle and mount the barrel pony after which you had to throw your hat in the air and yell “yahoo”. I might add my team was the grand champion team of the day although I should also admit I sat out the last couple of rounds and used a younger substitute. We had an absolutely wonderful afternoon and of course headed back to the bar for a blow-by-blow debrief and a few drinks to quench our hard-earned thirst.
Dinner was a scrumptious traditional roast meal after which we headed down the paddock for a bonfire and marshmallow toasting with a few more drinks thrown in for good measure. By the time we returned to the bar the karaoke machine was well and truly on fire so the rest of the night passed rather happily.
The resort has horses and quad bikes available for guided tours around the property so those of us who didn’t have to rush home for children stayed and went for a couple of hours horse-ride. I haven’t ridden much and not at all for years but it was fantastic. We made fun of each other, developed sore butts, had trouble getting on and off the horses and assorted other laugh worthy woes but it was THE BEST fun I’ve had for months. We rode for an hour each way through unspoiled true Australian bush and were only two and a half hours from Brisbane.
We always have fun on our social club weekends because we just make it fun no matter where we are or what we do but this weekend was exceptional I think in part because Cherrabah is such a wonderful place and the staff are committed to its success.
Bushland Cherrabah Homsestead Resort
Granite boulders at the rest stop on the horse ride Cherrabah Homestead Resort