Showing posts with label Poros. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poros. Show all posts

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Armchair travels to some Novel Destinations

We remain in 'detention' (as we call it) here - unable to leave Greece while awaiting those credit-card sized permanent residency permits, aka, our tickets to travel outside Greece.

Road trips will be what we do this spring in Greece

The latest update on our renewal status was that the review process has become 'more detailed and complicated after the system update'. . .hmmm. Does that sound ominous to anyone else but me?

Morning on Hydra Island 

We are both feeling the travel bug's itch though and with Greece having an estimated 160 to 227 (depending on the source) inhabited islands, we are going to make the most of as many of them as we can while living here.

This weekend we are returning to one we visited a decade ago; so long ago that most of the details of that trip have faded. I do remember the pounding rainstorm we had there - the one that kept ferries from coming to the island because the sea was so rough.  The Scout, on the other hand, remembers the wonderful walk we took when the rain let up a bit. Funny, how memories differ when looking back on trips.

Ferry arrives at Poros Island

I'll tell you more about this island next week but since the focus of today's post is armchair travel and novel destinations, I'll give you a teaser about the island:  John Fowles conceived the idea of his novel Magus while he lived on this island in the 1950's teaching English.  It took him 12 years to complete the book that has often been called the 'cult novel of the 20th Century."  Any guesses based on that clue as to where we are going?

We have had a few great 'novel' and 'not so novel' getaways in recent months so join us in some armchair travels:


Sailing to a Greek island

Yes, I know we live in Greece, but I love getting insights into this country's history through novels.  Patricia Wilson, a novelist living on Rhodes, took us back in time in her books, Villa of Secrets, set in Rhodes and her Island of Secrets, set in Crete. Both novels are based on actual events that took place during World War II and the tales were so interesting that we read the books back-to-back and had to impatiently wait for the arrival of her most recent book, Secrets of Santorini (which just came out).  You want a great get-away, I guarantee these books will take you there.


The Taj Mahal Hotel - Mumbai, India

Sujata Massey's novel, The Widows of Malabar Hill, is a mystery book set in 1920's India. In it she introduces her character Perveen Mistry, Bombay's only female lawyer and a mystery sleuth as well.  I am delighted to see she is keeping this character around and has just had her next book in this series published. As a former newspaper reporter, I love seeing reporters-turn-writers. Massey was a reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun before becoming a full-time novelist.

Not so Novel Destinations

Me at the real - not movie version - Bramasole

So many long years ago Frances Mayes with her Under the Tuscan Sun tales got me to thinking that 'one day' we just might have a similar adventure.  The book, now more than 20 years old, is still one of my favorites. I am re-reading it again this summer for a taste of Tuscany. . .and recommend it as a great armchair getaway. For those of you who've seen the movie, do read the book as she has practical things like mouth-watering recipes as well as inspirational tales of taking a leap into the unknown. It is particularly interesting to see where that leap took her: she and Ed sell Bramasole-labeled olive oil and wine, she just wrote another book about Italy, this one a travel guide, Meet Me in the Piazza and was interviewed at Bramasole on U.S. television's, CBS Sunday Morning.

When I finish with Frances I am moving on to Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence as he was another that helped formulate my daydreams. Mr. Mayle died last year and his last book, My 25 Years in Provence, Reflections on Then and Now will soon be on my bedside table.

Karen and Rich McCann at Petro's in Trahilio

And in today's mail I received Karen McCann's Dancing in the Fountain, How to Enjoy Living Abroad. I have a copy back in the State's --  she also provided a nudge back in 2012 when I read of the adventures she and her husband Rich had experienced when moving to Seville, Spain.  If you missed my last post, she and Rich were in The Mani with us for three days - days filled with tale telling and much laughter.  I am certain I will love the book all over again and you would as well.

That's all the armchair travel time I have for today -- time to start packing.  What books are you reading? Any recommendations?

Thanks for the time you've spent with us - hope to see you back next week when I'll be telling tales from 'that' island. . . have you guessed it yet?

Linking this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Travel Tip Tuesday: Do-It-Yourself Room Service

There is nothing we like better when traveling than to sip that first cup of morning coffee in bed or while sitting on the deck enjoying the view from our room.  Just grabbing a few more minutes of lazy relaxation is a perfect start to a day.

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On our recent trip to Greece that’s how we pretty much started each day. At the Hotel Manessi in Poros, Greece we were up early to watch the waterfront come to life each morning – cup of coffee in hand.

Pt1Crete2013 074Most of the places we stayed in didn’t have room service options but they had something even better: a pot in which to boil water, cups, saucers and spoons.

We were at the Corelli Suites in Elounda, Crete when I took the photo below and to the right.

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Not only was this do-it-yourself room service convenient, it also saved us a couple hundred dollars over the course of our month-long stay.

Sfakia2Amster2013 364Good coffee – no longer just the Nescafe powered stuff – can be found in upscale coffee bars throughout Greece. In the places we visited, the cost was about $2US a cup for coffee and  $3US for a cappuccino.

Don’t get me wrong, we did visit any number of those coffee houses for a java jolt in the afternoon, like the one pictured above in Heraklion, Crete, but morning was the time for ‘home brew’.

Doing Do-It-Yourself Room Service

We brought a pound of Starbucks ground coffee, the individual filter holder and filters in our suitcase.  As we used the coffee and filters, it made room in the suitcase for souvenirs like honey and spices. We did replenish the Starbucks (yes, Starbucks has come to some places in Greece) but bought a smaller quantity to use up before our return.

Arizona Spring 2012 147Note:  When we take road trips that begin in Kirkland, I always stick our hotpot and two cups into the car.  Two years ago, while staying at an upscale Vegas hotel, that didn’t offer in-room coffee, we saved having to dress and go to the coffee shop (where two coffees were $10US) by simply using our do-it-yourself room service pack.
Do you use do-it-yourself room service?  If so, what tips do you have for us on this Travel Tip Tuesday?  Please add a comment below or shoot us an email and we will make sure we publish them in a future post.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heaven ‘Scent’: Our Greek Orange Odyssey

Sometimes it was soft;  a feather tickling our noses with a hint of sweetness. . .
illusive and fleeting. . .
Sometimes the air was thick with the heavenly scent of 
~ orange blossoms ~

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When we planned our Greek travels we didn’t realize that both  our destinations - the Peloponnese and Crete -- are two of the country’s major orange producing areas.  Greece, in fact,  is the European Union’s third largest orange producer, just behind Spain and Italy, respectively, and just above Portugal and Cyprus.

GreecePt12013 049Our Orange Odyssey began with the first whiff of the tiny, but pungent, blossoms on the island of Poros, a stone’s throw from the  Peloponnese. 

The Odyssey sent all our our senses into overdrive.  We saw, smelled, touched, and tasted oranges; from those tiny little white blossoms to the end product. (We drank orange juice by the gallons it seemed, sometimes each glass seemed gallon sized.)

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Born and raised in Pacific Northwest agricultural areas, we are conditioned to think of fruit harvest as taking place in the fall.  In Greece, we learned, Valencia, the thin-skinned ‘summer orange’  is harvested between February and October with peak harvest falling in May – July. 

GreecePt12013 134While in Nafplion, that Venetian-style city in the Peloponnese, we bought a bag – filled with a dozen oranges for one euro ($1.30US) – from the display pictured below – one of many at the city’s  street market.

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As we wound our way up and down, over and under the Peloponnese hillsides, we  traveled through the Laconia prefecture’s Evrotas River valley – one of the largest citrus growing regions in Greece.  Here we rolled down the car windows so we could enjoy the area’s aromatherapy.

PicMonkey Collage

Pt1Crete2013 083We continued our Orange Odyssey in Crete, where we restocked our citrus supply from this selection at Elounda’s street market.

Pt1Crete2013 149Elounda, on Crete’s northeastern shore, is where we spent several days revisiting favorite places. We ‘deck dined’  at our studio apartment feasting on breakfasts of Greek honey, fresh strawberries, home-canned cherries and, of course, oranges.

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Sfakia2Amster2013 010In Hora Sfakia, on Crete’s southwestern coast, we watched the orange vendor as he parked his truck, announcing his arrival and product for sale using the horn mounted  on the cab.

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His oranges were likely the ones that the owners of nearby Delfini’s Restaurant used in their display to lure tourists and visiting hikers – it worked on us each day of our stay.

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That is our contribution to Travel Photo Thursday, an armchair travel event hosted by Budget Traveler’s Sandbox each week.  Head over there and take a few more trips  today. GreecePt12013 072 

Nancie McKinnon, a Canadian, who created both the BTS blog and the weekly photo event, lives and works in South Korea. . .she’s heading home to Halifax next week for a visit.

And guess what? 

She and I will meet for the first time ‘out of the blogosphere’ on Monday and you’ll never guess where. . .come back next week and I'll tell you!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Greece ~ Unwrapping the Gift ~

Greece, the birthday gift I’ve chosen for this year has been waiting for me -- a bus, train, three planes, and another bus -- away from our Pacific Northwest home. And here I am - time to put the planning into action!

A trip to Greece is one requiring time and distance that can make the youngest of travelers weary: we’ve  hurtled some 39,000 – feet above the earth as Delta whisked  us some 4,868 miles to Amsterdam. There we boarded another plane for the three hour flight to Athens.

Buses, trains and ferries will all be used on this trip. And I can't tell you the joy in finally looking out the plane's window and seeing Athens below!  Total travel time: 24 hours from our front door to check in at our hotel in  Piraeus, Athen's port.

Through time zones and climate changes we’ve traveled to reach this gift  ~ a trip that’s been in the back of our minds since we last visited in 2010.  “You must really like Greece,” observed friends who can’t quite get beyond this country’s economic  upheaval; one so severe that it has rocked world markets.

We know the world has changed – Greece in particular – since we last visited.  And we have wondered in what state we will find the country that has wrapped us up in its spell. We wonder whether the charming mom-and-pop places we’ve committed to memory will still be there to welcome us?  How will those few folks we remember so fondly  be doing?

Our trip really is going to be like unwrapping a gift ~ one that I suspect will hold all sorts of surprises. Come along with us as I continue to see what surprises it has for us! (That's me at the port, waiting for this ferry to take us to Poros. . .more from there soon! And today is Travel Photo Thursday so head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos and travel.

Map picture

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Gift of Greece

If you’re a regular to these pages, you know that traveling to Greece is how I am choosing to celebrate the July arrival of my 60th year.

In planning -- I use that term loosely --our trip we've gathered a list; a kaleidoscope of old favorite places and new discoveries that we may or may not get to, but which at least have defined the perimeters of our itinerary. In the process, I’ve decided this trip isn’t so much a celebration as it is a gift. . .

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. . .because it will take us back to the Peloponnese (pel-o-pon-ih-sos), the mythical land of Greek gods where we had but an appetizer-sized visit two years ago  - enough to bring us back for a full serving this trip. The Peloponnese is the part of mainland Greece that looks somewhat like an open hand with three fingers extended. We'll be heading for the middle finger this time ~ The Mani ~ the land near and dear to the heart of 20th Century writer, Patrick Leigh Fermor.

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. . .it will take us back to not only a favorite island, Poros, but to the the Manessi Hotel where we've booked ‘our room’ (the one next to the Greek flag in the photo above). Poros, about an hour by fast ferry from Pireaus (Athen's port city) is a stone's throw across a small channel from the Peloponnese.

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. . .it will also give us the chance to ride Greek ferries, our preferred mode of travel in Greece.  While the more airplane-lile high speed ferry will take us to Poros, sometime along the way we’ll likely be perched at the top railing of a Greek ferry like this one, the size of a cruise ship, as we make our way south from the Peloponnese to Crete, Greece's southern-most island a few hundred miles north of the African coast.

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. . .it will take us back to Crete . . . that, in itself, is a gift.  One guidebook likens the island to Picasso in his prime, ". . .a dramatic quilt of big-shouldered mountains, stunning beaches and undulating hillsides blanketed in olive groves, vineyards and wildflowers." We'll be exploring new territory on our Cretan trip but will return to favorite places that draw us back with their own special magic. Places like Loutro, accessible only on foot or by boat;  is here we will celebrate Greek Easter. We will return to Maria's pensione where for 35-euro a night we have this view from our balcony each morning. . .

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. . .and we'll also visit the tiny blip on the map, Kastri, a bit further east on Crete's southern coast, where I will seek out my jeweler friend Georgios and then eat moussaka (pictured above) at this, one of our favorite restaurants on the island.

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. . .and no matter where we go we will be charmed by the photogenic Greek cats.  This fellow was relaxing in Loutro . . .

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. . . and this one was snoozing in Hydra during our last visit. . .their presence adds to what I consider a  simply purrr-fect gift!

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We've made room reservations for only six of the 35 nights we will be gone. . .that tells you we plan to go where the winds blow us and won't really know where we are going until we get there. Please come along and help us unwrap the Gift of Greece.  And today is Travel Photo Thursday so make sure to visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In Pursuit of Passion: Those Who Dare

Travel, for us, is pursuing a passion.  It is about risk-taking; leaving our routines and comforts to experience  new cities, countries and customs. 

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“You are so brave!”

So often that is the response when we talk of some destination or our plans for reaching and discovering it. (That's us high above Dubrovnik, Croatia in the photo above.)

No, not brave.

Just passionate about seeing the world while we are ‘young’ enough to do so.

Along the way we’ve met others who haven't let age or health deter pursuit of their passions. As the year draws to a close, we've been remembering some of those folks who’ve inspired us along the way:

~~~Ravenna, Italy~~~

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The two ladies in the photo above finally paused long enough for me to snap a photo of them while on a stop in Ravenna, Italy. They were fellow cruisers who had been a continual source of inspiration from the moment we first noticed them aboard the ship.

Their white-hair and frail-frames masked the spirits of a couple of independent travelers who were constantly on the go;  never missing a port of call – nor an afternoon of reading at poolside when on the ship.

~~~Poros, Greece ~~~~

Two years ago, on the Greek island of Poros we visited one afternoon with self-taught artist Vasilas Poriotis as he sat in his sidewalk gallery.

As our visit ended we told him that we hoped to return one day and find him there.  He said he would be  "if I am not dead." Then with a sweeping gesture over his work, he added,  "I am not focused on the end - I am not afraid of it when it comes. . .it is what you leave behind that matters. And I have left something behind. . .It is important to leave something behind."

~~~Adriatic Sea~~~

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John Koruga, who splits his time between Seattle and Mexico, has pursued his travel passions for decades. But it wasn’t until this fall, at age 86, he tried  the world of cruising. He flew from Seattle to Rome and boarded the Celebrity Silhouette, the cruise on which we also ‘looped Italy’s boot’.

SilhouettePt12012 329Age and health are not topics John readily discusses (although he had both knees replaced a few years ago); he’d prefer to talk about the next trip he’d like to make and he’s got quite a few on his list. In this photo he was teaching me the art of bocce ball.

~~~Bologna, Italy~~~

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It was  Anna Maria Monari, the 72-year-old owner of Trattoria Anna Maria that inspired during our visit to Bologna, Italy. She founded her restaurant 24 years ago in a smaller location a few blocks from its present site. Back then, Anna Maria was both waitress and chef, serving menu items created from her mother’s recipes.

She’s not entertaining thoughts of retirement either, as she told us,  “I am here every day.  Where else do I have to go? This is the party.  . .Mama Mia!”

~~~Mascota, Mexico~~~

It was on our stop last spring at  El Pedregal Museo, The Stone Museum in Mascota, Mexico the town high in the Sierra Madres near Puerto Vallarta where we met the owner, curator, and artist  Don Francisco Rodriguez.

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Pero, por que piedra? (But, why stone?), Joel asked of the 76-year-old artist as he explained how he goes to the river and searches for rocks, loads them into a wheelbarrow and hauls them.

Porque es mi pasion, (Because it is my passion),” he answered simply with a shrug and a grin.

~~~Kastri, Crete~~~

“The colors of the sea”  is what I told him when he said he wanted to make me a gift. But  the real gift was the time I spent with  Georgios Chalkoutsakis on that warm spring afternoon on Crete’s southern shore. Georgios is a glass bead artist whom some might label as 'handicapped', but I would call him talented! 

He is wheelchair bound as a result of a premature birth.  His hand movement is a bit limited but that hasn't kept him from perfecting his art of glass bead making. My colors of the sea are pictured on the left.

Yes, we believe it all comes down to daring to pursue a passion.  Will 2013 be the year that you begin pursuing a long-put-off passion?  Or will you simply step up the pursuit of an existing one?

Stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox today if you need a bit more travel inspiration.  And if you want to receive TravelnWrite posts in your inbox, sign up in the box on the corner,become a friend by signing up below that box (where our other friend’s photos appear) or follow us on Facebook. We'll get back to the Winter Western Road Trip this weekend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When Travel Bug and “Love Bug” Meet

You know by now that we suffer from the travel bug.
I also have a “Love Bug” – the Volkswagen type. . .a Herbie, VW Bug.

Herbie, is my loved Bug. So when I travel I am always on the lookout for ‘cousins’ and on this Travel Photo Thursday I thought I’d show you where I found them and what they were up to:

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This travelin' Herbie was heading out into the southwest desert after getting filled up at a station in Tonopah, Nevada.


Another hard-working Herbie was spotted in Las Vegas, Nevada’s Town Square Shopping Center.  As the dill pickle on top reads, “We Dill iver”.

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This precious purple Herbie was parked on a street near a pile of garbage in Trabzon, Turkey.

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Hellenic Herbie came zipping into the parking area to await a ferry on the island of Poros, Greece.

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Cousin cool dude Herbie was in the Fashion Show Mall on The Vegas Strip, doing nothing more than being admired by shoppers.

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Herbie, the Hawaiian, was sitting in the shade in Haleiwa on O’ahu’s North Shore.

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This Baja Bug of a Herbie was in Cabo San Lucas,  Mexico last week.

herbie 012 For those of you who’ve not yet met my Herbie. . . here he is: a 69 VW Bug (stick shift, automatic) that my dad bought used in 1972 to serve as my college car. This photo was taken two years ago; four decades, two engines and nearly 200,000 miles later.

How about you?  Any Herbie’s in your life? Any icons that you seek out when you travel?

Don’t forget to hop in the driver’s seat and head on over to Budget Traveler’s Sandbox for more travel photos.


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