Archive for the 'Greece' Category

postcards from delos

It’s been almost three months since I was in Greece and the sacred island of Delos, just off Mykonos. The trip to Delos was a journey back in time, to a place that the world seemed to have forgotten. It is fertile with stories to tell of the glory of the Greeks amid the arid, abandoned expanse of the island. The birthplace of the gods, here, no one can be born and no one can die.

Delos Island Approach

Delos Island Columns

Delos Island Jars

Delos Island Lady

Delos Island Phallus

Delos Island Temple

Delos Island Lions

Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my son Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple –; for no other will touch you, as you will find: and I think you will never be rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo, all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers; for truly your own soil is not rich. – Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo.

a greek holiday: postcards from mykonos town

The heart and soul of the island, pedestrianized Mykonos Town is a beehive of activity where the world comes together to sample Greek dishes in the many tavernas and topnotch restaurants, to shop local wares as well as luxury timepieces and fine jewelry, to appreciate and acquire art from the galleries, and when the night falls party like there’s no tomorrow.

Mykonos Town has a myriad of tiny and charming alleyways. In every corner you turn, you’ll find a sight that’s postcard pretty. Bursts of color, from potted plants to bougainvilleas lazily hanging from balconies, appear among whitewashed houses. Following the breeze, you’ll find yourself in one of the island’s main tourist attractions – be it the famous windmills, Little Venice situated dramatically on the edge of the sea, the Paraportiani church with its insurmountable shape and structure, or the friendly town mascot Petros the Pelican spreading its wings at the Old Port.

Here are my postcards from Mykonos Town.

Mykonos Town House

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town
Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Paraportiani Church

Mykonos Town Window

Mykonos Town Little Venice

Mykonos Town Little Venice

Mykonos Town Windmills

Mykonos Town Windmills

Mykonos Town Windmills

Mykonos Town Windmills

I hope you’ll find yourself here one day, too.

a greek holiday: postcards from the beaches of mykonos

Agios Stefanos Beach, Mykonos

People from four corners of the world come to the island of Mykonos for its incredible, long sandy beaches and enjoy the crystal clear waters and brilliant sunshine. But no one told us that Mykonos is also a cradle of winds. It was therefore essential to check how the wind was blowing every day as a trip to the beach could be quite uncomfortable with towels flailing and sand getting onto your face.

Taxi boat approaching Paranga Beach

First, an impression. The waters of Mykonos beaches are outstandingly warm and are in the most attractive shades of deep blue, turquoise, and lapis. It is truly quite a breathtaking sight to see or swim in.

Well, most of the days was windy so we only managed to visit two beaches. While Mykonos is known for its Paradise Beach, and as if that wasn’t enough, the ultra hot gay beach Super Paradise, we opted for more toned-down choices. One could reach the beaches via networks of private-run buses or by way of the sea with a taxi boat. If you have extra money to spare, as if Mykonos is not already expensive, you can rent a scooter, a quad, or a car during your stay and drive to some of the islands’ virgin beaches that are unreachable by public transportation. Also remember that rental of sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach is expensive, at 4 euros each. So if you are a couple, you’d pay 12 euros for two sunbeds and an umbrella for a day. But you can always just choose a spot right on the beach, bring your own towels and umbrella and pay nothing.

Our first beach was Paranga Beach. Situated between Paradise and Platys Yialos beaches, Paranga is a beautiful organized (sunbeds on offer) southern beach that offers excellent swimming and bars that go rowdy as the day rolls by. If you like a more peaceful area like we do, go to the right-most side of the beach, farthest to the row of bars.

Paranga Beach, Mykonos

Paranga Beach, Mykonos

Paranga Beach Boys

LV Zippy Coin Purse

We got a tip off our hotel hostess one day we wanted to go to the beach while it was quite windy. Located just around the corner of the new Tourlos Port on the northwest coast of the island, the Agias Stefanos Beach is well protected against winds from all directions. A favorite among locals, the beach has very fine sand and it’s easy to waddle from the shore as it’s mostly just sand, quite a wonderful surprise actually. It is also at an advantageous position capturing the legendary Mykonos sunset and watching the big cruise ships leaving the island at the end of each port call.

Agias Stefanos Beach, Mykonos

Cruise ship leaving Tourlos Port

Agias Stefanos Beach, Mykonos

There were still many beaches we wanted to explore like the undeveloped, virgin beaches and a tip-off like Agrari Beach and its idyllic cove, but we just didn’t have enough time or the weather conditions didn’t offer the best possible scenario. But as long as the tides keep on turning and the sun keeps on shining, there will be a next time for Mykonos and its lovely beaches.

a greek holiday: postcards from hotel tagoo

After Athens, our next stop was the gorgeous island of Mykonos. Known the world over for its cosmopolitan persona, crystal clear beaches and intense nightlife, it was our first Greek island of choice. We decided not to sail further ashore into Greece’s other beautiful islands, so we nested in our home away from home – Hotel Tagoo, the #1 hotel in Mykonos according to readers of Tripadvisor – for eight beautiful nights.

With over 500 photos taken, I’ve decided to tell our Mykonos story in several parts. The first of which is dedicated to our hotel, a place we will always remember.

Approaching Mykonos

Approaching Mykonos after under four hours on a highspeed ship from Athens.

Mykonos Tourlos Port

We arrived at the new Tourlos Port where our hotel transfer was waiting.

Hotel Tagoo entrance

To whisk us away to our home away from home – Hotel Tagoo.

LV Keepall & Panda by Hotel Tagoo pool

While waiting for check-in, we enjoyed some drinks at the poolbar, while my Keepall started suntanning. Lol.

mykonos_tagoo_view

The hotel has a breathtaking view of the Aegean sea and an endless blue horizon on bright sunny days.

Hotel Tagoo Cycladic Architecture

Mykonos is characterized by its Cycladic architecture. Whitewashed cubic houses with flat roofs. Wooden colored doors and windows, mostly blue. Flowered balconies. Such charming Greek cliche.

Hotel Tagoo, Mykonos

Hotel Tagoo is a lovely basic hotel with a five-star view, perfect location, great staff and excellent service. Hotel owner Anna gathers guests and conducts briefings about the island and imparts her priceless tips on where-tos and what-tos over glasses of Ouzo. Only with a few rooms, it sets an intimate mood.

LV Tanger Sac Plat and Huntington

Most of our days were spent by the poolside, iPods playing and a book in one hand.

Mykonos Sunset, Hotel Tagoo

Mykonos Sunset, Hotel Tagoo poolside

And by the end of each day, we would sit by the pool terrace waiting for the famous Mykonos sunset – a stunning painted sky with streaks of pink, orange and red.

Hotel Tagoo Bar

If you want a drink or two, there’s the bar tended by Anna’s son at daytime and Anna’s brother at night. Do try Retsina!

Shiny happy people of Tagoo

There was also a Greek night where Anna served homemade spinach and cheese pies, where her husband Yanni taught the guests a Greek dance, and where we met great, happy people. There’s the French boys Sylvain and Pascal, our host Anna, and Terry from Canada. We also met a nice couple from Barcelona. That’s one of the charms of Hotel Tagoo, it brings people together.

Hotel Tagoo in the moonlight

But the most memorable night of all was our last night in Mykonos. A truly out-of-this world experience. We surveyed the heavens for meteors towards the end of the Perseid Meteor Shower the 12th of August. I saw 20 blazing across the starry velvet night sky, some short, others projecting a brilliant long trail. It was amazing, no words…

If you’re visiting the island of Mykonos, please consider Hotel Tagoo. It’s a great place to stay and I’m sure you’ll carry home wonderful memories like we did. :)

athens loot no. 2: wrap me in black

It’s time to unveil the second LV loot from Athens.

A little story. I approached one elderly SA in the store asking for the Macassar Soft Briefcase and the Damier Etole in Bordeaux, she said both were not available and had no slightest clue what the stole was or what it looked like. Letting that go, I went around the store, went out and looked for Gucci, and went back in again. A sweet SA opened the door for me and said, “welcome back again,” remembering me from my earlier visit. That’s when I decided to work with her in search of a new wallet, thus the Zippy Coin Purse. She was very helpful, insightful and patient, bringing out options for me to choose from until we both agreed the Multicolore was the best choice.

While she was finishing the transaction, I thought of asking if they had the Damier Etole in Noir. After some key-punching on her computer, she said she would come back. And then there it was. She reappeared holding the black pouch bag marked with a grey Louis Vuitton signature at the bottom and slowly unfurled the most gorgeous stole these eyes have ever seen.

I was unsure about this the first time I saw it in Oslo and back then my heart was set on its wine-colored counterpart. But after seeing it for the second time and a quick mental calculation as to the wardrobe mileage the Damier Etole in Noir has to offer, I decided that I’m bringing it home. It was absolutely fabulous and luxurious to touch. And it was here. It was right now. Whereas in Oslo, I was on a waitlist seven-man deep. It was meant to be.

Presenting my prized Damier Etole in Noir, made from a royal blend of cashmere and silk. I fell in love with this variety of stole when it was first presented on the FW09/10 runway show. The monochromatic reinterpretation of the Damier pattern in grey and black gives the stole a voluminous effect and a rich look.

Louis Vuitton Damier Etole in Noir

Louis Vuitton Damier Etole in Noir

Louis Vuitton Damier Etole in Noir

Louis Vuitton Damier Etole in Noir

Louis Vuitton Damier Etole in Noir

Here are the two pictured together.

LV Loot from Athens

So that sums up my shopping spree in Athens. Like DD said, LV make the best souvenirs. And I agree. Now each time I unzip the coin purse, I’ll think of Athens. And each time I wear the stole, I’ll remember that warm afternoon in my ocean-view Myconos balcony camera-clicking away all for the sake of a modeling photo. Haha!

I LVoe!

a greek holiday: postcards from athens

August 3, 2009

Our sightseeing tour of Athens started even before we’ve reached our hotel. Opting for a taxi to take us from the Airport to the city center, we landed a friendly and eager taxi driver who pointed us to some attractions and stopped by the roadside for me to be able to take photos – the 2004 Olympic stadium from a distance, the Olympic stadium for the first modern Olympic games in 1896 on street level and the Presidential Palace where I took a snapshot of a Presidential guard. He gave us our first brochures/guides of the city, which made me wonder whether this was a government initiative where the first points-of-contacts for tourists such as taxi drivers are allies in promoting tourism. Very efficient indeed.

It was a thrill seeing the sacred rock of Acropolis and the Parthenon that loom above everything and everyone for the first time. I’ve seen pictures a million times before but you wouldn’t really recognize the immense grandeur of the iconic landmark until you look up from your whizzing taxi. It’s there, eternally casting its glory.

Not too long after, we found ourselves on Syntagma (Parliament) Square where our hotel is centrally located. With an early evening arrival and a rather long flight with connections via Dusseldorf, we decided to just sleep after checking in. Later on that evening, we wandered around Plaka or the city’s old town looking for food. It’s a busy district brimming with tourists, restaurants and shops. Too bad I didn’t get to explore much of it during our short two-night stay in Athens.

On the way to Athens

The President's Guard

1896 Olympics Stadium

Syntagma Building

August 4, 2009

With only one full day in Athens, we decided to prioritize a visit to the Parthenon. Leaving the hotel at around 11 am, quite late actually as per the suggestion of our taxi driver earlier, we got to the slopes of Acropolis on foot by way of Plaka passing through the Roman Agora – a marketplace during Ancient Athens. After paying the admission fees, we slowly climbed and realized why it was advised that we go early in the day. The heat is sweltering and by the time we reached the spot where many people are converged in a queue, we were sweating a lot. We needed to wait for about 45 minutes shoulder-to-shoulder in line before we finally entered the grounds of the Acropolis. Silently, the Parthenon greets us at once in all its glory. Known as the most perfect building built by the world’s most advanced civilization, the Parthenon was the temple dedicated to the goddess Athena which was built in the 2nd half of 5th century B.C. It’s amazing how it has stood the test of time and how it recalls to mind that despite the city’s modernization after the 2004 Olympics, Athens is very much rooted to its ancient past living to the present.

Also on site is the Erechtheion where the famous Caryatids – six figures of maidens – have been in place since 450 B.C. Well, they are actually only replicas as the real deal is located in the New Acropolis Museum where one of the Caryatids is missing. She’s in the British Museum in London.

The hilltop location of the Parthenon is also an awesome vantage point to view the city of Athens, a truly huge metropolis!

Plaka Church Rooftop

Plaka Church Mosaic Art

Plaka on the way to Acropolis

Roman Agora of Athens

At the Roman Agora with a view of the Parthenon

Slopes of AcropolisWith the city in the background

People in line to the Parthenon

Mark at the Parthenon

Mark and Knut at the Parthenon

Parthenon

Parthenon Detail

The Erechtheion

The Caryatids

Leaving the Parthenon

One final look

Afterwards, we cooled down at the newly-opened Acropolis museum with its impressive collection of archaeological finds from the site and slopes of the Acropolis. Rising from excavations of an ancient settlement which was discovered during construction, the modern building is an architectural wonder by itself.

The New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum

Having spent most of the day in the area, we decided to go downtown, walking past the triumphal Hadrian’s Arch and the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus where only 15 Corinthian columns remain.

Hadrian's Arch

Ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus

After this point, Knut went back to the hotel while I headed to the high fashion street of Voukourestiou and bought some nice things from Louis Vuitton. Later that night, we dined at Kolonaki before retiring to our beds for our trip to the Cycladic island of Mykonos the following day.

And that’s another story altogether.

athens loot no. 1: color me zippy

While it is strictly forbidden to remove anything – a small stone, a pinch of sand, or a relic – from the Acropolis and the Parthenon, I managed to bring home some loot of an LV kind from Athens.

First, here are exterior shots of one of the two Louis Vuitton stores in Athens which I visited last Tuesday. As it is located next to the Prada store, I visited that one first in search of the Edward Robot charm (spotted at Kevin’s and DD’s blogs) but lady luck was not on my side, it was sold out.

lo_lv_athens_1

lo_lv_athens_2

lo_lv_athens_3

Louis Vuitton Voukourestiou Street, Athens

Moving on to LV, I asked for the Macassar Soft Briefcase and the Damier Etole in Bordeaux but they weren’t due for release until the 15th. Bummer. But I also thought of buying a new wallet as an alternative to the key & change holder I’ve been using. Looking around and choosing among alternatives, I ended up buying this.

lv_mc_zippycoinpurse_1

lv_mc_zippycoinpurse_2

lv_mc_zippycoinpurse_3

lv_mc_zippycoinpurse_4

lv_mc_zippycoinpurse_5

lo_mc_zippycoinpurse_6

It’s the Multicolore Zippy Coin Purse in black! A match to my Wapity and with a green LV monogram on the canvas, it’s these details that made me get it over the classic Monogram and the Vernis version in blue. With slots for seven cards and a two-sided compartment for folded bills and change, it has the perfect size and form for me. And I’m one who doesn’t shun a little bit of color in my accessories.

I LVoe!

But wait, there’s a second box! Disturbia is indeed a dangerous thing. I’ll do a reveal next, it’s time to hit the pool here in Mykonos. :)


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