Folegandros | The Land

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The view of Panagia church on the cliff, the most classic photo of Folegandros!

I know, it’s not the best time to speak about greek summer – in Athens it’s deep Fall, we start to feel some cold weather expressions and a lot of us think about Christmas already! But not me! hehe…I’m gonna torture you a little more.
I think that greek islands are never off season! Especially now that a cousin of mine is planning to open her own shop at Folegandros (next summer the island will have a high quality stylish voice, keep in mind!).

I’ve already wrote about Folegandros’ beaches and clear blue waters here, now is the time to show you some of its land beauties!

Folegandros has 3 let’s say villages: Karavostasis (where the port is), Chora (its basic settlement) and Ano Meria. If you visit you should stay definitely at Chora, its where everything happens. The beauty there is impeccable! Laying at the edge of a cliff, having above you a high ridge with a traditional church, a traditional and very old settlement named “Kastro” on the inside and everything built with local architecture, all quite well preserved keeping a low and original profile offers you a very unique experience of living and memorable summer vacations!

Of course, we visited the island at early September where everything is quieter and less touristic. It’s said that is very popular on high season and maybe you won’t be able of feeling all the flavors of the island.
What I liked the most was that local people and owners have kept the local characteristics of the buildings and keep them simple so that you receive a quite original impression. Also, the existence of a lot of squares so that different kind of corners grow here and there depending on the use. I loved exploring new spaces as walking by, hidden shops and restaurants, as if life there is shown to you little by little.

Another characteristic is that people use the public area the most of it, like sitting on mantels and church’s precincts, tables are laying under a tree’s shadow and habitats hang their laundry on the streets adding their personal style!
Also, the whole Chora is very dense built because of the wind and that’s why all the houses are next to each other creating a very interesting organism all together. If you feel the wind there you’ll know what I’m talking about!!

And now some of how we were spending our time there!
We were starting our day with a nice breakfast every day at a different cafe. We wanted to try all of them and also to find where it wasn’t very windy! It wasn’t everywhere the best but we made some good choices eventually. One of my favorites was at the balcony of “Lontzia” cafe next to the entrance of Kastro. It was very peacefull, we had a nice view of the square on one hand and we had the Kastro on the other, we were sitting at built benches next to hibiscus, what else to ask for?!
My second favorite was strangely “Nicola’s place”. At the first glance I could hate it, very touristic, but we ate a very decent breakfast there (except coffee though, which was the reason for not going again) and it was so cult that you couldn’t not lough! However, the best thing there I think was the gaming options that you had. A lot of games, traditional, puzzles to solve, backgammon and of course …chess. We stayed there one morning for 3 hours playing chess with G. where fortunately I won!!! hooray!
Usually, after breakfast we were passing by the bakery to take some local cheese pies (yummy) to keep us for the day.

At the end of Chora is the Kastro settlement. Kastro means castle, citadel in greek and it was the first settlement of the island, where people were living on the old days. That’s why the houses are very close one to the other, the roads are very narrow so that they are mostly protected by the wind. It’s still inhabited, it has 2 entrances and it ends exactly at the edge of the cliff!! So scary to see that. The beauty of Kastro is incomparable, strolling around is a great walk, I loved imagining how life must have been there.

Night life was also limited for us because of the wind. Most of the days we were hanging out at Astarti bar, sitting at the church’s precinct next to it, drinking rakomelo (hot raki with honey and spices) to warm ourselves! It was the hit of Chora and we saw why. I loved that place for its intimacy and coolness.
One night that the wind wasn’t so bad we went to Beez bar for a summer cocktail and it was very nice also! One day there was a wedding on the island! And they had the party at a tavern on a square where all the passers by could stand for a while and watch. Quite special for a wedding party to happen on the open like that, it was really something.

Usually, at night we were dinning at a restaurant/tavern where unfortunately I have no photos because my mind was only at the food in front of me! I’ll make a list, from some places we liked for you at the end of the post, though.

One of Folegandros highlights is of course the sunset! But not from anywhere, you climb the zing-zag path towards the Panagia church (what you see from everywhere on Chora and on the cover photo of the post). From there the view is amazing!! It’s not so difficult to go there, but I was tired enough…there are some donkeys also to get you there if you want. So you pick a rock to sit and wait…and as you wait the sun to dive in the sea you enjoy the island changing in so many colors!! Very romantic 😉

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The first lights of the night that comes at Chora

We enjoyed the sunset at Ano Meria too, we were lucky enough to be at the right time there! This settlement had/has the rural facilities of people of Folegandros, creating at the end of it a very interesting scenery to enjoy the infinity! We were walking towards it that day just to get closer to the sunset and have a better view and we discovered this place like forgotten for many many years…until a pig tried to communicate with us! Then we saw also a cow standing among ruins and huge rocks so we kept them company for a while, admiring all together the sunset!
It’s also very interesting to see the rural facilities because you learn about how life could be the old times and how these people were working there. I was impressed by the “tree house” a built circle with a tree on the center, usually a lemon tree, to protect it by the wind so that they rescue the fruits, I saw some of them myself! Now there are mostly taverns and traditional restaurants there where you can try some local delicacies you shouldn’t miss!!

As you can imagine Folegandros is a very very beautiful island, very simple yet so interesting, with so many aspects and stories where you can find peace. Rough beauty but in a chic way, definitely a place to remember!

Places we ate and suggest:

Pitokamomata at Chora, for the most delicious street food!
Eva’s Garden at Chora, for a nice, romantic dinner
O Kritikos at Chora, grill tavern in a very picturesque square
Zefiros Anemos at Chora, for fresh seafood
To Zimaraki at Chora, for italian cuisine-yummy pizzas
I Sunantisi at Ano Meria, for local cuisine and the famous matchata!

Also, there is a very usefull app about everything of Folegandros, check it out if you ‘re about to visit: INFolegandros

Check out the previous post: Folegandros | The Sea for having the whole picture!

 

Folegandros | The Sea

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A tiny beach next to Agali, beautiful to look from above

As the temperature in Athens is still hot -despite the first days of October- I take the opportunity to post about my main summer vacations! And get some of the vibes that are so precious!!
The first days of September we went at the small&distant yet magical island of Cyclades, Folegandros! I’ll make 2 parts of it because there is such beauty that I simply can’t limit the photos. At this part we’ll have our jaws dropped by the clearest and tempting waters of the island! If I should distinguish one thing from Folegandros would definitely be the beaches. At least for my taste that I love pebbled beaches, blue and deep waters and calm and isolated-if nudist even better, this was a paradise. You should know though that you’ll have to get supplies with you definitely and an umbrella because usually there is nothing there.

However, we were unlucky with the weather. It was SO windy these days that couldn’t go at any beach whenever we wanted. And because of the cold wind I felt really chilly sometimes! Brrr… I’m not famous for my tolerance to cool water anyway!
So, to get an idea of what Folegandros was for us the first days you can take a look at the following pictures and see: The wild situation of the see! The dry and rocky land that dominates (with some goats here and there) and the Karavostasis where the port is. When we say port though don’t think of what you’re used to, check it out to understand!

One of the most accessible and easy beach was Agali, in the middle of the island. Its name means “hug” as the land subsides like one so that the weather isn’t such a problem. However because of that there is always crowd which I don’t love…It was very nice in general but I liked more to look at it from above!

 

As I told you all these days the wind was pitiless! After asking some local people we started exploring some more “secret” beaches that you had to walk through pathways. The first day we attempt exploring  Fira beach which is 10′ from Agali. Along the way we were very surprised sometimes by what people consider “pathway”!!! After all, we took the right way every time but I think it was only a matter of luck! I was of course fearless….
Besides the view from there was magnificent, so I was only impatient to reach the beach. And we were very well paid off as you can see!

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Happy swimmer

To find a quiet beach, with rough beauty, after all the wind and crowd was such a delight! All the beaches from that day on were amazing. I was swimming for hours, sunbathing after the cool water to get the right temperature, reading my book (‘The woodpecker’ by Tom Robins which I finished there and totally loved it!!) wearing my mask and seeing SO many fishes underwater that I enjoyed it a lot!!!! Also, as you’ll notice, I was very proud of my pedicure 😉

Some other beautiful beaches were St. Nicolas, Galyfos and Livadaki, on the south part of the island. Again by foot or by boat. Quite small all of them if you are used to large, endless beaches and I imagine if someone visits the island on high season they can be very very crowded.

On the following picture we can see some old guys trying to pull a boat out of the water with no good results…As I was waiting for G. to help them I was taking photos…

The best beach in my opinion was Katergo! It was our favorite by far and thankfully the wind stopped for one whole day (wow) so that we could see it. I mean, magnificent…We didn’t want to leave that beach. A high cliff behind us, a large beach so that all the people can spread out and clear, refreshing waters for swimming for hours. Beautiful scenery.

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Katergo beach – the best!!!

Another, rather quiet and small beach was Ambeli. Very rocky in general, wilder as an environment, but what I loved the most was the way until there. Not so the driving part-which was very atmospheric indeed- as the walking part till the beach. You have to pass through small paths under trees so that the beach is revealing itself at the end and you feel like you found a treasure!

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Heading to Ambeli beach, seems like we’re gonna find a treasure!

It’s also nice to catch a sunset there or on your way back and stop at Ano Meria, a small village, to see the sunset and eat local delicacies as matchata pasta with rooster…yummy!! The best closing for a day at this beach!

If you want more from greek summer/islands of Cyclades see my older posts:
Sikinos here and here 
Kimolos here , here and here

Summer holidays at North Euboea

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Panorama shot of my favorite beach

At last I found some time to write a post about a part of my summer vacations! It’s fall already but everyone enjoys some summer spirit even if summer has gone, right?
So, here I present you my time at north Euboea during August! We went by car, passing through Euboea which was magical if you are a strong driver! The first day of our trip was not so summery because the weather was just the opposite! Rain and cold but on the top of the mountain we stopped for a hot cheese-bread that calmed us for ever!! Then as you can see on the photos above we made a stop somewhere to rest and we found out a small river there! It was just after the rain and the scenery was beautiful!

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When we arrived at G’s village we were welcomed by his grandmother and the cats! We ate some figs with cheese and the proper summer had just started!!
We stayed for a few days only but we had a great time. Swimming all day at paradise beaches, eating like kings, playing with the dapper cats that required quite patience I must say and relaxing a lot……

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This cutie was so low-voiced that was like been in silent mode

As you can see the beaches there are superb!! Just like I want them: quiet and calm, less people the best, with pebbles, clear blue waters and fishes to explore on the inside! One day the sea had a lot of jellyfishes (not harmful though) that scared me but G and I made a silly song about them so we had fun eventually!

summer_euboia_mbf_12Some of our equipment! The floating sea-animals (or sea-vehicles) weren’t ours unfortunately. And some of what we were seeing while lying down.

As we were staying all day at the beach we were present during the sunset. Which was magical. I loved the serenity of that time on that beach!

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I must say that I’d taken my new camera for the first time so I tried a lot (!) of sunset shots!! It was hard of choosing just some of them!

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Returning from the beach that day as the sky was magnificent-obviously-we saw an owl that stopped just in front of our car!! I was so excited!!!

See my other excursions to north Euboea here and here.

Summertime in B&W

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Sailing boat solo in the sea. Image found on pinterest, source unknown

These days we are in the heart of summer for us Greeks. Everyone – and I mean everyone!- is away on vacation. I happened to be in Athens these days and I think is the first time I do that..quite interesting I’d say. One of my favorite summer moments and very characteristic is summer midday. Because it has such a power on you! Or just on me maybe…I really enjoy the laziness of summer afternoon. When you feel you have all the time in the world, like time flows more slowly these hours…So, I think these photos depict very well that feeling and in B&W even more!You almost can hear the cicadas…enjoy!

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Wet back and hair after swimming. Image via Sleepy Jones

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Laying in the hammock during noon probably…Image found on Pinterest, source unknown

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My favorite photo. Called “eros” (of course) but unfortunately I don’t know the source. Eros at midday

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Woman’s back as she sleeps. Source unknown

Milos, Greece 1970. Photo by Zaharias Stellas

Milos, Greece 1970. Photo by Zaharias Stellas

Koufonisia, Greece by Skamalas

Koufonisia, Greece photo by Skamalas

Urchins waiting to be eaten. Paros, Greece 1958. Photo by Zaharias Stellas

Urchins waiting to be eaten. Paros, Greece 1958. Photo by Zaharias Stellas

At midday in Greece everything is sleeping, silence everywhere...except children! Source unknown

Midday in a Greek island where everything is sleeping, silence everywhere…except children! Source unknown

Summer Weekend

summertimeHello! This weekend feels so summery in Athens, memories from last last years are awaken, when we were younger and didn’t have jobs, worries etc. When we had so much time for vacation and we were spending a whole month on a place with our summer friends, all day at the beach, midday siestas, afternoon ice-creams and sleepless nights! Oh my…what a nostalgia!

The truth is we are in the heart of summer, my holidays are coming and I had the craziest working week!!! I had some weeks that I was almost just resting, suddenly 2 projects had to be done in 2 days each! And big ones…There’s no need to tell you what happened…no sleep for the whole week and I was working like I’d been on drugs! Like the cat that is sleeping and some noise frightens her and she runs like crazy, that was my situation! And now resting again!

I wish you the best rest of the weekend, enjoy your Sunday and of course in vintage summer mood!

Photo by Collin Erie

Kimolos – Part 3

Goupa central_mbfEven though these days in Greece we haven’t the most summery weather I will stick to my wish to keep the Kimolos posts united for two reasons. At first, anybody can see the beauty of this island and have a better idea of how my trip was like from these posts in a row. You see something here, tadaaa there is something more in the next post! 😉 Or something like that!
The most important reason is this: These days I have a difficult time to find time!! And as I’m working a lot I’m again in a mood “oooh I need vacations so much!!!” While we were at Kimolos, the first days we had a difficulty with the weather and hadn’t seen all the beauty of the island, I was in a similar situation after a hard working week so I was like struggling to relax. And then we went to this amazing little bay, called Goupa, and something like a “crack” happened inside me and started connecting with the place! It was like magic! That’s why I’m posting this today, to remember that feeling again and share it with you.

Blue gradient in the sea

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Goupa is a small bay where a lot of fishermen have their homes and their “boat garages”…These garages created a beautiful scenic with pops of colors in the rocks! In combination with the sea and the forms that some rocks have it’s the perfect scenic! I think it’s not necessary to mention the feeling of swimming in these waters….it was like a natural pool! Just amazing!! I’ll let the pictures talk for themselves.

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Can you find the elephants on the rocks?

Can you find the elephants on the rocks?

Before going there we were told that an elephant is formed in the rocks, you have to see it! But as we were looking we found another elephant as well! The one of them is less famous than the other but impressive as well! Click on the photo to see it in larger size.

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Stalking geese

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Stalking everybody!

And yes, I have more!!! I will continue with another paradise in Kimolos, bigger this one. It’s about an island very close, Polyaigos. There you have jaws droppings etc..it’s so amazing you almost don’t believe it!

polyaigos 1Polyaigos has only one resident and it’s just pure nature! You can go there by boat in a few minutes from the port of Kimolos and you visit 5,6 different beaches. Actually they aren’t all of them beaches, in the most beautiful stop you just dive near giant rocks. And because of the white rocks of the region (where chalk is mined, remember..) the water is the bluest!!! It’s exactly like Blue Lagoon…try to breathe as you see the pictures!

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I can't believe I swam there 10 days before, such a paradise!

I can’t believe I swam there 10 days αγο, such a paradise!

Polyaigos means a lot of goats :)

Polyaigos means a lot of goats 🙂

Polyaigos 6 Polyaigos 7 Polyaigos 8 Take me back there…!!!Polyaigos 10 Polyaigos 11PS. Please forgive me for the huge post, I couldn’t control myself…

Kimolos – Part 2

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This time I have some photos from our afternoon/night strolls on the island that I forgot to upload them the other day… (shy)
These photos show better the atmosphere that the village had this time of day. So beautiful, calming, nostalgic and real.. Oh how I miss my days there!
Enjoy 🙂

View of the port at dusk. This boat reminds me my when I was little and used to go to our summer house with grandparents :) Nostalgic

View of the port at dusk. This boat reminds me when I was little and used to go to our summer house with grandparents 🙂 Nostalgic

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The main market of the village, semi-closed, makes a beautiful night scene lighting indirectlry the street

Imagine plus 15 little kids running and playing around!

Imagine plus 15 little kids running and playing around!

Kafeneio at night! We also ate amazing food there..yum!

Kafeneio at night! We also ate amazing food there..yum! One night I ordered a traditional (delicious) dish and 3 tables around me asked me (really impressed) what was this!