Amazing Assos

The rustic little village of Assos is nestled around a horseshoe shaped harboured and surrounded by dramatic coastal scenery.

It’s the next stop on our Kefalonian village tour and we get our first glimpse of it from up high and from afar.

After parking up in the world’s most traumatic (AKA local Greek) carpark – complete with people playing dodgems with actual cars, we take a peek over the wall for our first glimpses of the heavenly warm waters.

It’s hard to believe that this is the last time we will actually see foreign waters for a long time! Little did we know what was heading for us in 2020. I wish I had appreciated it more at the time.

I can almost feel the heat wafting off the screen and feel the salty air tangling my hair. I whinged about it at the time. Stupid woman.

The village itself is a glorious riot of colour tumbling down the hillside to the harbour. I want to break off a piece of that pink house and see if it tastes as sweet as it looks!

Tiny husband is in his element – it’s scorching and he is getting a tan. I meanwhile am drooping like a dehydrated houseplant.

The rich vegetation, full of pines and cypress trees, meets the indigo blue waters of the Ionian Sea, making for an incredible place to while away a few hours.

Tragically my hipster trilby meets a sad end as a violent (yet very welcome) gust of wind propels it into the harbour. It’s rescued by some passing swimmers but has got all soggy and shapeless!

Assos is probably the prettiest village on Kefalonia in my humble opinion. It’s compact and cute but can probably get hellishly crowded in peak season.

Finishing off Fiscardo

A last little look at the pretty fishing town of Fiscardo now between we head on with our Kefalonian jaunt.

I try to go for an Insta worthy pose – feel like rather a tool TBH! Not sure how people have the patience (or the lack of embarrassment) to get their significant others to take what appears to be 100s of posed pics . . .

I would much rather focus on one of my favourite things – painted walls and rusting shutter hinges!!

Horror of horrors – someone offers to take a photo of us both together – hence the rather pained expressions on both our faces (and the appearance of the ‘frilled lizard’ neck flesh)

A last saunter (or languid melt in my case) through the main harbour as we head onwards to our next destination.

Fascinating Fiscardo

Today’s time travelling trawl takes us back to the beautiful Kefalonian village of Fiscardo in 2019.

With its pretty little beach, bustling harbour and terraces of adorable houses, it is picture postcard perfect.

Fiscardo is unique in that it is the only village on Kefalonia that has so many of the original Venetian buildings intact and still in use.

From every vantage point the azure ocean stretches to the horizon with any number of boats bobbing serenely on its surface.

Fiscardo is a bit of a boaters paradise and the harbour is jammed pack with boats of all sizes and specifications.

The buildings in Fiscardo managed to escape the devastating earthquake of 1953 that destroyed many parts of Kefalonia. Most of the houses are built in the attractive Venetian design and painted in pastel colours.

Shops and tavernas huddle around the harbour offering numerous opportunities to enjoy the day’s fresh catch.

The ubiquitous Bougainvillea drapes its shocking pink bracts over every surface, brazen in the knowledge that it steals the show every time!

Weathered wood, traditional textiles and colourful paintings are also on offer to the souvenir seekers.

Colourful walls sit baking in the midday sun while sunflowers are an obvious choice to flourish in this sweltering Greek town.

Dropping down to the harbour side offers some respite from the heat and I am a sucker for a floaty boaty!

Taking a walk away from the town and around the headland reveals more stunning, private little covers where clear waters lap at your feet as warm as bath water!

There’s so much to see that it warrants another post! So enjoy the sun seeking hubby as he paddles in the glorious water below!

Magical Myrtos Beach

Today is all about the beach!! In this case one that put Kefalonia on the map thanks to its starring role in the cinematic epic Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

A steep, winding road, about 2 km in length and with hairpin turns, leads down to the beach from the village of Divarata.

The stunning secluded beach is called Myrtos beach and is a 40 minutes drive away from the island’s capital Argostoli

The beach is made up of round, white cobblestones.

Myrtos has been described as “one of the most dramatic beaches in Greece”, with its mile-and-a-half long arc of dazzling white pebbles.

Pebbles aren’t the most comfortable thing to sit on though – hence the grimace! It is also the beach where I experienced my first ever inflatable ride! A tow along sofa!!

It’s rightly one of the most famous beaches on the island and as a result can get a bit busy.

Blue water dreaming

It might be snowing, raining and flooding here in dismal Blighty but my mind is floating away in the warmth of a Kefalonian summer!

Stopping for a brief pause on our road trip around the island, we stumble upon this little roadside pebble beach.

Complete with obligatory bobbing boats!

Everywhere you look, Kefalonia has a delightful cove or hidden beach begging to be discovered.

Melissani Cave

One of our favourite things when in sunnier climes is to enjoy the stunning array of different coloured water!

Whether it’s turquoise blue, crystal clear or emerald green. Kefalonia is no exception with an abundance of amazing natural caves, coastlines and water courses to explore.

One of the most stunning is the Melissani Cave – an incredible, natural cavern of almost unnatural blueness.

In Greek mythology, Melissani was the Cave of the Nymphs and it features an ethereal subterranean lake that can be explored for a small fee.

It can be found located east of the mountains of Evmorfia and Agia Dynati. You queue down to the cavern for the chance to be ferried around for about 20 minutes.

The cave itself is B-shaped with two chambers or halls separated with an island in the centre. The roof of one of the halls collapsed many centuries ago letting the bright sunlight filter in.

Because the cave is open to the elements so you can look up and see the clear blue skies, while trees fringe the edges.

When the sunlight hits the water, it becomes almost luminescent. It’s best to get there for about mid day if possible, to fully experience this phenomena.

Myth has it that the cave was named after the nymph Melissanthi who committed suicide because her love for the God Pan was not reciprocated.

Kefalonia 2019

Lockdown 3.0 is upon us and it marks over a year of non UK travel for us! We’ve starting to get the cabin fever!

But luckily for you . . as I have been so lax in updating the blog, I still have several trips from way back in 2019 that I have not got around to popping on.

So here’s a fab trip to Kefalonia which was my 40th birthday pressie from the wonderful hubby!! 🙂

We chose to do a package holiday with TUI as we couldn’t do it any cheaper independently. So we picked the Royal Apartments based on a hillside in Lassi.

TUI don’t seem to be using these anymore but we can highly recommended it. Very modern and contemporary for Greek accommodation. A bit of a uphill walk from the main strip and beaches but fantastic views out over the town and to the sea.

First stop is the main beach in Lassi – Paliostafida Beach. Hence lots of snaps of stunning turquoise waters, wind worn rocks and a very happy husband.

It seems unreal that 2 years ago we thought nothing of hopping on a plane and landing in paradise just a few hours later.

I was definitely in danger of taking it all for granted and almost being ‘meh – another stunning beach’ – how I long to go back and kick my blasé backside!

Lassi is a small, relatively quiet resort based around one central strip. You can hire a car, do several watersports and find wonderful local tavernas.

We found it an ideal base for exploring the island.

Here’s a few snaps of the sun worshippers recharging his internal batteries. He is very much missing the heat and the sea at the minute!

Along the beach is a small marina with little vessels bobbing on the jewel bright water.

I can’t tell you how much I am missing Greece right about now! The furthest we’ve travelled in the last 12 months is to the Isle of Wight (which was awesome TBF) but not quite the same!

Pandemic pause

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my travels, but then again, it’s been a while since I travelled!

For the first time in years, I have not left the UK in over a year. Thanks covid.

But instead we’ve enjoyed exploring our own backyard, and discovering the delights that our own country has to offer.

So instead of Malta, Maderia and Greece, this year we’ve have the Yorkshire coast, The Isle of Wight. North Wales and Devon.

Different, but still amazing.

Here’s a few images to whet your appetite . . North Wales looking as tropical as any foreign climes!

Good morning, and goodbye, Vietnam!

It’s the FINAL post from our epic trip to North Vietnam and I can’t believe it has taken me 16 months to completely document it!!

So enjoy these last few romps around the grimy, colourful and chaotic back streets of Hanoi!

We enjoy a much needed beverage high above the humid, hectic streets.

Then it’s off to check out yet more streets packed full of tourist tat, temple art and traditional water theatre puppets.

Silk dresses and graffiti, no image sums up Hanoi more that this. The dainty and ornate V the gritty, edgy realism.

A mobile seller displays his woven wares on the back of his trusty bicycle.

More floral delights and a seemingly impossible task for these electricians!

A moment of almost calm captured in the midst of the hustle and bustle.

No roaming would be complete without a hopeful wander over to Train Street to see if we can catch sight of the epic train . .

and we are in luck!

We manage to catch it, rumbling along in broad daylight, and you can really get a sense here of just how big, and how close it got!

And that is it folks! The end of another incredible adventure. Vietnam is a country on the up.

I predict it will soon overtake other over travelled places such as Thailand and Bali as the next up and coming ‘exotic’ hot spot.

So catch it while it still retains its natural charm and incredible traditions.

Until next time! Good morning Vietnam – and goodbye!! 😦

Street scenes

How much love can one human being have for markets? The answer – a lot!

Hanoi is just shopping heaven. This stall sells all things plastic and fake – from garlands of garish flowers and vegetables to rows of lucky pigs.

Then we’re heading back to Dong Xuan Market to carry on exploring the mountains of produce, fabric and tat that’s on offer.

On route I spot this very smiley flower seller, who zips along the crowded streets leaving a fragrant trail in his wake.

Dong Xuan Market is the largest in Hanoi and is housed in a four story, soviet style building.

There’s a bustling wet market, huge fabric floor and the ever fascinating dry goods section.

The market tumbles out onto the streets in a riot of colour, smells and shouting stall holders.

There are some many details to capture, you could spend a whole day just in a few square miles.

Piles of fresh vegetables form a colourful feast for the eyes against a backdrop of peeling paint and wet concrete.

Stall holders take a brief break in this tiny corner of the city.

Buyers browse a range of locally grown vegetables that they will pop into boxes, baskets and other receptacles on bikes and mopeds.

From furry rambutan to visceral, gutted fish, everything can be bought right here, literally on the street.

And everywhere are the ubiquitous conical hats, that could be passed off as sterotypical, but really are still an everyday sight.

Spray painted walls are reminiscent of Blade Runner and high rise Tokyo.

While cyclo sellers have baskets of items for sale, zipping past you at speed.

It’s an intoxicating, frustrating, deafening, colourful and exhilarating city.