Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple dates back to 1827 and is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.

Beneath the imposing gopura are huge wooden doors. Their massive size is quite deliberate, designed to remind the worshippers of their insignificance in comparison to the divine.

Devotees believe that ringing the bells on the doors will bring good luck.

It’s located in Chinatown and is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, known for her power to cure illnesses and diseases.

Two nearby streets got their names because of this temple: Temple Street (for obvious reasons) and Pagoda Street, because of the shape of the temple’s gopura.

Now a national monument, much of the present structure is believed to have been built in 1862-1863 by Indian craftsmen.

Highly ornate and colourful ceiling paints abound in the temple. Each one is an eye-catching delight.

China town

Singapore’s Chinatown is known as Niu che shui which literally means ‘ox car water’

This is due to the fact that Chinatown’s water supply was principally transported by animal-driven carts in the 19th century.

We’ve entered Chinatown via Pagoda street, a hectic, shop and restaurant lined thoroughfare.

Pagoda street takes its name from the Sri Mariamman Temple that we’ll visit later. During the 1850s and 1880s, the street was one of the centres of slave traffic

Now however it’s a place to browse for souvenirs, eat and hunt for wall art.

By the 1950s, the shophouses here were mainly involved in retail trade and services.

The architecture of the shophouses on Pagoda Street and other parts of Chinatown originates from the Raffles Town Plan of 1822.

This stipulated the material that should be used to build the shophouses as well as the need to have covered walkways of five-foot width (hence known as “five-foot ways”.

Last looks

Our final day in Paris ends in style at the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris.

Commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur.

The basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was completed in 1914. The basilica was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919

From the magnificence of the pearly basilica domes to the more earthy delights of the capital streets.

From thoughts on the prevalence of social media to the creative urge, the paste-ups cover a whole range of topics!

The final trip of our first ever visit to Paris ends in a slightly more morbid setting . . .

The Montparnasse Cemetery in the 14th arrondissement of Paris is the second largest operating cemetery of the French capital.

The 45 acre landscaped funeral park is like an open-air museum as many graves have been listed as Historic Monuments.

It is the final resting place of many famous, world renowned artists. These include Serge Gainsbourg, Samuel Beckett, Jean Paul Satre and Simone De Beauvoir – the only ones we managed to find!

Les Puces

No trip is complete without bribing / forcing the husband to trawl around a market or two. And this is no exception as I get very over excited by the idea of a proper French flea market (blame Escape to the Chateau!)

The most famous flea market in Paris is the one at Porte de Clignancourt, officially called Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, but known to everyone as Les Puces (The Fleas).

It covers seven hectares and is the largest antique market in the world, receiving between 120,000 to 180,000 visitors each weekend.

Battle your way through the initial rows of cheap plastic tourist tat and mass produced junk that circle the old flea market to the heart of the original old market and you’ll be rewarded with a treasure trove of the old, retro, unique and down right odd.

Mountains of glittering beads tempt me like a magpie while terrifying old dolls stare blankly from every stall and box.

Les Puces is a mix of street and floor stalls, old established antiques shops, pop ups and undercover markets.

There are actually around 15 different markets that collectively make up Les Puces. Some specialise in expensive antiques, others have old fabrics and buttons.

One market is a colourful explosion of street art and knock off clothing!

While the covered markets and actual shops are interesting, my favourite part is the actual street markets where goods are piled up on the floor and on walls.

As well as the fascinating things for sale, the walls themselves provide an outdoor gallery to enjoy.

A visit to Les Puces is a highlight for rummage fiends and knick knack lovers. Just keep a close eye on wallets, purses and other valuables as it is a pick pocket haven.

Sauntering around the Seine

There’s plenty to see just wandering around the alleyways and markets on the banks of the Seine.

Including this sumptuous flower market that I dragged the reluctant hubby around.

Here he is looking particularly unimpressed with the delights on show!

The riverbanks are lined with little stalls full of curios, postcards and paintings.

Below posters advertise a Paris / Tokyo expo – reminding me of my favourite every country!

Parisians love their dogs (even if they do not like cleaning up after them!)

The walls and fences are impromptu outdoor galleries as fly posters vie to get their colourful creations in prime spots.

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Pretty Piana

There are a variety of pretty little villages scattered around Corsica and one of them is Piana.

We’re dropping in en-route to our next destination, the tourist town of Calvi.

Piana is a pretty village set in and overlooking the fabulous Calanqes de Piana; one of the most beautiful parts of Corsica.

The Calanqes de Piana is a stunning series of rock formations and we’ll be heading through those next.

Last looks

Last few shots from our summer holiday to Mykonos (LAST JULY!!) so backlogged with trip write ups!!

Still zipping around on our quad we head for the remote little bay that is Fokos beach in the North East of the island.

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Early in the morning we have the beach virtually to ourselves to enjoy.

The last stop on our tour before we retreat to lounge by the pool for the rest of the holiday is to Armenistis Lighthouse.

This abandoned relic was built in 1891 and is located on the north-western tip of Mykonos, overlooking the strait between the island of Tinos and Mykonos.

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Now completely derelict it offers wonderful far reaching views out across the sea.

Easy riders

Mykonos is only a pip squeak of an island – one of the tiniest Greek islands we’ve visited (certainly in terms of things to see TBH).

But in order to reach some of the more remote, off the beaten track, beaches we opt once again for the king of small road warriors – the quad bike!!!

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We’re heading to the South East of the island first. Stopping off first at Kalafati beach (see my previous post) we then head up a dirt track onto a tiny spit of land with a teeny harbour and pretty church.

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Below is a remote, traditional little harbour side eatery – Markos Fish Tavern. Close to a tiny, tucked away sun spot – Divounia Beach

I love the colour combination of navy water, white boats and shades of yellow in the tangled fishing nets.

Naturally the hubby AKA the Easy Rider enjoys cruising around topless in order to complete the bronzing process.

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However, safety conscious (AKA spoilsport) wifey demands full coverage, helmets and annoyingly squeaks if we so much as creep above 20mph!

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The ‘smile’ below is partly because the wind has firmly stuck my lips to my teeth and partly through fear… so much for YOLO . .

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Kalafatis beach

Beyond Mykonos old town there is very little to do on this tiny Greek island except enjoy the stunning little beaches that are dotted around the place.

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We hire a quad bike in order to zip around on and head to the South East of the island to the beautiful beach of Kalafatis.

It’s a glorious stretch of beach with trees providing much needed natural shade and gently sloping sands into inviting turquoise waters.

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A very faint breeze ruffles the palm frond umbrellas and is a welcome break from the heat.

The beach is a paradise for wind surfing as most days there are strong winds constantly blowing.

Typically for me however the week we arrived heralded one of the rare non-windy weeks!

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However the human heat seeking missile that is the tiny husband is incredibly delighted by the stultifying heat!

Windy millers

Before we head out of Mykonos town we can’t avoid visiting one of the island’s most iconic sights – the line of windmills high above the town. *rubbish phone pics alert*

The windmills can be seen from every point of the village of Mykonos and are the first thing seen when coming into the harbour of Alefkandra.

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There are currently 16 windmills on Mykonos of which seven are positioned on the landmark hill in Chora.

Most windmills face the North where the island’s climate sources its strongest winds over the largest part of the year.

Most of them were built by the Venetians in the 16th century, but their construction continued into the early 20th century. They were primarily used to mill wheat and were an important source of income for the inhabitants.

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Their use gradually declined until they ceased production in the middle of the 20th century.

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