Corsican crew

The next trip of 2018 was to the little French island of Corsica. Having visited the neighbouring Italian island of Sardinia the year before we were keen to compare the two.

The first stop is the capital city of Ajaccio complete with its pretty town beach.

Ajaccio has a wealth of history. Not least of which is that it is the birthplace of French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte in 1769.

His ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is now a museum displaying family heirlooms.

They also quite like lots of hogs – mainly down to the fact that it is a local delicacy thanks to large numbers of wild piggies that roam the island.

We enjoy a lovely sunset on the beach to round off a perfect first day.

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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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Relics and rocks

As the husband desperately tries to drag me away from the old town, I once again get hopelessly distracted. This time by an enchanting, tucked away shop full of religious icons.

 

Painted on driftwood and old salvaged wood, this shop is an Aladdin’s cave of the sacred and holy.

 

Ever corner is crammed full of sumptuously coloured paintings, with glided details glimmering in the shadowy recesses.

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The, by now bored rigid, husband finally managed to pry me out of the shops and we head towards the rocky beach.

 

Here we can get a better view of Little Venice, the tiny, chic section of the old town where cafes and restaurants hang precariously above the sea.

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Captured in a thousand different paintings, this jumble of buildings have a wonderful waterside position but must get battered in storms!

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It might look relatively peaceful but Little Venice gets jam packed from midday onwards as it’s a perfect people watching spot and it’s also a prime sunset spot.

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The water gently laps the pebble beach (which is far more painful to walk on than it looks)

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A local man sets up his fishing rod and quickly becomes a tourist magnet as people flock to get a snap with him and his tackle 🙂

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If you look closely you can make out the crowds of people that have formed in the waterside cafes.

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The single file walk along the water’s edge is slippery and is made pretty difficult to traverse given the number of buggies and prams attempting to pass across.

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Mykonos maze

The sun is rising ever higher in the Mykonos sky so we know we won’t have the old town to ourselves for much longer!

The cafes and restaurents are starting to put out their signs to catch the day trippers and the shops are beginning to lay out their colourful wares.

The meandering maze of streets seems endless and I love the cool greys, blues and white hues.

Olive oil, herbs, soaps, bags and a hundred other souvenirs begin to appear on the street, artfully designed to snag your eye, and then money!

Every door is an advertising board or tiny art work, whether in shades of green or sky blue.

Squishy blue cushions soften the solid stone walls, a common seating arrangement in the old town.

We’re heading gradually towards the sea and its line of windmills, but it is hard not to get distracted by this pretty little oasis.

Little Venice

More mooching around Mykonos old town reveals my all time favourite shop tucked down an alleyway and smothered in postcards and paintings.

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Every square inch of this little souvenir shop is covered in paintings and postcards of this picturesque island. All azure seas and blue domes.

I’m a bit obsessed and have to be bodily dragged away by the husband . . . .

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Heading down another tiny alleyway we’re suddenly confronted with a rocky drop and the sea!

Behind us you can see the line of famous windmills, one of the iconic sights of the island.

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We also get an alternative view of the bustling little quarter known as Little Venice where restaurants hover just feet away from the lapping sea water.

You can just about make out one of the hulking great big cruise ships that flood this tiny town with 1000s of visitors each day.

Back to wandering the seemingly endless, maze like streets, throw up yet more lovely details.

More traditional gifts such as olive oil soaps and woven bags all tempt the tourists.

For such a small place, the Hora sure has a lot to investigate. So watch this space!

 

Old Town

Mykonos Town—called Hora by the locals— is the Saint-Tropez of the Greek islands. Beloved by the rich folk and beautiful people.

Put on the map by Jackie O in the 1960s the old town is a maze of white washed houses, colourful doors and glamorous shops.

Its cube like houses and the churches, with their red or blue doors, domes and wooden balconies are perfect examples of classic Cycladic architecture.

The Greek Archaeological Service acted to protect the town so the Old Town has been impressively preserved.  It’s almost like a film set!

We arrived super early in the morning to avoid the inevitable hideous crowds so we got to enjoy the picture postcard streets completely alone.

The only downside is that the shops don’t actually open until around 10am so we didn’t get to enjoy the colourful displays until the cruise ships starting disgorging literally 1000s of people !

A fairly unique feature of the Hora are the grey painted stones that mark out the meandering streets. Some of them are real stones and others have been painted to look like them.

Although blinding white is the overriding colour of the town, there are lovely splashes of vivid colours that break up the street scene.

Another thing that you’ll see everywhere are the painted staircases that most shops have.

These are a pretty architectural features that also double as displays for tourists to browse the shop’s wares. They also make very nice floral displays!

Painted doors double as shop adverts, shocking pink bouganvilla drapes itself lavishly around weathered old buildings and open squares provide an oasis of shade later in the day.

The hubby finds a furry feline friend, just one of the many moggies to be found all over the island.

The island has a population of nearly 12,500 and most of them live in the Chora, so it’s the only place on Mykonos that you’ll ever feel crowded.

Boats and sparkling waters

Leaving behind the pretty Agios Ioannis beach behind we’re heading through the tiny settlement to the mini harbour at the far end of the bay.

After enjoying the obligatory snaps of vivid bougainvillea we come across the small picturesque chapel of Agios Ioannis which sits above a tiny harbour.

There’s absolutely no one around at all so we have this sparkling scene all to ourselves.

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Various boat trips and fishing excursions take to the waters from this tiny harbour.

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The pro tanner scampers off to find some super heated rocks to roast himself on while I opt for the cooling breezes that can be found at the boat harbour.

The colour of the water in Greece is something I never tire of. A constantly shifting, mesmerising, kaleidoscope of greens, blues and golds.

It’s well worth making the ten minute walk from the beach to enjoy the bobbing boats and peaceful views out to the sea.