Calvi and surrounds

The next town on our hit list, whirl wind tour of Corsica was Calvi.

It’s known for its beaches and crescent-shaped bay. A medieval citadel overlooks the marina – but more of that later.

We head to catch the sunset at one of the many lovely beaches. This rocky delight is Arinella beach.

A moody grey sky ominously looms over the hills in the background but the evening sunshine saturates everything in its honey glow.

We love this one so much that we head back later on in the trip 🙂

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Long way down!

On route to the gorges we pass by just one of the stunning beaches to be found on the island.

This is the pretty beach of Porto seen from high up above as we passed through the Calanques de Piana.

The beach overlooks the Golfe de Porto and is a pristine little stretch of sand.

All along the west coast road there are lovely vantage points where you can enjoy the stunning views.

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.

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.

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!

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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Shirley Valentine

Following on with our bonus week in the tiny, scorching island of Mykonos. We’re off to the island’s most famous claim to fame – The Shirley Valentine beach.

The beach and restaurant made famous by the 1980s films is actually located at Agios Ioannis.

This is a tiny beach town about a 15 minute drive from Mykonos Town and a half hour walk from Ornos where we were based.

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While the taverna where Shirley falls in love with Greece, and life itself, might be long gone – replaced by Hippie Fish, a much more upscale and expensive restaurant – the gorgeous beach remains.

The beach got pretty busy with sun worshippers and falls foul to the eye wateringly expensive sun bed prices that blight this island.

But gaining a little perspective on the bay still allows you to appreciate the views that Shirley came to love.

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Next up we’re heading on past the edge of the beach to see Άγιος Ιωάννης (San Giovanni) a tiny church.

 

Mini Mykonos

From the big city buzz of NYC our next trip couldn’t be more different – to the tiny Greek island of Mykonos.

We grabbed a week long package holiday in July to celebrate my birthday (and honeymoon mark 2!)

The reality is that New York was so expensive to eat out in that we just filled up on our free breakfast – leaving most of our spending money unspent! So it came back home with us and actually paid for this bonus week in Greece!

We stay in the pleasant Amenos Apartments in Ornos.

It’s a two minute walk to a busy town beach where you’ll pay a fortune for a beach bed (which develops as a theme across this tiny, expensively chic island)

The pro tanner enjoys a swelter around the hotel pool below!

There is not a great deal to do in Mykonos beyond its stunning old town (more of that later) which is the main reason I wanted to visit and a plethora of lovely beaches to suit all tastes.

Apart from Mykonos town itself there is only one other major ‘town’ which is Ornos where we stayed and Ano Mera, a little hill top settlement.

You can see all the main sights in a couple of days on a quad. Beyond that it’s a case of soaking up the sun and watching the beautiful people spending a fortune on posing on the beach.

We’re close to Agios Ioannis – the beach made famous in the 1980s film Shirley Valentine. So our first trip is a half hour walk from Ornos to check it out.

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I’ll share a few more snaps of this pretty stretch of beach in the next post – just looking at it makes me feel sun burnt and sandy!!

Jewel bright waters

We’re coming to the end of our Sardinian adventure but on the last day we see possibly the very best of this stunning island.

Hopping on a boat tour around the coastline from Cala Gonone we’re treated to some truly spectacular rugged cliffs and the most beautiful water yet!

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I can honestly say that I have not seen water this clear or this blue outside of Thailand.

In fact this is probably even better as it’s just a few hours from home and nowhere near as overrun!

Even swimsuit phobic old me can’t keep out of this gorgeous blue water.

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The lesser spotted smiling Marples is testament to just how invigorating and joyous it is!

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The limestone cliffs dramatically plunge into the turquoise sea, often erosion has created weird and wonderful sculptures such as the archway and Cala luna caves below.

It’s hard to believe that this gorgeous sight is only a short haul flight from the UK!

Then the boat drops us off on the lovely Cala Mariolu beach for a few hours of soaking up the sun and swimming.

 

Cosy Cala Gonone

Hairpin bends bring us ever closer to our final stop on the Sardinian adventure – Cala Gonone.

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It has a sheltered town beach, a pretty crescent of shingle lapped by navy and turquoise seas.

 

Once unpacked we’re celebrating our 11th anniversary in traditional style – with pizza! 🙂

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Cala Gonone is a jumping off base for exploring the craggy limestone cliffs and ravines.

But before we hop on a floaty boat to explore the glorious seascapes, we enjoy a leisurely breakfast complete with epic view from our hotel’s rooftop restaurant.

During October the amount of accommodation on offer is very limited so we opted for Hotel Ristorante Bue Marino 

Room wise it is very basic but you can’t argue with its location, overlooking the beach with stunning views out across the sea.

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Next up we’re taking to the seas to enjoy a tour around the cliffs and waters of Cala Gonone.