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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Vinegar Hill


Next on our tour of Brooklyn we’re heading to a curious little neighbourhood that is not exactly on the tourist trail – Vinegar Hill.

It’s a tiny neighbourhood in Brooklyn on the East River Waterfront between Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.


The neighbourhood gets its name from the Battle of Vinegar Hill, an engagement near Enniscorthy during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Vinegar Hill was commonly known as Irishtown in the 19th century, one of several places in the New York area with that name because of its sizeable population of Irish immigrants.

Most of Vinegar Hill consists of 19th-century Federal Style and Greek Revival style homes mixed with industrial buildings.

Hudson Avenue and Plymouth, Water and Front Streets are not tarmacked roads, rather they are made of Belgian Blocks which are similar to cobbles but a bit flatter and more rectangular.

The tiny little district is like a miniature open air architecture museum.

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It feels like a place stranded in time – a odd, out of place that has sealed the past in amber and shows how Brooklyn would have looked in the early 19th century.

The area was declared a Historical District in the late 1990s but it does not feel as if any investment is forthcoming, rather it feels like the developers are circling like vultures, just waiting to be able to level these characterful properties and throw up more homogeneous, glass sky scrapers.

Sadly it has a air of slow and inevitable decay, as is evidenced by the lone three story walk-up houses that are still standing defiantly even though their neighbours have long been demolished.

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It is one of a vanishing breed of areas that shows how New York was, back when it was a mecca for anyone with a dream.

A place of opportunity no matter how rich or poor you were. There is little space for penniless dreamers in the Big Apple these days.

With its endless concrete canyons and ever higher towers, New York feels like a place so concerned with rushing to its future that it has no time to appreciate where it has come from.

Long may places like Vinegar Hill stay standing to allow for a nostalgic remembrance of the ordinary people that contributed to NYCs success.

Multitude of murals

As we continue our exploration of Orgosolo’s outdoor art gallery we come across everything from political and historical paintings to cubist style works.

Below is a painted reproduction of a movie poster for the famous Bandits of Orgosolo, a 1960 Italian film drama directed by Vittorio De Seta that featured local shepherds as some of the lead characters.

Other murals reflect more recent world events such as the 9/11 terror attacks.

This trio of modernist works depict local women carrying out traditional crafts.

The man is dwarfed by this ornate and detailed mural that takes up an entire house facade.

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While below a window is surrounded by colourful depictions of local life.

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I took so many pictures of Orgosolo that I might manage to stretch to a third post about it!

Kolourful Kos

Yes I am aware it’s spelt wrong – it’s getting hard to keep alliterating my titles! But as the name of this post indicates, prepare for some colourful snaps . .

First up a random snap of this lovely night time water display at our awesome hotel (did I mention it was 5 star . . !!)

Then it’s back to Kos town where I am entranced by this traditional style street slap bang in the middle of the centre.

From its eye wateringly bright white washed steps to the pops of colour from the primary coloured vases it is a visual delight.

The quaint little old / new street winds its way up to a taverna and fish house.

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I can’t get enough of it and naturally have to be physically dragged away once the man prop gets bored of posing . . .

He is rewarded for his efforts with a large beer however so not sure what he’s moaning about . .

Then it’s off for a tour of the back streets where even more delightful old tavernas are to be found.

Every where you look its a veritable orgy of colourful doors, windows and details.

My eyes particularly love this hot pink and blue combo on an old night club.

Possibly my favourite picture of the whole holiday is this mirrored window in shades of blue and pink.

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That’s it for the whistle stop tour of colourful sights in Kos town. Next up we’re headed to the mountains.

Marvellous Marbella

Last trip of our Spanish holiday now, a return to the lovely little town of Marbella.

Despite it’s reputation as the go to place for vacuous reality stars it’s actually a wonderful place.

Its beautiful old town is crammed full of character, whitewashed walls and splashes of hot pink bougainvillea draped across every surface.

As usual you find a plethora of colourful details tiles on every wall and surface.

Again I enjoy the wonderful displays of red geraniums all mounted in pale blue plant pots.

We take a brief stop for some tasty tapas at the lovely Virgin of the Balcony restaurant.

So named because it is literally underneath this ornate pale blue shrine of the Virgin Mary.

Then its onto the hub of Marbella old town – Plaza de los Naranjos or the Orange Square, named for the fruit trees that fill the square.

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Orange Square dates back to 1485 and is laid out in a typical Spanish Christian design, with whitewashed houses and a town hall, a governor’s house and a chapel on the corners.

After getting out fill of traditional architecture we get our feet wet at the beach.

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Then it’s back to Malaga for a final potter on Malagueta beach before heading home.

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Another superb Spanish trip completed! Fantastic food and beautiful sights. Next up Kos and terrifying earthquakes . . .

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Ventnor Bay

Normal blogging service is resumed after a glorious 10 days in stunning Sardinia (much more of that later!)

We carry on with our micro-tour of the Isle of Wight. Next up is Ventnor, a very traditional little seaside resort and was a famous Victorian health resorts due to its unique micro-climate.

There’s a pretty stretch of sand and shingle beach with all the traditional paraphernalia.

Loving all the little nautical details dotted around the town, including this nod to holding back the tides.

Plus there’s a neat little row of pastel toned beach huts in mouth watering colours.

We enjoy a bracing walk along the golden beach, hair and eyebrows are nearly intact!

There’s a variety of sealife to be found (and avoided too!)

We end our day at the beach at the Spyglass Inn that comes complete with all manner of sea themed curiosities!

Godshill

Nest up on our tour of the Isle of Wight is the beautiful little village of Godshill.

It is full of charming thatched-roofed cottages and a winding main-street lined with traditional tearooms and quaint shops.

This psychedelic little splash of joy is the Oracle Gallery.  It’s a cross between channel art, and guided meditation.

According to the artist “Visionary art is a way of creating spontaneously that encourages a complete letting go of the self.”

You can find out more about the artist Nicola Gibbs here.

The Bats Wing is a stunning 16th century tea room festooned with glorious purple wisteria.

It’s a delightful thatched cottage with overtones of a witchy hidey hole.

Every detail is a little delight, even these little signs to the church.

Below we come across one of the most stunning little cottages we have ever seen.

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It feels straight out of a fairy tale complete with swathes of bluebells and twinkling little lead pane windows.

Then a few more of the lovely little dwellings. What lucky people live in these!

There is also a delightful medieval church, All Saints, it sits on a hill and overlooks the village.

The church dates from the 14th century and is the fourth built on this site. The hill on which the church stands was once used by pagans as a place of worship.

Legend says the building of a church started at the foot of the hill but over three nights stones were removed from the site and placed where the present church now sits.

For the first two mornings work was restarted at the foot but by the third day it was assumed that God wished the church to be built on the hill – hence the name Godshill.

All in all Godshill is a gorgeous little village that is well worth exploring.

Sunny Sandown

We’re continuing with our exploration of the Isle of Wight now with a visit to Sandown.

It’s a quintessentially English seaside resort with a long sandy beach and a huge pier lined with arcades and fairground rides.

It’s a mixture of garish colour and slow decay. With some prime beach front properties boarded up and neglected.

The pier beckons with it’s eye popping, high pitched noisy machines.

The psychedelic toys and rides have me pinning for Japan again! We could almost be back in Osaka

Then we emerge, blinking into the light on the blustery open end of the pier with all it’s traditional seaside delights including teeth rotting treats…

I like the garish, over bright colours that typically advertise traditional treats such as icecream.

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I have a guilty pleasure for these alcoholic sticks of rock with sambuca and prosecco on offer!

The fairground offers some incredibly trippy rides including these eye popping, rainbow bright cars.

Then we stumble on some typical old style saucy postcards that used to be found everywhere at the seaside!

The man looks particularly cute in his little outfit, I think he should dress like this all the time!

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The fairground out of season always has a forlorn, almost post apocalyptic feel to me.

The garish colours contrast with the milky grey sky and the absence of children’s noise makes it feel even more desolate.

Mind you, the addition of people does not always make it less terrifying . . .

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Another thing that I love in British seaside resorts is the plethora of neon plastic items.

Whether buckets and spades, whirlygigs or body boards, any colour combo goes as long as it’s eye watering!

Some more exciting colour combinations can be found on this giddy sandwich board.

Then we stumble across some incredible street art that draws its inspiration from the seas.

It also reflects on the fact that the Isle of Wight apparently is the undisputed dinosaur capital of Great Britain and features in the top six best locations in the world for dinosaur remains.

Next up a completely different side to the island with some lovely thatched cottages.

Food stalls

As we leave another lovely shrine we pass by rows of hot food vendors, all rolling, flipping, steaming and grilling various snacks and street food.

I’m not sure what they all are. Below the green and white lumps could be Dango, this is a Japanese dumpling and sweet made from mochiko (rice flour) or it could be mochi which is pounded sticky rice.

Below a vendor creates his next batch of Taiyaki – cute fish shaped cakes filled with custard, chocolate or cheese.

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Various meat on sticks are next up in the little food tents. It must be a hot and sweaty job!

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They could be a type of Yakitori – chicken skewers cooked in a savoury sauce or it could be grilled pork belly. Being a veggy means I am not great at meat identification!!

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The meat below could quite possibly be little sparrows on sticks – quite upsetting for the other half who is a real bird lover.

As well as food there are some adorable little fabric creations up for grabs.

Here’s another look at the stall holder creating his little fishy shaped snacks.

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Colourful clothing and consumerism

As we pass through the streets of Kyoto I stealthily snap away at some of the beautiful, colourful ladies parading in traditional costume.

Locals and tourists alike enjoy hiring these elaborate outfits.

The women we spot are mainly wearing Yukata. These are inexpensive, informal summer robe for summer that’s popular for cherry blossom viewing parties, festivals and fireworks. It’s not quite a kimono but it has much the same feel.

These are teamed with contrasting Obi – these are ornate wide sashes that are wrapped around the waist.

On their feet are Zori, a type of Japanese sandal worn with Tabi, socks with a separated big toe to enable them to be worn with sandals.

Below is a selection of traditional footwear for sale along with delicate fans and intricate paper goods.

I love these cute little cartoon ladies in more detailed traditional clothing and piles of kimono cloth ready for creating new wearable masterpieces.

These sachets of green tea make simple souvenirs and their packaging is exquisitely simple.

Meanwhile the Kawaii delights continue with fabric frogs and adorable old people!