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Exploring Greece: Shoulder Season in Mykonos

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Sunrise at the Armenistis Lighthouse

When you visit the Greek island of Mykonos during the shoulder season, you’re not coming for the beach clubs and all night dance parties. But the “Island of Winds” still has plenty of appealing sites to check out.

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A view of Ornos

The Windmills of Kato Milli are a popular tourist destination all year long, particularly at sunset. It’s worth checking them out during dusk, and then take in the sunset views from one of the bars in the Little Venice area. My favorite is Katerina’s.

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Aegean color story on Mykonos

Mykonos town is worth exploring, especially for those who like to shop. Window shopping on the winding streets and look at all the jewelry, crafts and souvenirs you could wish for.

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Ouzo in an amusing souvenir bottle

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Shoulder season at a beach club in Ornos

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Gorgeous street scene in Mykonos

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Friendly local cat on Mykonos

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View of Ornos Bay from the Buddha-Bar

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View above Mykonos town 

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Cocktails at 180 Sunset bar

If you don’t want to deal with the crowds in Mykonos town, check out the Santa Marina Buddha-Bar  in Ornos Bay, where the view is zen and the music is eternally chill. It’s open for both lunch and dinner.

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Panorama shot of the lighthouse at sunrise

If you’re looking for things to do on Mykonos, consider taking a day trip to the island of Delos, the mythical birthplace of Artemis and Apollo. You can wander among the ancient Greek ruins of one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. There are several tour operators who provide half-day tours, and since you have to take a boat to reach it, it’s a nice way to get a sense of the maritime importance of the Cyclades.

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View of Mykonos by boat

There are also plenty of options for a private tour by boat but keep in mind… boats are expensive. Unless you have cash to burn, it’s going to be more comfortable if you go on a group tour by large yacht or boat.

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Private boats don’t come cheap

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Among the ruins on Delos

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Exploring Delos

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Signage on Delos

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View of Delos

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Boats arriving on Delos

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Boat near Delos

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Church in Mykonos town

If you are a fan of churches, there are several cool ones worth checking out on Mykonos. Along the water in Mykonos town.

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Church interior on Mykonos

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Church in Little Venice

Buddha Bar at Santa Marina, Mykonos

Ornos Bay, 84600,
Mykonos, Greece

T: +30 22890 23220

Monday – Sunday
13:00 – 19:00
20:00 – 01:00

Katerina’s Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
Agion Anargyron 8.
Little Venice, Mykonos. Greece.
telephone.: 0030 22890 23084

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Exploring Greece: A Stay at The Kenshō Boutique Hotel on Mykonos

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The glam/rustic Lobby of the Kenshō

If you’re planning a trip to Mykonos and looking for someplace chic and interesting to stay, be sure to check out the Kensho Boutique Hotel in Ornos Beach. It’s just a short walk to the upscale beach clubs on Ornos Beach, and has a more laid-back vibe than touristy Mykonos Town.

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Exterior of the Kenshō Boutique Hotel & Suites

Mykonos Town is only a short cab ride away. After dark, the Kensho is ideally situated halfway between Mykonos town and the after dark hot spot of Psarou Beach. My visit was during shoulder season, and the beach clubs were being boarded up for the season.

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Whitewashed exterior of the Kensho

The concierge staff at the Kensho was top notch and made sure we had plenty of things to see and do and gave great restaurant, activity and recommendations.img_8471

View of Ornos from the Kensho

The property has 35 rooms, suites and a villa and the top rated spa in the area. There is an award winning on-site restaurant which serves Mediterranean specialties and excellent cocktails which can be enjoyed in the glamorous dining space, by the pool, or on the rooftop deck space.

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Live edge table in the restaurant

The modern bohemian vibe of the Kensho makes it a great choice for design lovers. While the decor is mostly warm whites and wood, the layers of texture make the property very special and welcoming. The Kensho opened in 2016 and still feels new yet it has hit a stride with it’s well polished service.

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Left: Lounge chairs Right: Pool vibes at the Kensho

The Kensho boasts a hot tub on the roof and several rooms with private plunge pools. There are swings in the lounge area and cozy throw blankets for guests to use if the famous Mykonos winds kick up. My room was a VIP Junior Suite with a swing on the deck and a plunge pool, which was not surprisingly brisk during the October weather. The room was cozy despite it’s large size. The setup would be ideal during peak summer heat.

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Poolside lounging at the Kensho

With only 35 rooms, the Kensho is intimate. The prime pool side lounge chairs and sundeck can get packed during sundown. The vibe is buzzy but not over the top.

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The rooftop lounge is a popular spot for cocktails

Get a spot early!

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Roof top hot tub at the Kensho

The hotel car is a gleaming Range Rover  that offers complimentary transfers to and from Mykonos Town and other nearby locations.

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Left: Sunset in Ornos Right: Bougainvillea 

Wifi was strong and free throughout the property. The gym was small but had all the essential equipment.

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Cool lighting fixtures at the Kensho

While large, my Junior Suite was cool and cave like and had a comfortable work area. The shower was a bit dark, but there was ample closet space and a well stocked mini-bar.

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Outdoor yoga space at the Kensho

If you’re a first time visitor to Mykonos and aren’t sure where to stay, consider dividing your time and spending a few days in Ornos. It’s happening but less chaotic than other parts of the the island including Mykonos town.

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Basket swings in the lounge area

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Cozy lounging area at the Kensho

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Left: wood, stone and warm shades of white Right: cool planter 

The breakfast spread at the Kensho was impressive with a variety of cold dishes as well as eggs made to order. Don’t miss the strapastranda (Greek style scrambled eggs) and the tasty bougatsa (filled phyllo pastries).

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Enjoying the swing at the Kensho

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Lobby of the Kensho Spa

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Left: slightly steam punk details in the spa bathroom Right: groovy details in the Kensho spa

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Thoughtful furnishing choices in the dining area of the Kensho

One of my favorite things about the Kensho is how thoughtful the design of the property is. Not only does the furniture in the Kensho look stylish but it is all comfortable and works well for guests.

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Left: Tasty gyro from room service Right: Aperol Spritz by the Kensho’s fire pit

The hotel is happening but quiet by Mykonos standards. It’s a perfect choice for sophisticated guests who are foodies and appreciate design. The crowd was cool — and like the property itself- good looking.

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Mediterranean tapas at the Kensho

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Details are everything at the Kensho

The spa has a boutique for products and there is a well curated gift cabinet.

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Left: Cappuccino froth Right: Egg menu at the Kensho breakfast

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Salmon, cheese and meats at breakfast

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Left: Bread selection Right: Choice of cheese

My suite had a coffee maker in case I needed a caffeine boost before breakfast service began. The minibar had a nice edit of treats.

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Fruit featured on the breakfast spread

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Impressive selection of  bite-sized desserts on the breakfast buffett

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Rainbow at the Kensho reception

I booked my stay at the Kensho through JMAK Hospitality, which has a small but on point edit of properties in Greece.

KENSHŌ Boutique Hotel & Suites
Ornos Beach, 84600
Mykonos, Greece
T. +30 22890 29001 / +30 22890 78788
F. +30 22890 27010
Athens offices: +30 210 7209911-4
E. info@kenshomykonos.com

Rates start at $355 USD

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Exploring California: The New Tesla Supercharger in Kettleman City

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The exterior of the new Tesla Supercharger in Kettleman City

With the holidays upon us, more people will be hitting the road. For Tesla owners, this can mean long wait times at Supercharger stations. For those traveling on the I-5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco, there is good news. A 40 stall Supercharger station just opened in Kettleman City.

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Panorama of the Kettleman City Tesla Supercharger

I visited the spanking new supercharger on Saturday and was wildly impressed. It looks like something straight out of the Jetsons. In addition to the well designed and shaded layout and of the solar charging stalls, the Kettleman City Supercharger offers amenities for Tesla owners. There are bathrooms and a guest lounge where you can order a craft beverage from a Tesla barista while enjoying free wifi. There is even Tesla merchandise for sale.

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Kettleman City Supercharger Entrance 

The Kettleman City supercharger should help relieve the burden at the Bakersfield and Harris Ranch Superchargers during heavy traffic times, as well as when the Tesla Model 3s start to add additional traffic.  Access to the facilities is gained by an access code sent directly to guest’s Tesla touchscreen.

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Solar covered charging stalls at the Kettleman City Supercharger

There are quite a few dining options near the Kettleman City supercharger, including California favorites In-N-Out Burger, Bravo Farms and Baja Fresh.

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Pretty Tesla Chargers all in a row

The astroturf lawn is perfect for walking your pets.

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Kettleman City Supercharger

Another 40 stall Tesla Supercharger is set to open this week in Baker, for those driving between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

My Tesla did not list the Kettleman City supercharger as an option last Thursday (a day after it opened) so be sure to ask your Tesla navigation system for specific directions.

Kettleman City Supercharger

27675 Bernard Drive

Kettleman City, CA 93239

Roadside Assistance (877) 798-3752

Charging
40 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 120kW

 

 

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Exploring Greece: the Windmills of Mykonos

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Ana and the windmills

Mykonos, Greece is known as “the island of the winds.” Windmills have been one of the most iconic landmarks of the Greek islands since the 16th century.

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Blue fence and doors at one of the Mykonos windmills

I love traveling to popular tourist destinations during shoulder season. Without the summer throng of tourists you don’t have to fight the crowds to photograph an famous landmark or struggle get a dinner reservation. While the mediterranean climate was pleasant during my time on Mykonos, when the wind kicked up it could turn quite brisk.

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Moody skies above the Windmills of Kato Mili

The most famous windmills on the island are the seven lower mills, also know as Kato milli, which are located near near the sea in Mykonos town. They are an iconic part of Mykonian landscape.

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Clouds and windmills

The Mykonos wind was one of my favorite things about photographing the island. Occasionally it felt like I had a wind machine on location, sometimes cranked up too high.

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A view from the sea of the Windmills of Kato

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Ana in front of the windmills

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Ana photographing the windmills

If you’re looking for things to do on Mykonos, the windmills of Kato Milli is a must. I highly walking around them during the golden hour before sunset. Then head to one of the nearby bars to enjoy a sundowner and the view. I recommend Katerina’s in the Little Venice neighborhood.

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Windmills in black and white

It’s worth looping back after the sun dips below the horizon for vibrant colors.

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Too much wind is a wonderful thing

The image above, shot on my iPhone 8 plus, might be my favorite from the time I spent at the windmills.

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Another view of the windmills

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Left: Ana against the wind Right: Ana on a less windy visit

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Ana in front of one of the Windmills of Kato Milli

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A view of the windmills from a bar in Little Venice

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A cosmo from Katerina’s and a view of the windmills

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a view of one of the Mykonos windmills from 180º Sunset Bar

There are 16 windmills on Mykonos. You can check out one of the upper mills from 180º Sunset Bar. Be advised, the bar doesn’t take reservations so get there early if you want a great scene. It’s a lovely spot overlooking Mykonos town.

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Shifting colors at the windmills

While there are other windmills on Mykonos, the cluster of seven together makes for a fun place to explore.

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Afterglow at the windmills

 

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Sunset is a popular time for photographers to visit the windmills

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The windmills at sunset

Details:

Out of 16 preserved and renovated windmills in Mykonos today, 7 are located in the area of Kato Mili, between the Alefkandra harbor and the neighborhood of Neochori, southeast of Chora.

Katerina’s Restaurant and Cocktail Bar

 

Address: Mikonou 8, Agii Anargiri 864 00, Greece
Hours: 9AM–3AM
Phone: +30 2289 023084
Chora Mykonou
Mýkonos, Kikladhes, Greece 84600
+30 699 360 1424
6pm-11pm

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Exploring Verona, Italy: a Photo Essay

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A view of the Castelvecchio Bridge

Verona, Italy is perhaps best known as the setting of the Shakespeare’s Young Adult classic, Romeo & Juliet. But there is more to this medieval town in the Veneto than Juliet’s balcony. I was lucky to spend a few days in Verona in early October to attend a friend’s wedding. Here are some of my favorite finds in this charming Italian city.

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fly by of the Castelvecchio bridge

If you’re looking for things to do in Verona, The Museo de Castelvecchio is a must. The Roman fortress, built on the Adige river in the 1300s, is a great place to wander and and check out the simple Gothic architecture and bridge. The inside has been renovated into a museum with exhibits including statues, painting and sculpture as well as some very cool ancient weapons and armor.

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Bird at Castelvecchio

Be sure to check opening hours, as the Museum is closed on Monday mornings as well as some holidays.

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Walking along the banks of the Adige River

If opera is on your radar, don’t miss the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheater orignially built during the first century. Now it’s the home to the Arena di Verona Festival during the summer. While there wasn’t an opera during my visit to Verona, I did sit at a table next to an opera singer at lunch who was singing while waiting for her food.

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Villa Zamboni

Like all of Italy, Verona has some beautiful churches. The Gothic Sant’Anastasia is centrally located but charges a fee to visit. I stayed at Hotel Due Torri, overlooking the church. My room overlooked the Piazza, where I got a bird’s eye view of a local wedding.

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Just Married getaway Fiat

The Hotel Due Torri also has a great rooftop bar which is great location for a happy hour drink and view of the church and surrounding terra cotta rooftops.

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Just married in Verona

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Exterior of Sant’Anastasia Church

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Details in Sant’Anastasia

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Wall murals at Sant’Anastasia

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Window light at Hotel Due Torri

Since this is Italy, you can eat well in Verona. The charming Osteria Ponte Pietra has a small but lovely terrace overlooking the Adige river and great pasta. Restaurants in Verona are small, so reservations are a must.

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Interior of  Osteria Ponte Pietra

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Pasta at Osteria Ponte Pietra

Ristorante Antica Torretta was another delicious find. They have a seafood-centric menu and romantic atmosphere to boot.

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Still life at a gourmet shop in Verona

Window shopping is a lot of fun in Verona. I accidentally wandered into a store that outfitted opera divas or people going to carnival in Venice, or maybe both.

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Pretty in Pink (and a swan hat) in Verona

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Street art outside the Verona Arena

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Obligatory Vespa shot

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Moonlight stroll on the Adige

Verona is a great walking city and it’s worth taking an evening stroll after dinner along the Adige river.

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Verona after Dark

Contact details are below.

Ristorante Antica Torretta

dinner on patio. good for romantics

Piazza Broilo, 1
37121 Verona – Italia
Tel. / Fax 045 80.15.292

Osteria Ponte Pietra Ristorante

via Ponte Pietra 34
37121  Verona
T. +39 045 80 41 929

Basilica of Sant’Anastasia

Piazza Santa Anastasia
37121  Verona
T. +39 045 592813
entrance 2.50€

Castelvecchio Museum

corso Castelvecchio 2
37121 Verona
T. +39 045 8062611
entrance 6.00€

Verona Arena

Piazza Bra
37121 Verona
T.+39 045/596517

Due Torri Hotel

Piazza St. Anastasia, 4,
37121 Verona
T. +39 045 595044

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