Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

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 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 Turkey: Lycian, Greek and Roman cities of Anatolia

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Sundown on the main street of Phaselis

Editor’s Note: Anastasia Chernykh is the social media manager for My Life’s a Trip. She recently traveled to Anatolia, Turkey and agreed to do this guest post for the blog. I learned a lot about the fascinating history of Turkey’s southern coast and now I’m really curious to visit Anatolia. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did. – Jen Pollack Bianco

I used to think of Turkey as a larger version of Istanbul. With its wonderful mix of European and Asian cultures, an overwhelming Grand Bazaar, high minarets, strong coffee and wonderful Turkish delights being sold at every corner. But there are some places in this huge country that were inhabited long before Ottoman, Byzantine, or even Roman Empire existed.

The south coast of Turkey was once a home to Lycia, an ancient federation of city-states that existed at the same time as ancient Egypt.

Sunken City 

The best part of visiting was getting there is by the sea. Many boats run trips from Kas and Cayagzi, the harbor of Demre.

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Sailing to Kekova

The sea-trading city of Simena located on Kekova Island was once a part of Lycia. Simena was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century and partially sank beneath the waves.

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Clear waters in Protected area near Sunken city

It is still possible to see the city ruins above the shoreline and below the clear waters of the Mediterranean. The island, where the ruins are located, is now uninhabited. In 1990 the Turkish government declared it to be a Protected Area, and all kinds of water activities (diving, swimming, snorkeling) are now forbidden without a special permit in the area around the sunken city.

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The ruins of Simena with staircase leading underwater

Limyra

From Antalya take the main road 400 in the direction of Kumluca and further to Demre/Kale. Near Finike the ruins can be easily spotted on both sides of the road.

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Lycian Cliff Tombs

Limyra was one of the oldest cities in Lycia and even once was proclaimed a capital of the lycian league. The city was conquered by Cyrus the Great and would stay under Persian control until the very end of its days, when it was conquered by Alexander the Great, in the second century BC it eventually became a part of Roman Empire.

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A theatre from the Roman age, with seating capacity for 8,000 spectators

Among the ruins of Limyra the most impressive are those of Roman amphitheatre and distinctive rock-cut Lycian tombs Lycia in the sides of cliffs. Lycians believed that their dead will be transported to the afterworld by a siren-like creature, so often placed their tombs along the coast or in the cliffs for an easier access from the air.

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A part of bath system built near theatre

Phaselis

About 12 km from Kemer, north of town Tekirova. The site is located within National Park, entrance fee is $6(20TRY).

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The small Baths

One of the most impressive archeological sites we visited was the remains of ancient Phaselis. The city was founded by Greek colonists, that most likely came from Rhodes. The unique location of the city, with it’s tree natural harbours, made it a prosperous port and important trading center. One of the harbours (called “Sun Harbour”) if still being used today, mostly for tourist boats.

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The Roman aqueduct is the first and most obvious landmark of the site.

In the 6th century BC, Phaselis was captured by the Persians, then it fell to Alexander The Great. It is said sometimes that he’s golden sarcophagus could be buried somewhere in the city, after it was brought from Alexandria to avoid its demolition.

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The ruins of Hadrianus Arch

The years of Roman rule were the year of constant growth and prosperity for the city. The city was even visited by an Emperor Hadrianus. A monumental arch at the beginning of the main street was built i his name. It’s remains can still be seen near South Harbour of the city.

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Ancient walls

Once again the city was great during Byzantine period, but then pirates and Arab invasions, along with earthquakes and growth of port activity in Alanya and Antalya, Phaselis ceased to exist.

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The Roman theater dates from the second century and could hold around 3000 people.

The most of the ruins are from Roman and Byzantine times. The Aqueduct and the theatre are well preserved. There were two temples in the area, one dedicated to Afina and the other one to Hermes and Hestia, but they are basically non-existant. A colonnaded paved ancient street is still leading from the central harbor to the remains of Hadrian Gate. You can see the ruins of bathhouse and some other public building along it. The necropolis is located to the north of the site.

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The closest airport for getting to know Lycian heritage is Antalya International Airport (AYT), numerous scheduled and charter flights go here from all over the Europe.

You can rent a car (from $25/day) for a self-drive trip, or book a tour to the main sites(group tours prices start at $10) in Antalya.

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My Travels in Full Colour: The Capture the Colour PhotoBlogging Travel Competition Contest

I was honored and a bit surprised when Dave Bouskill of The Planet D nominated me for The Capture the Colour PhotoBlogging Travel Competition presented by TravelSupermarket.com.

After looking into the online photo contest, I found I respected the work of all the judges. The prizes are legit, multiple and substantial. £ 2000 for travel is the Grand Prize (that’s $3,118.23 US by today’s XE conversion rate), and the winner of each of the main color categories wins an iPad 3.

The travel competition requires me to publish a blog post that features photo images that feature each of the 5 colours: Blue, Green, Yellow, White, and Red.

*Yes! I’m spelling “colours” the British way because that is how this contest rolls. Feel free to read this post with a fake British accent a la Madonna. Or in cockney rhyming slang.

Here are the images I chose to enter. I hope you like them.

Blue: The Pool at the hotel Santorini, Greece

Santorini Hockney Pool Blue

I shot this image on a bright but cold October day at resort in Santorini, Greece.  It was at the tail end of the tourist season and last weekend this particular hotel was open before it closed down for winter. It was one of those romantic, honeymoon type resorts and I was traveling with my BFF, Zan. I had tried to get into the pool myself but the water temp was far too bracing for my taste.  I remember lying on a chaise lounge next to Zan, soaking up the sun. When a man dove in, I picked up my camera and took a picture and told her it looked like a David Hockney painting. She agreed. We went back to eating delightful Greek food.

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