Tag: holiday

The Big 4-0: Where to Go?

I’ll be 40 in December. 5 months today, in fact.

40 mug

I’ll spare you all the “how did that happen” bollocks, all the “I still feel like I’m in my 20s” bollocks and all the “if I could do it all over again” bollocks, because a) it’s bollocks, b) it’s dull and c) it’s pretty obvious! It happened, because life. I don’t know how old I feel, really, because I don’t know how 40 is supposed to feel, but I certainly don’t act how I think 40 year old grown ups acted when I was a kid. And I wouldn’t do it all over again, thanks. I’m very happy and settled in my life, with myself, with my relationship and with my home, compared to school years and early 20s which were a troubled cocktail of confusion at times!

The biggest issue I have with turning 40 at the moment (and I reserve the right to change this to sheer panic as the date gets closer!) is how to celebrate. More specifically where to celebrate. I’m not a party type person. Not to say I don’t like parties, or social occasions, or fun (I do, and I excel at them, at least in my own head!) but the thought of having a party for me just ticks no boxes at all. If anyone were to organise a surprise party for me I would be livid. It would also be pretty impossible anyway, because my birthday is on 20th December and people tend to be so caught up in Christmas parties/works parties/shopping/visiting family/spending money on presents that there isn’t necessarily room for ickle old me in their plans (this is not a pity statement in anyway, I’m cool with it, I’ve had 39 years to be ok with it and the people that matter always make a fuss regardless).

So, back to the impending 40th. I know it’s just another day, and another year older, and nothing will change, but somehow it feels like I should do something a bit special. And I have always thought/expected that something special would involve a trip. A holiday. And I always wanted the destination to be Goa or New York.

Now the time has come to make plans though, neither of those are really feasible. There’s the proximity to Christmas, obvs. I don’t want to be away over Christmas, because that’s family time, which therefore means travelling before Christmas and having a really long Christmas holiday which neither my bank balance or waistline would thank me for. Also, with moving house this year, annual leave is at a premium i.e I don’t have enough left to take time off for a long haul trip (that’s Goa out of the question). And New York would be incredibly cold (although pretty) and what if we got snowed in and couldn’t get home for Christmas Day? Too risky.

I suppose I could plan the trip for January, but it’s not my birthday then, so…

This leaves me the option of Europe. And while there are heaps of places I want to go in Europe, most of them lend themselves to summer. Lisbon? Summer. Seville? Summer. Dubrovnik? Summer. I’ve been to Prague, and I’ve been to Budapest (for my 30th). Flight timetables tend to be less regular as Christmas gets closer and the limited annual leave I have left gives only a couple of days window of opportunity to fly.

My first thought was Amsterdam. I do want to go there, but don’t really link it with any particular season in my head, so it seemed like a decent idea. It’s a short flight from the UK and there are lots of airlines serving Schipol airport. But the husband said he thinks of it as more of a warm days/light nights destination for wandering the streets and sitting outside street cafes, so the idea was shelved.

So far the frontrunner is now Rome. It has enough epicness to be worthy of a 40th birthday (History? Check! Architecture? Check! Food & wine? Check, check, check!) It’s close enough to fly to for just a few days; the last few years have been surprisingly mild in December, and it will probably be less busy than high season which means shorter queues for attractions, more choice of hotels and less crowded restaurants. I like the idea of hunkering down eating steaming bowls of pasta and sipping red wine in cosy cafes in between marvelling at the Coliseum, St Peters Basilica and the Spanish Steps. There’s an early morning flight from Manchester on the day of my birthday, which would be a pretty exciting start to the celebrations, and the flight home leaves us enough time for last minute preparations before Christmas Day.

Part of me thinks I’m being selfish wanting to be away so close to Christmas, when we’ll already have lots of stuff to do. But then the spoilt brat in me thinks it’s not my fault I was born so close to Christmas (thanks, Mom!) and that if my birthday was any other time of year there’s be no issue in going on a trip. I’m already kinda compromising… (told you, spoilt brat!)

What do you guys think? Should I plough on regardless? Wait til January? Is Rome a good idea or do you have any other suggestions? Help an aging girl out…!!

Thanks, as always, for reading x

Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang

Back to Malaysia for this post, as I still have so much to tell you, and so many photographs to share. I can’t believe it’s already been 2 months since we were there!

We visited a few religious buildings in Penang – Dhammikarama Burmese Temple & Wat Chayamangkalaram in George Town, and Kapitan Keling Mosque in Little India ,but this one deserves a post all of it’s own. It’s a beauty, and an instagram dream. Everywhere you look is something that needs to be photographed – ornate detailing, tiled floors and walls, buddhas and carvings. It’s incredible.

The temple is just outside of the capital, George Town, in the Air Itam area. You can reach it by local bus, the hop on hop off tourist buses, or taxi. We opted for the latter to make the best use of our time and get there as quickly as possible. If you’re accessing the temple from the street then you could quite easily miss the entrance, it’s a little dark passageway which looks like it leads nowhere, through stalls selling cheap bits and pieces, fake clothes and bags, and up a number of stairs. Once we got through this bit we saw that there’s an upper entrance to the temple grounds with a car park, where, in retrospect, the taxi driver could have dropped us. Never mind – all those steps are good for you, and certainly lead to a sense of achievement!

The construction of the temple started in 1890, although further development and building work continues to this day. The temple and connecting areas are now very heavily commercialised, with shops selling trinkets and souvenirs at every opportunity and around every corner (we found this very surprising).Although the temple is free to enter, there are nominal fees to enter certain parts of the development, but these are only a couple of pound each and well worth it.

It probably took us around 90 minutes to get around all areas of the temple; which included a slow amble, stopping off to take lots of pictures, sheltering from a couple of rain showers and climbing all the steps to the highest points possible to make the most of the views below.

The 7 story main pagoda has Chinese, Thai, and Burmese influenced architecture. This was completed in 1930.

Kek Lok Si temple 7 stories

This 99ft bronze statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, was built in 2002. A pagoda has since been built around and over the statue, and there is currently scaffold and some work happening around it.

The whole site is a riot of colour, with bright decorations, flowers and gardens.

There are buddhas everywhere! Big, small, printed on tiles – they’re all over the place!

This really was one of the highlights of our entire trip, and certainly is not be missed if you ever visit Penang.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

5 things I thought on our first day in Malaysia

It’s been almost a week since we left Malaysia, and I haven’t got round to sorting my photos <<bad blogger>> I will be writing lots of posts about what we got up to soon, but in the mean time here were some of my initial reactions after 15 hours of travelling!

Thank God we’ve made it!
When I came across the deal for our trip, I knew it was an amazing offer and not worth not going. I also figured that part of the reason the offer price was so good is because the flights were with Malaysia Airlines who are still trying to (re)build their customer base. Mention them to most people (certainly the people I know) and the reaction is “good luck with the plane not disappearing”. MH370 is still firmly in people’s minds, and no-one’s more than the husband. He was obsessed with the case when it happened and I knew how he’d react at the prospect of flying with them. So I gave him the hard sell on the holiday, the weather, the amazing things we’d see, the food we’d eat. I didn’t tell him anything about the flights until he asked me, and by then he was already hooked on the idea of the trip.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t part of me that was ever so slightly nervous about something happening, and we certainly both joked that if the plane was going to go missing then hopefully it would be on our way back after we’d had a great time, but then I rationalised it by how many flights are operated every single day by Malaysia Airlines without incident and thankfully the husband saw it that way too.

And, do you know what? They were amazing. Legroom, comfort, food and service were all brilliant, and I’d have no hesitation in recommending them. KL airport, pictured right above, was pretty cool too!

Does anyone actually have a driving licence?
Our taxi transfer from the airport to the hotel was pretty hairy, and it was a sign of things to come. Lane discipline is almost none existent, driving bumper to bumper is the norm, and throw in some crazy moped drivers and you feel like you need to hold onto your seat! There are so many mopeds on the road and personal safety seems far down the list of considerations – we saw people riding mopeds with tiny babies on their laps, people wearing no helmets, 3 adults squashed on one moped, people carrying oversized items like big pieces of wood – and no-one bats an eyelid. Although cars are right hand drive and they drive on the left hand side of the road – just like here in the UK – NO WAY would I consider hiring anything on wheels and taking my chances. It was crazy!

This is going to be an ugly holiday for me
You know when you go to a hot country and you get off the plane and the heat envelops you like a warm hug (especially if the temperatures have been less than great at home). Imagine that warm hug being delivered by someone in a wet shirt, leaving you all clammy and damp. That’s what it felt like when we got to Penang. We knew that the humidity levels would be high but it was like nowhere I’ve ever experienced. The only way to cope was keep my hair scraped off my face and tissues to hand to mop my heavily perspiring brow.

Me at Penang Hill

Me at the top of Penang Hill – check out those frizzy flyaway hairs!

Even minimal make up just fell off within 10 minutes of leaving the hotel room! Kuala Lumpur was more manageable, but I still avoided photos as I was looking less than my best!

It’s a lot greener than I expected
Because of the year round hot temperatures, I think I expected the landscape to be a lot more parched and barren. Quite the opposite in fact, it was incredibly green. Our hotel room balcony in Penang overlooked a hill of forest, and everywhere we went flowers flourished.

Clockwise, from top left – view from Penang Hill, flowers at Kek Lok Si temple, view from Kek Lok Si temple up to Penang Hill

We soon realised why, on our first night, when the rain came. It was like someone had turned on a tap and, with only seconds warning, the streets were coursing with rain water. So yeah, the plants get all the nourishment they need!

It’s perfectly acceptable to eat curry for breakfast
We arrived at our hotel just as the breakfast buffet was coming to an end so, being the greedy foodie that I am, I had a little look around to see what was on offer ready for the next day. The hotel obviously needs to cater for visitors from across the world, so the food choices reflected that. Croissants, bread for toast, fresh fruit, porridge, sausages and baked beans sat alongside fried rice, noodles and spicy curry dishes. I love spicy food and can often be heard saying I’d eat it at anytime of day, so I wasn’t going to miss out on a legitimate opportunity! I had a little taster of local cuisine most mornings, and it was delish!

Ooh, so many memories just from writing this short post!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

The Travel Tag

I was thinking just the other day how I haven’t done a Q&A tag post in ages, and then the lovely Tina from Tea is for Tina tagged me in this one. You can read Tina’s answers here.

If it’s that easy to influence the future then please could someone give me a million pounds? Ta!

Anyway, onto the questions, and my responses!

You are leaving tomorrow to start a life in a new country, where would you go?

I think it would have to be the US. There’s no language barrier and the country is so big and varied that you could holiday and travel there and see so much. Internal flights are pretty cheap and as convenient as catching a bus. I’d base myself in the Los Angeles area for the great climate, and plan visits to New York, Dallas, Nashville, Niagra Falls and Miami, and a return to San Francisco, as a matter of priority.

You can take someone for a weekend away to the place you had the best holidays ever, where would that be and who would you take to go with you?

It would probably be the West Hollywood neighbourhood of Los Angeles, with the husband. We’ve been there 4 times and had some amazing experiences. Even though we’ve done it all before, every single time has been fabulous, and would be a pleasure to recreate.

This would be my schedule:

Saturday – We’d stay at the Mondrian on Sunset, as usual, and have breakfast at Mel’s Drive-In (which is the coolest 50s American diner ever, check out the photos!), go to Griffiths Observatory for the planetarium show and the views, spend the afternoon by the hotel pool, have early evening sushi at Katana (the first place I ever tried sushi, and it was amazing!) and Happy Hour frozen margaritas at Cabo Cantina then shower and change before heading down to Sunset Strip for drinks at the Whisky a Go Go, maybe catch a band, then grab a booth at The Rainbow and eat one of their amazing pizzas.

Sunday – bottomless mimosas and a breakfast burrito at The Saddle Ranch, then bus down to Santa Monica, wander round the pier and go on the big wheel, hire bikes and cycle to Venice Beach, look around all the stalls and talk to the crazy people, back to Santa Monica for a bit of shopping and some late lunch, then back to We-Ho to play rock music on the jukebox at the Rainbow, maybe get another photo with Ron Jeremy and then finish the night with burgers and milkshakes in Mel’s.

(all photos by me or the husband between 2010 and 2012)

God that’s made me miss LA!

You can get married wherever you want to, your budget is limitless, what is your choice?

We got married on a beach in Mauritius which was pretty damn special, and I wouldn’t change that in any way.

mauritius-beach-wedding

I’d quite like to do a renewal of vows in Las Vegas though, officiated by Elvis!

las-vegas-elvis-wedding

During your travels you can bring back home one animal as a pet, which one would you pick?

A panda. No doubt. They’re so cute and playful and cuddly. And naughty – watch this video to see my point!

I don’t know why I don’t have one as a pet already.

You can get back in time and relive one family trip, which one?

A week in Greece with my Dad. I blogged about it here. Things were pretty fraught between us after my parents’ divorce and the holiday not only fixed our Dad and daughter relationship but strengthened it no end. Plus the location and food and climate was just so idyllic and beautiful – I’ve actually been back 3 times since.

What is the first thing you would pack for a one year travel around the world?

My passport! Duh!

What would your fantasy 100th birthday destination be, and why?

I don’t want to live to 100. Sorry to be miserable, but it would be too sad going somewhere and not being able to do everything it had to offer.

During your travel you can learn one sport to become a pro, what would that be?

I’m not a sporty person at all and don’t really crave to be, but it would be nice to be able to surf. Or maybe snowboard.

I lack the coordination to ever be able to do either!

Plus surfing is so wet, and snowboarding is so cold.

Does drinking sangria until I fall over count as a sport?

me-drinking-sangria

Now it’s your turn! I tag anyone who wants to get involved! Specifically Danni Jane at A Beautiful Thing, Hailey at The Undateable Girl’s Diary, Ellen at What Ellen Wrote and Emmalene from A Brummie Home and Abroad because they all love travel.

But if you’re reading this and want to complete the questions yourself then please do so! Make sure you leave the link to your answers in the comments, so I can be nosy!

Here are the questions:

  • You are leaving tomorrow to start a life in a new country, where would you go?
  • You can take someone for a weekend away to the place you had the best holidays ever, where would that be and who would you take to go with you?
  • You can get married wherever you want to, your budget is limitless, what is your choice?
  • During your travels you can bring back home one animal as a pet, which one would you pick?
  • You can get back in time and relive one family trip, which one?
  • What is the first thing you would pack for a one year travel around the world?
  • What would your fantasy 100th birthday destination be, and why?
  • During your travel you can learn one sport to become a pro, what would that be?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Bodies change, and we need to get over it!

Coming back from a summer holiday (did I mention that?!); seeing people wearing less clothes than we’re used to on a day to day basis, you kind of realise even more so that people come in all shapes and sizes.

Bodies change...and that's ok

I have to admit that, before I went away, I was feeling pretty annoyed with myself for not losing any weight and not looking the way I wanted to in a bikini. I still felt that way when I arrived and even more so by the time I got home (a week of food, booze and lethargy takes it’s toll on a girl!)

But then, when I rationalise it, it’s pretty daft to:

a) restrict myself and enjoy life less for the weeks or months leading up to a holiday, just to fit a beauty ideal

b) think that other people are looking at me and judging me

The truth is, my body looks how it does because of the life I lead. I enjoy life. I enjoy food. I enjoy drinking. I don’t enjoy exercise!

When I was in my late teens and early 20s I was blessed with a high metabolism. I didn’t gain weight, whatever I ate or drank. I looked great in a bikini!

Now I’m in my late 30s (bleugh!) my metabolism has slowed down and I look less great in a bikini!

But you know what? I’m happier now than I ever was when I was younger. Not physically – I’d rather look the way I did then, if possible! But mentally and emotionally I’m content. And that’s way more important than a change in my body weight. It’s to do with mental strength, life experiences and feeling settled.

In my 20s I was single, riddled with insecurities, coming to terms with mental health issues and wondering where my life was going. Now I’m happily married which comes with the addition of eating out with my husband, takeaways with my husband, drinks with my husband (sense a theme?!) I have more financial security which affords me more holidays (which means more eating and drinking!) I know my own limitations and try not to beat myself up over things. I’ve also experienced life stuff like redundancy and my Dad’s illness which sometimes makes me think “fuck it, life’s too short not to indulge in the good stuff”.

I haven’t quite bounced back from the holiday mind set of eat, drink and be merry. I’ve already made excuses for not going to the gym (the weather’s nice; bad drive home from work; I just don’t want to!). So it’s no wonder the pounds aren’t retreating!

We’re conditioned to think that a beautiful body looks a certain way. Magazines perpetuate the myth that larger women or older women shouldn’t wear bikinis. Yet, in Greece, I saw older ladies, bigger ladies and everything in between wearing a bikini with pride. And why shouldn’t they? It’s hot, you need less clothes and comfort is important. I bloody hate swimsuits; they’re icky and sticky and you can’t tan your tum. If someone doesn’t like how you look in beach wear, they can bloody well look the other way.

I’m as bad as anyone for judging people. I think that’s just the way we’re conditioned. But I’m trying to change that about myself. Instead of looking at an overweight person and thinking they shouldn’t be wearing something, I’m teaching myself to squash that thought and replace it with “good for them”. Because if they’re ok with it then it really isn’t anyone else’s business.

I think I’ve reached the end of my meandering now. I’m not even sure there is an end! And I know I’m a hypocrite, because I’m still sitting here thinking I’d like to shrink my tummy. But I do know that, as I get older, trying to look after my body for strength and longevity becomes as important as weight loss. I want to look and feel more healthy.

But, of course, looking great in a bikini would be a bonus!

I’d love to hear your thoughts; hit me up in the comments.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

5 things that are totally the norm in Greece…

…but would blow your mind in the UK!

Greek flag

 

I know (and love) how part of going away to other countries is adapting to new cultures and seeing how other people live. Some things that happen overseas, that seem completely normal in situ, are actually totally bonkers when you transfer the concept to UK life.

  1. Not flushing toilet paper down the loo
    If you’ve never been to Greece I can imagine this one coming as something of a surprise. Basically the sewage pipes aren’t big enough to cope with…er…bodily waste and paper, so standard practice is to put your loo roll in the bin. Whatever you’ve done with it. Pretty gross, but it strangely becomes the norm!
  2. Shower cubicles
    Shower areas  in Greek holiday apartments can range from a tiny shower tray with a flimsy curtain to a drain in the ground and no shower screen. Shower holders are unusual so it’s a balancing act between stopping the shower hose from spraying everywhere while you lather shampoo in your hair.
  3. Wine – price, service and glass size
    Local wine is ridiculously cheap in Greece. We paid as little as 3 euros for half a litre (that’s about £2.50 for the equivalent of two large glasses in a pub in the UK – I was in my element). It’s served in a jug; sometimes glass, but sometimes a bashed up tin one like you used to get water from in the school canteen! Wine glasses are tiny tumblers. Which means you end up feeling incredibly naughty / like a hero because you’ve had 8 glasses of wine with dinner.Wine in a metal jug
  4. Free stuff
    From free crisps and nibbles with every drinks order, to water melon or dessert after a meal, to another jug of wine or an after dinner spirit, the generosity of Greek restaurateurs knows no bounds! And who doesn’t like free stuff?Free watermelon
  5. Cats wandering around restaurant tables
    There’s many hashtags on instagram dedicated to Greek cats as they are a prevalent feature of the mainland and the islands. They wander freely around the streets, on the beach and in restaurants, lingering by tables for scraps from tourists who can’t resist their cuteness. These pics are actual cats in actual restaurants from my recent holiday in Finikounda. The little ginger guy climbed up the table to steal our bar snacks!

It’s all part of the charm of the country. In case I haven’t mentioned it in previous posts, I love Greece!

Let me know if you’ve been, would like to go, would hate to go – tell me your Greece thoughts 🙂

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

A week in Greece

I’ve finally just about emerged from the fuzzy fug surrounding my week in Finikounda and the inevitable readjustment to real life so I thought I’d tell you all about it.

If you read my last “first of the month” post, you’ll know that I love Greece.

If you didn’t read it, here’s a précis. I love Greece. The people, the pace of life, the food, the climate. All of it. It’s probably my holiday destination of choice for a summer break.

This time we chose a new (to us) destination; a small Greek village on the Messinian Peninsula called Finikounda. We chose it knowing it was tiny, with one supermarket, one cash machine and a handful of restaurants. We chose it knowing that there were no loud bars or crazy watersports. We chose it knowing that the village is little more than one main street with a few shops and the demographic is largely Greek families holidaying and older people relaxing. And we loved it for all of those reasons.

We stayed at a relatively new aparthotel called Tsokas Hotel which was about 5 minutes walk from the beach. Unusually for Greek accommodation it was very modern; with large open plan bedrooms fully stocked with a small kitchenette, air conditioning, a power shower and a large balcony. With only 15 apartments overall the feeling was intimate and relaxed, with no fighting for sunbeds or noisy guests. The hotel has a lovely kidney shaped pool which was a godsend in the incredibly hot weather (it was 35 degrees wen we arrived on Sunday lunchtime) and by late afternoon it was like dipping into cool bath water. Bliss.

So, what did we do? Pretty much nothing! We I had hoped to go and visit a nearby town with venetian castle ruins, but in truth it was so ruddy hot that that the thought of doing full on sightseeing was too much to bear! So we settled into a delightful routine of breakfast in the apartment, lounge by the pool, walk to the village for lunch, an afternoon nap for me, a spot more sunbathing and then dinner in a different restaurant in the village. It was the perfect antithesis to the real world and, because every day was something of a mirror image, the time lapsed slowly in a delightful blur of nothingness – a feeling of complete escapism where the only thing that mattered was what to eat for dinner and whether to have a quarter or half litre of wine at lunch. We weren’t back at the hotel later than 11pm any night, and were fast asleep by midnight at the latest!

If you follow me on instagram you’ll have already seen a lot of these pictures, but in case you don’t (you should, by the way!) and also to indulge myself and relive the delightful memories, here are some snaps from our week.

Would I go back? In a heartbeat! There’s something quite comforting in knowing you have a destination in your travel bag that you can 100% rely on when you need a certain kind of holiday. Plus there are still all the things and places that we didn’t manage to visit last week to bring a different dimension to the trip when we go again.

Do you have a favourite country to holiday?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Leaving on a jet plane…

…don’t know when I’ll be back again…

FB_IMG_1468181632941

Actually that’s not true, I’ll be back next Sunday!

By the time you read this I’ll be in fabulous Greece for a (hopefully) fabulous week of relaxation. I can’t wait to eat Greek food, soak up the sunshine and chill out with the husband.

I wish you all a good week, whatever you’re up to, and fingers crossed the country doesn’t descend into any further chaos while I’m gone! (although if it does, send a carrier pigeon to let me know and I won’t bother coming back!)

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

My first…part 5

It’s the first of the month again! Aren’t these long hot summer days amazing? (huge amounts of sarcasm). Grrrr….

Anyway, as I’m off to Greece in just 10 days time (woo and hoo!) I thought I’d talk about my first ever time on the Greek Mainland, in my early 20s.

I love Greece. Adore the place. The people, the climate, the food, some more of the food. Mmm…food. Greek cuisine is right up there with the best in the world, for me.

Greece is my first choice of holiday destination if I’m looking for a chilled, relaxed break with guaranteed enjoyment.

The first time I ever visited the mainland was with my Dad. After my parents separated things became fraught between me and my Dad for a while. I hadn’t taken sides in the split but I was living with my Mom, and she had a new partner which my Dad found difficult to deal with, especially my acceptance of it. In an attempt to build bridges I suggested that the two of us go on holiday.

Both having a love of Greece from previous visits to the islands, Dad suggested calling the travel agent (as you did in those days, before cheap airlines and hotel comparison websites, god I’m so old!) and finding out what was available within a few days; somewhere “typically Greek”. The travel agent suggested a place called Stoupa, which neither of were familiar with. It was described to us as being a small village on the Mani peninsula, with a mountainous backdrop, a handful of tavernas and bars and a very relaxed atmosphere. It sounded perfect.

And perfect it was. We arrived at Kalamata airport at around midday on a hot Sunday afternoon, after a 3am start from home. I hadn’t been to bed the night before as I was still packing so I slept all the way to the resort. On arrival we were shown to our apartment, which was a 2 story house, split into 3 apartments. We had loads of space, two balconies, 2 bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. It was very much a home from home.

After changing into shorts we wandered down towards the direction of the sea, passing small tavernas and shops. As we reached the end of the narrow street the whole of Stoupa opened up in front of us. A horseshoe shaped bay with a sandy beach and sparkling blue sea. Stepping out and looking backwards we saw the mountain backdrop promised by the travel agent. We fell in love with the place immediately.

It was a week of lounging in the sun, reading books, sleeping and eating amazing food. We took an organised trip to the Diros Caves. We walked to Agios Nikolaos. And we overcame our difficulties and had a lovely Dad and daughter time.

Years later my Dad took his now wife, and she also fell in love with the place in the same way that we had years previously.

I never once suggested it to the husband, as he tends to get bored easily on holiday and I thought Stoupa would be way too quiet for him. I think he felt left out, because my Dad and his wife and I used to talk so fondly of our times there, and the husband had never been. So, eventually, and under some duress, I agreed that we would go. I warned him before we went that if he hated it he wasn’t to tell me, because he would spoil it for me!

But guess what? He loved it too! Absolutely adored the place, immediately. Such is it’s magic! And what did we do? Exactly the same as my Dad and I had done over a decade previously – eat, drink, sleep and read. We didn’t even leave the village because we were so content. Not only that, he was so taken with it that we went back 6 weeks later for our 5th wedding anniversary.

Here are some pictures of the bay.

And the mountains. Can you see the tiny villages? At night they look like little patches of sparkles in a sea of blackness because they’re so remote.

Stoupa mountain villages

And there are the most fabulous sunsets. Every. Single. Night.

Stoupa sunset

I very much want to see more of the world – all of the world – but I think I will always return to Stoupa. It holds such happy memories and is everything I could ever want in a relaxing holiday.

We talked about going back again this year, but I vetoed it because my Dad is ill. He was supposed to go last year and had to cancel because of his cancer treatment, and I don’t feel right going when he can’t.

So, this year, the husband and I are off to the other side of the peninsula – a place called Finikounda. I’ve read reports from some people that say it makes Stoupa look overly touristy, so I’m intrigued to see just how quiet it is! And of course I’ll be blogging all about it when I get home.

10 days to go!

Do you have any summer holidays planned? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x