City life · Life · Travel

Last trip of 2017…first post of 2018

So, new year, new me? Possibly, but what I’d definitely like to do is dedicate a bit more time to this little corner of the Internet that I can claim “mine”. And since I’m keeping this space for things that are worth living for, I’d better do more and more of them!

2017 was a challenging and somewhat weird year. I won’t remember it for anything good or bad, I won’t remember it at all I believe. I mostly got lost into work, missed my family and friends and Greece a lot, complained a lot, fell more in love with my boyfriend, stressed more than I should over work, got praised for it, and vowed never to do it again. I cried more than I have in year, but then again, nothing worth crying for happened in my life. So I’m keeping my hoped high for 2018. There must be something more shiny and beautiful waiting for me this year. I have my set goals that I won’t reveal here in fear of jinxing them. Or sounding completely stupid ūüôā

For what it’s worth, 2017 went away the best way possible: with a great short trip to Thessaloniki, the great city in the north of Greece that is a real gem if you’re looking for a quick city trip. Since we spent last Christmas in Athens, we thought to try Greece’s so-called “co-capital” this year. If you fly to Thessaloniki from Belgium off-season, you can find extremely cheap tickets with Ryanair from Charleroi. And it’s really worth taking the trip for three very simple reasons: the sights, the food and the nightlife.

What to see

Everything! Walk across the sea, marvel at the great sunsets at the port, visit one of the great museums in the city (the Jewish Museum, the Cinema Museum, or the Biennale). Go grab a coffee at the top floor of the Olympion cinema in the heart of the Aristotelous Square or make your way to Ano Poli to marvel at the city views. Just wander and take pictures along the way ūüôā

Where to eat (note: the following choices are mostly for meat lovers, although you can find plenty of vegetarian options, the Greek cuisine has something for everyone)

Everywhere! The best street food you can find is at Laikon (address:¬†Politechniou 24) – go for the meatball in bread – the best I’ve ever tried.

Two amazing dinner places are¬†Nea Folia¬†and¬†Extravaganza.¬†The first if a no-nonsense traditional Greek tavern with the most delicious and reasonably priced food I’ve ever had. Do not miss the kavourma burger, which is made from Greek buffalo meat. Extravaganza comes with a selection of great and very reasonably priced cocktails. You should definitely try the french fries with bolognese sauce and fried egg. Sounds weird? I thought so too. Until I tried it. After that, I felt weird I had not had it sooner. Both places are very popular, so make sure to book in advance (or go early!)

Where to stay

We stayed at Gatto Perso, an amazing apartments hotel situated in the city center that I could not recommend more. The rooms are decorated in the English country style, which makes for a great clash with the more urban surroundings of the building. The staff is super friendly and helpful, there was really nothing I did not like about our stay there. If you’re a smoker, ask for the room with the little balcony ūüôā

Other great hotels for all tastes! (but always right in the heart of the city :)):

Travel

My week at Corfu

I was reading Leandra Medine’s account of how she managed to go on holidays with nothing more than a carry-on and I was captivated by her writing of how she “watched the sunset steal [her] vacation” at the end of her trip. And this was my exact feeling when I was leaving Corfu, although in my case it was a bus stealing away one of the best weeks of my life.

This year we did not make fancy plans for our summer holidays so we ended up saying “let’s just go home”. Corfu is actually home for my boyfriend, he was born and raised there and his family still lives there, so we thought to keep it simple. I was happy to go, but totally freaked out as well as this would be the first time I would meet his parents (or anyone’s parents for that matter — I mean parents of a sexual partner, I’ve met parents before of friends, classmates, random parents on the street). Two years after starting dating and one year after living together, it was probably about time.

And yes, I was totally freaked out, because I’ve no idea how to behave in these situations. I want to be my best possible self so that my boyfriend can proudly show me around to his family and friends. At the same time, I get mad at myself for wanting this very thing, like I have to leave my true self on the side….but to cut a long (and dramatic) story short, things went really smoothly. I should probably know by now that lovely children (my boyfriend) come from lovely people, and his parent were no exception. Would probably be good sometimes to write an article dissecting why I get so stressed whenever the “meet the parents” discussion comes up!!

So, Corfu. To put it plainly, I fell in love. And I will go again next year. And I would recommend to anyone I know to go. Again and again. It is such a big island and so full of things to do and see, it can really cater to many different types of tourists: families, teenagers, young couples, older couples, groups of singles, girls’ groups, boys’ groups, anything really, foreigners, Greeks. Maybe mountain lovers will be disappointed, but for the rest, I’m sure there is something for everyone.

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Behold my dream house at Rovania beach.
I catch myself thinking several times per week: what am I doing in Brussels? Why don’t I go back to Greece, things are difficult and people are struggling but all this beauty will heal our hearts. I know of course it’s not that simple, but that week at Corfu made me really relax, take my mind off anything that was bothering, I managed to leave my stressed and anxious self behind and enjoy summer at its fullest.

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The restaurant at Yaliskari beach is definitely worth trying.
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Beaches at Corfu are stunning. You can find the very crowded and touristy ones (like Paleokastritsa), the quiet and still-virgin ones (like Rovania) or the friendly and unpretentious ones (like Yaliskari – if you go there try the restaurant on the beach, it’s a lovely spot and the food is pretty spectacular). You can do some kitesurfing at Halikounas or have a completely cosmopolitan swim at the Mon Repo (which is actually IN the city of Corfu – please take me back now!).

The most Instagram-able beaches? Some of the small bays at Paleokastritsa and Canal d’Amour of course. Also, the ground at Canal d’ Amour is very rich in clay so you’ll find plenty of people walking around covered in mud essentially. Which gives you the feeling of this amazing natural spa right on the sea. Gosh, the beauty!

Corfu also has spectacular spots to enjoy the sunset. Cape Drasti and Logkas at Peroulades are great although potentially too crowded. If you manage to snatch a spot at the 7th Heaven Bar at Logkas a couple of hours before the sunset, just stay there and wait for the moment to come. The moment is almost magical – the bar starts blasting dreamy lounge music and everyone goes quiet for the last seconds before the sun is lost behind the hill. The funniest thing is that people actually start clapping once it’s over!! Yeah sun, good job!!

Do you want to enjoy the sunset while comfortably sitting at a restaurant enjoying some of the best food on the island? No problem at all, the Mouragia area is full of restaurants with great views of the sunset. My personal favourite was Andranik — we went twice there to try moth sofrito and pastitsada – two of the most traditional dishes on Corfu (I’m officially hooked on sofrito, it’s probably the best thing about dating a local…!)

The city of Corfu is magical in the evening. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live your day to day life in a place like this. Do you get the constant feeling that you’re living in a movie? Or do you ever get enough of all this beauty and just get used to it? I suspect the latter – like with everything in life – but still, strolling around these little streets, holding the hand of a loved one, can transform you in a way. Thinking back to that moment in the middle of a rainy, stressful day at work, can have an even bigger impact.

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Go visit the Paleo Frourio, aka the Old Fortress, that was keeping Corfu safe from pirates. The views are great in the day time, but at night it turns into a magical place (don’t be afraid to go late at night, there are a great number of tourists and locals visiting event until midnight and there’s also a great bar in the Tower).

Another great spot to visit is the Kanoni, where the views of Pontikonisi and the church of Panagia Vlaherna are one of the most soothing sights you can enjoy on the island. We went for a late coffee around 20.00 and we were lucky to see many planes come and go from the airport that’s just next to the Kanoni. ‚Äč

‚ÄčAnd then there is of course the music. Corfu has a huge tradition in music, there are hundreds of marching bands in every town and village and it seems that most locals play at least one instruments. They also make for a great sight with all their different costumes, so make sure to try and catch a live performance when you’re there, which won’t be too difficult anyway.

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I was a happier version of myself at Corfu. I’ll be looking at these photos and try to preserve the feeling for as long as possible. Until next time.

Travel

A long weekend on Mount Pelion

When it comes to holiday destinations in Greece, I’m sure you all know Athens, Mykonos and Santorini, but what about the rest of the amazingly beautiful places my country has to offer? Like the mountains? Like the sea? Like mountains by the sea???

Yes, that’s a thing in Greece and I happen to have the perfect place in mind to suggest to you in case you are looking for a summer holiday in Greece away from the crowds but immersed in beauty and the blue of the Greeks sea and sky.

Mount Pelion. 

We were there recently for the wedding of two very good friends of ours from Brussels. The wedding took place at the village Pinakates, one of the less known villages of Mount Pelion but a truly beautiful and picturesque one. The wedding was just lovely, the couple really respected the colour and the vibe of the village, keeping it simple and completely traditional (which was a very refreshing change from all the glitter and fireworks going on at weddings these days).


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The day was warm but not too hot, and in the evening especially we definitely made use of our light cover ups as sitting underneath this 800-year old sycamore tree really gave us the chills (both figuratively and literally!)

We stayed at Hotel Stoikos, a traditional guest house with extremely friendly staff and a whole lotta unpretentious-ness. Our room had the most breathtaking view I’ve ever had in a hotel room and I was so happy to wake up there every morning. Life can be good in so many easy ways.


The day before the wedding our lovely hosts had organised a beach party for us at Mediterraneo, a great beach bar at the Ampovos beach of Afissos, one of the most beautiful villages next to the sea. We danced and drank our way through the afternoon and by 10pm we were completely starving.

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Sunset at the Ampovos Beach

Enter the Giorgaros tavern at the central square of Vizitsa, another cute village to explore if you’re in the neighbourhood (unfortunately, there is no website to link to this amazing restaurant, but it’s the only one at the square you can’t miss it, I promise!!!)

How to reach Mount Pelion:

  • The nearest town with an airport is Volos, however there are not so many airlines flying directly there. Next best thing is Thessaloniki’s airport SKG. You can then rent a car from the airport and drive for a bit less than 3 hours and…..voila! You’re in paradise ūüôā

 

Travel

Short road trip at the south of Peloponnese 

If you ever find yourself in the south of the Peloponnese region in Greece you will know everything about the essence of #worthlivinit.

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful place on earth and the most “Greek” of all the regions in the country.

I have an amazing recommendation for a short roadtrip should you ever find yourselves in the south of Peloponnese: Elafonisos and Monemvasia – two places made out of heaven.

You can reach Elafonisos by boarding a ferry from the port of Pounta. This is one of the smallest ferries you’ll ever see, it’s also one of the shortest rides (approx. 10 minutes), so no need to worry about that.

The ride is also darn beautiful:



The cost of the travel is also pretty cheap: 12 Euros one way for two passengers plus their car (no matter how big or small your car is). There are ferries leaving the port of Punta every half hour from early in the morning to 10pm (or even later the busiest months of the year). You can find more info here.

Once you reach Elafinisos, follow the signs to Simos beach. It’s 4 kilometres from the port, and you’ll start squeaking like a baby mouse once you see from afar the see getting closer to you. It’s the most green sea I’ve ever seen, the most beautiful colour, like an emerald waiting to be conquered. The amazing thing about these beaches in Greece is that they might look like you’re at the Carribean, the water is however much more “swimable” – serene like a pool, with little boats floating here and there and no sharks ūüôā

Simos is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to, you should definitely plan a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood! There is also a cafe nearby to cater to your need for water and a snack – nothing too exceptional though so make sure to have your own provisions.

We took the boat back and drove to Monemvasia to enjoy the sunset. The drive is not too long, so if you leave Elafonisos around 5-5.30pm you can reach Monemvasia around 7pm. You should go visit the castle which hides a beautiful two inside its walls full of little resto’s and coffee places where you can enjoy a drink and the amazing view.


Life · Travel

7 days in Paradise 

Today my vacation starts. My out of office message has been set, but I still need to get into the right mood. This year I’ve been very busy and very stressed, and I’ll be even busier when I come back in 15 days. But what I want to achieve in these two weeks is to not worry about a thing. And to really believe to my core that every little thing is gonna be alright.

Tomorrow morning I’ll set off to a roadtrip to the south of Peloponnese. I really have high hopes for this trip, it’s supposed to be super beautiful and I can’t wait to spend the time with my boyfriend at the beach and little taverns. I want to swim, eat and read. Nothing more, nothing less. 

I hope you’re all having a great time wherever you are with people you like. I’ll be keeping you updated on my trip. Keep me updated on yours!!!

The first leg of our trip involves a short boat ride at 6.30am….THE BEST!!!
City life · Travel

A walk by the sea

Taking a walk by the sea is totally #worthlivinit. I’m lucky enough to come from a city that sits by the sea, I grew up seeing a bit of blue every day and this is probably the one thing I miss the most now that I’m living in Brussels. It’s no wonder we’re all drawn to water, we all want to take a walk by the sea, river, or lake wherever we can find them.

I was home this past weekend for a few days, my first days off actually after Christmas. It was a lovely break, so happy to see my family, my beloved friends that I can’t bear living away from, taste my mom’s food, have some cold espresso and see the SEA.

I think it’s magical that one can just take a moment off work and go for a walk there at lunch time. See these colours or even go for a swim just in the middle of the day. And then go back to whatever your job is. You know how Greece is going through such hard times financially and even socially. And I’m not saying that it is completely unfair what my fellow Greeks are going through now (of course I’m Greek, I just don’t want to be pretending I’m suffering the same, I don’t live in Greece and I cannot even start imagining what it’s like to have this everyday uncertainty), but I just can’t get sometimes how such a beautiful country is going through such major s^&*it.

Whatever troubles you, try to find your sea. Take a few moments, take a big breath, and everything will seem instantly easier. More manageable and brighter.

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Ladies and gentlemen, behold the luckiest people on earth on a casual Monday afternoon.
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Nothing better than the sea and some art.
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Yes I want this apartment facing the people mentioned above!
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