Chill Out at the Hippie Fish in Mykonos/Greece

 

This is the story of one of those journeys which start out terrible and then turn around, thanks to the kindness of strangers, and end up as a marvelous experience.

I was on my way from the Greek island of Samos to Athens by ferry. It’s a long trip and, although I didn’t want to, I had to leave in Mykonos, spend the night and continue on the next day. On the other hand, I thought, Mykonos is famous for its nightlife and if I didn’t find a place where to stay, I might as well dance the night away and resume my voyage with the connecting ferry which was due to leave at 8am the next morning.

The ferry approached Mykonos, I saw the famous windmills in the distance and the entrance to the port.

mühle

 

Mykonos and the old port

Mykonos and the old port

And then… it went PAST!! 15 minutes later, another, brand new port came into view where the ferry finally pulled in. I hadn’t realized that Mykonos has two terminals and this one was a considerable distance from Mykonos town.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just take a taxi to the center of things. People disembarked, dispersed and I was left standing all on my own on a vast, totally empty parking lot.

There was a small terminal building, but not a soul in sight. No taxi, no buses, three parked cars and nothing else. It seemed  that the only option was to walk what apeared like about 12km to Mykonos town, along a busy motorway in the blazing sun of a Greek early afternoon. Not an appealing prospect.

Then I remembeedr, that a fried had given me the number of a friend who supposedly owned a restaurant in Mykonos. Had I saved the number? Yes, I had. I called, he answered and, no questions asked, promised to come to my rescue. Never in my life have I seen a black Range Rover approach with such relief.

And that’s when the misery turned into utter bliss. This knight in a shining  black Range Rover was the owner of one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been to.

He took me across the island to Ai Yianni Beach and the Hippie Fish restaurant and treated me like royalty.

Ai Yanni Beach and the Hippie Fish

Ai Yanni Beach and the Hippie Fish

For hours I was happily ensconced on comfortable cushions on the terrace which gives out directly to a lovely beach. I chatted to the owner, the waiters and fellow diners, went for a swim in the sea and was treated to one delicious dish after another. Among them one of my favorites, sea urchin which I first had tasted and loved in a tiny restaurant in the port of Marseille.

food

 

Hippie Fish is one of the oldest restaurants of modern times on the island of Mykonos. Its signature is to combine an utterly relaxing and laid back atmosphere at the beach with outstanding food and it fully accomplishes its aim.

As night fell, I enjoyed the stunning view of a silver sunset against the mythical island of Delos just across the water.

delosa

The Hip Disco opened and so did the Mixology Bar.

dj

 

At midnight, the owner took me back to Mykonos town, found out that my connecting ferry did indeed leave from the old port, not the one where I was stranded and got me a room in a hotel nearby. At the time, it wasn’t open jet, but the Hippie Fish now also offers the ultimate in Hippie Chic at it own Hippie Chic Hotel.

How is that for a story about kindness from strangers?When we said good bye we weren’t strangers any more.

I later learned that taxis on Mykonos are, for some reason, a rarity. I heard from people who got stuck even at the airport and had to phone their hotel to send a car.

Everybody whizzes around on scooters, which, as there are next to no pavements and very narrow and winding streets, makes walking hazardous. Just so you know when visiting.

Blue and White – Discover Greece this Summer

It’s interesting how certain countries are automatically associated with distinctive colors. For Spain, it’s red and yellow and for Greece, it’s blue and white. That’s not because those are the colors of the national flag, but because wherever you travel in Greece, be it, the many wonderful islands or the mainland, you are greeted by the sight of whitewashed houses and churches with blue roofs and shutters.

Santorini

Santorini

Majestic, historical sites, golden beaches, the crystalline waters of the Ionian and Aegean Sea or mountains and forests in the north, there is nothing the discerning traveler will not find in any part of Greece. Whether you decide to island hop (Greece has a total of some 6000 islands, of which 200 are inhabited), prefer a relaxing beach holiday, want to satisfy your archaeological interests or a combination of all three, all you have to do is make your choice.
It doesn’t matter if you travel on your own, as a couple or with kids, you are bound to find a suitable destination in Greece. In addition, the Greek are a very friendly and hospitable people and crazy about kids. They’ll be welcomed with open arms and spoil rotten.
To help you make your choice here are a few suggestions from my own Greece holiday experiences.
Crete

Knossos

Knossos

Crete is the largest island. The capital Heraklion is a popular cruise ship stop and has an airport. For beach lovers, there is Chania and for history enthusiasts the impressive Venetian Fortress and, of course, the Minoan Palace of Knossos. Inland you’ll find acres and acres of olive groves. The island is one of the world’s largest producers of olive oil, an essential ingredient of many of the tasty Greek dishes.
Santorini
Compared to Crete, Santorini is tiny, but it’s the picture perfect blue and white Greek island. It’s actually a group of several small islands, all of volcanic origin and the various deposits from ancient eruptions can be seen. Some beaches are to be found, but the biggest attraction is the sunset over the blue and white churches perched high up on cliffs.
Naxos

Village in Naxos

Village in Naxos

My personal favorite is the island of Naxos, where, according to legend, Ariadne was abandoned. Plenty of white beaches compete with ancient monuments and a medieval Venetian town on top of the port of the capital. The port itself is a foodies heaven with drying squid displayed in many restaurants, opulent Greek salads and ice creams of gigantic proportions.

Squid everywhere

Squid everywhere

Many tiny and picturesque villages dot the interior with some producing the famous Citron, a lemon liqueur.
Mainland Greece
For many travelers to Greece, Athens will be the first port of call. Apart from the obvious, a visit to the Acropolis and the Archaeological Museum, don’t miss on a night out in Plaka, the old town. Join in the dances and smash some dishes, it brings good luck!
See the sunset over picturesque Cap Sunion, gaze into the incredibly narrow gap of the Canal of Corinth and make your way to the massive complex of Mycenae.

Canal of Corinth

Canal of Corinth

Tomb of Agamemnon

Tomb of Agamemnon

For a truly extraordinary sight, travel to Kalambaka and visit the Meteora monastery. Perched on natural sandstone pillars, six monasteries have been constructed under incredibly difficult conditions which will leave you open mouthed with admiration.

Meteora monasteries

Meteora monasteries

For a very different Greece, you might want to visit Thessaloniki. The country’s second largest town is renowned for its many Byzantine monuments as well as for its cultural life with plenty of festivals. Not to mention a thriving port and the proximity of a majestic mountain range.
These suggestions have only scratched the surface. There is so much more to see and do in Greece, so take your pick, pack your bags and head for this wonderful country this summer

Enjoy all of Greece – in style!

Just the mere thought of Greece in the summer, brings up images of the endless blue sea, countless secluded coves and golden sandy beaches. But Greece can be much more than that, like an important cultural destination, a party place or a luxurious getaway by the sea!

Why not see all of it, in a long vacation, that will relieve you of anxiety, get to in touch with the history buff inside you, but also allow you to indulge with all your senses in a magical summer experience for a few relaxing days!

Start your journey from the capital of Greece. Athens is a delightful city, buzzing with people, traffic and antiquity. Book a hotel downtown, like the new AthensWas, that is not only luxurious, but also right under the Acropolis, and next to the latter’s museum.

AthensWas

What better place to start your exploration of the city’s plethora of cafes, bars and clubs. Where would you be a stonethrow away from all the major archaeological sites, but also where else could you find a hyper stylish hotel that is perfectly located downtown? Allow at least 2 days in Athens for sightseeing, shopping and dining out!

Next stop a private tour to Meteora for a day. Be amazed by the beauty of nature and the mesmerizing monasteries, built on top of vertical rock formations, dozens of meters above ground level. Meteora is an Unesco World Heritage Site and a private guide will help you learn more about its history. Instead of going back to Athens, head for the remaining day to Thermae Sylla Spa & Wellness Hotel.

ThermaeSyllaSpa2-218810V.Paterakis_2

Enjoy a relaxing spa session in the afternoon or some Aqua fitness, and book tomorrow’s all-day spa experience. Leave all your troubles behind and rejuvenate, so you can have the best time of your lives in Greece.

Now that you’ve let go of all the problems and also seen some of the most important sites in Greece, it’s time to explore its most precious assets: the islands! First stop Santorini!The iconic and volcanic island is a couple’s paradise and a true wonder of nature. Book your stay at a hotel by the Caldera, like Art Maisons and enjoy the breath-taking view, especially during the sunset.

ArtMaisons

Take a boat tour and explore Santorini’s colourful beaches and the small volcanic islets, taking some of your most memorable photos ever. Before leaving this amazing island don’t forget to visit its archaeological site in Akrotiri and the Fira museum, that hosts some of the most famous frescos of the ancient times!

Just 9 minutes away from Santorini on a helicopter lies the unspoiled island of Folegandros, with an authentic Cycladic lifestyle. White-washed houses, built on steep cliffs, using only local materials will transport your senses to a completely different time. Design hotel Anemi will cater to all your needs while maintaining a unique luxurious, yet authentic design.

AnemiHotel

Folegandros, with its few visitors is perfect to let go, stroll around its narrow streets and get a taste of Greek meze at its plethora of picturesque taverns and little shops, without anyone noticing your presence.

To round off Greece, in style, a visit to Crete and Elounda is necessary. The country’s most exclusive region of resorts and luxury villas has an amazing view of the Mirabello gulf, sandy beaches and warm waters, making it ideal for dives even in late September! Elounda Gulf Villas is one of those family owned boutique hotels that are fit for the biggest celebrities of Hollywood, check around, someone must be there incognito, ordering fresh fish at one of the hotel’s restaurants or lazing away by their private pool, exactly as you can also do!

sl 03

sl 03

Although there are countless things to see and do in Crete, the best thing to do in nothing! Stay in, maybe visit the spa or ask for a private massage therapy and spend the rest of your evenings dining, dancing and enjoying Greece in Style.

Hotel reviews in Greece – Civitel hotels

During my latest visit to Greece, I stayed at four different Civitel Hotels, enabling me to make the most of my time in Athens and also to explore the island of Crete. The idea of hotel hopping is not new, but lately it’s becoming a new trend that helps people get the most out of their time on vacation. Same thing applies in Greece, with hotel chains such like Civitel. At the same time I was able to write a thorough review of the Greek Hotel chain that aims at couples, families and businessmen alike. It is a good thing that all hotels are at around the same price range, giving a good understanding of their differences as well as the needs of tourists in Greece.

Civitel Olympic
Only a couple of minutes away from downtown Athens, in the heart of the business district, at the suburb of Marousi. The hotel is right across from the grand Olympic Stadium Complex and in a way it represents the new and vibrant vibe of the Greek capital.

Olympic stadium

Olympic stadium

It also is just a few meters away from Golden Hall a shopping mall notorious for its quality and luxurious brands. All rooms come with excellent room service, ample breakfast, electronic safe deposit, free high-speed wireless internet access, soundproof windows, interactive television, auto thermostat, Jacuzzi baths, daily maid service, wake-up call service plus whatever you can think of!

OlympicHotel

Although smoking isn’t allowed, there are smoking rooms available. What seemed weird at first, was the existence of an inner door between the bedroom and the room hallway, but it provided me with a more quiet and private sleeping area.
What I didn’t like: It’s at the busiest place in Greece. Not downtown. No gardens.
What I liked: It’s right in the middle of the busy business area of Athens, on Kifissias Ave. It’s really quite and no noise from the traffic jammed avenue passes the soundproof windows.

Civitel Attik
The new sister hotel to Olympic, Civitel Attik, is located in Maroussi, just like its older sister, but in a very different surrounding. This families-first hotel, comes with lovely gardens and pool at a quiet suburb of the Greek capital. Just a 20 minute ride from downtown Athens, the hotel is a short walk from the Olympic Stadium Complex and Athens most popular shopping mall, simply called “The Mall”.

The Mall

The Mall

Attik’s natural color palette is the perfect escape from the Athenian urban landscape and the hotel caters to all the needs of its travelers, in the best possible way.

AttikRoom
All rooms come with excellent room service, ample breakfast, electronic safe deposit box, Wi-Fi Internet access (free), soundproof windows, Flat Screen TV, central heating & a/c, daily maid service, wake-up call service plus whatever you’ll need! Furthermore, rooms for smokers are also available.

AttikRestaurant
What I don’t like: Not Downtown. Not a short walk away from most businesses. The Conference room attracts many corporations and groups, that sometimes prefer to skip conference and stay at the pool!

Pool and gardens

Pool and gardens

What I liked: The pool and the gardens. The tranquility of the neighborhood, while next to mainstream interest points. The hotel caters to families and businessmen alike, respecting what they need.

Creta Beach
Next stop the biggest island of Greece: Crete. This is definitely the place to visit in Greece. Not only is the island full of surprisingly beautiful beaches, it also has many archaeological and historic sights. The hotel is an absolute summer paradise; it comprises three small, separate buildings which contain the normal rooms, and a number of bungalows scattered around the premises.

CreataBeachGarden

This unique form gives everyone much more privacy than you would expect. The pool and facilities, including tennis, mini-golf, volleyball courts and ping pong are excellent and all rooms are equipped with a spacious balcony or terrace, that is perfect for lazy siestas. Finally all rooms come with amenities such as hair dryer, beach towels, flat-screen satellite television, toiletries, safe box, individually controlled air-conditioning, mini fridge and more.

What I liked: The pool and the grounds! The hotel is right next to a sandy beach making it an ideal holiday spot. It also offers all-inclusive packages which make it even more appealing to young couples and larger families!

CretaBeach
What I didn’t like: There are never enough sunbeds by the pool during summer, you’ll need to wake up early to find the perfect one. The beach has some rocks that are visible but still they are rocks.

Akali
At Chania, hotel Akali doubles as a city hotel, accommodating business visitors and city travelers, as well as a holiday destination for everyone. The building is really impressive as it’s right at the center of the town, making any point of interest a short walk away.

AkaliInterior-3

It also offers a pool to cool off during those hot days of the Greek summer. All rooms are spacious and equipped with one double bed or two singles, depending on your needs. Amenities include flat screen TV, safety deposit box, minibar, hairdryer, air-conditioning, toiletries and free high-speed wireless internet.

AkaliRoom

The hotel looks modern and contemporary due to its recent renovation, as we were told.

Knossos/Crete

Knossos/Crete

What I liked: Its position. The hotel is ideal to explore the beautiful town of Chania all year round. Rooms are soundproof, helping you get a good night’s sleep.
What I don’t like: The pool. Ok, it has a pool and that alone is marvelous, being a downtown hotel, but again its pool is more to chill-out and cool-off than do some proper swimming.

Disclaimer: I have not received any kind of financial benefit from the hotels.

Sailing around the Greek history

Sailing around the Greek History

Famous for its pristine beauty and long history, Greece is a destination every culture vulture would love visiting and no wonder why.
Wherever you travel in this sun drenched country you’ll find remains of the past telling the fascinating story of every village, town or bigger city.
Traveling around Greece could be a tiresome and expensive way of getting to know your places of interest. So! What you could do to get the most out of your holiday to Greece is a cruise. As Greece is surrounded by water every single of its corners has a way-out to the sea.
History buffs that are fascinated by ancient Greece would love a cruise around the large peninsula of Peloponnese, like the those offered by the expert company of Variety Cruises.
Your trip should start from the fishing village of Ancient Epidaurus, where you’ll get the chance to see the famous ancient amphitheater of Epidaurus, which today is the hosting place of the a popular summer cultural festival.

Epidaurus-theater

Other nearby areas of interest are the picturesque Nafplion, former capital of Greece and of course the archaeological site of Mycenae. This once glorious city is now famous for the iconic Lion’s Gate and the arched tombs, which every history enthusiast should visit.

Mycenae
Next sail to the fortified town of Monemvasia, home town of the famous Greek poet Ioannis Ritsos, who couldn’t help but be inspired by the area’s breathtaking beauty. And then Gythion with its picturesque harbor. Stroll along the waterfront and enjoy a coffee to sip you up or a refreshing drink overlooking the fishing boats. Nature lovers will be amazed by the excursions organized in Mani with its imposing stone-built towers; the famous Cave of Diros; and nearby Areopolis, a scenic town very much like Gythion.

Monemvasia-town
Off to Pylos to admire the archaeological site of the Palace of Nestor and then after the overnight in Katakolo village prepare yourself for the big day! Upon arrival in the site of Ancient Olympia you’ll be thrilled by the grandeur of the Olympic Games’ birthplace and its divine vibes.
Last stop, but certainly not the least, would be Delphi with its world famous Oracle. Your visit here shall include a tour around the Oracle and the amphitheater overlooking the pristine nature surrounding the entire area. And when your guided tour is over enjoy a hearty meal in one of the traditional tavernas of Delphi village.

delphi-oracle
Although, your cruise around the fascinating Peloponnese has come to an end, you’ll sail back to Athens with the most precious memories and vivid images from the rich Greek history!

Ancient-Olympia