Category Archives: Travelling

My aim is to visit as much of this world as possible. Find all my travel-related posts here!

24h in Mykonos & Why That’s Enough

Mykonos

Greece is so beautiful and varied – there’s the lush green of mainland areas, and the sandy, volcanic, almost-tropical beaches of the islands, and everything inbetween. The one thing that links almost everywhere in Greece is its sleepiness. It’s impossible to visit Greece and not relax – but sometimes abundant sleepiness can get a little dull.

Back in May we went on a Greek cruise (a lovely gift from Mother T) and enjoyed some beautiful Aegean islands and a few stops on the Mainland. Perhaps my second most anticipated stop (after Athens) was Mykonos – the teeny tiny island famed for its windmills & picturesque winding streets.

Mykonos is somewhat of a trendy Greek destination at the moment, particularly among bloggers,  and although it’s lovely, it’s not the loveliest place I’ve visited in Greece, or even on this cruise (see Aghios Nikolaos or Thira). It’s not all white walls & blue doors.

We arrived in the port at around 6am and had to get a tender to shore as our ship was too large to dock. Approaching Mykonos by boat, seeing the quaint fishing harbor bob into view, with the windmill dotted hilltops, was really lovely – Surely this is the best way to approach the island?

It was super early, so we decided to start with a spot of exploring. We took a hike around the gorgeous higgledy-piggledy streets, looking at the (closed) shops and tavernas, making plans to return for lunch. I noted that most of the shops were your average tourist junk shops, with the occasional gallery or jeweller. Not our cup of tea, but the island’s gotta make money somewhere!
We happened upon Little Venice purely by accident, whilst making our way to Kato Milli, which are synonymous with Mykonos. Truly beautiful, and highly instagrammable, though neither is a place you can reasonably spend more than 30minutes at.

Mykonos Town Port

The beaches on this side of the island are pebbly and not particularly comfortable, however, a short jaunt by tuk-tuk, bus or even hire car (about 30euro for the day) will take you to several white sandy beaches, including the one which Shirley Valentine was shot at.

In terms of history, the island of Delos is fairly close by boat, and you can hop on scheduled tours in Mykonos Town port for around 20euro each. The tours take around half a day, giving you another half a day to explore the island and enjoy some of the beaches and bars.

Food and drink on Mykonos is extremely expensive in comparison with other Greek islands and the mainland, but I suppose this is to do with importing items from the mainland, which will make them more expensive. We enjoyed some saganaki and fresh fish by the port, and an unhealthy amount of Cafe Frappes.

I really enjoyed my time in Mykonos, but by around 6pm we’d had enough of the island and were running out of things to keep us entertained. That said, I’d absolutely visit the island again, perhaps for 2-3 days as part of a larger Greek island trip.

Have you been to Mykonos? Will you be going?

Kitty

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The Best Hiking Boots for All Terrain?

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A long time ago I wrote about choosing the best hiking boots – and now I’m going to admit whether or not all my tips worked.

Following my own sage advice (and…you know… the highly skilled adviser at Ellis Brigham) I chose the Salomon GTX 4D-2 boot in size 7.5 (I normally take a 6) and here’s how I’ve gotten on with them in the past few months.

The Salomon GTX 4 2 are high-cut boots which promise to be waterproof, offer great ankle support and have a superior stay-cool technology.  A gusseted tongue boasts that grit will not enter the boots during walks, which is an important promise to keep, in my opinion. Ever had a stone in your shoe?

I was annoyed at first, because I don’t like having big feet, so buying almost 2 sizes bigger than I normally take was somewhat of a tough pill to swallow. I let it slide, though – they might save my life (or at least my feet) in the outdoors, I can forgive them for being snug.

Trying them on, I was impressed to find them light but sturdy, with a nice chunky sole that I expect will protect me from all kinds of rubble. I like the slate grey and greenish tones, they “go with everything” which is obviously the most important thing when hiking…

Now lets talk about how they performed.

 First Wear – Peel Tower, Ramsbottom
The first wear is the most indicative of whether your boots will work for you. We got up super early and walked the 6 mile loop from Ramsbottom through Peel Tower and Pilgrims Cross, in a sticky 20 degree heat. I wore leggings like an idiot, and spent the first 30 minutes overheating profusely. But my feet stayed cool.

The hike is mixed terrain – some dirt paths, some hills and rough pasture, some road. I didn’t notice a difference in comfort for any of the areas, and the boots remained comfortable, supportive and, most importantly cool throughout.

My only niggle was during a particularly steep downhill section, where the “high-cut profile” began to rub my lower shin on either side of the tongue. It wasn’t excruciating, and could potentially be solved by thicker socks, but I quietly hope that they will soften in time (and curse myself for skimping on socks).

Overall, though, after walk 1 I’m pleased. I didn’t have to stop once to remove small stones from my boots, which is a godsend. Somehow, though, my toes are still dirty when I get home.
It’s a mystery I don’t feel compelled to solve.

 Kitty

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Why “Simple” Holidays Are Good For You

porto

I’ve long been of the opinion that I want to see the world in a whirlwind of longhaul flights, fast paced days and nights spent on sweaty buses travelling between remarkable, lesser-visited places of beauty.
I still want that sometimes, but when we recently visited Praia da Marinha, Portugal, I began to examine my attitude towards “valuable travel” and realised that you don’t always have to be jetting off to new & distant “in” places to have a rewarding holiday.
I see many travel writers scoff at people who claim they “love to travel” but go to Spanish resorts on the regular – and I’m so over travel snobbery. I love going to Spain, and I’ll go every year if I jolly well want to!
Maybe sometimes I’ll go to Rhyl or Whitby or Torquay or Blackpool.

Lets face it, while seeing the world is an admirable dream, most of us balance wanderlust with an unfortunate shackle to the real world, real jobs and the pace of human life (and, y’know, a budget). Sometimes it gets wearying, and you just need a good old cheap-and-cheerful, beer-by-the pool break.

“Simple” Beach Holidays in sleepy port towns or seaside resorts with good food, good company and a bit of sunshine are a helix for a lot of modern day aches, and even if you’re the type who’d prefer to be halfway up Everest than halfway through your second beach-side book, they will make you feel like a new person.
Taking holidays is proven to improve your resilience to stress; improve sleep quality, reduce blood pressure – why would you not want a dose of that once a year!

Imagine sitting in a peaceful, empty beach cove. You’re listening to the waves lap against the shore. You’ve got the sun on your face. The office feels a million miles away, and even if you did want to check your emails you can’t get a signal because you’re in the middle of nowhere.  Bliss.

Treat yourself this year. Book a simple adventure-free holiday and unwind for a couple of days. Beijing and Sydney will be there next year.

Kitty

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