Tag Archives: Folegandros

Postcards From Thassos

Thassos Greece Postcard

I am by no means sure how we managed to choose the island of Thassos for a holiday in 1999.  Not being one of the most popular holiday islands it was not somewhere that I was especially aware of or had any mad desire to go to so I can only assume that it was the end of season bargain price that settled the selection decision.

Thassos Greece Postcard

Thassos Greece

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Spanish Islands – Menorca

Minorca Island Map Postcard

I am moving on now from the Canary Islands and back to the Mediterranean and specifically to the Balearic Islands off the eastern coast of the Spanish mainland.

These days the only one that I would really like to visit is Majorca and its capital Palma but although this is probably the most interesting of the island group I have never been there so will have to tell you about Menorca and Ibiza instead.

I first went to Menorca in 1987 and stayed in the whitewashed holiday village of Binibeca in the far south east close to the capital of Mahon.  It was a nice enough place with some coastal walks, a charming village centre with some nice bars and restaurants but not a really great deal of interest.  These were the days of holidays with small children so there were early starts, endless days around the swimming pool or on the beach, an early evening meal and then a night on the balcony drinking cold San Miguel waiting for the whole thing to be repeated again the next day.

Binibeca Minorca 1987

The trivial little thing that I remember most was that there was a noisy family of Scots in a nearby apartment who insisted on sitting around listening to an oversized ‘boom box’ with music belting out all day.  I hated that, but not as much as my dad (we were there with my parents) and one early morning before the irritating neighbours were up he stealthily approached their apartment and turned around the sprinkler valves so that they pointed towards the balcony instead of the gardens.

And then we waited.  We waited until mid afternoon and then the water came on and his water joke worked perfectly as the boozed up Caledonians were hit with an unexpected eruption of water and I have no idea how we all managed to keep a straight face.  Unfortunately the water didn’t damage the ‘boom box’ and it was returned to full volume soon after!

We did visit Mahon which was interesting but the previous capital of Ciudadela on the opposite western side of the island was even better and we hired a car and circumnavigated the island and visited the several excellent beaches set out around the perimeter at regular intervals.

Mahon Menorca Spain

We returned to Menorca a couple of years later to the resort of Santo Thomas on the south coast and there was absolutely nothing memorable about this holiday except that one day I was walking around the pool and someone shouted out to me – “hello Andrew”, which isn’t especially surprising of course because that is my name, but what was a shock was that it was my next door neighbour! Neither of us was aware that we were even going on holiday and certainly not to the same place!

This is not the only time that this has happened to me because in 1989 we met some people from our street in Disney World Florida but the best chance encounter of all was on the Greek island of Folegandros in 2009.

One September evening we were in the Chora at an outside table at our favourite restaurant when I glanced across to the party sitting next to us and instantly recognised someone I knew from work.

This was a real shock because Folegandos is a tiny lump of rock in an inaccessible place in the western Cyclades and pretty much the last place that you would expect to bump into someone you know.

It was the Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire County Council and he was with a small group of people.  He knew me, we had attended meetings together but although I flashed him a smile of recognition he looked blankly back because although I recognised him he didn’t recognise me disguised as I was in my holiday clothes and with my annual attempt to grow a beard.

I couldn’t help but overhear his conversation which was almost entirely work related and he punctuated this with mobile telephone calls to the Leader of the Council.  I found this intriguing because who talks continuously about work when on holiday?  Even though Kim and I worked at the same place we had a strict rule that work talk was off the list of things to talk about.

After an hour or we finished our meal, settled our bill and prepared to leave but I was not going to go without saying hello.  I wandered across to his table and said something like ‘Hello there, fancy seeing you here’. It took him only a couple of seconds for the penny to drop and I sensed his discomfort immediately. After the initial shock of being interrupted in a way that he couldn’t possibly imagine he regained his composure, said hello and introduced me to his press secretary!

There was no way that he was going to be able to explain what he was doing in Folegandros with his press secretary and although with the benefit of the consumption of several Mythos I was prepared to continue to chat Kim sensed that it was embarrassing for Tony and she led me away, back to the bus stop and to our hotel in the port.

Next time I am off to Ibiza.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

Early Morning Sunrise 

We woke early to the most stunning sunrise that was pouring like liquid amber through the open shutters and into the room.  The sun was only a few minutes old and was a ball of white light with a yellow halo rising through a fiery sky that was sizzling with anticipation for the new day.

A bright yellow slash of solar reflection sliced through the surface of water and the whole bay was so intensely bronze that it was as though the sky had ignited and poured its flames into the sea.  Slowly the orange sky retreated and was replaced by a reassuring blue and the sea turned from umber through purple to its more natural marine blue and everything was prepared and ready for another perfect day.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

Life in the Slow Lane…

There was a welcoming bar in a little square with rattan cane tables and chairs under leafy trees with books and backgammon available for customers to sit and enjoy and idle some of the day away.  As we were getting accustomed to this pace of life we drank coffee and ordered baklava and stayed a while until it was time to go back.

Folegandros is a dreamy timeless sort of place in a sort of 1960s time warp and all around there were were lots of ageing beardy hippies with ponytails, wearing white linen and flip-flops and carrying sketch pads.  All that was missing was the joss sticks and the candles, the flowers and the guitars.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated

On account of the weather Folegandros was a bit of a disappointment this year but unlike last year at least the ferries were running and there would be problem getting to Ios tomorrow.

The weather was so miserable so that after we had booked our tickets there was little to stay for so we left and walked back and as we did so it started to rain.  Only very gently at first but by the time we arrived back at the hotel it was hard enough to make us shelter in our room.

Then the situation got even worse because the only shop in the port was closed for the afternoon and so was the hotel bar so we were stuck in the room all afternoon without any beer.  It rained for nearly three hours and by four o’clock I swear the temperature dropped somewhere close to zero!  Finally it stopped and it started to brighten but there was still no sign of the sun and there were still dark and scowling clouds advancing from the east but at least we could see Sikinos again as the shroud of mist began to lift.

The rain returned and snuffed out what remained of the day like a candle, which wasn’t a big surprise but at least we had wine now and later we caught the bus for the second time today up to the Chora and on the way we glimpsed a sliver of blue sky but before long the rain came sweeping back in. 

We ate at the same table at the same taverna that was luckily under cover because the main square was a sad place tonight with usually lively tables all empty and getting a thorough soaking.  What is usually a colourful vibrant place was wet and dreary and the rain continued to fall.  Eventually we could no longer justify occupying the table when other people needed food and shelter so we paid and left but there was an hour to kill before the bus was scheduled to return to the port so we found a table inside a local taverna.

On the bus journey back the heavens opened and there was an electrical storm to entertain us.  Back at Karavostassis it was absolutely chucking it down and by the time we got back to the room we were thoroughly soaked.

I had had quite enough of Folegandros for this year and was glad to be leaving the next day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

Folegandros Hora, Greek Cycladic Islands

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely safe in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.  It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

Life in the Slow Lane…

There was a welcoming bar in a little square with rattan cane tables and chairs under leafy trees with books and backgammon available for customers to sit and enjoy and idle some of the day away.  As we were getting accustomed to this pace of life we drank coffee and ordered baklava and stayed a while until it was time to go back.

Folegandros is a dreamy timeless sort of place in a sort of 1960s time warp and all around there were were lots of ageing beardy hippies with ponytails, wearing white linen and flip-flops and carrying sketch pads.  All that was missing was the joss sticks and the candles, the flowers and the guitars.

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Folegandros Cat on a Purple Door

This cat was trying to find a way inside by jumping up the door and looking for an open window.  He tried it several times but the window was closed.  I thought cats were cleverer than that!

One thing for sure is that Greece has more than its fair share of cats and it is almost impossible to have a meal at a pavement taverna without a feline or two as a dining companion.

Relations between Greek people and cats are different than in the north of Europe as explained by the German photographer Hans Sylvester writing  about the cats of the Cycladic islands:

“These cats, that are domestic cats, are not abandoned, neither wild, they live for centuries with the humans. The Greek people of these islands like them without really liking them, they take care of them without really taking care of them; but they accept them totally. These cats are part of daily life, they’ve always been here, like the wind, the sun, the sea, the day and the night.”

Les Chats du Soleil, 1993

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

Folegandros Hora

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely safe in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.  It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

Folegandros Hora

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely safe in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.  It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

Read the full story…