Tag Archives: beach

Our Syros sojourn

What better to do after a busy few days walking thousands of steps to explore all that Athens has to offer, than escape the city and head to one of the many Greek islands for a change of scenery and of pace? Mike and I were keen to avoid the busier tourist destinations such as Crete and Rhodes and M expressed a desire to visit a smaller island which still gave him and G plenty to do whilst we were there. Once again our choice was somewhat dictated by the decision to stay somewhere with self-catering facilities and a few hours of careful internet research led us to the idyllic island of Syros, capital of the Cyclades islands.

It is possible to fly to Syros from Athens, but we decided to take the more scenic travel option and something that would feel like more of a new experience to G and M. The last time we travelled by ferry was when we holidayed in Ireland about 8 years ago and M has no memories of that trip at all. This time we went as foot passengers, which would perhaps not suit those who prefer a more organised and less Greek approach to boarding than was offered, but it more than met our needs. I had taken the precaution of booking seats for both our outward and return journeys, which proved to have been a sensible decision as the Blue Star ferry was incredibly busy and filled to the gills with people making the 3.5 hour trip. M was, for some unknown reason, particularly delighted to find that I could have a coffee whilst we were sailing and insisted on taking the photo below for my blog to show that, for me, it apparently really is “all about the coffee”!

       

We were lucky to find, and be able to book, what turned out to be a truly spectacular villa for the duration of our stay on Syros. The Good Life Greece is located in Poseidonia on the west coast of the island, just a short drive away from the main port and island capital of Ermoupoli. Although we toyed with the idea of renting a car for part of our stay, we decided in the end to spend the week vehicle-free and instead arranged with our host, the charming Nick, that he would meet us at the port and take us, and all our luggage, to our final destination. There are just so many great things to say about the wonderful villa that became our Syros home that it would be impossible to do it the justice it deserves in just a few words, so my review of our accommodation will follow in a separate blog post.

However, what I can talk about are the peaceful beaches, glorious weather, incredibly blue sea and delicious food that filled the remainder of our holiday and really rejuvenated us all. We were able to walk to 2 nearby beaches at Voulgari and Finikas and one day hopped on the local bus to journey less than 15 minutes along the coast to another sandy gem at Megas Gialos. Having spent the last couple of summers near Alvor in Portugal, these Greek beaches were a complete revelation to us and one that I think might be hard to give up in the future. My favourite beach destination on the Algarve is the beautiful Burgau, which I love because it tends to not be too crowded and the distance between sun-lounger and sea just about allows me to watch G and M without having to venture in, and out, of the sea myself. The 3 Greek beaches we discovered on Syros were just like Burgau, but even better!

Not only were all 3 far closer to our villa than we imagined possible, but even in mid-August, there was always space for us to set up camp and find enough shade to shelter in during the hottest part of the day. No matter what time we arrived at the beach, from mid-morning to early evening, we almost always were able to find either one of the fixed sun umbrellas or a tree to set up camp under and even if that wasn’t immediately possible, a space would open up within the hour. This part of Syros was welcoming and friendly and so we felt perfectly comfortable leaving our belongings – though nothing more important than beach towels, sand toys and books – on the beach to save our spot whilst we disappeared off to the nearby taverna for some lunch or a cold drink or both.

For anyone thinking of a holiday in Greece, we would all highly recommend Syros as we had a fantastic time just relaxing and enjoying what was on offer. We chose to not spend too much time on the go as we felt we had done that in Athens, but both children were able to try their hands at paddle-boarding at our local beach and I understand sailing and windsurfing lessons are also available in the area. Syros really did feel like a home from home and we would go back in a heartbeat.

 

 

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On the beach

Vettriano,_Singing_ButlerNaturally we couldn’t have travelled all the way to Cornwall for our summer holidays and left without spending some time on the beach. We were definitely busy enjoying our numerous day trips, but we were determined to squeeze in some beach time too and I’m so glad that we did. The weather might not have been as gloriously hot and sunny as either Portugal or Florida, but we certainly didn’t let some damp starts or chillier winds stop us enjoying all that beautiful Cornwall has to offer from a beach point of view. Due to some strange twists of fate, our week away happened to coincide with the travels of a mix of old friends and godparents, which meant we enjoyed our beach days in the company of others and journeyed between the Cornish coasts to visit them all.

Swanpool, near Falmouth – We were introduced to our first beach by G’s Godmama and her family. It was an unexpected stop as the forecast had been for heavy rain and we had actually arranged to spend the day with them at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. However, by the time the sun had come out and appeared determined to stay for more than just a few minutes, we mutually agreed to abandon the museum as a rainy day pursuit and head to the beach for a couple of hours instead. 20150823_163118Situated less than 10 minutes drive from the central car-park near the Maritime museum, we made our way to Swanpool and parked a little way from the beach itself and tackled the remaining journey by foot.

To G’s dismay, we were completely unprepared for a trip to the beach and so she had to settle for paddling along the shoreline, rather than going for the swim she longed to do. She happily spent the next couple of hours building sand-castles and splashing through the waves with Mike and her Godmama’s youngest son, H, whilst M and their middle son D clambered the rocks with his dad John. As our children and husbands entertained themselves and each other, Godmama C and I soaked up the sun and caught up on a year’s worth of news and gossip in person. And once their family decided to pack up and head back towards their North Cornwall house, we enjoyed a last few lingering moments together before our own journey back to our base in Fowey,

ReadyMoney Cove, Fowey – When investigating on-line all that Fowey and the surrounding area has to offer before heading down there in August, I discovered this fantastic website that told me the top 8 beaches in the Fowey area. Heading up this list was ReadyMoney Cove, a place that appealed to both Mike and me, so imagine my delight when my old school-friend, Jo, told me that she and her family were also staying in Fowey that week and 20150826_132107suggested ReadyMoney Cove as the perfect place for us all to meet up.

We parked at the main town car-park and walked around 15 minutes along the coast until we reached the furthest point accessible on foot and arrived at this beautiful small beach. Donning their new wetsuits, picked up as we travelled down the M5, my intrepid pair took to the waves with their bodyboards for a few minutes before declaring it too cold and instead headed off to investigate the rock-pools, armed with buckets and some fishing nets borrowed from Jo. The sun was not quite as warm as our afternoon at Swanpool, but the children enjoyed our morning at the beach and were more than happy to sit on the sand and munch their picnic lunch before going back to the hotel swimming pool for the afternoon.

Treyarnon Bay, near Padstow – Our final beach was the amazing expanse that is Treyarnon Bay and M was thrilled to be introduced to it by his godmother, L and her family. This time we trekked across the county to visit this north Cornish beauty spot and it was well worth the effort. Found in the same part of the world as Padstow, this was the largest beach we went to and gave the children a completely different experience. 20150827_151840G, M and their long-time pal, H, spent a glorious afternoon body-boarding, wave-jumping, rock-pool exploring and building sand defences to protect us from the approaching waves.

As well as spending some precious time with H, both children also made new friends on the beach, which just added to their wonderful time. Mike and I had a fantastic afternoon catching up with L and M before spending a relaxed evening at their campsite, sharing good food, great wine and a night filled with laughter and tales, whilst the children spent the time burning off whatever energy they had left after a busy afternoon on the beach.