Apparently, ever since my eldest sister could talk she spoke about France. The sunflower fields, the culture, the people. It was no surprise when she eventually moved there.
For me, its always been about Greece. I never vocalised it like she did but for some reason Greece has always been in my thoughts. When I was a teenager it seemed so far out of reach as a destination. In my head it was a luxury place that someday, when I was rich and a famous singer (oh to be young) I would go to. Of course this is not the case.
Greece is a very popular destination among package holiday’ers. (Is that even a word)
So in 2013 I visited my first ever Greek Island Zakynthos (Zante) and fell madly in love with it.
Zakynthos, a Greek Island in the Ionian sea is small and intimate with deserted beaches as-well as resorts full of party goers. It has an old time, relaxed feel to it. A simple life. It is most famously know for its shipwreck bay or smugglers cove, where a boat smuggling tobacco came into difficulty while being chased by police and washed up on shore.
Smugglers cove can be seen by boat or more daringly can be seen from the limestone cliffs above which are crumbling away more and more every day.
I have to say, this was the most beautiful site I have ever laid my eyes on. Driving our rental car around every inch of the Island and finding this was just beautiful and still to this day, when I look back on my pictures, I cannot believe I saw this first hand. When people say that Greece has turquoise waters, believe them. We also went to smugglers cove by boat. You have to go early in the morning because as the package tourism arrives midday, it is like a D-day landing at Normandy.
As we drove around Zante we found more and more beauty. Restaurants perched on cliff tops, looking down below to crystal clear, turquoise, heavenly waters.
Deserted beaches with turtle’s nesting. We even got to witness baby turtles making their first steps to the ocean x
Everywhere we looked beauty surrounded us. Life seemed so easy there. People visited their neighbours at night and sat outside and spoke to each other. Not in front of TV’s, not with smart phones in their hands!!
The little Island behind us is called turtle island, it is shaped like a turtle and humans are forbidden on it. Turtles come there to nest every year. You can however take a boat and go turtle watching around the Island.
Cameo Island, the ultimate wedding venue! A small Island attached by a timer bridge has all the essentials, a bar and a restaurant.
A place where nature blends in with modern life.
(A place where you can pick a lime straight of the tree for your balcony beers)
Zakynthos, defiantly a place to visit, defiantly a place to return to, defiantly a place to retire in. My first ever Greek love.
When holiday decision time came round in 2014, I wanted to hit up another Greek Island and Falcon travel had just added Rhodes to their destinations. So we booked and made a list of what we wanted to do there.
Rhodes is much bigger than Zakynthos and more built up. You have to go right into the middle of it to get that left behind sense that Zakynthos has. A feeling that I love. Again, driving around Rhodes, you could see it’s beauty, but just in different ways. Because it is more built up, you cannot get that sense of desertion, you don’t feel like the only two people in the world here and you loose that ‘simple way of life’ that I loved in Zante.
However, Rhodes is steeped in History. Rhodes old town is just amazing, getting lost here is not a defeat, it’s an opportunity! It is the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe and as you walk through the narrow streets catching glimpses into people one bedroomed houses your perspective on life changes. From one extreme to another you can walk through the palaces of kings and they are truly magnificent. It has hundreds of bars and restaurants but to find good home-cooked food you have to get off the beaten track. xxx The colossus of Rhodes is one of the seven wonders of the world and when you walk around it you get a sense of what life was all about back then. You can almost hear the cheers and excitement of generations passed.
Lindos, another beautiful old village is a must see.
Where narrow streets leading to colourful gates greet you at every corner.
A place where fresh fruit and veg and nature surrounds you even in Town’s and villages.
Both beautiful Islands. If you feel like you need a break from hustle and bustle and want to laze around, then pick Zakynthos. If you want lavish hotels, beaches smothered in parasols, friendly locals and historic buildings pick Rhodes. Either way bboth are worth a visit.
And……… there are cats EVERYWHERE!
I could talk about both Islands for hours and upload a million pictures too but I’ll leave it at that. Both times we booked through Thompson/Falcon travel and they delivered a top class service.
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