Ah, Delos. The home of the Gods, the center of the cyclades, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Uninhabited, well preserved, an entire island masquerading as an archaeological site. Well, honestly, no masquerade here. Delos fulfilled all the archaeological wishes that I felt weren’t met in Athens (too neat, too tidy, too touristy). We wandered the paths on the map, and we meandered through the museum, and then we hiked up the mountain (not a mountain by any means) and yes, I traipsed up a small hill/mountain in sandals and a dress.
Delos is fascinating. It’s like walking through a ghost town, the place was abandoned in stages, and there are areas where the architecture is very old, and other areas where it’s just old. Homes where the walls are built with stacked rocks, and – from what I can tell – no visible mortar or adhesive atop of dirt floors. These homes are over 1,000 years old, some possibly more than 2,000 years old. They are single rooms with a fire pit in the center for cooking. Other areas have intricate tile floors, beautiful designs, and tell you about Delos’ rich past. What fascinated me most is that Delos is unapologetic. Delos just…is. It hasn’t been cleaned up, it hasn’t been commercialized, there is no tidy, Disney tour here. Transportation (and tour options) is provided by Delos Tours from Mykonos, but otherwise, you’re given a map and asked to stay on the paths. There are shards of broken pottery everywhere, the evidence of lives once lived in abundance here. A small cafe – we didn’t stop in – the museum, and the remnants of what was once the center of Greek culture and commerce. And yet…everything is gone.
My advice: go early, wear sunscreen, bring lots of water and some snacks, and be prepared to walk a decent amount in no shade (I think it’s about 2-2.5 miles for the longest route, which we took) over a couple hours.
All photos taken on my Nikon FG-20 film camera with Kodak Portra 160 film by me (I am a rockstar at film camera selfies). Many of the photos from Delos can be purchased as prints, like my other travel images.
My dreams of visiting Greece were two-fold. I wanted to go to Athens, a city with so much history, and I wanted to visit a Greek island or two. Which is how we ended up squeezing way too much stuff into a week in Greece.
We were pretty sure we wanted to hit up the Aegean Sea, and ended up settling on the Cyclades. When it came down to it, we decided on Mykonos. H wanted to be able to go to the beach, and I was hoping to get some SUP in (alas, the winds were pretty high and we figured kite surfing was probably not the best choice for a pregnant lady). Crete and the Ionian Islands were also on our short list.
While Athens smacks you upside the face from the moment you arrive with the depth of its history, it wasn’t until our plane was about to land in Mykonos that I felt like I was about to experience a more real part of Greece. Which is a bit silly, since I don’t think I met someone who actually was from Mykonos in the entire time I was there. The entire island survives off tourism, and I guess the island more or less shuts down from November-April. Insane, right? In the end, Mykonos was a great choice for us, especially since May isn’t the party season yet. We weren’t into the nightlife, and when the cruise ships came into port, we were hanging out on beaches on the other side of the island, cruising around on an ATV (you can rent them everywhere, we just asked our hotel to call someone), or taking a day trip to Delos. We spent just a few days in Mykonos, but it was a wonderful thing. Each morning, we bundled up to combat the stiff sea breeze, and had breakfast with a great view of the ocean, and then we’d traipse down to town before the cruise ships started to dock. Then we’d head off on an adventure somewhere. We got lost in the maze of streets and alleys that make up Mykonos Town, chatted with a Greek-American expat who showed me the most beautiful and expensive sapphire ring I’ve ever seen, and ate so very well.
I’ve always been happiest when we’re on an island, and I dream of someday retiring to an island in the Mediterranean or Caribbean.
All photos shot on my Nikon FG-20 with Portra 160, 400, and 800. Prints from this post, and other images from Greece, are available for purchase.
I’ve been dreaming of a trip to Greece as long as I can remember. It flew to the top of my bucket list when I took a class on the ancient cities of Greece and Italy in college. It’s silly to say this, but being the planners that we are, H and I sat down a few ago now and made some long term goals. Most of them were practical – paying down a good chunk of our student loans, buying a house, and having a baby were all on the list. So was visiting Greece. It was everything I imagined – and so much more.
We only had about two and a half days in Athens, and we wanted to do more, but with me being so tired (and the transit strike), we didn’t get as much done as we wanted. We staying in an AirBnB near the Acropolis, and it was great fun to wake up with jetlag at 3am and look out the kitchen window and see the Acropolis all lit up. It was a short 5 minute walk to get to the grounds of the Acropolis, and due to the strike, we ended up taking a cab into the city and back out the airport, and walking the rest of the time. While we were tired, we were really glad we’d decided on a place right in the center, thanks to all the traffic insanity. One day, we logged over 8 miles of exploring!
Athens is dotted with orange trees, the way that Spokane is full of maple trees, and there are stray cats on pretty much every corner. I don’t know how feral they are, because many of them let me come right up to them and cuddled with me. The cutie below was a little more aloof, but he was also sleeping in a small patch of shade right under the Acropolis, so I assume he was really a Greek God keeping an eye on his domain. ;)
There isn’t much shade at the Acropolis, so we took the advice of my college professor, and got there as soon as it opened, and then followed that up with a light lunch in the area and an afternoon at the Acropolis Museum. As some of you know, our travel “thing” is visiting Olympic cities, so we’ve been to Beijing, Vancouver, Munich, Berlin, Paris (separately), and Athens. Since May, we’ve also made it to Los Angeles! :) There’s a great museum at the Panathenic Stadium which had torches from all of the Olympics and a bunch of their promotional posters too. The stadium in Athens is something crazy to see, since it’s made entirely of marble. In fact, since marble is a local stone, even a lot of the sidewalks are made out of lower quality marble, which cracked me up. The people of Greece use marble for sidewalks that many Americans would love to use on their kitchen counters or bathroom cabinets! We hiked all the way up the stairs to sit in the top row, and some of the steps were HUGE. I almost had to crawl up one section, because it was so tall. The museum at the stadium is down in the catacombs, which were considered sacred for many centuries before the stadium was built. There’s a free audio tour, and it’s really great!
We did a little bit of shopping in Athens, and we’re both now the proud owners of some classic Greek sandals, which we purchased at this shop. Totally worth it for the experience alone, and I had a hard time only buying one pair! I’ve been wearing mine all summer long, and I know I’m going to cry the day they bite the dust…which hopefully won’t be for years to come.
I finally got around to developing an ever-growing stack of film that was sitting in my living room. And I swear, the day my scans arrive is almost as amazing as Christmas. It was like a late birthday present when they arrived last week.
First up: Barbados!
Oh, man, how I wish I was back on the beach in Barbados. We spent 90% of our time lounging at either the pool or the beach at The Crane Resort on the Southern end of the island, but we did hop over to Carlisle Bay for a day of SUP and snorkeling mid-stay. As you can see in these photos, the wind in Barbados is pretty strong, especially on the Southeast side where the Crane is. That means it’s the not greatest spot for swimming, because the waves are so big, but it’s a nice beach! The pool was built in a way where you were super sheltered from the wind, and the breeze kept you cool in the high humidity.
All photos taken on a Nikon FG-20 with Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Ektar 100. Prints available through my Print Shop.
I’ve never gotten around to blogging all our photos from Barbados, probably because I still have one last roll of film in my 35mm camera with a bunch of photos….ooops!
But I did remember that I took a few photos on our crappy old Fuji waterproof camera when we went snorkeling, so I decided to post them! When we made our plans for Barbados, they included a lot of beach time, and fruity drinks. But I knew I wanted to try out my SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) skills in the ocean. H really wanted to go snorkeling, so we emailed the guys over at Paddle Barbados about setting up a SUP and snorkel tour.
The think I love about SUP is how I feel so relaxed, it’s a lot like yoga for me. I’m just chilling on my board, floating across the water. Our guide gave me some awesome tips to improve my paddling skills, and I was feeling pretty confident. H, on the other hand, fell off his board more than once. He’s much better at snorkeling, which is really hard for me. For some reason, I get really stressed when I have to breathe through the snorkel, and there were quite a crowd by the turtles. Carlisle Bay, where Paddle Barbados is located, is a spot where a lot of people snorkel with sea turtles. Cool! So our guide too us over. These photos make it look really secluded, but the truth is, the turtles don’t hang out in this bay. They come because the guides from the other tours bring food for them at the same time each day. And there are lots of tours. It was crowded, which didn’t help me with the panic.
After snorkeling with the turtles, we cut across the bay on our boards, and made it almost all the way to Bridgetown – where we saw a horse taking a bath in the ocean! – before we decided to head back because there was a storm coming in. We swung by a couple of the shipwrecks, and with fewer people around, I was better at snorkeling. We made it back to Pebble Beach just as the storm blew through. Five minutes later, we were soaking up the sun on our lounge chairs for the afternoon, with an amazing fish sandwich from Cuz’s Fish Shack. Win.
The day we went over to Carlisle Bay was perfect for SUP – slightly windy and a bit overcast – which meant the snorkeling was just okay. You can see the change in the water color in the last photo, which was taken closer to the surface as the sun came out, compared to all the others when it was cloudy. It’s best to snorkel on a sunny day, because the water is clearer.
All in all, we had a blast, and we’d totally recommend Paddle Barbados (who have no idea I’ve said all this about them!) and the fish sandwich at Cuz’s. I’ve already started to make plans for my next international paddle board adventure! :)
Last August, we went down to Oregon for my family’s annual rafting vacation. For this year, H and I wanted to finally make it down to Bend. We’d heard so much about the small, Eastern Oregon town, but never made it down there for a visit. So we rented the sweetest AirBnB and spent a couple days checking out Bend.
We ate dinner at Deschutes Brewery, where our server recommended we hike out at Smith Rock State Park (our hosts said the same thing). He also said that, if Smith Rock was busy, or it was too hot, to hike down to Steelhead Falls. We did a little stand up paddle boarding for the first time, and I’m hooked.
On our last day, on the way to Maupin to meet my family, we decided to go for a hike at Smith Rock State Park. We made it about 3/4 of a mile in, and I realized…I’m not dressed for this. It’s 102 and I wasn’t doing so great. So H and I headed back down (and then up) to the parking lot, and drove over to Steelhead Falls. Our server had said if we hiked about 1/2 mile past the waterfall, there was a small beach where we could swim.
So after a quick car change, we hiked down to the falls (all of 3/4 of a mile, super easy) and that’s what we did. We ran into a bunch of other Deschutes Brewery servers hanging out there on their day off, and once we’d cooled off quite a bit, we hiked back up, soaking wet and covered in sand, to change into dry clothes. Thank goodness for keeping a towel in my car. :)
Bend is a magical little town, and it’s jumped up my list to one of my favorite places to visit in the Pacific Northwest. I’ll be back to conquer you, Smith Rock.