Thursday, March 25, 2010

5 Things to Do in Mykonos, Greece During Off Season


After a recent trip to Mykonos during its off season, Chris and I quickly discovered what you can and can't do on this beautiful Greek island in March. Within minutes of visiting the tourist centre, we were informed that ferries and excursions were not operating until May. It felt like a ghost town, which isn't so bad if you want to avoid summer crowds filled with tourists only interested in getting pissed drunk and partying all night long - not really my cup of tea these days, but maybe back in the heyday.

Therefore, no ferries/boats to Santorini, Delos, or any other Cyclades. No fishing boats, water sports activities, and museums were operating. Only a handful of restaurants and bar/clubs were open.

With the sun only making its appearance early in the morning and the clouds looming over in the afternoon followed by cold winds, I found little to no time for sunbathing. So what does one do on Mykonos with only a few other inhabitants around?

Here are the TOP 5 Things that I'd recommend you check out if you ever find yourself in this situation:

1. The Windmills: Situated southwest of Mykonos town, the windmills are one of the most recognized landmarks of Mykonos. It is also located in the the best spot for a picturesque view of the sunset. Price: FREE



2.  Cuttlefish cooked in its ink: If you're daring enough to eat something that looks like it was thrown into a barrel of oil, you'll want to visit El Greco and order the Cuttlefish, which is cooked in its own ink! It doesn't look appetizing, but Chris says it's the BEST he's ever had. Yorgos, the restaurant owner, was kind enough to share his secret recipe with us, which we will take with us to the grave. I ordered the moussaka and was extremely satisfied - you could tell each layer was prepared and cooked with precision and care. Price: €10-16


3. Ride a horse to the beach: Luckily, Horseland is in operation all year long! We called up Fanis and he took us out for a wonderful horseback ride from Ano Mera to Pelagos Beach. If you have never ridden a horse, have no fear, Horseland will pair you up with the most appropriate horse based on your experience.Price: €65/person


4. Rent a Smart car and find the Gyzi Tower (castle): We rented a Smart car and explored the entire island in search of a "castle", which turned out to be a stack of stones on a hill! Although the castle was in shambles, the view was spectacular! It was built during the rule of the Gyzi family, a noble Venetian family that ruled the Cyclades in the Medieval times, to protect the island from pirates and enemy attacks. Price: €40/day (Pegasus)


5. Try Ouzo! After our first meal in Mykonos at a seaside cafe restaurant called Kadeva, our waitress, Anastasia, brought us two shots of Greece's most popular spirit, Ouzo. If you like anise-flavored liquor (anise resembles licorice), you'll love Ouzo.


We had such an amazing time with the locals and look forward to visiting Mykonos again (not during peak season of course)! The locals recommend visiting during May or late September to avoid the massive summer crowds. Chris - I'm ready when you are!!!

View from our hotel, Rocabella Art Hotel (http://www.rocabella.gr/)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stereophonics Rocked the Wembley Arena (UK Tour)

Thanks to a lovely gent I met recently, Hayley and I were able to score a couple of premier tickets to see Stereophonics, a Welsh rock band, at the Wembley Arena last night. The band's performance was incredible, lighting and sound was amazing, and the fans radiated positive energy throughout the arena.

Click on the floating images below to view photos from the concert.

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Stereophonics performed "Maybe Tomorrow", which is a single from the 2003 album You Gotta Go There to Come Back.



Maybe Tomorrow

I've been down and
I'm wondering why
These little black clouds
Keep walking around
With me
With me

It wastes time
And I'd rather be high
Think I'll walk me outside
And buy a rainbow smile
But be free
They're all free

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

I look around at a beautiful life
Been the upperside of down
Been the inside of out
But we breathe
We breathe

I wanna breeze and an open mind
I wanna swim in the ocean
Wanna take my time for me
All me

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home 


The band graciously exited the stage after an encore performance and slipped in Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it on" as audiences left the arena. 




Their next gig is in Cardiff on June 5, 2010. I wish I could be there for another phenomenal show, but I'll be in San Diego preparing myself for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. I wonder if they have plans to tour the U.S. again...fingers crossed!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Discovering London by Foot


 
Out of pure fear, I forced myself to get my butt into gear for the San Diego Marathon after realizing that the race was only 3 months away!

I thought it would be a fun idea to see London via a nice sloooow jog today, so I used MapMyRun.com to create a scenic route and calculated the distance traveled (6.76 miles/10.89km).

I snapped some photos throughout my run to showcase some of London's attractions and gorgeous weather, which is a rarity in London. 

 

I started in Clapham and headed to Battersea Park. After crossing Chelsea Bridge, I came across Tate Britain (pictured above), which is currently exhibiting 150 pieces of Henry Moore's stone sculptures, wood carvings, bronzes and drawings. And to top it off, Chris Ofili's paintings are also being showcased at Tate Britain until May 16 - this is definitely something on my to-do list! His multi-layered paintings are best known their innovative use of media, including lumps of elephant dung, glitter, resin, map pins and magazine cut-outs - Yes, I said elephant dung (feces - poop)!!! He used to bring elephant dung from his trips to Zimbabwe, but now he gets it from the London Zoo. Ofili also won the £20,000 Turner Prize in 1998.

 
Description captured from the display caption at Tate Britain:  No Woman No Cry is a tribute to the London teenager Stephen Lawrence. The Metropolitan police investigation into his racially motivated murder was mishandled, and a subsequent inquiry described the police force as institutionally racist. In each of the tears shed by the woman in the painting is a collaged image of Stephen Lawrence’s face, while the words ‘R.I.P. Stephen Lawrence’ are just discernible beneath the layers of paint. Despite these specific references, the artist also intended the painting to be read in more general terms, as a universal portrayal of melancholy and grief.


 
Next on my route was the Houses of Parliament, home to Big Ben and Victoria Tower. 

 
Big Ben doesn't actually refer to the clock-tower itself, but rather to the thirteen ton bell hung within. The bell was named after the first commissioner of works, Sir Benjamin Hall.


Last, but not least, I snapped a photo of the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe. As you can imagine, it was packed with tourists. I managed to dodge most of the tourists, but won't make that mistake again in the future. 

I highly recommend this route for runners in London, but suggest leaving early in the morning to avoid the high tourist traffic. 

Once my calves fully recover, I'll map my next route to include Hamstead Heath or Richmond Park, two of my favorite parks in London!

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