Wednesday morning was a wet one and it had been raining all night so we didn’t go for a run. After Mel’s briefing we decided to go for a drive in the van to Dunfanaghy where we had a coffee and a wander around the town. On the way out of Dunfanaghy we took the scenic route on the Wild Atlantic Way to Horn Head where, once again, the scenery was breathtaking.
Monday morning was bright, sunny and dry so we both went for a run towards Baltoney and back, about 6km.
Tuesday was another bright and dry morning so Mel went off for a run first, again towards Baltoney and then towards Falcarragh, about 8km. Then I set off and did the same run by which time the sun had come out so it was very pleasant running along the lanes in these conditions.
We drove from Belfast to David & Mary’s place at Rhosguill Holiday Park in Melmore on Saturday 16th September. We arrived in the middle of a wet and windy afternoon so we sat in the caravan looking out at the amazing views across the bay and had a good catch up. Charlie, David & Mary’s son was there too and it was good to see him again and hear about his studies and aspirations for the future.
David and Mary cooked us a lovely meal and after a few (non-alcoholic for us) beers we retired after a long and tiring but very enjoyable day. We had a good sleep and woke the next morning to a fine and sunny day.
After a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon we had a walk along the spectacular beach which almost deserted other than a couple of dog walkers.
Then we went up the road and over to another cove where there were more beautiful beaches. Murder Cove, as it is called was backed by caves and washed by Atlantic waves which were mesmerising to watch and listen to.
When we went back to the caravan it was very hot and sunny and we sat on the decking again enjoying the view and a lunch of bacon sandwiches. We eventually gathered our things together and left David, Mary & Charlie for our short journey to Gortahork. On their recommendation we drove around the headland on the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, a route which goes around the west coast of Ireland and takes in some breathtaking scenery. It was a fantastic day to see the views and enjoy the incredible Irish landscape.
It had been a great start to our week in Ireland and it was lovely to see our friends again. We had been treated like royalty and had thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you David, Mary & Charlie!
On Tuesday 25th July we went for a bike ride with Gill & Andrew to Agios Petros. We left at 7.30. am and had a steady ride up to the village stopping a few times to enjoy the view.
At Agios Petros we stopped at the cafe in the square for the usual frappe and several other groups from the various centres arrived after us. Ian was there too but riding on his own.
After the frappe stop we continued on up to the turning for the deserted village. We cycled back down to the olive groves, stopping at the well-looked after church, the only building still there. We took Gill & Andrew back on the route Mel had recently discovered, off the ‘P’ route and back to the ‘Swiss house’ road and out onto the main road by Andromeda.
We finished with another frappe stop at Livinaki’s and a pastry from the bakery – a very enjoyable morning’s exercise. Thank you, Gill & Andrew.
On Saturday 22nd July we went for a bike ride to Sivros but we started off on a different route through the olive groves. We continued up the challenging hair pin bend (there are 12 of them with the eighth being the steepest) route to the village where we stopped at the Verani Cafe for a frappe as usual.
We continued on after the village on the road towards Fterno, stopping at the church on the way to enjoy the view. Mel is trying to identify a place to take night pictures of the Milky Way – this could be such a place.
We went back to Vassiliki via the Monastery road to Kontanera with one last hill climb before the long decent into Vass.
We felt we had earned another frappe stop so continued into Vass to stop at Livinakis where we also treated ourselves to a pastry for breakfast.
On Sunday 9th July we went for bike ride to Agios Petros with Sim, yoga teacher and bike guide from Neilson. We had a very enjoyable ride at a steady pace up to the village with lots of chatting along the way! We stopped for a coffee at the cafe in Agios Petros and then continued up to the Nikolis turning and then down through the deserted village of Roupakias.
Sim showed us a bridge over a dry gorge that we hadn’t noticed before, opposite where a Polish couple are renovating one of the deserted houses.
We continued back to Vassiliki via the olive groves – a very pleasant ride.
We had a very early start on Sunday 2nd July! Mel had planned a run to Sivros with Sim, the yoga instructor and bike guide from Neilson but she had to do an airport transfer later so we had to meet at 7am.
We set off through the olive groves and up the main road to Sivros. It was pleasantly cool as the sun had not come over the mountain yet. Mel and Sim ran on up the short cut and I cycled round the hairpins to meet up with them at the Verani cafe in the square in Sivros.
After a frappe we continued on up the road towards the monastery turning.
Mel & Sim ran and I cycled back towards Vassiliki admiring the views as we went. I headed down to Kontanera and Mel & Sim went straight back to Vassiliki. We met up back at the Imperial Studios and agreed we had all enjoyed the morning’s outing!
On Wednesday 28th June in the evening we drove to Hortata to go to the T’Aloni restaurant for a meal. We had booked a table on the balcony as the views from the restaurant are amazing and you can watch the sunset over the west side of the island. We arrived early and were made welcome by the owners.
We had a lovely meal which was a bit different from the usual menu you get at most Greek restaurants. We had a lentil salad and feta cheese in filo pastry and honey for starters; Mel had lamb cooked in the oven with cherry tomatoes and potatoes and I had Sofrito (slices of beef in garlic) for our mains.
For desert we had a melon ‘soup’ with yogurt presented over a bowl of dry ice! Very different!
The restaurant was very busy later on and all the tables were taken. Mel took some pictures of the sunset which happened about 9pm. A very enjoyable evening made extra special by the owners, the food and the views.
On Saturday 24th June we went to the village of Exanthia and set off on a walk which Mike Edmonds had suggested. The start of the path wasn’t easy to find but eventually we took what looked like a path between some dry stone walls. The path was rather overgrown and we struggled to get through the undergrowth, scratching our legs and arms in the process. It was all uphill and a bit hot but a bit of an adventure. We carried on for about 40 minutes passing by some old vine yards and terraced areas.
When we got near to the road, we saw a pick up truck coming down towards us. It stopped and the couple got out and asked us if we wanted a lift back to Exanthia (no English language involved!) We gladly accepted and climbed into the back of the truck and sat on the bags of plant cuttings. They took us all the way back to the village and right up to the restaurant (H Rachi). We offered them a drink but they didn’t want one so we went inside and ordered a frappe.
Whilst we sat at the restaurant drinking our coffee we watched some paragliders jump off the cliff and fly down to Kathisma beach.
We were too early for lunch unfortunately as the menu sounded very nice. We will have to revisit this restaurant.
We arrived in Vassiliki on Monday 5th June 2017, a little later than usual due to the sad death of our great friend Dave Rowlands. We had a good journey and ferry crossing, this time in the VW T6 Transporter van. After checking into Imperial Studios and saying hello to everyone there we went along to the Cosmos Hotel. We were greeted by Vassiliki, Stelios’ wife and later Stelios along with several friends who were there on Peter Hart’s course – Andy Helm, Nicola & Sarah and Nick amongst others.
Later we went back to the Cosmos to join in the welcome meal which was excellent. Good food and good company.
On Tuesday Mel went to join Peter’s course and later I went along and had lunch with them.
In the afternoon I sat on a sun bed on the beach whilst Mel was out on the water. This was the general pattern for the rest of the week! The wind was quite light on Tuesday and Wednesday but it got stronger Thursday & Friday. We went out most evenings with the group for a meal and enjoyed everybody’s company but we found the late nights put paid to running the next morning! Mel did go a couple of times and I went for a bike ride on Friday to show willing!
On Sunday 11th Peter and the rest of the group departed and we had our first meal in the apartment! The next day we went to Lefkada and I had the wax removed from my ears by an ENT doctor. Hurray, I can hear! Afterwards we went to the Bazaar shop to get some kitchen equipment and then Lidl to do a food shop. We stopped off at Dimitri’s Taverna in Geni for lunch on the way back to Vass. We had a restful day so that Mel could recover from his first week on the water.
We both ran the ‘P’ route on the Tuesday and then went for a bike ride to Agios Petros on Wednesday.
There was some good wind in the afternoons for Mel to go windsurfing. On Thursday we went to our first Pilates session at Healthy Options. After a run on the Friday morning and a good windsurf session in the afternoon, we went to the Cosmos for a meal (fish night) which was very good (Mel had a burger, however!)
On Sunday we went for another bike ride, this time to Sivros where we stopped for a frappe and met Jean who had walked up. We came back via the monastery road.
We met a family from Ireland at the Cosmos this week who we had first met back in 2006 when the boys were only 6 and 8 – Charlie & Jack and their parents David & Mary. They remembered Mel taking pictures of the boys when they were windsurfing and it was really good to meet to them again.
It was a good week for wind and Mel enjoyed windsurfing on four of the days and resting on the others. We did some more running and Pilates and on the Saturday we went to the village of Exanthia and set off on a walk which Mike Edmonds had suggested. The path was rather overgrown and we struggled to get through the undergrowth, scratching our legs and arms in the process. When we got near to the road, we saw a pick up truck with a couple in who stopped and asked us if we wanted a lift back to Exanthia (no English language involved!) We gladly accepted and climbed into the back of the truck and sat on the bags of plant cuttings. They took us all the way back to the village and right up to the restaurant (H Rachi) where we had a frappe. Whilst we sat at the restaurant we watched some paragliders jump off the cliff and fly down to Kathisma beach.
We went to the Cosmos Hotel for lunch on the way back and then Mel went out for a good windsurfing session on the water. We had a drink with David & Mary, Jack & Charlie afterwards and then we went to Bazanaki’s restaurant for a meal in the evening. We were made to feel very welcome by Chrissa and had a lovely meal whilst looking out at the beautiful view of Vassiliki Bay.
On Sunday I cycled and Mel ran to Sivros, coming back via the monastery road. There was no wind and we sadly had to say goodbye to David & Mary but have arranged to meet them at their place in Donegal in September.
The following week new people arrived at the Cosmos including Paula and Simon who we have met in previous years but also bumped into in Rhosneigr in Anglesey last October. They happen to live in North Wales about 7 miles away from where we are hoping to buy a bungalow. It’s a small world!
On the Wednesday evening we drove to Hortata to go to the T’Aloni restaurant for a meal. The views from the restaurant are amazing and you can watch the sunset over the west side of the island. We had a lovely meal which was a bit different from the usual menu you get at most Greek restaurants. We had a lentil salad and feta cheese in filo pastry and honey for starters; Mel had lamb cooked in the oven with cherry tomatoes and potatoes and I had Sofrito (slices of beef in garlic) for our mains. For desert we had a melon ‘soup’ with yogurt presented over a bowl of dry ice! Very different!