8.01.2014

Heaven is a place on Earth: Koufonisi Island




Στη μέση του καλοκαιριού, βρέθηκα για δεύτερη φορά στα Κουφονήσια. Τα Κουφονήσια είναι ένα νησιωτικό σύμπλεγμα μεταξύ Νάξου και Αμοργού και αποτελείται από το Πάνω Κουφονήσι, το Κάτω Κουφονήσι και την Κέρο. Από τα τρία αυτά νησάκια μόνο το πάνω Κουφονήσι κατοικείται ενώ το Κάτω Κουφονήσι γίνεται το παροδικό σπίτι πολλών κατασκηνωτών τους καλοκαιρινούς μήνες. 
Η πρώτη μου επίσκεψη στα Κουφονήσια έγινε πέρυσι λόγω του Up Festival. Με το που πάτησα το πόδι μου στο νησί ένιωσα ότι υπάρχει παράδεισος. Και βρισκόμουν σ' αυτόν.

Οι παραλίες είναι εξωπραγματικές με σμαραγδένια κρυστάλλινα διάφανα νερά (πολύ κλισέ, αλλά εδώ ισχύει) και (όπου έχει) αμμουδιά χρυσή και πουδρένια. Η γνωστότερη και καλύτερη παραλία του νησιού είναι το Πορί, εκεί γίνεται και κάθε χρόνο το Up Festival, ενώ ένας καλά κρυμμένος μυστικός κολπίσκος λίγο ακόμα παραπέρα είναι το Γάλα, με λίγη δυσκολία στην πρόσβαση αλλά άπαξ και φτάσεις προσφέρει εμπειρία Ροβινσώνα Κρούσου. 
Extra tip: μέχρι τις 15:00 αξίζει το Γάλα γιατί μετά πέφτει σκιά και εκτός του ότι χάνεται το λευκό εφέ στα νερά, αρχίζει και δροσούλα.
Το Πάνω Κουφονήσι είναι αρκετά μικρό ώστε να μπορεί να περπατηθεί. Τα περισσότερα δωμάτια βρίσκονται στο λιμάνι. Σε απόσταση μόλις 15 λεπτών βρίσκεται η πρώτη παραλία, ο Φάρος, ακολουθεί ο Φοίνικας, η Ιταλίδα, το Πορί (έχουμε φτάσει τα 45 λεπτά περπάτημα) και το Γάλα εντάξει. Επειδή το περπάτημα καταλήγει να γίνεται πεζοπορία και στο τέλος πλησιάζει τα όρια της αναρρίχησης (από το Πορί στο Γάλα), ξεχνάμε οποιαδήποτε άλλα παπούτσια, φοράμε τα αγαπημένα μας Birks (όλο το νησί είναι μία διαφήμιση των Birkenstock)και ξεκινάμε την πεζοπορία έχοντας το Αιγαίο στα δεξιά μας και ένα σύμπλεγμα από βράχια να σχηματίζουν γλυπτά σε όλη την περίμετρο του νησιού.
                                              ♒
Koufonisia is a cluster of islands between Naxos and Amorgos which consists of three small islands: Pano Koufonisi, Kato Koufonisi and Keros. From these three islands just the upper (Pano) Koufonissi is inhabited while the Lower (Kato) Koufonissi becomes the home of many free campers during the summer months.
My first visit to Koufonisia was last year because of Up Festival. As soon as I stepped on the island felt that there is heaven. And I was on it. 

The beaches are unrealistic with emerald crystal clear waters and fine white sand.
The best beach on the island is Pori where every year takes place Up Festival. There is a well hidden secret cove a bit even further called Gala (milk) because of its white waters. There is little difficulty to reach it, but once you get you feel like Robinson Crusoe.
Extra tip: Gala is woth visiting until 15:00 o' clock because after that time shadow falls on the cove and the white effect of the water is lost.
Koufonisi is small enough to be walkable. Most rooms are located in the port. The first beach called Faros is just 15 minutes walk followed by Foinikas beach, Italida beach, Pori and Gala. We leave any any other shoes at the hotel, wear our favorite Birks (all the islands is a Birks-ad, no exaggeration) and we start hiking with the Aegean Sea on our right and a cluster of rocks which form crazy sculptures all around the island.





Ο (ένας και μοναδικός) κεντρικός δρόμος του χωριού, είναι γεμάτος από ταβέρνες, καφετέριες και διαφόρων ειδών μαγαζάκια.
Το πιο ονομαστό σουβλάκι του χωριού για το οποίο θα χρειαστεί να περιμένεις κάθε απόγευμα στην ουρά, είναι το σουβλάκι Στη Στροφή. Είναι ίσως το πιο νόστιμο σουβλάκι στα Κουφονήσια. 
Η πιο γεμάτη καφετέρια είναι αναμφισβήτητα το Κουφοχωριό με το φοβερό του μπαλκονάκι και τη θέα στη θάλασσα.
Η νέα άφιξη για φέτος είναι το παγωτατζίδικο Φιστίκι με χειροποίητες ευφάνταστες γεύσεις και ίσως το καλύτερο παγωτό που έχω δοκιμάσει ποτέ (Η νουτέλα είναι ΕΚ-ΠΛΗ-ΚΤΙ-ΚΗ. Εντάξει, είμαι και φαν). 
Ο φούρνος της Γεωργούλας είναι must και όποιος έχει πάει του έχει μείνει αξέχαστος. Προσφέρει φοβερές ζυμωτές πίτες ψημένες σε ξυλόφουρνο και πάστες και γλυκά, όλα καταπληκτικά. Γίνεται χαμός από τις 12 το πρωί μέχρι αργά το απόγευμα. 
Το Sorokos bar κάτω στο λιμάνι είναι το "the place to be" για βραδινή έξοδο και ποτό ενώ εναλλακτικά υπάρχει και ο Μύλος που είναι πιο ψηλά με εκπληκτική θέα στο λιμάνι και σήμα κατατεθέν - τι άλλο? τον μύλο ο οποίος έχει εσωτερικά και δωμάτια-.
                                             ♒
The main street of the village, is full of restaurants, cafes and cute little shops. 
The most famous souvlaki of the island is "Sti strofi", located here and every afternoon there are big lines waiting patiently to taste it. It is the most delicious souvlaki in Koufonisia. 
A few steps away, you find the coolest cafeteria "Koufochorio" with the awesome balcony and sea view. 
This years new entry is the ice cream shop called "Fystiki" (Pistachio) offering handmade icercream in many flavors. It is perhaps the best ice cream I've ever tasted (The nutella is amazing). 
The bakery called Georgoula is a must and everone who has eaten anything from it was amazed. It offers delicious pies baked in a wood oven and pastries and sweets, each one and all of them simply amazing. It is fuul of people from 12 am until late afternoon. 
Sorokos bar down to the harbor is "the place to be" for a night out while alternatively there is Mylos at chora with stunning view at the harbor. 










7.24.2014

Photo of the day: Koufonissia on Instagram


First stop of my summer holidays this year was Koufonisi island. One of the most beautiful, peaceful and exotic greek islands. Water is turquoise and crystal clear, sand is soft and powder white. The island is located in the Aegean sea, between Naxos and Amorgos. It was my second visit but still, it took my breath away!

7.21.2014

Hollywood



Ένα από τα πιο αναγνωρίσιμα και πιο πολυφωτογραφημένα αξιοθέατα παγκοσμίως αποτελεί το Hollywood Sign. Όπως όλοι οι τουρίστες έτσι κι εμείς θελήσαμε να βρεθούμε όσο πιο κοντά μπορούσαμε στην πινακίδα "Hollywood" ώστε να φωτογραφηθούμε μπροστά της.
Ανεβήκαμε τους λόφους του Hollywood έχοντας ως οδηγό μας τα λευκά γράμματα στο βάθος και παρκάραμε σε ένα άνοιγμα του δρόμου σε μία χωμάτινη πλατεία η οποία υπήρχε ειδικά εκεί γιατί το background ήταν ιδανικό.
H επιγραφή "Hollywood" είναι η short version της παλαιότερης "Hollywoodland" και φυσικά αποτελεί το πλέον χαρακτηριστικό σύμβολο του Los Angeles. Έχει 14 μέτρα ύψος και 110 μέτρα μήκος. Σύμφωνα με τη wikipedia δημιουργήθηκε το 1923 από μία κτηματομεσιτική εταιρία αλλά απέκτησε τέτοια αναγνωρισιμότητα ώστε την άφησαν να κοσμεί τους λόφους του Hollywood. Πολλές φορές έπεσε θύμα βανδαλισμού γιαυτό και σήμερα είναι αδύνατη η πρόσβαση κοντά στα γράμματα ενώ προστατεύεται από την μη κερδοσκοπική εταιρία Hollywood Sign Trust
                                       ★

Hollywood Sign is one of the most recognizable and photographed attractions worldwide. Like all the tourists, we also wanted to get as close as possible to the sign and take a picture in front of it.
We drove up to Hollywood Hills having the big white letters as our compass when we found an area and parked the car as the background was perfect.
"Hollywood" is the short version of the older "Hollywoodland" and today the most characteristic symbol of Los Angeles. As stated in wikipedia, "HOLLYWOOD" is spelled out in 45-ft tall (14m) white capital letters, and is 350ft (110m) long. It was originally created in 1923 as an ad for a local real estate but it garnered increasing recognition. The sign became a frequent target of vandalism and after its last restoration, a security system to deter vandalism was installed. Today it is protected and promoted by the Hollywood Sign Trust a non profit organisation.

Και φυσικά το δεύτερο αναγνωρίσιμο και πολυφωτογραφημένο αξιοθέατο του Hollywood, η λεωφόρος της δόξας, το Walk of Fame. To Walk of Fame καλύπτει την Hollywood BLVD σε όλο της το μήκος. Εκεί βρίσκονται (πέρα από τα αστέρια) το Chinese Theatre, το Graumans Egyptian Theatre, πολλά μαγαζιά, πολλοί τουρίστες και ένα σωρό ατραξιόν.
                                        ★
The second most recognizable and photographed attraction in Hollywood is the Hollywood Boulevard and specifically Walk of Fame. Stars of famous people cover Hollywood BLVD throughout its length. There, one can find also the Chinese Theatre, Graumans Egyptian Theatre, many shops, many tourists and lots of attractions.









Αξιοθέατο αποτελεί και ο σταθμός του μετρό Hollywood Vine καθώς είναι στημένος κινηματογραφικά με μία τεράστια κάμερα στο μέσο της αίθουσας (δωρεά από την Ακαδημία) και μπομπίνες σε όλο το ταβάνι.
                                           ★
Another attraction is the metro station Hollywood-Vine as is cinema-decorated having a huge camera in the middle of the room(donated by the Academy) and bobbins around the ceiling.







While in Hollywoodland:



7.16.2014

Photo of the day: Pacific Coast Highway

(taken on our roadtrip to California)


To the beach:


7.13.2014

Photo of the day: Novi Sad

(taken 11 July 2011, on our way to Petrovaradin Fortress)

Beer Pong:



7.10.2014

EXIT Festival, Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia

Exit festival, one of the best European Festivals begins today!! We were lucky enough to visit EXIT in 2011, when the line up was quite amazing. 



Going to Serbia from Greece and organising the trip is not really a big deal. We are a neighbour country, we are close, flights are not so expensive. Well, it is different when planning your touristic holidays and different when you are planning a festival attendance. We had to search where the festival is taking place and how we were gonna get there, buy the tickets, be sure about the delivery method, rent a car and search where to stay so we could maximize our festival experience.
We planned to fly to Beograd, rent a car from the airport and drive to Novi Sad. It took us about an hour of exciting driving and of various photos during the roadtrip and laughs and good music. At last, we saw the Fortress.



The festival was very well organised. At first, we stopped to the cashiers to take our tickets and then we found the place where we would park our car. Unfortunately car camping was not allowed, meaning that our car (with all our stuff) was in a different location from our tent. Ok, it was not very far but still we had to visit the car various times per day. 
As soon as we parked we entered Exit Village, a big organised area with trees and basic campsite installations: showers, chemical toilets, charging stations and good security (a tent with doctors as well). There we found a spot to build our tent. 








In the mornings, we were chilling at Danube river that was passing just outside of the Village but the water was not so clean (for a Greek) and you could see a factory chimney on the other side. That is the reason we did not swim, however we were sunbathing and listening to reggae music and drinking cocktails, warming up for the festival. Food was really nice, there was a foodcourt at the campsite with various kinds of food (we ate noodles, very very tasty) and a huge tent with a big table and chairs to enjoy the shadow while eating. It is also a place to socialize.
In this festival there were many english people, because the last years EXIT is organised by an English company. 




The festival is taking place inside Petrovaradin Fortress and it feels like a magical place. The fortress is so big that the festival hosts over 400 performances (from live bands, dj sets, radio producers etc.) on 20 stages that are connected by cobbled streets and tunnels while the place has something magical, coming from fairy tale. I was really impressed. One thing that I love about EXIT is that you can listen to various kinds of music, from electronica to rock, from dance to lounge, from reggae to latino! Maybe that's why it is nominated as the Best Major European festival.
The distance from the campsite to the fortress is walkable -there are buses, too- being only a 15 minute walk. It is so fun that Novi Sad, a small Serbian village is flooded with young people from all around Europe -mostly- these days. 
EXIT has a big support from volunteers, who are everywhere and can be multicultural -there were a few Greeks as well-, who clean the campsite and the fortress and make sure everything is going well.








And here are the live acts:

On Thursday 7 July we saw Beirut, Bad Religion, Pulp and Arcade Fire.
Bad Religion played in the late afternoon so it was the first act we saw that day. Then it was Arcade Fire who presented their album "Suburbs" the best in their career so far, in my opinion. That year "Suburbs" reached #1 in the USA, UK and Canada.
Pulp were the big name of the day and maybe that's why they were late to come up on stage (divas). However their live act was so good that it did not matter the waiting. 
After the dancing we chilled that day at the stage where Beirut was performing. 


On Friday 8 July, the big name was M.I.A. and there were too many people to watch her so we could barely see her. The truth is we did not like her so much. The big name for my friend was EDITORS. She was waiting for them like crazy and when they came up on stage we danced like crazy. That night finished with Deadmau5 in the dance arena. A big electronic party inside the fortress, it was magical!








On Saturday 10 July, I was amazed with Santigold who had great songs and a velvet-like voice and since then I am a big big fan of her. She was also very beautiful on stage, wearing eccentric costumes. Jamiroquay was better than we thought and we really enjoyed his show. He was wearing feathers on his head and was quite direct to the people. That night we visited the Silent Disco, an amazing place that everybody was wearing his headphones and choosing what kind of music to listen! That night the greek duo Marsheaux performed at Elelctrana stage at 4.00 in the morning.




Sunday 11 July, I can admit that it was not my favourite day. I don't really like Grinderman, I did not like Portishead. So we did not struggle to be in the front lines, it was the chilliest day of the festival. Sitting on the grass, listening to music, drinking serbian beer (pivo) and watching the performers from videowalls, saying goodbye to this amazing festival and to this captivating venue.






We had fun, we made friends, we listened to good music, we danced like crazy, we sunbathed, we chilled... we did not wanted anything more. Until someday, EXIT, you were a great experience!


Photo credit and EXIT partner: Mariza Katsioti

Packing to EXIT: