Follow:
Topics:
    Everything Else Fabulous

    Walk On

    My Fab Walking Life

    Location: Antiparos Greece

    Walk On

    And where do we go from here? Which is the way that’s clear? Walk On.

    Taking a few liberties with David Essex lyrics “Rock On”.  I remember this song from Junior High (1973) – I’d never have imagined back then how it might be the theme of my life.  Walk on.

    Walk on

    Walking in Antiparos

    Walk On

    Walking in Santorini

    I use the health tracker on my iPhone to track my miles – especially when we are in training mode like we are right now.  Preparing for our second Camino de Santiago just three weeks from today. But even when we aren’t “training”, our lifestyle involves a great deal of walking.  The best possible exercise there is.

    Thanks to my health tracker, I know that I have walked 4600 miles in the last three years.  That’s like walking from Seattle to New York and half way back.  Or about a fifth of the way around the world. Not bad for an old gal.

    Walk On

    Walking in Romania

    Since beginning our world tour, we have come to realize how walking is a mode of transportation for most people around the world – but not in the USA.  We much prefer not to have a car on our travels, to avoid the hassle of parking, gas and navigation.  But

    Walk On

    Walking in Australia

    sometimes we need a car.  Even when we do have a car, like here in Antiparos, we still walk everywhere.  Yesterday we walked from our house 7.8 miles round trip to visit the caves.  As we arrived at the caves most of the other tourists were arriving by car or scooter.  Some by bicycle.  We were the only walkers.

    Walking offers so many benefits beyond the health benefit.  It helps you slow down and be present.  It provides you an incredible opportunity to see and hear things that are not possible from a car; plants, animals, bugs, geology.  We stop often when we are walking to inspect little treasures, from a tiny solitary blossom to a giant geological feature.  Walking puts you up close and personal with so many things – things people in cars never realize are even there to enjoy.

    Walking is wondrous.

    However, walking is also time consuming.  It’s a bit like golf.  Not a sport you can take up if you have a lot of time constraints.  But for us, time is a precious gift we have. A luxury. And so we walk.

    Walk On

    Walking in Berlin Germany

    We could have taken the car to the caves, but instead we walked.  We could have taken a bus in Berlin to visit the wall, but instead we walked.  We could have hired an Uber in the big cities, but instead we walked. We could have driven to the beach, the castle, the store…but instead we walked.  Because we love it.  It is good for us.  And we have the time.  

    My Fab Fifties Walking Life.  For this I am grateful.

    Walk On.

     

    Please share our blogs! 

    Walk On

    Walking in Antiparos

    Fab Europe Travel

    Exploring Hidden Antiparos Greece

    The Tiny Island of the Cyclades

    Location: Antiparos Greece

    Exploring Hidden Antiparos – The Tiny Island of the Cyclades

    Exploring Hidden Antiparos

    Fishing boats in the harbor

    Greece (official name Hellenic Republic) is a diverse country geographically.  It consists of the mainland which  borders Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as a vast number of islands (between 1200 and 6000 depending on the definition you are using for island).  Only 227 of those islands have inhabitants.  Some of the inhabited islands, like Antiparos (pronounced Anti- Pear-osh) are quite small, but still have a village that thrives.  Today Antiparos, like most of Greece, thrives from tourists.  I wish I could have visited here two decades ago, when the village had no shops with trinkets or cafes for coffee.  Just locals, fishermen and families.

    Greek Islands

    The islands of Greece are categorized in regional clusters; Argo-Saronic near Athens, the Cyclades in the South Aegean, the North Aegean cluster off the coast of Turkey, the Dodecanese between Crete and Turkey, the Sporades off the coast of the large island of Euboea and the Ionian Islands west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea.  Antiparos is in the Cyclades.  Other prominent islands in the Cyclades include Santorini and Mykonos.  

    Exploring Hidden Antiparos

    Streets of Antiparos

    But, if you are looking to find a place in Greece where fewer tourists go, exploring Antiparos is a great option.  It is so diametrically opposed to somewhere like Santorini, it doesn’t even seem like the same country. (Want to learn about other Greek Islands that aren’t overrun with tourists? Read this.)

    Arriving in Antiparos

    Exploring Hidden Anitparos

    The ancient castle

    We arrived by ferry to Paros from Santorini.  At the port in Paros the rental car agency we had booked in advance met us with a car and driver.  He drove us to another part of Paros where we walked on to the smaller ferry that crosses throughout the day between the larger island of Paros (196 square kilometers) and the tiny island of Antiparos (35 square kilometers).  This half mile crossing takes ten minutes and costs 1.60 Euro for walk on and 6 Euro to take a car.  We made the crossing and found on the other side an agent from the rental car agency waiting with our little car.

    Exploring Hidden Anitparos

    The caves

    Exploring Hidden Anitparos

    Antiparos Time

    This is also where we met our wonderful Airbnb host Xanthippy.  Xanthippy lives in Athens, and owns a beautiful home on Antiparos that she rents as an Airbnb.  She is not always able to come from Athens and meet her guests (a four and half hour ferry ride), but she was able to on the day we arrived.  Luckily for us, because we learned on arrival that there are no addresses on either Paros or Antiparos.  Crazy.  Apparently this is true on many of the small Greek islands.  So Xanthippy led us to the grocery store for supplies, before leading us to our spacious Airbnb with a spectacular view.  We found our accommodations even better than the photos. It’s a beautiful villa.

    Xanthippy gave us some important instructions; don’t drink the water, don’t flush anything that doesn’t come out of your body, take the trash and recycling to the conveniently placed bins around the island, don’t use the grill if its windy.  She also showed us how to use the little combination stove and oven, a style of appliance we have not encountered until arriving in Greece. And it works great.

    Antiparos Time

    We have now been in Antiparos for eleven days.  We have enjoyed the laid back island life and being on “Antiparos time”.  Although we have had sun everyday, some days quit hot, we have also experienced unusually high winds.  In fact so high we had to cancel our planned boat trip to the deserted island of Despotiko (an archeology site of immense historical significance, second only to Delos in the Greek islands, just across the bay from our Airbnb) and a day on the island of Paros to visit the colorful city of Naousa.  We plan to reschedule both of those when the wind dies down and continue exploring hidden Antiparos.

    Exploring Hidden Anitparos

    Agios Georgios Beach

    The wind has not stopped us from visiting several of the islands local beaches (there are at least a dozen public beaches on this small island that boasts 57 km of coastline), hiking to the local stalactite cave, visiting the tiny village (also called Antiparos but usually referred to as the village; it’s the only one on the island) and the ancient Kastro (castle) from the 15th century and just walking, walking, walking as we train for the upcoming Camino de Santiago.

    Exploring Hidden Anitparos

    Sunset at Capt Pipinos

    Because we are trying to stay on budget, we have only eaten dinner out one time.  We ate a wonderful seafood meal at Captain Pipinos, a seaside seafood joint within walking distance of our house.  It was delicious, and watching the sunset from there was really special.  However, if we want to dine out anymore, we better do it soon.  Many of the islands restaurants and shops close down at the end of September, what is considered the “end of the season”.

    We didn’t realize when deciding to come here that Antiparos, unlike the larger more well-known islands, has a tourist season.  Basically from May – September.  The rest of the year there just aren’t enough visitors to make it viable for most businesses to remain open. When we picked up our rental car the agent told us when we return the car October 8th they will close down for the season.  We are their final customer. Fingers crossed the grocery store will stay open.  We don’t mind cooking.

    In fact, since I haven’t been able to find a cooking class on this small island, I’ve been teaching myself and trying out several Greek dishes.  Watch for a blog coming on this soon.

    Antiparos day eleven. Heaven on earth. Fabulous. υπέροχο 

    Please share our blog!

    Fab Europe Travel

    I Will Go Where the Wind Blows Me

    Location: Antiparos Greece

    We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.    -Dolly Parton

    I Will Go Where the Wind Blows Me. That is the motto for the day.  We will go where the wind blows.  But today, that means going nowhere.

    High wind is common in Antiparos – but not common this time of year.  Since arriving here ten days ago we have had about five windy days.  And right now we are in the midst of a very unusual weather pattern (according to the locals) that has shut down the ferries off the island.

    Today’s forecast is for winds of 38mph with gusts up to 60pmh.  To be truthful, I don’t really want to go off the island enough to get on a boat today…yikes.  Luckily, we have lots of time left and we can rearrange our schedule.  I feel bad for anyone who doesn’t have that luxury.  If you have a flight to catch today, well, its not going to happen.

    “Unusual weather” is a topic that comes up often, in every signal country we have visited.  This can no longer be attributed to coincidence.  The weather of the world has left the “normal” pattern behind.  No matter where you are – a tiny island in Greece or in the heartland of the USA – there is no normal weather anymore.  

     

    I am not a scientist or a meteorologist.  But I am a world traveler with what I don’t think is unfair to say, a “vast” experience of encountering unusual weather around the world.  Cyclone in New Zealand, heat wave in Australia, flooding in Thailand, cold in Vietnam, fires in Croatia and Portugal, early trade winds in Seychelles,  chilly in India, wet in Hawaii. And extreme wind in Greece.

    We go with the flow, because, well, what else can we do?  But it’s interesting, and it should be of interest to you too.  The world weather is in turmoil (along with a lot of other things).  It’s clear to me.  I don’t know if we can fix it, or even if we should.  All I know is we better get used to it.  I personally think the worst is yet to come.

    Meanwhile, here we are.  Writing this blog in text editor because the wind has taken the wifi out.  Hoping I can post at some point later today.  Or not?  We are lucky we have the luxury of time on our side, to wait it out, and just enjoy the ride.  Although a bit bumpy ride.  Sails up and going with the wind.

    Please share our blogs! 

    A windy day in Antiparos Greece

     

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

    Reading Wednesday

    This is the second book I have read by Celeste Ng in the past few months.  I enjoy her work.  She writes about ethnically diverse families.  In Everything I Never Told You, she focuses on the Lee Family, a Chinese American family in small-town Ohio.

    There are two underlying themes to this book, both compelling.  The outward struggle of a mixed race family in rural Ohio, where such a thing is rare, and people still openly practice racism and shunning.  The effect this has on teenagers trying to fit into American high school is tragic.

    But the book is also about family, the ties that bind.  Within the story you find the struggles of an intelligent women who gave up a promising career to raise her children, a brilliant man who has settled for a job below his intelligence level and their three children.

    Without really seeing what is happening, mother Marilyn and father James put tremendous pressure on one child, constantly criticize another and completely ignore the third until life unravels in the Lee family and the unthinkable happens.

    A tragic family saga of Chinese American life in midwest America.  Interesting and irresistable page-turner.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four Stars for Everything I Never Told You.

    Read last week’s review of Sarah ’s Key.

    PIN IT!

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Travel Shoes for Fab Fifties Girls

    Travel Shoes

    I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.  – Oprah Winfrey

    Travel Shoes

    I have a lot of miles on my Kuru Hiking Shoes

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Deciding what travel shoes to bring on the Grand Adventure is hard. Maybe the hardest thing.

    As a Grey Goddess on the Go my tootsies take a beating. At age 58 I’ve put a lot of wear and tear on the old dogs. And I feel it everyday.

    Travel Shoes

    Brooks Running Shoes

    As a child I suffered from foot pain because I have really high arches. Crazy high.  I was
    told once I had ballerina feet with that high arch (too bad I didn’t get the ballerina body to go with the feet).  As a teen I suffered very painful shin splints when I was a cheerleader.  In my twenty’s and thirty’s I wore high heels and boots and flip-flops – none with good support or even well made for that matter.  I pay for it now.

    So footwear and travel shoes are constantly on my mind. Particularly with my current issues with plantar fasciitis.

    I own a pair of Good Feet orthotic shoe inserts that I move around between my shoes. These inserts got me back running after almost a year of constant pain of sciatica.  I paid $200 for the orthotic inserts. Worth every penny.

    In my suitcase I currently have Eight, (seriously EIGHT) pairs of shoes;

    1. My hiking shoes. These are a godsend. Not even remotely attractive but they do the job. These are Kuru brand, a company out of Utah focuses on top quality active footwear for people like me who suffer from various foot pains. My shoes are specific for plantar fasciitis. I ordered them online and paid $130.

      Travel Shoes

      Keen Sandals work for everything

    2. My running shoes. I’m currently on a running hiatus as I train for the Camino, but my Brooks Running shoes also serve as a backup hiking shoe. I’ve been a loyal Brooks customer for many years. Did you know it’s a Washington company? I paid $110 at my local running store in Gig Harbor.
    3. My Keens. If you’ve never had a pair of Keen footwear go get some now!  For travel, for walking, for beach, for going in the water, for everyday, Keens are such a fabulous shoe with great arch support. I’ll even hike in these. I always choose the closed toe for more foot protection. I bought this pair last year in Spain. I paid $100.
    4. My two black sandals. I really don’t need two black sandals. It’s just silly. I’m torn because one has a bit of a heel and I hardly ever wear it even though it’s comfy (Camper for The Walking Company $60). I keep holding on to these because I think I’ll want them for more formal dress on the cruise we are doing in December. The other black shoe is a flat sandal but with great arch

      Cute and comfy only $24

      support and it’s so stinking cute.  I actually bought these from a Facebook ad for $24!  Should I keep them both? A dilemma.

    5. My tan sandal. Last summer I bought a pair of tan mules from the Frye leather store while I was in Nashville.  I regretted it.  I spent a fortune on those shoes and they caused me so much pain. Apparently you can’t wear mules when you have plantar fasciitis. So my friend Kathy bought the mules from me and I turned around and I bought these tan sandals and I’m much happier. Super arch support, my foot stays firmly in place and the Velcro is adjustable for when it’s hot and my feet swell. The only thing I don’t like is my feet sweat in these. These shoes are a orthotic brand called Vionic. I paid $75. I would definitely buy from this company again.
    6. My Flip flops. It’s very rare that I wear flip-flops anymore, even these that are specifically designed for arch support and comfort. I bought these OluKaii brand in Hawaii and paid $40. They don’t take up much room in my suitcase and do come in handy. I’m just careful not to wear them very often or for very long.

      Travel Shoes

      One inch heels by Camper

    7. My Black Street Shoes. I just threw out a pair of black flat sneakers (see photo below). I’ve had these a couple of years. For sneakers, I paid a small fortune for them ($100) at Nordstrom and so I’ve  really tried to love them.  But they just aren’t comfortable and they are a bit too small. So I replaced them in Romania with a black walking shoe by Ecco. I’d been eyeing this Danish brand for a while (See the title photo to see these great shoes). They have great arch support. I bought them a half size big to give my expanding feet some comfort. I paid $120.

    Have you been adding all this up? Jeeze!  Having foot problems is expensive! I have friends who have recommended Jambu as well as Orthofeet. I haven’t tried those yet. I have also had good success with Teva.

    Travel Shoes

    The ones I threw away – just not working for me.

    So if you are a Fab Fifty Female on your feet a lot like me consider some of the options I’ve listed here.  It will keep you moving if you are traveling or just going about your day.

    Tip – use rubber bands (elastics) to put your pairs of shoes together before packing in your suitcase.  This is a great way to save space.

    Travel Shoes

    These are super comfortable

    Keep a spring in your step and a song in your heart!! Fabulous!

    Note: I am not being compensated in anyway from any of the companies I list here.  These are just some shoes I have had good luck with.  I hope you do too.

     

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Reading Wednesday

    Another interesting novel about the atrocities of World War Two.  Not my favorite of all the WWII books I’ve read, but very good.  In particular because the story revolves around a little known event in Paris in July 1942 called the Vel’ d’Hiv – a round-up of Jews in Paris.

    Rosnay follows the lives of two different females, ten-year-old Sarah, a young Jewish girl who is arrested with her family in July 1942.  Not by the Nazi’s, but by the French Police in Paris. And Julia, an American journalist living in France in 2002.

    Sarah’s life is forever changed when she and her family arrive in Auschiwitz during the German occupation of France.  The Jewish Roundup of July 1942 in Paris is not well-known, and France is, rightfully, ashamed of the part they played in the event, which killed thousands.  Sarah survives but, as the story unfolds you learn the immense price she pays.  Shocking.

    Julia’s life, sixty years later, crosses path’s in a somewhat too convenient way in the story line for me. But nonetheless, it does and she begins a search for Sarah and her family and the truth about the Vel’ d’Hiv.  Julia’s research will affect her life, in fact change the direction of her life, in a remarkable way as she finds herself drawn to Sarah’s story.

    I enjoyed Sarah’s Key particularly for the historic information I learned, the story line about Sarah and the sad but beautiful ending.

    Four Stars for Sarah’s Key.

    Fab Europe Travel

    Santorini Short and Sweet

    Location: Santorini Greece

    The Grand Adventure follows a pretty strict budget, and unfortunately places like Santorini definitely don’t fit that budget.  But here we are anyway.  We made the choice to blow the budget for three short and sweet days on the stunning island of Santorini.

    Our budget is usually $200 a day all-inclusive.  Our Airbnb’s usually average around $75 a night.

    Santorini short and sweet

    Our airbnb is in the middle of this photo

    Here in Santorini, our teeny tiny cave house is $250.  But it comes with the most spectacular view.  At about 250 square feet, it is likely the smallest we have ever had.  But add the outdoor space and the expansive crater view, well, suddenly it seems like an emperor’s palace.  Worth every penny.

    The villas here are all new, this used to be a desolate trail.

    Santorini has changed significantly since we were here eleven years ago.  Our main goal here was to walk the Oia to Fira trail – to experience again as we did before.  That however wasn’t possible.  Oh you can still walk it, but it is not the same trail.

    When we walked it eleven years ago in 2007 it was

    Santorini short and sweet

    Top 2007. Bottom 2018 – older, wiser and way more fabulous!

    remote and desolate along the crater rim.  Miles of nothing but brown volcanic pumice trail hugging the edge of the spectacular trail. Fast forward to the walk we did yesterday (round trip 14 miles) we were shocked to find only a short part of the trail still remote.  All of those miles of nothingness now covered with high-end luxury villas and hotels.

    Santorini short and sweet

    Sunset from our airbnb

    When we walked it eleven years ago we saw two other people walking.  Yesterday we decided to count how many people we passed on the trail.  We stopped counting at 200.

    Please don’t misunderstand me – it is still stunningly gorgeous and unlike anywhere I have been in the world.  I am grateful I had the opportunity to walk this trail before it became developed.  A unique experience few people have had.  My Fab Fifties Life is fabulous because of that

    Santorini short and sweet

    Today on the trail high above Oia.

    experience.

    The village of Fira, seemed about the same to me, although it now extends a mile or more from the borders of eleven years ago – completely with luxury villas.  The village of Oia seemed significantly different.  Before it was a sleepy town.  Now your can find Versace and Michael Kors.  A decade ago, its tiny cobble stone narrow streets were authentic.  Now we find the wide paved paths lined with high-end jewelry stores and boutiques.

    But most astonishing to me is this – when I visited in 2007, in both Oia and Fira you could see the tiny Greek homes of the average Santorini people mixed in among the shops and along the caldera.  None of that in here any longer.  I don’t know where they live now – somewhere out in other parts of the island.  The victim of tourists like me, willing to pay $250 a night for a 250 square foot cave house.  All the locals moving away from the tourist centers.

    Other than Venice, this place is the most striking as far as what tourism creates.  And I am part of the problem.

    Santorini short and sweet

    Oia

    We want to see these places, just like everyone else.  Santorini, short and sweet, is spectacular and surreal.  So here I am guilty of contributing to the loss of authenticity.

    I found two particularly irritating things about our Santorini short and sweet stay.  The first is watching young people trying to get their “instragram” picture and in doing so trespassing and doing dangerous things.  But of course doing so in a fabulous designer dress and posing like a fashion model.  For all the good social media has done, this habit of getting the perfect “selfie” I find appalling. This isn’t the only place we have seen this behavior, and it’s always people of the same generation. We watched in horror as young visitors trampled the sacred Uluru area in Australia for their perfect selfie.  We watched terrified as others ignored the danger signs at the Cliffs of Moher, in Ireland, to walk out to the edge of the cliffs for a selfie.

    The second thing we have found aggravating is the drones.  Hovering over our deck starting at 6:30am, buzzing around the caldera and over all the houses.  Another sign of our media obsessed world. I read an article that says the drones are banned in Santorini.  But still it persists.  I don’t have a drone, but I admit I have considered getting one. I certainly take a lot of photos and I love to share them.  But I will never trespass, do anything dangerous, or wake up someone at 6:30 am to get the

    Santorini short and sweet

    Top 2007. Bottom 2018 Still with the same fabulous guy

    perfect shot.

    It’s a hard pill to swallow.  It reminds me to try really hard to look for undeveloped places to visit.  But then do those places eventually become tourist centers and overrun?  I don’t know what the answer is?  We live in a world with a lot of people who have the means to travel.  And travel they will.  And post on instagram they will. And learn to live with it I will.

    As I sit here on our last day in Santorini short and sweet, I am looking forward to our next stop in Greece, the tiny island of Antiparos.  I know this is not the kind of destination Santorini is, but it still has the same sun, the same island beauty, the same Mediterranean sea and the same delicious seafood.  For a third the price and probably no social media self proclaimed “influencers.”  Sounds pretty fabulous to me.

    In Antiparos we will rest for three solid weeks.  We are ready.  After being on the road for six weeks, Antiparos will be the first place we have stayed longer than 6 nights.  We have broken all our own rules over the past six weeks as far as slow travel and budget.  It’s time to regroup and recoup before we continue on the Grand Adventure.

    What an amazing life it is.  My Fab Fifties Life.  I welcome your comments and ideas. Fabulous!