Posts Tagged With: Beach

Olympia: Where it all Began

I’m sure by now you have noticed that I’m a huge fan of sport. I like the competitiveness, the discipline and the energy of a live sport.  I enjoy looking around and watching fans scream, cheer and come together for the greaterOlympia good of their team. I was very lucky to visit the place where amateur sport began, and I could only imagine what it was like in those times.

Olympia was the first place to ever host the Olympic games. At the time, Olympic sports were very different. The athletes didn’t represent a country, instead they were meant to only entertain the world. Athletes (only men) would participate in neandrothol-like competition, at times to the death.  As time passed, we obviously witnessed the evolution of the Olympics, but to stand in the very spot where the first torch was lit, where historical greats stood to observe the games is really quite moving.

So what is there to do in one of the oldest cities? Surprisingly, a lot more than just visit the historical grounds. The reality is Katakolan (Olympia) is a port town, so it can’t be compared to larger Greek towns. Stay for 24 hours and then get out.  Here are some tips on what to see and how to get there.

Geotravel: Do not, I repeat do not pay for any type of tour. When you get to the Katakolan’s main town square, locate the Geotravel office. From there, you can pay 7 euros each for a small private drive to all the places on this island. The tour includes Olympia.

KatakolanCarriage Ride: Take a romantic carriage ride through the Olympia grounds.  The area is lined with pedestrian friendly paths and wonderful scenery. A horse-driven carriage will only amplify the experience.

Agios Andreas: A beautiful but tiny beach tucked away on the side of the main town. It’s packed, especially if there is a cruise stop that day. If you  plan on skipping out on Olympia and making it a beach day, get there early or truthfully, you won’t find a place to sunbathe.

Restaurants: You will run into a number of outdoor restaurants as you walk through the main street. Now, which restaurant to pick is up to you. I do recommend looking at the menu and ensure that wherever you choose to eat serves their specialty fried cheese dish. Unbelievable.Argos Atheos Beach

Arte Cafe: Once you are ready to wrap up your day, make sure to stop off at the Arte Cafe and enjoy Greek espresso. The difference between espresso in Greece and anywhere else? It’s served with a touch of cream. Very strange, yet very good. And the view…tranquil.

Olympia: I know a lot of people who visit Katakolan debate on whether or not they should skip out on Olympia. I personally recommend the visit. You don’t have to appreciate sport or be a history buff to be floored by what used to exist there.  It really is worth the visit.

IMG_9628So there you have it. If you happen to stop off in Katakolan or want to see the birthplace of the Olympics, I really do think it’s worth the visit.  Don’t spend to much time on the island, all you need here is 24 hours.

Until next time….

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Bahama Mama

Just returned from a quick visit to the Bahamas and I must say it is spectacular. I’ve always wanted to go, and I thought I would make it out there a lot sooner, but it was totally worth the wait! I flew in from Miami, which was awesome (not to worry, a separate blog will be dedicated to this incredible city!) and jumped on a 3-day cruise. (Told you, I love cruising, best way to travel!) So let’s begin! Like Aruba, Bahamas is one of those Caribbean countries where safety is not an issue. I felt comfortable walking freely along the streets of Nassau and didn’t feel at all threatened. In fact, Bahamians are actually very pleasant and friendly. Everyone is quick to “welcome” you to their home.

So what’s there to do? Well, a lot considering how small this 700-island country is. Let’s start with Nassau, as I would imagine if you go to Bahamas, this is where you will stay:

1.     Visit Atlantis – INSANITY! I mean it, this hotel is huge. If you aren’t staying here, you will have to buy a day pass.

  • Purchase a day Pass – depending on what you would like do, there are different entrance fee’s you can pay. Make sure to read over what you have access to before making the big purchase! I would recommend the day pass that gives you access to everything from aquariums, pools, beaches and lunch.
  • Aquarium – It’s pretty awesome that these sea creatures basically live in the hotel. The stingrays are massive and the fish are exotic.
  • Go to the beach – There are several beaches at the Atlantis (Cove Beach, Atlantis, West Beach) that stretch out for miles and surround the hotel.
  • Rapid River – On your own or with a partner, you can grab from the many available floats. Sometimes it’s relaxing, sometimes you’re getting sprayed with water and occasionally you ride through rapids. Super fun, and it takes about 35 minutes to get all the way back to the start.
  • Konche Fritters – Like I’ve said in many posts, I’m a total foody! A local dish in the Bahamas are deep-fried Konche fritters. I won’t disclose the calorie count, but it’s totally worth it!
  • Diamonds? – If you’re looking for jewelry, make your way to Diamonds International. Great deals for 1/3 of the price you would pay back home.

2.     Private Island Access – Again, one of the many reasons why I love to cruise. Ships normally own their own island in the Bahamas. In my case, I went to Great Stirrup Cay…which is completely amazing. First of all, only our ship was on this island, so there were plenty of beach chairs to choose from.

  • The beach – easily accessible and the turquoise water runs for miles
  • Activities –  beach volleyball, waterslide and shopping for souvenirs are just a few options of things to do while on this island
  • Buffet – all access, all day. Eat, tan, swim and then repeat!
  • Water Sports – for a small fee you can go scuba diving, parasailing, snorkeling….and remember, it’s only the cruise ship here, so there is plenty of space!

Bahamas will definitely be on my “must repeat” list. It’s a wonderful island that is a bit more civilized and safe. If you can add it to your bucket list then I suggest you do it soon.

Until next time!

Categories: Caribbean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hvar: Croatian Gem

Hvar (pronounced Vaar or Key-Vaar  — depending on where you’re from) Never heard of it?  I didn’t either until I visited the once war-torn country of Croatia. Prior to my visit I heard that Croatia had some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but I really didn’t understand it until I arrived in Hvar.
The island of Hvar has the perfect mix of everything that you could possibly need on a tiny island; historic structures and churches, beautiful restaurants and bars, a port full of million dollar yachts and all of it….surrounded by turquoise waters.  If one word can sum up Hvar it’s P-E-R-F-E-C-T.
Should you decide to make a stop in Hvar, be sure to include a few things in your itinerary:
  • Day trip to the island of Bol – a beautiful island and although filled with tourists, it still gives you a sense of obscurity. You can hitch a ride with one of the many local boat operators that dock in Hvar. It’s about a 45 minute boat ride and if you’re lucky, the operators will catch your lunch on the way.
  • Pizzeria Mama Leon – offers one of the best pizzas I have ever tasted. Order the margarita flat crust or one of the many calzones – you will not regret it.  It’s also the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and people watch.
  • Drive from Stari Grad – if you plan on getting to Hvar by ferry, you will likely dock in Stari Grad.  Grab a cab and ask your driver to take you through the winding mountains and stop at the Spanjola fortress where you can capture the beautiful views.
  • Town Square – Hvar’s square is beautiful during the day but even more beautiful in the evening.  Young groups and couples gather to listen to locals play music.
  • Nightlife – For a night of drinks, dancing and fun be sure to go to Carpe Diem at the end of the Riva.  The price for a mixed drink is reasonable and if you’re lucky you may see celebrities like Paris Hilton or Beyoncé pull up in their million dollar yachts before entering the club.
  • Where to stay – Look into staying in a private apartment – when you get off the ferry in Stari Grad you will see many locals holding signs who are looking to rent out a room or their entire apartment. You can book these online if you plan on going during high season, but if you are going off-season you will have no problem getting a place to stay at a third of the price of a hotel.
Paris & Nicki Hilton's yacht
Most of all enjoy Hvar and all it has to offer. Although it’s a small Croatian island along the Dalmatian coast, it is one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been to.  It’s very inexpensive to stay here and well worth checking out!
Happy Travels!
Categories: Europe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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