My first eBook is published!

February 20th, 2012

Thanks to all those who have left comments for me about the Blog, and I have to apologise for not posting for a while. I’ve been busy!!

Yes, my first eBook is now up and for sale on Smashwords. GREECE – 100 Travel Tips has been a huge learning curve on how to put your work into the amazing world of eBooks. Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/126404
It only costs $2.99, and is full of fun info on how to make the most of a great holiday in Greece. Take a look.

Here’s what the description says:
“Planning a holiday to Greece? “100 travel tips” is a must-read before you set out. It discusses when to go, what to expect, luggage, transportation, the traditions, food, accommodation. It considers the people themselves, island-hopping, the ancient sites, outdoor activities, and shopping. Even if all you want to do is veg-out in peace under the Mediterranean sun, you still need to check this book.”

We are all following the doom and gloom surrounding Greece and its bail-out, with those subsequent demonstrations and strife in Athens and other main towns. But the rest of Greece is going about its business and trying hard to make the best of things. My lovely friends are all beavering away as usual, and the glorious islands and stunning countryside are awaiting tourists for this coming Season as they always have.

Any queries? Email me at helen@greekpixandwords.com

Terra-cotta Heaven

September 19th, 2011

I was out in my garden potting out some cute new cactus plants and, as I was told they do best in terra-cotta pots I hunted around in my collection of cast-offs. Then later I was looking through my Greek pics and I came across this one – garden potting heaven! It was taken on the island of Sifnos where much handmade pottery is done and families carry a tradition of fine work.

Although we all have favourite garden shops where they sell lovely pots, there is nothing quite like the Greek ones where the patterns are taken from ancient times. On Sifnos The funny looking ones with ‘funnels’ and a bird on top are actually chimney pots and quite distinctive. I am fascinated by them and at various trips have carried back to Australia all sizes of them. At one stage I lugged a really big one back, much to the amusement of my family – they thought I was souvenir crazy.

Do you like the one with what looks like an octopus on it? A bit heavy to carry I fear.

Food, Glorious Food

September 5th, 2011

I was in the fruit and vegetable section of my local market this weekend buying strawberries. They were heaped up and you could choose your own. It reminded me vividly of a local market in Nafplio where the cherries were in huge piles and so cheap you just picked up handfuls and shoved them in a bag. And great heaps of red capsicums, glorious tomatoes, eggplants and zuccinis. Not to mention the nectarines, melons, apples, oranges and everything else. And so fresh and cheap!

Most of the towns in Greece, large and small, have a farmers market, usually on a Saturday. I love them. It’s not only a chance to wander among the locals as they shop, but to see the local produce at its glorious best. One of my favourite markets is in the mountain town of Metsovo. Here you’ll also see people dressed in traditional costume as they move from stall to stall. It’s also a great chance to sit in the main square and watch the to and fro as you partake of the local beverage or a good strong cup of coffee.

 

 

Where Have the Last 2 1/2 Months Gone?

August 16th, 2011

Yassus!
What a journey! Beginning in Athens and Attica, over 10 weeks I’ve travelled the Cyclades, the Ionians, the Saronics, North-west mainland, and the Peloponnese. During that time I took 4636 photos with the new camera! Hope to get to reorganising the website soon – it’ll be a huge job.

Poor old Greece is in a bit of a mess but it was only in Athens where you noticed the troubles. Out on the islands and up in the interior it is business as usual, but unfortunately tourism is down considerably and the lack thereof isn’t helping the economy – it was a little unnerving to be the only one staying in a hotel usually full of travellers. I did experience problems with sudden strikes effecting transport, but as I wasn’t on a strict timetable it didn’t matter. Anyway, I had some wonderful moments – like the fantastic wildflowers in the awesome mountain country and standing on the edge of the stunning Vikos gorge in the Zagoria (north-west Greece), seeing stork nests with chicks on top of the telegraph posts in a tiny village, suddenly seeing a loggerhead turtle swimming around the marina where I was sitting, climbing up to the ‘gates’ of the awesome Gorge of Samaria on Crete, riding the little rack-and-pinion train from Diokofto to Kalavryta etc etc. But the very best thing was renewing friendships, and being recognised and hugged by people, even taverna owners I had met on my last trip!

I have lots of new info about travel in Greece which I will be updating into my ebooklet for independent travellers “100 Tips For Greece” (email me for a copy – it’s only $7.50 through Paypal).

More later, when I collect my brain from the lost luggage department at Brisbane airport!

On My Way

May 4th, 2011

In five more days I will be back in my second home – my lovely Greece.

It’s very exciting for it’s been two years since my last trip. My friend in Athens says that things have changed a little after the financial crisis, but there is one thing you can’t change – and that’s the special ambience, and the spectacular scenery. And people don’t really change, they just soldier on. For times are always a-changing and everyone learns to go with it, good and bad alike.

My itinerary reads like gypsy wanderings – Naxos, Santorini, Milos and Sifnos in the Cyclades; Parga on the West Coast with visits to Corfu, Paxi, Kefalonia and Ithaki in the Ionians; Hydra in the Saronics; then around Crete, back to Athens, and Nafplio, Sparti and Monemvasia in the Peloponnese. And the nice part is I’ll be catching up with friends all the way.

So, until my return – Adio!

Booked, and Ready to Go…

March 18th, 2011

It’s a very satisfying feeling to know that the airline tickets for your trip are safely tucked away and your major hotels booked. Such it is with me for my coming trip to Greece.

I’m leaving Australia on May 5th with a pretty hectic schedule, and my major task is to make sure that my two companions enjoy the places I’ve selected for them. They asked to see the ‘real’ Greece, not just the touristy places. It’s getting harder each visit, for one by one the lovely out-of-the-way spots are being glammed up for visitors! However I’m confident that I can fulfill their wish with one or two ‘treasures’ I’ve found over the years.

I’m also on a mission to update this website with new and much better pictures and to collect data for a new travel book.  And…  I have been lucky enough to be invited to the wedding of two dear friends in Athens! This will be so special for me.

So if you’re thinking of a trip to Greece this year why not ask me first and I might be able to find some ‘treasures’ for you too!

Contact me at helen@greekpixandwords.com and let me plan your trip.

Planning a Trip?

February 11th, 2011

YES!

I’ve been sitting at my desk looking at a photo taken of me with two Dutch travellers and our driver at the edge ( the very edge) of the Vikos Gorge in the North-west province of Epiros, Greece.  And wishing I was back there…

That particular day was one of  those “some days are diamonds” things.  I was staying in the Greek Riviera town of Parga and the tour I had booked for had been cancelled due to bus breakdown. However the nice tour company decided to put on alternative transport, and ours was a driver and car. Consequently we were not tied to the tour itinerary and our driver opted to show us the very best places. Our destination was the Zagoria, sometimes called the Zagorohoria – the mountain hamlets of the Pindos Range, and the stunning Vikos Gorge which is the deepest gorge in the world.

Our journey started along the wonderful new motorway called Egnatia, most of which is hacked out of the very mountains themselves and is a roller coaster ride through tunnels and over stunning viaducts. The secondary road took us up, up and up onto the top of the world to a picture perfect little grey stone town called Monodendrio, where we walked to a very old tiny monastery where the gorge began.

Well! Views to die for! There I stood with nothing for a backdrop except sheer craggy walls of rock. Down below was – well, it was so deep it was hard to tell. Awesome. There was a track about two feet wide along the cliff face with the nothing-drop on the right, and I ventured along it, mesmerised by the stupendous vistas but tremulous with the sheer magnitude of the panorama.  They had to drag me away!

That was just the start of that lovely day!

Yes – I’m now planning my return this year. Coming?

Contact me at helen@greekpixandwords.com and let me plan your trip.

Helen’s 100 Travel Tips for Greece

January 3rd, 2011

You can order this now!  See my post below.

It’s only A$7.50 and you can pay through Paypal.

Just email me at helen@greekpixandwords.com and I’ll send it out straight away!

Helen’s 100 Travel Tips For Greece

January 3rd, 2011

Yassas!

Yes folks, at last my new mini ebook ‘Helen’s 100 Travel Tips For Greece’ is finished and ready for a good read. It’s taken me a while to complete but I’m sure you’ll find it entertaining.

Like all countries, Greece has the good, the bad and the ugly, but fortunately most of it is good – the main problem being that if there is a difficult way of doing things – that will be the Greek way! The Greeks themselves are the first to admit it. The fun part is knowing how to make the difficult things easy, and therefore having a trouble-free trip. This is what I’ve tried to explain in this small booklet, and I hope my tips will help. I’m not a travel agent, so I have no intention of trying to sell you a trip, I’m trying to sell you a country!

Here’s Tip 1 just to give you a taste of what’s to come…

? Tip 1.

Here’s five good reasons why you should follow in my footsteps and travel to Greece:

1. Because you’ll absolutely love it.

2. Because it’s hugely historical and you do need a culture fix now and then.

3. Because Greece is an experience like no other. (Challenge yourself)

4. Because Greece is beautiful, and stunning, and amazing, and different.

5. Because in Greece you can really unwind. And it’s Seniors friendly, too.

It doesn’t matter whether you loathe ruins, hate beaches, get sea-sick, detest olive oil and are indifferent to moussaká, I guarantee that within one week you will be captivated by this incredible country.

Here’s a quote I wrote in my E-book Greece – Gleeful Glimpses: “You need to understand that Greece is not a pretty country – rather it’s stunning and at times awesome, and always fascinating. There is a magical quality to Greece – it’s a place where you can have a sudden overpowering feeling of belonging on God’s earth, where you can discover self-worth and well-being. Rugged mountains rise so high the clouds stick to their shanks like skirts. From pallet-box blue seas, dry rocky islands rear up like dragon’s teeth. Tiny towns, like spilt sugar cubes, cling precariously, scatter across, spill down, or cower between steep hillsides of grey stone. They pool into cities in the lush valleys, or spreadeagle at the edge of perfect bays.”

I asked two friends of mine what it was that drew them back to Greece not once, but many times. One said “It’s the amazing ambience.” The other said “It’s a step back in time.”

It’s all true…

As ‘Helen’s 100 Travel Tips For Greece’ is not on the website yet you can contact me at helen@greekpixandwords if you want to order a copy. It’ll cost you A$7.50 and you can pay through Paypal.

Hello Friends

November 30th, 2010

My Recent Newspaper Article



OVER 50s GREECE – Ancient charms for the young-at-heart

This is the title of my article which appeared in the Australian newspapers recently – Brisbane Sunday Mail, Sydney Sunday Telegraph, and Melbourne Sunday Herald-Sun.

I was asked by the Editor to provide 1200 words on why Seniors should travel to Greece, and of course this was right up my alley, so to speak. I’ve also been able to put into words some of my own reasons for travelling to this lovely country.

Unfortunately there is no web link to it, so I’ve taken some pics of the article itself which you can print out. I do hope you can read it because newsprint doesn’t photograph all that well! If not you can email me at helen@greekpixandwords.com

Ah Greece! I’m going again next summer – coming too?