As those of you who follow me on Instagram know, I’ve been in Italy recently, specifically Cinque Terre. A combination of work & family/friends visit, timed around the olive harvest. In past years I’ve eagerly assisted with the grape harvest, going as far as stomping the many buckets of grapes with my bare feet. What fun! But olives? I had never before taken part in the harvest, choosing instead to busy myself with work while my Italian labors in the land. This year however, I decided to find out exactly how this homegrown oil is created.
Often I walk past Hôtel de Ville, Paris’ City Hall since 1357, and always I wonder what the interior looks like. This neo-renaissance building houses the local administration, and since 1977, the Mayor of Paris. Rebuilt after the original burnt down during the Paris Commune in 1871, it sits close to the Seine, bordering the famed Marais and attracting all who pass by its regal structure. Very often an art exhibition takes place within or outside its walls.
Every September, Les Journées du Patrimoine or Heritage Days, envelop Paris. For these 2 days it’s possible to visit monuments & sites usually not accessible to the public, for free, if you don’t mind standing in line, sometimes for hours.
Imagine a city with no cars or motor vehicles, where cyclists take over the wide lanes, paths are filled with pedestrians, & a public bike system provides the means for transport.
That’s exactly what happened last Sunday when Mayor Anne Hidalgo implemented a car-free day, provoked by a citizen collective called Paris Sans Voiture (Paris Without Cars).
We arrived to Rhodes and immediately fell under the spell of its majestic medieval city, the largest walled city in Europe. We explored the tangle of roads which led to the Jewish Quarter and paid a visit to the impressive Archaeological Museum. But our main destination was the town of Lindos, an hour by bus and a world of difference.
Rising over the traditional white homes of Lindos sits an acropolis dating back to the 10th century BC. As we ventured up the hill, we arrived to our home, Melenos Lindos, what appeared to be a village within a village; a world of its own that I was eager to discover.
With a quick stop at Kos, another world entirely with it’s myriad of beach bars and rock music, attracting day trippers in search of a spot in the sun. We boarded the next ferry to Symi, my thirteenth island on this, our fourth Greek Island adventure. But who’s counting?
I had no idea what to expect as the ferry approached Symi, part of the Dodecanese island chain. I did know it was a gem with a complex history, occupied by Italy in the 20th century, which could explain it’s colorful facades, and still a favorite to Italians and British.
One of my longtime dreams has been to go sailing. To experience the open seas, rising with the sun and rocked to sleep by the light of the moon. I had overcome my fear of water by learning how to scuba dive in Thailand. When one of my dearest friends (being in possession of a 47 foot sailboat) suggested we sail the Aegean Sea this summer, how could we resist? In late August we flew to Bodrum, Turkey and sailing adventures began.
Our sailing trip was a great success, confirming my love for the sport. Five days and nights on the Aegean, adjusting to sleeping in a small cabin surrounded by noises and motions of the sea, staying calm while the yacht tipped to one side. What I can well describe as a thrill! I’m already looking forward to the next sailing adventures… But first the Greek Isles. A destination that my Italian and I have grown to call paradise. Next stop Symi & Rhodes…