simply Symi

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?

IMG_0092I 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.

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gone sailing

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.

IMG_9147 IMG_9210With plenty of wind, we set out to explore the charming Turkish coastal villages.

IMG_9280Often, in sight of a hidden paradise, we would anchor in the middle of the sea and swim.

IMG_9314IMG_9296 What I loved most was sitting aboard the boat, passing one beautiful vista after another.

IMG_9306The “captain” showed me the ropes and even let me sail. What a pleasure it was!

IMG_9413Most evenings were spent dining on land, the sunset marking the end of a memorable day.

IMG_9434Before we returned to Turgutreis, we stopped to explore Ancient Greek ruins of Knidos.

IMG_9564It was here that we discovered one of the most beautiful “ancient” swimming spots.

IMG_9550Our 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…

adventures in Essaouira

On July 29th I celebrated my birthday. In true leo fashion, I toasted grandly with friends in Paris. Meanwhile, my Italian, forever the romantic, planned another surprise getaway. The last three were in Italy, but this one, he hinted, was to foreign landscapes I had often dreamt of. I arrived to the airport unaware of where I would be spending the next four days. Tears of joy collected in my eyes as I saw the boarding sign: Essaouira, Morocco! In just over three hours we landed and soon after arrived to gorgeous views from our riad.

IMG_7474That evening I experienced my first Moroccan sunset. I was already enamored.

IMG_7587The following day we explored the Medina of this mid-eighteenth century fortified city.

IMG_8147I learned that the prominent blue covering many of the doors and windows were remnants from a Jewish past, and also the symbolic color of a port city.

IMG_7478 IMG_7484IMG_8004I was interested in learning about the local products of the artisans, and even met a few.

IMG_8012The port of Essaouira, known for it’s myriad of blue boats and hundreds of local fisherman, was the most important trading port between Europe, Africa and the Americas from it’s foundation in 1770 until the first half of the nineteenth century.

IMG_7739 IMG_7772 Having first ridden a camel in the desserts of Rajasthan during my travels in India, I thought what better way to discover the Moroccan landscape, with it’s miles of sandy beaches.

IMG_7940With the winds in full force, we boarded these gentle dromedary and began our tour.

IMG_8414Our guide stopped to show us the ruins of an ancient Sultan palace from the 18th century.

IMG_7954We continued until we reached the town of Diabat, where Jimi Hendrix’ legacy lives on.

IMG_7957The last day I experienced a local hammam, and we spent the afternoon in the Medina, a place I had grown to love for it’s vibrancy. Many tagines later, it was time to return to Paris.

IMG_8158But not before one last sunset, ending a magical adventure in Morocco.

Portovenere and the poets

In my dozens of trips to Cinque Terre, I had never visited the town of Portovenere, until now. We boarded the tourist boat, filled with anticipatory visitors from around the world. For that afternoon, I became one of them. In just under an hour we arrived to a breathtaking sight. The Church of St Peter originates from the 5th century, both Gothic and Christian, with most recent additions in the 13th century, marked by black & white stripes.IMG_5677 IMG_5679 IMG_5682As our boat turned into the port of this tiny peninsula, a row of vibrant colors greeted us.

IMG_5687These houses were built by the Genovese Republic as a fortress to protect from invaders.

IMG_5810Portovenere, part of the Gulf of the Poets, is where the likes of Lord Byron (whose name was given to a now collapsed sea cave Grotta dell’Arpaia), George Sand and Alfred de Musset spent lengthy periods of time, writing, dreaming, swimming…

IMG_5778 IMG_5795  It was here too, where Percy B. Shelley drowned in a storm and his memory lives on.

IMG_5830It was a summer afternoon steeped in history, and eagerly we returned to life on the sea.

life on the sea

Ever since my first visit to what I then called ‘paradise found’ during my year of travels, I fell in love with Monterosso al Mare. Little did I know that I would meet a man from this very land and come to call it my home. Recently we spent nearly two weeks living on the sea. Blissfully. Days began with yoga beneath a kiwi canopy and visits to the bakery for cappuccino and a fresh cannoli, followed by picking capers in the garden, or lemons in the grove (that task was left to my Italian). A family lunch followed a siesta beneath the shade of a beach umbrella. Evenings spent with friends. Every night I fell asleep to the lullaby of the sea, some nights it bellowed to us, other nights it whispered. I rose to the church bells.

IMG_5638IMG_5932IMG_5374IMG_5277 As I wrote five years ago during my third visit, I have come more deeply to cherish this land where nature reigns and life is valued in the most basic and beautiful of ways.

IMG_5377IMG_6308 IMG_6315 IMG_6318How important it is to slow down and appreciate the art of living.


Until we meet again… and life on the sea continues.

discovering Dijon

Not long ago I was invited to join Rendez-vous en France, the official site for France Tourism, as a select few traveled the country to create their new campaign Fall For France. Considering there were several regions of France I hadn’t yet explored, I eagerly accepted the adventure and boarded the train with Rail Europe. In under two hours I arrived to Dijon.

IMG_9241Dijon being the capital of the Burgundy region, naturally day one was spent wine tasting.

IMG_9093Bourgogne being my top choice in wine, I discovered new reds and even a few whites.

IMG_9375Being in the expert hands of the Dijon Tourism Office, our next stop was a special one.

IMG_9361The Clos de Vougeot vineyard was created by Cistercian monks of Cîteaux Abbey in 1336. This medieval wine farm was highly recognized for centuries. The Château de Clos de Vougeot, sitting regally within the stone wall, was added in 1551.

IMG_9353Since 1945, it is the seat of the Order for the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.

IMG_9325Wine is no longer produced, but this historic Château holds many stories within it’s walls.

IMG_9330It was now time to enjoy the city, and why not from the 46m high La Tour Philippe de Bon?

IMG_9339The sunlit views were stunning, and I was eager to explore by foot down below.

IMG_9404I spent countless hours walking, looking up, admiring the architecture, the historic details.

IMG_9441I discovered a new love for a city and it’s neighboring landscapes. With local products in hand, including a few bottles of Bourgogne, Dijon mustard (I couldn’t leave without a tasting), and gingerbread (another specialty), I vowed to return when the vines are filled with leaves. Maybe even with a certain someone. There is much more to see… and taste.

IMG_9467My next adventure is taking me to Italy…feel free to follow along on Instagram + Facebook!


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