Windy Mykonos – Day 2 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise

On the second day of our Greek island cruise with Azamara Club Cruises we awoke in Mykonos, well known as the island where all the beautiful people come to party. We took a 10 minute ride on the shuttle bus from the new port to the edge of Mykonos town and walked around the harbour watching the super-yachts parking up. Guy instigated a game where we each had to say which of the boats we would like to own and why. I always go for the least flashy ones and he likes anything that’s made of wood, but perhaps you would choose one of those millionaire yachts that have endless staff polishing every surface?

Heather in the Harbour of Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather in the Harbour of Mykonos, Greece

The first thing that struck me was that while on Santorini the roofs were domed, on Mykonos all the houses were cube in shape. The second thing that struck me was how windy Mykonos was, which meant that it was cooler than the baking heat we had experienced on Santorini, but could be a little wearing if you had to cope with it every day. Because of the wind we decided against a trip to Delos to see the archaeological remains, fearing that a 30 minute boat ride in high winds might be rather rocky.

Mykonos’ iconic windmills

Many of the other cruise guests were heading to the beaches but since we had enjoyed plenty of beach time in Greece a few weeks before, we opted for exploring Mykonos town at a leisurely pace. We soon found the 5 windmills on the hill that are the main landmark of Mykonos and took photographs of them from every angle, the best view being from the car-park that was unfortunately placed right behind them.

Heather at the Windmills of Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather at the Windmills of Mykonos, Greece

Below the windmills there is a line of colourful buildings dating from Venetian times, known as little Venice with balconies that overhang the water. Many of the buildings are cafes where you can sit on the balcony with a view of those picturesque windmills. Further along are terraces where the water splashes right up, but be careful where you sit on a windy day as you may get unexpectedly drenched by the waves.

The Windmills of Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Windmills of Mykonos, Greece

A wander round the narrow streets of Mykonos

With the main sights of Mykonos ticked off our list we wandered around the narrow streets, some with old ladies chatting underneath washing strung between the houses. Mostly though there were just a lot of shops and cafes, all selling everything stylish and fashionable you could wish for. We ended up having lunch at Yummy’s café which served excellent crepes and fresh juices at reasonable prices.

Walking Around the Streets of Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Walking Around the Streets of Mykonos, Greece

On our wandering we spotted Petros the Pelican, another landmark of Mykonos, hiding in a doorway. I felt a bit sorry for him as he was encircled by tourists trying to take photos and looked like he was trying to escape the paparazzi.

Petros the Pelican of Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Petros the Pelican of Mykonos, Greece

Later in the afternoon we went back into town to visit the folklore museum, an old sea captain’s house set overlooking the harbour. The museum was free but of course we made a donation and the guide gave us an interesting explanation of the collection of objects from all over Europe. I was fascinated by the drawers of votive offerings, little flat silver shapes that you would offer in a Greek church to be displayed in front of the icon as a prayer for good fortune. There were different shapes depending on what you were hoping for; in the shape of a leg if you needed help with healing your leg or a baby if your baby was ill. We also visited Lena’s House, another folk museum that had been the home of a lady from Mykonos now preserved in the original 19th century style.

Lenas House Folk Museum on Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Lenas House Folk Museum on Mykonos, Greece

Island hopping in the 1980s

As we walked back toward the ship, Guy reminisced about his student days, when he came to Mykonos on holiday with a group of friends. He remembered camping by the beach or sleeping on the roof of people’s houses and that the island seemed to be a haven for gay couples. It was unusual to see men holding hands openly in the 1980s.

Evening View of Little Venice in Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Evening View of Little Venice in Mykonos, Greece

Church in Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Church in Mykonos, Greece

We returned to Azamara Journey and enjoyed the Indian buffet in the Windows Café, enjoying eating in the warm night air, with after-dinner entertainment around the pool of Soul and Motown. Everyone was enjoying it so much that the captain held off the sailing time for 20 minutes as once we left port the wind meant that the passage was rather swaying. There was a full moon and as the ship sailed we watched the necklace of lights along the shore. As we settled into our stateroom, I’m sure the party was just getting going on Mykonos. Tomorrow we arrive at Patmos.

Azamara Journey at Mykonos, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Azamara Journey at Mykonos, Greece

About Azamara Club Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises is a small luxury cruise line with two ships; Azamara Journey that Heather and Guy sailed on and Azamara Quest, each with a capacity of 686 guests. The smaller ship size means you often visit destinations that larger ships can’t get into and the ships can dock in more central locations. The emphasis is on destination immersion; enjoying the destination to the full, arriving early and sailing late so that guests can enjoy nights and cool places ashore, with insider access programmes and a unique AzAmazing evening included in each cruise. No itinerary is the repeated and each year the ships visit different destinations around the world. Azamara is part of Royal Caribbean Cruise group. Visit the Azamara Club Cruises website more information about a Mediterranean luxury cruise like the one Heather and Guy enjoyed.

You can also connect with Azamara Club Cruises on Social Media via:
Azamara blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | Pinterest | YouTube | Flickr

Joining your Azamara Club Cruise

Heather and Guy flew from London Heathrow to Athens and back from Istanbul using British Airways, although obviously each cruise is different in the best way to get there.

Heather used the Meet and Greet Parking Service booked through APH Parking and Hotels who offer airport parking at a range of airports across the UK as well as travel extras such as airport lounge booking and airport hotel stays.

Both flights and transfers from the airport to your cruise ship can be arranged through Azamara Cruises via their Choiceair service

Thanks to Azamara Club Cruises who hosted Heather and Guy for their 7 day Greek Island Cruise and to APH Parking and Hotels who provided their airport parking at Heathrow.

Read More about our Azamara Greek Island Cruise

Sailing into Santorini – Day 1 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise
Patmos – Day 3 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise – coming soon
Kusadasi & Ephesus – Day 4 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise – coming soon
At sea – Day 5 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise – coming soon
Istanbul – Day 6 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise – coming soon

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Sailing into Santorini – Day 1 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise

The Greek Islands bring back happy memories for my husband, Guy, as we spend this week together on a Greek Island and Turkey Cruise with Azamara Club Cruises. Guy went island-hopping in his student days and visited many of the places such as Santorini and Mykonos that form part of this cruise, although his student budget in those days could not stretch to some of the luxuries we are now enjoying on Azamara Journey. Our early morning flight from Heathrow brought us to Athens and an easy transfer to Pireus where we boarded Azamara Journey and settled into our luxurious stateroom, our home for the next seven days.

Stateroom 7032 on board Azamara Journey with Azamara Cruises Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Stateroom 7032 on board Azamara Journey with Azamara Cruises

The first port of call was Santorini, a group of islands that were formed in a volcanic eruption many thousands of years ago and form the outer ring of the volcano with the sea covering the central caldera. The main island of Thira or Fira has no port large enough to take a cruise ship, even a small one like Azamara Journey, so we tendered into shore and took the cable car up to the top of the cliff (€5 per person 1 way). Neither of the alternatives of a donkey ride or a walk up the steep cobbled path to the top in the hot sun were very appealing and even in the cable car, the rich smell of donkey droppings wafted up from the path below.

Beautiful sea views

We didn’t linger too long in Fira, but found the crowded bus station with expert drivers backing their buses into impossibly small spaces. We joined the many people asking the bus conductors “Is this the bus for …?” and eventually found the one for Oia – pronounced Ee-ah. (€1.80 per person 1 way every 30 mins). Who’d be a bus driver on Santorini, driving along narrow, winding roads, trying not to be distracted by the sea view?

Heather in Oia, Santorini, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather in Oia, Santorini, Greece

As the buildings of Fira town thinned out we passed bright white and local stone holiday villas, with domed roofs proclaiming “caldera views” – some of them looking rather smart places to stay. Beside the road all we could see were dusty cactus clinging to the pumice stone and a few patches of purple flowering thyme.

There’s a walking trail that runs between Fira and Oia that I would have happily hiked in May, but in the heat of the midday July sun it would have been a quick way to get sunstroke. As we got closer to Oia we could see the flat plain below with square fields marked out and fewer houses apart from those perching on the side of the cliff.

Most people’s idea of Santorini is formed from the photos of white houses and blue domes that they think epitomize Greece, but are actually mainly found in Oia. The town is strung along the cliff-top and there is one main pedestrian stone paved street (beware it can be slippery) that stretches in both directions from the bus station along the top of the cliff overlooking the sea.

Oia in Santorini, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Oia in Santorini, Greece

Shopping and people watching

With shopping ranging from the sometimes tacky to the mostly tasteful and the achingly trendy, this is a place to shop for jewellery and gifts, hang out in bars and cafes and take plenty of photographs. It’s also the place that everyone comes to watch the sunset and take those picture postcard shots as the sky turns pink and the light is golden. This is the place you’ll find stylish fashions with everything you need to look the part on your Greek cruise or your hot, hot, hot Greek island holiday.

Shopping in Oia, Santorini, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Shopping in Oia, Santorini, Greece

The burning heat

Did I mention the heat? It was absolutely boiling hot 35 degrees + and if you insist on visiting in July and August, my recommendation would be to walk the streets of Oia, take your photos and then to find a nice shady café for lunch or a cooling drink. Walk, rest, drink every 30 mins or so until you have had enough of the people watching and the wandering and the shopping. There isn’t a great deal else to do but Oia is a pretty enough place to hang out for a few hours.

Apart from the obligatory visit to Oia are some archaeological remains to see at Akrotiri but we decided to give that a miss because of the heat. Seriously, if you are there in July or August, plaster yourself in high factor sun cream wear a hat and drink plenty of water. After a walk around Oia I felt like I’d been in a sauna.

Dinner at Pyrgos

After our very hot walk around Oia we had lunch followed by a cooling swim at the pleasant Lioyerma pool and café which is at the furthest end of Oia, close to the windmills. Then we took the bus back to Santorini and from there got the taxi to Pyrgos where we were having dinner at Kalisti Taverna. Because we were a bit early we decided to walk up to the Kastel where we found an old church at the top with a fortified gateway and some great views over the flatter side of the island.

Greek Salad at Kalisti Taverna Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Greek Salad at Kalisti Taverna

Our dinner at Kalisti Taverna was part of the Azamara Club Cruises “Cruise Global Eat Local” dining experience where you eat in restaurants with excellent food and a local flavor. We enjoyed delicious Greek specialties such as Greek salad with tomatoes, olive, feta, nicely presented in a grilled cheese basket. There was a garlic aubergine salad, fava bean puree and baby tomatoes stuffed with rice and local cheese. This was the meze style starter course and then we had roasted lamb chops with baklava for desert, all washed down with an excellent award winning Santorini wine. At 9.30 pm we were swiftly transported back to Azamara Journey just in time for the ship sailing out of Santorini at 10pm. Next stop Mykonos where we arrive tomorrow.

Fava Bean Hummus in Santorini, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Fava Bean Hummus in Santorini, Greece

About Azamara Club Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises is a small luxury cruise line with two ships; Azamara Journey that Heather and Guy sailed on and Azamara Quest, each with a capacity of 686 guests. The smaller ship size means you often visit destinations that larger ships can’t get into and the ships can dock in more central locations. The emphasis is on destination immersion; enjoying the destination to the full, arriving early and sailing late so that guests can enjoy nights and cool places ashore, with insider access programmes and a unique AzAmazing evening included in each cruise. No itinerary is the repeated and each year the ships visit different destinations around the world. Azamara is part of Royal Caribbean Cruise group. Visit the Azamara Club Cruises website more information about a Mediterranean luxury cruise like the one Heather and Guy enjoyed.

You can also connect with Azamara Club Cruises on Social Media via:
Azamara blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | Pinterest | YouTube | Flickr

Joining your Azamara Club Cruise

Heather and Guy flew from London Heathrow to Athens and back from Istanbul using British Airways, although obviously each cruise is different in the best way to get there.

Heather used the Meet and Greet Parking Service booked through APH Parking and Hotels who offer airport parking at a range of airports across the UK as well as travel extras such as airport lounge booking and airport hotel stays.

Both flights and transfers from the airport to your cruise ship can be arranged through Azamara Cruises via their Choiceair service

Thanks to Azamara Club Cruises who hosted Heather and Guy for their 7 day Greek Island Cruise and to APH Parking and Hotels who provided their airport parking at Heathrow.

Read More about our Azamara Greek Island Cruise

Windy Mykonos – Day 2 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise
Patmos – Day 3 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise – coming soon
Kusadasi & Ephesus – Day 4 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise – coming soon
At sea – Day 5 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise – coming soon
Istanbul – Day 6 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise – coming soon

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Exploring Venice with my Maxwell Scott leather backpack + reader offer

When my Maxwell Scott leather backpack arrived in the post, the smell of the leather transported me instantly to Italy, the home of the true leather artisan. Although Maxwell Scott is a British Company, they work in Tuscany with some of the best craftsmen to produce a range of handbags, briefcases and wallets that have a timeless style. These are bags that your friends will admire as the leather mellows to become an old friend. If, like me, you have a daughter with an eye for the good things in life, you may just find her ‘borrowing’ your Maxwell Scott bag and never giving back. Read on to find out how you can get a special 10% reader discount on this and other items in the Maxwell Scott range.

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice - San Georgio Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice – San Georgio

Since we were off to Venice, I had the opportunity to see how my Sparano leather backpack fared when out sightseeing in the most fashionable surroundings. I like to dress up a little when I travel so I needed a bag that would be elegant enough to compete with all those effortlessly stylish Italian women. But practicality came into it too, since as a blogger I travel with my camera and a fair bit of other gear, and need to have my hands free for photography.

Check out my video below with my Sparano leather backpack in Venice

If you can’t see the video above of my Maxwell Scott leather backpack, see it on my blog here or Youtube here and please do subscribe using the button above

Click here for direct download of video
Subscribe to all my videos in I-tunes
If you enjoyed this video, check out the others in my Video archive

Sophie- Anne wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sophie- Anne wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice

I chose the Sparano because the size was just big enough to carry everything I needed but still quite neat and compact, although there’s a smaller Popolo backpack if you only need to carry a phone and your designer sunglasses. My daughter also had her eye on my bag and soon we were sharing it during our sightseeing excursions around Venice. If you are also tempted, check out my 10% reader discount .

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice

Here’s what Sophie-Anne had to say about ‘our’ Sparano Leather Backpack;

“The best thing about this bag is the fit as it sits comfortably on your back with no awkward gap between the bag and your spine and the straps do not dig in – areas where other bags have failed. It is clear that this is a high quality product shown by the beautiful leather, lining and overall design. Invaluable when travelling, this bag can go from airport, to day, to night, to activities, to strolling around town. The classic style also makes it easy to pair with any outfit a fashion concious individual might have in mind.”

Sophie- Anne wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice - Rialto market Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sophie- Anne wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice – Rialto market

Since Venice is such a tourist hotspot you do need to keep an eye on your valuables, and I liked the fact that there was a neat outside pocket, but also a secure zipped inside packet to tuck away your purse and phone. The bag took me all around town with room for my guidebook, camera, a bottle of water and a few other blogger necessities.

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice - Doge's Palace Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice – Doge’s Palace

Maxwell Scott is based in York and sells the bags exclusively through their online store. Their understated but stylish designs are crafted in their factory in Tuscany using the finest hides, zips and fittings and the bags have a 25 year guarantee. Orders over £100 have free delivery in the UK but don’t worry, they also ship worldwide.

10% Reader Discount (limited time only!)

I’ve teamed up with Maxwell Scott Bags to offer a 10% reader discount on all their bags and other items. Just click on this special link; http://bit.ly/handbag10 that will take you to the Maxwell Scott Website and the 10% discount will be automatically applied when you add any items to your basket. The reader discount is for a limited time only until 16 August 2015.

St Marks square, Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sophie-Anne in St Mark’s Square Venice with the Sparano Leather handbag

About the Maxwell Scott Sparano leather backpack

The Sparano leather backpack costs £202 and may be ordered from the Maxwell Scott Bags website here. It features a draw string opening, a large polyamide interior with a rear zipped pocket and a small external zipped compartment and adjustable shoulder straps. The bag comes in 3 colours of vegetable tanned, full grain Italian leather; Night Black, Classic Tan and Dark Chocolate. We also loved the smaller Popolo backpack which is ideal if you are looking for a neater bag to carry just the essentials and don’t have to consider space for cameras like me. Click here for my 10% reader discount before 16 August 2015.

If you are visiting Venice….

We highly recommend Walks of Italy who offer a number of different tours in  Venice and other parts of Italy, which are ideal if you are only visiting for a short time. You’ll have an expert local guide to show you around and can often skip the queues at key sites. We took the 2 hour Venice Boat Tour which took us down the Grand Canal and many of the smaller canals with views of the key sites of Venice including a visit to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore where we climbed the bell tower with amazing views of Venice. Read my review of the tour here.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Venice?

For our 3 day stay in Venice I rented an apartment with Go with Oh and was able to use the €250 voucher that I won with Passports with Purpose blogger fundraiser. We chose this apartment in the San Marco district since it was so well located for all the main sites.

Thanks to Murissa from The Wonderful Traveller who hosted this prize contributed by Go with Oh and and for her tips on what to see in Venice. Passports with Purpose is a really worthwhile organisation which supports a different cause each year and you can win some really fabulous prizes so it’s definitely participating.

Pin It!

Read about my Sparano Leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Next Page »