The Spain Diaries – 10 Things About Madrid

I have a mantra – one of the many, which says “better late than never”.

So after almost 100 light-years (or only a month) I would like to speak my mind about all the wonderful things I saw in Madrid.

And because I love lists, I thought it would be better to turn them into one.

1. Parque del Retiro

Or simply El Retiro, its name could be translated as The Park of the Pleasant Retreat, conveying perfectly its design and purpose. As I’ve already confessed in my post about Aranjuez, I have developed an unhealthy infatuation with parks, so I couldn’t leave this one out of my list. It’s perfect for a stroll, basking in the sun, jogging (as if) and relaxing. The locals and tourists seem to agree with me on this one.

In case you find yourself there, don’t forget to pay a visit to Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace). When traveling I like to use the buildings’ and sights’ names in the local language, just because it sounds more fun and more authentic. And it might help you locate them easier, if the locals don’t speak English. Sometimes, when you need directions to somewhere, all you need to do is to look lost and the locals will be glad to give you advice. Even if it is in a language you can’t fully understand, so make sure to learn how to say “thank you”!

But let’s get back to Palacio de Cristal. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Rocking chairs are scattered across the room, so you can take a break, relax, and enjoy the light.

This is Fuente del Angel Caido, the Fountain of the Fallen Angel.

2. Walking everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, when I say everywhere I simply mean a lot. We did a lot of walking while in Madrid, not only to compensate for all that jamon we ate, but also because walking is a great way to explore any city. I’d suggest walking along Calle Mayor and Calle de Alcala until you reach Parque del Retiro. It’s basically the same street, whose name changes after reaching Plaze del Sol. Many tourist attractions as well as imposing specimens of architecture can be found along the way.
Edificio Metropolis for example…

… Plaza de Cibeles…

… as well as Puerta de Alcala. Fun fact: There is a Puerta de Madrid in Alcala as well. No need to guess which one is the most impressive and most photographed.

Make sure not to forget Paseo del Prado, too. The trees’ shadow make it ideal for an early afternoon stroll.

On the other side of the city, Palacio Real.

3. Museo del Prado. Or Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Or preferably both.

I was ecstatic when I found out there is no entrance fee for students in either of these great museums. Just picture being an art student who lives in Madrid; you could spend all your Tuesday afternoons/ Sunday mornings/ your day of preference there! A few hints from a art musem enthusiast: If you prefer modern art, then Museo de Arte Reina Sofia is more suitable for you. If, on the other hand, are a fan of Goya, El Greco, Velazquez and Rubens, straight to del Prado you should go. I’d strongly advice you to visit both; there’s always something new to find out about art or you. For example, I realised that I don’t like Goya and that’s fine by me. And I found the temporary exhibition El Greco and Modern Painting much more interesting than del Prado’s permament collection. At this point I’ll have to confess that I don’t enjoy El Grecos thematology either (I appreciate his use of color greatly, though). However, it was f a s c i n a t i n g to see how his work attracted the most innovative artists, such as Manet and Cezanne, was critical in the emergence of Cubism for its influence on Picasso, and had an influence on modern American painters, such as Pollock. Who would have thought of that?

Here’s me having breakfast and a quick talk about art and museums in general at Museo del Prado cafe.

4. Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel was nothing like my beloved La Boqueria in Barcelona, since you can’t buy meat, vegetables, and fish, but you can stop by for a quick lunch. If there was a paradise made of tapas and fresh seafood, that’d be it. I have to warn you, it might prove a quite expensive sport, but it’s definitely worth it. 

We went on a food marathon and little was photographed before being devoured. To be brutally honest about you, the best food I had in Spain could best be described my Frank Sinatra’s My Funny Valentine lyrics: “You make me smile with my heart; your looks are laughable, unphotographable, yet you’re my favorite work of art”.

5. Templo de Debod
If you’re following me on Instagram – if not, now’s the time!, you have probably seen this already.

I’d suggest visiting Templo de Debod around sunset, when the sky turns orange-pink so that couples can take selfies in front of it. But let’s not leave the facts out. The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple which was rebuilt in Madrid, after the Egyptian state donated to Spain in 1968. What we see today is about one half of the original temple, since it was surrounded by walls, which created two courtyards leading to the main building.

6. Barrio de las Letras.

This has to be my favorite area in Madrid. Barrio de las Letras means District of Letters in Spanish, because of the writers who lived there during Spain’s golden age of the 16th and 17th centuries. Miguel de Cervantes and Lope de Vega resided here. 

Get lost, photograph street art, then stop at Matute for coffee and peoplewatching. Here you will see many hipsters as well as many chic locals.

7. Peoplewatching

… is a must regardless your destination…

… especially when it’s accompanied by chocolate con churros.

8. Plazas

This is Plaza del Sol, where Puerta del Sol is also located. If you like plazas bustling with people and noise, you’re going to like this one. If, on the other hand, you are looking for an oasis of tranquility in the middle of an try Plaza de Santa Anna in Barrio de las Letras. 

Or Plaza Mayor.

9. Madrid Rio

Located in the suburbs of the city, it’s the perfect spot to take a stroll (in case you’re lazy like me), go for a run or ride your bike.

Staying loyal to my second suggestion, we walked all the way to Campo del Moro Gardens. Where we saw a man jogging with his pet. Which was a pig. No kiddin’, major pet envy moment.

10. Cava Baja

Cava Baja reminded me of Barcelona’s El Barn quarter, mostly due to its plethora of cervezerias and tapas bars. It’s a very lively street, ideal for meeting friends over casual drinks.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

Lots of love and kisses,

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The Spain Diaries – Enchanting Toledo

From the Academy Award Winner … Wait! I think I have to stop watching Honest Trailers on YouTube so intensely. Let’s take it from the start…

From the 20-something blogger, who last week showed you how to successfully get lost in gardens, here comes a step to step guide to getting lost dawdling in Toledo.

I loved Toledo with all my heart. Something tells me it’s because it reminded me so vividly of Corfu, but who can blame me? The alleys, the buildings, the pouring RAIN… and the bright sun that followed it.

So here’s what you see when you walk your way from the train station to the central (?) entrance of Toledo. Mr. Weather wasn’t in such a good mood that way, but we weren’t willing to give up.

First piece of advice regarding Toledo: If you’re planning on staying there, which implies that you may or may not have a piece of luggage with you (if you belong to the second category, I salute and worship you. I could never do that.), make sure you’re traveling with a male companion, preferably related to you or having romantic feelings towards you, because upon arrival, this city is full of stairs and ascending streets and you’re going to need some help to transport the aforementioned luggage to the hotel. Thank you, dear.

This is Santa Cruz, which is also a museum. A museum we never entered to be exact. It belongs to the Holy Trinity that holds the works of El Greco safe – the other ones is the Museo de El Greco and … Oops, I think I forgot. It’s a guide for getting lost after all, right?

While trying to get to our hotel, which I booked through and I would definitely suggest it, we came across a litany, because after all it was a Sunday morning. Please, correct me if it’s something different, but in the Christian Orthodox country, where I come from, that’s what it would look like.

Followed by a marching band, which is so Corfu! Picture me throwing my hands in the air with enthusiasm and smiling widely – it was pretty scary!

They were marching around the Cathderal, which was – just like all Cathedrals in this country – an imposing building with beautiful architectural details. I’ll show you more later on, for the time being we have to get to the hotel first.
That’s the view from the window! You could lean over the railing and see the Cathedral.

Having successfully checked in and politely asked the hostess for an umbrella, we went straight to the Museo de El Greco. 

The museum was founded by Marquis of Vega Inclán and includes diverse works of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, more widely known as El Greco; pieces from the 16th and 17th centuries that are not only representative of his work particularly in the last years of his life, but also of culture and society in Toledo at that time. It’s also called La Casa Museo, because, when Marquis bought the building in the beginning of the 20th century, he thought it to be El Greco’s residence. Unfortunately, it is not, but that shouldn’t discourage you from visiting; it is a lovely Spanish house, refurbished and very characteristic of this era. If I have to be brutally honest with you, which is what I mostly do here, I left slightly unimpressed. I found Prado’s exhibition El Greco & Modern Painting much more telling and intriguing, but I’ll keep you in the dark about it until the next post.

After Museo de El Greco, we made a short stop for lunch and decided to stroll around the city.
And somehow ended around the Cathedral. Again.
This was actually great, since now I had the chance to photograph it from all angles and pay attention to the details without having to elbow middle-aged church enthusiasts along the way.

I fell in love with these little glass balconies; you can find them in Madrid, as well.

In case you want to get drunk before supper – and without anyone suspecting you – head to Mazapan El Flor Cafe Bar at Plaza Zocodover and ask for an Irish cofee. No one will know; it’ll be our naughty little secret.

After some point we ditched the map. It was a matter of wandering and spontaneously deciding betwen ‘left or right?’

At some point we found ourselves looking at Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes. All it took it was twice left and a ‘can we go up these stairs, please?’

So we did.

Having a panoramic view of… pretty much anything gives you time to think.

But, then, it can get lonely. So I decided to befriend this little old, greying dog who was eyeing me suspiciously.

There was a special chemistry as well as mutual understanding between us…

…especially since we both made all that long way up to admire the beautiful view. That’s river Tajo, I think.

At the end we said our goodbyes and parted, each of us off to a different direction.

That’s the gate where we initially entered Toledo on a rainy Sunday morning. I took this photo the following Monday, upon leaving.

The weather wasn’t promising much but fog, but… oh, that wonderful light!

Un beso enor…

Huh, did you really thought I was going to finish it off and desert you that way?

Here’s a little behind the scenes!

In case you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably already know I have a healthy obsession with swings!

And that I’m dating Mary Poppins.

Fogity, fogity, fog!

The Cathedral at night.

There’s only one time to get your map – or navi – out in Toledo and try not to get lost, because you really want to have tapas and drinks at La Abadia. The food is mouth-watering, the service fast and friendly, and the place really cozy. You are most likely to meet locals there, as well as picky travelers. Their tapas compos are strictly for carnivores, but they will get you hooked!

And now…

Lots of love and kisses,

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The Spain Diaries – Aranjuez

After finishing my last term paper, whose subject I chose on my own, proving to myself that I may, indeed, have some masochistic tendencies, I set off for Spain.
You see, Mr. Boyfriend is doing his Erasmus semester there; in a little but utterly adorable city near Madrid, called Alcalá de Henares. Since we were done with exploring Alcalá – both its day- and nightlife – within one and a half days, we decided to make a trip to Aranjuez, a city which is located 42km south of Madrid.
Aranjuez is located close to river Tajo and, according to my substantial research (Wikipedia ftw), UNESCO listed the cultural landscape of Aranhuez as a World Heritage Site in 2001. In addition, there is a palace there, since it was the spring residence of the kings of Spain since the late 19th century.

Since I refuse to be fazed by royal facilities and lodgings, after lingering for a while around the palace, we decided to delve deep into the gardens, which may or may not be royal but they remain extremely fascinating. Being a big city gal born and bred, I’ve developed a profound infatuation with gardens and parks of all types; the more labyrinthine, the better. Before you have the chance to raise any objections, I would like to add that the particular home town was build with little to no forethought or logic at all, so the great lack of vegetation has been fueling my quench for strategically curated greenery ever since.


Since I truly enjoy playing hide and seek in gardens, I’ve developed quite a technique for it. It might sound tricky, but – don’t worry! – I’ll walk you through it. Or should I say dance?
First of all, pick some clothing with a floral pattern. I went for my treasured daisy dress, which my friends and readers may be sick of seeing, yet I can never get enough of it. There’s so much swirling potential to it!
Then find a region one isn’t supposed to walk into…

…make sure nobody sees you… 
….now duck!

Trees can do the same work, as well!
Just don’t get as carried away as I did…
After that I decided to act normal. Until I came across this tree…

‘Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold…’

So Mr. Boyfriend gave me the ‘I shouldn’t have gotten her into GoT’ look.

River Tajo…
Plaza San Antonio, also called Mariblanca, possibly because it is a ‘sea’ of white sand or mar de arena blanca or elese an allusion to the female statue fountain at the far end, which is the Venus of sculptor Juan Reyna in 1762.

This is the church of Sant Antonio, where, if we have been nosy enough, we would have crashed a Spanish wedding. Even though I am not a huge wedding fan (of the ceremony, I don’t mind the custom), I enjoyed seeing that all guests were really dressed up. The women were wearing long dresses in bold colors and fancy headpieces. If I was about to take as many pictures as they did, I would have done the same.

In case you find yourself in Aranjuez look for Plaza de la Constitution and stop at Isabelo for ice cream or a cafe con leche and a little peoplewatching. Like every Mediterranean square that respects itself, it is a meeting point for people of all generations – elderly, families with children, and adolescents.

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The One About Studying In Germany

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, but I kept on postponing it without any particular reason. To be honest, the first time this idea began to form was many months ago, while I was spending my spring break in Greece. Relatives, friends, and friends of friends are always extremely curious about how life and studies in Germany are. However, I am not going to tell you about that. My perspective is too narrow for me to write a guide about studying abroad, so I will tell you about my life and studies in Germany, using all the FAQ I’ve answered again and again to interview myself.

Introduce yourself.
My name is Katerina. My family calls me Katerini, my grandpa lady, my boyfriend Kati, my friends Katerina, Kate, diva or flâneur. I am 21 year old Greek girl who is currently living in Germany. No cats, no plants, just two affable roommates.
Oh, in Germany? What do you do there?
I’m doing my bachelor in translation; that’s considered a BA. I think the best way to describe my degree is as mixture of language, culture and translation studies.
You must be able to talk many foreign languages.
Even though I’d loved to be able to do that (you have no idea!), the only languages I speak relatively fluently are English and German, which are also my ‘work’ languages. I also know a few things in Spanish, e.g. about ten different ways to tell a girl that she’s beautiful. It is a real shame I’m too keen on dating guys. J Learning Italian has been in my bucket list since forever… I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, and I also find the idea of Afrikaans and Japanese very compelling.
Why did you leave Greece? When did you decide you wanted to study in Germany?
I left Greece in 2012, after having successfully completed my first year of translation studies in the respective department of the Ionian University in Corfu. Whilst still in high school I felt the urge to go abroad for my studies and my parents supported this idea. As a result, parallel to my preparation for the exams for university admission in Greece I sent applications to multiple universities in Germany. However, when I completed the exams and got a place in the university in Corfu, I felt like I wasn’t ready to go abroad yet. My speaking/writing skills in German were pretty poor compared to now and I didn’t feel mature enough to do the transition from living with my parents to living alone as an adult in a foreign country. Therefore, I persuaded my parents to let me go study in Corfu for a year in order to find out whether I liked living/ studying there. If I was unhappy with my choice, I could always re-apply for the universities in Germany, which I actually did.
So you didn’t like Corfu?
No, I loved Corfu with all my heart! I fell in love with it from day one; apart from being a beautiful place – hence the thousands of tourists swarming there every summer – it’s also the place where I made the first steps towards adulthood and met many interesting people that are still very dear to me. In addition, I was lucky to have a couple very dedicated and charismatic university professors; I’ve learned a lot from them and I’m truly thankful for that.
However, I was craving for more. I wanted to go abroad and improve my language skills in an environment where I’d have the chance to exercise them actively – after all, languages are the subject of my studies. Germany sounded like an interesting choice. Everybody asks me whether I have relatives here or I’ve lived here previously. None of them, actually. I’d done a couple language courses in Germany as a teen and I’d also been here on vacation, so coming back for my studies sounded like a great as well as economical idea, especially compared to the tuition fees and cost of living in the UK. (More on the economic aspects of studying abroad on the second part of this post.)
And do you enjoy studying there? Is studying in Germany harder than studying in Greece?
There are many aspects that make studying here pretty amazing. Firstly, I get the chance to meet smart and talented people from all over the world. Even though the university where I study is located in a very small city in Southwest Germany, Germersheim, it has quite  an international character. If you walk through the campus, there’s a great chance you’ll listen to many German dialects (can’t promise you that you’ll understand all of them, though!), French, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Greek, different kinds of Arabic, Russian, Polish, Dutch,  several different English accents and so on. Secondly, judging from the experience I gained while studying in Greece, the university here is organized more efficiently. For example, you always get a response to your emails; it might not always be very polite, but it will meet your needs. I was lucky enough to have some really great professors/ staff members so far, from whom I learned lots and I enjoyed working with. I don’t mind putting extra work for people who are really knowledgeable about their area of expertise and are pretty clear about what they demand from their students. I’d like to underline this last fact, since people often ask me if studying in Germany is more copious than in Greece. I find studying here was – and still is – challenging for me in many ways, which I’ll analyze in my next post, but I wholeheartedly believe that if you’re willing to work hard and focused, and have genuine interest in the subject of your studies, it will be worth it. It will be strenuous, but exciting, as well.
Stay tuned for more!


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The One About Opportunities

Hello! Lately, I’ve been spending lots of quiet evenings at home, catching up with my reading. By reading I don’t mean only books, but also my Pocket list. Pocket is a Google Chrome application, with which you can mark all these articles that appear on your facebook homepage and read them later. If your list consists of more than fifty articles -just like mine – it is a little hard to play catch up. However, while browsing through it, I came across this article from Huffington Post, which comprises quotations from  commencement speakers in 2014. The article may or may not be five months old, but the ideas and advice expressed by all these greatly inspirational women are timeless. The following totally hit home with me:

“Life doesn’t offer you the perfect opportunity at the perfect time. Opportunities come when you least expect them … Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way. In a nice little box with a yellow bow on top. ‘Here, open it, it’s perfect. You’ll love it.’ Opportunities — the good ones — are messy, confusing and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you. But things happen so fast because our world is changing so much, you have to make decisions without perfect information. You have to make decisions based on the fact that the world is going to continue to change — on the belief that the status quo will be supplanted by something better. ” 

–  Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO

Un beso enorme to all my wonderful readers!
Hope you enjoyed this post!


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The Naxos Diaries

The calm, peaceful, and untroubled times of Sifnos were succeeded by the tumultuous days in Naxos, an island that belongs to Cyclades, as well. Traveling to Naxos was kind of a spontaneous decision; one of my dearest friends, Ioanna, messaged me to tell me that she and a couple of her friends from university were planning a little vacation there, would I like to join them? Traveling with a couple of people I didn’t really know? Count me in!

Even though I’d been in Naxos before, I must have been around 10-11 at that time, therefore I couldn’t recall much more than a) fighting with my brother over a sea matress with beautiful, crystal clear blue waters in the background, b) scarfing down chocolate covered cream puffs with a friend until our bellies hurt, and c) standing impatiently in a fancy store with local products while my parents where purchasing new objects for their “Things We Bought While On Vacation And Never Used Again” collection.

As a result, two hours after disembarking in Athens after my family vacation in Sifnos, I found myself on board once again. I was full of hopes and expectations about a fun trip, which where totally fulfilled. 

Since Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades complex, we didn’t have the chance to explore all of it, but we tried to see as much as possible during the four days we stayed there. Naxos is a very beautiful island, but I have to lay my cards on the table and tell you that I found the east, mountainous part of it much more interesting than the west, where the port and capital of Naxos are located.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s the crew: (from left) Alexandra, Ioanna and Aggeliki. Oh, and I, behind the lens. We had just arrived in Halki, a tiny, really picturesque village and probably my favorite place in Naxos – apart from the beaches, but I’ll get to them later on.

Hello, future home!

If you ever find yourself in Halki, make sure to pay a visit to the cafe-patisserie “Dolce Vita”. I won’t tell you what to order, everything we had – banoffee pie, orange cake and cheesecake with blueberry sauce on top – was equally delicious and made with love, so I’m pretty sure everything there tastes amazing. Skip the menu and go inside to see the different sorts of dessert on your own (it will make choosing a little bit difficult, since you’ll want to have them all, but you might discover a daily special that’s not on the usual menu), then sit outside for some people watching.

In Halki, we also visited a distillery, where kitron, one of the traditional products of Naxos is produced. Kitron is a citron liqueur, which is made from the fruit and leaves of the citron tree. It tasted good, but beware; it’s relatively strong. I brought home a bottle of clear kitron, which is supposed to be the mild variation.

Our next stop was Apiranthos.

Even though most of the walls throughout the village were white, we came across this house, which had doodles, love declarations and lyrics scribbled all over it.

Does photographing your shadow counts as a selfie?

Oops, did I just photobombed your photo?
I almost forgot to mention the beautiful sandy beaches. We visited the three most popular of them, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Plaka, which are located on the west side on the island, near the capital and all next to each other. My favorite was Plaka, where one could walk along the sea for miles. We got there late in the afternoon, when the sun was about to set and the beach was almost deserted. Therefore, we jumped at the chance to behave as silly as possible  enjoy ourselves. A lot. 

In case you find yourself in Plaka, tired and hungry after a long swim, I would strongly suggest having luch/dinner in one of the taverns located right on the beach. We went to “Manolis” and left full and satisfied.

This is Portara, which stands next to the port of Naxos and is, therefore, one of the first things you see when you arrive there. It is the most characteristic sight of Naxos, that’s why it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a postcard without it! It was supposed to function as the entrance of a huge temple that would have been built in honor of Apollo, a deity of ancient Greece. However, the construction was never completed and the only thing left standing on this site is Portara. The word “porta” could be translated as “door” in Greek and the ending “-ara” signifies something big, or something that exists in a great quantity. Therefore, “portara” could as well be translated as “the big door” or “the grand entrance”. Here’s how it looks before you climb up the hill…

… and here’s a close up!

I liked the tranquil atmosphere of this place. Even though there were many people when we arrived, it didn’t feel crowded. The best time to visit Portara is around sunset.
Waiting for the bus can be boring. That’s why we got ourselves busy by taking usies!

While walking in the old part of the city, we came across these umbrellas, which remind me of this project.

May I say that the night life in Naxos is rather relaxed and cozy? Dress up and head to Swing or 520 for coctails with a beautiful view of the port.

This one goes to my man.

Shopping for souvenirs…

… I bought the heart in the middle!

Because unusual headwear makes every outfit more fun – why didn’t I pack my hats?

On the last day we kept ourselves entertained by having coffee and taking photos, while waiting for the ship to arrive in Naxos.

Oh, there’s more to it. In only four days, we managed to take more than 600 photos.

The view while on board. Snif, snif, goodbye Naxos!
Un beso enorme to all my wonderful readers!
Hop you enjoyed this post!


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PS2: I’d like to thank my three wonderful fellow travelers for our memorable time in Naxos, as well as for their agreeing to being featured in this post. It’s was a pleasure! 😀
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The Sifnos Diaries – Details Make The Difference

The second part of my Sifnos diaries consists mostly of random photos that where taken in different places. Therefore, it does not revolve around selected locations; instead it focuses on minor details that make everyday life on the island beautiful and unique.

For example, slim felines with silky fur and piercing eyes seem to be everywhere. Only after I took this photo and zoomed in, I realised that this cat had two differently colored eyes. Even though black cats are supposed to bring bad luck, I find them truly fascinating.

Bougainvilleas are everywhere! Seriously now, I can not think of another color combination I could love more than this one: pink, blue and white.

Sifnos, just like several other Greek islands, is well-known for its pottery goods. In the past, the ornaments you see below where place on the top of the chimneys, while now, since most modern houses do not have a fireplace, they are used as decorative elements in gardens and patios.

Another cat…

The beautiful little port of the village Faros.

My brother and I sat down for a little while sightseeing at Kastro, a little village on the top of a hill. Since in the Cyclades is it always a little windy, I would strongly advice the ladies to stay away from flowy dresses and skirts. I guess I dressed a little impetuously, so I had my fair share of Marilyn Monroe moments while wandering in the alleys of the village.

House of Cats.

“Another cat?”, you may ask. If the cat in the first photo was black like Batman, this one is definitely the White Knight.

That how ordering an omelette in our favorite cafe “To Votsalo” in Platys Gialos looks. We kept going back day after day, therefore to say that we tasted almost everything in the menu would not be an exaggeration.

This little church in the middle of the blue sea was located next to Kastro making the view even more breathtaking. Would you dare walk down the aisle climb all that long way down? 

Ending today’s post with a beautiful sunset shot. Get to Kamares around seven thirty in the afternoon to see the skyline change into all shades of orange, pink, red, purple and blue in just half an hour.

Un beso enorme,

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The Sifnos Diaries

I spent the last two weeks in Cyclades, in Sifnos and Naxos to be exact, and I came home feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, inspired and with lots of wonderful memories. I’d like to start by telling you about my time in Sifnos, where my family and I spent about ten days, driving around the island, discovering beautiful beaches and eating delicious local food.

My daily routine consisted mostly of swimming, reading, wearing as little clothes as possible – I solemnly refused to part from my bikini and denim shorts if not for showers or dinner – and being utterly ridiculous, because if you can’t be goofy around your family, then where? Oh, and playing cards non-stop. Have you ever encountered anyone starting a new round of cards after giving their order at a restaurant? It might be considered completely indecent, but let’s just say that no one complained when our order got to our table a little late. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Sifnos is full of picturesque landscapes; dry, grassy hills that drop into the sea, whose color varies from emerald green to every imagineable shade of blue. It’s a kind of pure, almost severe beauty that wins you over slowly and relaxes the soul. Having missed the sea so much, I couldn’t help but take as many photos of it as possible.

The next two shots were taken in Platys Gialos, which is the longest beach on the island and also the location where we stayed. There’s a little settlement along the beach consisting mainly of small hotels, cafes and family owned taverns with traditional local cuisine. I took the photos at aroung 8.30 in the morning! It sounds crazy, I know, but the feeling of being the first one to hit the beach can not be described. The water is crystal clear and there’s a profound serenity amidst the beach. In addition, a quick swim in the cold water is the best way to wake up and feel energized all day long.

If you take a trip towards the northern part of the island, make sure that you visit Cherronisos, a stony peninsula that, apart from being very picturesque (remember the sun-baked landscapes I mentioned previously?), also forms a little harbor, where you can swim, have lunch, or simply bask in the sun.

Next one in the list is Vathy, which in Greek means “deep”. If you’re kinda afraid of deep, dark, mysterious waters, don’t worry. The person who named it either a) had a very unique sense of humor, or b) was refering to the fact that Vathy is a relatively wide gulf with a very narrow entrance. In case you decide to have lunch there, go to the tavern called “Tsikali”, where you’ll taste local edible awesomeness under the trees’ shadow with your feet buried in the sand.

This is Lazarou beach, a little isolated beach just next to Platys Gialos. This beautiful location is relatively little known, therefore not as crowded as the rest of them. We didn’t visit it until the next to last day of our stay there – a small treasure under our noses.

The emerald green – bluish water definitely deserves a close-up…

I just discovered the perfect spot to sunbathe!

My favorite time at the beach, though, was late afternoon, slightly before the sunset. The beach is almost deserted and relatively quiet, as the last people pack up their belongings after a long day under the sun. The sky is blue-ish and about to turn into a cocktail of pink, orange and purple. In addition, all children have also left the beach, which means that I’m able to run through sand castles without scorching looks by infuriated parents.

However, I left two intact. This one for its impressive minimalistic elements…

… and this one because I sensed some kind of Game of Thrones references.

Last but not least, I’d like to show you my favorite place in Sifnos, a village called Artemonas. It is located next to the “capital” of the island, Apollonia. Even though the two settlements are really close to each other, there are many differences between them. For instance, since most shops, public services, cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs, as well as everything else that is necessary to human survival, is located in Apollonia, Artemonas lacks the bustling day and night life. It is less crowded, more peaceful and has a more distinct style than the neighboring settlement. There one can see the stately residencies of the island’s old upper class, as well as the traditional minimalistic white houses with the blue doors and windows, which are characteristic of the Greek islands.

Bougainvilleas are my favorite kind of flower, therefore I never miss a chance to photograph them or pose in front of them. In summer, they are everywhere – what a joy!

These are strictly decorative miniatures of pigeon cotes, which are usually scattered all over Sifnos (in Tinos, as well!).

That’s my younger brother, who was taking my pictures throughout our vacation in Sifnos.

Un beso enorme,


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The One About Cups (Not of Coffee, Though)

*Blogger’s note: In order to enjoy this piece of writing to the full, I would wholeheartedly suggest clicking on all the links.

I have (only metaphorically) been dying to do a post discussing the issue of boobs. Because… what’s more controversial than that? The triggering event behind this post was my renting the entire first season of Game of Thrones, gently placing the DVD inside the DVD-player and hitting play. In case you are not playing catch up with the rest of the world like me and watched the first episode of the series when it was officially aired in 2011, I’d like to remind you that in this very first episode the viewer gets to see Daenerys Targarye butt nakes – or should I say boob naked, simply for the sake of this post? We don’t know who she is, where she’s from, what she does for a living (Khal Drogo happy, apparently), but there she comes, everything is in full view. Even when she decides to actually get dressed, she puts on this hideous dress, which was undoubtedly knitted by the dust that was accumulated on the dragons’ eggs; there is no other sensible explanation, to my mind, why the dress is so see-through. 

Ask any guy – I for example asked my boyfriend pretty often – why men put up with plenty of the seemingly silly things women do and he will give you the same answer. “Because boobs.” The question he asks in return is “Do you think lesbians are as obsessed with boobs as men?” And I wonder: What’s the fuss with boobs? Yesterday, I saw this on 9gag (Click! Click! CLICK!). Have I always taken the road less traveled by using the other body part that starts with “b”? The brain, Captain Obvious.
Maybe it is all a part of Protagoras’ substitution principle, which can also be applied to nature. According to this principle, every weakness (e.g. of an animal) is counterbalanced by a special ability. It seems as if, when Mother Nature was picking out a pair for me, she said “She’ll be travelling lots in her life, so let’s give her a pair of easily portable ones, which will make running to catch trains or to check-in luggage ten minutes after boarding has started less strenuous.” Therefore, I developed a sixth sense for baking and whipping dessert in recompence. 

Boobs are for women what penises are for men. A small difference: It’s quite rare that you’re find a woman bragging about her bra size. However, boobs are an issue for most women – if it’s not for you yet, it will probably become one in later life. Unless you are Kate Upton, who is probably unaware of the fact that the considerable amount of flesh that is accumulated at the upper part of her torso and, therefore, is preventing her from seeing the rest of her body is actually called boobs. They can be too small, too big, too saggy, swollen and/or in pain, looking to promiscuous when wearing a particular type of blouse, making finding the right bra as complicated as physics seemed to me throughout my entire school career or persistently refusing to “look” in the same direction.

Apparently having too big boobs seems to be the most serious case of them all. It is so serious that there are multiple tumblr accounts out there dedicated to busty girl problems. By the way, this one is my favorite, even though I can’t relate. Did you know you can have long necklaces caught in your cleavage? People asking if your boobs have names? I’ve named the black circles under my eyes and that’s how far I’m willing to go in regard to naming body parts. That lingerie companies produce mostly boring designs, if you’re anything over a D cup? And don’t let me start on this. If I keep looking, I might even come up with charitable foundations that provide busty chicas with psychological, moral as well as financial support – cute bras for bigger sizes are considerably pricier.

Just like a chameleon demonstrates a highly developed ability to change color, boobs are capable of changing their size. Take losing weight, for example. When a woman loses weight, the boobs react just like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, when her sister is selected as one of the female representatives:

How annoying is that? 

Once I read somewhere that in the ancient times (Egypt? Ancient Greece? The Roman Empire?), prostitutes with a protruding belly would stuff their bras; bigger looking boobs were supposed to compensate for giggly abdominals, in other words. How genious is this? How come modern society has dropped this trick? Can I cancel my much dreaded gym subscription already and invest the money in padded bras?
I’d like to end today’s post with a couple linguistic details that caught my attention. According to the online Oxford Dictionaries the word “boob” also means a) an embarassing mistake, or b) a foolish or stupid person. How interesting, especially if you consider that most men’s reaction to boobs resembles one of them or even both.

Un beso enorme,

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Sensible Advice on First Dates

So many of you enjoyed my scrutinizing my selfies; you have no idea how happy that makes me! Cheers to that!

Anyway, today is another day and there’s another topic I’d like to discuss. In case the title of my post wasn’t revealing enough, I’d like to talk first dates.

The thing is, I really like going to first dates. As a result, this assigns me to a minority of deeply, yet only seemingly, masochistic people, who in contrast to the rest of the humanity who despises them, enjoy going on first dates. Or, maybe, I’m totally alone on that and I’m not yet aware of it. 

You’re most likely about to ask, what do you know of first dates? Why would you ever write an article like that? Aren’t you in a happy relationship? Well, you’re perfectly right, but before my bf came and shattered all my lofty aspirations of becoming a full-time cat lady, I was a permament resident of the planet Singlus. The term Singlus derives from the English word “single” and the suffix “-us” (s. Uranus, Venus, Uterus, etc.) and it’s used to describe a previously unknown to most natural satellite of Earth. As planet Singlus orbits around the Earth, its inhabitants have the chance to shoot looks full of envy to the happily paired off residents of Earth, hoping and wishing to embark on the next spaceship heading over there.

As a result, the perks of dating have not escaped my attention. Going on a first date with a new person is like changing high schools in the middle of the year or amnesty programs for political offenders: One has the chance to wipe the slate clean and bury the past. 

After having my fair share of dating, I came to a series of conclusions, which you should definitely have to follow in case you want yourself to experience the same thing that happened to me: Not many second dates. If the first date is such an exciting time, why spoil it by going on a second one?
  1. Just like Gerard (Butler, is there anyone else?) kindly informed us in the film The Ugly Truth, men are visual creatures. Therefore, here comes a piece of advice concerning first date dresscode: Wear something simple and neutral, a pair of jeans and a cute top. In this way, you’ll have the opportunity of scaring the hell out of him on the second date by going all the way with your vogue extravaganza – supersized hats, long skirts (still a maaajor issue for most men), bold patterns, statement jewellery, you name it. What could be more fun than giving the impression you’re perfectly normal, only to tear it apart on the following dates?
  2. Even though men insist women talk too much, way more than they do, that’s not perfectly true. Men love to talk about themselves, just like all creatures who are able to articulate their emotions and thoughts. As a result, I’ve resolved to mostly asking questions and nodding with interest during first dates. It has advantages for both sides: The man gets to express himself and you get to know him better. For example, he will mention one or two things that annoy him or that he despises, like musicals. In such cases, you can proceed and declare your genuine affection for musicals, don’t be shy!
  3. Arrive late. Like 5-10 minutes late, not an hour late. If you don’t, how are we supposed to maintain the stereotype of women being always late and needing too much time to get ready? In addition, do you really want to be the first one at the meeting point? I find it always a little awwwwkward.
  4. If you are a blogger, don’t mention it. At first, men act surprised but do not take you seriously at all, then they discover it, read it thoroughly and falsely suppose that everything you write is either directed or refering to them. Or in case you’re a successful blogger they might want to date you just because of that – it has never happened to me, but you never know.
  5. Last but not least, avoid BBQ sauce at all costs. It’s the devil in a bottle, one can never be sure what could happen when BBQ sauce is around. The first photo of this post is from my first (picnic) date, which was idyllic apart from the part where an evil BBQ sauce bottle exploded inside my favorite bag (ok, I might or might have not put on the lid properly, but that’s irrelevant) causing panic and despair. Now my reaction to it is similar to when you’ve puked after guzzling generous amounts of a particular alcoholic drink, let’s say, hmm, tequila. You just don’t want to see or smell it. Ever. Again.

Un beso enorme,


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