Monday, May 30, 2011

Glorious Greece :: Rhodes

The Old City of Rhodes is the oldest medieval town in Europe. There are approximately 200 streets or lane ways, so getting lost is easy to do. Richard and I drove from Lindos over to Rhodes one afternoon and took in the vista of olive tree's and stone ruins along the way.

The port at the Old City is the point that cruise ships dock to allow travelers to disembark and explore beyond the stone walls. The street of Knights is the most beautiful part of Old City, it is restored and preserved. The street stretches from the New Hospital-Archaeological Museum to the Grand Master's Palace.
We slowly wandered up the streets taking in the beauty of the stone buildings and sculptures.

One of the most impressive sites is the Palace of the Grand Master. Within the walls are relics from the medieval period, ancient sculptures and room after room of mosaic pattern floors.

Among the endless streets are shops and of course restaurants; the difference in Rhodes is that the local tastes are more varied than traditional Greek food selections. We decided to stop and have lunch at a restaurant with a third floor balcony that offered a great view. After we ordered I headed out to find the ladies room to wash up; on my way I discovered on the walls some original photo's of a movie that had been filmed many years prior. I told Richard 'you have to go and look at the photographs'.

What a treasure for my film fanatic guy; the pictures were from the movie 'The Guns of Navarone'. Richard was thrilled and mentioned that he had thought of the movie when we first arrived because the vista reminded him of the 1961 classic film.

We frequent a Greek restaurant while at home, and prior to our trip the owner gave us details on his family restaurant in the Old City and suggested we visit. We managed to find the spot among the hundreds of shops and restaurants, albeit that we did not have the opportunity to eat there. The octopus was hung up to dry on a clothes line outside like a pair of pillowcases blowing in the wind.

We had a memorable trip, a thousand plus pictures and several quirky video's to remind us just how memorable the trip was. I can recall something very special at each point along our journey. But mostly, the thrill was that Richard was there holding my hand at every step we took and sharing the experiences together.

Greece is truly Glorious. Opa!

More Glorious Greece........... HERE.

Glorious Greece :: Lindos

When Richard and I planned to visit Greece this past fall we turned to a company who specializes in designing luxury vacations; travel2greece (Travelive).
I discovered the VIP concierge travel service while researching options for our trip online. They offered five-star accommodations in each location and the opportunity to put the itinerary together from our selections; then they arranged transportation to each new location. It was seamless with the airline, hydrofoil and taxi transfers arranged and waiting for us. Trust me, this is the way to go.

Our final destination following Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, OIA , was Rhodes. We arrived at the luxury boutique hotel Melenos-Lindos, and suddenly felt the transformation from the previous stops in Greece.

The patio outside of the room at Melenos-Lindos Luxury Hotel.

One of the casual dining area's at Melenos-Lindos.
Referred to as the Rose of the Aegean, Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in Greece. The island is different than the previously visited destinations we had visited in Greece. Located only 18 kms from the coast of Turkey, the influence of  Turkish culture intermingles with traditional Greek way of life. The unique selections at the Melenos Hotel showcases the intermingled culture.

Inside Dining room. Note the globe glass chandelier.

Richard and I purchased one of the these glass globes while in Santorini. It's a pretty Aegean Sea blue/green and pulls down at the base to easily insert a tea light. But, I'd love to have a chandelier of these glass lamps under an outdoor canopy on the patio. 

Lindos is a heritage archaeological site with building restrictions; the architectural blending of new into the existing landscape was carefully considered when designing the hotel. The build was a substantial undertaking that took twelve years, much of that do to the craftsmanship of the unique installations. 

Stone walls and smooth pebble walkways were painfully crafted by hand.
Outdoor canopied restaurant overlooks the bay and the Aegean Sea. Lindos Acropolis sits high on the hillside. 

We enjoyed breakfast and dinner on the outdoor dining area. The chef at Melenos-Lindos is incredibly talented, the staff was personable and entertaining. Notice the mosaic style pattern on the patio floor; it is produced with individually inlaid smooth pebbles in various colours. 

Silver tray and jam containers were on the table at every breakfast ..... I really wanted to bring a set home.

When we arrived at the town square of Lindos, we were met by the hostess and bellman. Our luggage was loaded into a narrow wagon car that could pass through the cobbled streets up to the hotel. We followed our hostess up to the hotel along the path, which is the processional route up to the acropolis of Lindos. 

The hotel offered the most incredible views of the bay.
The rooms are unique with the unique Turkish woodworking and stone masonry. The beds are elevated on traditional Lindian raised platforms, and are for the agile traveler. The extensive use of wood and stone and the open windows with breeze blowing in off of the water at night reminded me of times at the cottage. 

Angel on water tin in the garden area.

The Lindos Acropolis sits high on the cliff and could be seen from the hotel. Below sits the cobble street village and the beach community. It is a combination that provided a comfortable and romantic stay for us in Lindos.

** visit more of Glorious Greece here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge :: Stylish Newlyweds

William and Catherine have returned from a 'memorable' honeymoon in Seychelles at the luxurious North Island hotel. Just like their fairytale wedding, the aspect of entertaining as newlyweds is somewhat surreal. It's not every couple who has two billion people watching their wedding, and so it seems somewhat natural that the first guests they would entertain at home would be a couple of significant importance - the President and First Lady of the United States.

Michelle Obama is known for her distinct fashion style that drifts between a girlie full-skirted look to long and lean straight skirts topped with fitted cardigans. Mrs. O isn't afraid to wear colour and on her recent trip to the Palace she broke protocol (again) when she distinctly ditched the matching dress and coat fashion that has bored us to tears.
Kate (yes, we will all lovingly continue to call her Kate as well as Catherine) put her best fashion foot forward wearing a camel Reiss bandage dress called the 'Shola'. The dress sold out within minutes after the first images of the Duchess wearing it were released, proof that beige need not be boring.

Slim, toned and elegantly stylish Kate looked relaxed and regal during the brief meeting with the Obama's. Kate continually showcases her glamourous taste and illuminates her innate ability to dress casually or elegantly without appearing processed by a stylist.
Thanks to the Duchess and her famous Sister Pippa, the self tanning bronzer product industry has enjoyed a 219% surge in sales. These ladies know that a little glow is fashionable and healthier when it is dispensed from a bottle.

The Duke, who has proven that even in fatigues he looks handsome, also manages to look comfortably sophisticated when he is dressed for regal occasions. The most prominent thing that William wears is the look of love in his eyes for his new bride. William's body language with Kate speaks volumes, it is evident that he wears an armour of protection around her.

The stylish newlyweds evoke a modern vision on 'the Royals'; is it any wonder that we all fell in love with them on April 29th.

Simplicity, Elegance, Modern Regal Style, and GLAMOUR........... all the things you would hope for with this young Royal couple.

On The Lake

As Canadians we are fortunate to have an abundance of lakes with approximately 9% of the total area in Canada covered by freshwater. Growing up in Ontario I had the opportunity to 'head up north to cottage country' and enjoy some of the prettiest lakes.

Although our family didn't have a cottage, my Father's best friend Paul did...... and we spent many weekends at his tranquil place in the Kawartha lakes.
I will always remember the first time we visited the cottage and driving through the winding roads among the tree's at night, loading all of us in the boat and traveling across the lake in the dark. It was a bit difficult to decide if I really liked this 'cottage thing', well until the next morning that is. My Sister and I woke and went outside with our Father where we discovered the fun that was waiting at the end of the dock.
The image of the beautiful tree's reflecting back off of the water is something that I will forever recall.

The cottage was simple and snuggled among the tree's on the private island. Many of the properties on the lake are accessible only by boat, which provided a wonderful sense of isolation. I think it was here that I discovered how exquisite it is to be surrounded by silence.

My Mother was not as adventurous in the water or boat; when she woke that first morning at the lake and couldn't see us on the dock she panicked. She was reassured that my Sister and I were swimming right at the end of the dock at arms length from our Dad. And then she discovered that the depth of water at the end of the dock was a quick 35 foot drop. The panic returned.

The cottage was a new experience for me and I loved it.
The first summer that we visited the indoor washroom had not been built and it made me nervous to go to the little outhouse tucked back behind the cottage in the thick volume of trees. It seemed dark and I imagined that there were bears in the woods. I always made my Mother go there with me.
My Father and his friend Paul worked on an addition to the cottage which included an indoor washroom and another bedroom. They built a new dock and outlined the shore with boulders.
My Mom would cook big breakfasts with pan fried potatoes and tomatoes, eggs and loads of toast. She would cook meatloaf dinners with potatoes and press homemade burgers for the grill. It was all about comfort food. I'm sure it seemed like a weekend of cooking and washing up for my Mom, but she seemed to love the tranquility as well.

Years later I watched as people began to build the 'ultimate cottage'. Some of the retreats are as big or bigger than their city homes and are finished with details that evoke a different image from the little lakeside spot that charmed us. And although I want comfort and style, there is something about the simplicity of things that makes it a real cottage.

Two of my former bosses put together their own comfortable retreats on a pretty lake in the Muskoka region of Ontario.  The cottages were featured in top Canadian decorating magazines, they each evoked a sense of coziness with style.

This was once a little A frame cottage before the addition.

The main living area of the 'new A frame' cottage features built-in window benches that offers a view of the lake from every window. This cottage has a more polished look; but the cotton fabrics, abundance of loose cushions, and wooden floors provides an easy living style.

and on the same lake............ a different look........... from the other 'former boss' and friend .........

Visiting this cottage with the wrap around screened-in porch was a treat, especially for dining in a bug-free space. The original building was a main open kitchen/living area with two small bedrooms. The addition expanded the cottage adding a master retreat with stone and wood finishes.
The main living area featured the number one item on my list of 'must haves', a stone fireplace. Keep the dishwasher and the soaker tub, but for me the treat of relaxing up north is the comfort of a roaring fireplace along with the sound of the crackle of the fire.

The mix of old, refurbished and new all mingled with texture is what makes a cozy cottage. Wood and stone, scratched surfaces, soft cottons with layered wool blankets on top; open cabinets with dishes that don't match and yet speak the about the same dinner stories from so many tables.......... these are the reflections of my ideal cottage. 

Painted wooden floors and re-vamped tub and sink are simply perfect.

I can't think of a better way to dine than with the tree's all around you. No matter what meal you are taking, you will be sure to enjoy it with a view like this.

A great place to relax, snooze, play a game of cards and even watch a storm.

Keep it really simple and bright........... paint it white.


Accessories and accents are easy with refurbished pieces painted, and items from the dock and shoreline.

With a fresh cottage season starting and a summer of fun ahead, there are so many warm and comforting thoughts of the times we spent together at the lake.

For everyone who is cottaging this season, enjoy a safe summer.

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