Winter Trip in Paris

Winter Trip to Paris | Travel Guide

Paris, je t’aime.

When I had to make a trip to London this past January, I decided that I wanted to tack on at least one other major European city to explore.  With a couple of girlfriends on board, we decided that Paris was the perfect location for a winter girls’ trip.  Wine, cheese, croissants, art, and scarves – what’s not to love about winter in Paris?  Oh, and there’s no tourists to be seen save us. 

24 hours into our trip and I had already fallen in love.  Meals are three hour affairs involving multiple courses shared languidly over intimate conversations with wine.  Everyone is impeccably dressed, there is a cheese shop on every corner, directly next to the bakery, and you can’t find a bad glass of wine if you tried.

We spent over a week in this historic and entrancing city and I can’t wait to return.  

Here’s a few of my favorite images from the trip, along with some that we hired Flytographer to take for us, along with recommendations for your winter trip to Paris.

Paris Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Travel PhotographyParis Graffiti TourParis Graffiti TourParis Graffiti TourParis Graffiti TourFondation Louis Vuitton

STAY: Montmarte was our favorite neighborhood, but you also can’t go wrong with the Marais.

EAT: I dare you to find a bad bottle of wine in this city.  I double dog dare you to find bad cheese.  Doesn’t fucking exist.

  • Anne and I had been anxious to try out EatWith ever since we’d heard about the concept: EatWith’s goal is to bring strangers and travelers together at tables around the world in local’s homes.  You sign up to eat with others and learn about new cultures and food traditions and Paris seemed like the perfect place to try it out.  We absolutely adored our meal with Claudine more than any other meal we had the entire trip.  It was incredibly memorable from start to finish – so much so that we ended up inviting her to join us for dinner later that week.  I’m feeling thankful to have had such a unique experience and to make a new friend!
  • Restaurant Jeanne B in Montmarte feels a bit like stepping into a charming farm-style delicatessen, if that is a thing.  Spiraling sausages hang from the ceiling and the daily changing menu is presented on chalkboards at your table.  We enjoyed the experience and the variety so much, it became the only spot we returned to twice on our trip.
  • The cathedral like ceiling and mirrored accents make the sparsely decorated Daroco feel extra chic but also warm  and cozy somehow.  They offer wood fired pizzas and homemade pasta for those looking for a bit of comfort in an incredibly stylish setting.
  • Do not confuse Les 110 de Taillevent with it’s 3 star Michelin rated big brother around the corner.  Although, if you do, they are used to it and will simply direct you to where you are supposed to go.  Despite showing up late, they will graciously seat you amongst the 110 options for wines by the glass and feed you stunningly prepared food.
  • Our favorite meal in Marais was at Le Dôme du Marais, which feels remarkably like eating in your own private garden.  The building was originally utilized as an auction house to fight against poverty thanks to Louis XVI.  It’s absolutely stunning inside and the food is exquisite to match.


  • We were told by no less than 10 people that a drink at Les Philosophers was a must.
  • We spent an extraordinary amount of time at Le Gisou, partially because it was literally across the street from our flat, but also because it was charming, cozy, had a great staff and an even better bathroom.
  • The Bar Hemingway is a must visit, but only for one drink, because that’s all you can afford.
  • The Bistrologist is perfect for late night cocktails.  Their drinks are inventive, the decor dimly lit and intimate, and it feels a bit like a speakeasy.  The kitchen also stays open really late if you find yourself wandering the streets and starving at midnight.


  • After doing the graffiti street tour in Bogota, Colombia, Anne and I have been inspired to find more walking tours, whether street art related or not.  Paris actually offers it’s own street art walking tour hosted by Street Art Paris.  They offer tours in Montmarte, the Left Bank, and the one we chose, Belleville.  Since we were staying in Montmarte, we thought it would be nice to explore a neighborhood we weren’t already wandering on our own.
  • The cooking classes at La Cuisine Paris are worth the expense!  We participated in the market class, which starts off in a nearby outdoor market.  You collectively pick a plan for your meal, shop for ingredients, and then return to the La Cuisine kitchens to prep, cook and share your meal together.  It was a wonderful experience and I was even able to come back home and recreate most of the aspects of the meal on my own from memory!
  • If you’re a wino like me, a wine tasting is a must-do.  The classes at O Chateau will walk you through the French vineyards and regions.  We walked away with a much greater appreciation of French varietals and their appellation system.
  • Gonçalo Silva was Flytographer’s first ever photographer hire and I was pretty excited to meet him and have him do a Paris portrait session for us.  We ended up having a blast wandering the charming streets of Montmarte with him and another Flytographer photographer, James.   We all loved each other’s company so much that two bars and a meal later, we finally concluded our evening together!

  • Fondation Louis Vuitton is an incredible display of design, color and architecture designed by Frank Gehry.  While we were visiting, they were hosting a traveling exhibit of 130 artworks collected by Sergei Shchukin, on display for the first time outside of Russia.  It was a really incredible collection, featuring tons from Matisse and Gauguin, not to mention the building itself.
Alfama Buildings

Three Days in Lisbon

It wouldn’t be a trip to Portugal without a stop in this large, sophisticated city with pockets of old world European charm. Spend three days in Lisbon and you’ll have plenty of time to discover all the pockets of wonderful things this area has to offer.

Lisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon Portugal

Lisbon, while charming and mysterious, wasn’t quite as thrilling for me after spending so many days in Porto. It’s a much larger city and it feels that way.  That being said, it’s a worthwhile stop for two to three days while you are exploring the country.  Although I won’t return for a second visit, I am overwhelmingly happy that I visited and it wouldn’t be a trip to Portugal without a visit to Lisbon.

STAY: You want to stay in the Alfama district: it’s tight magical winding streets are even smaller than those that have a similar feel in Porto.  There are tiny restaurants and cafes tucked into every corner with traditional food and Fado music, the melancholy but traditional music of the country.  There are charming and vintage private rooms to be had on Airbnb in the area for $20-40 a night in the area and entire flats for $35-$70.

EAT:  I had a harder time finding cuisine that I was over the moon for in Lisbon, simply due to the grander larger nature of the city.  Small intimate recommendations were harder to come by here: Lisbons’ seem to pride themselves on being a cosmopolitan city and most of the places that were suggested were fancier and more American than we were looking for.  That being said, I had some solid meals in the city, the most memorable of which came on my last night in a small restaraunt with three tables run by one older woman who spoke no english.  She fed me the traditional dish of Portugal: salted cod with shredded fried potatoes and it was clearly the nation’s comfort food.

  • Queijaria for afternoon snacks or lunch: this place was quaint, unassuming and filled with amazing cheese.  It’s a great place to stop and refill mid day while you are out exploring – you can quench your thirst with a glass of wine and eat cheese and antipasto to your heart’s content.
  • Garrafeira Alfaia is dark, unassuming and comfortable.  Dine on traditional black pudding rice with cumin, sausage with scrambled eggs or the secret black pork Lagareiro.  If you aren’t that hungry, order more wine and cheese.  I may have consisted on pure wine and cheese this entire trip.
  • Frangasqueira Nacional for lunch.  This small grilled meat shop offers nowhere to sit, but quite possibly the best blood sausage and roasted chicken in the city.  Order up a mixed meat platter and head down the road to the Principe Real Garden to enjoy it.  After that, head down the road to the Botanical Garden to walk off your massive food coma.


  • Solar do Vinho do Porto is a warm cozy place to curl up on the couch with a book on an overcast day.  It’s dark and wonderful in there and the selection of ports will astound you.
  • Listen to Fado at anywhere that draws you in at night in Alfama.  You can wander the streets until you hear something that intrigues you or make dinner reservations


  • Get lost in the streets of Almalfa.   The view is particularly gorgeous from Miradouro de Santa Luzia.  Wander all the way up to the mediaeval Castle of São Jorge, the royal residence until the early 16th century.
  • The Museu Colecção Berardo has an impressive collection of modern art and no entrance fee.  It had more Warhols than I’ve ever seen in one collection!
  • Still not museumed out?  Head up to the Museu da Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian which has an incredibly impressive collection of ancient world, religious and Impressionist and European art.
Porto Portugal

A Week in Portugal: Porto Travel Guide

This past March I took advantage of a great excuse to explore Europe: Fearless Photographers offers a yearly photography conference in different European cities and this year’s conference was in Porto, Portugal.  I was excited to attend what turned out to be an incredibly inspiring and enriching experience.  I met some incredibly loving and adventurous people who I look forward to a future adventures with, drank on the streets until 4 AM with them one night, wandered the iconic city for hours on end every day taking photos of vibrantly colored buildings and it’s beautiful traditional azulejo, the ceramic blue tiles that adorn many of it’s historical buildings, discovered a love of expensive port and ate like a king.  Porto’s people are unvaryingly calm and collected: they have soothing voices with evenly paced pronunciation that makes you feel incredibly tranquil in their presence.

Here’s a few of my favorite images from my trip, interspersed with images taken of my friend and kick ass travel companion Shaunte, of Shaunte Dittmar Photography, and myself by Momento Cativo for Flytographer.

Porto PortugalPorto PortugalFlytographer in Porto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalFlytographer in Porto PortugalPorto PortugalFlytographer in Porto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalPorto PortugalFlytographer in Porto Portugal

Porto won me over in every way from head to toe.  It is everything I want in a vacation destination: unbelievably charming, affordable, and engaging.  I could easily spend weeks in this city and never tire of wandering it’s streets.  Here’s a mini Porto travel guide of navigating this beautiful city.

STAY: You want to stay in the Ribeira district: it’s charming historical winding streets and churches around every corner give it the old world European feel.  There are tiny amazing restaurants tucked into every corner with incredible food.  The riverside offers unbeatable vantage points of Porto, especially if you cross over the bridge into Gaia for an evening.  There are beautiful studio apartments that you get all to yourself on Airbnb for $40-70 a night in the area.  We really enjoyed our stay at Hugo’s TocToc Studio.  It was a perfect and incredibly convenient location to explore from.

EAT:  The most memorable places we discovered in Porto were tiny and intimate.  Most had five tables or less.  Most had three people working, or less.  Restaurants in Porto open late (expect to eat after 8 PM every night) and reservations are usually needed.  We were there during Easter week, which is a big holiday for most of Europe, and in some cases it was hard to get reservations for places.  At dinner most nights, we started just asking them to bring us whatever they wanted to serve us or whatever they thought they did best, and the results were always inspiring.  Of all the places I’ve traveled, Porto will remain in my heart as one of the greatest culinary experiences I’ve ever had.

  • A Sandeira for lunch: score a bowl of homemade soup and a sandwich for 5 euros.  Like most wonderful Porto restaurants, this place is incredibly intimate and has very few tables so go early if you don’t want to hang outside waiting for a spot to open up.  It’s worth the wait!
  • Our meal at La Piada was one of the most memorable of our trip.  The staff is incredibly gracious.  The restaurant itself is wide open, with tall ceilings, a tree in the middle of one of the tables and local art on the walls.  The couple who owns the restaurant is Italian and Portuguese and they offer piadinas: a small italian flatbread filled with Portuguese staples.
  • One of my other favorite meals was at Porta4.  There were three tables in the entire restaurant and two brothers taking turns cooking and serving us.
  • Amarelo Torrada for breakfast: if you are dying for something bigger than an espresso, this gal never minded serving me up a large americano.  I was craving eggs and actual breakfast for most of my trip, but these guys had some wonderful breakfast like toasted bread combos like cream cheese and lox that were a good stand in.


  • I found Livraria da Baixa on my first day and I returned every day thereafter.  The staff is warm, welcoming, and remembered me and my drink.  They mix a great cocktail and if it’s a nice day, you can sit out on the patio and people watch.  If it’s a rainy day, you can while away the evening in the incredibly cozy upstairs lounge.  Just push the bell on the bookshelf when you are ready to order another round!
  • Graham’s is one of the oldest and most renown of the Port makers in the area.  Tour their famous lodge overlooking Gaia and Porto and then partake in a tasting in the tasting room.  Be forewarned: the vintage tawny tasting is worth the expense but may ruin you in regards to port forever.  I have come to the new self realization that it is not that I don’t like port – it’s that I don’t like cheap port.


  • Take a boat trip on the Duoro River.  This is one of the few things that I wasn’t able to do and wish I had.  You can view the architecture of Porto from a new vantage point, or take a boat all the way up the river into the wine growing region and go wine tasting.
  • Go on a church tour: Igreja dos Carmelitas has an incredibly picturesque traditional tile wall on the outside.  Clerigos Church offers a 75 meter tall tower that offers unprecedented views of the city from the top of it.  Expect a wait to climb the 240 stairs if you are there at a busy time.  The Church of Sao Francisco is filled with gilded Baroque decor.
  • Get your tourist on: Lello & Irmão Bookstore is apparently the third most famous library in the world, most likely because it supposedly inspired many aspects of Harry Potter for JK Rowling.  The architecture inside is supposedly incredibly stunning.  I didn’t have the patience to stand in line for four hours to go inside, so I’ll have to go back.  If you really want to see the inside, you might go first thing in the morning before it opens to avoid the crowds, or right at closing.  Cafe Majestic opened in 1921 and used to be the meeting point for the area’s elite and creatives.  I was told it’s incredibly beautiful but has “tourist pricing.”  JK Rowling also apparently spent many a day in this cafe on the first book in the series.
  • Hire your own personal photographer: Flytographer’s photographers for Porto are Ivo and Vanessa.  This dynamic duo of a photographic team are married and totally in love with their home.  They were incredibly fun to wander the city with for an afternoon, exploring the tight winding streets for the best kind of souvenir: photos of ourselves playing in a city we came to love.
  • Visit the Oporto Craft Market: it’s filled with small stalls of homemade art, foodstuffs, and other creations by local artisans.

Flytographer in Porto Portugal

Snowglobe Festival

Snowglobe Photos | Day 3

There may have been frigid temps in Tahoe South this year, but you couldn’t put a freeze on Snowglobe attendees spirits.  Regardless of the weather, the crowds braved the bone-chilling cold to dance the night away and ring in the New Year under fireworks and our beautiful mountain sky.  With the new addition of the Snowglobe warming tent, which included an amazing retro dance party at all hours of the day, party goers were better equipped to escape the elements this year.

My third day at Snowglobe was elevated by Atmosphere, who seems to genuinely love Tahoe and returns to it often.  For that I am thankful!  I found some funky grooves in the Sierra Tent punched up with swing music borrowed from the Roaring 20’s by Tincup, which made me a little bit warmer and quite happy!  Side story of hilarity: White Guy Pad Thai is so delicious and in such hot demand, they ran out of pad thai (I told you so) and turned into White Guy Weiners for the last day.

Here’s a few photos from our last day at Snowglobe 2014.  We hope you enjoyed your stay in Tahoe and Happy New Year!

Help me win a trip to Berlin


Remember when I wrote about how I was trying to win a trip to Berlin? It’s one of those annoying who-isn’t-afraid-to-bother-their-facebook-friends-more-than-the-other-person-contests.

I refuse to harass my friends that much. I’m cool with harassing them a bit, but getting on facebook once a day and asking your friends to repeatedly vote so that you can win a goddamn trip to Europe when there are still people without power in our own country is a bit pretentious.

So, the low down is, you can go here and vote up to once a day between now and December 16th. Every time you vote, you also get entered to win a trip to Berlin.

Also, they moved all my wording around. It looks not anything like that gorgeous post I wrote on what I would really do if I went to Berlin. Also, there’s no chance in hell I’d stay in that monstrosity of a hotel – I would stay in this amazing flat.

Make it Happen: Berlin is giving away a trip to Berlin for one lucky blogger. I decided to enter the competition, which had some tight restrictions. I wrote this beautiful long informative post on all the things I would dream of doing with a week in Berlin, only to discover it was about 1,000 words too long. My imaginary trip to Berlin takes far more than 200 words to describe.

Make It Happen: BERLIN (the long version)

I fell in love with Europe after visiting Munich in 2011 and now I have a strong desire to not only explore more of Europe, but Germany in particular. With only two days there, I clearly wasn’t able to give the country the time it’s history and culture deserves! Berlin in particular has much to offer for the traveler due to it’s diverse art scene, complex history and 153 different museums!  Here’s what I would do with a few days in the capital city.


  • Reserve a room in the Swissotel Berlin where your luxury room comes stocked with an espresso maker to get you up and out the door in the morning and you can rent bikes on site.
swissotel berlin

The Swissotel Berlin, photo via


  • Taste the locavore menu of Ibero-Pacific cuisine at Pantry.
  • Housed in what seems to be an old church, Katz Orange offers changing seasonal menus and inventive twists on classic cocktails like their “Mexican Garden,” a sweet and spicy take on a margarita.
  • At Frarosa drink wine, choose from two set menus and pay a suggested donation price (or what you think the meal was worth!).


  • Head to Clarchens Ballhaus where they offer nightly lessons in tango, salsa or swing and then spend the rest of the night getting showed up on the dance floor by grandmas.
  • Berlin is world renown for it’s nightlife and I wouldn’t be able to go without spending at least one night out listening to some EDM.  Panorama Bar is your best bet for international talent: it was named the “Best Club in the World” in 2011.
  • Farbfernseher is Berlin’s smallest house venue. What it lacks for in size, however, it makes up for in spirit.
  • Cookies: the club for those of you who want to party on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Only.


  • Start your first day off with the Discover Berlin Walking Tour which will take you around to the major historical sites.  If you have the time, delve deeper with the Third Reich Walking Tour and see what is left of the “1000 year Reich.”  Later on, return on your own to the Berlin Wall via the Nordbahnhof Station, which houses a museum that details the ancient history of the underground transportation system and the stories of those who used it to escape.  Walk the 1.3km-long section of the wall known as the Eastside Gallery.

Original Berlin Walks Logo

  • The Brandenburg Gate, a neoclassical triumph arch, is the capital city’s most iconic landmark as it is the only remaining gate that used to be the only way to enter the city.
  • Berlin might be best known for it’s vibrant street art and graffiti scene.   The city, which once fought the wall murals, has opened it’s arms to street artists.  Well known murals are found in Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, but it’s hard to find a street without art in the city.  Learn about the artists and their tags at the online magazine Berlin Graffiti.
  • Explore 800 years of history at the interactive museum The Story of Berlin.  Exhibits include a still functioning nuclear bomb shelter.
  • The DDR Musuem lets guests explore what life was like under the socialist regime in East Berlin.
  • The Pergamom Museum is the most visited museum in Germany and holds the Pergamon Altar, so large it takes up an entire room and was originally constructed as an alter to Zeus.


  • On Sunday afternoons, join the masses and check out Bearpit Karaoke at the amphitheater in Mauerpark!

The Long Road Home

When we settled up the next day it became apparent at how much more reasonable Greece is than other parts of Europe. Our entire stay at Harry’s Villas, for 10 nights, including all the food we ate and unlimited wine we drank rang up to roughly 400 euros each. That’s about $50 a day. AMAZING.

Baller Blaine Photo: Erik Moore

It may be easy to get to Kalymnos from Germany, but getting home is no breeze. We had to return scooters, all get to Pothia, and then take a ferry to Kos. Upon arrival in Kos, the rest of the crew who was flying out that afternoon had hours to kill. My flight out didn’t leave until the next morning.

Photo: Erik Moore

None of us had taken showers in a few days because there had been no hot water. We were all tired from the revelry the night before and Greg, now that climbing was no longer on his agenda, was feeling pretty beat up from his scooter accident and lingering bruising. While I was sad to see my friends go, I did not envy their road home which included a 10 hour layover in Paris. Short enough to be really awful and hardly long enough to be worthwhile.

I left them in search of the hotel I’d arranged to stay at in another town on the island of Kos, dreaming of a nap and a warm shower. I had been a bit nervous about accommodation on Kos as every time I tried to arrange them the internet sites said that rooms were unavailable. It wasn’t that they were sold out – it was that there was NO ONE there. I was the ONLY guest in my hotel that night and apparently the whole week so despite the fact that it had been cloudy for days, I was able to take not one but two hot showers.

I found an internet cafe and spent a few euros interneting my heart out and then wandered around the streets for awhile before finally settling down to dinner at a restaurant on the main tourist strip. The owner of my hotel came by at one point and spoke with my waiter: they are apparently close friends. Funny how even though the town I was in seemed so much larger than any of those in Kos, the community was still small.

Kos is a Euro party town and it was apparent, even with empty streets. The town is littered with four times as many restaurants as any of the towns in Kalymnos and there were a ton of discos and bars. The owner of my hotel, Kostas, told me that during the summer the streets are packed with tourists. I had a really nice long conversation with him that evening about Greece’s economic woes, the difference between the Greek people and Americans, and travel. Kostas was very interested in my trip to Cuba that we took a few years back and was also excited to close up his hotel for the winter and head to Thailand, where he would be helping out a friend.

His hotel, the Origin Hotel and Apartments, offered rooms similar to that in our villa at Harry’s: nondescript plain furnishings, a small kitchenette, and a tiny bathroom. Nothing fancy, but welcome and economically priced. I paid 20 euros to stay the evening.

The next morning I flew out of Kos to start the long way home, which was far more difficult than traveling to Germany. 4 planes, 35 hours and 5 different airports. Not my idea of a good time. But worth the adventure that we had.

Photo: Greg Brooks

If you would like to see all of Erik’s photos from Kalymnos, you may do so here. If you would like to see all of Greg’s photos from Kalymnos, you may do so here.

Toasts with Friends

It was our last full day in Kalymnos and of course, it was cold, wet and cloudy. We had coffee in our lovely garden and Erik, Blaine, Ellen and I decided to head to Pothia to break up the day.

Photo: Erik Moore

Erik specifically wanted to visit the monestary of St. Savvas, the patron saint of the island of Kalymnos, which is perched on a hill above the main port town. St. Savvas lived the last twenty years of his life as a priest on Kalymnos. He is one of the most recognized saints and miracle workers in the Greek Orthodox Church.

Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Greece and there is a long history of monasticism. The island is littered with small churches or monasteries, some of them dating back to the Byzantine era. They are all white washed, with blue trim, and you find them in strange places, such as the one we saw far out into the fields near the Sikati cave. Apparently most of the small churches we came across are apparently still fully-functioning spiritual retreats for Orthodox monks and nuns.

Photo: Erik Moore

Photo: Erik Moore

We also spent a long time learning about the history of sponge harvesting from a shop owner. All of the world’s natural sponges are harvested by Kalymnians in either the Aegean Sea or just outside of Florida. There are also sponges in the Mediterranean near Italy but they aren’t available for harvesting after a horrible disease destroyed most of the sponge population there in the mid-80s. Since ancient times, the life, culture and economy of Kalymnos has relied on their ability to collect sponges and it is one of the main occupations on the island. Because of this relationship, sponges are referred to on the island as Kalymnian “gold.”

Photo: Erik Moore

That afternoon, we sat around on the patio drinking wine and playing domino games. It would shockingly be the first and only day I would be able to get drunk in Greece! The wine was so mellow there. Apparently the secret is to literally drink it ALL afternoon.

Photo: Erik Moore

While we lushed, Erik ran around taking photos of the family. The following are a few of my favorites.

Dimitri and Yanni Photo: Erik Moore

Evie and Yanni

We were sad to arrive on our last meal in Evie’s kitchen. The food we were served there by her will forever be ingrained in my memory as filling, loving and comfortable. The recipes, handed down through generations, made our trip extremely special. We were also pleased to have some travel companions, also staying at Harry’s Paradise, join us for dinner, during which we feasted on some of the most delectable cod I’ve ever eaten, chickpea fritters, and chicken. My only wish for every vacation I take is that the last evening be filled with delicious food, wonderful friends drunk on wine, and glorious laughter.

Photo: Erik Moore

Fat Naked Man Beach

It was our 2nd to last day on the island and I needed to go for another long run. This one actually felt a little bit easier the first half than the previous one. That being said, I was devastated when I ran by the small market at the 4 mile mark where I usually purchased water on the way back. I knew that I couldn’t turn around at the halfway point and find water anywhere else. I was faced with a decision: continue to run farther into the town of Massouri or cut my run much shorter. Since I was feeling pretty good so far, I decided to just keep going and in the end not only did I run 14.5 miles, but it was no where near as tough as the week before.

After choking down some protein recovery drink (Hammer – it’s the best!) mixed with electrolytes (Xood – they’re the best!), I joined Suzee, Greg and Bentley over at our standby, the Artistico Cafe. I was feeling a bit nauseous and didn’t particularly feel like eating but some left over pizza, a bit of salad and some coffee kicked me back into normal mode.

The four of us had decided that we wanted to visit another island. While the rest of the crew stayed behind to climb, we took the ferry to Talendos in search of a gorgeous beach. After tromping around quite a bit we ended up on a nude beach and by nude beach I mean beach with 8 fat naked white guys and then, a little ways farther down, other people with swimsuits on. The best part is that you can only see fat naked-man butt from the top of the cliff, discouraging you from going below, but then once you get down, you realize, oooh, no, they just decided to plop themselves down at the bottom of the stairs because they are too lazy to walk farther.

Photo: Greg Brooks

When I do a really long run my hunger pains come instantaneously and with force so about mid-afternoon I suddenly had to eat and had to eat now. I left my three travel companions at the beach and headed into town for food. The man running the restaurant where I chose to eat wasn’t as fluent in English as most Greeks and we had a few “whose on first” moments that included me trying to find out where the bathroom was and him bringing me baked chicken when I ordered lamb kebobs: awesomely confusing moment.

That night at Artistico, Irene and George’s son had gone out harvesting sea urchin and he explained how they were harvested, opened a few up and allowed us to taste them. I wouldn’t go seeking out urchin in the future, but it was a memorable experience.

Photo: Greg Brooks


Our 7th day in Greece was the first day of full sunshine that we’d seen in awhile and we were all SO thankful. We planned a big trip for the day: to Vathi, a port town near Pothia.

The road to Vathi is one of the newest additions to the island; it’s corners were much less fear-inducing than those on the rest of the roads and it’s pavement was super smooth. It included a long descent into the agricultural farmland of the island: orchards filled with citrus fruit, olive groves and a visible lack of goats.

Vathi’s name comes from the Greek word meaning “deep or depth” or “deep harbor,” which is exactly what we found when we arrived: a picturesque harbor filled with small fishing boats and a long deep channel out to sea.

Photo: Greg Brooks

We really wanted to go to Vathi to take advantage of the deep water soloing. It was one of the reasons that Kalymnos was even on our radar. While we had intended to charter a boat to get to the cliffs, it turns out that most of the restaurants in the square will simply take you to the cliffs on boats for free, provided that you eat lunch at their restaurant when you return. We were, to borrow Michelle’s word, dubious to say the least. Despite the fact that people had been overwhelmingly generous in a trustworthy way our entire trip, the American in all of us still said, “but wait, what’s the catch?”

The catch was that the boat doesn’t stay. The captain literally left us on the side of a cliff and pointed to a cluster of rocks in the corner of the small cove and said with a very thick Greek accent, “tiny beach.”

Photo: Erik Moore

So, here we were, on the side of a cliff, with a tiny beach for two, in the sunshine and beautiful water, left to jump and climb to our heart’s contents. I’m not sure if you know this but I LOVE jumping off things.

Photo: Erik Moore

The boys climbed in the cave here and there, but apparently the deep water soloing is lackluster in Greece compared to the amazing crags that have been discovered on Lake Travis. Ellen snorkeled and taught me about sea urchins. Erik took photos. I jumped off the cliff a whole bunch. Greg and Suzee hung out on the tiny beach. Erik commented that he “really wanted to go to the beach but it was already too crowded.”

Photo: Greg Brooks

Our captain returned, as promised, exactly two hours later and we headed back to Vathi to eat lunch at the restaurant as promised. Ellen, Suzee and I also picked up some really amazing scarves. Side note: I was told to take scarves to Europe to blend in and now I, who at first said, “pffffft, me, in scarves! I scoff at that!” am now obsessed.

That evening, our hosts Dimitri and Evie had secured for us a leg of goat that was roasted similar to a pot roast along with pearl onions and potatoes. It was one of the last things on our Greece Bucket List to check off.