June is a beautiful time to visit Santorini. It's not quite the height of the season and the weather is not too hot. In fact in the week leading up to our trip the temperatures looked like they were only going to be peaking in the low 20's! What will be will be so we headed off ready to accept whatever was our fate. HQ's motto .. never let the weather dictate what you do in life. We were fortunate however and we had beautiful days averaging 26-28C and only one day of winds, which was perfect because we spent most of our days relaxing by the pool.
Santorini is well known as one of the most idyllic and spectacular islands in the Aegean Sea. There is a mystical feeling and energy about it which probably has something to do with the earth beneath still alive and breathing around a smouldering volcano.
I have always coveted the idea of going to this beautiful Greek island. I'd seen images of the whitewashed villages carved into the cliff side layers of volcanic rock, azure sky and the deep indigo blue waters .. all very alluring .. and it promises the most beautiful sunsets on the planet. Everything I'd ever heard about it was impressive and now I see why.
During the day the town of Thira is relatively quiet .. but it is just prior to the setting sun that the hoards come out to view what is meant to be the most photogenic place in the world (and I would add the most photographed judging by the amount of cameras capturing every moment .. mine included)! Most of the restaurants are terraced and boast views over the Caldera.
I loved the fact that we were there during the full moon and able to witness it in all it's glory! I have to say that the sunset each evening was beautiful and varied and despite the amount of people dining, there was an unexpected quietness adding a magical, peaceful ambience.
I have seen many beautiful and spectacular sunsets in different parts of the world so I would not like to make comparisons. To me they are all quite wonderful and amazing in their own right.
On our last night dining out on the terrace of Apiron Restaurant, the sun set in it's usual spectacular fashion and darkness descended. After a short while a mist began to rise from the sea and wafted up and over the cliff top. I asked the waiter what it was and he replied 'humidity .. it's what keeps the grapes alive." And the fog kept rolling in making the air damp and cool. The surrounding buildings looked like something out of medieval London! In my mind I could almost hear the howling of the Hound of the Baskervilles whilst walking back along the road to the hotel as well as witnessing a red waning moon rising through the mist on the opposite side of the island. Very surreal.
One thing I will warn you about if you plan to fly in to Santorini (as opposed to cruising) .. it appears the tiny airport has not been upgraded since it was a military base so be prepared to stand in line and generally expect some chaos prior to your departure. There is nothing there except a café/bar and a miniscule duty free shop so not worth being there too early either and there are few places to sit. It is very unorganised .. the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing and all the flights seem to leave at virtually the same time adding to the confusion. But we got there in the end .. boarding just 10 minutes before we were scheduled to leave and thankfully being blessed with a tail wind which got us in half an hour earlier than planned! Another fantastic holiday to remember!
Next time, and I hope to return, I would like to explore the island in more depth .. there is more to Santorini than idyllic villages and sunsets. There is also a wealth of history, archaeology, hot springs, hiking and exploring to experience and if you like art, galleries featuring local artist's work and artisan jewellery.
We stayed at El Greco, Fira http://www.elgreco.com.gr/
Restaurants we liked and would recommend ..
Sphinx, Fira http://sphinx.gr/
Argo, Fira http://www.argo-restaurant-santorini.com/
Apiron, Fira http://www.apironsantorini.com/
Art Galleries we liked ..
AK Galleries, Fira Centre http://www.ak-galleries.com/
Mati Art Gallery, Fira http://matiartgallery.com/
Friday, 20 June 2014
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
My good friend Nigel May has a short story in the Sunlounger 2 collection .. here is his blog post he is kind enough to let me share on Holiday Queen! If you haven't already ready Nigel's first blockbuster TRINITY please have a look and if you like what you read you must follow it by his second book ADDICTED. I promise you will be addicted yourself and want for more!
Hello all! It’s a very big week in bookland as the successor to last year’s short story chart topping anthology, Sunlounger, is on its way. Called Sunlounger 2 (see what we did there!) it’s launched online at Amazon on Saturday 21st June 2014 and looks set to be even more popular than last year’s globetrotting marathon.
Packed with over 40+ short stories, each set in a far-flung destination from every corner of the globe, Sunlounger 2 is the perfect accessory for anyone who is wanting to nibble on a bite size piece of quality fiction while lounging around the pool on holiday, sunning themselves on lazy heat-kissed days in the local park, or feeling the rays on their skin on every beach from Cromer to the Caribbean. And for the second year running I am as proud as a peacock to say that I am part of it all.
The anthology is the brainchild of Belinda Jones, an authoress of no less than 10 fabulous chick lit books (her latest, The Travelling Tea Shop, is in stores now) and a mate of mine for the last 15 or so years (not that either of us will admit to being that old!). Belinda wanted to bring together the best authors writing female fiction on Planet Book today and get them each to write a short story detailing love, fun, tomfoolery and general shenanigans at a featured exotic holiday destination. The end result is literally like taking a trip around the globe without ever having to reach for your passport or converting your currency.
My story in this year’s collection, which features over 40 authors including Belinda, Lucy Lord, Anna-Lou Weatherley, Holly Martin, Jo Carnegie, Alexandra Potter and Martel Maxwell, is called A Lost Night In Louisiana and is set in the Mardi Gras madness of New Orleans. It’s all about a young women called Kim who wakes up the morning after a rather riotous night before and thinks that something sweet may have happened…if only she could remember. The story follows her quest to try and piece together the blurry pieces of the night before. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. And going to New Orleans for research was an absolute blast – a city full of music on every corner, spooky voodoo traditions behind every doorway and the most colourful and alive place I have ever seen. Plus there was the odd gator or two, who may just get a mention in Sunlounger 2. Last year I was the only male author featured in Sunlounger, but this year I am thrilled to say I’ve been joined by a brilliant author called Matt Dunn, so I am no longer the only fella at the Sunlounger party!
Talking of parties, I was lucky enough to head down to London recently for the Sunlounger 2 press launch which was a great excuse to drink Mai Tais, meet up with fellow authors featured in the book and also meet some of the hugely important book bloggers who have been really amazingly good and generous in supporting me with my books TRINITY and ADDICTED. So, to all of them who came along and shared their ideas, joys, and general loveliness with me on the day, can I say thanks! I loved it! Truly. And speaking to them all on Twitter after the event is even more brilliant now than it was before as now I can put faces, laughs, actions and general bubbliness to names.
I really hope Sunlounger 2 is just as much as a success as it was last year when it remained at the top of the online short stories book chart all summer long. In fact I hope it’s an even bigger success. With all of that writing talent going on inside the virtual covers, how can it fail!
Sunlounger 2 is released on Amazon on Saturday 21st June. For more details head to www.sunloungerstories.com and sign up for the Sunlounger newsletters. You can also check out the #Sunlounger2 twitter feed.
My books TRINITY and ADDICTED are available on Amazon too right now. TRINITY http://myBook.to/TRINITY_NigelMay and ADDICTED http://myBook.to/ADDICTED_NigelMay 99p each.
Books by the other Sunlounger authors are out there too – everyone from Tasmina Perry and Victoria Fox through to Talli Roland and Lara Williamson. Every one a joy!
Dive on in and bag yourself a sun-soaked summer read with Sunlounger 2 – £2.99 at Amazon from 21st June.