Greece – Photos from our travels

We spent almost 3 months in Greece, from mid Jan to mid April, mostly on the mainland, although we did go to one island, Evia. The most surprising thing was the weather, it was a lot colder than I was expecting! Although we did have some really beautiful weather too.

This was our route (only approximately, you can only have a limited number of points on Google Maps):

We got the ferry from Bari in Italy to Igoumenitsa and then fairly quickly travelled down to the Peloponnese, assuming it would be a little warmer there, although it wasn’t much different. We stayed on a campsite in Gythio for a month over the worst of the winter, the campsite has a large shared room with heating where we could spend our time when it was too cold and wet!

Click on any photo to enlarge, then you can scroll through the large versions.

Hope you like them, please feel free to leave your comments or questions below.

Croatia – Photos from our travels

I got a little behind with travel updates – for now I’ve skipped forward to Croatia, which was November – December last year. Croatia is a really beautiful country, and the local food from the markets was of amazing quality.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Croatia has over 1000 islands, this is a little island called Lošinj, just below Cres island. It was really beautiful here. I was very supprised when I found that Pula has a Roman Amphitheatre, in amazing condition. Plus other Roman buildings.
Near Pula is a wild peninsular called Rt Kamenjak. Wild and beautiful. Pazin is an interesting little village, but the best bit is in the ravine, really beautiful but so cold as not much sunlight.
Pazin ravine. More coastlines on Krk Island
Plitcitce National Park was one of the most beautiful places I have been. A completely unique landscape with lakes and waterfalls, made even more beautiful due to the November frost.
More in Plitvitce.
And more Plitvitce. Waterfalls in Krka National Park.
Forest in Krka National Park We got a ferry from Makarska to Brac island.
An amazing beach which sticks out into the ocean, called Zlatni Rat (Golden Beach) on Brac island. Korcula town on Korcula island, a short ferry trip from Brac island. Dubrovnik is amazing, the old city is surrounded by the castle like walls.
Another view of Dubrovnik We went for a great walk along the coast from Dubrovnik. The sunsets in Croatia were almost always beautiful, the colours this night are amazing.

Real Raw Lemon Cheese Cake Recipe

After a short break in London, we’re back on the road. We’re heading to Croatia, but had a little detour to Slovenia. It’s a beautiful country, loads of forest and wild nature. On Saturday we went to Ljubljana, the capital and found an amazing market. Loads of organic veg stalls, plus we got organic raw milk, raw butter, raw sour cream and raw cheese.

I love cheesecake, and it is actually very easy to make raw cheesecake, assuming you can get some good raw cheese to start with. We got some soft plain curd cheese, it needs to be fairly plain to make into cheesecake.

I didn’t measure the ingredients, but I think this is a recipe where it is hard to go wrong.

Base
brazil nuts
apricots
a few cacao beans (optional)
1 tsp vanilla powder
grated lemon rind

Topping
cheese
lucuma
honey
grated lemon rind

For the base, you want an approximately equal amount of nuts and dried fruit, you can use various combinations of fruits and nuts. I soaked the apricots for a couple of hours so they would process easier, but you don’t want them too wet otherwise the base will be soggy. Put all the ingredients in a food processor until it forms a sticky ball. If you need more liquid you can either add a little lemon juice or water. As you may know, I don’t generally eat dehydrated food as I find it hard to digest, so this base was soft and sticky, but you could probably dehydrate this is you want a more traditional cheesecake.

For the topping, just mix all the ingredients together. The more lucuma you add, the thicker the mixture will become. And of course, the more honey, the sweeter. (The cheese I used was very soft so I only needed to mix it with a spoon, with a firmer cheese you may need to blend.)

I’m sure there are many variations you can make instead of lemon.

Photos from our travels: Part 5 – Basque Country and Pyrenees

Some beautiful scenery in this part of the world. This is the final part of this section of our trip, from Bagneres de Bigorre we drove through the Pyrenees into Spain, across to the Spanish and then French Basque Country then along the Spanish coast to Santander where we took the 24 hour ferry to Portsmouth – we then spent a month in the UK, mostly in London.

Basque Country - map 5

Ainsa, our first stop in Spain. I have a friend who was staying there and she took us to visit a local lady who was growing all sorts of food plants, we ate some delicious figs and I got to try fresh stevia leaves for the first time (first photo), they are amazing, so sweet! The dragonfly was dead on the ground, but it gave me a good opportunity to take some photos.
The road out of Ainsa towards Jaca was amazingly beautiful. We just kept stopping to take photos! Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido
Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido, in the Pyrenees on the border between Spain and France – well worth a vist, amazing waterfalls.
Back in France, Saint-Jean-de-Luz The Atlantic coast of France here is beautiful. This is Lac Blanc, a little inland from Vieux-Boucau. Bayonne was a very pretty city.
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Bilbao: Outside the Guggenheim Museum were several sculptures, including this dog made out of flowers and giant spider. And of course, the obligatory photo of the Guggenheim Museum!

Photos from our travels: Part 4 – French Pyrenees

This was a beautiful part of France. Châteaux, mountains, hot springs, French markets and lots more, from 17th August to 5th September 2010. Click to enlarge the map or photos.

Carcasonne has an amazing fairy tale Château, and is generally a very pretty place, but once you go inside, you are greeted with tacky souvenir shops.
This is the Château at Peyrepertuse, it’s an amazing old Cathar Castle built in the 11th Century. We’re big fans of hot springs, although at Rennes-les-Bains we only found the warm springs (still beautiful), this photo is nearby.
This is not far from the campsite we stayed on near Foix. In the evening we followed a footpath and went for a great walk, founds lots of wild food and saw wildlife like this butterfly.
In Saint-Lizzier near Saint-Girons, lots of interesting plants, including this kiwi vine. Bagnères-de-Luchon, beautiful place in the Pyrenees. Sunset from campsite at Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
Bagnères-de-Bigorre. We spent a week here, it was a beautiful place and I had some work to catch up on. Lots of walks in the surrounding countryside, some amazing views and wildlife and a great market on Saturday. As well as the amazing mushrooms and spider, we saw a hummingbird moth, which looks a bit like a hummingbird, but it was flapping its wings too fast to be able to take a good photo of it.

Monkey stole my apple!

Today we went to Gibraltar – I’d heard that the Upper Rock Nature Reserve is the only place to have monkeys in the wild, specifically Barbary Macaques. I wasn’t really expecting to see them, but there were loads of them! At one point, I was walking along, happily eating an apple when one of the monkeys came up to me, climbed up my leg and grabbed my apple. Unfortunately this all happened too quickly to get on camera, but I did manage to take the following pics of the monkey eating the stolen apple:



Fresh Fizzy Spring Water

Went for an amazing walk today in the La Taha area of the Alpujarras (Granada province, southern Spain). There are many places to collect fresh spring water around here, but the spring we found today was a little different: the water was sparkling. Yes, fizzy spring water, straight from the source:

There was even a sign telling us that the water is fizzy and explaining the health benefits of the water. If you can read Spanish, click on the photo to see a larger version you can read.

The spring is near Ferreirola, on the Ruta Medieval towards Busquistar. It’s a very beautiful area and there are lots of walks and of course you can taste fizzy spring water yourself (it’s delicious by the way!)

Photos from our travels: Part 3 – Mediterranean France

Getting into the swing of this now! Here are some photos from the first couple of weeks of August. As before click the map and photos to see large versions.

St-Quentin-de-la-Poterie was a fascinating little place. In the past it had been a commercial pottery town, making tiles and such like. Several years after the heavy industry closed down independent artisan pottery studies started opening up, now there is something like 23 studios. If you like ceramics, it’s worth checking out! Anyway, to the photos, this was a mosaic on the street. Cevennes National Pak. This is in Bédouès where our campsite was. We liked this area and the nearby town of Florac which had an interesting market.
We went for a walk from the campsite in Bédouès, Cevennes. We never like to take the same route back but we hadn’t got a map so we took a bit of a risk. Turned into the longest walk ever, didn’t get back to the van until sometime after 10pm! At the bottom of the campsite was this river and lots of wild greens for fresh juice.
Gorges du Tarn, on the edge of the Cevennes National Park. The gorge is over 30 miles long and very beautiful, went for a good walk, although the trees generally obscured the view of the gorge, we got the best views from walking along the road. Flamingos in the Carmargue area, not far from Montpelier.
The amphitheatre in Nímes, over 2000 years old and still standing In a little place called Ginac, campsite by the river.

Photos from our travels: Part 2 – Italy

Oops, I’m a bit slow with this, here are some photos from July. We were in Briançon, only 10km from the border with Italy so we decided to pop over for a quick visit. The first night we camped wild and saw the most amazing sight, lots of fireflys. First time I’ve seen them, they fly around flashing a little light on and off, the affect is best when there are a lot of them. I did take a photo, but it came out black! We covered a lot more ground in a short time in Italy, we whizzed down the motorways to get to a few interesting places, unlike France where we mostly stayed off the motorways on the smaller roads.

Click on the map and photos to see larger versions:

Santa Isola, Italy – This was quite a random stop (like many of the places we have seen), we were driving along and stopped for a little walk and found this beautiful lake and river. Wanted to go in the water but it was very cold (in the mountains), just got my feet in for a few minutes. Out of the mountainous area, we did find a beautiful river to swim in, really warm, but I can’t remember the place name or river name! The sea on the coast at Marina de Pisa was also lovely and warm for swimming.
In Tuscany we went to a few interesting towns and villages with old buildings, Volterra, San Gimignano and Siena. These three photos are from Siena. I’m not religious (far from it) but churches and cathedrals are often beautiful buildings and this one was one of the most ornate I have ever seen.
Back on the coast, this is Vernazza, one of the five villages known as the Cinque Terra. I thought we were in Russia for a moment, but it turns out we were in San Remo This is somewhere in the Alps on the border between Italy and France.
More in the alps. Back in France, Gorges de Daluis (Alps). This was a beautiful area, the photos don’t do it justice.
A place called Annot. Not the most amazing place, but the campsite was great.