In the first half of August we headed north from the Nidri area. First we would travel through the Lefkas Channel, a narrow passage that separates the island of Lefkas from the Greek mainland, and has a turning bridge that opens to let boats pass. Anchors aweigh, and off we went!
Last time we left our readers hanging on the shore in Itéa, after a wonderful trip to the temples of Delphi. It’s about time to wrap up our October journey on the Bay of Corinth, but before settling down for the winter in Mesolonghi, we still had time to visit the town of Galaxidi. It’s situated opposite Itéa and it took us less than an hour to motor across the bay.
Delphi was once the centre of the world. According to the legend, the Cretans came here with their god Apollo, who had taken the shape of a dolphin, and built the first temple. But the dawn of Delphi’s history goes back much further. Somewhere in the mountains, there was the cave of Gaia, Mother Earth, where the predecessors of Apollo’s priestess Pythia performed their sacred rituals.
Santiago de Compostela with its cathedral in the north-western corner of Galicia is the major tourist attraction of the area, and of Spain. While in the vicinity, we naturally had to make a small pilgrimage there, even if it was only on wheels, as our Finnish visitor just happened to be in possession of a rental car.
Our friends from Finland spent a couple of unforgettable spring weeks with us in Brittany. March was the perfect time to do a little roadtripping, as it was nice to see some of the most popular attractions outside the busy tourist season, and enjoy the wonderful, historical places in somewhat more peace and quiet. Last time I wrote about our visit to the island monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy. Now we will continue our trip to a delightful medieval town of Dinan.
The silhouette of Mont-Saint-Michel must be the most popular image of French travel destinations in tourist guides and magazines. It is spectacular – the three million people who visit the place every year will testify to that!
Navigare necesse est, like they used to say in Rome. But there are other things almost as important to us – like history and architecture, and especially these two combined – that are as much the reason for this journey as the sailing itself.
It’s exciting to arrive to a new place in the middle of the night, not knowing what you will see as you wake up the next morning. We had arrived on an island called Jussarö, in the archipelago of southern Finland, about 50 nm west of Helsinki. It was raining, and the whole landscape around us was like a grey watercolour painting. On our morning walk, we found a café, a sauna, a small passenger ferry tied up to its pier – all locked up and abandoned for the winter to come. We were still on our summer holiday, but it sure didn’t feel like it anymore! But we seemed to have this large island all to ourselves, so we might as well make the most of it!
It turned out to be an interesting place. Despite the rain, or maybe because of it, the rocky shores of red granite and the thick, old forests in the heart of the island looked beautiful. We found the remains of an old village, where fishermen and pilots had lived from the mid-18th century until the 1930’s. There had also been a big lighthouse from the late 19th century. Only the bottom part of it now remained and served as a base for a coastguard tower, but the coastguards were also gone now. The island was turned into a nature sanctuary in 2011, and opened to public for the first time. Apparently it’s very busy here during the summer months, but this late in the season we were sharing the entire island with a flock of sheep, grazing in a meadow by the sea.
It was already the last week of August when we arrived in Haapsalu, but the place still seemed busy with tourists. The weather was warm and sunny. This beautiful old town was full of people sitting on the streetside terraces, cafes and restaurants, walking along the waterfront in the shady parks, visiting the old castle and enjoying the town’s many spas.