If travelling through the Croatian Islands, and you happen to be in Korcula (which, why would you not?), then make sure to stop by the Massimo Cocktail Bar! Lodged in the turrets of the 15th-century Zakerjan Tower, you can only access this bar by stairs, and then by ladder. Don’t worry about the waiters, the drinks are brought up by pulley! Not my favourite cocktail list, but definitely a memorable sunset view (and exit out of the place!).
Italy hosts many a spectacular and entertaining festival, but if you are in the vicinity of beautiful Siena around the dates of July 2 or August 16 (yes, those precise dates, every year no matter the day), then get prepared for Il Palio – the most exciting horse race you will ever see. Forget the Melbourne Cup, this race has 10 jockeys dressed in appropriate colours, representing 10 of the 17 different “contrade” or city wards, who ride bareback circling three times around the town Piazza del Campo, on which they lay a temporary layer of thick dirt. Sometimes the jockeys are thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and despite the fact that, once they get going, the race is a mere 90 seconds, thousands of locals and spectators crowd in and around the Piazza to watch the fiercely competitive race twice a year. Having witnessed myself this year, I am not surprised, and I dare say I will be back again!
Santorini, possibly Greece’s most picturesque island, is nothing short of paradise, and the scenic village of Oia, is famous for its breath-taking sunsets. Because of this, getting a good spot to watch the sun slowly sink beyond the horizon can be difficult and Oia can turn into a bit of a zoo each evening. Rather than fighting the throngs of tourists, why not head to Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar, enjoy a drink and a dip in the pool before enjoying the magical spectacle that happens every evening.
Cinque Terre, built on a rugged and steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea in north-west Italy, is actually my favourite place in the world. A bold statement I know, but one which I stand by. Choosing my favourite of the “five villages” is a difficult task, but I have decided on one – Manorola. For now I am lost for words as to where to begin describing this place, so instead will just post these pics.
Paul-Etienne Saint Germain, Epernay, Champagne, France
One lovely sunny afternoon while wandering the length of perhaps my favourite street in the world, Avenue de Champagne, past the large Champagne houses of Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger and Perrier-Jouët and toward the vineyards that lie at the end of the avenue, we stumbled across a cute Champagne house called Paul-Etienne Saint Germain. Encouraged by the small sign outside simply saying “Tastings” we knocked on the large front door and were greeted by a friendly man, Jean-Michel, who took us inside to an intimate little tasting room where he and his wife, Agnes, told us the story of their dream to one day make their own Champagne. Having grown up in Epernay and spending 20 years working in the Champagne industry for others, they have worked hard to build their business from the ground up. With dreams fulfilled, their Champagne is now served in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. Both them and their story were so adorable that it was a pleasure to walk out of there with one of their delicious magnums under my arm!
Not the place to go if you’re on a budget, but for a special occasion (such as perhaps your husband’s birthday!), the rooftop Galaxy Bar is certainly the place to be. With good service, a great cocktail list and unrivaled views over Athens, I am more than happy to pay a few extra Euros for my dirty martini if I can feel on top of the world while doing so. Get there early to ensure a table out on the balcony and enjoy listening to the chilled beats as the sun slowly sinks behind the Acropolis.