popular culture, traveling

Shopping in Kos.

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Unsurprisingly, but nevertheless quite charmingly, the whole island of Kos was filled with products made from olive tree and its fruits; soaps, flavoured oils, cups, cutlery, honey dippers, candle holders etc.

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The first shop that caught my eye in Tigaki was The Olive Market that offers a wide selection of ‘traditional and natural products’ made in Greece. The beautiful and authentic feeling with the friendly service kept me coming back to this shop until the very last day! The family who runs this shop is clearly not in the business just for the money: the additional gifts and off-the-counter toasts indicate that they are providing customer service in its truest, whole-hearted meaning. I would highly recommend this place – even if you only have one day to visit Tigaki.

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Many of the small touristic shops as well as the mini markets had their fair share of the more generic souvenirs; such as the phallic-shaped bottle openers and key rings.

And before anyone asks, yes, I also got a couple of those. What can I say, I have a lot of gay friends in Finland…

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Tigaki had also some smaller boutiques with the kind of witchy hippie vibe that I personally am really into. All kinds of small jewellery and wind chimes were really popular products in this shop!

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The main touristic beach boulevard in the centre of Kos town was filled with vendors offering a wide selection of bohemian beach-appropriate jewellery.

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You could also easily get a realistic or caricature portrait of yourself, your dog or a family member drawn from a picture or live model.

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One of the most inspiring and unique shops I stumbled upon was The Imaginarium. I have to admit first going in to pet the cute dog that accompanied the artist, Ioannis Kamateros, but soon realized how amazing all the arts and crafts there were. I must have looked like another tourist nutter who just randomly bumped in to say hello to his dog!

You can easily find the place located in the alley behind the Tree of Hippocrates which is in the Platía Platanou (‘Square of the Platane’). The place is pretty easily recognizable by the beautiful snail sculpture on the outside wall. And if you get thirsty in the heat of Greece, there is a small restaurant located right next to The Imaginarium.

Yours,

Miah

activism, animal rights, traveling

Strays of Kos.

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One of the things I was prepared to face in Kos was the countless stray cats not only sharing the space with tourists but also living, and at least in some cases, thriving there.

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Say hello to one of the many cats I came across on my trip to Kos. This pal was chilling just outside the mini market nearest to my accommodation.

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This was one of the dogs that lived in Tigaki, enjoying the company of tourists in the pic above.

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The owner of the cafe in Kefalos (below) told me that her name is ‘Beauty’.

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Tourists pondering on what to order while the kitties are chilling in the shadows. Many of the cafes and restaurants tend to feed the stray animals which I happily witnessed in many occasions. In addition to that, many of the mini markets sell cat food and treats for tourists to give to the animals.

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The kind lady agreed posing this picture for my blog!

Luckily there are people who are actively trying to raise money and awareness of the stray animal situation in the island. Animal Rescue Kos, based in the village of Antimachia, is providing the animals vaccinations, de-worming treatments, micro ships, shelter, adoptions and sterilization – which is important in preventing the stray animal population (and suffering) from growing.

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There was also small donation boxes all over the tourist attractions. The one (quite poorly photographed) in the picture above was right next to the Tree of Hippocrates. To which organization the funds go and how are they used, I don’t know yet.

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Other animals that I encountered were all kinds of lizards which probably were feeding on the bugs. Expert speaking here once again.

Yours,

Miah

traveling

Staying in Tigaki.

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When I randomly picked my accommodation in Kos, I have to admit submitting to the cheapest option available. That being said, all the previous guests had praised that Tigaki has ‘the best beach in Kos’.

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After trying various beaches in Kos, I have to agree on that one.

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The beach was free for the hostel guests and the service run smoothly to the deck chairs as well. The sand was soft and clean; the shore was shallow and not rocky at all, unlike most of the other beaches in Kos. On the other hand the kinds of beaches pictured below had the smoothest and most beautiful small rocks you could ever imagine having in your hippie collection!

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The only downside was the tough winds that towards the end of my  holiday made actual swimming in the sea quite impossible. On the other side, if you enjoy water sports such as (wind) surfing or waterskiing, the waves are definitely suitable for it. Also, at least the Plori beach had an equipment renting service for people who didn’t have the necessary supplies with them.

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Moving on to introduce you to the main (touristic) street of Tigaki, pictured above. The street may be small, but it is filled with mini markets, touristic shops as well as more unique boutiques selling hand-made jewellery and olive products.

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Above you can see some of the decorations of a popular breakfast or brunch places that had various crepes, club sandwiches, smoothies, ice creams and waffles in its menu.

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The first place I went to (and immediately made a kitty cat friend for life!) was this place with a rather obvious name. The food was fresh and nicely priced, I have to say.

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Above I have the view from the balcony of the hostel I was staying at. They had a pretty noisy (for an introverted soul like me) fountain show that ran every night around 8 pm to 11 pm. Unfortunately I was too broke to try the treatments offered by the Turkish Hamam – the one and only in Kos – but maybe next time I’ll take a nice mud bath or a massage.

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In the evening, after dinner and just before going to bed, I used to enjoy the last bits of cool windy night air; sitting on a bench looking at the sun setting behind the horizon. The Tigaki beach was occupied mostly by stray cats enjoying their beach after all the people had left to spend the night elsewhere.

Yours,

Miah

architecture, traveling, vandreams

First Impressions of Kos, Greece.

Greetings for all of you beautiful free rainbow souls out there!

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I am back again from Greece with finally some new posts about my travels! This is the first one in the ‘Kos series’ where I reveal my first (touristic) notions of the island and Greece in general. I hope you enjoy my upcoming content and let me know your comments and suggestions down below!

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One of the first things I noticed was, of course, the official flag of Greece. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m Finnish and our flag and kind of ‘national colours’ are dark blue and white but I still argue that somehow the all-encompassing turquoise blue and white colour scheme made me culturally feel more relaxed than usual on my trips. Tell me I’m a nutter but I honestly believe that symbols such as flags and colours are able to transgress culturally constructed meanings.

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The first thing that popped into my field of view after landing on the Kos International Airport ‘Hippocrates’ (of course its named after perhaps the most famous inhabitant that ever lived on the island) was the iconic white Orthodox Christian church with turquoise blue roof, just like the one above that was seen later on our road trip across the island.

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Another thing was the hot and dry terrain everywhere in the island (except maybe the centre of Kos town or the frequently watered tourist resorts). On the beach you could frequently feel on your skin the small pieces of sand flying in the wind.

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And yes, pretty hot it was – even though one lady told us that the summer overall has been quite cold in Greece. Could be true since at the moment the weather is not much different in Helsinki, Finland!

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Public telephones were apparently still widely in use and found all over Kos.

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This old and rather rustic Nissan Vanette parked in Kefalos made me instantly dream about the most epic van tour across the Mediterranean countries… Maybe one day, guys!

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Driving with scooters (most often than not without any helmets on) was probably the most popular mean of transportation at least amongst the locals. It’s relatively cheap, fast and cool – so why not rent a vehicle of your own and enjoy a nice day exploring the island a bit further?

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Of course, being an island after all, Kos was not only filled with beautiful beaches but also sailing boats of all kinds.

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The cracks and splits in the pavement in the beach boulevard of Kos town remembered me about the Aegean Sea earthquake that happened almost a year ago – on July 2017.

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Some of the damages were still left unfixed after the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that sadly killed two and injured more than 120 people in Kos (and hundreds of more in Turkey).

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But because my intention isn’t to scare but to encourage people to travel and see the world, I want to end this blog in more positive vibes. One of the things that you will definitely notice everywhere in Greece is the unique alphabet that has some features similar to Cyrillic letters that are widely used in Russian speaking countries.

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Because being a vegan I am all into plants (drum roll here, please!), I couldn’t help noticing how the beautiful hibiscus plant was literally everywhere! Apparently the generic name for the flower is derived from its Greek name ‘ἰβίσκος’ (hibiskos).

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Not to say that there wouldn’t have been exotic plants pretty much everywhere in Kos!

On the next posts in the ‘Kos series’ I will introduce you to the stray animal situation, cuisine, shopping options, historical Agora, road tripping scene and more – so stay tuned, keep calm and enjoy the previous posts as well!

Yours,

Miah

announcement, daily blog, traveling

Kos S.O.S.

Hello to every beautiful rainbow soul out there!

When this post becomes public, I have already dived deep into the heat of summer in Greece.

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Knowing that this might sound like ‘first world problems’ but I still just have to post this picture of my first desperate attempt in packing a weeks forth of skimpy (but fitting) clothes for the trip! I’m no definite expert on this, but I’d still advise you to start packing early. That way you can keep adding and removing things based on your instincts, speculations and the changes in the weather forecast. (Unless you’re planning an ex tempore experience, of course. In that case, just throw everything into the luggage and GO!)

And talking about the weather. Oh shit – take a look at this forecast my friend sent me!

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Carve this into my tomb stone.

Okay, I’m not going to complain about the free tickets I was gifted to a place some people would call ‘paradise’. I’m only going to make a small note here that for a Northern girl like me… Anything over +25 degrees celcius sounds like a bad, bad idea. Also, this ain’t a blog about my looks but in case you are interested, I am naturally pale AF. So I don’t know what kind of safety measures I will have to take into account without burning my butt off during that week.

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This is where I’m going!

Based on this map of the island, I would be interested in all of the archaeological and historical sites in Kos. I’m just afraid I have to get the biggest umbrella to protect myself against the evil sun rays.

If you have any tips or suggestions of what to do, where to go plus more – now is the time to get those tips out here! I will be reading my comments though unfortunately the pics and stories will be published at least a couple of days after my return in Helsinki.

Yours,

Miah