menorca – stunning unspoilt island, sept 2019

sept 14th 2019 , arrived into mahon intl airport saw some planes that presumably are for the air show tomorrow , couple of fighters and a troop carrier.

we are staying in Ciutadella [“sweet-a-day-a”] on the opposite side of the island, so we hired a MPV from “ok cars” … after heeding online advice and noting all the scratches and videoing eveything ! very cheap car hire must be said . after grabbing the c3 aircross , we headed straight to mahon which is the eastern capital as there is  football match starting in an hour. found a place called restaurante pierro who had a projector and a large tv showing matches right on the harbour side . 4 euro a pint not bad considering location , food was bang average tho .  destination estrella and 3 points …great start !

after driving across quiet excellent condition and well signed roads navigating the island to the west side , that evening we hit some mex style street food in ciutadella town at “magi 24”  , a really great vegan burger , super tasty pork and chicken tacos , guac and dips. and beer ! low cost and great service and food @

next day is first day proper, and a cracking result i saw online there was an air show display at Son Bou , a large beach on the south coast . traffic was congested but somehow by luck we managed to navigate right down to the front car park . hundreds and hundreds of cars got backed up on main road but we slipped thru a village and down to the beach . result indeed .

as the air show was 12-3.30pm, about 4pm after most people had dispersed went to Arenal Son Saura beach up on the north of the island to get away from the thousands at the air show . we wanted to get a canoe and row north , but at 5pm the guy had locked up all the canoes so we didnt end up going out on the water that day .

after Arenal Son Saura we headed back west , stopping at “hola ola” in cala blanca just south of ciutadella

its a hipster hippie-esque beach bums surfer dude kinda hang out with ska reggae jazz blues and a random assortment of i guess eclectic ‘balearic’ vibe music where everyone crashes out onto communal tables or the grass alongside . a winner for us . its an almost unique place to most other places i discovered on the island . nachos rocked , so did cocktails, but a classic mojito made with coke was err…unusual lol. margaritas ruled there. and beer. of course being west facing sunsets dominate the agenda along with jumping into the cove .

hola ola ciutadella

and followed up into ciutadella town for more beer and junk

day 3 , went to cala galdana on the south coast. it was a toss up of cala galdana and cala en bosc to hire a boat . so we chose galdana and hired out a speedboat for 140 euro for 4 hours . cheaper than greece for sure, it was 100 an hour in lindos i think it was when we visited in june this year ? with a small outboard it was plenty fast enough for sailing from bay to bay . i planned out 3 coves to the west , 2 to the east . we loaded up a stack of beers with ice in a cool bag , lunch and snacks , and set sail for a day anchoring in each bay and jumping overboard to cool off . some of the finest beaches on the island are in this area .

cala galdana port

Macarella and Cala De La Macarelleta [a twin cove] , feeding the fish from our boat.

Cala en turqueta

Playa des Talaier

Cala Mitjana

we actually drove thru that hole and out the other side…risky …

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with a brilliant sunset later that evening

next day it was off to get a canoe and row out from from Es Grau ,  off the east coast in the Parc Natural de s’Albufera des Grau  , to the island of illa d’e colom . there are two bays which looked nice . its a tiny island about half a mile long with no buildings or cars . upon arrival we realised what a good decision it had been planning this day out to the island .

southern bay

northern bay

and back to hola ola on the west side that evening !!

later that night more football was on so we looked for a ‘brit central’ resort on the west coast and hit “jimmy hills bar” lol . guaranteed uk champions league footy . and egg n chips . and beer . . they don’t mess about with the gin measures here either !

next day over to the north of the island … cala pregonda . talked about one of the jewel in menorcas crown , for me it didnt compare to the southern beaches . sun is ‘behind you’ on the beach, sand is grittier,  beaches arent as white , but its def worth doing and is a fine spot. its about a mile walk from the car park , round a couple of bays , over the headland round some dunes , up a cliff … its a decent half hour or so trek with a backpack full of beer and the days food and chill needs …

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that evening we had Estrella in a ciutadella town square , then a thai meal in “La Cayena” . luckily she managed to squeeze us in , as it was packed . varied fusion food , high quality and varied. totally get vegans . it really worked for us .  chicken pad thai and a veggie thai curry i think the other was .

once more into the jeep and mapped out a route along to the south west corner of the island . first up is binidalli . you walk down quite a few steps to the cove.

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after here on to our next cove just 5 mins drive awaybinisafuller playa . after parking up on the main road we went to  “opera ristorante & pizzeria” . run by Italians , this place really does knock the pizzas out the park . mrs robster who is very fussy on food quality says maybe the best vegan pizza shes ever had . I had salami and agree , spot on . the freshly made miss shapen dough we just so good . must do truly perfect pizza .

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we got really excited when sitting on the shoreline an octopus came right up near our feet . grabbed the camera and managed to grab a shot of it . when it finally moved away it shot off so gracefully with a few little fish chasing after it .

after all the excitement we then headed over the Instagram central …Binibeca . the crokked higgledy-piggledy all white ‘fishermans village’ . looks great in the pictures . a couple of the properties had for sale notices on for a few hundred thousand euro . small cheap properties now highly in demand .

on the edge of the village is “Sa Cuina de Binibeca & Bar Mar Blau” , a cool place to hang out with a pool , views , and a dj who was just setting up as we left .

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while over on this corner of the island we badly wanted to do the Mexican “la mexiterranea” . a decent looking Mexican we had found online , and god do we love mex !! took a drive and a while to find it , however it was an extremely limited menu , and when we said 1 is vegan they said they had nothing . we asked if we could have something really basic like a beans & rice burrito they said I don’t want to make it for you !!! WTF ??  when we said ok what veg have you got they said NOTHING . no veg at all , nothing ?!? not even corn carrots avocado , nothing at all .  the restaurant was empty it wasn’t like they had anything to do . so we left . a restaurant with NO VEG ?

after walking along a short distance to another mex inspired place [allegedly] that I had noted down , “maria bonita” , it turned out it wasn’t Mexican just tapas and very expensive too . but it worked out perfectly in the end . strolling along deciding what to do we saw a place very busy with the locals “café baixamar”and spontaneously decided to eat here . brilliant waiter could not have been better , compared to “la mexiterranea” service it was next level . we ordered lots of tapas and everything was delicious . everything so fresh and made to order . everything happens for a reason hey 😉

further along the prom we headed to  “akelarre” next to the ferry terminal , and stayed for drinks . sadly midweek it wasn’t busy , but a really cool venue . stunning area at the back that opens from a glass wall out to a vertical sheer cliff hundreds of feet high . a jazz and dance club with dj’s and live acts open till the am’s . also does food .

next day was our last full day . we went to the centre of Ciutadella , took a walk around the streets , did some shopping and sightseeing , and headed to “Piqniq” , a take away in the back streets for organic veggie vegan specials , but also had a chicken option too . perfect for us both . food was very good , like the reviews .

the fish market area

and our chosen beach for the final day was Son Saura , down towards the south western corner of the island . a drive out along farmers fields down dirst track roads , past livestock , and a huge car park at the end . there was not a single car park on the island we had to pay , although the 2 capitals had street meters in parts . on reflection the ‘tourist fees’ you have to pay to visit the island seems very good value , I nearly didn’t go at one point due to add ons at the final total . initially it put me off a bit seeing what some of the moneys got swallowed up on , but after visiting and seeing how immaculate the island was id happily pay it again and return . I think this was the only beach we visited that had any sellers , couple of blokes with ice creams and fruit .

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and once more off to “hola ola” to end the last night .

and next day we sadly have to leave ;-(   I was shocked at how unspoilt menorca was . absolutely spot on . one of my fav places in Europe ive been to , spotless , awesome beaches , top notch food , not expensive like Ibiza for example , or full of ghastly high rise hotels on the beaches . friendly people , compact , great driving roads , loads to see and do …. just absolutely brilliant ! 1000% we will be back sooner rather than later to see what we missed .

this is the 5th time we have been overseas on a plane this year lol , and we aren’t done yet . so suck it up extinction rebellion crusties this ones for you!!!  a nice clear day for the flight home with a window seat , football stadium spotting , mines , jodrell bank …and a good tan . adios


check out some of my other posts on tharosbter blog …

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las vegas 2017

always a blast in vegas !


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holbox , mexico 2017

just a quick post , not got the time to blog properly

from the stunning island with no vehicles … Holbox


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zante zakynthos 13: horrible sweet revenge, fab olive tree, p’s , meze , tsilivi restaurants and shops

after the day on tsilivi beach doing lots of sunbathing and swimming we watched the football this afternoon and had a good few pints , and a few points for the win  !

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afterwards went and looked for somewhere to eat, deciding to use olive garden or  sweet revenge and looking at the menus outside but found the aussie staff really nasty and arrogant at sweet revenge … good god what is their problem at this restaurant ? pfft like you need to see that attitude on holiday ! while outside olive garden all of a sudden sweet revenge started attacking two of their customers [male and female , maybe american, or italian ??] and kicking them on the floor outside their restaurant , about 5 or 6 staff beating a woman with about 20 people outside watching and a whole load of diners in all the local restaurants . disgusting this happens in tsilivi . there was no way we were going in that place . shocking , absolute bloody animals who work there and several tripadvisor reviews mention this too ! decided not to go in there and to donate our hard earned cash elsewhere where they give a damn . looked at contessa , p’s , meze

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but eventually settled for olive tree. had a really nice meal here , it was packed out every table , and the lady who owns it is a really nice and hard working ex pat english woman unlike the rats at sweet revenge. food was tasty but it really looks unspectacular in the pictures . but we had a particularly good meal here with fantastic service . highly recommended . food here : giant beans , and beef sofrito. think desert was baclava ?

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heres a walk round tsilivi showing area, how busy it is peak summer, shops and things you can buy for tourists, restaurants etc. raw footage … making sure to avoid sweet revenge and their beating up customers policy ! good god it was shocking


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zante zakynthos 12: a yard of taste vegan organic restaurant, base bar, gyroland, tsilivi beach

want cheap daytime snacks in tsilivi ? try GYROLAND on the main junction in the town centre of tsilivi. everythings fresh and the service is great. its open from midday and is a restaurant / snack bar / ben & jerry’s ice cream parlour / bar . they even have lots of posrts on various screens like most places in tsilivi .




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after spending the day on tsilivi beach we decided to go to our favourite restaurant again , cos you can get amazing home made organic vegan and vegetarian food , along with the meat dishes to keep us both happy ! ive already had pics in a couple of previous posts a few days back, but here is Η Αυλή των Γεύσεων (A Yard of Taste) once more . to find it head to the main town square next to the marina in zante town and its only 1 minute walk two streets back , ask someone ! easy the highest quality food we ate in zante . we had good food in most places we carefully chose , but this was by far the best .  gets busy too so consider booking expecially at the weekend ? cocktails fab also 😉  sorry some pics show half eaten or drunk things , was hard to resist diving in when they came haha !!

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after here it was a trip to the coolest bar in town,  base bar . brilliant cocktails served and playing proper underground house music with some good guests on . this was the best music in zakynthos along with barrage club where we saw culo de song at this amazing club . there is no edm or chart music here its legit underground electronic house . afterwards we enjoyed a walk round the old streets of the town centre where there are lots of cool finds along the hidden back streets .dsc02131 dsc02133



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zante zakynthos 11: lighthouse, damianou caves, andronio venetian wells, tsivouli emu park, sunset point taverna

after the jet boat lunacy yesterday it was off on adventures today on the bike . on our way we noticed a sign , tsivouli park with an emu picture . we got there , there was nobody around , no game plan , no staff , no signs … nothing except just a whole load of penned in birds with little water and all looking very hot and sad. the duck ponds where empty albeit for 2cm of green filthy water , birds stood under trees sheltering from the heat with open mouths and clearly over heating . its was 40* peak of season early august . sorry was not into this at all . not recommended as the birds looked particularly unhappy . we drove in on our moped , stayed 10 mins and left without seeing or speaking to anybody ?


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so we carried on towards keri lighthouse . like all the island , the roads are superb for driving / riding twisting wildly up over the mountains [see previous videos]

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you reach the main lighthouse area with fantastic views , a hippy ish snack bar with bales of hay seating . infact its an almost mexican looking ranch feel  , and a walled off closed gated light house . while we where there a mini tornado came out of nowhere and created a funnel shaped dust storm for about 1 minute that zipped around the car park . amazing [but didnt want my camera out with all that dust swirling round so no pics of that phenomenon just the tail end you can see where the guy is running and sheltering from it!]

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these are the views you get

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WIDESCREEN PANORAMIC SHOT >dsc01888 dsc01893 dsc01899 dsc01905 dsc01906

video link >

upon leaving we headed thru the island villages on our bike adventure towards a cave and some venetian wells i found on a map . we stopped part way in the hills with an insane view , and made a picnic spot on the foundations of an unbuilt house where we ate the rest of last nights indian with a few cold beers looking at turtle island where we swam yesterday . turtle island had over 30 nests and you often get around 100 eggs per nest .



ater lunch we arrived at the andronio venetian wells . around a dozen or more wells are sat right in the middle of nowhere between massive grape fields , some red some green . all the wells except one where locked, but one was left open uncapped for people to lower a bucket on hoist it up full of fresh water . we sat on the wall with some fresh grapes washed in the water and ate them in the scorching sun . except for a family who came and went in a few minutes nobody else was there. it certainly isnt  a frequented tourist spot with coaches et al . thankfully !

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after our grape stop we travelled a couple of miles to damianou caves .


they are on top of a large hill with great views . its a double cave with more nearby . you walk down some gravelly footpaths to the caves for about 5 minutes . with some good skills you can actually get up to the second cave which i did. the mrs stayed on ground level with our belongings ! its a bit tricky , a bit foolish , but you can get up to it with a touch of bravery and a good scramble .

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at the car parking area next to the caves is ‘sunset point’ . there is also a taverna here . its the taverna that has created the whole parking and seating area , and what a magnificent job they have done. with several large individual seated areas , a tree house [which you could stay overnight if a matress on the floor of the tree hut appeals – think backpacker no frills absolute back to basics – see inside on video], a car park , pathways, lighting and large restaurant. its a totally self sufficient place with its own chickens etc . the owner/chef/mama is a lovely hospitable woman who speaks no english but one whom you instantly bond with . we got lunch, then we tore into this insane apple pie she has just cooked mmmmmm, and then bought some olive oil off her to take home too . sadly she didnt have baclava desert that day . this is a must do at the end of your journey if you retrace our route . we almost didnt leave and wanted to stay in the hut for a laugh but pehaps another time. so we grabbed some beers and wine [that she also makes!] and sat off for a couple of hours with nobody else there peak season enjoying the views.

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widescreen panoramic shot > click >dsc02056 dsc02057 dsc02060 dsc02061 dsc02063 dsc02066 dsc02068 dsc02069 dsc02070 dsc02071

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map of route


and lastly my favourite picture , i applied a red filter in my cameras filter settings while the rest is black and white on the road to nowhere , quite striking .


this is a video from sunset point – where its so quiet, welcoming and the air is so fresh .

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zante zakynthos 10: dare devil jet boat laganas, taj mahal indian restaurant, laganas strip clubs bars at night

saw a new thing online for zante this year , a high powered racing boat with jet engines. having some of that please ! the mrs was a bit apprehensive about it , but a few beers and a few tequila shots beforehand on the beach bars watching the planes land over the bay and she was right up for it hahaaa


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it operates out from the far end of laganas bay and has strict speed limits in place as it is a turtle conservation area. however once out to see past turtle island the captain lets rip ! handbrake turns, 360 spins, hard banking, power braking , inside caves, visiting turtle island beach, zipping in the cave wall outcrops at high speed … what a blast ! the boat holds around 20 passengers and you book on the main road or via their facebook page . the scenery is spectacular along the cliff faces . must do … 20 euro and worth every ‘cent’ .

heres the full video of the trip which last about 1.5 hours .

after here we jumped into the beach bars for the late afternoon sun. beach was really skinny and packed with loungers, not my idea of a beach at all but the 18-30 gang love it here with a great fun vibe to the place for the afternoon .

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video link :

we walked around the shops and bars early evening , then went for a curry to make a change to greek twice a day ! taj mahal seemed to get good reviews and we enjoyed it too.

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heres the polarising laganas strip at night – peak season about midnight [clubs just starting up time!]

video link :

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zante zakynthos 9: black caves, earthquake ruins, alykes, varkarola, movida, portokali,

got the bike for another adventure today. started the day with another session on arguably the best beach in zante , alykes . crystal clear waters [isnt everywhere on the island?] and set with a spectacular moutain bacdrop, lovely sand , less crowds than the southern beaches , so nice …. and the water clarity – fantastico !

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VIDEO: come and hang out on alykes beach for 20 minutes …

after here we had a drive around alykes town fora  while , then headed inland several klm to black caves. youll find these signed on the main road on a T-junction.

after turning at the sign and crossing the main village x roads , the road kind of ends and goes to gravel mountain tracks and the ‘black caves trail’ goes cold. clearly there where missing signs somewhere [turned out it was a fork in the road part after main junction we should have taken a left but a sign was missing, we only discovered on the way back the point we should have gone left rather than right]. but that was ok, we came for an adventure and we got one. you need good bike skills to negotiate the potholes and gravel tracks for sure !! but wow, what a view/place we found amongst the old earthquake ruins a residential house it looked like , all on its own perched on the mountain side … the boxes in the pic below are bee hives . the ruins are the great earthquake ruins .

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after we left this area we decided to keep exploring round on the bike when all of a sudden we found another tiny black caves sign yehhhh ! a few mins more riding and we arrived . there was a small sit off area , incredible views , a drinks stall [nobody was there it was locked up?], a collection tin we put a few euro change in, and a rough mountain path to scramble up … [for the able bodied that is] . its pretty ‘off the radar’ and nobody else was there. we went around 6pm in august, a couple of hours before sunset when it was a bit cooler from the 37* heat. you can see for miles right down to alykes and alikanas bays etc where we had been for the day . stunning view and complete silence apart from a windchime . check out video below .

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video link : black caves zante >> click play >>

after viewing the caves and hanging out for a while we rolled back down the mountain paths passing more ruins . this crumbling old church was great . the village really is stuck in a timewarp .

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after rejoining the main road we stopped for cakes . they also have ice creams and chocolates all made on site , so fresh NOM NOM ! worth stopping .

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we got back to our hotel , showered and changed and headed out to zakynthos town area for a meal . first we went to argassi and a place called portokali orange. a cool n funky restaurant , but things for a vegan where in short supply . so we had a change of mind. it looked a really good place tho and you should try .

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we did a u-turn back to zante town and tried another tip we had off a local ‘varkarola’ on the promenade . made the right choice for sure ! the food here is AWESOME ! starters deserts and mains all A+++++ .  in the pictures you can see a skordalia starter , stuffed peppers and tomatos , chicken and bacon souvlaki , and for desert i cannot remember the name now but it was tasty [shame cream was from a can but apart from that mmm !] . opposite the restaurant a mega boat registered in jersey called virtue had most people taking pictures as we ate !


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we lft very happy with the 34 euro bill plus tip and headed up to the top of the hill to BOCHALI where there are late night cafes and bars . movida was the place we wanted to go to but discovered lots of other things up there too . it was pretty busy with a lot of cool hip people up on hte hill overlooking the town centre . probably the best cocktails we had all holiday where here , and the most expensive too. get what you pay for hey 😉

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end of a perfect day …. beaches , caves , adventure , dining , cocktails ……


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zante zakynthos 8: porto zorro / roma / gerakas beaches, tranakas bakery, wine & roses tsilivi

more adventures out on our 125 today . decided to do the south eastern peninsula today and visit a few places . boy was the whole place rammed down there , first week of august it was crazy busy ! firstly porto zorro , parked up , saw the beach and got off ! too much , it was heaving ! looked nice tho …

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so decided on elsewhere when we stumbled on a nice looking bakery called TRANAKAS . got a ham and cheese pie [lol] , tasty ! 2 euro i think it was . everything was so fresh from there

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we then made our way down to banana beach … again , rammed … so we left !


so we went to gerakas beach , thought it would be quiet being a turtle beach … wrong ! we pulled up and two huge car parks had hundreds of cars in and at breaking point , so we simply did a u-turn and left without stopping ! i had an idea of a junction i had spotted at a x-roads earlier might lead us somewhere a bit more off the radar . so we ended up following the road to PORTO ROMA . we ended up here for a few hours in a skinny strip of sand and very few people . a lovely peaceful afternoon in the end . shoreline had a lot of old washed up seaweed at one end , but it was clean and natural . quite a few boulders in the sea too around the shoreline , but rather that than sitting on top of other people 😉

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after here we needed some food so ended up in an unknown named restaurant where stuffed vine leaves where the highlight . lovely landscaped restaurant not near anywhere , but i guess the nearest places would be the bakery i mentioned earlier and the banana beach turnoff , right on a sharp bend .

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back in tsilivi that night we went for another visit to wine & roses . excellent again . stuffed peppers and tomatoes , and stifado i think it was that i had . mmm

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zante zakynthos 7: shipwreck beach, Monastery of St. George Kremnon, porto vromi, base bar, a yard of the taste

after a couple of days lounging on the beach it was time for the bike again , do some stuff ! shipwreck beach was the main event today , or rather the cliffs above shipwreck beach . its up on the north west coast of zante . its a pretty spectacular view hundreds of feet up on the cliffs . there is a viewing platform we qued for over half an hour to get on , but the best view was hanging over the gravelly cliff face a bit higher up [if youre brave / stupid enough … like me lol ] . considering its one of the most popular things to do in zante , they really could make this so much better , rather than a platform that only one couple at a time can realistically go on for a photo . maybe when they place the proposed ‘new’ wreck there they will update this as there isnt that much of the original boat left now its all rotted and rusted into the sea which cant be good either .



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check out the video > click :

after here we stopped at the monastery a bit further on , Monastery of St. George Kremnon 1508 . considering its age its well preserved . outside there are large bells on the tree plus a well , and a hot looking donkey . inside is their ‘safe space’ , a fortified tower inside the high compound walls .

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check out the video > click :

after leaving here it wasnt too much of a journey to visit another small cove on the west coast [similar to porto limnionas and port roxa i blogged a couple of posts back] . maybe a 20 minute or so drive perhaps . again , amazing driving roads over the mountains via the hairpins and onto the twisting west coast sheer cliff face roads [as in the first picture below] . this one is called PORTO VROMI . the cove is a tiny place , split into two parts as you will see in pics or video . there isnt a lot here , but the half we went to had an overpriced mobile canteen for light refreshments . fair play tho , they take all the tourists rubbish away . i suggest take your own food if you want more than chips or a can of lemonade . we swam way out along the peninsula and got a great view of both coves while keeping our eye out for boats !

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check out the video > click :

we were starving after the swimming and shipwreck/monastery rambling so decided to head over to the east coast to a place id seen on the internet and do some sun rays and food , passing random sights such as abaondoned cars , eathquake ruins , football pitches and beekeepers hives .

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its a place called SHOESTRING on the east coast , but when we got there about 4 oclock it was just finishing up , its a daytime place that closes early . looked good actually , but no veggie stuff so unusure we would have stayed anyway . maybe next time . cool place and great location .

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so we jumped back on the bike and went to a place alongside the river in alykes . its a local taverna we checked out the menu on previously , and was busy with locals too . food looked great so we took a ride there . its called PAVADOSIAKO . i had village sausage ,  mrs robster had stuffed vine leaves . painfully slow service and a lot of people were frustrated , however we both wished we had a chance to return for a proper evening meal as the food was tasty and everyones meals looked very nice at their tables . DSC01288 DSC01289 DSC01290 DSC01291 DSC01292 DSC01293 DSC01294 DSC01295 DSC01296 DSC01297 DSC01307 DSC01308 DSC01312

that evening we decided to go back to zakynthos town

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after trawling several restaurants and not finding what we wanted we decided to just go back to a yard of the taste . when somethings so good why not ! chicken for me , vegan pie for her ! see previous blog entry for the full menu . DELICIOUS , BEST IN ZANTE !!

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and after all that food it was a small walk off round the streeets past the lights , the curiosity shops , pomegranates and graffiti , before hitting BASE BAR , pretty much the coolest bar in zante town with international dj’s on like culoe de song , anane vega etc … proper house music .

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finally a recap of the route we took earlier today to the west coast


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