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So, here we are in the final instalment of my ‘food memories’ of Greece. If you’ve not read the previous posts, you can read part 1 about our beautiful hotel Kinsterna, part 2 about our day trip to the island of Elafonisos, and part 3 our journey exploring the Mani Peninsula.
Now, on to Athens.
The journey back to Athens from the Peloponnese was much the same as the journey out, but this time with a brief stop off for lunch at what can only be described as one of the world’s quietest motorway services.
I remember driving on motorways in Sweden was pretty pleasant because there were so few cars on the road, but where in the UK you stop a services and hear constant traffic whizzing past, here we stopped and it was silent. Eerily silent. Then once or twice you’d hear a car pass. And then more silence.
I’d like to be the kind of traveller who only goes off the main roads to find lunch from a local eatery, enjoying their lunch in some scenic spot – maybe one day I will. But for now we still stop of motorway services, even abroad, and eat bog standard sandwiches.
I am on a roll with sharing our Greek holiday (just a few months late!) and by the end of the week I’ll have shared it all. I’ve told you about our lovely hotel Kinsterna and our visit to the island of Elafonisos, today we’re off to the Mani Peninsula…
When I was doing my pre-holiday research I was already intrigued by the Mani just because of it’s name, which seemed to have an air of mystery to it. The Mani Peninsula is a bit of the Peloponnese which is apparently distinguishable both geographically and culturally. On doing my research prior to our Greek holiday (you can reads part 1 and part 2 here) I loved the sound of this bit of the Peloponnese because it was described as being rugged, rural, and inaccessible.
I’ve finally embarked on sharing my holiday memories from our Greek trip last autumn, if you didn’t read the first part about our beautiful hotel Kinsterna and the Peloponnese just click the link. Today we’re off to the island of Elafonisos, right down at the tip of the Peloponnese.
Like most people I like to do some research once a holiday is booked, and with the wonder of the internet you can find all manner of gorgeous looking places to visit near to where you are staying. I like to do things visually, so I used Google Images and Pinterest to do my research, and made a list of places we could go to based on pretty pictures. Ah, girls.
One of those places was the island of Elafonisos. Do a quick Google search and you’ll see why it was on my list – those fabulous beaches and crystal clear water. Who wouldn’t want to visit somewhere like this. So a few days into our holiday we set off in our little hire car to the ferry port at Neapoli Vion.
Wow, this is really overdue and I’m looking forward to reliving this holiday with you all. Last October Mr Rigg and I set off for 10 days in Greece. Mr Rigg had done a sailing holiday with friends around some of the islands when he was back in his teens, but for me it was my first visit to this beautiful country.
He’ll probably not be very impressed with me sharing this piece of information with you, but last year Mr Rigg reached that grand old age of 30. To celebrate his mum kindly gave us a very generous budget for a holiday – a decision which was incredibly difficult for us because it was a budget that we could have gone almost anywhere on. Should we spend most of it on flights to the other side of the world with meagre accommodation? Or should we spend most of it on staying somewhere really special?
In the end, we opted for the latter – we decided that we should spend the majority of the gift on staying in the kind of place we’d never ever be able to afford normally. I’m not sure how other people plan their holidays, but I like to find somewhere I want to stay, I fall in love with it, and then we attempt to figure out how we’re going to get there and what there is to do around it. Perhaps not the best way to plan a holiday, but it’s my way.
Last summer I fell in love with this goat farm in the Dordogne and it was quite a palaver figuring out flights there, so it can be a bit of a pain. Mr Rigg set me off looking on the Mr & Mrs Smith website (oh my gosh there are some stunning places!) and this is where I came across and fell in love with Kinsterna.
So here it is, I’ve finally reached the final instalment of our June trip to the Dordogne. If you’ve just arrived and would like to read from the beginning, click here for all the posts and just work from part 1 onwards.
It wouldn’t have been right if we didn’t start our last day in the Dordogne with a visit to a market, after all we had been to a market every single day so far. In our sights was the market at Riberac, and we weren’t disappointed. It was large and bustling, full of food producers and artists, as well as cheap T-shirts and bargain items.
There were a lot of English people here, I even spotted a hessian shopping bag from our local grocery in Manchester where I shop every week – now that was odd. We came across our friendly gite owner Louise selling her goat’s cheese, not that I seem to have taken a picture of her stall.
Look at those mushrooms – and every mushroom stall in the Dordogne seemed to be decorated with ferns.
If you’re still following along with our travels in the Dordogne – thank you! You are very patient, but I do hope that you are enjoying it or gleaning some information if you are planning a trip there yourself. I find personal blogs one of the best ways to find information about a new place we are travelling to, they are so much more insightful that generic tourist websites.
So, every morning that we got ready to leave our lovely little gite, we had this little friend to help…
Hehe, isn’t she sweet?
A leisurely morning was spent finishing up spelt sourdough bread spread with local honey, and picking up provisions from the market at Excideuil. This was a very good market, spread out along a long street and up to a square.
Ok, so technically not really a food memory of the Dordogne, but they are too stunning not to tell you about it – if you are visiting they are well worth a visit, and there’s more to them than just the incredible hedging you see above.
A quick Google image search for the Gardens of Marqueyssac will bring up some breathtaking images of these gardens lit up at dusk. If you go at the right time of year you can go in the evening, which I imagine would be beautiful.
I am desperate to finish telling you about our lovely June trip to the Dordogne, it’s just finding the time amongst everything else in life. As you may have seen, I also like to share details rather than just lots of pictures – just in case you are here viewing this post because you too are planning a trip to the Dordogne and want some tips from someone who’s been and explored.
Last time I left off we had just been to the Sarlat market and passed through La Roque Gageac. After this we headed along the river to Beynac, which we much preferred and found a lovely little restaurant for a very relaxed lunch. This place is just so pretty, the sand coloured stone buildings, the flowers and vines that sprout from tiny patches of soil – it is storybook lovely.
We had one proper day trip out, having done some research before we went away on places that looked nice to visit, we decided to head towards Sarlat. I’d heard there was a seriously good market here, and there were a couple of little places along the river that looked nice, so we filled our bellies with sourdough spelt bread spread with honey and strawberries and off we went.
The market at Sarlat did not disappoint. It was incredible! I always worry “are we going to find the market?” when we head somewhere new, but you couldn’t miss Sarlat market, even if you weren’t looking for it, you would stumble across it on a wander around the town. It goes on and on down the narrow winding streets, tumbling out into squares.
Following on from my first post on our June trip to the Dordogne…
Every single morning during the holiday we went to a market to buy ingredients for our meals that day. I know this is probably unsustainable for real everyday life, but gosh I loved it.
I didn’t have to meal plan ahead, I didn’t ever once write a shopping list, we just turned up and made up dinner based on what we fancied. As you will see the first few days of our holiday the weather was minging – so much rain and grey skies!
This (above) was the little market in nearby Chateau l’Eveque, about 3 or 4 stalls, we went to the veg man and bought amongst other things some incredible wrinkly tomatoes (sorry no pictures – was trying to avoid getting soaked – lots more food pictures to come later though I promise!), a punnet of fragrant strawberries and a melon.
I’m not a melon fan, but in France I adore melons they are so much tastier – our experience in the Loire was when you went to buy a melon from a market stall they would ask you if it was to eat today or later, and find you the best one.
We also went to the bakery for breakfast and got croissants (for me) and pain au chocolat (for Mr Rigg) – these rated quite highly in the taste test. We determined to find out the best bakery in the area for breakfast goodies and we found our favourite – details below.