My parents have just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, so it brought back good memories of my own wedding!
You have seen a lot of the magnificent official photos of my solo wedding in Santorini (Photo credit: Alexander Hadji), whether on my blog (all the wedding articles here), in the press or on TV (see all or see again Media). Then, I thought you'd like to discover behind the scenes of this very special day.
All my guests are here, not all those people in the line, even if the number of shoes say the opposite ...
Why is there a half-naked model on my roof? I said no distraction!!
While everyone is starring at him, I remain serious in my preparation.
Initially, I had to have a makeup artist and a hairdresser, but when I decided to marry myself, I chose to pamper myself. I wanted to have this intimate moment, time to refocus on myself, to be in harmony with my inner self.
Only my two witnesses were allowed to disturb me. They came from time to time, checking that everything was fine, that I needed nothing, and taking pictures of me in action.
Is everything ready?? It seems that yes, especially do not forget anything. Uh who forgot his bath duck?? One of my wedding gifts ... Maybe the model on the roof would like to use it with me? What, we don’t have time for a bath? It's stressful to get married!!!
Some even have last-minute homework, such as copying a speech or preparing the last payments, and yes, a wedding this is that too! Fortunately, my witness is an accountant.
Everybody is on their way to Venetsanos Winery, my guests in a car, and I’m in a beautiful black Mercedes with my sister.
If my official photos are amazing, in fact, it takes a lot of time and organisation ...
The location, the position, stop thinking that we have forgotten the umbrella ... And tourists, go away, we are hurried here! Not to mention climb the cliff for the sunset, flat shoes essential! One more thing, don’t think I have vertigo ...
And thanks to my super sister who played the assistant, the flying veil this was her job!
Before my wedding, I thought that a photographer was just taking pictures, in fact it's an invisible man who moves without being seen and goes into improbable positions without nobody noticing him.
Sometimes we want to do things and it takes longer than expected ...
After a few hours and many bottles, we don’t really know why or how we take pictures ... Even the DJ is gone ... Ah no, he’s with the bride and the wedding planners.
Goodbye Venetsanos and back to the hotel where without my crown and shoes, I continue to drink champagne! I had to relax before sleeping ...
Another big acknowledgment to all the providers of my solo wedding:
Dress: Atelier Pronovias, Boutique Brides of Brisbane - Brisbane CBD (Australia)
Alterations: PQ Fashions, Brisbane CBD (Australia)
Shoes: Edward Meller (Day), Christian Louboutin (Evening)
Ring: Antique Cameo, Boutique Precious Stones Brisbane (Australia)
Jewellery: Cassandra Lynne (U.S)
Tiara: JJ's House
Clutch: Forever New
Jacket: Yves Salomon - Paris (France)
Hairdressing, Makeup, Manicure: myself
Wedding Planning: Divine Weddings Santorini, Maria Alexopoulou & Katerina Panagopoulou, Santorini (Greece)
Venue: Venetsanos Winery, Megalochori, Santorini (Greece)
Celebrant: John Kavallaris, Santorini (Greece)
Photographer: Alexander Hadji, Santorini (Greece)
Flowers: Betty Flowers, Santorini (Greece)
DJ & Light: Multimedia Events, Santorini (Greece)
Catering: Spicy Bites, Santorini (Greece)
Drinks: Venetsanos wine, Champagne Cuvée Clovis (Maison Batillot & Fils, France)
Wedding cake: Petranart, Megalochori, Santorini (Greece)
Fireworks: Skylight Santorini Fireworks, Santorini (Greece)
Hotel: Ampelonas Apartments, Imerovigli, Santorini (Greece)
And to conclude this article, a song that always puts me in a good mood!
Love & Light,
The summer holidays seem far behind us, so I thought it would be good to remember some good memories to brighten our autumn days.
Today we fly to Crete! Another island in the Aegean Sea, just in front of Santorini.
If Santorini is dear to my heart because of my solo wedding , Crete has become my second home.
Crete is the largest island in Greece with an area of 8,336 km2, with 1,046 km of coastline and more than 600,000 inhabitants. It's the 5th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica.
Often cited in Greek Mythology, Crete is believed to have been inhabited for 130,000 years, and has experienced several great periods of development, associated with very different conquests and cultures: prehistoric period, Minoan era, Mycenaean civilisation (remember the mask of Agamemnon in the article Rainy Day in Athens), Roman Empire, Byzantine, Venetian period then Ottoman, and finally attached to Greece in 1913.
Rich in this history, we find the traces of these civilisations in many parts of the island.
There is so much to say about Crete, so this article is the first in a series of a few episodes, in order not to miss anything of this beautiful destination. And to begin episode 1, the capital Heraklion and its surroundings.
Heraklion is the capital and largest city of Crete, with more than 140,000 inhabitants, making it the 5th largest city in Greece. Heraklion is also the largest seaport of the island and the main link to the mainland, not to mention the many ferries that serve Athens and the other islands of the Aegean Sea.
With the succession of civilisations, this city still has many vestiges, including a part of the ramparts, which offers a nice walk: Agios Minas Cathedral, Venetian Loggia, Church of Saint Titus, Morosini Fountain, Koules Fortress, the market, the Historical Museum of Crete ...
I also like its archaeological museum with the most beautiful collection of pottery I’ve ever seen, I keep visiting it, this museum is a must-go on this island, but I’ll devote a whole article to this subject very soon.
For those wishing to discover more about Heraklion, a video is available at the end of the article that will show you all the highlights of the city.
And like any adventurous day, a break is required!
My favourite places: Crumb in the centre of Heraklion that reminds me of my Australian habits, matcha latte with coconut or almond milk, gluten free chocolate cake, but also Greek specialties like spinach pie...
Then, Spyridon, a few kilometres from Heraklion, at Kokkini Hani, paradise of dessert and ice cream, and my favourite place for waffles to accompany my coffee (check the article Coffee Addict, don’t count calories here hahaha!!
Next stop: Knossos!
The Palace of Knossos is the cradle of the Minoan civilisation, known as the oldest civilisation in Europe (circa 2700 to 1100 BC).
It covered nearly 5 hectares with the only main building of an area of 3 hectares.
It was composed of more than 1,000 rooms, serving as both administrative and religious centre. This also included several areas dedicated to storage, especially for olive oil, wine, wool ...
The Palace was very modern with its equipment: natural ventilation system, bathrooms, toilets and running water.
There was also a theater that could accommodate 400 people.
It’s the largest archaeological site in Crete from the Bronze Age.
The site was discovered in 1878 by a Cretan antique dealer, then in 1900 Arthur Evans, a British archaeologist acquires it and begins a large excavation site.
The palace was rich in colours and frescoes, made of stones and uncooked bricks.
In addition, the Knossos Palace is associated with the legend of Minos King, where he lived and built the Minotaur’s maze according to Greek mythology.
To better imagine the size of this palace, a short 3D video for you, you will recognise some of the pictures seen previously:
And for those who prefer a relaxing day at the beach, there are nice spots even around Heraklion:
If it’s more convenient to rent a car to discover the island, I like to use public transport, it gives me plenty of time to admire the landscape. And that's what I see when I take the bus to go shopping:
A sunset is always special, no matter where, but Crete is truly inspiring! Have a good week!
Love & Joy,
P.S.: For those who want to discover more about Heraklion:
One of my favourite drinks is coffee. And stop laughing those who thought it was alcohol, it's a hobby it's different! But this is not the subject of the day.
It isn’t known exactly how coffee was discovered, although it probably originates from Ethiopia, but from the 15th century "coffee houses" appear in the Middle East. In the 17th century, its consumption spread throughout the world, first in Italy, then in the rest of Europe and finally in the United States. Which led of course to a growing production.
According to the statistics 2017 and to my surprise, the first consumers of coffee are the northern countries: Finland with 10.35 kg per person per year, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark ... Italy is 7th with 6.69 kg, France 13th with 4.80 kg and Greece 16th with a consumption of 4.52 kg.
I have been drinking coffee since the age of 14, from espresso to long black, cappuccino and in Greece "freddo espresso" translated by cold espresso. I discovered this drink during my stay for my solo wedding in Santorini and I admit that it's very refreshing during summer. This is a double espresso shaken with ice cubes. Then served in a glass filled with 2 third of ice.
A barista friend and I had a debate lately about the history of expresso, disagreeing with its origin, I did new research to confirm my statements.
Although Angelo Moriondo created an espresso machine in Turin, Italy in 1884, the original idea dates back to 1822 when Mr. Louis Bernard Rabaut, a Frenchman, decided to use steam to extract roasted coffee. Since then, this beautiful invention has continued to be improved again and again for our greatest pleasure.
I like coffee so much that I don’t sweeten it, I prefer to keep the full natural flavour, but I often accompany it with biscuits or sweets of all kinds at any time of the day. And coffee is essential when I have to get up at dawn to travel for a TV show.
Peppermint mocha in the United States at Christmas time is not bad either (Article Christmas in NYC), avoid the extra cream or otherwise we forget chocolates, some excess is ok but we still need to fit into our dress for NYE!
What is good with coffee is that I can find it everywhere, so even if I travel a lot, I always get my daily dose. I admit it’s a good excuse to meet baristas too!
Barista is an Italian word which means bartender, preparing all types of drinks. However, when the word has been introduced in the English language, it has slightly changed to describe the preparer of coffee and operator of an espresso machine. This description has been kept in French and German.
A love song to finish this article, because coffee and I, this is the longest romance I've ever had! Hahaha
Love & Joy,
I hope you all had a very scary Halloween this week, full of tricks and treats!!
I know that some were at Disneyland Paris, lucky you!
By the way, do you know where the word Halloween comes from?
Halloween or Hallowe'en is a contraction of Hallows' Even or Hallows' Evening, which means the evening before All Saints' Day or All Hallows' day.
My favourite place for Halloween is in Athens, it's a café called Little Kook. It’s in the city centre, close to the famous Monastiraki Square.
The decorations are incredible, I think there’s not a square millimetre unexploited. And to add to the already fussy atmosphere, a thick velvet curtain bars the entrance. Behind, one or two horrible witches are waiting for us to show the premises, and incidentally give us a table. Here pancakes, cakes, cupcakes are kings, in short, the scary kingdom of sweet! Don't try to resist, it's already too late...
Although Athens is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, sometimes it rains...
So, to complete my series of cities in the rain, after Madrid, let's continue with this ancient city. You’ve already discovered a part last week in my article 1st Interview, and I’ve promised to share some of my favourite addresses. So, grab your raincoat and follow me!
This city is full of incredible museums, and to start I take you to the National Historical Museum, located in the neoclassical Palace of the Old Parliament, Stadiou Street 13, Kolokotroni Square, Athens 10561. This building housed the Parliament of the Hellenes until 1935 and since 1960, this is the museum.
Its permanent exhibition traces the history of Greece from the Ottomans to the Second World War. It’s composed of innumerable objects and relics displayed in chronological order.
This year the museum also hosted a temporary exhibition presenting the different traditional Greek costumes, in collaboration with Playmobil. A fun and original way to attract children to discover this universe.
Well, you will say that I repeat myself but when it rains, I like to eat, well, when the weather is nice also hahaha!
So, for our break, I chose Cookie Land. I love this place for 2 things: their kataifi, filaments of filo dough filled with sugar, cinnamon, almonds and pistachios, and their vaflaki (mini-cubes of waffle) with bacon and cheese! With a coffee obviously.
Let's continue with another museum that I particularly like, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 44 Patission Street. It was established in 1889 and is the largest archaeological museum in Greece.
It displays nearly 11,000 objects on 8,000 square metres, from early Prehistory to Late Antiquity.
Museum where you will find the golden mask of Agamemnon! But also, an impressive collection of funerary objects, sculptures, Egyptian antiquities, and a hall dedicated to the ruins of Akrotiri, a city of Santorini in the Bronze Age.
A short walk in the evening, all cities have a particular charm in the dark, but I think Athens becomes even more mystical, as if time stopped. Well, almost, because here they like to party until late at night, and cafes, bars and restaurants abound with a splendid view of the Acropolis obviously! City Zen, 360, La Vista, Savaas ... Don’t be afraid to venture, the access is made by lifts hidden in small entrances.
Back to Kimon Hotel, I like staying here when I'm in Athens, it's located in Plaka, my favourite neighbourhood, halfway between the busy shopping streets and the Acropolis. So, I can walk easily or take the metro.
And to finish this busy day, a very funny Halloween video to relax. Enjoy!
Due to internet problems, I unfortunately can't publish my article on Saturday as usual.
I am truly sorry, I know that some of my readers are looking forward to my articles.
But I offer you already the Halloween video of the next article. Believe me these 5 minutes will scare you (maybe) but mostly they will make you laugh!
Of course, I'll keep you informed of the publication as soon as possible, publication which hopefully will be before Monday.
With my all apologies,
Have a nice week end,