The pictures in this gallery were taken during our stay in Athens, Greece. Also attached, is a short video clip taken by Peter of Lionel feeding the pigeons at the parliament buildings. At the end of the video you will see some tourists taking pictures of the crazy Jamaican feeding the pigeons. Who knows where these pictures will end up!!!
On our drive from Athens to Sklithro we visited the Meteora monasteries. It was very windy, cold & rainy and we arrived at the top of the hill only fifteen minutes before closing so unfortunately we were unable to go inside. This may have been fortunate as to get across to some of the monasteries you have to cross the abyss in a very small cable car. Not so long ago, visitors were hauled up the rock face in baskets secured with ropes by the Monks. When one tourist asked the Monks if the ropes were ever replaced, he answered “Of course, when they break.” Lionel & Peter bravely ventured out of the car into the howling wind & freezing cold to explore & take photos while Winsome & Mary only briefly came out of the car, wrapped in blankets, to have a quick look around.
Spectacularly, perched atop rocky pinnacles in Thessaly, the Meteora monasteries are among the most striking sights in Greece. The name Meteora(Μετεωρα) is Greek for “suspended in the air,” which perfectly describes these six remarkable Greek Orthodox monasteries. The sandstone peaks were first inhabited by Byzantine hermits in the 11th century, who clambered up the rocks to be alone with God. The present monasteries were built in the 14th and 15th centuries during a time of instability and revival of the hermit ideal. They flourished until the 17th century but only six survive today; four of these still host monastic communities.
In true amazing race fashion, this task is a roadblock – you have the option to choose between one of the following two tasks; but beware, as each one is fraught with danger and could be…messy:
1. Ride a donkey down a hill in Greece.
(bonus points awarded if you do this in Santorini) or
2. Find an Indian restaurant in Spain (the seedier, the better) and polish off a plate of butter chicken! (bonus points awarded if you complete this task in Africa)
You decide which option will yield the greatest risk adjusted return – the choice is yours!
For this challenge, I choose the donkey, even thought the last time I rode one I got tossed and landed on my head! This challenge took a fair amount of courage and for that reason, I am looking for the bonus points even though I rode the ‘beast of burden’ up hills & down some very narrow pathways on the Greek Island of Hydra instead of Santorini.
The last leg of our wonderful Jamaican adventure saw us, along with Suzie & John, leaving Treasure Beach on the morning of Wednesday, April 25th for Trelawny with stops along the way at Appleton Estate and YS Falls. Unfortunately, Philip & Jeanne were unable to continue touring with us & returned to Kingston that afternoon.
Since returning from Kenya I wanted to create a slide show of photographs from the four fabulous camps I visited. The challenge was selecting the right photos and keeping it short enough so that people would take the time to watch the slide show. It’s just under seven minutes!
Hope you enjoy.
On Monday, April 23, we had an early start leaving Kingston at 7:15 am with Suzie and John to begin our trip to Treasure Beach. We stopped in May Pen, Mandeville and Alligator Pond to eat at Little Ochie before going to our hotel in Treasure Beach on Jamaica’s south coast. As we were stopping in May Pen & Mandeville, Jeanne & Philip decided to leave later & join us in Little Ochie for lunch.
Winsome grew up in May Pen where her father worked at the Citrus Company so she went to see one of the houses where they had once lived. There is a new highway from Kingston to May Pen so it was a relatively easy drive. Once in May Pen we found their house on Camille Drive without much trouble. We tried to find the Citrus factory but discovered that it has been torn down & been replaced by a gas station.
From May Pen we went to Mandeville & then headed in the direction of Little Ochie – or so we thought! We drove through some beautiful countryside for over 30 minutes before seeing an old abandoned church & grave yard which we stopped to explore. We later learned it was a former Anglican Church, the Church In The Wildwood in an area called Mile Gully. The bottle of white overproof rum on the entrance steps was likely used to ward of evil sprits – or so we would like to believe!
Continuing on we drove for another 15 minutes before determining we were really “temporarily missplaced”! We stopped in the middle of nowhere & flagged down a car going in the opposite direction and asked for directions to Little Ochie. The driver looked at us as if we were crazy and then told us to follow him. We followed him for about 45 minutes until we approached a round about at which time the driver got out of his car and told us how to get to Alligator Pond from there. We stopped frequently after that to ensure we were on the right track – we had no more time to waste in order to meet Jeanne & Philip in Little Ochie at the arranged time.
Little Ochie is off the beaten track, being on the South Coast of Jamaica, which is less frequented by overseas visitors. However, over the past few years this hidden gem has become far more popular and serves amazing authentic Jamaican seafood in an unique setting. It is considered one of the best restaurants on the South Coast and is a ‘must do’ for people driving through the area. The roads to get there are something else but once there it’s an experience you will never forget. You pick your own fresh fish, lobster, crab or shrimp from an ice cooler, then it is weighed prior to being cooked to your liking. The fish can be roasted over an open flame, steamed, escoveitched, jerked or baked in foil and the lobster, shrimp & crab can be curried, jerked, boiled, roasted or prepared in garlic sauce. Bammy, festival, breadfruit and plaintain are available to compliment your seafood. While your meal is being prepared you relax and enjoy the scenery and the ambience with a drink from the bar which has a wide variety of beverages – of course including Red Stripe Beer! We had an incredible experience and plan to go back one day!
From Little Ochie we drove towards Treasure Beach with Philip leading the way. Treasure Beach is also on the unspoilt South Coast of Jamaica. It does not have the mega hotels of the north coast, favouring much older and smaller hotels and inns. Although the beaches have darker sand than those of the north coast they are lovely beaches which add greatly to its appeal. Our hotel, The Treasure Beach Hotel, was nice but is showing its age and is definately in need of some sprucing up. However, our room was very clean and had a great view of the beach, pool & gardens and the staff were all wonderful and accommodating.
The first night we were there we had a delicious light dinner at the famous “Jack Sprats” – we were still full from our Little Ochie lunch!
On the Tuesday we took a boat ride up the Black River with Suzie & John. We left from the beach just down from our hotel with Captain Joseph in his 28 foot fishing canoe with a 40 hp engine. This was great, Captain Joseph explained the coastline along the way and we were fortunate to see a school of dolphins playing close to the boat. The Black River has become a tourist spot – tour buses bring them from their hotels and they are herded onto a pontoon boat for a trip up the river. There are 30+ people on these pontoons and they travel at great speeds creating a huge wake which is not good for the mangroves. While on the river we saw a number of crocodiles lazing on the river bank.
On our return from Black River we made a stop at the quaint ‘Pelican Bar’, which is build on a sand bar in the middle of the ocean. Here you can swim, have a few drinks and even a meal if you so choose. This is another ‘must see’ for people visiting the area.
After we returned from our boat trip we ate lunch at Jack Sprats and then went over and checked out the infamous ‘Jakes’ – very unique cottges. We spent the afternoon swimming and chilling together at the hotel. For dinner that night we wanted to go to ‘MarBlue’ restaurant but unfortunately it was closed for the season, so we ate at Sunset Resort.
Wednesday morning we enjoyed a relaxing breakfast together at our hotel & then we left with Suzie and John towards our Trelawny destination. We left Philip & Jeanne to enjoy the rest of the morning at hotel before they headed home to Kingston.
More pictures will soon be posted in the Photo Gallery under St. Elizabeth.