Tag Archives: pool

Adventures on the beach, in the sea and in the air – in Jordan

Tala Bay is a perfect vacation place in Southern Jordan.  The sandy beach is perfect for sun bathing and the Red Sea offers a unique possibility to photograph exotic fish species. If you prefer swimming pools instead of the sea, you find many nice pools to swim or relax in.

Allas ja poreallas

ps. click on the photos to see them enlarged

The food is fabulous in Jordan, just like in Egypt. Baba ganoush, hummus, tabbouleh, fried fish, tasty desserts and the hot chili stuffed olives…

Baba Ganoush

We love the Red Sea. In Tala Bay we had some great adventures in the sea. We got many exciting photos of the sea life.

The Arabian Boxfish:

Arabian boxfish_Jordania
Arabian boxfish_Jordania

 

The Black Peacock Lionfish:

Black Peacock Lionfish and black sea urchin

Some funny looking corals:

Corals in the Red Sea in Jordan
Corals in the Red Sea in Jordan

 

We experienced also some adventure in the air. When I came to the surface to take a break from photographing the fish, I heard and felt a rumbling noise. I looked around. From the boarder in the south, where Jordan and Saudi Arabia meet, a huge helicopter flew towards a ship nearby.

Armeijan helikopteri

The helicopter approached the ship and commandos jumped with ropes from the helicopter to the ship.

Helicopter approaches the shiip

My husband and I did not know what was going on. Was this a training session, a show for the tourists… or? Everything happened very fast. I did not have time to switch the camera from underwater mode to normal mode, but I got a few good photos.

Ilmassa_kommandojen helikopteri_2

You can experience many things on holidays 😉

I love the adventures below surface. Watching and photographing the beautiful and interesting fish. Here is a Flagtail Halfmoon Triggerfish:

Flagtail_Halfmoon triggerfish

Stay tuned! More stories to come and many photos of the sea life in the Red Sea 🙂

 

 

 

Italy: Historical Lucca

We decided to visit Pisa, Italy, and rented a small house in Montemagno. This small village lies up on the hills, just 10 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea.

Montemagno house and the view towards the Med

Our small rental house was so close to the sky, sometimes I felt I could touch the sky.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 😉

Haukka taivaalla

Houses on the mountains

The weather was mostly awesome: sunny and warm. After enjoying a few days by the pool, we decided to drive to Lucca.

Swimming pool in Montemagno
Lucca is a city in Tuscany, situated on the river Serchio. It is famous among other things for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.

Lucca_2

Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC.

If you arrive early in the morning, you can find a parking slot within the city walls. Otherwise you have to leave your car outside the walls.

Lucca_3

The atmosphere within the walls is old, beautiful and fascinating. You see small allies, old buildings, beautiful churches and neat cafeterias.

Lucca_5

After the early morning hours, the tourist invade the city. If you like peaceful hours, come early. If you like crowds, come later 🙂

I love special small shops. This one was my favorite “Gastronomia prodotti tipici”

My favourite store in Lucca

I bought veggies, capers, cheese and wine… and in the book store closeby I found a few great books. We read a lot. Everyday. Small shopping is great shopping.

When the tourist rush started, around noon, we headed back towards our home in Montemagno. But first I had to take a few more photos and climbed up on the city walls. It was such a  beautiful view, towards all directions.

Lucca_1

Driving away from Lucca we enjoyed the countryside. And I must say, Italy is a very beautiful country. Toscana looks like this:

matkalla Luccaan

This is Italy_2

Toscana countryside_photographed from the car

I can warmly recommend Pisa, Lucca and the countryside.  Fly to Pisa, book a hotel room in Pisa or rent a house in the mountains. You will love it.

The Med_Viareggio and the mountains

Italy: Ardea, Anzio and Nettuno

ANZIO

Some years ago we visited Sabaudia, which is found 90 kilometers south of Rome. When we headed back home, we drove the 90 kilometers along the road next to the Mediterranean, in order to see many beautiful small villages and towns.  If you have time, I recommend to take the sea side route instead of the highway.

Anzio city and beach

We remember well Anzio and Nettuno. They are small and beautiful towns close to the sea. The beach of Nettuno is amazing and long.

Nettunon ranta

During World War II, the Allied made a successful landing in Anzio.

Anzio maihinnousu

This event was called The Battle of Anzio.

We wanted to find a house close to Anzio and Nettuno. The area was so beautiful. It offers peaceful country life, long sandy beaches, the Mediterranean and many fabulous Italian restaurants.

Nettuno Baseball Club is a known Italian baseball Club. NBC has won the national tournametns many times. How did baseball come to Italy? With the Allied during World War II.  

Nettuno beach

I sent enquires to many houses in the area. A few were already booked, a few were not what was advertised. But then one house renter contacted me and said they have a house which fulfills our wishes. The house was in Ardea, just 16 kilometers from Anzio.

Kartta Rooma_Ardea_Sabaudia

The house was too big for us. It was otherwise what we were looking for and the price was not too high, so we rented it.

The house was an old stone house. On the 2nd floor was a huge living room, a kitchen, a big bedroom and a bathroom. Outside there was 2 terraces. One of them was huge. We love to sit and watch the stars after the sunset.  From one of the terraces we could see the whole sky. The first floor had a kitchen, 2 terraces, a big living room, a dining room and 2 bedrooms, plus a bathroom. We used mostly the 2nd floor.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 🙂

The house seen from the backyard:

Ardea talo on valtava

The house from the other side:

ardea talo on kaunis

The garden was huge and had hundreds of trees, bushes, plants and flowers.

Ardea 2_kaunis piha

I loved the red flowers in the bushes around the house. Also Cypresses grew around the house and they were almost 10 meters high.

Alfa Romeomme Ardeassa

We were told we can eat the chilis which grew around the outdoor dining area, close to the huge swimming pool. It did not take many minutes for my husband to taste the chilis. He loves chili.

saako näitä syödä

The swimming pool was just amazing. We had never had such a big pool. We could swim or just relax in it. We used the pool a lot. I sure miss this swimming pool and the views around it.

Ardea 2_view at the pool

Italy produces great cars. The most famous must be the Ferrari. We love to drive the Alfa Romeo. But the most cute Italian car must be the Fiat 500, the Cinquecento.

Cinquecento pihallaYou can drive in any small Italian village with this car. And always find a parking space. For the Finnish winter it might though not be the best choice.

fiat 500_2

 

Italy: Trevignano Romano and Bracciano

A HOUSE BY THE LAKE

A few years ago we thought about renting a house in Cyprus. Or in Malta. But the flight choices from Helsinki were not the best possible. No direct flights to Malta anymore.  Cyprus had some interesting houses for rent, but at the end we could not find one within our budget, and fulfilling our wish list. So we turned to fabulous Italy – again. Great choice!

This time we chose to visit an area north of Rome, as we had so far visited areas south of Rome.

Italy is full of great people, the language is beautiful and interesting to learn, the food and wine culture is fabulous and the scenery is awesome, wherever you go.

As earlier, we found it hard to find a house with air conditioning. The summers in Italy are hot. I was about to give up, trying to find a nice house 1 hour north from Rome, with AC. Then I got a reply to one of my queries. A man in Trevignano Romano said his family has a vacation house for rent. The owner promised that the house reflected our wish list.  He promised there is ACin the house.

So we made a deal. We chose a house by a lake, instead of the Mediterranean sea, as always before. And what a view we had from the house down to lake Bracciano.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 🙂

view from the T R house

While you wait to travel, read travel blogs and books of the country and the area, which you will visit. Check out the web pages of the city you will stay in. Then you know in advance of events during your vacation, find tips on great restaurants and museums, etc.

Trevignano_view from the house 2


TREVIGNANO ROMANO

This was the second time we chose a house, by chance,  in a city where the Italian themselves like to stay during the weekend and the holidays. 3500 – 5000 people live in Trevignano Romano.  It depends on who you ask. Many come there just for the weekend. Those who live there, work in Rome or are working from home.

The beautiful Trevignano Romano is situated by Lago di Bracciano, lake Bracciano, less than 50 kilometers north from Rome.

The highway A12 takes you from the international Fiumicino airport to Cerveteri, where you turn inland. From Cerveteri it took maybe 15 minutes to Bracciano, a small town by the lake Bracciano.

Cerveteri Bracciano map


BRACCIANO

The old town of Bracciano is small but very beautiful. On Piazza Mazzini you find the old castle Castello Orsini-Odescalchi.

bracciano castle wedding

You can rent the castle nowadays. One couple who did this was Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, when they were looking for a fabulous place for their wedding.

Tom and Katie wedding

From Bracciano we moved on along the SP4a towards Trevignano Romano. On both sides of the road a thick green forest surrounded the road. Every now and then we saw a glimpse of the lake. We also saw some amazing houses right by the lake. I wonder how much they cost. Our vacation house was close to the lake, but not 10 meters from it, like these houses.

T R beach houses

In ten minutes we arrived in Trevignano Romano. I must say I have seldom seen anything so beautiful.

Trevignano Romano

In the middle of the main street we turned left. The street got smaller and smaller. It was fascinating to see such old roads, with houses so close you could almost touch them through the car window.

Trevignano town 1

Putting on the first gear our small Alfa Romeo made it to the top of the hill. The view from Monticello hill was unbelievable and breathtaking.

T R view from the house to the lake

view of the b lake

Even though we check and recheck certain things, Italians tend to surprise us every now and then.

The very polite house owner showed us around the house and the garden. Everything looked great and perfect.

Trev house_JH outside

The house was bigger than we thought and needed, but it is hard to find small houses.

The garden was huge and had trees, bushes and plants everywhere.

T R house backyard flowers

The swimming pool was located a the south corner of the garden. It was a great spot. On your east side you have the amazing Parco Naturale Regionale di Bracciano and on your south side you can see all the way to Rome on a sunny day. The house had a small terrace and a bigger one. The view from the bigger terrace was just beautiful.

T R view from the upper terrace

When we asked about the AC,  the owner looked a bit sly. When I reminded him of the importance of AC to us, he started to talk about global warming etc. He also said it would not be too hot, so we would not need AC. We said we do need it. The temperature was already surprisingly high, around 34° C. Early June this is hot, even in Italy.

Finally the owner said there was an AC in the house. But, it was in the dining room. It had not been used for years. He said he would go and get the remote control and check if the AC works. When he came back and turned on the AC, a terrible noise filled the house.

As our Italian house renter did not know what to do, and as my husband is quite smart with technical apparel, my husband said he can have a look. And smart as he is, he repaired the AC with the things available. The AC started working, without smoke and noise,  but at the lowest level. We were surprised that the owner had not checked and fixed the AC, as it is mentioned in the ad and as we had especially asked for it. We also had to pay extra for the AC.

It got so hot the next week that the house owner drove north with his family as it was too hot for them in Trevignano! And still he said no AC is needed in the house … This was hilarious. 😉

But the house was nice, the garden was huge, we had a swimming pool (2 meters from the natural park) and the location was fabulous. So we had a terrific 2 weeks in Trevignano Romano.

pool next to the natural park in T R

Greece: Megara, Nea Peramos and Pachi

Some years ago we decided to check for vacation houses in Greece. There were so many to choose from. We wanted to spend our time among the Greek and outside the tourist areas. We chose finally Megara, a town some 70 kilometers west from Athens. We had never heard of Megara, which added excitement to our new journey.

MEGARA

With our small budget we managed to find a very nice house with a pool, an olive tree yard and a great view from the top of a hill. I was surprised. We had luck finding such a house. It was a bit above our budget, but after seeing pictures of the place, we just had to book it. The hills outside Megara (population 23 000) are mostly occupied by sheep and goats, so to find a vacation house there, was quite a surprise.

Megara talon kyltti
The house was though only available for 9 days. We wanted to stay 14 days in Greece. The owner of the Megara house was very kind and arranged another house for us for the remaining 5 days. It was not actually a house, it was a terraced house, but that did not matter. This second place situated in Kato Alepochori, some 20 kilometers north from Megara. It was actually nice, to get to see two different places. Kato Alepochori is a small, nice town by the Gulf of Corinth.

Alepochori talo 2
After landing at the International Airport of Athens, we rented a car and drove towards west. The highway took us almost all the way to Megara. During the drive we saw Athens and the historical sites up on the hills. The sites are lit at night so you can enjoy them also when it is dark. The highway took us via Elefsina and Mandra to Nea Peramos and finally to Megara, which is located very close to the sea. Megara is part of the Attica region, which starts near Athens. After Megara, towards west, the next region starts. It is called Peloponnese and is a peninsula and a geographic region at the same time.

Nea Peramos

Nea Peramos, which we saw on our way to the house, locates at the bay of Eleftherai (Gulf of Kavala). The blue sea, the beautiful beaches and the fantastic white houses with red roofs are certainly views to enjoy. The area is also well-liked by archaeologists, as many ancient discoveries have been made here. During high-season Nea Peramos attracts many tourists. Otherwise it is a nice, peaceful town.

 A DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE

We arrived at our vacation house late in the evening. It was very dark. We had taken the evening flight from Helsinki to Athens. In the darkness we did not see how the house really look liked or how big the yard was.

The next morning we decided to swim before breakfast. What a fabulous surprise it was to see that the house was big, white and beautiful. The design of it was awesome. A big terrace at the top floor and another one next to the swimming area. The pool was large and fabulous, just like the view down the hill.

Megara house pool_1

The yard had about 100 olive trees and many fruit trees and rosebushes. The view was amazing.

Oliivipuutarha

The pool area had a nice terrace and patio, with a big dining table, chairs, a huge white sofa with cushions and some nice well chosen decoration. Outside there was a big barbeque.

Almost everything was white and beige. And as the sun was shining brightly, the colours shimmered even more.

Megara house_1
We also noticed that the heat from last night had not settled. It was 39°C outside. That is hot for a Finn!

After breakfast we walked in the yard and enjoyed the great views from the terrace and the pool area. The countryside in Greece is awesome, with all the green hills, olive trees, the tractors, the sheep and the sheep dogs.

RENOWNED PACHI

After visiting a few restaurants in Megara, we decided to drive to the nearby beach village Pachi. It is a small town by the sea. It is renowned for the beautiful sea view and the many great fish restaurants. Local people drive to Pachi often. And many drive an hour to visit this awesome village.

Only 3 000 people live here. It took us just 10 minutes to drive from the house down to Pachi. This is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in the evening and enjoyed dinner at.

Pachi by day

You drive into Pachi along its only main road. Best to park the car some hundred meters from the first fish taverns, as the small center of the village fills up with cars of the locals quite quickly after eight in the evening. And you might not reach your car, if you do not know who has parked behind it, beside it and in front of it.

The fish taverns and restaurants are fabulous. We tried the one our house owner had recommended. (I think it was a friend who owned the place). No one else was at this restaurant but we decided to try it anyway. The owner did not speak English, so he took us to the kitchen where we could pick our own fish and sea food. This is excellent service – not experienced back home in Finland.

The dinner was quite good but the price was too high compared to the food and the prices in some nearby restaurants. Next time we ate at another place and the food was excellent. The prices were not very high. We had some tasty grilled fish, big grilled prawns and some squid and cuttlefish with tasty Greek salad (Horiatiki in Greek).

It was quite a thrill to sit at the terrace by the sea, watching small fish swim and dance in the sea, enjoying the magnificent sunset and the different colours in the sky and sun rays glitter on the sea.

Pachi by night

It was hot, above 35°C, though it was past nine in the evening. The cool breeze from the sea was welcome.

 THE GREEK LANGUAGE

The Greek language is an Indo-European language. I have not studied it. I tried to learn a little before our vacation, but compared to Finnish, Swedish, English, Italian and French, I found the Greek language to bit a bit hard to learn in one month. I learned a little though. Perhaps you might find this helpful on your next visit to Greece:

Kalimera (Good day), Kalispera (Good evening), Poso kani afto (How much does this cost), Kalo (Good), Efharisto (Thank you), Ena trapezi ja dhio (A table for two), Bira (Beer), Horjatiki salata (Greek salad), Metaliko nero (Mineral water) and Aspro krasi (White wine).

Also these you might find helpful: vodhino (beef), hirino (pork), arni (sheep), arnaki ghalaktos (lamb), psari (fish), kavuri (crab), midhia (clam), gharides (shrimp), annguri (cucumber), kremidhia (onion), domata (tomato), portokali (orange), fraula (strawberry) and psomi (bread). Tha ithela na pliroso brings you the bill.

One day I decided to go shopping in Megara. I had seen a Miu Miu store and was sure to find something nice in there. As the store had a summer sale, I knew I might afford a few dresses or shirts. My husband took pictures of the city. One photo was just awesome. It shows you what Greece is. A scooter, an SUV and an old tractor in the same picture, in the city.

Megara city traktori