WEATHER ON PAXOS
06 May 2013: Yoga on Paxos
May, our yoga friend and teacher Zoe Reason holds her Iyengar yoga
classes on a shady terrace in the middle of an olive grove not far
from Loggos. It is the perfect month for practising yoga on Paxos.
Daytime temperatures are warm enough to have classes outside on the
terrace, even in the early morning.
Iyengar classes are suitable for anybody, even those completely new
to yoga. The beginners’ group meets twice a day, once in the morning
for 1.5 hours and then coming together each evening for 1 hour of a
quieter yoga practice. The general week is more energetic and suited
to those who are familiar with Iyengar and have practised it for a
minimum of one year. The morning classes last 2-2.5 hours and the
restorative, meditative evening classes are 1.5 hours.
days are free to enjoy Paxos and everything it has to offer, such as
lazing on the beach, wandering along the many footpaths and donkey
tracks that criss-cross the island or hiring a boat to explore the
bays. At the end of the week, our yoga participants leave refreshed,
calm and ready to take on the outside world again!
For more information on yoga weeks on Paxos contact Tony Wells at
Travel a la carte by email
or visit the Travel a
la carte website...
25 June 2012: News from the
A new Greek government was formed sometime this week - or so I
hear. Not a lot of national or international news percolates as far
as Marmari beach, the second beach from Loggos on this tiny Ionian
paradise of Paxos. There's a gentle lapping of the waves; a cruise
liner or two pass slowly and silently by in the middle distance;
occasionally you notice the putter of a small motor boat. Even on
the beach there are very few potential sources of news: Paxos is
pretty empty at the moment. I'm not sure I'd even know if the
currency had changed while I was dozing under this olive tree...
But now that there is this new government in Athens, and Greece
appears to have escaped exit from the euro, for the time being
anyway, I expect this to change pretty soon and more holidaymakers
will begin arriving. They won't find much to do, though: a stroll to
the beach, a swim, a picnic of feta cheese, olives, fresh bread and
tomatoes, a stroll back in the early evening, a change of clothes,
and a stroll to the taverna. It's been 30 degrees and cloudless
skies for a week. The busy world and its affairs seem a million
miles away. What was that you said about rainstorms and floods in
Give us your
3 MAY 2012:
Summer comes early
basking in summer temperatures when I flew back to a grey and wet
London on Tuesday. The Monday before I left, on only the second of
the new easyJet flights to the island, temperatures reached an
impressive 33 degrees celsius – that’s over 90 fahrenheit. And it
was still April.
weather made it all the easier to take in the delights of Kefalonia
in the early season. The roadside verges, orchards and gardens were
a mass of wild flowers in lilac, yellow, white and pink, and in the
gardens, roses, pinks and geraniums were in full bloom. The
Kefalonians, blessed with a green island and – in the south, at
least - plenty of water, are clearly keen gardeners, as the
vegetable allotments and flourishing gardens around Spartia and Sami
testified. It was odd to see so many hoses being used to water
gardens and orchards in Kefalonia, when they are already banned in
enthusiasm of the Kefalonians was not the only surprise. Another
was the almost complete lack of electioneering, given that the
Greeks go to the polls this Sunday. I saw only one small rally in
Argostoli, the island capital, and heard only one blast of rather
martial music. For the most part, the locals seemed to be pursuing
their customary lives, preparing their tavernas, shops and villas
for the new season or otherwise discussing the world and its affairs
at the cafe tables. The intrepid reporter Clare Hollingsworth once
described the Greeks as a nation of newspaper editors and little has
changed since she wrote that in the 1940s.
My tour of the
island revealed that its beauty spots and attractions are as fresh
as ever. The waters of the (partly) underground lake at Melissani
were emerald green and sapphire blue; the sea off Myrtos beach was
equally stunning in its colours, this time turquoise and acquamarine;
and picturesque Fiskardo in the northeast looked all the prettier
for the small number of sailing boats in the harbour and the thin
scattering of visitors at the restaurant tables on the quayside.
Bigger than Corfu, just as green, but altogether quieter and more
relaxed, Kefalonia is surely the pick of those Ionian islands you
can fly to directly. Its people are welcoming, cheerful and
hard-working, the landscape ranges from dramatic mountains in the
centre to the more gently undulating contours of the north and
south, the roads are good, and there’s a harmonious balance between
the wildlife – we came across a falcon on the drive back from
Fiskardo, and our progress was regularly slowed by troops of
mountain goats and long-haired sheep – and the tourist visitors who
provide the Kefalonians with their livelihood. I can’t wait to go
Give us your
30 APR 2012:
Paxos in April
It is a pleasure to be back on Paxos. Now, in the week or so before
the season begins, the island is at its most feminine and appealing.
In the gardens of the old Manor House in Loggos, a beautiful pink
and white climbing rose is in bloom. On the verges of the narrow
roads – emptier now than they will be for the next six months – are
overgrown with masses of purple, yellow and white wild flowers,
among them wild garlic, sweet peas and purple vetch. A small flock
of geese waddle about the main square of Gaios, swifts duck and dive
over the beach below my villa and swoop overhead.
It was a pleasure, too, to land at Corfu airport (and how often can
you say that). Our easyJet flight from Gatwick was the only aircraft
on the entire apron when we arrived on Monday; the luggage arrived
within ten minutes.
This won’t last long. The charter flights start in May, and the
season will be underway. What kind of year will it be? Everyone is
nervous. The poor publicity Greece has been suffering from for most
of the last year has taken its toll, and early bookings are well
down. The coverage has changed for the better in recent weeks –
there was a very positive piece about the delights of Loggos and
Paxos in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday – but will this be enough to
turn the tide? The Paxiots, who depend on tourism for their
livelihood, have their fingers crossed that Greece lovers will miss
their Greek summer break too much to stay away. We’re all hoping
Give us your
01 APR 2012: HYDROFOIL TIMETABLE
- Paxos hydrofoil schedule
released! At last this summer's sailing schedule for the hydrofoil
between Corfu and Paxos is out. You will find it
here. Just email or call us if you have
any questions about it and we'll try to answer them.
Give us your
14 MAR 2012. Flying to Greece in 2012.
Part 2: The charters
In the first part of this blog on flights to Greece I reported on
how easyJet and Ryanair have been extending their flying programmes
to the Greek islands.
Before these two ‘budget’ scheduled airlines entered the fray, the
Greek holiday flight market was dominated by charter operators and
there is still a wide range of charter flights available to Greek
destinations. Often owned by big tour operators, the charter
airlines still tend to stick to their formula of one or two week
durations, and fixed arrival days (Monday or Friday on Corfu,
Wednesday on Rhodes) but between them they offer a wide choice of
departure airports from across the UK. Also, while they have not
adapted much to the new ‘budget’ competition, the charter airlines
can occasionally actually be better value. So when buying flights to
Corfu or Rhodes, it is always worth checking out a seat-only site
such as Flightline to compare prices.
The largest operator of charter flights to Greece is Thomson. Owned
by the German TUI, Thomson has been a leader in the UK package
holiday market for many years. Being part of a holiday company, the
Thomson airline is often reluctant to sell seats on their aircraft
without a Thomson holiday to go with them, at an affordable price
anyway. Nevertheless, reasonably priced seats can be found even
here. In addition, to Corfu Thomson offers the widest range of
departure airports from the UK – 17 in all – and is the only airline
to fly there from Doncaster/Sheffield, Edinburgh, Exeter and
Norwich. To Rhodes, there’s a more restricted choice of 12 UK
airports but they include Bournemouth, Cardiff, Edinburgh and
The next largest charter airline to Greece is the other major player
in the UK market, Thomas Cook. Their range of airports is smaller
than Thomson’s but they tend to be more flexible, making more
one-way flights available, for instance. This means it’s sometimes
possible to combine a Thomas Cook outbound, on a morning flight,
with a late return with easyJet or Ryanair, a trick which can help
with onward boat connections to Paxos or Symi. Thomas Cook operate
to Greece from Bristol, Cardiff and Newcastle as well as London,
Manchester and Birmingham.
Birmingham is also a particular strength of the last of the three
major charter airlines, Monarch. Monarch have a narrower selection
of departure points – they concentrate on Gatwick and Luton,
Birmingham and Manchester – but their seat prices can be better
value than the other two. Monarch can also fly at slightly more
civilised times than the others. It has an 8.30 am flight to Corfu
from London Gatwick, for example, and a 10.30 am flight from
Manchester, both on Mondays.
flying down to Travel à la carte’s newest destination, Kefalonia
Give us your
12 MAR 2012:
Flying to Greece in 2012. Part 1: The new flexibility
that the air over Greece has cleared a bit, financially speaking, it
might be a good time to look at what’s on offer this year in terms
of air travel to Greece and the islands.
first thing to note is how much things have changed over the last
few years. Once easyJet – founded by a Greek-Cypriot, of course –
bought the old GB Airways and with it that airline’s slots at the
main island airports of Corfu, Crete and Rhodes, Greek island
holidays became a whole new ballgame.
the case of Corfu – also the hub for our favourite island, nearby
Paxos – easyJet soon rapidly expanded its Gatwick service from three
to seven and more flights a week And to Gatwick it soon added
Manchester, Bristol and – new for 2012 – Luton.
recently Ryanair have seen the light, as well. They are now offering
flights to Corfu from Stansted and East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and
now – in welcome news for travellers from Scotland– Glasgow.
Plenty of these Corfu flights connect with the boat to Paxos the
same day and, if they don’t, nothing is simpler than to book a hotel
in town for the night. And another thing - many of the flights are
on days when Corfu airport is blissfully quiet: Ryanair, for
instance, flies on Thursdays from Stansted, Leeds and Glasgow, and
Wednesdays from East Midlands. And while Easyjet sticks more to the
traditional arrival days of Monday and Friday, they have their daily
flights from Gatwick and a Saturday flight from Manchester.
advent of these two budget airlines has brought far more flexibility
than was available in the past. Using the daily easyJet flight from
Gatwick, for instance, allows travellers to pick and choose both
what days they travel and exactly how long they want to stay. Ten
and 11 night (or 20 or 22 night) stays are now possible from Luton
(Tuesdays and Saturdays), with easyJet, Stansted (Mondays and
Thursdays) with Ryanair, Bristol (Mondays and Fridays) with easyJet
and Manchester (Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays) again with easyJet.
on the other side of Greece, Rhodes, the airport for Symi, is almost
as well served. Symi-lovers now have a choice of flights from
Bournemouth (Ryanair), East Midlands (Ryanair) Liverpool (Ryanair
and easyJet), Stansted (Ryanair) and Gatwick (easyJet).
while only easyJet of the budget operators flies to our wonderful
new destination of Kefalonia (twice weekly from Gatwick), this is
one island that has a great range of charter flights to pick from.
fit in with this new world of pick and choose flights and durations,
Travel à la carte has become the only specialist operator to our
islands to offer complete flexibility. Travel with us and you can
arrive and leave on any day of the week and stay for as long or
short a time as you like. The only minor restriction is in July and
August, when we ask you to arrive between Friday and Monday (on
Paxos), Saturday or Sunday (on Kefalonia) and Wednesday or Saturday
(on Symi). Beat that!
(in Part Two to follow: what the charter operators offer)
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WEATHER ON PAXOS
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