Author Archives: whatsusiebdidnext

About whatsusiebdidnext

Career girl who has been lucky to live and work in 6 countries fulfilling my love of new places and cultures, seeing the real benefits of diverse thinking and inclusion while earning a living at the same time. Now taking a year of "time out" to decide what comes next and to help me along with that I will be travelling all over the place.This blog is my way of recording what I'm seeing, thinking and doing (and probably also eating!). Twitter@susiebabani. Linked-In Power Profile.

Portugal, Algarve, Portimão

Spent the day in Portimão which is about 40 minutes from Salema. It is of course a much busier place and where cruise ship terminals dock. We really enjoyed visiting the ten year old Portimão Museum which is by the waterfront. It is an old converted fish canning factory which takes you through the story of how the fish (mostly sardines) came in each day and was processed into cans. Really interesting and well done.

Then a walk along what looks like a new seafront and into the town which has a lot of apartments but also an impressive beach. In fact there are many beautiful beaches very close by.

And then a final dinner by the beach in Salema where we had fun watching the truck tow out the fishing boats.

Portugal, Salema – great walks, sea views and good food

The area around Salema is blessed with some wonderful walks and we did one yesterday that took us through forests with both skinny petrified like trees and then masses of lush green trees with wild flowers everywhere.

Then we ended up at a terrific view points with beaches in both directions. Perfect for surfing and you can make out all the surfers in the bottom left hand pic. Reminds me a bit of the Australian coast in parts – especially WA?

Such strenuous exercise meant we had to eat lunch at a nice restaurant – check out the size of these oysters – six for 10 Euros! And then the local speciality of cataplana which I shared with Daphne – prawns, port, chorizo, onions, peppers in a tomato based soup sauce. As for the two s’tuffed people”- they were at the supermarket and are all around the town we were in – kind of the Portuguese equivalent of the painted cows I think?

Portugal, Algarve, Salema

From Mykonos to the Algarve to stay with good Canadian friends Daphne and Mark and Marion and Gregg at a lovely villa they have rented on and off over the last few years. It is in a gorgeous spot overlooking the village of Salema and the sea. We started our first night with an excellent bbq (well done Mark and Gregg who also picked my up from the airport which meant I got to see a donkey and cart on the motorway!)

Daphne and Marion took me on an easy walk for my first morning – scenery and wild flowers were great and it didn’t rain.

In the evening we walked down to the village and ate traditional salt encrusted bream and sea bass right by the sea. And ok a few desserts too! Delish

Salema is a very small village although apparently getting busier. It is lovely to see the moored and immaculately kept fishing boats as the evening sun starts to wane.

Greece, Mykonos

It has been 30 years since I was last in Mykonos so I was interested to see how much it had changed. Obviously it’s busier but the charm of the place still remains. Wandering around the back streets is a must especially behind the harbour side. There is even a Louis Vuitton! Quietest time of day to walk around seems to be the afternoon but it starts buzzing from 7pm and most shops are open until 10pm and in summer midnight and beyond. The harbor side is exactly what you expect of an island in the Cyclades and everything feels “fresh” in May and the weather is perfect – not too hot at around 25 degrees but lots of sun.

I’m still a fan.

Stayed at a great hotel – My Aktis which had wonderful views over the top of Super Paradise Beach.

And an excellent meal at Kastros in Mykonos Tow

Crete, Knossos and Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Excited to visit Knossos which is between 3000 and 4000 years old. It was discovered by a Brit archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans in 1900 (using his own money) and he dug all this up (no doubt with some help from his friends) in four years. In those days they didn’t just preserve they also restored using modern materials – this would not be done these days. As a result some areas look much better than they were when found but equally some are a bit fanciful in respect of how he designed them and what he thought they were for. With the exception of the word Knossos which has definitely existed since the start all other names and references (even “Minoan”) reflect words that Arthur Evans chose to use. It takes about 90 minutes to walk around and strongly recommend you hire a guide for an in-depth understanding of what you are seeing.


Interiors including the throne Room and the Queen’s chambers (dolphins of course!). She also had the first ever flushing toilet system

Then on to the Archeological Museum where we kept the same guide. This is where you see more of the originals and it gives more context to what you’ve seen at Knossos. The museum was refurbed and reopened two years ago so is modern, well lit and easy to understand. The Minoans were very into bulls so I took some pics of different bull antiquities especially for my Taurean birthday pal Barbara – she said she was grateful for the bullocks!

I was very impressed with their ability to make trinkets that are so realistic. They were so creative in a time when you have to wonder how they knew how to make these kinds of jewellery and pots and sculptures. They are lovely.

Then we saw an original fresco of the bull jumping sport that existed then – a male leaps over the bull in a somersault from its head to its tail. What the??? And also a squished skeleton because they put the in jars before rigor mortis set in!

Finally some original frescoes including “La Parisienne” so named by Arthur Evans because she looked like the French ladies of his time. Of course she is not French!

Greece, Crete, Spinalonga

Went down to the waterside of our local village Plaka and took the ferry over to Spinalonga – all of ten minutes.

We then walked around the island which was first a Venetian fortress and more recently used as a leper colony until 1915. The colony was paid for by the Greek government and people appear to have been well looked after but they were isolated from their families and friends although it seems people did marry and have children on the island during those dark times. It is a very photogenic place from just about every angle.

Lots of opportunities for a bit of posing too:). And great to be spending time with my mate Emma

Greece, Crete – a change of pace – the sea, fresh octopus, a cemetery with a view and clear sparkling water.

First two days in Crete have been very laid back after all the places I was visiting in Lisbon. I am staying in Elounda on the East of the island in a hotel with lovely views including Spinalonga – the former leper colony which I will be visiting in the next day or so.

The domed building (which I thought might be where hobbits stay on vacation from NZ) are actually places that used to house water for the villages that came from underground streams. Now they are interesting curiosities. On the right below is Spinalonga and you can see how clear the water is. Also interesting to see the concept of pegging your freshly caught dinner on the washing line!

The little village of Plaka – which only seems to exist because there are boats that take you to Spinalonga is a short walk away. I like the little shrines along the way and especially the cemetery with a view.

I am enjoying my hotel – Domes of Elounda too – as it is set on different levels above the sea so there is a great view wherever you look and an adults only pool. How civilised.

Even better, my mate Emma joins me later today for further adventures in the Greek islands.