Friday, 30 September 2022

Postcards from Rhodes - Sun, Sea & Stegna


After spending a couple of days exploring Rodos, we gathered our belongings and boarded the 9am bus to Archangelos, the fourth largest town on the island. We stowed our bag in the baggage locker, handed over our 6€ combined fare and disembarked some fifty minutes later. Reunited with our belongings, Jon sent a text to our friend George and we started ambling along the three mile mountain path towards Stegna, the idyllic beach village which had stolen our hearts a year ago. Ten minutes later, George pulled up and after exchanging hugs, we hopped in his car and made our way to the Alpha Stegna Sun




After catching up over a drink in the shade of his exquisite garden, George handed over the keys to the room that was to be our home for the next eleven nights. We unpacked our bag, demolished our complimentary croissants, changed into our swimwear and headed off to reacquaint ourselves with the Stegna's perfect beach. Greeted like long-lost friends by Tsampika*, the biker dude with hair longer than mine, we handed over our cash and secured a pair of sunbeds and umbrellas for the day. Let the beach life begin!

*Named after the saint of the clifftop monastery that overlooks Archangelos, Tsampika is a popular choice of name throughout the area and means "dreamer or bright spark".







Each morning we'd awaken to a room flooded in the sublime pinkish gold of Homer's rosy-fingered dawn and watch as Helios, the Sun God, started his daily chariot ride across the horizon, the bed sheet tangled around our ankles, kicked off during the sultry heat of the night, the sheen of sweat already on our skin. 


Breakfast - plump, juicy peaches and super sweet locally grown grapes and full-fat Greek yogurt or bread still warm from George's Mum's wood-fired oven, served with strawberry marmalade, eaten outside in the sunshine.


We'd walk along the beach every morning....


....feel free to join us! 







We'd planned to try out paddle boarding but Stegna's award-winning Paddle Paradise was so popular that the courses were fully booked... a great excuse for coming back next year (as if we needed one!)


I know you can learn in the UK but the warm waters of the Aegean are a lot more appealing!





Due to its relative inaccessibility, Stegna remains delightfully quiet and low key. There's hardly any British tourists, the majority of visitors being Italian, French and German. The 3km long beach, bisected by a pretty harbour, is served by one road, flanked by sixteen tavernas, three bars, four mini marts, two car hire businesses, a couple of souvenir shops and a tiny Greek Orthodox chapel. Apart from a single-storey all-inclusive hotel, mercifully tucked away at the far end of the beach, Stegna's tourist accommodation consists of family-owned, self-catering studios. 



















Sun-dried octopus is a Stegna speciality.


Hornets an optional extra!










From the mini market at the end of the road, we'd purchase local bread, fresh from the Archangelos bakery which, combined with olives, locally grown tomatoes and cucumbers and salty Rhodian cheese, we'd eat on the beach.



A couple of times we swapped the picnic for a freshly baked Bougatsa, a huge phyllo pastry parcel filled with custard and sprinkled with cinnamon (and no, we didn't share, they were too good!)

We also treated ourselves to a Greek salad in the Gorgon taverna, freshly prepared by head waiter, Alex, at our table and served with local bread, tapenade and sun-dried tomatoes followed by a platter of fresh fruit although, at less than £25 (including beer), we didn't really push the boat out!




We'd spend hours in the crystal clear Aegean, swimming through clouds of neons, gasping with delight at the bold fish that swam between our fingers and nibbled at our toes.




A late afternoon beer in the Gorgon Taverna overlooking the sea or from a can brought from the mini market on the way home, would be followed by a shower and a rum & cola served with a wedge of lime filched from a nearby tree before rushing out to sit on the harbour wall totally mesmerised by the stunning sunset, in Lawrence Durrell's words, the successive washes of Prussian blue and violet.

































With treats in my clutch bag, we fed every cat we encountered. Admittedly, none looked like they were in need of food but most polished them off with great relish and greeted us with unbridled joy every evening.


Nights were chilled out and laid back. You won't find a nightclub, a karaoke bar, a darts board or a snooker table in Stegna. The food served in the restaurants is Greek as is the soundtrack, bouzouki not Beyonce.


We popped into one of our two favourite bars for a beer and ate at around 9pm in any taverna that took our fancy - all excellent. Most of the time we'd share vegetarian mezzes but Jon had souvlaki and gyros a couple of times.
 


At weekends families drive from all over the island for long lazy lunches in Stegna's beachfront tavernas, dining on the seafood caught by local fishermen from the clear unpolluted waters whilst the young, hip and beautiful dressed in their finery and paraded up and down the promenade until late into the night.


Lindos and Faliraki might be where the foreign tourists flock to but the millionaire owners of the vehicles who take part in Rhodes' annual Festival of Speed prefer Stegna. We counted seventeen supercars lined up outside the sleepy little Kozas taverna.




George joined us for a few beers. Yamas!
  

And allow me to introduce you to another Greek friend, Dimitri, the red Opal Corsa we hired for the day.


It was time to tear ourselves away from the beach and explore a little more of the island.

See you soon!


42 comments:

  1. Ah, this sounds wonderful!!! That video of the sea is mesmerising!!
    The food, as always, looks stunning and as I sit here, hungry on my way to school on the train, very torturous!
    Your outfits look lovely.
    I think I'll have to visit this gorgeous place!!
    Kezzie xx

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    1. Morning, Kezzie! I'm sorry for tormenting you with that food so early in the morning. I wish I could have bought a few of those bougatsas back with me! We loved the Pitaroudia, a chickpea fritter exclusive to Rhodes - usually stuffed with courgettes and peppers and similar to a pakora - yum!
      You'd love Stegna, there's some lovely mountain and coastal walks to work off all those calories! xxx

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  2. It looks very chilled and relaxed. I'd enjoy it during the cooler months. We went to Gozo in October when our son was a toddler and it was really relaxed. Arilx

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    1. October's a great time to visit, it's still warm and sunny but without the intense heat! x

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  3. Oh that dog on the sofa and all the cats!!!

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    1. I couldn't resist that dog on his sofa, he was such a big boy! x

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  4. Ah, how absolutely wonderful. I feel totally relaxed, particularly after joining you on your walk to the beach.
    Once again, all that mouthwatering food is making me peckish **checks watch** Is it time for lunch yet? Those giant dried octopuses though! xxx

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    1. Those octopuses are enough to make you lose your appetite, aren't they? Stegna is so tranquil and beautiful, I hate my beaches crowded! xxx

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  5. What is this sultry heat you speak of? Living the dream Vix and looking like a bronzed goddess! Wonderful photos and a great lift on this misty, murky day. xxx

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    1. Its only been four days and it already feels like a dim and distant memory, Claire! Roll on next spring! xxx

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  6. Wow, this is just fabulous, Vix. Thank you so much for sharing your walk along the beach - I watched it while eating my breakfast. That's a big fish you captured underwater - it has a suspicious resemblance to Lord Jon! Love all the cats - I would be entranced.

    Welcome back! Thank you for all of the wonderful pictures!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! I wish I was back there right now, it's so cold, wet and bleak here today! xxx

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  7. Every one of your trips outs Greece farther and farther up the bucket list. The videos were a treat to watch. I hope to read you got to paddle board.

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    1. Thanks, Sam. Rhodes is wonderful, there's so much to see and do and the beauty of the island is utterly breathtaking.
      I was so disappointed not to have done any paddle boarding, I'd set my heart on it. I think we need to book up for next year! xxx

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  8. That all looks wonderful, so chilled and peaceful. Why am I not surprised you walked around with a bag of cat treats (I would have had biscuits for that gorgeous dog). Your meals make me long for those quiet, peaceful tavernas - but not the octopus.

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    1. It really is the dream beach destination, Jayne.
      Cat biscuits are always top of the shopping list when we arrive somewhere new, we can't help ourselves. I suspected that you'd love that gorgeous dog, he belongs to a lovely German guy who moved out there a couple of years ago, he's got quite the menagerie! xxx

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  9. How absolutely heavenly! I love your travel blogs. That beach is divine, and I can't resist all the cats ­čÖé xxx

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  10. Your travel posts are such bliss on a horrid squally day, Vix - you should publish them as a book "With Treats In My Clutch Bag" lol. I've been swapping out summer for winter in my wardrobe. Saying goodbye to summer cottons, linen and shoes; but then again, hullo and hurrah to velvet and boots. I do so love velvet. (Blogger won't sign me in - it's Elaine lol)

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    1. Hello Elaine! Hasn't the weather been dire? I knew I should have booked a three week trip and escaped this incessant rain!
      Funnily enough, I was thinking of you when I packed away my holiday clothes, wondering if you'd started the changeover yet. My velvet's out, too - a small compensation for the long dark months ahead! xxx

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  11. Your close-ups of your adventures in this foodie paradise have inspired me to order in Greek twice this week. Alas, dear Costa does not have Bougatsa on the menu -- yet.

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    1. Greek food is wonderful! I'm quite glad you can't get Bougatsa here, I'd be the size of a house! xxx

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  12. It sounds absolutely idyllic. I adore anything Greek. People, music, food, culture etc

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    1. Me, too - everything about Greece is wonderful! xxx

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  13. Hi Vix. Wonderful photos and looks stunning. I did want to ask if you'd been to Croatia? Think you would love it there, especially the architecture. You can fly from Birmingham and East Mids, too. Long-time reader and first-time commenter. Really look foward to your posts and kept me going through the days of lockdown! Louise X

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    1. Hello Louise, thanks so much for commenting, it's lovely to hear from you. Croatia looks gorgeous, we've never been but I frequently swoon over the stunning locations Ivana who blogs at "A Little Place to Call My Own" posts as the rugged coastlines look remarkably like some of the Greek Islands. I hadn't looked to see if there were local flights, I might have to do some research for next year! xxx

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  14. what a lovely time you have had, the food is just what we would choose, very brave to try water sports. It looks such a calm, slow pace there, just one day melting into another - wonderful :) Betty

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    1. We had such a lovely time, Betty. Stegna is, for us, the ideal seaside village. I was so disappointed that the paddle board school had no vacancies while we were there, they offer a four hour discovery trip taking students along to coat, discovering hidden caves and empty beaches. I think we might have to book as soon as we book next year's flight to get a place! xxx

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  15. I do believe you have found a little piece of Heaven right here on Earth! It looks and sounds so wonderful. Plus cats!! Zxx

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    1. It really is paradise, dear Z! The cats are gorgeous, too! xxx

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  16. Oh Stegna looks amazing Vix. Sounds like you had an amazing time. The food has my mouth watering and I'd love a nosey round Georges garden , with potted cacti, lime and pomegranate trees. The sun dried octopus startled me - they're so big! You are looking especially gorgeous in your golden yellow dress xXx

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    1. Thanks, Lulu! I've gone all vestal virgin in my saffron robe, haven't I?
      George's garden is amazing. There were mango trees, too - I wouldn't fancy being clobbered by a ripe one of those when they fall off the tree!
      Those octopus are massive - like those hideous hornets! xxx

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  17. It looks like absolute heaven! I would have gone through a whole bag of cat treats in one night with all those sweet kitties.

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    1. It's fantastic, Shelley! The cats make it even more magical! x

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  18. Wow, it has been delightful to join you for a walk to the Stegna beach, as it was to join you for a sightsee of Rhodes City. I'm totally mesmerized by the quiet atmosphere, the light and colours and the sea!. And fascinated to see the food, the cute cats, the people, everything actually!
    Totally understand that you love this place!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! We loved it just as much as we did the first time around. Like you, we love returning to a place we love! xxx

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  19. You make me feel like I've been on holiday Vix.

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    1. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts, Julie! xxx

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  20. Stegna looks simply wonderful , easy to see why you love it. Greek food is my favourite and all of your meals look just delicious except those scary looking octopus.
    Looking especially glam in every one of your outfits. I do wish Greece wasn't so far away.

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    1. It's the perfect beach destination for us and we can't get enough of those warm & crystal clear waters, either. The food is incredible, simple, fresh and served with love. We're so lucky to have Greece on our doorstep. xxx

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  21. It looks amazing, the only word for it ... well except for the poor octopus. :-(

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    1. The sun-drying octopi are a bit grim! xxx

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Lots of love, Vix