I finally had some film developed that I shot awhile back when I was on holiday in Biarritz France. Biarritz was one of those kinds of holidays where I hardly had my phone on me and refused to carry my Canon 5D around, instead I opted for a simple disposable camera. I was way too preoccupied with baguettes and red wine to be chasing that perfect insta moment.
Our week in Biarritz followed pretty much the same daily routine. Wake up around 12pm, (Who was I!? I usually never sleep past 8am) eat a croissant, a pain au chocolat and some baguette, head down to the beach while the boys surfed and us girls caught the last of the summer rays while either gossiping or devouring our summer read, laze around the house or go for a motorbike ride along the rocky coast, head out for dinner, paint the town red and return home around 4am.
We were invited to Biarritz by two of our nearest and dearest friends, Kelly and Sylvain. Their holiday house is something out of a French 70’s seaside digs, surfboards and wetsuits scatter the front yard, there’s a silver airstream trailer our front and a Buda with a wreath of flowers around it’s neck. Enough beds to sleep 10 of us and there’s ALWAYS a baguette somewhere in the house, a fridge full of rosé and litres of Get 27 on the go.
One of the highlights of Biarritz is the food markets, I’ve never before seen quality like that. The freshest of fresh groceries from juicy tomatoes and delectable cuts of chateaubriand to bottles of aged red wine and freshly caught octopus. It’s any foodie’s paradise.
If there’s 3 words I would use to sum up our stay in Biarritz they would have to be:
SURF, FOOD & WINE.
So where exactly is Biarritz? Well it’s “an elegant seaside town on southwestern France’s Basque coast and has been a popular resort since European royalty began visiting in the 1800s. It’s also a major surfing destination, with long sandy beaches and surf schools.”
A popular symbol of Biarritz is the statue of the Virgin Mary on the rocky outcrop of Rocher de la Vierge which you can reach via a footbridge and has sweeping views of the Bay of Biscay.
As far as where to eat my mind draws a complete blank! Pretty much anything and everything is delicious in France and when staying with 10 frenchman you kind of just learn to fall in step and follow the pack because you bound to end up somewhere exceptional down some quite street where someone in your group knows the owner and food is simply ordered in a flurry of words and placed in front of you. Oh you don’t eat liver, oh well, everything’s in French and you only realise afterwards you just ate some but it’s ok because it’s delicious and the wine keeps pouring and the night becomes alive and you end up in some cheesy gay bar singing french karaoke, dancing till you can’t breath anymore and drinking pacharan to the early hours of the morning, you order a cab home or ambitiously attempt the 45min walk home and eventually fall into bed as the sun begins to rise and think to yourself damn, if only life was always this carefree.
Thanks for the sharing your spirit with us Biarritz.
All photos snapped on disposable camera by myself and Justin Polkey
Our final stop on our week long sailing adventure around the Mediterranean was the quaint island of Agistri. The island is know for it’s crystal clear blue waters and only boosts a population of around 1200 people! It’s 55 minutes from Piraeus, the main port of Athens, and only 10 minutes from Aegina island making it a popular weekend getaway.
Arriving in Agistri was truly something special. The water started changing colours, from a deep, dark blue to a magical turquoise with white seabeds. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Agistri is a fairly big island so as soon as we had docked our yacht at the port we headed out to find the nearest scooter rental and an ice cold frappe, I was excited to see what the rest of the island had in store for us.
We spent the day riding around on scooters, adventuring down to various beaches, (We even came across some of the island’s famous naturist beaches – Halikiada and Chalikiada.) drove through hundred year old olive groves till eventually we reached the one end of the island which was home to a family run restaurant right on the waters edge, quite literally.
There’s nothing more refreshing then an ice cold beer when you’ve been riding around in the sun all day. Still the best beer I’ve ever had. After a delicious lunch and a quick float in the ocean we headed back through the pine shadowed roads to the main port to get ready for our farewell toga party dinner.
The toga party was a lot of fun, we all used our sheets from the boats to create our evening looks. I topped my off with a bit of vine I found while exploring the island earlier that day, a waisted belt and some gold jewels. We spent the night laughing loudly, learning local dance moves around the pool and won the Lady Gaga dress up competition using one roll of tinfoil and a roll of toilet paper.
With the team spirit high we ventured into the dark night to steal the trophy awarded to the other team for the yacht race that took place the day before. After all, it was meant to be ours.
(Read my previous Greek post, The Ancient Island of Poros, for the full story.)
We then proceeded to fill the trophy with cheap white wine and passed the cup around for everyone to have a drink. I loved my team!
Setting sail for Athens on Friday morning was a bittersweet goodbye, it had been the most incredible holiday with some amazing people that I am still friends with to this day. Greece is a magical place filled with humble souls, delicious food and some incredible forces of nature.
Maybe one day I’ll buy myself a small holding on some far away island and enjoy the last years of my life with my pack of dogs in the Mediterranean sun eating fresh fish and drinking cold retsina. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
THINGS TO DO IN AGISTRI:
– Rent a scooter and explore the island.
– Visit the beautiful church Agioi Anargyroi.
– Visit the village of Megalochori. It’s on the Northern side of the island and has traditional architecture, a sandy beach and a small port where fishing boats moor.
– Spend the day soaking up the sun at Dragonera beach on the West side of the island. A pebbled beach with sun beds and umbrellas.
– Don’t miss Aponisos beach, crystal clean water surrounded by nature. There is also a traditional tavern open during spring and summer months, where you can enjoy the delightful view of the bay and its offshore inlets.
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All images taken by myself and Justin Polkey
We recently did a weekend takeover with Summah – a South African brand that hand selects beautiful, luxe Turkish towels and holiday must-haves – titled “Sun Escape” and consisted of rock pool adventures, picnics with vino verde and Jason’s Bakery croissants and my holiday read – The Sense of an Ending.
Ever since discovering Summah towels they’ve been a consistent holiday/beach essential for myself. Light, breathable, stylish with an array of suitable uses and 100% cotton. Their latest collection is inspired by the Amalfi Coastline in Italy, drawing inspiration from pastel houses and bright coloured beach clubs. (One of the towels is named after my favourite summer cocktail – Aperol Spritz.)
Besides my love affair with Turkish towels my other beachside essentials include the following:
– a quality pair of sunglasses. My eyes are just too sensitive to spend time on the beach without a pair.
– a big sun hat.
– a cute swimsuit/bikini.
– something engaging to read. I just finished The Sense of an Ending (which I LOVED) & have now started on The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry which won the Waterstones book of the year in 2016. Anyone read it? I must say, I’m struggling a bit with it and wondering whether to push on through.
– a beach bag. (My woven beach bag collection has seriously gotten out of hand, I’m clearly addicted.)
– SUNSCREEN! So important with the South Africa sun. I recently fell asleep on the beach with my tanning oil and suffered third degree burns. I’ve peeled through 3 layers of skin and it’s still not healing. Any tips would be appreciated.
– my Caudile grape-seed water facial mist. So refreshing.
– lastly some fresh fruit & water (read champagne/vino)
What’s your must have beach essentials? Also anyone found any new beach hideouts or cool waterfall hikes in the Western Cape of late? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Summah Amalfi towel (bright pink)
Cotton on straw market shopper
Olive green Billabong bikini
Adam Selman x Le Specs sunglasses
Vintage Bacardi tee
Akina Pansy full piece swimsuit
Lucy Williams x Missoma mini fang necklace
Summah Egg Shell Blue towel
Mango straw sun hat
Earthling & Moon Poppy full piece swimsuit
Summah Sorrento Peach towel (soft pink)
Brandy Melville wrap dress
Saint Laurent Nu Pieds Leather Slides
Miu Miu sunglasses
Bohemia Florence round beach bag
Summah crochet beach bag
Poros is comprised of two small Greek islands, Sphairia and Kalavria, in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf with a surface area of 31 square kilometres and only 3,780 inhabitants. Sphairia is a volcanic rock and Kalavria is covered with pine trees.
We set sail from Hydra in the early morning with the sun beating down on us. Halfway to Poros the wind picked up which meant one thing – yacht race! The skippers lined us up at the starting line and the race was on. Skippers were only allowed to assist us verbally, otherwise all the hard manual labour was left to us. We were in first place with 5 minutes till the finishing line when we made a huge mistake and slacked our ropes loosing all the momentum we had built up. There was oohing and aahing but luckily we had built up a big enough lead that we still came in second. I was so proud of our team.
Once we docked our yacht at the Poros ports we heading down to the beach for an afternoon of water-sports. We tried everything from banana boats to parasailing. My all time favourite is still being dragged behind a speedboat on a big rubber tube holding on for dear life. Anyone tried it before?
Sun kissed and exhausted we walked back to town with a big bag of cherries and a couple of beers. (Mediterranean lifestyle is true bliss I tell you.) We watched the sunset from our yacht before heading to a small local spot near the docks for dinner.
The next morning Justin and I were the first to rise so we headed out to explore the small town of Poros. Ice coffee and baklava in hand. We missioned up to the famous clock tower which was built in 1927 and had the most breathtaking views of the town and the harbour.
We didn’t spend that much time on Poros as our sail to Agistra was a bit longer then our usual sailing times. So we headed back to the port to set sail for our next stop…
The clearest blue waters you ever did see!
Tie dye dress – Zara
Brown slides – H&M
Olive sunglasses – Persol
Sarong – Poetry
Black sunglasses – Ray Ban
White shirt – Mango
Red trousers – Mango
Basket bag – Bohemia
All photos taken by myself and Justin Polkey.