Saturday, 30 April 2011

Secret Knitting Project

Dear Bébé,

As I write this, you have not joined our happy family yet.

I do not know if you are a boy or a girl.
I do not know your name.
I do not know if you have red hair with blue eyes
brown hair with green eyes.

But I do know that you, like your Mom and Dad, will be a
loyal Giants fan.

Heartfelt congratulations to my sister and brother-in-law on the arrival of their son last Tuesday. They successfully kept the gender a secret, which made it slightly difficult to plan a knitting project in advance. One thing was certain, though: this kid would have baseball and ice hockey in its DNA.

I wanted to make a plush toy for them, and found this seal pattern on etsy. I had some orange yarn (which my sister had actually sent over xmas to encourage me to crochet a goldfish...) which seemed fitting for the Giants' mascot, Lou Seal.



I think it came out quite well, especially for a first attempt (I loathe frogging...)

Next, I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran to knit the Classic Cashmere Sweater from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies, my go-to pattern for baby sweaters. Stockinette gets boring fast, though, so I designed a 'SF' logo for the front:


The finishing touch was a pair of Garter Stitch Booties from the same book.


The photos don't do the yarn - or dare I say, the creations? - justice, but the real star is my nephew. I've seen him on iChat but I can't wait to meet the little man in July.

Big kiss to everyone in California! xo

Monday, 25 April 2011

Rhodes Road Trips

The easiest way to explore Rhodes is by renting a car. We drove down the East Coast to Lindos first.

We stopped along the way at the Seven Springs, which were slightly disappointing:

Sign helpfully says, 'The 7 Springs are at your left.' Wow, that's it? Good thing there is a sign because we definitely would have missed it.

We continued down the coast, and reached Lindos around 1 PM.

The main attraction is the acropolis which looks out over white-washed houses on one side, and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. We decided to go straight to the acropolis before lunch; fortunately we got there before it closed at 2:40! Not quite tourist season, apparently.

Lindos was beautiful, despite the threatening rain cloud which kept following us.

The next day, we drove down the West Coast to the Valley of the Butterflies. We had the place mostly to ourselves and enjoyed an ambling walk through the trees.

Mountain crab?

Continuing on, we visited the acropolis at Kamiros and had a late lunch on the beach.

S's parents go to Greece every year for their holiday. Having been there at last, I can see the appeal - but I still preferred the perfect weather of April rather than the heat of August/September.

Happy 5th anniversary, S!

Symi Island

Symi Island is a popular day trip from Rhodes, accessed either by ferry or high speed catamaran. We chose the faster option, which just meant I had slightly less time to wallow in my seasickness getting there. Oof.

It may be their 'Pride' but it was my nemesis...

Thankfully, the pace of life is pretty slow on Symi so there was no pressure for me to recover quickly. We spent a while walking around the scenic harbour.

Symi's fortune was made by sponge merchants (no, really) and most of the old houses date back to their heyday. We took a long walk up through the houses, many of which are currently being repaired and/or sold.

Work horses bringing supplies down the hill...

...and back up again

Greece's most forlorn donkey?

Later in the day we walked around the other side of the harbour, where we found a shipyard and a beach. The Lazy Days was enjoying a peaceful retirement.

By the end of the day, I was finally perking up - just in time to go back to Rhodes. Fortunately the boat ride back was smoother. Next time, I'll look into helicopter options, though...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Rhodes :: Old Town & New Town

We spent a week on the Greek island of Rhodes (also known as Rhodos, Rodos, or Ρόδος), which lived up to its sunny reputation.

The Colossus of Rhodes, considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was said to stand above the harbor. These days, the harbor boasts two statues of a stag and a doe - according to legend, the deer scared the snakes away from the island. Personally, I agree that the deer make a better mascot. But the main attraction seems to be the fishing, which attracts lively groups of men who manage all to talk at the same time (a gift we observed in many of the locals.)

Lighthouse seen from the Gate of St Paul

Rhodes Old Town and the Palace of the Grand Masters are surrounded by a dry moat, effectively two sets of walls that protected the people within.

I half-expected to see a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail played out above the turrets. Alas, no Trojan rabbits...

Inside the Old Town, a series of narrow streets appear to be designed for maximum confusion - it is easy to get lost - while providing shopping and cafes for eager tourists.

Preparations for Easter

Our idea of relaxing is walking around (with SPF 50 sunscreen) taking photos, exploring back streets, and enjoying mellow lunches in shady spots. However, Rhodes also appeals to beach bunnies and underage lager louts who drink beer out of oversized boot-shaped glasses.

Just south of the New Town is the acropolis of Agios Stefanos, more commonly known as Monte Smith.

We also visited Rodini Park, which was largely deserted on a Wednesday afternoon...

...except for a peacock who proudly displayed his tail for a passing peahen.

And throughout the week, as the weather got better and the tourist season got closer, the beaches began to come to life.