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Archive for the ‘Greece’ Category

Paradise Beach. Literally.

We took a ferry over from Santorini to Mykonos. It was only a couple hours, and we actually had seats, which was much more comfortable than our trip from Piraeus to Santorini.

Mykonos was also beautiful, but in my opinion wasn’t quite as nice as Santorini. The sidewalks in Mykonos start and then just randomly stop, so you’re left walking along the shoulder of the highway. I also saw two dead kitties, which was awful. The town was cute, but not quite as nice as Fira. The beaches and nightlife in Mykonos were however, much better.

On our second day we hopped on a bus that took us to Paradise beach. It was beautifully sunny and hot out, there was a bar right on the beach that had big palm leaf umbrellas and loungers under them.

The drinks were reasonably priced, so we spent the next three days glued to our loungers sipping wine. We were done sightseeing and exploring, the beach was a perfect change of pace for our last couple days.

Love for now,

Ashley

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Island Living on Credit

We made it to Santorini by booking our ferry tickets and studio through Liseannes Visa. After our studio picked us up, we found one grocery store in the next town over that took credit. It was a long but beautiful walk, we made it back to our hotel with enough food, water and wine to last us for a few days. What else do we really need?

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‘Reddish Party Wine’ — We actually bought this.

About 20 meters outside of our front door there is a beautiful black sand beach. There are tons of stray dogs here, and they just sort of follow you around everywhere.

The next morning we tried to catch the bus to Fira, but everyone here is on island time, so it didn’t come. The bus stops are also just a picture of a bus on a sign in the middle of no where, no numbers or time schedules. It was kind of hilarious. Instead we caught a ride into town with the guy who runs our hotel…it wasn’t as sketchy as it sounds. Promise.

The National Bank in Fira let us overdraw Liseannes credit card. It took us ahile, we pulled a number when we got there, 488 and the number they were on was 327. For an island with such a low population, there sure seemed to be a lot of people at the bank. So we hunkered down on the floor and listened to my Ipod.

Fira is beautiful and built on the side of a cliff. After we got some cash, we climbed through the town and had coffee at a little cafe at the top. Two stray dogs decided to be our tour guides for the afternoon and walked a few paces in front of us for two hours. They even stopped and sat outside shops when we went in.

There is an active volcano right off the coast of Santorini, so we booked a small tour that took us there and let us hike around the island for a couple hours. After, they stopped near some hot springs and let us jump off the boat and swim to them. They were more like…warm springs, but it was nice to swim in the ocean anyway.

We explored the island on our last day. We found three wineries, and too many pottery workshops to count! I felt like my mother after I spent an hour picking pretty little rocks on a beautiful beach we found when we got lost.

The guy at Anny’s recommended we go to Pyrgos for Good Friday. We went later in the evening and the town was packed. The locals spread lanterns all over the rooftops of the city, and when they get out of their evening service they light them all. (And by that, I mean they give a pack of 15 year olds blow torches and let them loose on the thousands of metal tins full of gas) It was amazing! Heres a picture from a website, because all of mine sucked.

We somehow got caught up in the procession line (It was hard not to, it was huge). I’m quite sure they knew I wasn’t a Catholic. The little old ladies on the side of the road seemed to aim at me when they threw their holy water.

They had some fireworks there too. I noticed a pretty big difference in the way they light them in Greece. Instead of planting them somewhere, lighting the fuse and running away, they give them to twelve year olds, light them and let them hold them facing upwards. It was different…

We headed home afterwards, smelling like popuri and lemons. We ate at the little restaurant next to our studio, where they encouraged us to stay all night by bringing us free pitchers of wine. It was very fun, and made packing up my stuff later that night less organized than I would have thought.

Love for now,

Ashley

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We were getting a little bit tired of the big busy city, but we still had another day until we left for Santorini. We decided to just show up and catch a ferry to an island close to Athens with a couple girls we met from Wisconsin that were staying at our hostel. The travel agent at the port suggested Aegina. We bought some cheap tickets, jumped on the ferry for an hour and spent the day on the island. It was unreal sort of beautiful. The ocean was SO blue, and the island was covered in beautiful yellow flowers.

We spent seven hours strolling around the island, through the town and sitting on the beach. We ate at a little restaurant along the board walk where our table looked over the ocean.

We made friends with a street cat we named Cyclops, because he only had one eye and one ear. He was terribly ugly, but probably the friendliest cat I’ve ever met. We shared our chicken kabobs with him.

The sun was setting as we rode the ferry back to Athens. Liseanne and I decided to take some cash out when we got back to the square close to our hostel. As Liseanne went to take out her bank card, we realized that she left it in a bank machine the day before. We are having some bad luck. We do still have Liseanne’s Visa so we’re staying afloat until we can get to a bank associated with them and pick up a cash advance. Right now we’re sitting on a ferry eating trail mix with 20 euro in our pocket. I still have my passport, we’re having fun and that’s all that counts.

Love for now,

Ashley

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Losing Things in Athens

Whew. In the last couple days we have done some pretty intense sight-seeing. We’ve visited three museums, the national gardens, and tons of ruins. The Acropolis was my favourite place so far. It is up so high and gives you an amazing view of Athens, while you’re standing around the most beautiful ancient buildings. Pretty amazing.

It may not surprise any of you that I’ve gotten a small sunburn since I got here. The wind gives the city a deceiving cooler feeling, while the sun is HOT. I’ve now opted for a scarf in lieu of sun screen. (Scarf > SPF 50)

The service and food at restaurants here is amazing! They are so accommodating. They also bring you FREE tap water with every meal! This is a big deal. I’ve gotten used to people turning their noses up at us when we request tap water, but here they just bring it! And they don’t even put a ton of ice in it! I love it.

Also, they drink plain iced espresso here everywhere! Amazing!

Here is something not so amazing…I lost my wallet. (Surprise Mom and Dad, if you haven’t received my email yet) I can foresee a small lecture…
I was pretty worried/upset about it last night, but I’ve decided it’s not worth my time to be stressed about a wallet. I had under 100 Euros in it, and the rest was just plastic.


Picked an orange right off a tree!

Love,

Ashley

PS – Posted an album on FB.

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I woke up at 4:15 this morning.  To be completely honest I put on the same clothes from the day before (half of which I slept in), didn’t brush my hair or even look in a mirror and left.  I’m getting better at this whole ‘traveling’ thing. 

In my International Business and Trade course we’ve been doing a strategic business case on Starbucks.  I’m not really sure it’s fair to study a company that does not exist here.  Seriously, we looked on their website and it said they have no locations in the Netherlands.  It must be because of the oddly sized coffee market here.  When we arrived at Schiphol airport and saw a Starbucks just inside the complicated sliding doors, it made my morning.

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One grande half-sweet skinny caramel macchiato with no foam enjoyed while standing in line wearing a 12.7 kg backpack (Not bad right?) at 5 o’clock in the morning was perfect.

We connected in Switzerland, so we got to see some amazing mountains as we headed to Athens.  They were beautiful, it reminded me of home.

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 We arrived at our hostel at about 3.  It was the first time we were traveling and I felt very little stress about getting lost or getting somewhere before a certain time.  It was nice.  The hostel is beautiful and a little bit rustic. 

Apparently today is some sort of national ‘independence’ type holiday so all of the shops and attractions were closed.  We walked through a beautiful park a couple blocks from our hostel, and then went for coffee at a little cafe called ‘Libre’.  We picked this particular cafe because there was a big stack of games in the window.  We played Mastermind and sipped coffee on the patio for most of the evening.

Oh yes, I figured out how to post pictures.

Love,

Ashley

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 Our adventure to Greece started in a bit of a complicated mess.  We arrived at Middelburg station a little later than we expected to.  The ticket booths had closed, leaving us to buy our passes to Amsterdam from the automated machines.  Our lack of Dutch ‘digital money’ and the machines inability to accept paper money left us with one choice.  We paid almost 60 Euros in ‘one’ denominations coins (Euro-Loonies?  Still not sure what they’re called).

We’re staying the night in Amsterdam, our flight leaves early tomorrow morning for Athens.

I don’t think I forgot anything yet.  That might not be possible really because I took almost EVERYTHING.  I may be exaggerating a little bit.  I feel that this morning like I exercised a good amount of self-restraint when I repacked.  Hopefully these shorter trips will be good practice for ‘packing light’ on our two months excursion this summer.

PS  – Amsterdam is way cooler when its not raining.

Love,

Ashley

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