Thursday, November 03, 2005

Your Boarding Pass Please...

my dear we left athens reality came crashing down. hard. the idea of flying from athens to london seemed simple at first. what we didn't factor in however,was a layover in copenhagen with 20 minutes in between to catch our next flight to london, then flying into london's heathrow airport and continuing on the underground for an hour and then catching another hour long train to a different airport and then looking for a last minute hotel in the middle of nowhere, in order to catch a flight out the next morning. *please note- this was all done on empty stomachs and our now non-existent trip fund in the most expensive city in the solar system - all hail the mighty pound!
at our wits end and having just survived our own version of 'the amazing race,' we got bamboozled into spending 75 pounds for a crappy room at an old deserted farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, since "everything else was booked." we only had 4hrs to sleep until we had to be up for our next leg of the trip and at the airport at 5am, we tried to put the sad thoughts of the end our trip out of our minds and try to catch some shut eye...things wouldn't have been that bad if the morning hadn't turned into such a sh*t show. our bags were packed and we were patiently waiting for the shuttle to come get us. realizing that our ride was late we went to look outside...only to discover we were locked in our room. yes, that sounds strange, and hard to believe, but it was true. the deadbolt only worked from the outside. quite a genius invention really. we went macgyver on the lock...but no avail. we cursed, we pounded, we tried the to open the windows, but they too were sealed shut. panic was setting in when finally our shuttle showed up, and the driver unlocked us from our cell. we got to the airport with seconds to spare, we ran through check-in and security but of course, anna got picked for a random body search...front of the hands mind you and a serious pat down...lucky gal! but in the end we got on the plane and arrived safely in amsterdam...coming full circle from the beginning of our trip. like the circle of life...round and round she goes... like a spinning wheel...

Monday, October 31, 2005

It All Looks Like Greek To Me...

friends. let us tell you. the greek isles may be lovely but they are a pain in the ass to get to. we headed back to athens on a ferry chalk full of people. people in the aisles, the staircases and around every corner. packed! we deemed it our "big, fat, obnoxious, greek ferry" it was horrible. and stuffy, and hot. the waves rocked endlessly, we tried to sleep but the cries of babies and fighting greeks kept us awake. we endured. we finally arrived in athens after traveling by bus for one hour. a lovely honeymooning couple graciously showed us the way to our hostel. after a long travel day, we had some food and wine and fell fast asleep. we awoke early the next morning, and eagerly anticipated our last day of exploration. we hit the acropolis in the morning and took some photos and marvel at her wonder. we roamed the ruins and the streets of athens for the rest of the afternoon. tomorrow we embark on our long, tedious two day journey home....

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mykonos Memory Makers...

ok. not ready to part ways, we took our gang and our atv's and did it mykonos style! upon arrival, the weather was windy but our spirits weren't dampened. we explored the beaches and hills of mykonos with gusto, having most of the island to ourselves. again our evenings were spent, reflecting, talking travel, making cocktails (thank you mat, for introducing the spanish specialty to our mature palates - don't worry spence, yours will come in time!) after two fun days we bid our friends farewell. and with heavy hearts we made our way to the beach on our own. the gang no more. perfect weather greeted us for the next two days and we spent our afternoons lounging in the sun on the white sand beach that is super paradise. we also discovered our inner free spirits - and that we were on a nude beach - and decided to shed our clothes and bronze our bare bodies. when in rome! oh how freeing it was, at least for a little while until we saw our new hostel mates walking towards us. not sure if they had recognized us yet, we scrambled for our clothes, trying desperately to avoid a very awkward situation! with our trip quickly coming to an end, we relished our time on the greek isles and left for athens feeling, relaxed, rested and a bit sun-kissed. athens here we come...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Santorini Sunset Chasers...

at last. our traveling luck has returned. we departed for the beautiful island of santorini in the morning and while at sea, we befriended a lovely new zealand couple, mat and kat. we soon became fast friends and ended up rooming together on the island, where we were joined by a young red-headed canadian lad named spencer, just out of high school. together the five of us took santorini by storm, riding ATVs around the island, leaving no road untravelled or rock unturned. we explored every beach, every ruin and every country road. we shared laughs, intimate secrets and family histories along the way. at night we cooked as a family, each one contributing to the feast, except for anna, who was feeling under the weather and seemed to be on an endless quest for tissues. our routine was simple...breakfast on our own private verandas, beaches by day, cruise to see the sunset in the evening for some framers and friendly photo competition, then back to the house for a hearty meal, fine wine and a crazy game of "shithead." fun times indeed! we repeated this routine for four straight days and formed a tight-knit group with our new pals.

we raise our glass to you linda and colin. thank you, debbie and martin. cheers, kelly and pat. without you the santorini sunset chasers wouldn't be possible. for that...we are grateful. santorini favorites...

santorini sunset chasers
sunsets at oai
photo contests
the crazy game of shithead
wine in plastic bottles
black and red sand beaches
driving the road from fira to oai at night
family dinners
sharing milk
brutis the dog
mat, kat and spence

The Boat, The Bus, The Train...Oh My!

ah, looking back we had no idea how hard getting to greece would "actually" be. we dreamt of a simple boat ride that would lead us right into white sand beaches and blue skies. oh how wrong we were. we started with a 5hr train ride from naples to bari, when we reached bari we got on the overnight, 17hr long ferry ride to patras. it sucked. this was no carnival cruise ship, although there was a swanky dance club and some out of order slot machines. our first class "airline" seats were stuck upright and were also supposed to double as our beds for the night. trying to look on the bright side we headed to the cafeteria for dinner. the food was overpriced (they had us up against the wall! robbing us blind!) we headed back to the sleeping area, took a tylenol pm (best medical marvel on earth!) and tried to catch some z's. but alas, the seats sucked so we took to the floor, put in our earplugs and huddled together with blankets over our heads in the fetal position. needless to say, it was a restless night. being the cheerful morning people we are, we ranted and raved about how miserable the boat was and that no amount of espresso would keep us awake. after what seemed like forever we reached the ugly port town of patras. our 3hr train to athens did not leave for several hours so we took to the streets of patras in search of good times and good eats. we found neither. the time went by slowly but we survived and boarded our train to the mighty city of athens. but yet again this trip was foiled, since the train tracks were under construction we couldn't make it to the city so we had to get off a the closest station and then take a bus to pireaus, the port town were we would catch the morning ferry to santorini. by this time we had been traveling for 32 hrs straight. all we wanted was a hot shower, good meal and a clean bed. what we got was a seedy motel for 40 euro a night, that looked like it should be out of the movie psycho. we thought it was clean but the bed bug bites jc got the next morning proved otherwise, the bathroom also double as a shower stall. we went out in search of food. we ordered 2 chicken gyros and some beer. what happened next looked like a challenge out of "fear factor". we had to take a bite, swallow and then immediately wash it down with a chug of beer trying not to throw up. it was a grilled pita filled with greasy white chicken fat, covered in a mayo like sauce. finger lickin good!! we headed back to our dumpy motel room, feeling nauseous and so tired. we went to bed hoping for a brighter day tomorrow...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sorrento...the life of leisure in the Italian Riviera

so...after our departure from rome, we ventured south past naples to the inviting sea side town of sorrento on the amalfi coast. sick of hostel living, we treated ourselves to some luxury lodging at the hotel nice. we relished the privacy, the abundance of hot water, clean sheets and no snorers in sight. the small town, a holiday hot spot for the italians, was filled with shops, cafes and a pleasant night life. for two days we rested, relaxed and slept in. we also took a day trip down the coast to positano, another little gem along the italian riviera. after this much needed rest, a "vacation" from our vacation, we geared up for the daunting travel across italy and on to greece... ships ahoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

When in Rome...

dear friends....we thought it couldn't get any worse than florence, oh but it did. rome. after navigating the train schedule with ease, we set off to find our "happy days" hostel with a sense of anticipation. the website promised an endless flow of free wine, good eats and good times. things seemed a bit strange from the beginning. while checking in they couldn't find our reservation and proceeded to tell us that luckily they had one single bunk bed available for the two of us to share and that they would cut us a deal and offer us a spooning rate. lucky us! we had no options so we had to hike a few blocks to the "over flow" apartment which was under mass construction and covered in scaffolding at the time. we brought a rush of positive energy into our room when we met our 4 other hostel mates and anna's complaints and fury could be heard all across rome. after seeing our bed, which resembled something a 5yr old would use as "my first mattress" we couldn't wait for cuddle time. we knew it would be a night of deep slumber. After our free box o' wine and lovely pasta with cream sauce and hot dog bits we settled in for the night. we decided that head to foot would be our best option and with the mattress conveniently stuck at an angle, jc took the peak and anna the valley. it wouldn't have been a complete night if we didn't have a pesky canadian snoring nearby. needless to say, we awoke feeling refreshed and well rested and started the morning off with a freezing cold shower since hot water didn't seem to exist! later that day we had to move our packs back to the main hostel where the lights didn't work and no clean pillowcases could be found. Pissed off, annoyed and tired we set off to explore rome sites. she didn't fail us. we were the perfect little tourists, seeing the coliseum, trevi fountain, roman ruins, pantheon and the spanish steps that evening. due to our less than thrilling accommodations, we cut our trip short by one day but still managed to visit the sistine chapel (where we bumped into our canadian friend, adam, from cinque terre while waiting in line - oh how traveling can take you full circle!) vatican city and st. peters cathredal all before we left for the almafi coast. oh rome, such history you possess, such wonder you revealed! Rome favorites....

debauchery & body shots
spooning rates
cold showers
sistine chapel
the endless search for G's
Louise, our funny friend!
box o' wine
teen scene at the spanish steps
losing the dead weight
sistine chapel
roman ruins
st. peters cathredal
the happy, helpful staff at happy days.

Monday, October 24, 2005

We Flunked Florence...

ahh friends, we arrived in florence and pitied the poor city for having to compete with the scenic wonder that was cinque terre. we had high expectations, visions of leather goods danced in our heads. but we were sorely mistaken. our hostel, inappropriatly deemed the "dany house B&B" was a smokey, mangey, and altogether a travelers nightmare. our accomadations fell way below our expectations but nevertheless we set out to see florence with a pep in our step. was it the crowded streets? the sunglasses worn at night? (if the italians could, they would create sunglasses large enough cover to their entire faces, they are seriously sporting blu blockers these days, no joke.) or was it the lack of fashionable bags and shoes we had our hearts set on? or perhaps it was our traveling ambition was at an all time low. we bypassed the famous sites and priceless art, we just didnt have it in us. we packed our bags and left florence a day early and headed to rome to once again recapture that traveling high. oh florence could it have been different?? Florence favorites...

ummm...we've got nothing...

The Epic Saga of Terri & Kris...

dear friends...cinque terre. 5 lands...our eyes and ears are bursting at the seems with sensory overload...our minds can't comprehend the beauty set before us. italian fishing villages nestled in the crooks of mountains, each one prettier than the next, the sunshine and salt air has reawakened our traveling spirits. we arrived weary and after some tough times and rude comments we were able to find accomadations right on the waterfront - yet again! our little balcony overlooked weathered boats and rocky clifts. our first night we dined under the stars, high above the city and ate a true italian feast of frutti di mare and local wine. besides the salt overload, everything was delicious. the next morning we awoke early to sieze the day. with nothing to do and nowhere to be we got expresso and tried to figure out our game plan. it was then that we met a lovely group of travelers, they had formed a group and had planned to hike the 5 fishing villages, we gladly accepted their invitation and set out on what can only be described as physically challenging, mentally rewarding and emotionally satisfying. we pushed ourselves to the brink and became better women because of it. at the end of our 7hr hike, we celebrated with a grand feast and walked away with new friends. after deciding to stay another day, we woke up and met up with our new friends and had lunch and tried in vain to rent a boat. that evening we ate at the village of corniglia and had more seafood pasta, a local favorite, and more wine of course! we then headed home and full bellies and great memories. Cinque Terre favorites...

Terri & Kris - you are a true inspiration to us all, may your flame forever burn.
rooms by the sea
hiking the 5 towns
frutti di mare
salty foods
finding the right train
local wine
About a bus
the always entertaining photo shoot