[Sorry this is long, but I’m limiting my internet use so I enjoy this trip more!]
Day #1/2 June 29/30, 2009
The journey has begun!
Amy and I finally made it to Athens! Flying from D.C., we had our connection flight in Denmark and made our last leg to Athens, Greece. A total of 24 hours of travel wore us girls out! Only having a few hours in Athens, we ventured to downtown Athens to go to the Acropolis. Learning public transportation in any city can be a challenged but especially in a foreign land! Thankfully, we did it with breeze.
Great quote for our Athens day: “Don’t hurry, don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit so be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” –Walter Hagen
Story from the Airport: “Explain that One.”
Once we were on one of the public transportation shuttles, we met this guy who ran on and asked if the shuttle driver was going to swing around to pick up his wife. He asked the driver 2 times and both were a bit difficult to understand, but he generally thought the driver said yes. However, to get around to the area where his wife was, we had to enter part of the highway. The panic in this guys voice was hilarious as he said, “Uhh- um Sir? Are we…uh… aren’t we going to go back to get her???” Finally the driver said an affirmative yes and started to head towards the woman. Amy and I were laughing at the possibility of the driver NOT going to get the woman and this guy just hopped on this shuttle without her….then having to explain why he “accidently left her” at the airport. I could just hear him trying to explain, “Honey, I thought he was going to go around and get you…” and her only response being something along the lines of, “Uh-huh. Explain that one…”
But come to find out, the driver did get her and Amy and I found out that they are a newlywed couple on their honeymoon…which just makes my imaginative story so much better.
Day #3 July 1, 2009
We made it back to our hotel around 10pm to take showers, journal, and let the realization of where we were at sink in. Only sleeping for 3 hours, Amy and I woke up at 3:20am to make our 3:45am bus to the airport.
Story from the delusional time of 3am: “Brisk Run”
We about got on the wrong bus! The bus driver told us that we needed to be at the bus stop across the street. Quickly getting off, we walked over…which became running franticly over to catch the bus that was already at the stop! Oh there is nothing like a brisk run with 25 pounds of luggage strapped to your back while carrying other bags in arms…no nothing like it!
We arrived on the island of Santorini, Greece (July 1) early in the morning. We went to our villa, Villa Manos , and put our bags down in the lobby and went by the pool to kill some time. I read some and Amy snoozed. By 9:45am, we were both hungry so we headed to town and found a supermarket. We bought chocolate bars and chips…so healthy right? Hahah well, all this walking we’ve done has given us an excuse to eat some junk!
After that, we walked around town and found a street to explore. We found some of the most beautiful scenery on that walk. Really, it was just homes but the doors, window shutters, flowers, and a church. Each though had this unique character. I suppose this is the definition of a walkabout…taking the time to explore, notice, reflect, and mostly, absorb. Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Throughout my walkabout, I’ve often thought, “Why can’t America be this beautiful!?” But I suppose 1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and 2. Maybe I just need new eyes. Well said Proust.
Something about the Greek life that I’ve noticed, speaking mostly of Santorini, seems that it is pretty relaxed. People talk quietly, eat slow, and seem to forget the time and day. The only hectic style they are prone to is their crazy driving! I can honestly say that I’ve loved every bit of Greece. It has been my dream destination for years. Being here is UNREAL! (Hey, if I move here, ditch grad school, and become a nun- would you come visit?!)
To top off the night, Amy and I did some journaling and reading outside of our room. We looked up at the sky to see what caught out attention and realized it was a shooting star. What a perfect welcome to Santorini, Greece!
Day #4 July 2, 2009
Well we were supposed to wake up at 8:30am for our “One Day in Santorini Tour” but when the alarm doesn’t go off because I set it and forgot to click “on”…oops!
No complaints here though! Amy and I woke up by 10am and rented each own scooter (well, more life 4-wheelers!) and traveled like a Greek. We explored the island by basically, getting lost in the different villages. Driving along the coast was absolutely breath taking. For lunch, we headed to the beach and found a few great restaurants on the coast. We chose one that had tables looking out to the ocean. In fact, we picked our table that was on a mini island surrounded by water. Amy ordered fried cheese and a Greek salad and I ordered stuffed grape leaves, or what they call “stuffed vines,” and “tomato balls.” The tomato balls were grilled and had fresh herbs on/in them. The meal was amazing. I have loved Greek food and haven’t had a dish yet that I do not like. And the gyros…so freakin good (and cheap!). Toward the end of day 4, we took our scooters around some more, went to a great café for shakes/smoothies to mail out a few postcards and journal a bit. We took our scooters back, ate a gyro for dinner, and headed “home.”
As Amy and I were traveling on our scooters, we decided to go down this one path. Little did I know, this one path was “snaking” all the way from the top of a cliff, to the bottom. I started to freak out a bit because 1. It was close to the edge, and 2. Huge trucks and buses were on this road too. And plus, it was taking us all the way down, which we had no reason to go there. So at the one middle section, where buses had parked, I slowed down to park but in the middle of the road where we would U turn, my accelerator stopped working! Amy quickly parked and I was there freaking out. I turned my 4wheeler off and we started pulling it to the side of the road. We got it out of the way just in time for a monster truck to pass one way and a tour bus the other. Whew. After a few minutes of letting it cool, it started back up and so we went up the cliff to get to more open road!
Overall, this day has been my favorite thus far! I leave this day with a quote from The Message,
“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God” (1 Peter 1:18).
May I not forget that this walkabout can reflect new characteristics of God that I’ve yet discovered.
Day #5 July 3, 2009
Today was crazy. We went on a “Santorini in a Day” tour and started off by going to the highest point of Santorini to a monstery over-viewing the ocean and island. After we went to Pyrgos to take in another view. From there we could see 14 villages.
We then headed to take a boat along the coast to view the cliffs and villages alongside the sea. The boat took us to a volcano, in which we climbed all the way up to the top! (It was a workout.)
After spending time at the volcano, we went to swim in the hot springs to swim in green sulfer water! It was pretty hot water, and difficult to swim in. The water reminded me of the Dead Sea in Israel, except not as salty.
After swimming we went to eat gyros on another Island of Santorini and then had to walk up the cliff.
Story: “We paid to do this?”
So Amy and I wanted to take a donkey up the cliff but, well, when you run out of euros…you’re left-a-walkin. So we had to walk up this windy path where donkey dung laid along the entire path. We were both out of breath and I was gaging up the entire way. Amy complained the entire time about how thirsty she was and we both kept saying, “And we paid to do this!!!”
But, it was all made up when we found an ATM, did some shopping in Oia, and found a great little lounge that watched the sunset over the sea. Sipping on some red & white wine while eating a delicious ice cream/fruit dessert made up for the intense day!