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JASSENDEAVOR 'm going to travel around the world, easternly, from the good ole USA. I plan to be traveling for about 4 months, but who knows what will happen? This is my global adventure. It's a chance to write my own story; but the details will have to be filled i

One Good Friend Later!

GREECE | Saturday, 4 April 2009 | Views [1253] | Comments [1]

Actually, one good friend, two new Greek sandals, one Kiwi girl, two greek islands, one rented car, and three* sets of sunburns later... all this girl can say is, Kalispehrah! ("Good evening!")

*Technically, our kiwi friend Lisa does not havea sunburn, since she is pretty tan already, lucky girl! (She thinks she's pale, but then she saw me :)

We three have been having a blast enjoying the greek island life, just shy of the on-season heydey that apparently will begin just after the Easter holiday season in a week or so. (During which time, all island life halts for celebration, so by then we hope to be in Turkey. Lisa will hopefully join us!)

The highlights so far have been Crete, the big island to the south, which one takes by getting on a 9:30 PM ferry from Athens port (Parenias port) and arrives in Crete's port at 5:30... for any non-locals (i.e., us) this means staying on board while everyone else disembarks, as you are moored and the outside is still cold and dark! Finally, at 6:15 we got off the boat, and walked towards the familiar golden arches of a McDonald's... not open :) What can you say besides, Island Time, right? :) So we had our own breakfast on the steps of a bank statue on a lush green lawn as the sun rose, around 7:00 am. (After ascertaining where the car rental place was, so we could hit it, as soon as possible! We only had one night to spend on Crete, and we wanted to find some beaches!) Being pretty prepared ladies as we are, we thought to grocery shop prior to the ferry, and what could have been expensively imported island food... so we had a few grocery bags with fruit, bread, cheese, and jam. We ate a lot of those foods the last few days... with the occasional souvlaki, pizza, cafe frappe, ice cream, and tonight we finally had a huge pasta and salad meal.

(Sidenote: My favorite staple is this weird protein brick, essentially it's tahini and sugar, with nuts in it. It's packed with vitamins, tastes like sweet crystallized nutty sesame seeds. I bought it out of sheer curiosity, resented its weight for three days, but on the fourth day Lisa and I discovered how fantastic eating huge quantities of it is, actually healthy despite the sugary taste, and we killed it all in one day. I believe it was called Halva. Ours was pistachio halva. Delicious, and nutritious.)

For an island that harvests so many olives, the pizzas still lack olives, and 2/4 of my greek salads have also been missing olives! How, Why, Greekies?* I don't know.

*Our tour guide in Athens referred to the Greekies as just that: "The Greekies" - but she was greek, so maybe it was okay for her and not so much for me? I don't think it's a double standard, I'm using it.

So, by the time we had driven the rented Hyundai Atos Prime (stick shift, hatchback, four cylinder... perfect really) all around the island - Lisa from Way Down Under even got a taste of the RIGHT way to drive a car (on the RIGHT side of the road ;) - at least by about 130km we found ourselves on the south side of the island. This meant we had driven inland up through windy mountain towns, past goats, sheep, olive trees, churches, plenty of tiny towns with working bell ringing ropes hanging from the flat topped spires... and plenty of greek orthodox women walking around in many black layers of clothing. It was really beautiful. I felt so happy to be in a semblance of reality, with girls my age, my language, and in control of a vehicle. And every single cretan I have met has been truly kind, with really no skeevy, take-advantage-of-the-tourist feeling whatsoever. I am basically in heaven. Katie's vacation has rubbed off a little on both Lisa's and my own traveling... given our travels each a little more of a laid back feeling that we all enjoy! I was sick of  being alone, or only meeting people for a day (OK; in Amsterdam, a week, but still. Friends, girls, are nice)

So, we dipped our toes, we found more than one incredible beaches, we'd pull over, have a dip, a snack... what have you... and we were tired and we found this great little place run by a sweet German woman, in a town called Pitsidia, outside Matala, Crete. The suite was sweet. Two terraces, bathroom, fridge, kitchen, for three beds. For 10 Euros apiece. Chickens in the front yard - and oh yeah, this lady was a Cat Lady, definitely. I'm talking ten, twenty cats everywhere downstairs. Slightly odd at first, but hey! Who's to judge! We all know Cat Ladies exist :) And she gave us oranges when we checked in.

One fun thing was when we pulled over in a mountain village, and walked down the street a ways to see a cemetery, and we saw a donkey! Saddles, tied to a tree, just out of the village. Hanging higher up in the tree was a cane hooked overa branch. Apparently, it's owner had ridden to town, parked his donkey to graze, and (oddly) not used his/her cane to shuffle all the way into town, but it was cute. Also, scrambling up the embankment, that was when we noticed how the netting below the tree catches the olives as they fall. I tasted a black one, but color does not denote ripeness; it was heinous. Almost as sour as the sour "orange" I ate from the orange tree in Athens' city park; not a juice orange, I guess... Lisa knew what it was but I have forgotten...

Well, I know I am rambling, that's just my style. Last night and this morning we took a series of (2) ferries to get to Paros, a small island near Naxos. This island IS the picturesque Cyclades island - all houses are white, with blue shutters. There was one red-shuttered one, but that was like finding Where's Waldo... everything else is white and blue. The police station "Oh right, the white building, with the blue shutters! haha" The church? "The tall building, with the blue dome!" OK, got that at least. They even paint around their stones with white thick outlines, giving a nice impression to their stoned streets. Did you know that much of the marble - like from the Venus de Milo, was quarried from here in Paros? Well, there's plenty of marble here.

OK, time for me to sign off, but I'll leave you with the image of us trying to sleep on the ferry last night... the ferry was overrun with greek teenagers "OPA!-ing" in thehallways... no lie. All night, the biggest party ever was going on, just clapping and music and dancing for hours on end. Made me jealous on behalf of all American teenagers who sulk into cell phones and booze instead of being high on life :)

Also, wanted to say Hi and I have thought of you all, wished you were here as I relax in a truly enjoyable place and time. Plus, oddly, the greenery -that is STUNNING- will leave in a month, as the islands become hot hot hotter and OVERRUN with tourists. It still blows my mind that there are not more tourists who are here, now. It's gorgeous, its not on season yet, but i have a sunburn fosho!

Goodnight Moon!

Tags: athens, crete, cyclades, greece, island, paros



It's Spring in Great Falls!-- 32 degrees w/ dusting of snow... low sunburn quotient.

  DJ Apr 5, 2009 12:03 AM



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