Day 269:Disneyland Paris 6/30/2016

Syd and Wally

The Commute

We woke up early and made our way to Disney Paris. We weren’t sure how long it would take us and wanted to account for the possibility of getting lost. It’s really cool walking down the street and seeing the French architecture. When we were in Shanghai it was fun walking through the French Concession and seeing the architecture there and now we’re seeing the real deal. I, Wally, must say that it’s much more charming here than in Shanghai probably because there isn’t shit on the streets and a million pieces of clothing hanging outside the window to dry.

We got to the metro and bought our tickets. For those of you that have always wanted to travel, but are intimidated by the idea of having to navigate public transport don’t. It’s seriously the easiest thing to do the people that designed the multimillion dollar network of tubes, tunnels, trains and buses have really made things as idiot proof as possible.

The commute to Disney itself was very chill, we only had one transfer and it was a straight shot from there. What’s interesting is that the metro we took to Disney was a double decker. I mentioned to Syd that Shanghai could benefit from this because then they can fit more people on there. She then countered by saying it would be impossible to get on or off then because people would just crowd the stairs and block it off to everyone else. I laughed and said true and besides the Shanghainese metros probably fit more people in their single deck tubes anyways. Another interesting thing is that everyone on the metro is so quite! Like I felt like people from across the subway cart could hear us when we were whispering. In Shanghai you can have people having full blown drunken conversations and no one would be the wiser.

Disney

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The walk up to Paris Disney is very different from the other ones we’ve been do. The main entrance is blocked by a large building which happens to be their Disney hotel! Guests there get to wake up take an elevator down and enter the park an hour earlier than everyone else! I’d say the convenience of being so close to the park is worth the stay there.

Upon walking in you’re greeted with the familiar sights, smells and sounds of Main Street. Children are running around due to sensory overload and parents are doing their best to corral them.  Then as you head down the street you see the iconic Disney Castle. This one is modeled after Sleeping Beauty’s, fun fact the one in Anaheim is also modeled after Sleeping Beauty, however the one in Paris is considered to be the most beautiful by Disney enthusiast due to the stained glass and the dragon that rests beneath the castle.

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We started from the left and made our way clockwise and hit up as many rides as we could. Luckily it wasn’t too packed and at most we waited 40-50 min for a ride, but some as low as 5 min. Here we’ll note the subtle differences between Paris Disney and Disneyland

  • Phantom Manor
    • It’s their Haunted Mansion
    • The tone of the ride is MUCH darker
    • The Manor looks similar to Adams Family House, whereas back home there is a more Victorian vibe.
    • The images on the wall as you head down the elevator are also different.
    • The ride itself is more or less the same, but with subtle differences.
      • The ballroom scene isn’t as lavish as the one back home and they have different ghouls set up in different places
      • Towards the end of the ride you go through a haunted western town instead of a grave site in New Orleans

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  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • The building housing the attraction looks like an old coastal castle
    • Majority of the line is within the building itself
    • The ride is actually set in the Caribbean
    • There are a few drops in the ride and at one of them you get your picture taken
    • There’s no Johnny Depp
    • The order of the ride is a bit off. You go through the pillaged town before seeing the cave of treasures and the skeletons
    • They do still have the drunkard on top of the bridge with the iconic laugh

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  • It’s a Small World
    • The way they show off each country is different than home. On certain points in the ride the way they frame the iconic structures from around the world forces you to focus your attention on them.

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  • Indiana Jones
    • It’s an actual roller coaster
    • You’re zooming around an Angkor Watt like temple
    • There is a 360 degree loop in the middle of the ride
    • Syd did not go on this ride because we did not find out about the loop until we got there so she exited and I went and met up with her after
  • Disney Snacks
    • They have crepes here naturally, but they’re really bad…. They don’t even make it in front of you. Instead they put a premade one on a heating plate and slather on the Nutella and sugar. It comes out soggy instead of light and flaky.
    • The coffee there also tastes like someone dunked their sweaty feet in it. Just awful….
    • No CHURROS!!!!

I’d have to say that we had fun in Disney, but there just wasn’t anything here that really sets itself apart from Disneyland. It’s because of that, and laundry, we didn’t stay for the fireworks show and headed home a bit early because it was such a commute to get out here. But we were rewarded for our responsibility because as soon as we exited the metro it had begun raining, so we would have missed out of the fireworks show anyways.

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It’s been a loooooong day, but we get to see Clint tomorrow!!! Syd is so excite!

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Day 268: From Greece to France 6/28/2016

Syd and Wally

We were able to talk to Neal and Dianne last night after submitting our blog. It was really cool talking to them about a place they’ve already been to and comparing notes of what we did vs what they’ve done. I, Wally, have to say it’s been really fun talking to them about our travels. They really do appreciate what we’ve done and inspire us to continue doing what we’ve been doing.

Morning

We had our final breakfast in Santorini and we finished packing up. We actually ended up leaving early to the airport at the request of the driver/owner of the hotel. When we got there we got situated and Syd went to get our boarding pass. While she was getting the passes an employee came up to her and asked if we wanted to get onto an earlier flight leaving in 30 min. We obviously took that opportunity because it beat sitting around the small airport for a couple of hours would suck.

Flight

The flight is super short from Santorini back to Athens and on the flight Syd made a friend with this old lady from Florida. They swapped stories on their travels and I overheard Syd talking about how we met and what we’ve been up to. Funny enough the lady is on her way to Israel! Maybe Alana will walk right by her and not even know it! We’ve also come to the conclusion that the food on Aegean airlines just suuuuuck. They give you this snack that taste like cleaning supplies and you have to ask to be given water.  I understand we’re on a short flight, but c’mon man! Give me my salty nuts and a cold glass of water to wash it down!

Athens International

Because we had gotten on such an early flight out of Santorini it meant we had a lot more time in the airport to wait for our next flight. We didn’t mind too much, it beats stressing about catching a connecting flight. We sat around, played on our phones, chatted and napped to pass the time. But while this was going on there were two people sitting behind us just chatting up a storm! They’re two math professors and good god were they annoying!

  • Neither of them watch TV because there’s nothing good on anymore and “no show is worth dumbing their IQ for.”
  • Grew up watching “Dallas”, soap opera, because their mother’s LOVED it and now they believe Texas is the best state in the US
  • There’s better schools in Harvard and that it shouldn’t be an IV league school anymore
  • All women are too high maintenance it’s easier to be single so that you can do what you want
  • Bitched about students not being able to do well on tests when all they do is change the numbers on a previously discussed problem

So anyways after a long ass time of sitting around and doing nothing we were told to board. You know how we joke that there are random checks at airport security and that it always happens to fall on the Muslim looking people? Well it’s BLATANT in Greece, anyone who looked remotely like a bomb could appear on their chest was stopped and questioned. It was ridiculous!

When we were boarded and got comfortable we were told our flight was being delayed… Because there is a strike that has been going on in Paris for a while now with transportation workers. All in all we were delayed for over an hour and a half…

The flight wasn’t bad, but there was a couple of strangers sitting next to us that were blatantly flirting with each other the ENTIRE time! The man is from Greece and the woman is a Parisian. They would just giggle and swap stories about nonsensical things and all Syd and I could think about was that these two just needed to get a room and see if there was any real chemistry brewing.

Oh another thing to shit on Aegean for is that their stewardesses are bitches. We did our little trick of buying them chocolate before a flight and thanking them for their service and they didn’t even say thanks. “Oh… This is for us?” and tossed the bag to the side… Another thing was when Syd asked for coffee the stewardess just shoved a 1 sec finger at her and walked off never to be seen again.

Charles de Gualle

Getting out of this airport was by far the easiest transition from one country to another we’ve experienced so far. All in all it probably took us about 20 min from the plane to a taxi. The only reason why it took us that long was because we were messaging the Air bnb people and tried to figure out how much money to convert.

We got into a cab right away and the dude was Asian… Of course… And you guessed it… Dude spoke Chinese…. Seriously people! Start learning the language it’ll come in handy.

Air BnB

We got dropped off and the driver was nice enough to call the air bnb people with his personal phone. They came down and helped gather some of our luggage. They’re an older couple so they only grabbed the lighter stuff. That left me with two +50 lbs of luggage to navigate a narrow, spiraling, uneven staircase up four flights of stairs… That was fun… The apartment itself is super cute and eclectic. Tons of knickknacks filling any empty space available. It’s like living in a Cost Plus show room.

Anyways enjoy the tour of the apartment. Tomorrow Paris Disney!

 

Day 267: Kamari Beach 6/27/2016

Wally

After such a long day yesterday we decided to just take it easy.

Beach

We literally just chilled at the beach all day. We picked a random restaurant that had cabanas on the beach. We ordered some shitty cocktails and just hung out. I typically have a lot of trouble floating on my back in water, but the water here is salty enough where I’m able to =). We swam around the clear blue waters, chilled on a massive rock in the middle of the bay, laid at the edge of the beach as the waves crashed down onto our bodies and played with the stones by stacking them or tossing them into the ocean. All in all it was a great relaxing day at the beach.

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Eats

I had mousaka for lunch. The best way I can put it is that it’s like chili just seasoned differently. It was pretty damn good, I’m finding that I like Greek food. I also got the opportunity to try souvlaki, pork, and had it wrapped in a pita. Within the wrap they put tomatoes, tziki and french fries. It tasted like a Greek California burrito. Awesome stuff!

Hotel

Back at the hotel we just repacked our stuff. At one point we randomly got a knock on our door and it was one of the owners wife and she had brought us some glasses of wine as a farewell to us. It was such a sweet gesture and Santorini wine is world renowned. I typically don’t like wine and I typically don’t like red wine, but this time around it really wasn’t that bad. I’m not a wino so I can’t tell you that it has earthy tones or some shit, but it went down smooth!

Syd

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We came down to breakfast early and chilled for a little. It is a lot windier today than yesterday but no clouds which is nice. After breakfast we headed to the room because I had a Skype date with my little sister. It was so nice talking to Katie since it has been so long. Unfortunately during our conversation the internet went out where we were staying so we were not able to finish our convo but we will try again tomorrow.

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We packed up and headed to the beach. The walk was nice and is only about a mile to get there. We found some nice beach chairs and an umbrella and vegged. The water was freezing but felt nice since we would bake in the sun. The chairs were also attached to a restaurant and I ordered a daiquiri, it was not good. Oh well! Wally and I swam out to this rock that was maybe 500 feet from the shoreline. We sat and were being mermaids on the rock hehe so much fun!

We started to get hungry so we went to the restaurant on the boardwalk and had some food. SO GOOD!!!! We finished got some ice cream and walked around the little shops for a while until we started to heat up and headed back to the water.

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The rest of the day proceeded with us playing in the water and laying out. It was a relaxing day and I am so sad it is coming to a close. It is hard to leave such an amazing view!!

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This Santorini trip has been nothing short of perfect and I am glad I was able to experience it with my awesome husband. Now off to trek up a huge ass hill, pack and head to bed. Paris tomorrow 🙂

We also have a skype date with my aunt and uncle this evening. It will be nice to chat and catch up since it has been so long. I cannot wait to see them in AZ.

Day 266: Santorini Sunset 6/26/2016

Wally

Tour

  • Bus Ride to the Port
    • We rode the bus about 40 min to get to an old port. It was pretty crazy driving this MASSIVE Grey Hound bus down the side of a massive cliff. At one point the dude scraped the side because it just wasn’t wide enough. The saving grace was that the views going down it was amazing.
  • Boat tour
    • Man the waters were choppy today. They’re beautiful to look out at from a high vantage point because it creates with weave pattern, but once you’re actually out in the waters it’s sickening. I couldn’t even make eye contact with Syd when we were talking because the islands in the background would appear at the top of her head one second and below her shoulders the next
  • Volcano Island
    • This island has a lot of history for the people of Santorini and Greece. Its eruption almost 2,000 years ago is what started the myth of the lost city of Atlantis. We walked around and listened to our guide, but it was just the same shit over and over again. Here’s a deep crater from when it erupted in year XXXX and here’s another crater when it erupted in year XXXX and here’s ANOTHER crater when it erupted in year XXXX.
  • Hot Springs
    • Syd and I were under the impression that we’d be walking to a natural hot spring and sit around it like a Jacuzzi, but we were wrong. Instead you were to jump into the ocean and SWIM into some channel. Problem is the water is sulfurous because of its proximity to the volcano. Not only will it stain your clothes, but it would make breathing difficult. So we opted to stay on the boat instead.
  • Thirasia Island
    • We stopped here for lunch, but Syd and I had a small sandwich on the boat. We just walked around the bottom half of the island because we didn’t want to bother trekking up the massive hill to the top, where the rest of the small village was. We then just got back on the ship for a light nap.
  • Oia
    • This is where you see the most iconic images of Santorini. It’s absolutely stunning. There are 600 steps leading up to the top of Oia from the port. Now I know 600 steps doesn’t sound that bad, but each step takes 4-5 steps to clear. We ended up paying to take a donkey up the cliff side. Since we’ve gotten here all over the souvenir shops I saw donkey plushes and I couldn’t understand why, but now I know. Those mules hauled ass up the cliff. It was good janky fun. At Oia we wanted to catch the iconic sunset, so we plopped down at a fancy restaurant and paid for decent food and an awe inspiring view.
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  • Ride home
    • We had to ride the bus back home at it took quite some time to get back and then we had to trek back up the hill to our hotel.

It was a long day and the tour itself really wasn’t all that worth it, but the view made it all worthwhile.

Side note

  • There was an Italian chick with a shoulder tattoo that had Chinese characters. I recognized 2 out of 3 symbols and even asked another Chinese person on our tour and they confirmed that it’s complete gibberish. Why would you get a tattoo in another language and not double check that shit? I mean you have google translate now it shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Our guide is a funny lady. She speaks Russian, Greek, Italian, German, Spanish, French and English! Also throughout the tour she referred to herself as the mother and all of us were her children. When we had to get our attention she’d call us her babies. Funny lady.
  • While taking in the sunset some jackass was flying his drone overhead. It’s bullshit man… We’re trying to experience and take in something beautiful and peaceful. Why is it ok to impose on EVERYONE else’s experience so that you can take that one wicked shot with your drone… Fucking inconsiderate people. When it was flying low enough I was tempted to chuck something at it to break it.
  • Across from the restaurant there is an old run down building that looks like it’s AT LEAST a few hundred years old. There a ton of people gathered to view the sunset from there. In the middle of dinner we heard something crumble and it turns out some jackasses were climbing off the side of the building and they broke off a piece of the building… Inconsiderate jackasses.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GjlJe5LqQo

Syd

The view was beautiful this morning when we stepped on to our balcony. We just stopped and enjoyed the view for a minute. We had to be up and ready early for our tour. We had breakfast in the Airbnb and it’s not bad. It fills us up and we get all cleaned up and head to the pickup spot for the tour.

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The walk to the pickup spot was not that bad and we waited until we were able to get on the bus. Yep, it was a Greyhound bus. The drive was alright, I was a little sick and traumatized when the bus hit the side of the wall but we made it down the mountain all safe and sound.

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We got onto the boat and the waters were crazy!!!! At one point the front of the boat dipped below the water and the wave crashed onto the front of the boat. Ugh, so sick! The first stop was a volcano. I thought we were going to be walking around on our own and exploring. That was not the case. We were moved around place to place so they could tell us about the volcano. It is an island with a bunch of rocks. Not that impressive. The view was the most impressive part. Scary part was I almost lost my hat twice!!!!! My favorite big black floppy hat flew off my head two times; luckily I was able to save it both times. I would have been so sad! We took some pictures and made our way back to the boat.

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Next, the hot springs; as Wally stated we thought we were going to be able to walk around. That was not the case. Nowhere on the brochure does it say that we are going into the hot springs and it would stain our bathing suits. Also, they said if you are asthmatic it would not be a good idea to go in. Welp, I guess we are staying in the boat. We got a coffee and a sandwich and enjoyed the view. When the people came back all of their suits were stained and some said that the smell was so bad they started coughing and came back earlier than the rest of the group. I am glad we stayed on the boat.

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The third stop was Thirasia. It is a cute little seaside village and the whole island only has 200 people living on it. We enjoyed a crepe and some gelato. We did not want to hike up the mountain to the top village, we were lazy and it was hot. After eating, we walked back to the boat and watched a show on Wally’s phone and I took a nap. When I woke up it was about time to take off again

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.Side note – I went to get some of the dirt off my shoes in the ocean and a huge wave came and drenched one of my feet all the way through. That sucked.

The final stop is Oia, where we were yesterday. We got off the boat and were able to explore the city. At the port you could either walk up the 300 steps or take a donkey. Well, their idea of 300 steps is not actually the size of a stair; each “step” takes about 3 steps to get to the next stair. It is weird. Wally and I decided to take donkey’s up since we have never been on one before and what the hell, when in Greece. I am pretty sure I lost a year off my life. My donkey would start running then abruptly stop, run into the wall, run into other donkey’s, then start to climb on the wall where I thought I would fall off. It was fun and scary at the same time. The pictures of Wally’s face are priceless!!!!! The view heading up was unbelievable and worth the scary donkey ride.

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We got to the top and explored the city. We went to some other sections that we did not go to yesterday. We found the most amazing seaside restaurant to watch the sunset. We ended up staying, eating, and drinking for about 3 hours. I ordered a blue lagoon; this drink was to die for and tasted like 7-Up, just juice!!! AMAZEBALLS!!!! Whoever wants it when we get home I will make it for you. The bread and tzatziki was delicious. I ordered a linguine with dried Santorini tomatoes, diced pepperchini’s, garlic, and olive oil. Mouthwateringly good!

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Another side note – I did a really impressive Hunger Games braid and was really proud of myself. Pictures below 🙂

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The sunset was everything that I imagined and had hoped for. Words cannot explain the beauty and I will let the pictures try and do it justice. After the sunset we made our way to the meeting point and met up with the rest of the group to catch the bus back to our side of the island. The bus ride back took forever but finally we made it and walked back to the hotel.

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The tour definitely was not worth it. When we come back we would stay in Oia or at least with a place with a pool if we are staying in the south and rent a car. But, we would not have known the tour was not worth it unless we did it at least once. Renting a car was plenty and you can drive to all the spots, and the other islands really are not worth going to.

Today was beautiful and the sunset was amazing. I love Santorini and it is just another reason why Greece is one of my favorite countries. Time for bed, it has been a long day.

Day 255: Santorini 6/25/2016

Wally

Morning

We were able to chat with some people back home when we woke up. It was nice just catching up with people.

Breakfast

So like the last post described this place isn’t the best, but it’s definitely not the worst. The owner of this small hotel along with his wife does it all and when we went to get breakfast they were the busboy, waiter and cook. The breakfast itself wasn’t anything special. Bread, crackers, greek yogurt, and a ham and cheese panini. But you know what for $60 a day and to still include breakfast is awesome. Plus the amount of carbs they gave us filled us up till dinner.

Exploration

  • The Rental
    • We originally planned on taking a bus to the capital city, Fira, and explore what it had to offer, but as we were leaving we saw that it was only 40 Euros to rent a smart car for the day. We ultimately decided it was best for us to get the car and to drive around. Man let me tell you driving a car is like riding a bike and you never really forget how to do it. It was definitely a rough start at the beginning just trying to get use to the controls of a smart car. Those things got a TIGHT turn radius and no power whatsoever. Whenever we got to a steep hill my foot was literally on the floor and we cheered the little sucker on.
  • Fira
    • I mentioned that this is the capital of Santorini right? Well this village capital is basically one main road of restaurants and souvenir shops. We walked around and picked up random nicknacks and just took in the sights. Something I found interesting was that there was a decent amount of Chinese restaurants… WHY CAN’T WE ESCAPE THE CHINESE!!!!
  • Imerovigli
    • When we were in Fira I got onto some wifi and looked up some of the top things to do in Santorini and found this village. It was top 2 on most lists, but I couldn’t really see why because the links wouldn’t open. Oh well we figured we were close enough that it garnered a look. When we got there we thought what’s the big deal? There’s like nothing to see, then we turned the corner and saw the iconic views of the while buildings with the blue tops. It’s seriously one thing to look at photographs and another to physically be in the presence of these iconic buildings.
  • Oia
    • Just a short drive up from where we were in Oia. It’s supposed to be THE spot to catch the sunset and really romantic. Well we were there WAY too early to stick around for the sunset so we just snapped a few pictures instead and made our way back down south to check out the black sand beaches
  • Kamari Beaches
    • The black sand beaches are really unique and they’re black because of the active volcano in the center of the island. Actually Santorini is really interesting.
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      As you can see it’s a crescent shaped island with some smaller ones in it’s center. Well the island is shaped that way because the WAY back when, nearly 1,700 years ago the volcano erupted so violently that it split the island into pieces. It ended up, obviously, destroying a good chunk of the island and sunk it to the bottom of the ocean. This served as the inspiration to the myth of the lost city of Atlantis. Either way the beaches are cool, but it’s not really sandy. Instead it’s just a lot of black pebbles and damn do they hurt your feet when you’re trying to walk.
  • Dinner
    • We stopped at a random restaurant near the beach and enjoyed some gyros and cocktails. It’s not the best Greek food around, but we wanted the view and it was cheap.

 

 

 

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Back at the Hotel

We got back and did some preemptive packing. We’ve gotten really good at packing. Once we were done we sat out at our balcony and watched as the sky changed from blue to red, yellow and orange. Seriously we’re lucky to be here and we’re soaking in every freaking moment.

Sydney

We Skyped my fam and caught up with everyone for a while. It was nice to hear what was going on and chat for a minute. Wally and I headed down to breakfast and it did the job. Any time you eat and you have the view we did, it does not matter what the food is. The people that run the hotel are so nice and helpful. Wally and I came up and got ready for the day and found out you could rent a car. AWESOME!! It was also very cheap. We booked our boat tour for tomorrow and the car rental people picked us up.

We got a smart car and man those things are small but they make the most sense here. Back home if you have one I am judging you and your bad decision but here they make perfect sense. The scenery was amazing! We stopped off the side of the road to take some pics and see the view. Man, pictures do not do this place justice. The view is just incredible.

 

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Thira was cool but the town is so small. It was really just one or two streets of shopping and restaurants. We picked up some things and headed to a cafe to people watch and relax. Wally got a fruit smoothie and I an iced cappuccino. Damn, it was refreshing as fuck. We sat and enjoyed for a while then were off to the next village.

 

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The next village was again beautiful. We parked got an ice cream and took some pictures. Words cannot express how amazing Santorini is and I am so excited to come back again in the future.

 

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I drove us to Oia and yep, I miss driving! It was fun and we were hauling ass up and around the mountain. When the car wanted to have power it did but steep hills were not its friend. It is weird driving such a small car since Wally and I had big ones back home.

When we got to Oia, we parked and saw the views that are on postcards. We also found a hotel we will stay in next time, Canaves Oia. The pool alone would be worth it, with the view you get. Anyways we took in every moment and explored a little before we headed back into town. Wally drove us to the beach and we sat at Kamari.

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Black sand beaches are not really sand, they are rocks and pebbles and are burning hot like a thousand suns!!!!!!! We got some chairs and went into the water. The water was much colder than I expected but so refreshing. It is definitely better then the water in Thailand which felt like bath water haha.

We relaxed and took everything in.

Side note – Wally said some funny shit that I forgot to put in the blog.

  1. We were in the store in Abu Dhabi and I was in one aisle and he came up to me and asked if “spaghetti with bologna would be good?” I said no and he said ok. I went over to where he was and he kept saying spaghetti with bologna. Well it was spaghetti with bolognese sauce. BAHAHHAHA I could not stop laughing for 10 minutes. I really had no idea what he was saying. He is so cute!
  2. We were packing the suitcase and he said “where should I put the cotton sticks?” Me “WTF, is a cotton stick?” He proceeds in describing “gladiator sticks, sticks with balls of cotton, toothpicks with white stuff.” Then he finally shows me he is talking about q-tips. I was dying again and crying I was laughing so hard!!! This probably is not translating well in the blog but know it was so funny!!
  3. We are walking in Athens and he says “oh, it’s weird that all I see is the Greek alphabet.” Me, staring at him waiting for the light bulb. Wally, “oh wait…haha Greek alphabet.” He proceeds to laugh to himself the rest of the day.

Once we finished we walked up and down the streets of Kamari. It was nice and peaceful. We found a little seaside restaurant that had a set menu for 2 for 15 euros. The food wasn’t the best but it did the job and the cocktails were nice. We Skyped my dad and showed him the view, I woke him up hahah.

We dropped the car off. When we got back home we did a little packing and prepared the stuff my dad will be taking with after Paris. Also, Bertha, my suitcase that has been with me since Eurotrip 2010 when my other suitcase broke, is on her last leg. The wheel is bent in, she does not roll straight anymore. Please keep your fingers crossed that she makes it to Arizona and then I will let her go. So sad!! She is my baby and has been all over the world with me. Bianca, I am dragging a dead body.

We enjoyed the views and sat on our balcony. The view was great. A wonderful day and all spontaneous adventures with my love.

Day 254: Travel Day 6/24/2016

Syd and Wally

We had a 7:30 pm flight today and they recommend showing up 3 hours early for your flights, so today ended up being a bit of a wash.

Last day in Athens

We explored the city a bit more and Syd got a t-shirt from their Hard Rock Cafe. But man was it hot… We had to stop in the shade in 10-15 min intervals because the heat was just getting to us. We ended up back at the hotel around 1 pm and we sat in the lobby until we cooled off. We asked the staff to get a cab for us and we got a yellow mercedes! Too cool!

Airport

Well we got there 5 hours before our flight because we honestly didn’t have anything else to do in the city. We got checked in and headed over to the food court. As you guys know Wally has been trying out McDonald’s in every country because each country’s McDonald’s caters to its population. Well in Greece they have a Greek Mac and it is absolutely delicious. It’s 2 big mac patties wrapped in pita bread stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce.

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We just hung out for a while, talked and internetted on our phones. We finally found out where our gate was and made our way over there. We chatted with a nice british couple while we waited and they weren’t all too happy about the Brexit. It’s cool that we’ll be visiting there right after such a momentous event. Our flight was delayed for over an because the effing crew didn’t show up…

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Flight

It was SOOOOOO short like 30 min and the landing was ROUGH! But hey we’re here now!

Drive to the hotel

We were picked up by the owner, Petros, and he couldn’t be nicer. He is a great source of information and he broke things down in a patient and systematic way. This island has so much to offer and we’re drooling with anticipation with what we’ll be doing.

The room

It’s nothing to write home about. It’s only $60 a day.

  • Pros
    • Gorgeous view of the black sand beaches
    • Breakfast every morning
    • Private balcony
    • Location to the beach
    • Basically a personal travel agent with Petros
  • Cons
    • We’re on top of  a HUGE hill, so walking back and forth is going to suck
    • The room is stuck in the 90s
    • Bathroom is smaller than the one we had in Shanghai
    • There’s also the occasional plane that’ll fly overhead
    • The tv has antennas…

It will be fun and I know Syd is looking forward to exploring the island.

 

Day 253: Acropolis 6/23/2016

Wally

Acropolis

Syd had the bright idea of doing everything before it got hot, so we headed for the Acropolis bright and early. She wasn’t the only genius today and the place was PACKED! I did my best to take everything in and enjoy it. At least we weren’t dealing with Chinese crowds where they’ll push and shove you. Here it’s just a bit packed. The view from the top was gorgeous, I kept staring out into the city and thinking this has been here for over 2 thousand years and the layout of the city is relatively the same. It’s just a lot to take it.

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Acropolis Museum

The museum is really cool. It’s actually built on top of the site of the ruins of the old homes of people that worked at the Acropolis over 2 milleniums ago. It contained pottery and sculptures from excavation sites and the Acropolis itself. I came to the realization that I’ve seen a lot of old shit this year and it’s really cool to be able to compare one ancient civilization to another. Looking at these sculptures and comparing them to the Terracotta Warriors was interesting. I noticed that both cultures put a ton of detail into their work, but the Greeks worked with marble, so what they created was a bit more impressive. BUT on the other hand the quantity and the quality of the warriors cannot be overlooked. Either way it’s just cool to see two ancient civilizations create things so similarly with no interaction with each other. It goes to show that we’re all human and at some point regardless of culture and upbringing we’re all prone to do the same things.

Naps!!!

We took a break around noon and took a nice long nap. We never really recovered from the jet lag of leaving SE Asia.

Exploration

We went back to explore a flea market we had walked by the other day. It was fun walking around and looking at all the stupid nik nacks. I had grown so accustomed to seeing the same stupid buddhas, terracotta warriors, lucky cats, dragons, chopsticks, buddha beads, ect that it was refreshing to see another country’s equivalent. While we were there we treated ourselves to some icecream.

Late Lunch/Early Dinner

We stopped at an outdoor cafe for our meal. It was cute enough and was a decent spot to do some people watching. I ordered a gyro, which is the first time I ever had one and I got to experience that in Greece! It was absolutely delicious! Syd got a Greek Pizza, it wasn’t the best and she looks so sad when she’s disappointed so we shared my meal.

Hotel

We packed up and worked on the blog. Off to Santorini tomorrow!

Sidenote

I saw a roadside booth that sold Monsters, energy drink. I hadn’t had one since we were back in the states and I always enjoyed them back then. I was really excited to get my hands on it again, but man…. Shits strong, like unnecessarily so. I had gotten use to the smaller and less sugary energy drinks from China. They were good enough to wake you up and allowed you to function properly, but monsters are way too big and contain way too much sugar. I was so amped when we were exploring the Acropolis and that nap we took was necessary because I was coming down from a mad sugar high.

Greeks are fucking awesome. We walked into a store with a little old lady in it. She was super laid back and told us to explore her shop at our leisure she wasn’t going to bother us and try to make a sale. Instead she said she’ll be in her corner and if we have any questions feel free to ask. It was really refreshing not getting pressured to buy things she has a good read on her customers when they come in. Syd had mentioned the Evil Eye multiple times and I saw a small one made of glass that would fit on her necklace perfectly. I wanted to get it for her, but when I went to pay for it the little old lady said that it was fine and that we could just take it. Seriously Greeks are awesome!

Sydney

First full day in Athens! YAY! We got ready and headed to the breakfast. The food was amazing and I definitely got my fill. We got up earlier than we thought so we chilled around the room for a little and slowly got ready for the day after breakfast.

First stop of the day was the Acropolis. We wanted to do everything in the morning before it got to hot. Apparently everyone had that idea because the line was pretty long but we got in and Wally could use his student id. I left mine in the hotel but from now on I will carry it with me. It was fun again watching Wally’s reactions to everything and his face when we got to the top and he saw the Parthenon and the view from the top of the Acropolis for the first time. The view was just as amazing as last time. It was a perfectly clear day and no humidity. Man it is nice to be out of the humidity. We hung out at the top for a little and took pictures and walked around. Next, the museum.

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The museum was beautiful. It was nice and ACed as well. The museum is put together really well. We really enjoyed it. We ended up leaving at a perfect time because when we left, the line to get in was out the door.

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We came back to the hotel and took a nap. MMM naps!!! Once we felt all refreshed and revived. We headed back out and explored the bazaar that is near the Starbucks we went to yesterday. It was fun and we picked up a couple of things for ourselves. Along the way we found a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream stand and I had 2 scoops of flavors they did not have back home. It was so tasty. Wally got some as well. It was so refreshing on a hot day. We walked end to end and when we came back we found a fun little restaurant to eat late lunch/early dinner. Wally got pork gyros and I got Greek pizza. It was everything in a Greek salad just on a pizza. It was not the best but Wally’s was amazing so we switched.

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We came back to the hotel and packed up because it’ off to the island tomorrow!! YAY! I am so excited to get to Santorini since I have only heard wonderful things and my aunt and uncle talk so highly of it. 

Day 252: Athens :) 6/22/20126

Wally

Flights

Man what a day… In total we traveled for over 12 hours today… Air Serbia isn’t the most glamorous airlines and they have you PACKED into your seats. It was only a 5 hour flight, but I started to get extremely stir crazy. We had a layover in Belgrade and Syd has had some horrible experiences with layovers before so she was stressing a bit. Luckily for us it all went off without a hitch and this time we were RIGHT in front of the plane so we had a few more inches of legroom.

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Athens

It’s really cool out here. Super chill vibes. I’d equate it to the same atmosphere of sitting next to a beachside bonfire on a warm summer’s night. Everyone here just goes at their own pace and are just at peace with things. Another thing that blows my mind is the sheer amount of history around EVERY corner! I lost count how many wow moments I’ve had since we’ve landed. There is a lot of graffiti on all the buildings and Syd mentioned that it wasn’t so prevalent last time she was here. It must be because of the economic crisis that’s been going on here.

When we were done taking our short walk around the city we came back to the hotel and enjoyed a couple of cocktails on the bar. When we read the ingredients of the drinks they sounded SOOOO delicious, but they ended up tasting like medicine… Whatever… That’s what we get for trying to be fancy.

Also I’m pretty sure we’re going to die in the elevator at our hotel. It’s jolted a few times already and the doors don’t open all the way sometimes…

Side note

Coming back into a western society you are reminded that everything is so damn expensive here! But you know what you’re actually paying for with the uber inflated prices? Infrastructure. Seriously having drinking water from the tap, proper roads and just good western hospitality is worth the inflated prices.

Sydney  

Man, I am going to be ready when we do not have early flights anymore. We got up and got everything situated. We headed downstairs and waited for the taxi that Lina called for us. It is great being able to actually talk to the taxi drivers, they understand you and other then the bump in the road yesterday it is easy breezy! The Middle East has been awesome and I have no complaints! I would love to come back and see more of the sites and go into the buildings. The picture below is of the Grand Mosque and I would love to go inside next time. Sorry it is a little blurry we were in the car on the way to the airport.

**Also, mom the picture below shows I did eat before I got on the plane in Abu Dhabi ;). You and Wally are so annoying!!!!

When we got to the airport it took awhile to get checked in because they could not find Wally’s name and they were questioning if we needed a visa or not since we were stopping in Belgrade on our way to Athens. It got all cleared up and we were on our way to the gate. When we got to the gate we Skyped my mom for a little and I talked to my dad. I can’t believe I see my dad next week! It’s crazy! This trip has just flown by and now we are coming up to the end of it. NO no I do not want to think about that!! I am enjoying Athens.

The first flight I slept most of but yes we were very cramped and it was hard to move around! It was awful! The food was not bad, they served Serbian Beef Pie, I took a couple of bites then gave it to Wally. We were both pretty antsy and this was just a long and cramped flight. We landed in Serbia and they told us which gate to head to. Ugh, I had flights with stops! I have had one to many bad experiences so I was a little on edge. Luckily everything went off without a hitch and we were on the next plane to Athens!

This flight was nicer since we sat in the first row and had so much more room. We got little sandwiches and cookies for a flight that was only an hour and twenty minutes.

Side note – a lot of Europeans  make comments that Americans are not traveled, well you can fly from Belgrade, Serbia to Athens, Greece and go on holiday like its no big deal. When I fly 1 hour and 20 minutes I get to the capital of my state or one state over! It is really irritating when people say that, most do not realize how big the US really is.

After our flight we got through customs, changed some money and I was able to pull out my change little Paris change purse and we ended up with more money since I had left over from the last time I was here. I scheduled a driver to pick us up and he was nice and efficient. We were at the hotel in no time. The elevators are very scary and it is much easier to just walk up and down the stairs so we do not die.

Once settled we walked to Starbucks to get our cups and found out that they do not have one on Santorini so we do not have to worry about that cup. Sweet! Less weight to pack! We sat and people watched for a bit and enjoyed. We stopped at a few shops and picked up some little things and enjoyed seeing the little shops/scouted where we will walk around tomorrow. The walk was lovely and it was cool to see Wally so excited over the sites and the history. Also, for the first time in awhile he would say “OMG that smells amazing” and I would agree. That did not happen often in China! HAHA he would walk by stinky tofu and start salivating and I would gag, its cool to be in a place where we both think the food smells good.

We got back and went to the rooftop bar to see the view of the Acropolis and have a drink. We tried to order cool sounding drinks and they tasted like cough syrup but they came in cool glasses, well Wally’s did. The view was beautiful and the company was not to bad either ;).

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Now off to bed and enjoying a full day tomorrow.

 

 

Day 251: My dreams came true 6/21/2016

Wally

Morning

Syd was awesome and let me sleep last night and sleep in today. She even finished up the laundry! Might I also add that it’s nice being able to actually wash our clothes with a machine. We did the best we could after Thailand to hand wash some of our clothes, but I could never trust myself to really do a great job. Another thing that’s a bit weird is touching hot clothes out of the dryer, we haven’t had that luxury in almost a year!

Heading out

I’ve been on a kick on eating at every McDonald’s in every country we’re in. I’ve discovered that they have food unique to the region. So, we started to walk over to the one nearby, it’s only a 30 min walk, but the heat got to us and we got a cab. I showed our driver where we needed to go on the map, which was on 6th street, and he ended up taking us down to another 6th street 2 blocks over. I tried to show him on the map over and over again that we’re here and we need to go here, but the language barrier was too much. We got out of the car and trekked our way over to the McDonalds. Unfortunately because of Ramadan it was closed.

According to Ramadan rules you’re not allowed to eat or drink in public from sun up till sundown. I get that this is an Arabic country and most people are Muslim, but there are plenty of expats and it sucks to be forced to adhere to this country’s customs. As I’m typing this I’m hearing myself and it sounds a bit elitist or ignorant that I don’t want to do as the Romans do, but I guess I’m just use to America and the freedom to do whatever the fuck I want when I want. Then again our pledge of allegiance includes under God. Now I’m just contradicting myself. Whatever I WANT MY FUCKING MCDONALDS! It is just strange that all restaurants out here do this and you cannot find any food anywhere.

We ended up going to the Marina Mall to explore what it had to offer. It was interesting to see that like our malls back home they had most of the same shops and offer the same food.

Emirates Palace

This place is gorgeous, inside and out. We had gone earlier in the day, but I was turned back because I was wearing shorts… Yup shorts… My calves proved to be too much for for these Arabs. Whatever. When we finally got there Syd got to live her dream and walk down the steps where the cast of Fast 7 walked.

Home

We decided to order McDonald’s for delivery because we were done being out in the heat and humidity. Syd got a Big Mac and I got a MEGA MAC!!! It’s just a Big Mac with extra patties, but I hadn’t seen that back home before and well it’s unique to here so I figured I’d try it.

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Sydney 

I woke up early this morning and chilled until Wally woke up. When he finally did we hung out and decided what to do today. We wanted to explore the city as much as possible. We headed to the signs of the Etihad Towers.

I saw where the car crashed to the ground in Fast 7. Again, I am dying. We started to walk to Starbucks but it was to hot so we got a taxi, this guy gave us a run around and took us a block from where we were supposed to go so we walked. Well because of Ramadan, everything was closed and would not reopen until 6pm. I love the Middle East but do not come during Ramadan. You cannot eat or drink in public and most places do not open again until 7 or 8 pm. It is so frustrating. We got another taxi to Marina Mall but again everything was closed and this place looks deserted. We headed home and decided to pack up our bags since there is nothing to do right now outside. We reorganized and are ready for our flight bright and early to Athens tomorrow morning.

Lina’s husband came home and introduced himself, Johnny, he is very nice and has a strong Irish accent. We talked to him for a little bit then went to the Emirates Palace. We recreated the walk down the steps like the movie and went inside. Again, everything was deserted and we took some pics and left. The hotel had a driver take us back to Marina Mall. It definitely had more people than earlier. We were able to get our Starbucks cups. I was starting to get hangry but no food places are open so we came back and will have food delivered when restaurants open again.

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Lina was kind enough to order us McDonald’s for delivery and we all chatted until the food came. We all ate together and chatted for a couple of hours. Now off to bed and another early flight.

Day 250: Off to Abu Dhabi 6/20/2016

Wally & Sydney

We’re sad to be leaving Dubai today. The hotel and our stay here has been amazing. We headed down to the best breakfast ever one last time. We took some traveling food so we would have food for Dubai. MMMM bagels. We came back up to the room and chilled, finished packing up, and Wally took a nap. When we were checking out Syd took pictures of the cars that are just parked outside the hotel and you can rent for the day if you are a guest of the hotel.

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Check-out time came and we were off to Abu Dhabi! The taxi had no problem taking us to the next city. It was only about an hour and 15 minute drive.We saw the Aldar building along the way. Along with some other cool Abu Dhabi buildings.

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Then we pulled up to the towers where we are staying. Syd didn’t put it together what towers we were staying in until she saw the sign. We are staying in the buildings where they jumped the cars in Fast 7. HOLY BALLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Syd was freaking out. She could barely breathe in the car she was so giddy and excited. BEST AIRBNB EVER!!!! We pay the taxi driver and go inside and realize we are at the wrong tower. No biggie though we headed to the other tower which was a 30 second walk to the entrance. We got all checked in and headed to the room.

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This place is unbelievable!! It is incredible and the pictures do not do it justice and she should be charging a lot moreIMG_4981

We started some laundry and began to reorganize our stuff for the rest of the trip. Lina came home and we chatted with her for awhile (the host of the AirBNB.) She is so nice and so worldly! She speaks lots of languages and does the Airbnb to meet new people. We talked to her for awhile and she explained that the Fast movie was shot 3 floors from where we are staying in this tower. Syd just about died on the spot. She met the whole cast and worked with them so closely and was on a first name basis. Syd literally squealed. After she finished freaking out, Lina headed out and we worked on our stuff. We knew today would be a wash of doing things since we wanted to repack and do laundry. It is fine we have all day tomorrow to explore.

We went and got dinner in the grocery store that the buildings have and came and sat at a dinner table to watch the sunset and eat. It was a perfect evening. The view is not as clear because a dust storm came through but we didn’t care we still thought it was beautiful.

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Unfortunately Wally was not feeling that well so he showered and headed to bed. I finished laundry and watched all the buildings light up for awhile. The view is incredible and I could be here forever. I am in love with Abu Dhabi as much as Dubai.

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