Day 273: Versailles 7/3/2016

Wally

Versailles

 

There really are no words to describe just how grand and ornate the grounds of Versailles are. It really is a testament to man’s ego and narcissism. Walking around the gardens and looking at each fountain was amazing. Each one was hand crafted with crazy attention to detail, it’s just a cool thought to think that Louis and Marie could have easily walked down the same path we were on.

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Our first stop when we got to the palace was to check out Marie’s place. It took us over an hour just to get to it, that gives you an idea of just how big the estate is. We went looking all over the area to try to find her house, but it turns out they had been torn down a long time ago.

I really wanted to see the inside of the palace itself and Clint wanted to explore the gardens more, so we split up and Syd chose to come with me. =)

The palace itself is indescribable. Each room was more ornate than the last. I was flabbergasted when I walked into Hercules Room. The fireplace there literally took trees as fire logs, that’s how big it is. The ceilings vaulted up at least 40-50 ft and had biblical scenes painted throughout. The crown molding that lined the ceiling was expertly hand crafted. The tile on the floors appeared to be lined with gold. Everything about this place just SCREAMS look at me and my wealth. It really is impressive.

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The only problem with the palace was that there was way too many people. It felt like we were in China again because at some points we had to waddle through a narrow hallway. I thought I had escaped all that madness…

Home

We didn’t want to stay out too late due to the fact that France was playing Iceland in the world cup. We didn’t want to risk France losing and us being stuck out in the middle of a riot. So instead we brought home some pizzas, ate and chatted.

Syd

Good morning Paris!!! Today we had to set an alarm to get out of the house and make our way to Versailles. We made our way to the train station and were on our way. Today is super gloomy and we are hoping that the sun comes out but it does not look like it. It is crazy that they last time I was at Versailles it was super-hot and we were dying and today it turned out to be rainy, cold and cloudy.

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We got there and grabbed a coffee while we waited in line for the tickets. We decided to get the tickets that covered the Palace, gardens, and Marie- Antoinette’s estate. Once we got into the grounds we saw the line and it wrap almost 5 times in front of the palace we decided to do the gardens first. We knew we would have to hustle to see everything since the train leaves around 5 so we hurried to Marie Antoinette’s estate first. The buildings were beautiful and people kept saying that she has another building but it turns out that the building we were in was the only one. It took us almost 45 minutes to walk from the entrance to the back corner where all of her stuff was. Next time we are doing the golf cart tours.

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The ornateness of everything was out of control. She had chairs will her likeness stitched into the backing. I want this house. Wally really wanted to go into the palace so we split up and dad walked the gardens and we headed to the line for the palace.

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Wally and I took the train that drives around the grounds back up to the front and got in line. By this time it had started to rain a little more but still no one left the line. Walking around was like being back in China since we were herded around like cattle and there were so many people. It was cool to see the inside and see how these people lived. There was a fire place the size of a person, there was not logs in the fire they were full grown trees!!!!! I would love to roast some marshmallows in there.

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We had a plan to meet dad at one of the statues but since we finished early we decided to go and wait for him. When we all met back up we headed to the top of the gardens to take some pics and then head home. It was raining much harder and getting colder.

Getting the tickets to eave was a shit show, there were no lines and people were just crowding around machines trying to buy tickets. Then a group of Asians could not figure out how to work the machine and bought one ticket at a time when there was 9 of them!!! IT was crazy!!! Finally we got our tickets and made it onto the train with 3 minutes to spare! Whew! The train ride back was so cramped and we ended up missing out stop because we saw the previous stop and we looked and had 2 to go well it skipped one and went to ours and we did not get off. Oh well, we went to the next one and figured out how to get home from there.

On the walk home we passed a cookie place and we all picked up a fancy cookie. They ended up being very delicious.

We got home and the guys went to pick up dinner while I brought everything up and set up for food. Well I am getting out of the bathroom and I hear someone coming in and it is the owner of the apartment wanting to get a jacket. It scared the shit out of me. He came and grabbed stuff then left.

Wally and dad came back and said that the restaurant does not open until 7 so we sat and chilled for a few minutes. The guys left again and went to the store and to get food. They came back with an amazing dinner. We all relaxed and chilled the rest of the night.

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Iceland and France are playing each other in the Euro Cup 2016 tonight and most places are closing early or are already closed. It is going to get crazy so we decided to chill and hang in the apartment.

Side note – reading what my dad is writing is hilarious, he is so matter of fact and gives a lot of straightforward info!! I have been cracking up.

Dad

Versailles! Nice train ride to the city. As noted by Wally, cloudy, cool & off/on mist. To say the place is massive is an understatement. Hard to imagine the work that went into designing & building this edifice. I was particularly drawn to the grounds & outer buildings. Really enjoyed Antoinettes Estate. The oppulance & grandiose furnishings are over the top. But, when you’re spending the tax payers money, who cares? Fairly good walk from palace to estate w/beautiful scenery. After touring her digs, we split up. Wally wanted to visit palace w/Syd. I wanted to continue w/the landscape tour. It was amicable. The Canal & water works is extensive. I kept imagining what festivals, parties or events that may have occurred on the same spot I was walking. King Louis 14th may have looked around & said to his people, I need more gardens! Cause he got ‘em! Had to use the umbrella a few times but nothing serious. The mist added to the experience. Really need 2 full days to adequately explore palace, grounds & Antoinette estate. I probably walked 5-6 miles before meeting the kids out front. Good time. Sydney wanted some more pics of the Great Lawn & Canal, so we went back inside to make that happen. Massive human traffic jam getting on the train back to Paris. No harm no foul. Saw some Iceland soccer fans in the Metro station, hollering like school kids. Whatever they got skunked, so far, 5-0. Got some more Italian food, pizza for Syd & Wally, pasta for me. Again food was right.

Tomorrow our big fancy dinner on the right bank not far from Champs Elysses. Got nice suits w/ties & custom made dress for Syd. Hope there’s not more than 2 forks.

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Day 272: A slight chance of rain 7/2/2016

Wally

Catacombs pt I

Man… I’ve been excited to see the catacombs since we’ve gotten here. There’s just something so dark and mysterious about it that really drew me to it. We arrived an hour after the doors had opened and the line had wrapped around the small park near the entrance. I asked people towards the front of the line just how long they had been waiting and they mentioned that they’d been there for over 2 hours…

Not wanting to waste our day just standing around we decided we’d come back later in the day.

Sourbone

It’s just a nice university whose campus wasn’t too far away. Syd really wanted to get a sweater there. Clint and I really didn’t mind and were just excited for the possibility of seeing the campus itself. Just one problem… the whole campus was closed…. We ended up just appreciating the architecture of the school itself and picked up a sweater at a gift shop down the street.

Comic Book Shop

On the way to Notre Dame we saw a comic book shop and we just had to stop and look. And by we I mean me. It’s been awhile since I’ve smelled the interior of a comic book shop and man have I missed it… We looked around at the comics, toys and collectibles. There was something for everyone there. Syd found a Harry Potter book “The Artifact Vault” and Clint was looking for a very specific Tintin comic that was set in Le Mans. I on the other hand wanted to get EVERYTHING in the store, so we finally had to leave in order to ensure that I didn’t pass out from sensory overload.

Notre Dame

I can now say I’ve seen the one in Vietnam and in France. I must say that the one in France is pretty fucking awesome! Nothing beats the original. The attention to detail and the sheer size of it all was awe inspiring. I’m personally not all that religious myself, but just looking at this building kind of stirs something inside you.

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Bastille

The storming of the Bastille marked an important historical event during the French Revolution. From everything I’ve studied and read is that it occurred on top of a hill and wave after wave of people were sent to break through. Well when we got to the area we couldn’t find the damn thing. We kept looking at our maps and just couldn’t find the damn thing. How do you overlook an old medieval prison?!?! Well turns out the Bastille has long been torn down and what’s left is a massive roundabout.

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Catacombs pt II

I was really glad we made our way back to the Catacombs, it’s way up there on my list of things to see and do. We waited about an hour and a half and made our way down. The stairs spiraled downward and each step you took you felt the temperature drop more and more. When we finally got into the entrance of the catacombs we saw a sign that said something along the lines of welcome to the tunnel of death. Don’t quote me on that. It’s really effing crazy to see ALL the skulls and bones that line the walkway throughout the tunnel. Each one was strategically stacked and placed there and each one was once a human being just like you or I. The person who originally started stacking them up did fun patterns and designs along the walk. There was one area where the skulls were arranged to look like a heart and another to look like a cross. It really is something you have to see for yourself.

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Dinner

Italian food. The owners there are full blooded Italians living and working in Paris. The meal was awesome and at the end we were given a lemon liqueur and whoooo weee! That’s a refreshing way to end dinner.

Sidenote

The sun sets SUPER late here. It’s really effing up our sense of time. When we feel like it’s close to 5 or 6 it’s actually 9 to 10!

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Syd 

Damn today was a good day. We had some coffee and relaxed with breakfast. Today we were going to do Versailles but decided to move it to another day. We started the day by going to the catacombs, Wally was so excited! It is so cute. We got out of the metro and it was a line wrapped around the entrance and Wally asked some people how long they have been waiting, over 2 hours yet the thing opened an hour ago!! WTF?! Ok we decided to bounce and head to the Sorbonne. Along the way we got some snacks and espresso at a little corner shop. I love these little stores they are so cute and quaint. We also came across a farmers market and we all picked up some gifts. I wanted to get a sweatshirt and see the campus. We walked along and ended up seeing a comic book shop. Wally was in heaven and about to pass out. I am only saying that half-jokingly; he really was about to pass out from excitement. I found a little gift shop and got my sweatshirt so I was happy.

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We continued our walk to the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was just as beautiful as the first time I saw it. We did not want to go in but we walked around and took some pictures. We finally found a café and got a cappuccino and a crepe. It started to rain but we all just sat and talked for a while. We had been walking for so long that we needed a break.

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Side note – I forgot to talk about this in Thailand, we had shark and it was only $4 USD. Shark back home would cost an arm and a leg and we got it for $4. It was not bad and actually tasted pretty good.

Yesterday I was almost shit on twice by 2 birds. I was only one step ahead of the first one and one step behind the second one. I was so lucky!!! I would have been so pissed if I got shit on.

After the café we walked around and found the King Louis bust we have been looking for. I am so glad we found it and now my collection is complete. We walked towards the Bastille and found out that today is the gay pride parade in Paris. The walk is from the Louvre to the Bastille. It was cool to see the parade route and see how all the buildings were decorated. Man, Paris is popping in the month of July. Once we got to the Bastille we figured out that the pillar is what represents the castle and read a little more on it. It was cool to see.

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Once we finished we decided to try our luck at the catacombs again. Luckily this time the line was much shorter and we waited to get in. I love seeing Wally so happy. It rained a little and dad got us coffees. The line only took about an hour and a half. Once we got down there is was even colder and we had to walk a crazy staircase to go underground. The catacombs were really cool. A little scary but interesting to see how they did everything. The walk is pretty far and all you can think about is that these were real people. WTF?! We made our way up and into a little souvenir shop. Wally got a shirt and I got a book. We found out that we were half a mile from the entrance and where we started but it sure did not feel like that when we were walking through the tunnels.

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We were going to head to Jim Morrison’s grave but the cemetery was closed so we will do it on Monday. We got on the metro and headed back up to the apartment. We got some groceries then headed to dinner. We found a cute little Italian restaurant and ate our lives away. Wally and I split a little pizza and tortellini. I LOVE TORTELLINI!!! This is the first time in 8 months I have had it!! I miss it so much. Dad got some red wine and as much as I want to like red wine, I cannot get into it. I always try but I just like everything else but red. After dinner we had some limoncello and some ice cream! SO GOOD!!! Today has been fantastic! The weather was beautiful, great conversations, and so much food.  Time for bed, as I am typing the blog my eyes are closing. Goodnight!!

I forgot to take a pic of the food but here is a pic of the ice cream we got for dessert.

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Dad

Well, Wally went for coffee this morning & returned w/same amount as I did the day before. Ha! Least we know that locals don’t discriminate against tourists. Moving on. Headed out on our latest journey, the Catacombs. Again we found a long line & just kept moving. On our way we found a street vendor market. Found a few things & also got some vittles to tide us over. Baguettes w/Jamon & Frommage (ham & cheese for you uneducated folk). Made our way to Sorbonne U.  Really cool old school buildings. Closed but did find a cool comic book store. Wally’s really “excited” about these things! Crossed river to Right Bank to check off Notre Dame. Impressive structure & architecture. God loving people like a good sanctuary. Settled in to a nearby bistro for crepes & liquid fortification. Delish! Paris LBGT was in progress so some roads were blocked. It did allow us to follow along & see different roads that we may not have taken otherwise. As we were storming the Bastille, realized that it is no longer there. Oops, just an obelisk w/the names of the dead from the revolution. It was the end point of LBGT parade, music, colorful outfits & heavily armed men/women of the Paris/State Police. Got big guns! Made call to return to Catacombs & hope line was shorter. It was. 62 feet down a spiral staircase to get to tunnels that are less than 6’ tall. Head hurts, you do the math, I’m 6’3”. Needed Ashley to remind me to duck, often (USS Midway & Iowa). Rather odd visual when looking @ tens of thousands of bones & thousands of skulls looking back @ you. Lot of work to make this happen & macabre sense of honor. But definitely worth a visit. Made our way back to the apt & dinner. Had a hankering for some Italian food, not pizza. Got to have my bucket list moment, sitting on a sidewalk café in Paris as the evening crowd strolled by. Luckily I was w/my favorite first born & son in law. All in all, a great memorable day.

May have fallen asleep watching that silly show, Rick & Morty.

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Day 271: The Parisian Sites 7/1/2016

Wally

Moulin Rouge

I don’t think I ever saw the movie… So I didn’t really appreciate it like Syd did, but hey it’s there and I saw it.

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Montmartre Cemetery

It’s a lovely place to just take a stroll. It reminded me of the graves that surround the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. It’s really amazing to see just how old some of the mausoleums are, some are older than our nation. There’s honestly nothing creepy about this place I could imagine us just throwing down a blanket and having a picnic.

Sacre Coeur

Absolutely gorgeous; the architecture and the views are breathtaking. A lot of souvenir shops line the streets leading up to it and grifters. It’s kind of cool seeing some of these grifters play the cup game. You know the one I’m talking about 3 cups and 1 ball. I’ve lost count how many I’ve seen and every time I see it I play in my head and more often than not I win, but I’m sure they’re letting me win. People are betting like 50 euros at a time! It’s ridiculous! Another grift, we had this happen in Athens too, is that people with shitty bracelets will grab your wrists and put one on you and say some shitty prayer or wish you the best. They claim to give it to you, but aggressively ask for donations when you leave. There was literally a WALL of people trying to play that shit on us and I simply tucked my hands behind my back and barreled through. Also on the way up we saw a really cool chocolate shop that had really intricate chocolate sculptures of the monuments of Paris.

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Louvre Museum

Just wow… I’ve never been surrounded by so much art and history. I can see why this place is such an attraction. We walked around and appreciated the Greek sculptures and it’s crazy to say this, but the ones in the Louvre are way better than the ones in Greece. They’re mostly intact and in great condition. Also I can now say I saw the Venus De Milo and she’s beautiful, looks a lot like Sydney. We then walked around the museum taking the sights and painting. Then we came up on the Mona Lisa. You know people are always telling you it’s not as big as you think it is and that’s lead me to believe it’s a tiny little thing, but in all actually it’s just a normal sized painting. But good god there are a shit ton of people just to see her. Honestly there are far better paintings all around her, but you know gotta see what all the hype is about.

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Pont des Art

Now this was the famous bridge that had all the locks on it, but due to concerns of the bridges structural integrity they removed all of them. It’s really disappointing because it’s such an iconic landmark and we’re not able to take part of it anymore. Whatever it was walking distance from the Louvre so we went ahead to check it out. They had replaced the chain link with glass panels to deter people from putting up locks, but people just put a chain around lamp posts and placed locks there anyways. We still took part in the activity and put up some locks for Syd and I.

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Luxembourg Palace

Again not a place I would have thought to go look at on my own, but I’m glad I did. The place is gorgeous and it still houses a working senate. I thought it was interesting see so many armed guards standing around. In front of the palace is a large water fountain and there you can rent little boats and sail them around. Kids were running around with large sticks pushing the boats off the side of the fountain and watched it sail around. It’s a great spot to sit down and people watch.

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Syd

Woke up and tried to work the coffee machine but just could not quite figure it out.  Oh well, dad went downstairs to get us some coffee. They give you size of a grande cup but it’s only filled like a tall. SO DUMB!!!! I would like a full cup of coffee please. We all sat, ate, and enjoyed our coffees until we decided to get going. Today is going to be a fun filled day.

First stop was the cemetery. So creepy and old and scary! It was pretty to see during the day time but I would not be caught dead here at night. All of these mausoleums just make you wonder about these peoples family, where are they now and who were they in France when they were alive. We walked around and Wally told me about a video game he used to play that involved cemeteries.

We went and saw the Moulin Rouge and it was cool. It was just like I remembered it. We all were a little hungry and stopped for a snack. I got a banana and Nutella crepe. Too much Nutella for me but it was good enough. As we were finishing our food a storm passed over head and rained for a little.

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We walked up the hill to Sacre Coeur “Scared Heart.” The views are so beautiful and it is cool looking at my pictures from 6 years ago and then today.  The guys that were trying to put the bracelets on literally grabbed and held my wrist until I got to close to punching him that he let me go. The same thing happened in Greece. Do not fucking touch me!! I should carry a sign.

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We made our way to a gift shop so I could pick up a few trinkets and we got almost everything, now just need the bust of King Louis XVI to go with my Marie Antoinette. We also picked up a couple of pictures that we want to put on our explore wall.  We popped on the metro and headed to the Louve before it closed.

Again, this was fun to see my dad and Wally’s reaction to the Mona Lisa, Venus De Milo etc. It was fun to see them again and take some pictures and Wally was making his ridiculous jokes the whole way. “Wanna see a masterpiece? Turn to the right.” I ended up facing a mirror and looking at myself…that kind of stuff. He makes me laugh; I think I will keep him around for a little bit. When we finished and got outside it was so windy, I felt like I was going to be blown away. We walked out and went to find a restaurant. Since the sun does not set until so late you really lose track of time. We thought it was only 4 and it was almost 7! I guess it is time to eat something. We made our way up to the Luxemburg Gardens and found a café to enjoy a quick bite.

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While we were at the Mona Lisa we say this couple that was dressed crazy!! They grabbed anything they thought was “fancy” and put it on.

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We walked on the lock bridge and Wally and I put one on for us. It was cute and he was so excited to partake in the tradition. We also saw a statue of Voltaire.

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I got a turkey sandwich (it comes on a homemade cracker bread thing), lemon cupcake and a drink. The sandwich was a little dry. Also, this whole place was a sandwich shop. I ate half of mine and traded Wally. Dad had ordered an apple crumble since the people working their recommended it and it was totally worth it!! That was the best thing any of us had.

We went to the gardens and I recreated my picture that I took 6 years ago after I cut my hair off for the first time. I ended up being a little too more to the right but I was close enough. I did not think I would be in Paris again and being back is awesome. I love having dad and Wally experience things now as well. Wally told me that Europe is not as stupid as he always imagined and is having a great time and glad I brought him here. I am always right, when is he going to learn?? 😉

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We made our way back home and decided to relax the rest of the night. We picked up some more bread and salami and chilled. It was a relaxing night. We got dad to watch a couple episodes of “Rick and Morty” and he liked it!! I think we have a convert. We all cleaned up and headed to bed.  Another successful day in Paris.

Dad

Well, getting coffee in Paris is not normal. They have normal coffee for locals & java for Americans. Either way, you only get half a cup of coffee, WTF. I want a grande, goddamit! Fill the beeotch. Nope, Wally got shut out also, even w/his innocent foreigner accent. Ha! Strolled thru a centuries old museum w/family mausoleums from early 1700’s. Would really like to walk around @ night under a full Paris moon & check out the crypts. Another time perhaps. Cruised by Moulin Rouge & the mile of sex shops down the avenue. Fun times. Climbed the stairs @ Sacre Coeur & enjoyed a great view of the old Paris. Metro (subway) system in Paris is outstanding. Made it to the Louvre & really just tried to take in all the art & sculptures. Stood 6 feet away from the “Mona Lisa”. Just as impressed as seeing it in NG. So many other paintings that don’t get the attention they deserve. Massive wall size paintings. Personally, disappointed for the Egyptian collection. Looking for a mummy, denied. Royal Palace is huge. Lots of walking. Pont de Arts, bridge of keys, was cool. took pic of Syd/Wally attaching lock to bridge support since no locks are allowed on overpass (too much weight). Had great lunch @ a small upstairs bistro along artists row. Short walk to Luxemburg Gardens. Beautiful buildings & landscaping. Took pic of Syd to compare to 6 yrs ago. Pretty cool. Could not imagine that after seeing the original pic, that I would be there to see “next” photo. Nice moment for Dad. Made our way back to apt & done! Very busy day but saw some amazing sights & historically significant places. Paris is a living/breathing history travelog. Knowing that Kings/Queens have walked, partied & died in some of the places we saw, was way better than reading about in National Geographic! Made our way back home via Metro. Observed some really sketchy humans & beautiful people just trying to make their way thru life on the Metro on ride @ a time.

Back @ the apt, kicked back & had some cheese, bread, meat & adult beverages. Peach champagne is acceptable if no Miller High Life is readily available.

What a tremendous day to explore Paris. Warm sun, cool when clouds rolled in, spitting rain & we all had umbrellas. I felt so sophisticated. There is a dirty/gritty side of this place. As with all cities with this much history, some population is not as fortunate. Dude grabbed Syd’s hand to put a string braclet on, for cash, but refused to stop after she said No several times. I was thinking how much shit I would have to explain to the authorites if I decked this mfr! He backed off.

So far, this has been a very delightful excursion. Syd & Wally are completing a round the world trip. I am very fortunate to be able to share several days with them in the “City of Lights”. Bring on the Versailles. More later, I’m tired & Syd is making me type this blog under duress.

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Day 270: Clinton’s Arrival 6/30/2016

Wally

Morning

Woke up and headed out into the neighborhood to find the grocery store to pick up stuff for Clint’s arrival. We walked down the street a bit and found a bakery. Inside the bakery had all sorts of awesome authentic French pastries and breads, we got ourselves a couple of croissants for breakfast and a baguette for later.

At the grocery store we picked up everything you’d need for a nice spread. Meat, cheese, bread and wine! It’s been nice being back in a western grocery store where we can get by and figure out what the hell it is we’re buying.

While we waiting for Clint we watched a movie, it’s a Netflix original called “The Fundamentals of Caring”. It’s a dramedy, but it balances out the drama and comedy really well. It had Syd and I cracking up. I’d highly recommend it.

Clint’s arrival

Well we knew his flight got in at 11:20, but when we looked up his flight number online it said it hadn’t landed yet so we just relaxed for a bit longer. Well it turns out he did arrive on time and had spent a little over half an hour outside the apartment complex trying to get our attention. We had the window open, but with the construction and us focusing on the movie we didn’t hear him. It was by chance that Syd poked her head out of the window to check that she saw him.

Syd FLEW out the door and I barely had time to put on my shoes when she was already halfway down the flight of stairs. Such a daddy’s girl =).

Its nice hearing that Okie accent again as he told us about his journey here. We sat for a bit and ate the spread we had bought earlier. We talked and shot the shit as if no time or distance had passed between us.

Eiffel Tower

We took a cab over to the tower and what’s cool is that the cabs here offer free Wi-Fi! It’s really handy to have when you’re traveling to another country and you’re phones are essentially useless without internet. We circled the Arc de Triomphe on the way there and it was a sight to behold! It really is one thing to see images of iconic places and another to physically be there yourself; you really need to get the scale and scope of these buildings to really appreciate them.  Because the Arc is a roundabout it’s absolute madness when you’re driving in there. It’s pretty funny weaving in and out of it all it’s similar to the chaos of the streets back in China.

Seeing the Eiffel tower for the first time while pulling up to it was pretty amazing, I never would have imaged seeing it in person. It really is something worth appreciating considering when it built and the technology they had available to them at the time. Each beam and intersecting one another had to be BOLTED together. It’ll definitely be something that’ll stand the test of time.

We took a ride to the TOP of the tower. Looking out at the panoramic views of the city was beautiful. We got our bearings and took a look at all the monuments.

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Arc de Triomphe

We decided to walk over to it because it wasn’t TOO far away from the tower. On the way there though we happened to cross the bridge where Princess Dianna died. I never would have gone out of my way to see it and yet there we were.

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Getting a closer look at the Arc was cool. There is so much detail in the engravings and you can see why it’s such a landmark.

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Home

There is a pizza place just down the street from us, so we got a few and bought some beers. The pizza place is pretty good it’s like a hipstery restaurant with fresh ingredients and shit. It wasn’t bad at all.

Its nuts how late the sun sets in Paris, 9:58! Clint had mentioned he’d like to take a stroll around the park. I looked at him and said you know it’s like 10 pm right? You really do lose your sense of time in Europe. Its nuts.

Sydney

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This morning was nice, we were able to finish all of our laundry and for the first time since we left China we have absolutely zero dirty clothes. WOW AMAZEBALLS!!!!!  We headed to the bakery and we were just looking around at everything and walking back and forth because everything looked so good and the woman behind the counter just snapped “what do you want?!” Jesus, I was just looking! We got a baguette and some croissants. I went to pay and was using some change and handed her a bill and I was going to hand other change and she completely ignored me and just took the bill and handed me back all the change. UGH!!! I am trying to get rid of this stuff haha.

Next we headed to the grocery store and picked up some more items. We go to pay and the woman sees Wally and I struggling carrying everything then all of a sudden says “oh, bag 10 cents” You see us trying to carry everything and clearly we do not have a bag why would you not offer us that when we are paying. French people are rude sometimes and there are times when you can tell how much they hate Americans. Then there are times when the French are the nicest people. I like nice French people better.

We came home and watched the movie. It was so good!!! Like Wally said I highly recommend it.While we were watching we took another break to check out the window and I happened to see my dads head to pop out of a cafe and I scream dad!!!! He turns around and I race down and hug my dad for the first time in 8 months. It was great to see my dad. We hugged and I cried just like when I saw, B, Greg, Matt, mom and Ralphie. Just so much crying seeing people from home.

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We all relaxed, ate bread, salami, brie, peach champagne (FUCKING AMAZING) and wine. It was a great couple of hours, chatting and catching up. We sat for awhile then decided to get ready and head to the Eiffel Tower.

We decided to take a cab and it was amazing to see the sites again. It was fun to watch my dad and Wally’s reaction to everything. We enjoyed the tower and had a glass of champagne to celebrate. Also, I saw a dude with crazy hair! The picture is below.

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Side note – The Princess Diana memorial over the tunnel where she dies was cool. I did not remember seeing it last time and it was cool to see. I love her! I did a report on her in 4th grade and dressed up like her. She has a special place in my heart.

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We continued to walk around the river and head to the arc. The weather was very pretty. We walked around and just took in Paris. I never thought that the next time I was in Paris would be with my dad and husband. This is crazy!! Life sure has changed in 6 years from the last time.

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We hopped back on the metro and headed home. Dad was just craving anything at this point, we were all getting hangry haha….oh no!!!!

We passed a pretty swanky pizza place and I just got a margarita pizza and a salad. It was fun to just sit and eat and talk some more. Today has been an amazing first day and so much fun seeing my dad again.

another side note – at the end of the night while Wally was showering I was talking to my dad while he chilled on the couch and every time I asked a question he would say one word and would fall asleep. It was the funniest thing.

Me – ” Dad, what are you excited for?”

Dad – “well you know…..” ZZZZZZZZ

Me – Poking his face “Dad do you want to shower you are falling asleep?”

Dad – ZZZZ “What no I am ……..” ZZZZZ

I was dying!!!!!

Dad

Left LA. Thanks Ashley for the ride. Flew WOW air, yes I know..but it was cheap. Plus, I got to land in Reyklavik, Iceland. Now this is an international airport, but due to construction of new terminal, you get a bus ride from the plane to terminal. So I did get to breathe in Iceland air. Very fresh with a slight taste of fish. 45°, partly cloudy w/rainbows over the North Atlantic! Extremely tough looking National Police Force officer checked my passport & asked which team I was supporting, Iceland or France, in this weekends soccer game. Well, looking @ her bullet proof vest & large side arm, I said “I’m neutral.” Not what she wanted to hear. I boarded the bus & then the plane & was welcome to leave Iceland.

Landed in Paris, CDG, w/o any fanfare or security issues. Everyone talks French or some other language! Not sure what I expected, but now you know. My luggage was the last piece unloaded. You know the feeling & looking @ Delayed Baggage area. Lots of bags there. Long walk to Taxi stand but well marked. Pulled out the old cell phone & went to Notes w/address to our Airbnb. Done, hit the road. Paris has  been around for a while. Lots of old buildings/neighborhoods & roads. But still pretty cool knowing the extensive history of this city. Got to correct address & paid in Euros that I had obtained @ Mainplace Mall in Santa Ana. 5 Euro tip, felt so international. Plan was to holler @ Sydney from the street, cause apartment window opened to that side. Yea, well I yelled her name several times, no response. Convinced a realtor to open door to courtyard so I could continue yelling. No luck. Went back outside & a ex-pat from Pittsburgh gave me the password for wi-fi. While trying to log on for phone service, Sydney yelled “Dad!” What a great experience to have in Paris. Standing in the street w/luggage & backpack, wondering if I’m @ the right place. Favorite first born child, calling from the top floor of a Parisian apt. Nice. Good to see Wally, my favorite first son-in-law. Settled down w/some cheese, meat, bread & wine/champagne! Fantastic way to end “travel to” part of the trip.

Eiffel Tower was way bigger than imagined. Outstanding views of Paris & surrounding area. Had some champagne on the mid-level bar. Has a glass floor that was fairly cool. Partly cloudy, windy & 75F. Lots of effort & manpower to build this thing. Should last for some  time. Headed back to apt, walking to Metro stations. Amazing architecture & iconic settings. Walked to the Arc de Triumph. Pretty amazing knowing what history went under this structure. My mind photos are from WWll. Eisenhower, Patton, de Gaulle US 3rd Army..Liberation, you’re welcome France. Metro system in Paris is top notch, except for the urine smell & unsavory characters. Kinda like going to a Dodgers game! Chilled @ the apt until the kids were falling asleep. Slept in Paris w/the window open & heard nothing.

2nd day will be updated w/my first experience getting coffee in France.

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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!

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.