Europe

gyros (pronounced yeeros)

Posted on Updated on

W have NEVER eaten a “yeeros” (or correctly spelt: gyros) before, despite seeing those fast food shops all over Australia. But we probably made up for it living on the Greek Islands for the past 8 days. That was at least our lunch if not dinner every day 🙂 We also enjoyed eating lots of olives which again is something that we never really ate much of back home. Our taste buds were waking up and having their own culinary holiday.

Ios was the next island after Mykonos and honestly not really our thing! We were unfortunate enough to be sharing the hotel with a Contiki tour and without fail every morning at about 2 am to 3 am – a rowdy bunch would come home from their night out. That was not fun – what added to the “not fun” was also the fact that we had housekeeping mop the room and clean the bathroom while we were still in bed. Boy, that was weird! Actually, our entire experience on this island was weird! We had wasps chase us from breakfast, we ate at a Swedish restaurant one evening, we watched Ferris Bueller dubbed in Greek and the most weirdest of all, was when we were walking down the street one day, we had a little girl of about 4, run out and smack us square on our backsides!

Santorini sunset
Santorini sunset

Santorini on the other hand seemed perfect in comparison despite some random things. When we booked our hotel room, we had booked an ocean room and when we got to our bedroom, there was definitely no ocean view. There was a view of a barren fenced off garden, oh well! The bus ride to Oia was interesting, climbing up the side of the cliff on a road that can barely fit one car, let alone two buses travelling in opposite directions. Standing in the bus, looking out the window and down…. the road we were travelling on was not even visible – that was how close we were to the edge. This was all forgotten though by the time we witnessed a Santorini sunset, at least until we had to make our way back down alongside the cliff face!

View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.

Advertisements

blindingly white

Posted on Updated on

We were at Piraeus Port by 645am, ready to board a boat to Mykonos. One thing we learnt that morning was why we couldn’t find sliced bread anywhere – it was because the sliced bread is not very good and therefore not worth being sold anywhere. Now that was our conclusion at least because our packed breakfast contained bread and oh my goodness, they were dry, crumbly and hard. Anyway, enough about bread – the fascination has worn off!

We met a honeymooning couple from Los Angeles on the boat and chatted with them til the boat pulled into a port. We usually are last to board any transport and the last to get off – what is the rush? So this couple dashed off to get their luggage while we sat to look out at the island. Hmmm… strange! We always thought Mykonos had white houses along the coastline – totally thought we were duped with touristy brochures, because the houses we saw were definitely NOT white.

As we slowly made our way towards the ramp of the boat, we decided to check with a staff of the boat whether this was Mykonos. It wasn’t, the next stop was ours. Soon enough, the American honeymooners came back to their seats describing how they had leapt off the boat only to realise they needed to leap back on because we hadn’t arrived at Mykonos. Turns out they thought we were a little rude for not letting them know Mykonos was the next stop – we explained that we had actually been none the wiser either!

The coastline
The coastline

When we pulled into Mykonos, there was no mistaking it! What we saw was the image we had expected! The blindingly white buildings, blue skies and blue sea! Oh – how picturesque! The buildings looks like fondant icing on wedding cakes 🙂

View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.

Alley ways of Mykonos
Alley ways of Mykonos

does slice bread exist?

Posted on Updated on

We made it to Athens earlier than scheduled, it was not long after dawn. With barely a good flight sleep, we were clearly running on adrenaline and made a bee-line for the train station after clearing immigration.

We knew we had to get to the centre of Athens but really had no idea where we were going so hopped on the train and hoped for the best. Arriving in the city, we walked aimlessly trying to find someone who knew where our hotel was: Parthenon Hotel. There were a few offers to help but we had to pay them first…. so we thought we could push on and luckily met a bus driver who pointed it out to us. Fortunately we were able to check in and freshen up.  Because it was still very early, we headed out to seek breakfast!

Looking up at Acropolis
Looking up at Acropolis

After turning a corner, we looked up and there it was – Acropolis. We had barely been in Europe for a day and our jaw had already dropped. What a simply spectacular and surreal moment. Our curiosity to explore overtook our desire to eat and our grumbling tummies. It was the best time to visit because there were no crowds at that time of the morning. By the time, we finished exploring it was time to eat. We enjoyed an Acropolis Salad (which was a touristy name for a greek salad) for lunch on the rooftop of the restaurant. The sun was out, the sky was blue and it was HOT. We had escaped winter so this was bliss!

Then what followed was something quite extraordinary. We went searching for a supermarket to pick up some sliced bread. Now, remember we are relatively new to travelling so we weren’t expecting to be thrown curve balls so early on! As we walked, we kept our eyes peeled for something resembling a supermarket or a bakery or anything that might sell bread – with no luck. So we asked a shop owner who paused and thought long and hard before pointing towards his left. Eagerly, we thought we hit the jackpot until we walked for about 5 minutes and saw nothing useful. So we stopped and thought we would ask another shop owner and he then pointed around the corner. And before long, the process repeated itself with another 3 people.

We were beginning to feel like we were on the “case-of-the-non-existent-bread” WHEN we located two police officers in their patrol car. Police officers – they would have the answers! So we approached them gingerly and asked politely where we could buy bread or where we could find a supermarket. Well…. let’s just say the response we received was NOT what we expected. They both got out of their cars, holding their semi automatic weapons and began conversing in Greek, looking mighty serious. They were looking around as if in search of an assassin before pointing us in the direction we came from. By this stage, we had given up that slice bread existed in Greece! But the experience itself was worth remembering forever.

The rest of our time in Athens was incredible seeing the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of Poseidon (out at Cape Sounion)! The city is simply soaked in history!!

View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.

Temple of Poseidon
Temple of Poseidon

economy all the way

Posted on Updated on

We had lunch with both our families to say good-bye. We would only be away for 4 months but it was the first time either of us would be away from home for longer than a week. The Football World Cup Final was being played and we would be missing it because we would be in the air somewhere.

Getting dropped of the airport was a mixture of excitement and sadness. More excitement of course but sad as we were not seeing familiar faces for another 120 odd days!

First stop was Singapore then Athens. And on the flight, we scored exit row seats which were right beside the toilets. Great having the leg room but not quite ideal having people queueing up for the toilet throughout the flight.

We were seated next to an older Greek lady who was ever so lovely but clearly a nervous flyer. As we were taxiing down the runway, she was repeatedly doing the sign of the cross and muttering prayers under her breath. This made us a wee bit nervous because flying isn’t really our cup of tea either. The stuffy-recycled air of aeroplanes is enough to make any head woozy!

Upon arriving at Singapore, she asked us if we could help her with exchanging some money so she could buy her son an iPod. So we trooped around with her to the money exchange counter before then guiding her to a sales assistant in a duty free shop to help with the iPod side of things (we did learn on the flight to Athens that the purchase was successful). And as we waited for our onward flight, we thought what the heck – we might as well ask for an upgrade to Business Class – sadly they didn’t have any available so looked like we were flying economy all the way! Despite being disappointed, we didn’t black list Singapore Airlines as an airline because in all honesty – they are superb in EVERY way imaginable.