A Travellerspoint blog

Greece

Day 28... whenever


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I got really tired after this and didn't want to do any much of anything. But at least once a day I went out for a nice dinner and tasted all the traditional Greek food I could handle. Here are some photos...
Day 28: Jarilson and I both woke up really late. Eventually we got up and made it in time for dinner at the Gastronomy Museum. We had some great beer, fava bean dip, french fries and halloumi. He took off to the airport after that an proceeded to tell me that he wished he kissed me. Then, when I didn't reply he continued with an apology and a string of compliments on Facebook. I told him he sounded like an idiot and blocked him forever. Awkward.
Day 29: I went to the Islamic Art Museum and spent the day looking at ceramics from the Middle East. A lot of those ceramics had been influenced by Chinese artisans. It was cool because I could see the influence, and I could also see the difference in quality. The texture of the Middle Eastern ceramics was just worse than everything I've ever seen in Chinese museums. It's cool to be able to see differences in these kinds of things just by exposing yourself to them over and over again.
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For dinner, I went to this amazing deli for taramasalata (fish egg dip) and dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) with a couple of glasses of wine. Loved it.
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Day 30: Today I took my time and explored the Pireos Annexe of the Benaki Museum. It was way too expensive, but on the up side, I had the whole place to myself. There was an exhibit about a Greek engraver who made images of countless ships and other Greek scenes. Another one about a Greek writer who travelled a lot,
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and another about a guy who likes to make art sculptures with light.
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The last exhibit was about architecture but nothing was in English. I sat there for about an hour watching architecture students' documentary assignments scroll by on the flat screen TV.
I went home and there was a gong show of a night. Helene, a German wanted me to come up with an idea of what we should do for the night, but every time I suggested something she thought it was dumb. Eventually, we went to meet people for a pub crawl. Nobody showed up at the meeting point and she was mad. Then, I suggested some places to go instead, and none of them were good enough for her. Annoying. Eventually she went home and I took some Italian guys to the roof of Savvas on Ermou Street for terrible wine and a sampler plate of meat.

Day 31: After that gongshow of a night, I stayed in until Alexandra Amanatidou asked me to go out for coffee. I was so grateful to her, because otherwise I would've done nothing all day. She knew all the little coffee shops around and we lazed around one of them until dinner time with another one of her friends. Eventually they both had to go and I walked to the south of town for what I thought would finally be some amazing souvlaki. However, the waitress told me I HAD to have the roast chicken, because I could get souvlaki "ANYWHERE". OK, so I got the roast chicken.
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Still, I have not had a souvlaki in Greece. The roast chicken reminded me of my Yugoslavian grandma's chicken, except the gravy had lemon juice in it. It was good, but kind of not what I wanted. The waitress also didn't ask me if I wanted anything to drink! I took it upon myself to have a small bottle of retsina after the homey tasting dinner. IMG_0266.jpgI walked home in the rain that night. It was beautiful. I think Athens is only beautiful when it's wet.

Day 32...and on...
Not sure what I did on these last few days in Greece. I just wanted them to slide by so I stayed in the hostel just chatting with people. At one point I went to the science museum, but was unimpressed. There were ancient inventions by Chinese people that I have already seen before many times. There was a paper making show in Greek, which I have also done myself in Canada many times. IMG_0268.jpg90_IMG_0269.jpg
I went to a metal rock bar and wandered around with a huge Bulgarian man. I just didn't really have the energy to take any photos, but it was a nice enough time.

Eventually I had to go back to Chios to catch my flight. I arrived in the early morning in the pouring rain and Theodore was waiting for me at the hotel with my bag of stuff I left there. He only charged me for two nights even with the early checkin. That was nice of him.

I spent a night in Rome without taking one photo. I had dinner with some monks and enjoyed a gigantic gelato with peanut/chocolate encrusted waffle cone on the roof of the monastery near Spagna station. In the morning, I had to walk back to the train station 1.5 km with all my heavy bags because the subway line I needed was down for maintenance. It seemed like one more kick to the butt that Europe just had to give me on my way out. Good riddance. I won't be back to this so-called cradle of modern civilization anytime soon.

Posted by baixing 09:25 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 24: Athens


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Day 24: I was walking down the street in Psirri in Athens with a big package of dirty laundry, on my way to the laundromat early this morning. I am a tourist from Canada and I had a map sticking out of my left pocket of my jacket. A skinhead walked past me and made a kissy face at me. It was about 8 a.m. and I stared at him, very confused at this action. I looked behind me to make sure he kept going on his way. He didn't. He ran at full speed for about 10 metres, back at me and tried to grab my map out of my pocket. In the scuffle I fell down and started kicking him in the nuts as a knee-jerk reaction. I was so scared I peed my pants! My last pair of clean pants! I was so humiliated but I just kept kicking him. I was screaming and people started to come out of their houses. Finally he got my map and when he found it wasn't money, he threw it on the ground. Then, he grabbed my bag of laundry and threw it at my head, knocking my glasses off, because he was angry that he couldn't get any money from me. What a horrible experience! Fuck fascists.

I went home to the hostel and the owner was shocked. She made a police report for me and washed my clothes while I stayed in bed in my underwear and drank wine all day.

At night, I had a reservation for Cinque Wine Bar and so I went there and ate a lot of fish. Something was wrong with the fish however, and I instantly became sick. I didn't even have dessert or the last glass of wine paired with my dessert.
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Posted by baixing 08:56 Archived in Greece Comments (3)

Day 27: Athens

sunny 15 °C
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Day 27: I woke feeling really bad, but I walked to the Byzantine Museum, which is in a beautiful villa near the parliament buildings. I got really sick before I even went in and I had a fever the whole day. I wasn't expecting very much, but once I got inside I found really beautiful frescoes, mosaics and pieces of the walls of ancient churches that had been dismantled because of flooding etc.
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It was really interesting to see how the pagan aspects were melded into the Christian religion in Greece. For example, the statue that you often see of Jesus carrying a lamb is an exact replica of an earlier one from of Greek mythology.
There was also a protest about Macedonia I think on my walk home past the parliament.
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I went home still feeling bad. I took a nap for three hours at least, and Jarilson Lopes woke me up and encouraged me to go out to meet up with his friend, Alexandra. They met each other on the Transiberian Express in the past. She was cool and she brought us to a nice greek restaurant with a fantastic view of the Parthenon. I had a "souvlaki" but it was really just another gyro. Ha. I was in Greece for almost a month but still hadn't had a souvlaki. I don't know what's wrong with me. Then, we went to the anarchist area of Athens, which means it's free from fascists that attack poor tourists with maps. We had some really interesting hot liquor with honey and cinnamon. We went our separate ways and on the way home Jarilson and I saw a porno film theatre. It looked like it had old fashioned movies so I wanted to go. Actually the manager lied when he told us it was "old" movies. I thought it would be movies from at least the 70s. It was just the same horrible crap that you can find anywhere on the internet. I left very angry and threw my 4.50 euro ticket back at them.

Posted by baixing 05:13 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 26: Athens

overcast 15 °C
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Day 26: After free day I went to see all the other archaeological sites that I missed the day before. So I went to Hadrian's Library which still had some nice mosaics on the ground.
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I went over to Kerameikos, an ancient cemetery where you can see the beginning of the Panathenaic way. The pathway that leads up to the Parthenon. They would march up there twice a year, starting from Kerameikos to bring the gods gifts.
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After that I went to the Cycladic museum, because it was half price and there was a great exhibit about the day to day life of normal Athenians. On the first floor was another exhibit of the cycladic statues. There were a lot and they all looked exactly the same. It was pretty creepy to stand amongst them all there in one spot. Archaeologists think they are all pregnant women, but they don't know what they were for, so the whole thing was a mystery.
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I was tired and feeling sick still from the strange fish. I met Jarilson Lopes and we walked "for three hours" trying to find a restaurant. The first one I had booked a week earlier and we walked out when they tried to make me buy bottled water. On top of that they tried to make us both buy the same tasting menu. Ridiculous. I didn't drag my new friend there to force him into paying for a 100 euro dinner, so we just left. Eventually we found Feyrouz and had something like a falafel, I'm still not sure what it was, but it was good.

Posted by baixing 05:04 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 25: Athens

semi-overcast
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Day 25: Today was the big free day at all the archaeological sites. So holy crap I went to the city of the gods! I remember learning about greek and roman gods in elementary school, so this was kind of big for me. Haha. Ascending the steps, it's easy to imagine yourself dressed in a toga, carrying an offering to your favourite immortal being. I was up there at about 8:30 a.m. so it was pretty empty. I really enjoyed the peaceful stroll around the ruins.
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On the way down, I stopped at Zeus' temple. It was built by Hadrian and the enormous columns are still standing. As I walked around the park, I started imagining I was Hadrian and admiring the handiwork of my architects. I can't stop myself.
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Two more stops on the free tour today, and those were the Ancient Agora, which may have even been my favourite, because it was the gathering place of the politicians and the first site of democracy.
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Then I went to the Roman Agora, which was built when the Ancient Agora got too small. There was a cool tower there, which people used for a sundial and weather station and all kinds of things.
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On my way out, I walked by this poor old painter selling small paintings taped up to the fence. I don't think he sold anything all day and I thought his art was great. It was a little different. I bought a little landscape of the Acropolis for 8 Euros and he told me to "Have a nice life"

Posted by baixing 09:18 Archived in Greece Comments (1)

Day 23: Athens

sunny 12 °C
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Day 23: Another day, another museum. This time it was the National Archaeological Museum. I awoke at 4 a.m. to a horrible dream of sleep paralysis. One where I could actually feel the demons dragging me off to the land of the dead. Terrible, and I had it twice in a row. Maybe this crazy hostel is haunted. By the time I got back to sleep and woke up again it was 9 a.m. and then by the time I got to the museum it was 11 a.m. I wandered around, checking out all the highlights. I guess my favourite was Zeus throwing a lightning bolt. The bronze statue was found under the sea with one arm missing. It was pieced back together and it still looks great. But if you go, don't you dare do the Zeus pose in front of him, the security guards will yell at you.
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Only about half the rooms were open, and the museum closed at 4. But do you know what, that was fine with me, I exhausted myself again. There was still two hours before dinner and the walk to the restaurant was less than an hour, so I got a beer and sat in a park to snack on almonds. Little did I know that someone was actually living in a tent right behind me. Oops.
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Anyway, dinner was fantastic. I had "vacuum cooked" rooster in tarhana, an ancient Greek dish that I had never heard of before. It was amazing. I don't know anywhere else that might serve this dish but if you ever see it, you should order it. It's a once in a lifetime taste, I think. Here's some info about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarhana
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Posted by baixing 10:33 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 22: Athens

rain
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Day 22: Well it was raining all day. After a breakfast of a huge piece of spanakopita, I spent the first half of the day at the National Historical Museum, where you can visit the real old parliament building and also see Lord Byron's helmet and gun.
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He fought for Greece in Macedonia a while ago and died there. There was also an interesting exhibit about Greece in the first world war. I had no idea they were even in it, but there you go. They waffled about it for a long time, the president who wanted to join, argued with the king for years.
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Then I went to the Benaki museum which is full of ancient artefacts as well as an amazing collection of traditional clothing styles from all over Greece. It was free on Thursdays, so I was lucky to go there, I didn't plan it that way. After a few hours, I couldn't look at any more things.
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I went to see if I could eat dinner early but I could not. I sat in the cold restaurant until they were ready to make my hot moussaka.
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The manager wasn't happy about that, but I wasn't going back out in the rain anymore. I won't be getting moussaka again. It's a really simple dish, I don't think it's worth getting someone else to make it for me, I can do it myself!

Posted by baixing 10:21 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 21: Athens

sunny
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Day 21: I slept in a bit, while cursing the gay guy that sucked me into a conversation and wouldn't let me go to sleep at 9:30 the night before. I went to see some old Turkish baths,
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and then the Jewish museum.
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A lot of Greek Jews were forcibly relocated and exterminated in the second world war, as they were in many other European countries. Then I went to the parliament buildings to watch the changing of the guard, but it was too boring and a little cold.
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Then I was stumped, I wasn't sure what to do next. When in doubt, always climb a hill or mountain. So that's what I did. There was one more easy one left and I think it was the best one.
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On the way down, I stopped at an ancient stadium, which was the scene of the 2004 Olympics and an old cemetery that had a lot of ornate looking graves.
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Not sure why that was recommended in the Lonely Planet, but it was an alright place to stroll, amongst the gleaming white marble. After that I was starving but my dinner reservation wasn't for a really long time. I showed up anyway and ordered the octopus and the moussaka. It turned out to be way too much food because they kept bringing me free stuff, like amazing bread with tzatziki and tapenade, potato soup, crackers with salmon and fried cheese (!) I was full before I was done the first tentacle. I asked to cancel the moussaka and they said no problem. I had to roll myself home. Oroscopo, highly recommend that restaurant! It seemed to be a local favourite too, I didn't notice any other tourists there at the time.
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Posted by baixing 09:47 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

Day 20: Athens

sunny
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Day 20: I spent the entire morning at the Acropolis Museum.
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I found I was absolutely exhausted and starving at the end of it. Who knew looking at endless marble statues could be so tiring? As anyone who's been here before knows, the top floor is the best thing at that place, so I went there first and then worked my way back in time. I think it worked out better that way, because I was there at opening time and everyone was still at the bottom while I had the whole top to myself. I had a Chinese length lunch with cheese, crackers and wine and I chatted with a funny lady who works at the hostel and is also cursed with vertigo. Then, I spent a lot of hours at the contemporary art museum in the south of the city.
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Coincidentally the UN had a temporary exhibit with cheesy saccharine stories of refugees talking about their new lives in Greece. I listened to about half of them before I had to go to my dinner at Scala Vinoteca on the other side of town. It was a good thing I had to leave, because I might've vomited if I would've listened to all of them.
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At the restaurant, I sat outside under a heat lamp, yeah it was stupid but they just put it in front of me and it was nice so I left it on. I had "rabbit lasagna" but it wasn't actually lasagna, it was lasagna noodles in the shape of cannoli. There wasn't even any tomato sauce in it! I had some really strong Syrah that went well with the strong meat and even stronger cheese flavour. It was a very rich dish and I couldn't even think about ordering any dessert or whatever afterwards. The long walk back to the hostel feels great after such luxurious indulgences.

Posted by baixing 12:19 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

Day 19: Athens

sunny 15 °C
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Day 19: Everything was closed, I couldn't buy any bread or any sort of produce for breakfast. I was sad. I happened to see some guy walking down the street with a big bag of tomatoes and asked him where he got them, he said he bought them yesterday and he gave me two! That was so kind and it made my morning. The rest of the day I spent hiking up and down the hills around the Acropolis because everything else was closed.
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Then in the afternoon, I just wandered around getting the feel for the city while dropping by every church and monument that didn't require opening hours.
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I went to a horrible restaurant at night. I had to walk through a lot of pee puddles, graffiti and abandoned buildings at dusk to get there. It should've been great, but I wasn't impressed. The orzo shrimp dish I ordered tasted like smelly feet. Really. Here is my review for "A Little Taste of Home".
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I went here with high expectations, hoping for something "better than sex" as another reviewer has written.

There are four reasons why I'm giving a poor review.

1. The waitress just plunked down an open 2 euro bottle of water in front of me. I didn't ask for it, I thought it was a gift. Normally I never buy bottled water. The tap water in Greece is fine, why would you push unsustainable plastic products onto your customers like that if it's not a cheap money grab?

2. I ordered what I thought would be a delicious Greek comfort food dish, orzo with shrimp. I don't know what was in it, but I believe there was some old cheese that got into it somehow. It tasted like stinky smelly feet. When another waiter asked me how I liked it, I had to be honest and said what I thought.

3. There is no coffee and no tea. WHAT?

4. I met some nice people across from me and they asked me what I ordered and if it was good. I told them I had the orzo and that it was bad. The waitress overheard me. She said "PLEASE MA'AM"... and turned to them saying "It's a nice dish, really"... Wow, do you really want me to lie to your customers for you? Who do you think I am? I saved you from another bad review, missus.

On the other hand, the owner took the time to show me that his cheese was fresh and that he had no idea why I tasted smelly feet. But dammit I am not picky and I would never lie. It really tasted like smelly feet. Anyway he even sat down with me and gave me a chocolate mousse and some mastiha as consolation. I really appreciated that, but I would have been happier with a some sort of discount or a write-off of my meal so that I could just forget the whole thing. I didn't actually want dessert, (I had declined it but they brought it to me anyway) even though the chocolate mousse was amazing. (I don't believe there's no sugar in it by the way, I know what 100% cocoa tastes like and that's not it)

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g189400-d10559098-r550669513-A_Little_Taste_of_Home-Athens_Attica.html#

Posted by baixing 13:20 Archived in Greece Tagged athens Comments (0)

Day 18: Athens

semi-overcast 15 °C
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Day 18: Time to sleep in and be lazy again. The ferry didn't leave until 2 p.m. Maria the hotel owner let me stay for a late check out for free, so I took advantage of that. I grabbed my ticket and a gyro and went out onto the ferry, watching the islands scroll past until sunset.
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I went inside to listen to 7 hours of old music that I had left on my old iPod (my new iPod headphone jack is broken WHAT)... it was flashback Saturday for sure. There was an arab guy sitting next to me. I watched him look at tens of thousands of selfies for about two hours while he made a slide show of himself, filled with animations of hearts, rainbows and butterflies. Not even lying. I made it to the hostel in Athens after sharing a cab with some random guy (the trains were randomly shut down for no reason) just in time to hear the countdown from the Acropolis. I was too tired to romp around in the crowds, I just went to bed. Oh well.

Posted by baixing 13:19 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 17: Agios Kirykos

rain 12 °C
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Day 17: I woke up to more rain, so I waited for it to stop. When it did, I quickly walked down the road to the mineral hot springs. Once I got down there, I was completely at a loss as to where it actually was. I walked around in bare feet on the pebbly beach (not comfortable) unable to find any "hot" water at all. I definitely found some warm water, so I sat in that for a while, but it was pretty wavy and not very relaxing.
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Eventually I got a little too cold so I put my dry clothes back on and started walking back. (In a towel on the bottom because I completely soaked my pants). On my way up the hill, there was a woman from New York walking down the hill. She asked if I was Mary and of course I said I wasn't. But she offered to show me where the real hot springs were. Turns out you had to climb over a bunch of rocks to the right of the beach. There used to be some sort of apparatus there to make it easier to see, but it's long gone now. We sat in the water for about five minutes and decided that yes, it was not relaxing, it was too wavy to enjoy. The water however, was indeed boiling hot, it must be amazing on a nice calm day.
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I went back to the hotel and slept away the day again. I think I made myself a Greek salad for dinner.

Posted by baixing 13:13 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 16: Agios Kirykos

rain 15 °C
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Day 16: I did absolutely nothing today and it was awesome. It was raining all day and the two indoor hot springs were closed. We tried to call the owners to get them to open up, but they wouldn't. I just stayed in my room all day watching the rain come down and the strong winds blow past my window. It was lovely. I had another gyro for dinner but it was nowhere near as good as the one I had last night.

Posted by baixing 11:35 Archived in Greece Comments (1)

Day 15: Ikaria

sunny 12 °C
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Day 15: I ate leftovers for breakfast and then packed up and went over to the ticket office to buy my ferry ticket. Of course it was also closed. I waited around until the lady decided to saunter into work. Of course everyone else waiting there barged in front of me, even though I was waiting there the longest. That was fine, I had a lot of hours to wait before the ferry anyway. I walked down to the other beach to the north of town to see what was left of the summertime only bar. All the tiki umbrellas were rusting away, abandoned.
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I slowly walked back to the dock and sat there, munching on the leftover sausage and yogurt.

Finally the boat came and 30 minutes later, I was in Ikaria.
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I found my hotel after making a complete loop of the town, getting lost because I decided it was easy and didn't need a map. I ended up giving up and calling the owner, who found me at the foot of a giant cathedral. I went back out to get another gyro for dinner, with a big sack of fresh olives and lemonade. Oh also, the view from my balcony is perfect, again.
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Posted by baixing 10:44 Archived in Greece Tagged ikaria Comments (1)

Day 14: Fourni

sunny
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Day 14: I slept for about 11 hours, even though I went to bed at 7, I woke up at 6 a.m. Amazing. It's very peaceful here. I went down to the dock at 10 a.m. hoping to get a ferry to the other island across the bay. There was supposed to be a great restaurant there, but of course it was closed at this time of year. I found the ferry man and he said he wouldn't be leaving until 2 p.m. Really. So, I started to plan a delicious lunch in my head. I had a little kitchen and so I went shopping. Once I got back, the power went out on the whole island. I couldn't make any of my lunch so I just went back to sleep. I know, I guess I was exhausted. I woke up in time to catch the ferry.
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It took about 10 minutes to get across the bay, and then I walked up to the top of the hill to have a little lunch of yogurt and oranges. An old creepy man drove by in a beat up truck, seemingly amazed that I might be having a picnic in the middle of nowhere. I tried not to be friendly this time, and pretended not to understand what he was saying. He drove off, yelling "You're beautiful" out the window before saying goodbye. Compliments are nice and everything but nobody likes them from random leering strangers. In Greece it's unavoidable, I guess. When I got back it was time for dinner and the power was back on. I had my lunch for dinner. Yumyumyum. Potatoes sausages and fresh veggies. Again, but it's always delicious.

Posted by baixing 12:08 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

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