A Travellerspoint blog

Day 25: Athens

View Greece trip, 2018 on baixing's travel map.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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

Posted by baixing 10:33 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 22: Athens

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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.
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.
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.

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.
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

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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,
and then the Jewish museum.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Posted by baixing 09:47 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

Day 20: Athens

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Day 20: I spent the entire morning at the Acropolis Museum.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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)


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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Posted by baixing 10:44 Archived in Greece Tagged ikaria Comments (1)

Day 14: Fourni

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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.
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)

Day 13: Fourni

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At around 10, I started walking to the port. I left the hotel without a word. Before I left, I had already written a bad review of the hotel. I guess this guy read it and got very angry. Suddenly he pulled up beside me in a red truck and started swearing in Greek. I heard him say "puta" I know this is not a good word in a lot of European languages... I just kept walking and ignored him. He started going "POOF POOF" and firing an imaginary hand gun at me. I called 9-11. He drove off.

The police told me to go stay in one place and they would come where I was, so I went to the port, paranoid that crazy guy would come back. The police got to the port a few minutes after I got there, and they drove me back to the station. I told them I wanted to make a report but they told me there would be a fee for that. Are you kidding me? There is a crazy guy harassing people running a hotel in your town and you want me to pay to make a report? Give me a break. I left and went back to waiting for the ferry, in a huff.

I slept a bit on the way there, and when we got to Fourni it was already 3 a.m. I slept until 10 and made myself a nice breakfast on the balcony by the sea.

The woman who owned the hotel said she would come by and see me before 11 and she never did, or I slept through it. I called her and told her I was going out. I saw her on the way to the road and then I went on my way to Kampi beach.
It was nice and actually closer than I expected, so I kept going down the road to another beach, Petrokopio.
It was an ancient quarry and the beach is all white pebbles. That was really cool and it made my day. The sun was beaming down in beautiful rays, and the wind was gentle so I stretched out on the pebbles for a while as I ate my sandwich for lunch. The wind soon turned chilly and the clouds got darker. I decided maybe it wasn't a good idea to watch the sunset today. On my way back to town, I saw some majestic goats and sheep, watching me from their fields.
I got back at 4 p.m. only to find that all the stores were closed. No tea tonight for me! But, I happened to have a couple oranges and a packet of sugar, so I made some hot orangeade. Fine.

Posted by baixing 08:04 Archived in Greece Tagged fournoi kampi petrokopio Comments (2)

Day 12: Fourni

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Day 12: I finally clued in that I had to leave on Tuesday night, not Wednesday night for the ferry. It always screws me up when whatever method of transportation is leaving at midnight. I asked for a late checkout and then the guy that owns the hotel invited me to Christmas dinner. It was silent and very awkward. There was some really delicious roast goat and potatoes. I could only communicate through Google Translate. The man who owns the hotel told me the woman eating with us was his friend and his wife and children were in Denmark. After dinner, he asked me to work at the hotel in exchange for room and board. At first I agreed, but I wanted to see my room first. He showed me a bed in a hallway and then when I declined, he invited me to sleep in his bed instead. So awful and humiliating right. He seemed to have no remorseful feelings about it at all. I told him I felt uncomfortable with what he said (through the translate app) and he said sorry. But then there was that problem of the ferry. I couldn't leave this island until midnight, remember and it was cold outside and nothing was open. I wasn't about to go out and look for another place to spend 10 hours waiting for the ferry. Ugh. So I sat there with the creepy old man attempting to ignore him, while I was talking to my mom on the phone, not caring if he could understand what I was talking about. I'm sure he did and I hope he felt shameful about it for once in his life. I don't understand how you could speak to someone like that especially since your own daughter was probably doing the same thing, staying alone at hotels around Denmark. Just the fact of having a daughter shouldn't be a reason to treat someone like a human being, but for whatever reason that makes the whole situation so much worse.

Posted by baixing 09:50 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 11: Vathy

sunny 10 °C
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Day 11: I called the ferry company in the morning and there was no boat to the Fourni Islands until Tuesday. I was stuck for another few days in Samos. Definitely not a bad place to be stuck, so I thought I'd go to the other side of the island to see what's there. George dropped me off in Vathy where I assumed there was a bus to Pythagorio. He didn't wait for me to find out that the bus station was locked, and there were no buses today or tomorrow. OK, so I guess I need to find a hotel. The coffee shop next door let me use the wifi and I found one for 25 euros. Fine. I walked over there and a little old man explained the complicated key system to me in broken English. I had a panini maker, fridge and kettle, so I planned my Christmas day meals. Omelet for breakfast and a bacon turkey havarti panini for dinner, followed by more Samos wine and of course baklava. I walked around picking up all the stuff at various shops because I knew nothing would be open for a few days and I might starve. I had already been around the town quite a bit and there was nothing else to do but watch movies and snooze in my little room.

Posted by baixing 20:00 Archived in Greece Comments (8)

Day 10: Kokkari

storm 10 °C
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Day 10: I woke up to the rain pouring down and the sea violently crashing into the beach (which is about 5 metres away from me). I waited for the rain to stop, but the wind kept blowing. I figured that my hike to Vourliotes village would be a good thing to do today, because the mountain and forest would protect me from the wind. I put a bunch of warm clothes in my bag and went out in my base layer and coat.
My clothes system worked well and the trail was completely empty. I went up through the valley to Vourliotes, walking on a trail mostly made of broken rocks and a lot more challenging than I had assumed.

I found myself in the village by 9:30 a.m., way earlier than I had assumed. From the village, I could see how far I had come in two hours and it was super satisfying. I looked around for anything open, but there was nothing except for a small mini mart. I decided to just buy some wine .

(The exact wine from the winery that I wanted to go to yesterday, friends) and amble on down via the car road. I did that and soon had to pee. While I peed, I put my mittens down. When I got back up, I left them there. Ten minutes later I was cursing myself for forgetting them. I went all the way back up to the top and down and back up again, completely unaware that I had passed them three times before I actually saw them on the fourth try. Ohhhh I was real mad at myself about that. Mittens are important. I wasn't going to leave them behind, but if they are so important why did I forget them on a log!? Ugh. It was an easy saunter back down to Kokkari.

When I got back I made some stamppot and sausages with some strange potato that may have given me cyanide poisoning, I'm not quite sure about that still.

Posted by baixing 09:51 Archived in Greece Tagged samos kokkari Comments (0)

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