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Europe: Round II

Back to Europe! After a year back in the States, it's time to return to the other side of the pond for a three week adventure that will be bringing us to the ruins of Greece, the beaches of Santorini, the wine vinyards of Spain and finally to the nightlife of Granada! Traveling with me is my college roommate Tim and Coree, a close friend from my time in Granada. Check back often for pictures and updates on our travels......

Diary Entries

Monday, 11 June 2007

Captain's Logette - Day # Undetermined. Our current sleeping patterns are making the days run together a bit. We've been in Spain since last Wednesday and have been going non-stop!

The first two days in Madrid were certainly eventful. Without the modern technology of cell phones, Coree and I lost Zach at the airport, and thus, the two of us had a crazy time schlepping all our luggage through the Madrid metro. We were so relieved to find Zach safe and sound at our hostel after carrying our fifty-pound bags up way too many flights of stairs to count.

Later that day, we visited the Reina Sophia and took in a lot of fabulous Spanish art, including Pablo Picasso's famous painting Guernica. Other than that, we just meandered around the city streets, visiting the palacio and engaging in our favorite sport of people watching. We were so exhausted from all the traveling of the day, though, so we ended up heading to bed around 10. What exciting lives we crazy 20-somethings lead, huh?

Thursday we slept in, grabbed a tortilla española and then wandered to the Retiro park. That night included some delicious pad thai at Coree's favorite local Thai place (they remembered her from a year before!) and a little barhopping.

Friday we took the bus to Granada and have had an amazing time here ever since! The city is beautiful and Coree and Zach have been wonderful tour guides, showing me all of their old haunts, including their homes, favorite tapas bars, shawarma tiendas (sooo much better than the Greek gyro!) the Mirador, etc. We also got to spend quite a bit of time visiting with their host families, who have been so incredibly hospitable and welcoming. Zach's parents Maria and Paco even had us over for a lunch of homemade paella, which was amazing. For my first time of ever trying paella, I am certainly very spoiled!

Another noteworthy adventure was our visit to Feria del Corpus, the annual fair/festival of Granada. It was like your typical American state fair (lights, rides, etc.) except that along the back side of the festival there was a long stretch of about 10 discotecas in a row! We were the only foreigners there and danced alongside the Spaniards all night long. We were so lucky to arrive here in Granada just in time to take part in all of the festivities.

Aside from that, we’ve just been enjoying the relaxed Spanish lifestyle and the beautiful weather here. Tomorrow we’re headed to Nerja for a day at the beach before I leave on Thursday and Zach leaves on Friday. We're also going to to tour the Alhambra on Wednesday. We should have more to report after that.

Hope this note finds everyone well! Con besitos y abrazos grandes,
Sara

Wednesday, 06 June 2007

Location: Athens, Greece

Good Evening from Athens! We arrived back in the city today after a quick, four hour ferry ride north from the island of Santorini. After three nights in a hostel the girls deemed "interesting," we find our selves on the floor (the guys at least) of Sara's friends apartment in the city. The girls leave for the airport at 4:30am and I will find myself traveling there a short time later at 6:30. The first leg of our trip has been a huge success and a lot of fun. Tomorrow signals the second and last part of our trip and the departure of Tim from our group. He's been a great addition and surprisingly, has only added to the dynamics of our group. The four of us have had a blast together, riding ferry boats for hours, ATVing it around the islands and engaging in pointless conversations regarding every topic imaginable. The whole trip the three of us all tried to convince Tim to move to Denver in the fall. I wouldn't say our attempt was to no avail, as he is genuinely interested in coming out at some point, but he surely wont be there in a few weeks when we move in. As of now, we both have couches (that still cease to exist) named after us in Coree and Sara's apartment in the city.

Our trip into the city today was uneventful except for the poring rain we encountered as we winded our way down to the old port of Santorini. We had great weather all week, so this day of bad weather seemed fitting as I think it was a mutual feeling amongst all of us to drop what we were doing and move to the islands for good. From what we noticed, becoming an island hoping hippie or hostel owner does have some perks! Anyways, we came away from the islands with some great memories, friendships and amazing pictures! Tim will be posting them on this site when he arrives back in the US in a few days, so check back!

Our last day in the city was spent walking in the shopping district. We all bought a few things, however the biggest spender of the day was surely Coree, who "had to buy some pictures" to furnish her unknown apartment bathroom with. They are nice painting, however, Tim and I preferred a beer. We went out for one last Greek meal and ate like kings! I can't tell you how great the food has been! I look forward to the day when Greek salads and gyros become a commonality in the US! From here we obviously made our way to the bakery, where we all relished in some baklava and various other treats before we picked up a bottle of wine, cheese and bread and headed to the acropolis to watch the sunset. It was a perfect end to a great trip in Greece.

That's it for now. I am exhausted and the rest of the gringos have gone to bed, leaving me to update all of the "daily readers" of our adventures. It's off to Spain tomorrow-----hasta pronto!

Monday, 04 June 2007

Location: Santorini, Greece

Good Morning from Santorini! Our apologies for not updating this regularly, however it has been harder and more inconvenient that we thought to use a computer. The weather has been great and rather than be inside, we have wanted to be outside as much as possible. In only a few days we have done a lot, taken time to lay on the beach all day and make friends with an endless stream of recent college grads. As we have gone from place to place, it seems as though the vast majority of students we come across are traveling as part of a graduation gift, taking one last fun trip before "corporate America" takes over our lives as Coree says. We have been very lucky with accommodations thus far, having stayed at two great hostels and being able to crash at Coree's friend Sara's apartment for a night.

Athens was great, yet not really what we expected. Having just had the Olympics recently, I was anticipating a clean, relatively modern city. This wasn't the case however, as it seemed to be only the city center than had character. Yet, the city was beautiful with all of it's ruins and history. The highlight of this leg of the trip was surely the Acropolis. Climbing up the hill to the peak, you were able to see all of the Athenian valley (about million people live there) and out into the Greek Isles. In terms of temperature, all I can say is HOT HOT HOT. The food----incredible. I won't even try to spell the types of food we were eating, but I can say that it was perhaps the most delicious food I have ever had. I distinctly remember being taken to the annual Greek festival in Portsmouth growing up and hating the food, music and big hugs from the cities Greek population. Yet, after only a few days in the country, I couldn't get enough of it.
The ferry to Santorini wasn't bad, about 4 hours, however cost an arm and a leg (53Euro each way). We went with this ferry as the other option was almost a 9 hour trip! Santorini, one of the southern most islands, is great! Black sand beaches, cliffs and small white buildings dot the landscape. Interestingly, the island has a blue and white decor that is really awesome! Yesterday we rented ATVs, the tourist way of seeing the city, and went around the island all day. Moving from beach to beach, we were able to see the majority of the Island and had a blast doing it! The sight of four college students driving ATVs around, in bright red helmets was hilarious. A few highlights were our time spent as the red sand beach (created from the volcanic rock), cliff diving into the black sand beach and watching the sunset. Santorini has been great to us, with paying only 7 Euro (about 10US) for our community beds combined with the simply incredible beaches.

Tim, Sara, Coree and I have had a great time traveling thus far and are looking forward to our final days on the island. Tomorrow we will be leaving for Athens as we fly out for Spain on Wednesday morning and I know we are all excited to get back to a country where we can speak the language and are somewhat "local." We are not able to put pictures up as we wanted as the cord for the camera does not work as we wanted it, however once Tim and myself return to the US, we will make sure to update the page with some pictures to give everyone an idea of the beauty here on the islands and a look inside our crazy trip. See everyone in Spain!

Saturday, 02 June 2007

Location: Athens, Greece

Captains Log. Day two/three. It's currently 5:50 in the morning as I write this and the group has yet to sleep. This is occurring not because we don't want to sleep (believe me, I wish I was sleeping soundly), but because our ferry to Santorini, one of the southernmost islands, leaves at 7:15 from the ports which happen to be about 20 minutes from here. Today was our second day here in Greece and we made the most of our time sightseeing, meeting the locals and hanging out with mutual friends in the area.

The trip over was....greasy...to sumit up. Coree had been traveling from 10am on the 29th until 4:30 on the 30th when we landed. As for me, I was traveling from 2:00 on the 20th until 4:30 in the 30th. I always thought I enjoyed traveling, however this trip was horrible. After close two 24 hours traveling, we both finally arrived into Athens in the late afternoon yesterday.

Luckily for us, Coree's good friend from home Sarah, is studying in Athens for the semester and was able to show us around the city, bring us to our hostel and begin the process or orienting us to the city. Our hostel for the first night was great (for the little amount of time we spent there). The roof-top bar literally was underneath the Acropolis and provided us with great pictures!

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I'm going to skip a lot of information right now, as Coree is begging me to put the computer down and get my stuff together to head to the port to catch out ferry. the ferry is going to be about 4 hours, so by 11:30, we should be arriving in Santorini, having been up all night long. I'll be back in a few hours hopefully with some more information and updates, but for now that's it! See everyone in the isles.

Z


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