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Leaving Greece and sailing to Italy
Submitted by bugsly on Thursday, March 9, 2006 - 04:33 Boat | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Italy | Train | Walk

This morning we headed out to say a quick goodbye to Kostas’ mother and then go to the main Athens train station. We were headed to Patras, the primary Greek port for boats traveling to Italy.

Our first regional train was right on time and we jumped aboard and jumped off a about one hour later. We then caught our second train; the deal is that we had first class seats on this second train because it was going to be a longer ride. We then realized that the first class seats were the first car directly behind the engine. The engine was so loud that we couldn’t hear ourselves speak, the honking at city cars was a gentle hum in the background and to talk to some one you had to stand centimeters away.

We then found the ticket office for the ferry company “Superfast” (It really does live up to its name) and then headed into the ferry itself. Once inside we headed to our cabin and set up all of our stuff we then explored the ship, did a little work, read, and such until we were doubled over by hunger. We looked at the multiple restaurants onboard and chose the self-service one. I had some yummy Bolognese Spaghetti, where as Michael had spaghetti with tomato sauce (basically pasta was the main dish). After watching the original 1969 “The Italian Job” that we rented from the onboard movie rental, we all were rocked to sleep with the waves and the soft hum of the ship’s propeller.


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Yummy Pasta with Evi
Submitted by bugsly on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 - 01:25 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Subway | Walk

Today Mom and I stayed home while Kostas went to his dentist appointment while Michael and Dad tagged along. After going to meet them at the office we headed back in order to meet Evi (Kosta’s girlfriend) who cooked a wonderful dinner with Mom, consisting of yummy meat and pasta sauce. Then everybody went to bed knowing that we would have a huge two days of travel ahead of us.


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Arriving in Athens Again
Submitted by bugsly on Tuesday, March 7, 2006 - 00:59 Boat | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Walk

Today we didn’t do much except homework and packing, we met up with Anna and her mother around five thirty to see their shop and catch our ferry (we are both heading to Athens). Before the ferry left we stopped at a little place to get the national food of Greece, called Souvlaki. It is so good; it consists of chicken (if you want), fries, spices, onions, and tomatoes. After scarfing a few of them down, we jumped on the ferry that showed before it was supposed to and took us all by surprise. We grabbed our bags and headed on, we arrived in the port near Athens at about twelve in the morning tired and ready to sleep. We were surprised by Kostas who showed up instead of a taxi to pick us up, we all really appreciated that. After returning to the flat we crashed into bed.


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Clean Monday
Submitted by bugsly on Monday, March 6, 2006 - 00:30 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Walk

We all woke up this morning and headed back to the same delicious café in the morning for breakfast. Then we met up with a very good friend of ours', Anna, brother, Manuel, who was picking us up and taking us to their house to celebrate Clean Monday with them. After meeting her wonderful family and their two, three month old puppies, we sat down to enjoy a fantastic meal with traditional Greek foods such as: grilled octopus, traditional bread only baked on that day, shrimp, calamari, pasta, wine, beer, olives, Greek salad, and a yummy bean dish. There was plenty for every one and it was delicious. Afterwards, Anna showed us her beautiful house that she was building next door to her parents.

Once we had seen the house we started to try and fly our kites. It really was funny to see the kites go ten feet in the air and then dive down again every time because the wind was ferociously strong, we lost our kite a few times before we gave up and headed out to go to a small café and tiny beach. I found myself a fun little kite in the shape of a jellyfish that Dad said would never get five feet in the air. On the beach we met another nice kid, Nathan, who was from Northern England and was living Greece with his family, he had lots of good stories to tell and helped us try to get our kite in the air. Finally, after a lot of persistence I managed to get that sad little jelly fish so high in the air that I ran out of string, I made Dad eat his words. After a few minutes of victory and glory though he kite got too low and went straight into the ocean. Today has been a lot of fun and eating.


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Our first Day on Paros
Submitted by bugsly on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 23:52 Boat | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Walk

This morning after arriving in Paros the night before and finding our hotel, we set off in search of breakfast. We found a busy little restaurant and sat down to order delicious waffles and omelets. After having a hearty meal we set out to see what there was to see. The back alleys provided lots of little shops and cafes, but being that is Sunday everything is shut. So we decided to come back on Tuesday because Monday was a national holiday.

We returned to the hotel, freshened up and Dad and I went out to rent a car. Once we had picked up Mom and Michael, Dad drove through the center of Paros where we saw some of the most beautiful landscape yet. Once we had reached the southern tip of the island, Michael spotted a small beach that looked windy enough to fly his kite again, although the beach turned out to be too windy. Reeling the kite was a task within itself and you could almost imagine Michael and Dad working together to pull the kite in yelling, “Heave!” “Ho!” it was actually quite funny.

Finally, Dad and I conjured up the fastest route home so that we were home before it became too dark. At long last we arrived home and settled in for the night. Later as we were looking through our Greece travel book we saw that the beach we had visited a few hours ago was the most popular beach on Paros, especially for windsurfers. No wonder it was too windy for our kite!


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Kite flying is tons of fun in Santorini
Submitted by bugsly on Saturday, March 4, 2006 - 09:23 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Walk

To start the day off, we had a luxurious breakfast overlooking the sea and caldera. I had a Greek omelet with French fries on top! My Mom nibbled on the omelet with me. Michael had the most decadent breakfast I have ever seen! His waffle had scoops of fresh strawberry ice cream, Oreo cookies crumble and whipped cream on top crowned with a Greek flag. It was incredible and delicious!

After breakfast, we went on a long walk up, up, up, and then down, down, down, and finally ended up at a car rental shop. They had shiny new cars out front, and cruddy ones with no hub caps in the back. Guess which one we got. Yep, a bright blue, dirty stick shift for our afternoon excursion. We piled into our vehicle and headed out of town.

Our first stop was for gas, as the car was on empty. Our second stop was to buy a kite for the upcoming celebration called “Clean Monday”. “Clean Monday” marks the beginning of the Greek Orthodox Church’s observation of Lent (like our Ash Wednesday). On this Monday the 6th, the Greek people take to the country for picnics to eat traditional foods and fly kites. The kites are special in that they are octagonal.

Our kite is blue and white, the colors in the Greek flag. We headed off to find a beach so we could test it out. After a bit of a drive with me as navigator (which my Mom says I am a natural at), we found a perfect beach. We put the kite together and launched it high into the air. It flew wonderfully high and we watched it soar in the blue sky and sunshine. We flew it for a long time, taking turns. When Michael was flying the kite, I wrote my name in HUGE letters in the black sand. The sand at the beach was black because of the volcanic soil that covers the island. It was the first black sand beach I have ever seen and it was very impressive.

We didn’t spend much (if any) time in the water because even though the day was warm, the water was COLD!!!! So we packed up after a while and headed to find some food. We drove for a while and happened upon Dimitris Fresh Fish overlooking the water. We parked and scampered across the street and settled in for another delicious Greek meal. And it was. The owner, Dimitri was our waiter and he told us that it was the first day they reopened their restaurant for the upcoming tourist season. He also told us about his farm where he has pigs, chickens and grows lots of different vegetables for the restaurant. He also grows olive trees and makes his own olive oil. I had fresh bread to dip with and his olive oil was thick and rich.

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Naxos, Santorini, and a stack of milk cans
Submitted by bugsly on Thursday, March 2, 2006 - 09:20 Boat | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Walk

This morning greeted us with sunshine and packing to go to the islands of Naxos, Santorini and Paros for the next 6 days.

We took a three hour ferry ride to get to Naxos, where we tromped through dark alleyways to find our hotel called the Apollon. Finally my Dad found the hotel and we settled in for the night.

In the morning Mom and I found a nice little cafй in a back alley where we had a tasty breakfast of waffles. My waffle was drenched in choclate and bananas. Mom’s was drenched in yogurt, fresh fruit, honey and nuts. We both enjoyed our meal very, very much.

After breakfast we explored Naxos and its narrow streets and alleys up and down with Michael and Dad. Then we went to the dock and waited for the ferry to arrive. It was on time and we jumped aboard looking forward to another Blue Star Ferry experience!

We arrived in Santorini at about 4:30 in the afternoon and took a taxi all the way up a long and windy road to Fira, the main town on the island of Santorini. Our hotel, called Costa Marina was a classic Santorini design, white plaster and arches with blue trim.

Michael and I had a loft above the main room with two twin beds. The room had terrific views of fields, the sea, and churches.

We had dinner at a restaurant called Cafй Classico overlooking the caldera. We saw our first sunset and it was spectacular! After dinner, my Mom and I went to the grocery store to look for my Dad and Michael. We went into a little market, and while we were looking around in the aisles, my Mom turned around (with her backpack on…) and knocked over an amazingly tall tower of small cans of milk. They tumbled to the floor with a great crash! Boy were we embarrassed! The Greek shopowner was very gracious and didn’t want us to help clean up. But we did anyway and he stacked them back up with amazing speed. There must have been at least 200 cans! We bought some candy to make up for the mess we had made.!

We returned to the hotel to find Michael and Dad also carrying a bag of candy. Oh well, I guess you can never have too many Twix bars!

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Algebra and the Acropolis
Submitted by bugsly on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 09:18 Algebra | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Subway | Walk

This morning I woke up to my bed shaking because Kostas had plugged in a foot massager and put it on my bed to wake me up! Well it worked, but what a way to wake up! Anyhow, I had wonderful cereal for breakfast drizzled with honey from Greek forests. You should see how much honey Kostas has in his cupboard! Enough for at least two armies!

We headed off in the car to see the sights of Athens. Our first stop was the Acropolis. Getting to see something as amazing at that after studying it the year before was quite an experience. Seeing all of the columns and ancient artifacts and carvings was spectacular. The Parthenon was beautifully sculpted and polished. It is under renovation for at least another couple of years. They plan to restore it to the point it was before it was attacked many years ago.

A thrill for my Dad was that I worked on a page of my Algebra schoolwork in the shadow of the Parthenon. He was ecstatic.

We visited the Archeological Museum next to the Parthenon and got to see ancient Greek artifacts beautifully presented.

We headed off to have lunch near Kostas’ office in a terrific underground restaurant. To watch people eat an entire fish, brains and all in one bite, made me feel nauseous. Kostas offered to get me ice cream if I ate one. I said as long as there was no head and tail I would do it. He agreed and I completed the gruesome task. I will never eat a grilled fish again.

Later that evening, we went out to a traditional Greek meal with Kostas’ mother where I had chicken souvlaki and some stuffed cabbage. Then Kostas took Michael and me out to an ice cream shop where the ice cream was mounded up in mountains. I had Nutella ice cream and it was unforgettably melt-in-my-mouth delicious!

After a long and full day, we slept like logs.


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Donkeys only please
Submitted by bugsly on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 09:17 Boat | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Subway | Walk

This morning we got up, packed our bags and headed for breakfast. I must say I had the same wonderful warm chocolate croissant again! We caught the ferry that would take us to a nearby island called Hydra. We went on a hydrofoil to Hydra which took about 45 minutes. In Hydra, we explored the narrow alleyways and stone staircases until accidentally happening upon a rooftop restaurant called Vialy.

We sat down and readied ourselves for lunch. A man sitting near us was painting signs for the restaurant but was really a local fine artist. He was painting signs in the off season to earn some money.

Then the waiter came from the docks with a bag of fish and my Dad got to choose his own fish for lunch! Meanwhile, my brother had taken out his sketchbook and the artist took notice of him. He helped him draw a picture of the dock and the ships in the harbor as well as the nearby buildings. As a thank you, Michael signed the picture and gave it to him.

For dessert, Dad and I shared a wonderful Greek yummy filo-doughish, applish, honeyish, custardish, confection. It was amazing! Then our ferry arrived and we boarded for our journey back to Athens.

When we arrived in Athens, we went to the metro station and made our way into central Athens where we met Kostas and his Mother at their business “Corfu Star”. It was really good to see him again and meet his Mom.

He took us to a great Greek restaurant in downtown Athens. We walked there past many interesting shops and boutiques. We had a yummy meal and I had a traditional Greek dish of cooked cabbage leaves stuffed with beef and rice and a creamy white sauce, it was so good! Then we went back to his house and went to bed with full tummies.


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Skipping stones and chocolate croissants
Submitted by bugsly on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 09:14 Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Greece | Walk

This morning we started off our day with a delicious, warm, chocolate croissant. Kostas and Evi joined us and we headed off for a long walk along the sea where we skipped stones and collected bits of beach glass. It was a gorgeous and sunny day, occasionally disturbed by speeding mopeds. After our very long walk, we went back to our hotel and rested for a while. Eventually it was time for dinner and we went to a wonderful little pizza restaurant.

One thing I noticed a lot of while in Athens and in Spetses, was the number of apparently stray animals, cats and dogs. In Spetses that evening, we were followed to the restaurant by a dog that didn’t seem to have a home. It made us sad, so we saved the crusts of our pizza and gave them to him when we left the restaurant. After laying in bed for a while, the lapping sound of the waves upon the pier lulled us into a gentle sleep.


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Fun Fact...

There are three types of "Kiwi's" in New Zealand. Kiwi birds, Kiwi fruit and the New Zealanders call themselves "Kiwis"!

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