A Travellerspoint blog

More of Greece

Do I have to leave?

sunny 35 °C

Tues 8/6 Sleep in and a relaxing beach day! Lay out on Perissa’s loungers and drank beers including a couple of freebies which is always nice. Headed into the Beach Bar (the place to be in Perissa) for a few drinks and met some more Americans – I swear they are everywhere but all they keep talking about is how they are the only one in their village/town/city to have a passport. Apparently culture to most at home Americans is the Little India restaurant on the corner or a trip to China town.

Wed 9/6 3pm ferry to Naxos so just spent the morning killing time and relaxing on the beach. A crazy hot day but where better to be than on the edge of one of the worlds most well renowned beaches. Arrived in Naxos and ended up in my own studio apartment unit for 15e for the night. A swim in the most amazing beach at St Georges and saw the sunset. Went for a wander around Naxos town at night and everything: jewellers, clothes stores, souvenir shops, travel agents (that’s about the extent of Naxos shops) all open till near midnight. An amazing place to walk at night and I got a little lost in the mazes of narrow covered streets below pristine white houses that form the town itself.

Thurs 10/6 Spent the morning exploring Naxos. Some ruins, a 10,000 year old grave sight, an old temple, a museum to tell you all about it. This stuff is all over Greece but it doesn’t make each one any less impressive or any less deserving of a visit. Got back on board the ferry Blue Star Naxos and headed back towards Piraeus, the port of Athens for an 11.30pm scheduled arrival.

Fri 11/6 I’m a little sick of carrying my big back pack so I just packed a small day pack with some clothes and other bit pieces for the weekend in the Pelopennees. Caught the bus to Pyrgos and the connection to Olympia about a 5hr trip in a bus apparently full of screaming Greek ladies. Stupidly added an extra hour to my travel time when I didn’t get off at Olympia and got a ‘free’ scenic tour of some of the small town in the back country of extraordinary peninsula. Ended up living large in Olympia and had a hotel room because hostels were scarce if at all. It’s a small town and is not much more than the ruins for which its famous but it is a nice place. Got a good deal on the room though so in the end it worked out pretty good. The Football World Cup has now started and there seems no better or more prudent spot to experience the universal language of sport than at Olympia where such a spirit began so many centuries ago.

Sat 12/6 Scorching hot! But at least it’s a dry heat unlike the stories I have been hearing of Asia. Looked around the ruins and the museums. Had an afternoon siesta along with the rest of the town and then sat down to watch some more football.

Sun 13/6 Being a Sunday the buses were limited and although I planned to go back thru Tripoli and Nafplion it looked impossible. Decided instead to bus back along the main road thru Pyrgos and Patra. Got lucky and ended up with my own personal driver all the way back to Athens on the back load of a long range fare. Raced back at crazy speeds but got to stop whenever I wanted and I had a good chance to see the canal at Korinthos. Cheers Nasos! Relaxed for an afternoon reading Greek Philosophy and then headed out with some others from the hostel for dinner and drinks.

Mon 14/6 Organising. With Tuesday now so close I had to sort out some things. Posted some excess baggage back to the UK and even managed to get my first proper lot of washing done in a while. Spent some time wandering around the shopping streets and Flea market in Athens but ultimately didn’t do a lot today, an event that I think will be rather uncommon in the upcoming weeks!?

Tue 15/6 Well that’s tomorrow (or today as timing would have it) and I start my Contiki tour. 25 days thru Eastern Europe and an adventure that I can’t wait to begin.

Posted by ashneale 14:11 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Athens & Santorini

Grecian glory

sunny 28 °C

So I arrived back in Maidenhead after cocking up the ticket system and having to fork out some extra pounds. If only I had been more assertive I might have got away with a free ride. Didn’t do much just relaxed after the crazy hectic-ness that is London. Spent too much money on things that I needed – camera battery, shoes. It seems I have expensive tastes though because blank page notebooks are almost impossible to find. Dinner out with Mark while Trish was on some phone call and then they kindly dropped me at Heathrow T5 at 10.30pm so I had just 8hrs to kill in departures before my flight. Slept fitfully on my luggage throughout the night, wrote some matlab code cos I was that fucking bored and eventually, despite all the warnings that unattended luggage would be destroyed, I had to go to the toilet. Checked in, boarded (late) and on my way to Athens.

Thurs 3/6 Landed in Athens and with the entire cities transport system on strike I had to take a taxi to the hostel in the centre of town. Taxis are cheap here but still it cost me 40euros. I did learn a thing or two from my taxi driver; about cocaine, prostitutes, and the general Grecian way of life. Laxed in the hostel for a bit and then went for a souvlaki (the first of many) with some of the other hostellers.

Fri 4/6 Walked up to the Acropolis and saw the Parthenon. Pretty amazing place and I struggled to get my head around the supreme age of the thing, especially when you see how pristine and almost complete they have it looking these days. Pretty hot day!! Walked back down thru Ancient Agora (ruins and museums it was to become something of a theme for the next few days), Hadrians Library, Temple of Olympian Zeus, random stadium??. Also walked thru the market streets in Plaka and am now the owner of a genuine leather man bag because I was sack of always lugging round a backpack. Judge me if you like but its awesome so fuck ya. Spent the afternoon in the centre of town. Beach volleyball in Syntagma, the National Gardens, the funny men in pom poms and skirts, the Zappio … Headed into the Gazi area in the evening. You can buy beers from the corner stands and drink them on the street so we did that, got invited to a party with models, left before the models cos it was too expensive then went to a rooftop bar where the prices were even higher. Fail.
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Sat 5/6 Sorted a ferry ticket to Santorini, walked Plaka region again, past Keremiakos (more ruins), National Archaeological Museum (free entry although I still don’t know why?), bits and pieces around the hostel including finding the best chocolate cake ever!!! €2 for a massive piece and it was incredible. Unhealthy I know but it made me want to go for a run just so I could deserve another piece. Realised while packing my bag that I have too much stuff and so have to deal with that at some point. Late to bed because I have an early start and I know that doesn’t make sense but I’m on the other side of the world so it sort of does.?

Sun 6/6 Onboard and Santorini bound. 8hrs stuck on a boat with very little to do and apparently not enough money to spend. So I slept. And listened to my iPod. Got here tho and the hostel is pretty sweet. Not many others here but plenty to see and do. Walked along the beach and then back to the hostel. Sun, parties, sand, beer,… It really is an island paradise and I like it quite a lot.

Mon 7/6 Went for a walk this morning. Grew into a bit of a hike tho. Got some great views around the caldera of Santorini and then climbed to the islands high point and got some even better 360deg views of the entire island. Wwll worth the climb. Back down the beach for a swim and then I am writing this now as midnight ticks over after a beer with dinner a then a few more after! God I love life.

Posted by ashneale 14:03 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

LONDON!!

Wow!

all seasons in one day 17 °C

Ok so I had no idea Christchurch or even NZ was as small as it is.

London is massive. So many people, so many languages, so many concerts, bars, restaurants, museums ... So much everything!

Mon 24/5 I arrived to Russell Sq. and left my bag for the day at the Contiki Office. Went on the London Eye and with the sun out in force and not a cloud in the sky I saw so much! All did all look kinda the same though but certainly the houses of parliament and the dome of St Pauls stood out. Spent the rest of the evening playing around on the tube trying really hard, and failing, not to get lost. Checked in to the Generator which is huge. 800+ beds and had a few drinks at the bar with some others from my dorm room.
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Tue 25/5 With Ed and Becky arriving in London the day earlier we arranged to meet up and look around the London Dungeons and Madame Tussauds. I timed everything perfectly to meet them outside at 1pm, until that is I walked out the wrong exit at the London Bridge station and succeeded in getting wicked lost. Its crazy! I have absolutely no sense of direction here in the UK and suddenly I was walking past the Golden Hinde, Sir Francais Drakes ship (something I didn’t appreciate at the time) and finally, half an hour late I found a very patient Ed and Becky waiting for me J.London Dungeon was good fun and I do wish I had bought the photo of our three retarded faces as we free fell on one of the rides. A bit of history, a bit of a fright, its all good fun. Madame Tussauds was the same and I now have my picture with the captivating Miley Cyrus. I’ll make it my profile pic when I get the chance. Got lost again on the way home from Baker St so jumped on the tube and cruised London again.
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Wed 26/5 Early start to get on board the double decker sightseeing buses. Looked around Trafalgar Sq. including the big new ship in a bottle thats meant to be art??? On board the bus past some of Londons most iconic sites. 10 Downing St, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, St Pauls etc etc. Got off at the Tower and jumped on the cruise down the river to Greenwich and looked around some of the museums up there. Up to the observatory at the top of the hill and straddled the Greenwich meridian. One foot in the east, one foot in the west. One in today, one in yesterday or tomorrow I’m not sure. Back up the river to Westminster past the Tate Modern and Shakespeares Globe Theatre. Back on board the bus and carried on past Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch, Hyde Park, Regent St, before I walked back to Russell Sq from Trafalgar (about 30mins). I can’t even guess at how far I’ve walked in the last 10 days its unreal! Sightseeing is exhausting. Had a few drinks with some americans at the Generator bar and then got sick of them and found some australians instead. Kiwis seem a little thin on the ground at the moment but theres definitely still a few out there.

Thurs 27/5 I tried to wash and dry some clothes at the hostel. Waste of time that was. The dryer only succeeded in making the clothes warm as well as damp. C’est la vie. Saw the changing of the guard this morning with Ed and Becky. What a lot of pomp. I think todays ceremony was a little more elaborate for some reason, with music, marching, horses and the rest of it it did seem to drag on. The best bit was the crazy French women at the end who started screaming and cursing at the cop as he tried to stop her crossing the road. The three of us wandered around Hyde Park (massive!), Kensington Palace and the Natural History Museum. Endless displays and collections of all sorts so we soon grew tired and I headed back to the Generator. Karaoke night at the Generator with a Canadian and some English language teachers from Holland. Awesome!

Fri 28/5 The time at the Generator had come to an end and so I began the Hostel Hop across town but not before having a quick look thru the British Museum. Missed the hostel I was aiming for and ended up instead at some random little place above a pub with way too many people in the room. Lost my hat and sunglasses or they were stolen from the room? I'm not certain. Too bad. Went out to Richmond and had a few beers with Becky, Ed and Charlie. Slight dress code problem but it was well avoided in the end.

Sat 29/5 Free walking tour around Pimlico and Westminster. Saw the MI5 and 6 headquarters as well as a close up of Westminster Abbey. More hostel hopping and I got back to the one I was trying to find the day before and got settled. Down in the bar I got to see the old bald poms get shitfaced and make a fool of themselves. Nearly victim to a cougar attack but was saved at the last minute by one of the old bastards. Thank god.

Sun 30/5 Went down Oxford and Regent St to try find a hat and some sunglasses but everything was shut so ended up paying way to much at some little souvenir shop. Back out to Richmond and the Ham Polo Club to watch Charlie play and Ed and Becky be goal umpires. Good day for it but my god theres a lot of money around! Its a full on game and its was wicked to watch. Out to dinner to celebrate Ed and Becky's new job. One week in the country thats not bad going and I guess it bodes well for me.
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Mon 31/5 Bank Holiday and everyone was out and about. The footpaths were so packed with families and prams that it almost became difficult to move anywhere. I knew about Londons gridlock on the roads but on the footpaths too?? Went to Harrods and paid way to much for a diary/journal book but it does have a certain novelty value thats hard to beat. Joined the Harrods club to so now I earn rewards points on all those purchases I will be making at the Knightsbridge store. Saw the Science Museum and a little bit of the Natural History Museum I had missed last time. Pretty much over museums and the only thing that really blew my mind was the Listening Post at the Science museum. Creepy and yet captivating

Back to the hostel and dinner and some more beers and chatter with Maree (Melbourne), Carolyn (Canada/Glasgow) and Dextor (English + he will give me a job in a bar if I ever need one). Tomorrow I leave London to head back to Maidenhead in order to get ready to leave for Athens! Pretty sure my flight is going ahead, fucking British Airways stop striking!

Posted by ashneale 07:09 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Now I have a blog

and i am so cool, ice cold even.

all seasons in one day 19 °C

I have decided a blog is going to be easier to upkeep than a constant string of emails. But since its taken me two weeks of travel to actually start this these first couple of entries might look a little confused????

I arrived at Heathrow at 6am on Tuesday 18 May. What a marathon of a flight. Something like 26 hours in a plan plus the 6 hours in Singapores Airport (which I spent watching movies, walking around aimlessly and then eventually having an average one flavor meal from one of the restaurants).

Got picked up by Mark and Trish (some family friends) and stayed with them in Maidenhead for the first four nights. Took the time to get my bearings, beat jetlag and adjust to english time. set up a bank account (i can recommend Lloyds, really easy), got a cheap, shitty little phone. Went for a couple of walks up and down the Thames past the locks and almost as far as Windsor but I turned around to soon so will have to go back there some other time. Even managed to have a BBQ in the weak English sun with Mark and Trish and Panda and Anne. Just like home.
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On Saturday (22nd) I headed all the way thru to Borough Green and Wrotham to stay with Mum's aunt Marj and Ken. This country is way greener than I had imagined or remembered. Enjoyed a nice typical pub meal and was given a bit of a tour of Tonbridge Wells and the surrounding area. On the Sunday we went to Chartwell, the home of Winston Churchill. He was quite some man. The sun was intense and I helped Marj in the gardens but I really only was lifting the heavy things which I'm quite good at.

Monday and alongside the ladies of the Womens Institute in Kent I caught the train to London and from there shit got real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by ashneale 06:48 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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