I said I would only backblog after 5 successful new ones. I've gone to some pretty intense places, and what a shame to not relive it once in a while. This was during a summer when I lived in Firenze back in the collegiate days. I found an old blog post I did, and decided to repost because I heard Spetses was one of the places Prince William & Princess Kate thought of spending their honeymoon at. Comparing my early writing style to my current one, I realized I had just as much mental and verbal diarrhea back then as I do now, I just sounded a little more giddy and perky... like a valley girl. HAHAHA!
This is bad. I have, for the past hour, tried unsuccessfully to nap. It is 20:03 and it's not working. I decide to f-it and just go to Liberta to get my Humanities over with so I can at least study for the midterm tomorrow.
Ever since my forced return from Greece yesterday.. my body has just been screaming tired. Study hard and party harder is wonderful. I haven't had grades this amazing since I stepped at Pepperdine...and of all subjects... I ace my Religion midterm. Of course, I haven't experience this much fun since... well, I just haven't. But yes... I am making the most out of this experience, without sacrificing my studies... to prove that, indeed, I can self motivate without the help of shopping. I'm just tired.
Tired as the first week of my journey wherein Elizabeth, our program director, quite literally put us on a trekking experience of Italy and, in the process, drove our heels down to dirt.
After my Religion midterm last Wednesday, I decide to go to Milan on Thursday to do some shopping before I head off to Greece. It was mucho needed because not only was the midterm 12 pages.. it was all essays as well.. covering two books, nine chapters each. PLUS oodles more of information.
Anyway enough of that. Because it was an Italian holiday, we had Thursday off. Of course no one informed me that stores would be on holiday as well. Thank God for Zara and other random stores in Milan, if not for them my Eurostar trip would've gone to waste.
Destiny's Child... BILLS!
Another reason why I decided to head there was to meet up with a friend, Antonio, who I had the pleasure of meeting the week before when I went to watch Destiny's Child. We were supposed to have lunch before he started work in the afternoon. But when I called him from the train station, the damn ragazzo that was to take the morning shift decided to go AWOL and so he was stuck at work the whole day.
Not to worry, I said. I actually enjoyed the thought of roaming unfamiliar streets in Europe.. As long as I know how to say "Vorrei" (I would like), "dove e' " (Where is the...) and "quanto pago" (how much?).. I knew I would do just fine.
I had lunch by the Duomo... enjoying a rather lengthy lunch with a cute bottle of white. I was doing my own thing, reading some Humanities, listening to my Ipod, and slicing up some of the caprese... and quite frankly.. was having a wonderful time. Then the group of men at the next table struck up a conversation and then I was alone no more.
How lucky I was at that time, for they were all from Barcelona.. which is where I'm headed this weekend. We talked some, and I asked for tips on where to go and what to do while in Spain, and one of them (very nice) even accompanied me shopping the whole afternoon! At first, of course, it was kinda shady, but he turned out to be quite a gentleman. And although he probably spoke 80% espanol and I in thorough english, WE definitely understood each other.. thank God for the pinoy words that are originally spanish!
Anyway, he brought me to the train station, conversing right before my train sped off. He cajoled me to contact him so that he could pick me and my friends up at the airport once we arrive... and then I made a new contact card on my phone. I arrive in Florence just in time to pack up my goods and get some ZzZs before my flight to Greece.
Friday : Lani and I wake up at 5am to grab the flight to Roma-Athens. Very excited to go to Greece! we were headed off to this island called Spetses for two nights.. then Athens for another.
First of all.. we spent every possible moment SLEEPING... Plane to Rome, plane to Athens, bus from airport to Peiraeus port, Boat from Peiraeus to Spetses.
After much travelling time.. we arrive in Spetses.. and it's RAINING! Good god! What a way to start our vacation. But we didn't let the rain "rain on our parade". Our hotel ( Spetses Hotel) was just what we needed... had its own beach... the view was amazing! (Of course anything with a beach view wins brownie points with me).
Since it was pretty much the end of the afternoon.. we decide to walk around the stores before heading off to dinner. Lani and I both agreed this would be our "splurge" weekend. Eat good food, stay at good hotels... have a damn good time.
Did some local shopping and met some very warm Greeks. So at around 8 we start walking to Old Harbour, where the restaurants are situated. One of them shooed us away because it was too early for us to have dinner... at 830pm. another.. had a group of TWENTY people coming in so they couldn't accomodate us.. then we headed off to Mourayo's... and, at 845, they were just getting ready to set the tables.
By the way.. I am officially scarred for life. I have NEVER NEVER NEVER had food as good as those I ate during my stint in Greece. EVERYTHING was amazing... of course, everything cost an arm and a leg... so I basically lost both sets and my future children's... but it was well worth the sacrifice.Everyone in Spetses was soooo warm. and after our meal they gave us free drinks courtesy of Manolis.. the very friendly restaurateur. He invited us to come back.. after midnight, when the meals stop and the party begins. Think Ponti.
Of course... being 11pm.. and very early for people to finish dinner, and earlier for going out... Lani and I went back to the hotel for a siesta. Apparently a siesta was not enough.. and we ended up SLEEPING the night away!
Saturday: Driven by the fact that we had probably missed an amazing night.. we refused to let this day go to ruin. Waking up extra early... we head down for some breakfast... and some sun. The view was too beautiful for words... so Lani and I just sat down and soaked up more cancerous rays... We met this lovely couple from Palos Verdes who comes to Spetses every year because it's "simply incomparable".
Off to lunch we go.. and we decide to go to this seafood joint that had octopus hanging to dry. We order a bottle of White and end up being very satisfied.. as well as giddy.. from the food and drinks.
So we start strolling along the streets of Spetses... all the while eyeing prospectives left and right. we stop for some Crepe... and ended up asking very stupid questions to the Crepe man (oh yeah!)
We suddenly had this brilliant ideal of taking a carriage ride back to our hotel.. and wasn't aware that a ride on the little Karitella was actuallu a tour of the island. Very relaxed and... calm... we see the island's beauty and treasures. I was actually getting a bit too relaxed.. I slipped one of my Rainbows off my feet to see if I had a slipper tan.. next thing I knew my Sandal was out of site!
"Uh... I lost my slipper..." "what? You lost your slipperrrr??? Ok.. I go back to get slipper" said the very kind horse dude
We head off to Siesta on the beach again... woke up a few minutes later with... freckles on my legs.
Great. Since we weren't planning on having dinner until 1030 (standard dinner time in Greece.. didn't want to embarrass ourselves like we did the night before) we siesta'd again and got ready. The place we ate at this time was also very yummy. they were sooooo warm and inviting, and gave us two rounds of drinks.. when we were looking at the dessert menu and decided not to get dessert, our server looked quite insulted.." what? you don't want dessert????" and huffed away. A few minutes after he returns:"Ok.. we offer dessert"
"Offer. OFFER! you do not know OFFER??!?!?"
Basically we ended up getting this AMAAAAAzing concoction of chocolate for free. It was... milk chocolate souffle, with a heaping spoon of white chocolate mousse... and a scoop of dark chocolate ice cream... Lani and I both agreed that we had an... experience.
To further the warmth of the people... the table next to us offered to buy us ANOTHER round of drinks... and then proceeded to invite us for after dinner festivities at the local Greek place where they have a table awaiting. Mind you, these people weren't young. They were a older, more mature group... but around the table you could see faces from the 20s, thiries all the way to the 50s. We promised we would be there after this procession of a dinner. At 1am... we decide to get the bill... "WHAT?!?!? you leave so soon???".. after a three hour dinner commenced.
Lani and I headed off to Mourayo's to check out the Spetses scene and it was jam packed with people! We even saw our Yachting Club Driver who brought us to the Hotel from the port.. and the Meat Guy... AND! the guy at the newspaper store that I had gone into earlier during the day worked there as well! talk about close knit community! We decide to find the club that the dinner people were telling us about.. It really didn't helf that Greece has its own alphabet, and that it looked like heiroglyphics to us.. but we managed to find it.. and lo and behold.. it was truly authentic
Greek singers, flowers everywhere, on the floor, table.. and our table, specifically.. had a good selection of alcohol for consumption. The group had come in from Athens over the weekend on a friend's yacht for some R&R, ad one of them used to live int eh US. So here we were, the lone nonGreeks in the place.. and having the time of our lives hanging out with the "local crowd". Of course I was forced to dance and ... dance some more.. I danced with Natasa, and she was GOOOOD.. then I asked her what the dance meant, and she nonchalantly goes "Yes, this is the dance when you tell men you want to have sex with them"... Great. Now I was a stripper and I didn't even know it.
They were a very fun crowd, with Lani having some very interesting similarities with one of the greek ladies about Greek men. When we left, I was offered to work in Greece after my graduation for a year! whoppee!
We head back to Mourayo's where the owner, Manolis, proposes love to Lani, and I met this Aussie dude who worked on the yacht of some uubermillionare greek scion. had oodles of fun.. too much, in fact, that we were greeted by some light by the bay.. yep. It was morning time.
We head off to our hotel and try to get some sleep while the sun was rising.. after maybe an hour I wake up to hear a a bitchy-toned Lani talking on the phone "No, TRENT, we're asleep. She's asleep too... We are NOT waking up@!!!". When I got up I went down the lobby and found a message from Trent. I called him and apparently he called because he had the yacht up on the harbor and was wondering if we wanted to go around the island before we left. DAMNDAMNDAMN!
So, that was our Spetses trip.. We didn't do much, and that's the perfect way to do it. Just being there was enough... and no amount of thought provoking words could explain why I amvowing to go back there next year.
So we head to Athens on Sunday, got to our hotel.. and WHOA! even better than the one at Spetses..
I took mucho pictures for ideas... and then we took the Metro down to Plaka for some lunch. Our lunch, by far, was the cheapest we've had.. but probably one of the best. KEBAB!!!!! and of course our staple of greek salad. we did some sightseeing... not really planning on much since we were off to the Acropolis the next day... we saw something up on a hill and decided to follow the people walking up there...
That was a journey totally unexpected but very well worth it. Plus it was free for the day so yippee to us! Spent some time walking around it and just sitting down... pacing ourselves and reminding each other that we are here.. in Greece... at the Parthenon.
We slept our sorry tired asses off... a little too much actually coz i woke up a little fuzzy and funky. We took the Metro back to Plaka to the same restaurant for lunch.. KEBAB again! And the owner (once again) propses love to Lani... Lani I seriously think you should move to Greece, eh?
We then headed to the airport, after all the Greek men ogled Lani.
We got a 24 hour pass on the Metro.. but we knew that the airport subway was extra. Since we've yet to be checked for tickets.. we decided to wing it and just go take our chances. Oh yes, what great chances we had when, as we were nearing the airport, a metrodude appears checking our tickets. we acted nonchalantly, and when he said we needed a supplement ticket for the airport, we just said sorry and promised that once we got to the airport we would go to the ATM and give him some cash.
At the aiport, we thought we had escaped him.. but when we got off the escalator.. there he was, waiting for us. We sort of flagged him down, we were willing to pay anyway.. As Lani was about to get some cash the Metroman strikes up a conversation with me "Where are you from?(California) Ok.. snce you are from there you do not have to pay ( really??? no.. REALLY??? THANK YOU!).. I swear some of the kindest people I've met are from Greece.
So there were were... at the Athens airport.. buying last minute olives and wine... and realizing that we were leaving our little pieve of paradise to return to the reality that is summer school in Florence. Fine, we're not entitled to bitch... but Greece was just... I cant even say anything.