Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

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A Brief Respite

September 18, 2010

The next week or so of our vacation was nice, but pretty uneventful. We saw a temple of Poseidon and a temple of Artemis near Athens. Then we headed out to the villages Ritsa’s family is fun and spent some time with her uncle and aunt Constantine and Helen. The second day, Ritsa’s friend R showed up to join us.

We spent time in the villages with various and assorted members of Ritsa’s family, and we managed to squeeze in another trip to Monemvassia. There was also a fair amount of time spent swimming at the beach.

The highlight of the time in Livadi was watching Aunt Helen climb up on to the kitchen counter with a broom to kill a wasp. As you can see, we had a nice, relaxing time there.

On to bigger and brighter things: Lesvos. Lesvos (or as the Greeks call it, Mitilini) is a Greek Island near Turkey. It is the home of Sappho and where the term “lesbians” is derived from. These days, it as well known for ouzo as it is lesbians.

We shared a beach house with R, and we could actually see Turkey from our house. Swimming and day trips ensued. I will get into the day trips in the next post, but one interesting thing we did at the beach house is buy produce from the vans that drive by. We bought of kilogram of dried chickpeas (which we did not finish and will bring home with us) and a kilogram of sword fish, of which we ate about 2/3 and some cats ate the other 1/3.

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And Don’t Call Me Shirley

September 16, 2010

I am finally getting  a chance to blog about my vacation.  Everyone give thanks to Galata Life Hotel.  I will be starting with the beginning of the trip, which was August 26th, 2010.

We flew from Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA.)  The only interesting thing about the flight is that I got to drink two cans of complementary Warsteiner.  Lufthansa is nice.

We spent the morning in the executive lounge thanks to my wife’s elite status and our international tickets.  From there we flew to Athens (ATH.)  The flight to ATH was very different from the flight to FRA.

First, there was a LOT more talking.  The flight to FRA was a graveyard compared to the ATH flight.  Greeks are a chatty bunch, and this flight was no exception.

The second, and much funnier part of the FRA-ATH flight was the bathroom five rows ahead of us.  I watched a little old man leave the bathroom, and, a few minutes later, a woman entered the bathroom.  She turned around and came right back out.

I chuckled a little to myself, figuring the man had left a pungent odor in the stall.  I thought I had further proof for my hypothesis when another woman went in and came out a few minutes later, none the worse for wear.

However, I was wrong, because the next person who was supposed to enter the bathroom was a little girl, guided by her mother.  I almost laughed out loud when the little girl poked her head in, pulled it out quickly, and just shook her head “NO!” to her mother.  The mother then, looked in, looked down, made a face, and escorted her child back towards the back of the plane.

Another person also refused to enter the forbidden zone, but she summoned a flight attendant.  The attendant, looked in, looked down, scrunched up her face, and summoned another attendant.  The second attendant looked in, looked down, closed the door and locked it from the outside.  He then went and found a sticker and placed it on the door.

On the way out, I read the sticker.  It said, “Out of Order.  Do not use.”  I never did find out what that little old man did to that poor bathroom.

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Taking The T.A.R.D.I.S. To India

May 25, 2009

Finally, I have internet access.  The Space Apart Hotel was the last place we had access.  It was the place we stayed in London, and I was very pleased with it.  We had a little studio that came with a kitchenette and a washer/dryer.  And when I say “washer/dryer,” I mean a washer that is also a dryer.  I never have figured out why we have to have two machines to do one job…

However, we found out the hard way you should not use the timed dry function.  After 60 minutes, the clothes were still very damp.  So, I set it on automatic dry.  This would not have been such a problem if it had not been 11 o’clock at night.  The dryer was a bit loud, and it kept making this swishing water sound that really worried us.  Thankfully, the clothes were dry the next morning.

After leaving London, we went to Glasgow.  We stayed at the Kelvingrove Hotel for the one night we were there.  It was a nice place with really friendly people.  The receptionist was excited for us going to the Doctor Who exhibition, and one of the other employees had been there.

The exhibition was fantastic.  It had the classic monsters that have been in the new series, a lot of the good new monsters as well.  There is even a dalek you can stick your head in, move the plunger and gun, and it changes your voice to sound like a dalek.  It was great fun, and Ritsa took a video of it.  I will see if I can get it posted to either my blog or YouTube later.

The receptionist at the hotel gave us a recommendation for dinner at Mother India.  We had a leg of lamb there that was to die for.  It was tender and covered in spices.  I could have eaten an entire lamb done like that.  It is a must eat in Glasgow.

The next day we went to Edinburgh to pick up my sister-in-law. More about that tomorrow!

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Heaven and Hell

May 17, 2009

Our first day in London, we hit a couple of major tourist spots.  Of course, our day started in normal fashion for this trip: the quickest underground line to Westminster Abbey was closed for repairs.  The second most convenient route was also blocked due to repairs.  That left us the third best route.

Westminster Abbey was beautiful.  To get there we had to get off at the Embankment stop, which let us see the London Eye from across the Thames and took us right by the Houses of Parliament.  The movies do not do the Houses justice.  They are HUGE.

As I said, the abbey itself was gorgeous.  I am a sucker for gothic architecture, and the abbey has it in spades.  It is hard for me to decide on what part was my favorite, but I think I liked Poet’s Corner best.  If you are in London and have not seen it, see Westminster Abbey.

From there we went to the War Cabinet Rooms and Winston Churchill museum.  The cabinet rooms were pretty interesting, but the WC museum left me a little bored.  They had some neat interactive displays, but I was still left a little cold.

Then we ended up walking through the exercise grounds for the calvary.  We got some pictures of mounted guards and walked pass the entrance to Downing Street, since they do not let you get near #10 any more.

We walked by Trafalger square.  Neither one of us really wanted to spend time there, although Nelson has an impressive column.

We then mosied on through St. James Park and avoided both wildfowl and canoodling couples.  The park is beautiful.  I would not have minded wasting an entire afternoon there, but we had to soldier on to see Buckingham Palace.

We missed the changing of the guard by quite a bit, so the palace itself was kind of boring.  We did not stay there long.

Finally we ran an errand for one of my wife’s co-workers and hiked to Harrod’s to pick up a bag.  Harrod’s is my own special kind of hell.  It was full of people and over-priced, over-designed… stuff.  We got out of there as fast as we could.  We even asked the girl that rang up our purchase what the fastest way out was!

That left us with a tube ride home, a quick dinner of salad, bread and cheese, and an early bed time.

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Starting Another Trip

May 15, 2009

This time we are off to Jolly Olde England.  Well, we will be in London for three days, and then the bulk of the trip will be in Scotland.  So, hopefully I will have lots of great pictures for you all and some witty commentary.  The only problem so far is leaving my contacts at home.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law will be meeting us in Scotland, and she can bring my contacts wit her.

So long for now.

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How Nerdy Am I?

August 17, 2008

With my wife in Ethiopia, we needed a cheap way to talk to each other, voice to voice.  Enter Skype.  It is a handy little program that looks a lot like any other instant messenger program, except it also lets you make voice calls.  Voice calls from one computer running Skype to another are free, so we decided to try it while my wife is in Ethiopia.

There were some complications, though.  Nothing technical, other than my wife getting an echo of her voice, like you would on a bad cell connection.  The complications came in time differences and sleep schedules.  My wife was not certain when she would wake up, since she had just arrived in Ethiopia.  Add in a seven hour time difference, and… well… Things get complicated.

So, what was my uber-nerdy solution?  Easy:  hook the computer up to the stereo so I can hear the computer “ring” when my wife calls on Skype.  Then, I slept on the couch with the headset next to the computer.  So, when my wife called, the stereo woke me, I groped my way over to the computer, plugged in the headset, put it on, and talked to my wife at 5 in the morning.

All of that so we did not have to pay international calling rates.  Worth it?  I think so.

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Someone Out There Thinks I’m German

July 6, 2008

On Santorini we went to a very popular black sand beach.  We were going to spend more time there, but my wife’s shoulders were blistering from a sunburn soon after we arrived.   As I was staggering out of the ocean, an older lady comes up to me and starts saying something to me in German.

Now, I’m 3/4ths German as near as I can figure, but apparently I look so German that random German people come up to me and assume their crazy moon language I speak.  My wife DOES speak a smattering of German and figured out the lady was asking if we wanted to use the umbrella and sun chair she had rented, since the nice German lady was getting ready to leave.  My intrepid wife did her best to convey to the woman that we were leaving soon as well, and everyone parted amicably.

So, remember, looking German can score you free sun chairs.