Archive | August, 2013
August 11, 2013

The Road Less Travelled to Agios Ioannis

Bear with me – I swear this is about Agios Ioannis. Once, when Kurt and I were in Honduras for our honeymoon, we turned down an unmarked dirt road assuming we would eventually find a beach. We were off the map and going on instinct. The road kept going, kept getting worse and the modest houses petered out all together. But, we kept going. Suddenly a pink confection of a hotel with the most dazzling cove came in to view. We stayed for several days smug in our discovery.

With Agios Ioannis, history repeats itself. Based on the recommendation of a woman in a Turkish bathhouse in Athens and the directions of a couple of girls at a fruit stand in Volos, we went over the mountains of the Pelion Peninsula. The way through the mountains is a narrow roller coaster jigjagging through ski villages that look more Swiss than Greek. The roads are small. The signs are incomprehensible. Some roads peter out in a town and dwindle to nothing but a goat path. So, its no wonder that the coastal villages of the Pelion are not a tourist destination. But, fighting the vertigo and glancing through the fir trees at the coastal town of Agios Ioannis below and you know why Greek sun worshipers flock to the place!

The harsh rocky coast of the Pelion is interrupted by magnificent beach coves. It reminded us a lot of the Nepali Coast in Kauai. During the week Agios Ioannis was a quiet paradise. By the weekend, it became a hot mess of bodies fueled by café fredos and disco. We retreated to a quieter hotel and were just fine. If we had more time and the kids were older, we might have risked going further down the coast looking for a village with a room to let or some beach camping. Camping on the open beaches is illegal in Greece. But, on the Pelion who would know?

Moral of the story – follow the road less traveled.

August 11, 2013

Hank: Agios Ioannis, Greece

The best beach in the world is the Agios Ioannis beach out side of hotel Eden. You don’t even need to go under water. You can see the bottom just as well from out side the bluish green water. We swam and swam and swam. The last morning we got up very early and went to watch the sun rise. It was very pretty. Instead of sand the beach had small pea sized white pebbles. My theory of why the water was so clear was that the sun reflected of the pebbles and up through the water thus brightening it. Our first couple of nights we stayed in Hotel Eden. A medium sized hotel about one and a half kilometers down a tiny dirt rode. The people who owned it were very surprised to see us because they said that only greeks ever come. Fortunantly they only had rooms till Friday and we moved to a different hotel on Friday. As we found out on Saturday Hotel Eden turned into a mad house on weekends.

August 11, 2013

Hank: Vourvourou, Greece

While we were in Vourvourou we met our friends the Seremetis’. they took us to a crepe place the first night where me and my dad got a chicken, mushrooms, and olives crepe. It was delicious. Me and my dad went on a hike with them which took three hours. It was really fun but I was very tired when I finished. One evening me and dad and Nadine and George, Laurie (the parents) and Alex who is the youngest of two. That was very fun and two days later we went on a kayaking tour with two guides. They took us to three beaches that were only accesable by boat. At the second one we ate a delicious lunch of sandwiches and following that was a super sweet mellon. I ate three pieces. We also kept finding these cool little hermit crabs that would crawl on to your hand and tickle it.

August 7, 2013

Nadine: Athens

  Athens was a very cool town, We went on a train called the happy train, that took us to all of the famous places in Athens, there were a lot of them. The places were the Parloment, the Acropolise, the Parthanon, Adrion’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus, and the mountain guards.
    All of these things were very cool, and starting from the beginning, I will describe each of them. We will start with the Parloment, the Parloment was very big and it always had guards around it, it was tan and in my opinion, kind of dull.
   Next is the Acropolise, the Acropolise was covered in incredible things, like the caves where the Greek gods used to live, and of course there was the Parthanon on top, which is the thing I was going to talk about next.
   The Parthanon was very cool in many ways, even the collums were cool. Most of it had been destroyed, but the rest of it was amazing.
   The next thing I will talk about is Adrion’s Arch, Adrion’s Arch is a magnifisent sight. It is a giant arch, with a door way like structure on top of it.
   Now for the next thing, The Temple of Zeus, the temple of Zeus used to have many collums, but there are only 15 remaining. My guess is that the temple of Zeus used to be a grand sight, but now it is only ruins.
   Now for the last subject that I will talk about in this blog, the mountain guards, the mountain guards were very interesting, they had these funny shoes on that had pom poms on them. They also had big long guns, that had bayonets on them, but that is not all, they also walked really weird, they would walk reguraly with one leg, and they would bend the the other, then they would straiten there leg in the air, then they would finally put there foot down. This being the last thing I will talk about in this blog, my Athens Blog is officially over.

August 7, 2013

Batumi Rocks

The sound of Batumi is a street musician playing Hotel California on an accordion.

The smell of Batumi is salt air.

The taste of Batumi is fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with Khachapuri (cheese bread).

The feel of Batumi is a collision of East and West, Communism and Capitalism, old and new, war and peace.

I have never been in a city more in flux. Even the architecture is like liquid. One building is called “The Bottle.” Another looks like it’s twisting, another is undulating, yet another is melting. Their fountains dance as the huge ships move in and out of the port.

Many thanks to the Tevzadze family and their friends for an amazing time in Batumi!

August 7, 2013

Hank: Athens

Athens: In Athens we went to the Parthenon and climbed the Acropolis. I liked it. Nadine poked herself in the eye. My dad also had his birthday in Athens. We ate at a delicious restaurant where our waiter was a guy in his early seventies and we called him cowboy beeslayer because he liked cowboy movies and when a girl got up from her seat because she was scared of a bee he ran over yelling “do not worry!”  and he smacked the bee really hard with a menu. It was funny. He also said that my face was very clever. My favorite thing was the Happy Train. It was a little train with a happy face on it and it took us everywhere around Athens. I also got a really cool slingshot so now I can do damage from a distance. I had a dream one night that I was shooting rocks at the Parthenon and that is what compelled me to get the slingshot. Our first hotel room smelled like fish. A complex mixture of cod and sardines. An intoxicating smell that filled your lungs with a foul stench.

August 6, 2013

Hank: Georgia

Georgia: Georgia was amazing. We were there with our friends Natella, Max, and Katya. They and their family were so nice and we were able to stay in Natella’s brother’s apartment. Her brother’s name was Bachuki and he and Natella took us to so many wonderful places and fed us amazing food. My favorite food was the dolmas that we had at a vineyard in the mountains that Natella’s cousin took us to. They were also so kind that they invited us to celebrate Bachuki and Natella’s father’s birthday where they welcomed us. One of the coolest things was swimming with dolphins. YES  DOLPHINS. They even set that up for us. My dolphins name was Daisy. She jumped and spun and let me ride her around the pool. You could even pet her like a dog as long as you did not touch her blow hole or eyes. It was fun like eating a sesame role bun. Bachuki’s apartment was near the beach boardwalk and the town square. They had a small soccer field of sand on the boardwalk and I got to play soccer. The beach which was on the Black Sea was rocks so you could not really body surf. But it was great any way.

August 5, 2013

Nadine: Georgia

Georgia was very fun, we went to the beach a lot and one of the coolest things that we did was, we swam with dolphins. The dolphins bellys felt kind of like rubber, it was very cool, and most people think that you only swim on top of dolphins, but we got to swim under them too. That was not the only cool thing about Georgia, we also got to go to go to a birthday party for Natella’s Dad, Natella is the person that we were staying with. The party was very fun and every body was very nice. The final thing that I will talk about in this blog is the wonderful beach. It was not a sand beach, but instead it was a beach with rocks on it. I did not get why it was called the Black Sea because it was very pretty, the only reason I would think it would be called the Black Sea is because when it is night time, you can not tell the difference between the sky and the ocean. This concludes my Georgia blog.

August 5, 2013

Hank: Rome

Rome. A wondrous place of beauty and floral hills. Just kidding. That is definitely not how I like to rite. Do not fret my loyal blog viewers for I have not yet changed quite that much on this trip. (Yet). Rome was very cool though. We did not stay in Rome but about an hours train ride out of it. The people we stayed with were so nice and they even took time out of there own day to show us around the country side. The mountains are a really dark green color and the small towns are beautiful. We went to the Pope’s former summer residence which is in a very small town called Castel Gandolfo. It over looks a pretty volcanic lake that many other towns sit on. Our hosts took us to a wonderful pizza place where I had a pizza with mushrooms, and sausage, and cheese OH MY. The pizza had really thin crust. We went to the colosseum. It was really cool but our guide liked to hear himself talk and dad did not think that he really knew what he was talking about due to an old Japanese man who seemed to love asking our guide really tough questions in which case the guide would just avoid the questions and keep on talking.

August 4, 2013

Nadine: Rome

There are many things to talk about when it comes to Rome, but there are only five things that I will talk about in this blog and they are the Coliseum, the house that we stayed in, the giant wall, the trains, and last but not least, the garden. All of these things are very interesting, and starting from the beginning I will tell you about all of them.
The subject I will start with is the Coliseum, the Coliseum was very cool, you would think that the out side of it would be cooler, but the in side was way more interesting. The out side of the Coliseum was amazing, the architecture was beautiful and the columns and arches were magnificent, but that did not compare to the inside. The inside of the coliseum was very cool, it did not matter that half of it looked like it would fall over at any second, every thing was beautiful.
Now for the next subject, the house that we stayed in, we stayed with a family of five. They were all very nice, but the kids were never there all together, but they did have three cats that were always there. The also had a beautiful picnic table that was green tile and had an amazing cover over it that was trees grown into a cover over your head that provided shade.
Next in this blog, will be the subject of the mystery wall, the mystery wall was a giant wall that we saw every time we went on the train to Rome, it was a giant brick wall, with giant arches in it, that is really all I can say about the mystery wall, for we never found out what it really was.
Now for the subject that was very important to us, the trains! The trains were a big help because if we did not have those trains in Rome we would never have gotten to do the majority of the stuff that we did, the trains were organized very well, but we were not always very good at catching them. There is not much that I can tell you about when it comes to this subject.
This next subject is the last subject, but it is a very interesting one, and it is the garden near Castle  Gandolfo. The garden was beautiful, it had some of the only trees that had the only native trees that were left from before they reforested. It was amazing, I had never heard of the majority of the trees that were in that garden, and there were not only plants, there were also fountains and ancient ruins. I have finished the blog for Rome and I will blog again when I have been to another place.