Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's all Greek to me!

It all started on Saturday morning at 3:50 AM. This is when we had to meet outside of the apartment and walk to the train station to get on the train that left at 4:30 AM. I hopefully never have to get up this early to travel again. It would not be bad if I could hop in my car and drive to my destination or sit in the backseat of someone else's car, but having to walk and then take 3 modes of transportation to get a destination is not ideal. However, I should not complain because this time my final destination was Rhodes, Greece. While back at home everyone was excited to go to Florida or another beach town for a week I was once again jet setting across countless European counties again realizing how lucky I truly am. When we landed in Greece it was a scene from a postcard. The airport was right on the shoreline where the crystal blue water met the white sandy beaches. I knew right away I was going to love every second of this "vacation". I put that in quotation marks because its funny getting a "spring break" when I travel almost every weekend, I feel like I am at summer camp. After riding in another taxi where I felt my life was in danger we arrived at our hotel. We stayed at Angela Suites. Best choice we could have made in my opinion, we stayed 7 nights and had breakfast every morning for a total of 75 Euro which is roughly 100$, I thought that was a great deal. After unpacking our items we left the hotel and decided to explore the city around us. We were starving and decided to eat at this cafe called Swedko. The cafe was located right on the beach where we watched dolphins swim while eating one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. Everything this meal consisted of was so fresh and I never wanted it to end. After we ate sandwiches and dessert (of course) we walked along the rocky beach outside of the cafe and stuck our toes in the water, never mind the frostbite we got from doing so, it was nice to see the water. We then headed back to the hotel to nap for a while before dinner. Once again a "vacation" filled with eating, my favorite! This is when I made the discovery of a lifetime. My mind is my worst enemy sometimes. I couldn't fall asleep at all so I just laid there thinking of home and everything/everyone that I miss so much. This was so hard everyone else slept until 8:30, so for 3 hours I just laid there thinking. I normally get that way when we travel to new places. The first few days we are there I think how nice it would be to have my family and friends there with me to experience it, but then it slowly gets better. After everyone woke up and we got ready we headed out to find somewhere to eat for dinner. We ended up right next door to where we ate lunch at this fancy restaurant. This was my favorite place we ate at all week. I ordered sushi which I have been craving since I left the states. It was the freshest crab I have ever tasted. There was a live band playing while we ate dinner so between talking, eating and listening we didn't leave dinner until 12:30. After dinner we went out to a bar that had a live band and everyone ended paying 10 euro for a drink so we didn't have to pay a cover charge. Then after being up for 24 hours I decided it was time for sleep and went back to the hotel to go to bed.

The next day we all slept until 1 PM. Again what a tough live I have living abroad. After waking up we decided to get lunch at another cafe down the street from the first one we tried. I liked this one better out of the two. When we were finished eating we sat on the dock overlooking the water and took in everything around us. It was really tempting to jump in the water but knowing that it was freezing stopped me. The best part about this beach in Rhodes is you can look 20 miles into the distance and see Turkey. It was amazing to me that a country so different to the one we were visiting was so close. We then decided to walk to the "Old Town" of Rhodes to get a different scene and check out the shops it had to offer. While walking there we stopped at the site where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood. It is amazing to me that this is the 5th ancient world wonder I have been since I have been in Europe. Then on to Old Town we went. This part of the city is literally surrounded by walls enclosing in to be its own little city. There were tons of shops carrying everything from t-shirts to soap. A lot of the stuff was homemade and specific to Greece itself. We walked around here until the sun went down and headed back to our hotel.

On Monday we decided to take taxis to the nearby beach town named Faliraki. We only had to pay 5 Euro each so I didn't think that was a bad deal at all. Once we arrived in the beach town we found out one thing. We were the only ones there. It was a ghost town! The only bad thing about going to this part of Greece in March is that it's the off season. Meaning a lot of attractions and places are closed down until they open again for the season which starts in April. We missed it by two weeks! After walking along the beach which was nice and sandy we decided to go back to Rhodes. The only problem was we had no idea how to get back. There we no busses running and no taxis located at the "taxi stop". We all just looked at each other and started laughing. I am pretty sure we could have stared in our own Scooby Doo episode, one of the scarier ones. We then had the bright idea to try and call a taxi to come pick us up, only problem out phones didn't work and we didn't have the taxi's number so that failed. Thankfully after standing on a street corner for a half an hour a taxi pulled up out of no where and asked if we needed a ride. There were 7 of us so we had a wait a few minuets for him to call another taxi to take us back to our hotel. On the way back to the hotel the driver offered to pick us up the next day and drive us around the east side of the island down to Lindos for 30 Euro a person the next day. This was a deal we couldn't pass up considering a taxi from Rhodes to Lindos was around 150 roundtrip. The taxi drivers name was Michael and he was fantastic. He stopped at a leather store, a gold factory and a ceramic shop on our way. I wanted to buy stuff at each one but didn't because they were really pricey. I got a few gifts from the ceramic shop you will just have to wait to see who they are for! After stopping here we finally made our way to Lindos. At the top of the city there is an Acropolis which is just the highest point of the city. We were supposed to be able to ride donkeys to the top but they were not there because of the off season so we walked. It was not bad at all and the view from the top was worth every step. After climbing around for a hour or so we headed back down and stopped at this mom and pop Gyro restaurant. They were fantastic it was hard to only eat one. After eating we got back into the taxis and headed back to the hotel. On the ride back he offered to pick us up again on thursday to take us to the other side of the island. And once again we said yes. Oh Michael you were such a great sales man.

On Wednesday we went back to Old Town. This time it was packed full of people and all of the stores were open for business. The only way to describe this place is to say its like Broadway at the Beach with a cobble stone road and better dressed people. We walked around here all day and ate lunch at a rooftop restaurant. This is when we decided we would all be brave and try the seafood selection. We ordered the crab risotto(rice), stuffed squid and octopus. The crab risotto was amazingly delicious. The octopus was okay, although it was in a weird vinegar sauce. Now to the stuffed squid. There are no words to describe this dish. We were thinking it would come fried to a certain point with cheese stuffed into the bites. Boy were we wrong. It came fresh out of the sea, no joke. This this still had the head and the tentacles attached to it. It was not even a different color from when it was caught. I will never order squid like that again in my life. It tasted like a rubber ball. Don't order it. After lunch we got dessert (surprise) I had a crepe with nutella and banana (another surprise). When we were finally done in Old Town we headed back to our hotel for an early night and some relaxing.

Thursday morning our good old friend Michael picked us up again at 11 and we went to the other side of the island. It is amazing to see how different one part is from the other. On one side it is all beaches and sand, on the other side it is mountains and trees. he drove us up a mountain so high in altitude that my ears popped! The first stop we made was to see a church on the peak of the highest mountain on the island. When we pulled into the parking lot we were amazed to see numerous peacocks. The only time I have seen this animal is when it was enclosed at a zoo. These were out in the open and didn't seem to mind the people stopping at taking pictures at all. We saw a few of them lift up their feathers so they were fully expanded, this was an awesome thing to see in person. After walking down the peacock infested road we took a few pictures and hopped back into the taxi. The next stop on the list was Mussolini's Palace. This was where he lived when he lived in Greece. Now it is a creepy old building with broken floors and cric-crocky stairs. So of course we went in and walked up the stairs, what else would we have done. After this adventure we hopped back into the taxi and headed to the "Seven Springs". This is an area where 7 rivers come together at one point. Our taxi driver told us to walk down into the creek and walk through the tunnel and we would end up on the other side, so once again we did. We entered into this pitch black tunnel that was 6 feet high and 4 feet wide with water up to our knees. He said it was a 200 meter walk. Not being accustomed to the metric system I had no idea what this meant and went in anyway. One of the other girls led and the I followed behind Kate. This was one of the coolest things I have ever done. It was awesome to not know where you were going or if you taxi driver was leading you into your death. Oh the stories I will have for my grandchildren!

The last day we just kinda hung out around the Rhodes and packed up our things to get ready to leave the next day. We of course ate at the Cafe for lunch and then back to where we had dinner the first night for our departing meal. All in all it was a great trip.

Now another week is almost over I can't believe it. 35 days until I come home, some seem to fly by and then some seem to take forever to be over. Before I know it I will be boarding my last flight for a while back to the U.S. Next weekend we are taking a school trip to Venice Thursday and Friday. Then I am staying in Florence until April 22nd when I leave for Germany with Ashlee! Sorry it takes so long for me to update!

Ciao for now!!!

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