A Travellerspoint blog

Mykonos

Fun in the sun

I feel that an apt way to commence this post is HELL YEAH!

I am on a Greek island in European summer. This is one of those times when you can really stop for a second and think, ‘hey, life could be going a lot worse’. This place is beautiful my friends. It is a special kind of beautiful that they reserve only for Greece.

We are staying at a hostel. I’ll admit it isn’t exactly glamourous, I don’t even remember the name of it. The ‘rooms’ are essentially a canvas tent, and I may have caught a disease from the bathrooms. Despite that, the pool and the beach completely make up for it. In the pool area they bring you cocktails and food, such as what may be the world’s best nachos (why did I order Mexican food in Greece you may ask? BECAUSE I CAN!). You spend the best part of the day lying in the sun up against a backdrop of sand and water that stretches on for days. For me there was a little bit of horror when I saw all the beautiful Greek girls walking around in their swimsuits that cover about 2% of their person. At first I would have preferred to eat my own hand than strip down…. But insecurity is so non-Greece. No one is allowed to miss out on that water. I actually bought a new swimsuit when I was there. I fully intend on getting all skinny to bring it to its full potential… you know… after I visit Croatia… and Serbia…. And Germany….. Oh screw it, I like food too much.
So the town was adorable. It was filled with those white buildings on different levels with blue windows that you always see in movies about Greece. Little tiled streets that probably should have been sidewalks somehow accommodate tourists, cars, trucks and sometimes buses. It was terrifying at first, but by the end of the three days, I was throwing my arms up when someone was in my way just like anyone else. I am practically a local.

Tourist shops were in abundance. If you like magnets and sunglasses you will be in travel heaven. I actually forgot to get a magnet for my mum now that I think about it. Crap. Ciara and I also found a really great restaurant on the water where I had some great pork souvlaki (see? I did eat Greek food).

Now for the part of the post I know you have been waiting for…. Drunken shenanigans. Jusssst in case they don’t appreciate these being broadcasted, I am not going to name anyone in this part (sorry!). So there was this strip of clubs on ‘Paradise Beach’ where we spent our evenings. Our three nights worth of activities proceeded as follows:

1. Endless amount of cocktails and beers;
2. Standing on the bar and dancing until the early hours of the morning;
3. two people deciding that clothing should be optional in Greece, and proceeding to run naked through the club;
4. a different two people swimming naked out to a boat (a complete strangers boat to be clear), and proceeding to climb on board and attempt to start it. (Turns out you need a key to start a boat… Who knew? Ok most people know that, but to be fair those people are probably far less intoxicated than the parties involved);
5. naked-boat-stealing-people swimming back to the campsite while the owner of the boat yelled at them from the shore, and getting pricked by some sea urchins as they climbed up the rocks (thankfully particularly delicate exposed areas were spared, but they did struggle a bit with the needles);
6. more drinking, more dancing and more skinny dipping. But no more attempted piracy so I think my tour group is really starting to mature.

I’ll be frank, my involvement in these drunken shenanigans has been pretty minimal. There is probably about half of the group that will go out and have an amazing night, but come home a bit earlier than when the true insanity begins. Despite being a part of this half, I do love observing things and hearing all the stories I may have missed the next day.

This really is a great bunch of people. Who knows, maybe some of their crazy party tendencies will rub off on me. I could use some stories to add to the collection of things that will mortify my children one day. I wish I could have given more shout-outs to the amazing people I have met, but it didn’t flow well in the post. I will build on it as I go along.

Right now I am on a ferry back to Athens. After three days of swimming, drinking and sweating excessively with mediocre opportunities to be hygienic, I probably smell repulsive.

We have to say goodbye to eleven people from the tour today who are finished. If I didn’t explain in my last post, I entered a tour with a few others that had already been going for about 16 days. We lose people at different point on our way back through to London. It will probably be a bit sad, but hopefully I am in for a fun night.

Sorry I have been slack with posts and photos. Technology is lacking.

Till next time.

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 18:00 Archived in Greece Tagged greece mykonos Comments (0)

Athens

History and general amazing-ness

First, to all of the people who told me not to bother going to Athens. You are absolutely out of your mind! Don't get me wrong, when you first arrive the city looks like a pit. But it redeems itself x1000 Now…on to the fun:

To avoid catching the metro at night in a country whose language I do not speak to get to an area that I have been told isn’t the best, I caught a taxi. My driver was…… colourful, to say the very least. Here is a snippet:

Taxi Driver: Hi, how are you?
Me: I’m great, can you take me to….
Taxi Driver: Why the f*** did you just assume I speak English? I mean, you’re in f****** Greece!!
Me: Well, maybe because you started the conversation, then continued it, in English.
Taxi Driver: haha, I love Australian’s. Welcome to Athens.

He spent the 45 minute drive enlightening me on just how much trouble the Greek economy is in, and catching me up on some of the things to see while I am here. To be honest, he didn’t come across all that fond of Athens. Wait, no, scratch that…. he came across like he f****** hated Athens. This is not entirely comforting to a tourist who just arrived. Nevertheless he was friendly and gave me some good advice, so I tipped him and was on my way.

My golly goodness Greece is hot. I didn’t realise that it is still summer in Europe, and you can most definitely tell. I managed to shovel some food into my mouth before passing out on top of the covers on my bed for around 14 hours. Travel and heat are an odd combination. They turn me into a bit of a vegetable. I had until 6pm the next day before I needed to meet up with my tour group, so I had time to explore the city by myself once I pulled myself out of bed.

This is where the opening line of this blog post comes into play. The acropolis of Athens. This was one of the most memorable days of my life. This is one of the first places that I have been where not only do they have a bunch of historical monuments, but they pretty much let you climb all over some of them. If the stairs are in bad shape, it is because they are getting pretttty old. If the ground seems slippery it’s because it is solid marble. You aren’t allowed to walk into the buildings such as the Parthenon, but standing so close on top of a hill that overlooks the entire city of modern Athens was breathtaking. The visual juxtaposition of the monuments up against the metropolis was just… well it was…. I don’t have a word. It was something everyone should take time to see if they get the chance.

Despite what many people in Europe will tell you, American tourists have been my saviour in this city. They are friendly, enthusiastic, and always happy to take me under their wing. They also take my picture to help me avoid trying to fit huge monuments next to my face in a selfie. I do recommend that they try to avoid questing loudly why the Greeks were giving them rude looks (it was because they were loudly speaking to them in mispronounced Italian) and stating that the historical moments looks like a ‘fancy pile of rocks’ but hey, it is kinda part of their charm.
The acropolis museum is also worth a visit. I couldn’t take any pictures in there, but the carvings are amazing and the video is well-signed to accommodate the history buff who is curious as to what happened to Athens.

Later on I met up with my topdeck group. I didn’t actually realise they we (7 others and myself) are tagging along on a tour that has been going for 16 days already. I feel a bit like the new kid in school. They all seem really nice though. My roommates Ceira and newly engaged couple Kalley and Kyle are really lovely. I will update you as to the rest of the group as I get to know them.

For now… I am on a 6 hour ferry to Mykonos. Anyone who knows me knows that I am terrified of boats. But it is ok. I am coping fine. They put transformers on and I am blogging. Worthy distractions if I do say so myself. I am mentally preparing myself to let loose in Mykonos. My liver might struggle a bit based on the party plans I have this far overheard. Look forward to my Mykonos blog posts friends, they will be outstanding. I will note any witty thoughts that I have over the next few days just for you.

Till next time.

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 05:10 Archived in Greece Tagged greece athens Comments (0)

Sin City 2

City Of Weirdness

Ok friends, here is another review-style blog post. Last time I wrote one I commented that it was probably a little strange. But I actually really like reviewing things, so if you are happy to bear with me, I am gonna write one here and there. If it isn’t your thing, just skip it. I promise I will try to minimise any potential damage to my ego if no one reads this.

So my friend Andrew invited me to see Sin City 2 with him. I felt like a movie night was certainly cheaper than a theatre night and I could use the company, so why not? I am also a complete action movie junkie.

Ok so the movie… was…… well….pretty strange. I am all for special effects. The comic book style and the fact that the violent themes that are ever-present throughout the movie are often partially animated were the highlights of the film for me. I like seeing the film industry continue to progress and bring new ideas to the table. It was a shame though, about… you know… the plot. The acting performances were forgettable (with the exception of Joseph Gorden-Levitt), and the conclusions of each of the inter-mingled stories were completely unsatisfying. If you are going to design a movie with multiple plots that are only drawn together by minor character interactions, you need to spend the right amount of time on each story, and try to do it in a way that keeps the audience engaged.

All in all, Sin City kinda sorta missed the mark for me. But hey, Jessica Alba dances around half naked and Eva Green has an unnecessary amount of scenes bathing so… there’s that.

Till next time.

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 05:04 Archived in England Tagged london england sin_city Comments (0)

Waterstones

Book Heaven

So my last few days in London were relatively uneventful. I’m finding that the lazy tendencies that I am very accustomed to at home are resurfacing. You know the ones, desire to sleep far more than necessary, sit around watching movies etc.. I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing. I officially have my London mojo. I wake up in time for breakfast, get my morning coffee, watch some TV, then go for a run. I have slowly moulded myself into a local just in time to spend my last few days in central London.

One thing that fascinated me was my visit to Waterstones bookstore. In advance, I am well aware that my fascination with a bookstore when I have just arrived in London doesn’t exactly scream ‘thrilling adventures’. Despite that, I cannot stress highly enough how much I recommend a visit. I got myself a soy latte, and visited the Googe St Waterstones at 7pm on a Thursday night. This store goes on for what seems like miles. Shelf after shelf of crime novels, classics, and even a section for antiques and early additions. What amazed me more than anything was that the bookshop was full of people. People from all walks of life were perusing through shelves of Dickens, Austen, King and Rowling. Back in Sydney bookshops are a dying breed, yet here I am on the other side of the world where the industry is still thriving.

I have a kindle that is much more convenient than hard-copy books for a traveller, and I still kept going back for a chance to meet interesting people and find authors I would never have had an opportunity to discover without the awesome staff. Maybe this doesn’t seem like something worthy of a blog post, but it was awesome. It was just so, well, London. I love love loved every minute I spent in that shop. So it gets its on blog post. Cause I say so.

Also, soy lattes are amazing. One of my friends in Sydney got me on to them. They are my new favourite caffeinated beverage. Given them a try my friends, so worth it!

Till next time.

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 17:00 Archived in England Tagged london england waterstones Comments (0)

London Week 1

a whole lot of feeling completely awestruck, a tiny bit of feeling a little lonely

So here goes nothing.

I have never written a blog before. Personally I find myself clever and witty and all of those lovely things that would make a superb blogger. But low and behold the world does not always agree. I have never really been one of those people who oozes so much charisma that others want to go home and read what I have been thinking since the last time they spoke to me. I can't complain, there are very few people I find stimulating enough to recommend that they compose a stream-of-consciousness series of written entries. Alas this platform is completely free so I'm gonna do it anyway, so that I can read it and judge myself when I'm old and too tied down to go globe trotting.

This (above) is WHY no one is interested in listening to me speak. BABBLE. Let me get the important stuff....

The flight was as odious as I remember. There was a lot of Harry Potter watched (thank you emirates for stocking the whole set) and a lot of Disney watched. Also a Christopher Pine and Keira Knightly movie that I actually really liked. Jack something or other. I took half a sleeping pill on the first flight and it did nothing. Second flight I decided that the solution was to take an additional two pills. Horrible plan. I was asleep before the plane even took off. I vaguely remember being woken and attempting to put food in my mouth before recommencing my zombified stupor. Lesson: never take so much medication that you are incapable of physically functioning. Somehow I managed to get to my hotel safe and sound and now...

... I'm in London. Actual London. There are big red buses everywhere, people are complaining or raving about the tube every ten minutes, and you do not talk to the locals unless they have had a coffee. People work, people shop, I stare on in a state of mindless excitement... it is all going pretty much how I thought it would. It also absolutely poured with rain the last couple days, and a bus drove past and sprayed me with water. I think I would have been more annoyed if I didn't feel like I had participated in some sort of iconic London initiation by walking back to my hotel grumpy and covered in water and muck.

I am trying to keep myself busy. I wanted a low key start to my trip before I go on my big eastern European trek (and then start uni of course). I joined a gym, found a local coffee shop, found a local bagel shop, found a local soup shop (there is lots of local eating and drinking being done) and tried to figure out how to blend in here. I have even gone out a couple times. I won’t bore you too much with the details, but if you want to check them out, I have created a couple separate blog entries.

I feel like this is getting lengthy, so I am gonna finish up with some lingering thoughts, then save something for next time. Travelling is lonely. I find this out every time I do it, and forget to remind myself for next time. Keeping yourself busy goes a long way, but more importantly learn to appreciate your own company. If I wasn't willing to go places by myself, I would have had a very quiet week. Also, put yourself in situations where you can meet people. I am bad at this. I always have been. But hey, it has been a week and I have already been out a few times. Baby steps.

till next time readers (fully aware that 'readers' may solely be myself in 20 years.... and possibly my mum)

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 13:25 Archived in England Tagged me london england travel Comments (1)

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