Friday, September 29, 2006

Karate Chop!!

Well, I decided to try something new: I joined Karate lessons! I've wanted to start exercising more and when I do it on my own, I'm gun-hoe for a week or two then I slack off; so I wanted to join a class so that I had no excuse for not working out. I was thinking of Yoga, but the classes are in the morning. I think Karate would be fun and I will gain strength, flexibility, and the ability to defend myself if I ever have to. It'll help me learn Greek too. I start on Monday and it's three times a week. I'll get my kimono thing too! I'm in an adult beginner class by the way, so I won't be running around with a bunch of kids (I hope anyways!).


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Officially moved in to my suite!

Last night was my first night down below in my suite (the electrician finally finished what he had to do). I’ve been working on it and buying things for it for over 2 months so it’s nice to actually be able to live there now. I bought a few last minute things (lots to buy if you move into a place from scratch!) and I had to buy a hot water tank that was installed today.

My first day was full of putting away stuff and organizing. I wanted to have a cute little dinner and tea to celebrate my first night, but of course I bought all the basic food stuff like: olive oil, milk, vinegar, salt, pepper…etc, but I didn’t have any actual food to eat it with! Lol! So I ate some cereal and had water instead (no sugar for the tea). Oh well! Today I bought some actual food.

It’s kinda weird, like I’m playing house and don’t actually live there. I guess because everything is new except for a few pieces of furniture. I think I’m really going to like it! I put down a rug so it’s cozier; and it looks more livable now that my stuff is in. I bought a nice big quilt too to snuggle up in! My kitten loves it that I’m down here to visit him more.

I didn’t have a good first sleep though because of some major strong wind! It was loud and I felt bad that my kitty was out in it! (no room for a stinky litter box inside). Fortunately during the day it became really hot so I went swimming for the first time in a few weeks.

In an earlier post I put up some before and after photos of what we did to the place and I didn’t put up the washroom because it still needed work. So here it is! Oooooooooo!!!


Saturday, September 23, 2006

It Rained Here??? What??

Well it rained for the first time since I've been here (since July 3) and it started with a BANG! I woke up at 7am to a downpour and for a straight hour there was continuous thunder and tons of lightening! Of course I had to get up and watch it because lightening and thunder is a novelty for me; at home in Canada it happens about once every 2 years it seems.

Now the rain has stopped but there are huge puddles and some debris on the roads.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Around Paros

Yesterday after work, I went to Naoussa for a few hours to look around. It’s the second biggest town on the island (population: a whopping 1,200). It’s a cute fishing village; it’s also where most people come out to go dancing at the clubs. It is full of cute shops and cafes, including the one below where you can literally sit right on the water (waves permitting!) When I got home, Markos taught me how to make fish soup; it’s pretty easy and it tastes so good!

I went for a walk today after work in a very isolated area. It’s near home (about a 2min drive) and there are barely any houses around anywhere. There is complete silence when you walk down the gravel roads except the odd fly or gecko scurrying about. It was really hot too! I walked for about an hour and bushwhacked a little. I had to watch out for snakes and scorpions because they are deadly here and I was wearing flip flops! I didn’t expect to go off the road but I found a cool lookout spot!

I rode a little further around a mountain and got a great view of the big valley on the North part of the island. I took a panorama shot and in it, you can see Paroikia and Naoussa. I live closer to Paroikia.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Army Update

Tony has been stationed just outside Athens at Megalo Pefko for the past month. He is in the Special Forces and it sounds tough! He does a lot of night training as well as training and exercises throughout the day, which leaves him little time to sleep; he had 6 hours the other night which he thought was "luxury". Usually they'll sleep for a few hours then get woken up at 2 or 3am, do some training and maybe go back to bed for another hour or two! Sometimes he is in charge of 8 other soldiers and works as a guard too. He will move to a base on the island of Samos in the next month or so for further and tougher training. Here are some recent photos taken at the base. I have no clue when I'll see him next but I hope it's soon!!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back Home

I'm back home now on Paros. I had a great trip last week and I've posted each day just recently, so take a look at the last 6 or so postings!

I'm glad to have my bike back so I can just leave whenever I feel like it instead of waiting for a bus or train. I'm back to work too and it's going well; still 4 hours per day but will increase in Oct. I may also move into my suite this week or the next, so I've been cleaning and organizing. I'm also buying the last few necessities and trying to pretty it up!

Sunday was Sofia’s Name Day (Χρόνια πολλά!) so Tony’s parents and I went to the grandparent’s in the evening. Tony’s grandma, as well as his sister, is named Sofia. Most of the family was there; we had a huge meal and I watched as everyone talked very loudly. It was entertaining!


Sat, Sept 16

I had breakfast at the airport and freshened up then hopped on a bus to Piraeus Port just outside of Athens (it’s the main port on the mainland that you would go to if you wanted to get to one of the Greek Islands). I locked my heavy luggage in a locker for the day and headed to the train station close by.

Tony and I decided to meet at Iraklio (on the outskirts of Athens) on a bridge right over the train tracks. I got there in about 45 mins and phoned him when I arrived since I saw no such bridge anywhere! To make a long story short, we were on different train lines; they stopped in the same city but in different stations, so Tony had to taxi over to where I was. The train Tony was on was also broken, so it took way longer than it should have but finally we met up!

We went for a late lunch at a cute café and had yummy pizza and just chatted for 1-2 hours. Then we were going to do a bit of shopping but Tony found out he had misplaced his Army ID which would give him 20 days of “prison”. “Prison” for those of you who don’t know, is extra days added onto your Army duration. In Tony’s case 20 days is the max he can get because his last day is Aug 9, and he starts school in Canada in Sept. In other words he was stressing out! We checked the train station Info and the cab drivers to see if there was some way we could find out if it had been found. No luck! It was almost time for Tones to catch a train back so we just gave up looking and had some juice at a café and hung out till the train came. All together it was about 4 hours that we could hang out and it wasn’t long enough! I had fun even though things didn’t go smoothly because I got to see my Tones! (I found out once I got home that his ID was found right outside the Army base…yay! It must’ve slipped out of his pocket when he took his cell out.)

Once we said goodbye, I headed on a train back to the port. I had to switch trains in Athens and had a few hours to kill till my 10pm ferry, so instead of connecting to the other train I got out and walked around. I had no map of Athens but I could see the Acropolis through the buildings so I headed straight for it! It wasn’t far and I walked right up to it. I couldn’t go all the way up because it was closing but I had a great view over all of Athens and the Acropolis! It was really nice walking around the streets and looking in shops. I stayed in the very touristy crowded areas so I didn’t get lost. After a few hours of exploring I got on the train back to Port Piraeus, picked up my luggage, and got on the ferry. It was a 5 hour trip and I was lucky enough to get a couch to myself so I slept the whole way. Linda was there to pick me up at 3:20am.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Friday, Sept 15 - London

In the am I woke up with a huge headache. I didn’t have to leave for the airport till 2:00 so I wanted to go into town and look around but this headache wasn’t helping. I made myself get dressed and go outside and I bought some Tylenol type pills and headed to my favorite Starbucks nearby where I washed the pills down with a tall latte. I sat at a table outside for and hour or so and soon I felt better.

I walked through Primrose Hill and Camden and hopped on the Tube to Knightsbridge. I walked down Sloane St. and looked through Harrods. I took the tube back to Covent Garden and watched a funny street performer and walked around a bit. Finally, it was time for me to head back home and get my luggage.

I said bye to my cute flat and headed to the Liverpool Station where I caught the Standsted Express to the airport. The lineups were insane at the airport! I guess it has to do with the new security procedures. There were people everywhere in lines and people running down the halls trying to catch their flights. I finally caught mine which was an hour late.

I made it to the Athens airport at 1am and I had to try to get a hold of Tony but he was doing night training, so I didn’t get in contact with him till about 3am (we had decided to meet up near Athens on Sat but had to finalize a place and time to meet). Then I had a pretty good sleep on an airport bench till 8am.


Thurs, Sept 14 - York

In the early AM, I booked my train ticket back to London for later that day. We then had some breakfast and headed into town to check out the stores; York is full of cute and unique shops! We also walked along the old wall that used to enclose the whole town; now there are chunks of it missing, but you can still go for a nice walk along the remaining walls. After the wall, we walked by a proper hat shop and had to go in and try a bunch on! They were so neat!

For lunch we decided to go for high tea at “Betty’s”. It’s like the “Empress” of high teas in York (for all you Victorian’s, you know what I’m talking about). Eric decided to pass since it’s a girly thing to do, so we met up with him after. It took a while to get in but once we did, we got a great spot right by the window. The windows are huge and have stained glass near the top and the room itself has mirrors everywhere so the light bounces off everything! We had a really nice high tea.

After tea we all headed up the narrow spiral staircase to the tower of York Minister. What a great view we had from the top! After the climb down, we looked around Mulberry Hall; it’s a very nice store known for its crystal and fine china. Some of the pieces in there were sooo pretty!

It finally came to the time for me to say bye to my fam. They were going to stay in York one more night but I had to get back to London to catch my flight the next day. I said bye to them all and headed back to the hostel to pick up my luggage and went to the train station. On my way to the hostel though, it started pouring! Thunder and lightening seemed like it was right overhead! I had bought an umbrella earlier in the day because the weather was pretty grey so I was prepared. I got on the train and in 2.5 hours I was back in London.

When I got home I packed and said bye to Gareth since I wouldn’t see him the next day. Then I had a great sleep in my comfy bed!


Wed, Sept 13 - York

In the morning we had breakfast at a little café (scones and tea of course!) and headed into the old town to York Minister (a huge cathedral). My Aunty Bev met up with here friend Margaret, who lives there, and Heidi, Eric, Lisa, and I checked out the cathedral. It is beautiful inside and we went into the crypt as well.

We all met up again a few hours later and went for lunch at a fish and chips restaurant (very filling!). We said bye to Margaret and went to the Yorvik Viking Museum. The museum was really neat! There was a section where you sit in a pod and it takes you through a town recreated as it would’ve been when the Viking lived there; complete with animatronic people and authentic Viking town smells which were quite potent and strong!

We did some clothes shopping after and met up to have a 3-course dinner at a restaurant called “Ate O’Clock”. Then we headed to bed. Us with our shopping below!


Tuesday, Sept 12 - Oxford

We had a great buffet breakfast at the hotel and headed back to Oxford on the bus for a 10am C.S. Lewis tour. It was interesting; we got in a van and the tour guide took us all around Oxford to see the different sights where C.S. Lewis grew up, went to school, to church…We saw some nice places. There are schools everywhere in Oxford! We saw where the Rhodes Scholars studied and a really strange “art piece” a shark sticking out of a roof (the artist still lives of the ground floor!)

After the tour we looked around in a huge bookstore called “Blackwell’s”. There are kilometers of bookshelves! I bought a few books there since the selection was so good. We then all decided to take a train north to York; we had originally thought we’d rent a car and drive in the Cotswold’s or go south to Brighton, but we made a good decision! The train took about 4 hours and we found a hostel to stay at for the next few nights.


Mon, Sept 11 - Blenheim Palace

I’m back at home now on Paros and I had a great week of traveling! I’m going to post for each day of the trip or else it would be way too huge to be one posting. Below: Heidi, Lisa, Aunty Bev, and Eric having tea at Selfridges (Sunday).

I got up and packed for a mini trip. I met my fam at their hotel at 10am and we hopped on a train at Paddington and headed to Oxford. Once we got there we jumped on a bus to go to Blenheim Palace (close to Oxford). The palace was beautiful! We took a little tour inside and walked around the grounds and gardens. There was a nice rose garden and we took a little mini train to the Pleasure Gardens which had a hedge maze, jumbo chess game, butterfly room, lilac garden, and a mini village.

Close to dinner time thunder clouds rolled in and we saw a few forks of lightning; that was our queue to get out of there! We were going to head back to Oxford to find a place to stay for the night but Bev had found a cute little village right near the palace so we ended up staying at a nice little hotel called “The Bear Hotel”(below). We then found a place to have dinner at “The Kings Arms”. After all that walking it was so nice it have a shower and watch TV in bed!


Monday, September 11, 2006

London With Fam

Yesterday, I did head downtown and had my "Pret" for lunch and checked out the stores. I walked all around Picadilly, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, and everything inbetween. Later, I met up with my visiting family members at their hotel near Hyde Park. It was nice to see family again! My Aunty Bev and cousins Heidi, Eric, and Lisa are here. We all headed out and took a cab to Picadilly and had a quick dinner at an Italian restaurant near the Queen Elizabeth theatre where "Les Miserables" is palying. We got to the theatre just in time for the show and it was really good! I was nodding off for the last hour just because I hadn't slept much, if at all, the night before.

This morning, I met up with my fam at Hillsong church. I missed that church so it was fun to go back to it again. After it was over, we headed down Oxford Street towards Hyde Park, stopping in a few shops along the way. We looked around in Selfridges and stopped for a cup of tea and scones/cake. It was quite a hot and sunny day so it was tiring walking through all the crowds of people and trying a bunch of clothes on.

We got to Hyde Park at the right time to see Speaker's Corner in action. There was a big crowd of people gathered around many different speakers. We walked around listening to each of them for a bit. Some of them were interesting. And it's always entertaining especially when others start debating!

We headed back in the direction we came stopping in a few more shops and finally they decided to go swimming at the hotel and I wanted to buy some food, go home, and relax for the evening. Gareth was home so we got to chat about our summers and catch up.

Tomorrow, I'm going to meet my fam at their hotel in the morning and we will all take a train to Oxford and from there we'll rent a car and explore (maybe the Cotswolds?) I'm not sure exactly! lol! It'll be fun to see other areas though. I won't be able to update my blog till I get back here or to Greece, since I may not get back to the flat till Friday morning and then I have to leave that day, so it'll be busy.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Back in London!

I'm at my old flat now back in London! It's kinda neat being back here; I went through all the stuff I had left behind and had to throw a bunch out so I could fit it in my luggage on my way back to Greece. The weather is cooler, of course, but it's still pretty nice, just a few clouds and it's in the 20's. Gareth is out for the day so I haven't seen him yet; he hid the key for me so I could get in!

I'm so glad to be at the flat! I had a long night getting here. I took a ferry, a bus, a plane, a train, the Underground, and finally walked until I made it here at around 9:30am and I didn't sleep much at all. Oh well! I'm excited about being here and I just had a big mug of tea so I'll be fine.

After this post I'm going to head down to Oxford Street and look around and have lunch at "Pret a Manger" my favorite place to grab a quick bite here. I'm also meeting up with my aunt and 3 cousins today too! I think we are going to have dinner and then see "Les Miserables" tonight. Should be fun!


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back to London Soon

The last week has been pretty quiet. I've been helping Linda get her school ready for the new classes, so I've been painting a lot. It's looking really good now!

I also threw my back out a few days ago which caused me to be an invalid for a little while. I think I got it from a few things: carrying the crates of grapes and containers of grape juice, painting, and to top it off I went for a long run along the boardwalk and it's cement (not the best material to run on). It's pretty much back to normal now and I finished all the painting today!

Work has been going good too. It's pretty laidback and quiet at the moment which is nice when it's a new job! It'll pick up once October comes around though.

I'm going to see "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" tonight. It just came out and I liked the first one, so we'll see how this one is.

Tomorrow I leave for London for a week! I'm going to stay in my previous flat with Gareth while I'm there. My aunt and 3 of my cousins are going to be there too; they'll be the first family I've seen since I left Canada in March! I'm excited! It's not going to be much fun getting there though since I'll have to take an evening ferry and arrive a the Athens airport at midnight-ish but my flight doesn't leave till 5:30am! Darn, another sleepover in the airport!

I'm not bringing my laptop with me which means I won't be able to post pics until I get back. I can post text though. There may be a possibility of meeting up with Tony next Saturday on my way back! His base is near Athens in Magalo Pefko so we'll meet up if he gets some time off; he won't know till Friday or that morning whether he gets the time off.

I have tomorrow off work so I'll just pack and get a few snacks and a magazine for the ferry and flight.