Thursday, November 30, 2006


I arrived in Athens last night and I'm happy to be back in Greece. The hostel I stayed at was so great! Clean and fun - "Athens Backpackers". Today I did some major marathon walking all over the place and climbed the highest point in the city and there was an amazing view!

I don't have time to write out all the details of my trip so I'll do that when I get home (I'm taking the ferry home today and go back to work tomorrow). So get ready for a bunch of long posts when I have the time to go through all my pics and write it all out because it'll take a while.

I haven't been in touch with Tony lately. I couldn't talk to him when I was out of Greece and now he has no signal for a few days. He's doing a mission right now which involves living in the wilderness for 5 days with no tent or food (they have to find there food with maps apparently). They also have to paint their faces and make their own shelter. During the day they try to sleep when they can and during the night they have to move to another location and eventually, they have to take a base over and be all stealthy! I don't know all the details but it sounds crazy. I'll here from him when he's finished.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Going Home

Im back in Milan now. I got back from Bern, Switzerland last night and had a great time! The weather was perfect, there was a celebration going on, and I met some girls and we ended up hanging out for a bit. Im going to take the bus back to the airport in half an hour and then Ill be back in my comfy Greece in a few hours; Itll be nice to be in a country where I can understand a bit of the language (Milan - Italian and Bern - German, I dont know either language).

I lot of stuff happened and Ill have to write a post for each day. Ill start with Athens when I got to hang out with Tones on the weekend. If I have time, itll be posted very soon, if not, Ill have to wait till I get home.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Trip Update

I have to keep this short because Im at an internet cafe and have to catch a train soon. Im in Milan and Im leaving for Bern, Switzerland in half an hour. The last few days have been crazy. From having a ton of fun with Tony in Athens to being on the verge of tears and stressed out in Milan (so many things went wrong). Illl write in more detail when I get the chance (maybe in Bern?) But Im doing good now and Im looking forward to checking out Bern, even if it is just for 1 day. Pictures to come later too when I get home!


Friday, November 24, 2006

Leaving Today

This evening Tony and I are going to catch the ferry to Athens. We'll arrive at around midnight and I think we will stay at his cousin's place. Tony has to write a test on Sat morning so it'll probably an early start. After the test we can just hang out and look around. We might meet up with a friend of his for coffee too. I think it's going to be rainy when we are there but that's ok as long as it's not super cold!

On Sunday he'll catch the ferry back to Samos and I'll catch my flight to Milan. There has been a bit of a complication with my trip to Milan that might cause me to have to either completely change my plans at the last minute and go to Turkey instead or I may take the train from Milan to Switzerland. We'll see, I won't know for sure until tomorrow or so and I won't get into the reasons why here. So wish me luck that everything goes ok!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tones Arrived

Last night I picked tony up from the ferry at 1:30 am. I haven't seen him much yet since I had to leave for work this morning but tonight we'll hang out, rent a movie, and make some food.

Since the last time he was here until this visit, it has been 22 days. It's amazing how 22 days can feel like a year sometimes! I can hardly wait till this Army thing and long distance thing is over. It'll be nice to be a normal couple living in the same country and city. That'll happen back in Canada in a year or so.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Paroikia Pics


Monday, November 20, 2006

Being a Tourist in Your Own Town

This weekend went by sooo fast! On Saturday, the weather was beautiful; There were no clouds or wind and it was sandal and t-shirt weather! So warm. I even thought of going to the beach and trying to go for a swim! But I decided to walk around Paroikia and explore it a bit more instead.

In the heart of Paroikia are many shops and alleys. It's only walking territory, no vehicles allowed except for the odd scooter that sneaks in. I've walked through Paroikia many times before but I always stayed on the main market streets. I hadn't really ventured into the side alleys. This time I purposefully tried to get lost and went down any unfamiliar alley I could find. I ended up walking by some really cute shops and picturesque buildings. It's mostly residential too so there is laundry hanging out to dry and cats everywhere waiting for scraps of food. Even some rundown buildings that I saw were still quite beautiful in their own way. I took some pictures but forgot to bring them to work. I'll upload them tomorrow.

What else? I also helped out at Linda's school and typed and printed out some Christmas carols for the kids (there're going to put on a Christmas play). Then in the evenings we made food and watched movies.

Tony comes late Wed night so I'm really looking forward to that!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Random Stuff

I'm looking forward to next week; Tony is coming on Wed night! We were going to meet up in Athens next weekend but for him it made more sense to come to Paros first and then we can go to Athens together. So, I'm happy! Then I get to check out Milan for a few days after that.

What else? This is just a random post with no real point by the way. Oh, Markos gave me a bottle of homemade olive oil from the olives we picked a week ago. Unfortunately, I wasn't around for the pressing of the olives. It tastes so different than any other oil I've tried. It has a pretty strong flavour and tastes very fresh! You can have it with bread on its own and it's a really good snack.

Last night I went to Anna's house after karate (she's one of my karate buddies). We had a good time talking and I learned a bit more Greek too.

I've been getting Christmas cards and things ready to send and I have a ton of writing to do! I think I should do a couple per day but I'd like to send them all early next week if I can (before Tones get's here and my trip). So that's going to keep me busy for the next few days!

Here's a pic I made recently for fun. I want to update my poor website very badly so I'm in the process of getting ideas for it. This is supposed to be me, I think, with my laptop.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Lefkes and the Island

I had another eventful weekend. First off, on Saturday, it was our 1-year anniversary for Tony and I! Too bad he wasn’t over for a visit but we’ll make up for it when I see him in Athens; we’ll go on a date! I forgot it was Remembrance Day back home too which means it was my grandpa’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Grandpa!

I got pretty beat up in karate on Friday so I was a little sore for a few days (took the skin off of three knuckles and have a bruise on my chest along with sore muscles). We were in partners and we had to get the other person on the ground by pushing, pulling, twisting, or tripping. It was fun though. I was partnered with brown belt guys so I didn’t care about being careful not to hurt them, I just went for it!

On Sat and Sun evening I went upstairs and we made food and watched movies. I learned how to make rabbit and we made more chocolate/raisin/oatmeal cookies and on Sunday it was pizza! mmmmmmm! I stuffed myself like crazy so now I have to be good.

On Sunday, it was soo soo beautiful out; very sunny! I decided to go for a ride around the whole island. I had never been to the south part of the island and I felt like I should see it all since I live here! So I started going south along the west coast and went counter clockwise. It was nice to ride my motorbike on the long windy empty roads. I got up to 110 kms per hour at one point (a record for me so far on my bike). Don't worry, I was safe and I don't do it often at all!

I stopped along the way at Golden Beach. It’s a large beach with soft sand and it’s very popular for kite boarding and wind surfing. There was barely anyone out. The roads were pretty bare too. It’s because of the time of year and on Sunday afternoons the island is usually like a ghost town.

Next, I stopped at Pisso Livadi (pictured below), which is a little town on the water on the east side. I’ve been there a few times for coffee but it was always in the evening so it was nice seeing it in the daylight. After that town I headed towards the middle of the Island since I know Naoussa which would've been the next stop on the course. It’s a really nice drive through the mountains and there are some great views! (below and Naxos is the island in the back)

I went to Lefkes next. It’s a little mountain village in the middle of the island. I had driven by it before but never got out to explore it and I’m glad I did! It is absolutely beautiful and very picturesque. The population is 500 and it’s right on a hillside so the whole town slopes. The buildings are all connected together and there is a labyrinth of quaint paths to walk along. I think it’s my favourite town on the island. I’ll definitely go back and explore some more! It took about 3 hours to go around the whole island with stops along the way so it gives you an idea of how small it is.

One last thing! Tony was in the parade for the President on Sunday too. They had to practice for hours each day to learn the moves and to be completely in sync. He also said that the showers at the base (when he has time to take one, not often) are so cold that they hurt! Sounds like fun to me... not!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Mountain Hike

After work, yesterday, I had nothing planned and no karate so I decided to go for a little hike. The weather was perfect! It was a warm day and there was a light breeze and zero clouds.

I rode my bike to the Kolimbithres area (about 10 mins from home), on the northern part of the island, where there’s a mountain made of weird rock formations. In the summer I climbed up it with Tony, Manolis, and Annie. It felt different climbing it by myself; I kept reminiscing of the summer when I hung out with Tony everyday… I can hardly wait till he’s done with the Army! It was a really nice hike though and I just sat at the top for a while relaxing in the mild air and watching the sky change from blue to purple. The only things I could hear were goats and sheep bahing, cowbells clanging, and a little babbling brook in one of the valleys; it was so nice. It started to get dark so I left at around 6:30. I notice it gets dark early here but I forget if it’s the same as Victoria (Canada) or if it gets dark earlier here. This morning I woke up at 4:30am to let the cat in and it was starting to get lighter. I don’t think that’s the case back home!

I sometimes take it for granted that I live in Greece and get caught up in the routine of work, grocery shopping, karate, cleaning, “tv”…. It’s nice to get out and go for a hike and see how beautiful it is and how lucky I am to live here. It’s starting to feel more like home; now I recognize and say hi to people when I’m out on my bike or in the grocery store, I know the Northern half of the island roads quite well, and I sometimes say things in Greek automatically (I still have a very long way to go though, I speak English with the people I know here way too much, I have to make more of an effort to speak Greek to them instead).

I’m looking forward to my Athens/Milan trip! I always love the thought of hopping on a plane and landing somewhere that isn’t familiar (well Athens and Milan are slightly familiar) and getting to know where things are and what roads lead to what. It’s rewarding to “conquer” a city and move on to the next. I booked my accommodation and I have low expectations. There is only one main hostel and it’s half the price of most of the budget hotels; it doesn’t have the best reviews but I want to be a cheapo right now so I don’t care. As long as it has a bed that’s fine with me!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Going to Milan

I've book a flight to Milan at the end of November. Since I'm still a "tourist" that means I have to leave the country every 3 months and go on a little trip, darnit! ;) I was planning on going to Turkey or Egypt thinking that they'd be the cheapest since they are so close but they're not. So I just researched a bunch of flights leaving from Athens and Milan was the best deal; Berlin was another good deal but I'll do Germany in better weather.

I'm planning to meet up with Tony in Athens on the last weekend of Nov (he has to write a test there) and then catch my flight from there on the Sunday and stay in Milan till Wed. So it's a short trip, only 2 full days there but it'll be a nice change of scenery. I'm looking forward to having a latte in a nice cafe and doing some window shopping and checking out some museums and the Duomo. I have been there before but was just passing through so I didn't get a chance to see too much of it but now I will.

I went to the dentist yesterday, thinking that I needed a filling because a tooth of mine has been bugging me. It turns out I chipped a little corner of it off! It's not a big deal, the dentist says it'll be ok but he told me to take the metal out of my mouth. For those of you who don't know I've had a tongue ring for 5 years and it looks like that'll be the end of it. I'm so used to it, I don't even notice it's there but if that's the reason my tooth hurts then I think I'll have part ways with it! That being said, I haven't taken it out yet, maybe today after work. We'll see.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Olive Picking and Greek Dancing

My weekend was really nice and I did a few cool things for the first time too. The weekend ended up being the coldest so far and there was even snow visible on the highest mountain on Sunday morning.

On Saturday I helped out at Linda’s school for a bit and on the way home it started hailing and it was so cold! My face felt like it was being stung by needles and my fingers wouldn’t move for a while after the ride home. Once I got home though, I hibernated in my fleecy blanket and made tea. Later in the day, I went upstairs and had some homemade fish soup (so good!) and Linda and I made huge cookies that we ate while we watched a movie. It was so cozy up there; they had the fire going and it was nice to sit next to it, eat cookies, drink tea, and watch a movie.

It was beautiful on Sunday. The sun came out and warmed things up a little but it was still crisp and the air was so clear; you could see further than usual. In the late morning, Markos and I headed to an olive orchard up the road and started “picking” olives. I say “picking” because you don’t really have to pick with your hands much. Instead, he has a hand held machine which has little teeth at the end of a pole which vibrate in different directions (pictured below). All you have to do it run that machine through the tree branches and it whips the olives off the branches. We had to lay big mesh tarps under the trees to catch all the olives. We did about 15 trees and had to move the tarps from tree to tree. I left at about 4:30 and went home to have some lunch.

Linda decided to try a Greek dance class and asked if I wanted to try it out, so we planned to go that evening. It is Crete dancing as apposed to Paros dancing; each island and region of Greece has a different way of dancing and the Paros dance class was at an inconvenient time. Most of the class had been doing the lessons for 3 weeks already so we were a little behind. I’ll just say that I’m horrible at it! I couldn’t figure out some of the steps, but I think one reason is because the teacher spoke in Greek and would say a region in Crete and we’d have to dance the steps for that region (and I had no clue what he was saying, so that didn’t help). Oh well, I tried! I think Linda picked it up quite well and she’ll probably continue, I’m not sure I will though, we’ll see.

I talked to Tony on the phone and he had some good news. For the past week he’s been camping, guarding, doing exercises, and training in the middle of nowhere on Samos. He has been freezing his butt off and has had only a 1 hour break in 6 days, no shower, and he’s lucky to get 4 hours sleep at night. In other words it sounds miserable! BUT, on Sunday he found out that he was 1 of 16 people chosen to be in a parade for the President of Greece is a few days. This means that today, he gets to go back to the base and doesn’t have to go back to the camp which he should’ve been at till Friday! So he is happy! He’ll get to have a shower and sleep in a real bed without water seeping through his sleeping bag. He also found out the other missions he’ll have to do that make this camping trip look like a piece of cake! So he’s in for some more rough times but at least for now he got a bit of a break.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rain Fallout

Ok, here are a few pics of the morning after a big rainstorm we had on Monday night. I don't know why, but I think it's fun when there is crazy bad weather. It's exciting with all the rain, thunder, and lightening; although knowing you have to go out and drive a motorbike in it is a different story.

I talked to Tony for 2 mins last night and it poured where he is too and the tents had water coming through all night. The next day, they had to pack everything up and go on a 24km hike in the rain with all their gear and set up camp again. It makes riding a bike in the rain a pleasant experience compared to what he has to do!

I have Karate class tonight. I haven't talked much about that but it is something I really look forward to and I'm so glad I joined! I'm meeting people there and have gone out for coffee with a girl named Anna. We are learning different types of blocks, punches, and kicks. I can feel my pipes getting a little more solid too! lol! I'm definitely going to continue this even back in Canada. It's a good feeling to know you can defend yourself if you have to.