June - July 2016
  • Day31

    Just Do It.

    July 20, 2016 in Canada ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Well. This is it.

    Last blog of Eurotrip 2016.

    A couple of hours ago I said goodbye to Taylor at my gate as her flight leaves an hour after mine. I dragged myself away, exhausted but ready to go. The flight is about half full so we all have a bit of room to spread out and relax.

    I want to write so much about my trip here but I can't quite put into words what this experience has given me. I feel exhausted, but fulfilled. I feel homeless, but that I have gained so many new places I can stay. I am alone on the flight, but have gained so many new friends and family that I am happy.

    The theme of our trip has been, as the title says, "just do it". Life is short. Buy the souvenir. Take the extra shot. Eat the last slice. Face your fears and collect friends along with memories. Share and Grow. Take all of the pictures but take time to live in the moment. Take advantage of every moment, but find time to sleep. Don't worry about money, but spend it wisely. Never go to Switzerland. Sleep on the floor, and find yourself a diamond in the rough. Let plans change. Let yourself change. If you want to do something, just do it.

    Anyway, philosophy aside, Home: Here I Come!

    10 hours until touchdown!

    I am writing this 2 hours into The flight. I have watched some tv (brooklyn 99) and had a tea. Read the in flight magazine and am watching the dinner service makenits way to me. I just found Aladdin on the movie system.. Literally my favourite movie ever so.. Score.

    UPDATE: 7/10 hours down! I have watched Aladdin, The Martian and just started Deadpool. I had an amazing lunch of roasted ham and brie sandwich that was the second best airplane food I had on this trip. We just flew over greenland and are coming down over the Labrador sea. I have yet to sleep but iI am exhausted. I made friends with these two kids next to me who are adorable and speak literally no english but we are getting by! I am trying to stay sane (Deadpool is helping) but i could eat and sleep for a year now. Ttfn!

    UPDATE 2: touchdown.
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  • Day31

    24 hours homeless.

    July 20, 2016 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Our last day in Santorini has arrived! We woke up rested in the morning and ready to pack our bags before check out. This is the last time we have to pack before heading home because we are about to spend the next 24 hours homeless.

    You read that right... From the time we check out of Santorini Until our flight home from Athens we officially have no place to stay. All part of the backpacking experience!

    Now I know what you're thinking.. That's some poor planning on our part. But no! We have it all worked out. Just keepbreading and you will understand.

    Ok back to the day.

    So we packed up our stuff and went to check out at the main office at 11am. We stored our bags and were told we had to catch our shuttle to the port at 215pm. We had a few hours to kill, so we decided to stroll along the beach for a bit and look for something to eat.

    We found a cuteblittle restaurant on the beach and ordered souvlaki plates as our last official mealnin Santorini. We took our time eating (we hadba lot of it to spare..) and partway theough the meal we were geeeted by 2 cats. These cats belonged to the owner of the restaurant and were very friendly.. But we noticed one looked like ahe had recently given birth and was sniffing a part of thebfloor board mewing repeatedly. We then heard the baby kittens under the floor... Oh my gosh. After checking it out with the owners they realized she probably gave birth the night before and either couldn't get the kitten s out or forgot how to get under the deck. They promised to pry up the floor boards when his carpenter got there and we qent back to eating, releaved.

    Our server (the woman) came back to talk to us at the end of our meal and we discovered that we both were dancers who loved ballet! As we went to pay and leave, the server gave us a traditional greek plate (the kind you break at weddings and yell 'opa!') to take home as a souvenir.

    How do we always find the nicest people?!

    So we headed back to catch our shuttle to the port, and arrived around 3pm. Our ferry was scheduled to leave at 530.

    So we picked a restaurant with shade and free wifi on the boardwalk and got dessert! Tay and I played every card game we could remember that works with 2 people and people watched as ships came in and put of the port.

    At 630 our ferry was ready to board (it must be a greek thing that ferries are always late) and we got on, securing ourselves a spot to sleep on the long couches. This got us a lot of dirty looks from other passengers, but there were 5 stops prior tonours and with 10 hours on board, we needes a place to sleep.

    Let me tell you, the ride was a lot more comfortable that the super jet we had to Santorini HOWEVER with the weather being as windy as it was the past few says the riDE was still pretty rough. There was stil plenty of sick passengers and Tay and I popped motion sickness pills and ate digestive cookies like it was pur day job.

    It is currently 1130pm and we have about 5 more hours on board. Once we land at 530 we don't havebto get to the Athens airport until about 9am to check in for our 12oclock flights back home.

    That 3.5 hour gap is our true time of homelessness... It didn't make sense to get a hostel or air bnb for such a short time so we are going to grin and bear it!

    Can't wait to update you all on the current situation.

    Stay tuned!

    UPDATE: the rest of the ride we hit much smoother waters. We stopped at a port for a bit to ride out the wind and everyone slept. We ended up getting in closer to 5am, then Tay and i caught the 550 bus to the airport where we are currently getting breakfast before checking in!
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  • Day31

    Mermaids can Breathe Underwater

    July 20, 2016 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Day 2 in Santorini and GUESS WHAT WE ARE DOING TODAY. THAT'S RIGHT.... SCUBA DIVING.

    Up bright and early to head to the centre to fill out forms, we sat down in anticipation (obviously the forst ones to arrive) as everyone else filed in. On the boat, there were 3 instructors, 5 snorklers, 4 certified divers and 3 "discover divers" .. That's us! We got to scuba dive without certification but had a very good guide with us at all times.

    So we wiggled into our wetsuits and got to the boat, 16 of us squeezed into this tiny dinghy anf held on for dear life as we hit open waters at full speed. Partway into the journey, however, a fuel line broke amd the boat stopped moving... We were rescued by a yacht passing by and they pulled usnto safety.. But of COURSE that would happen when we went out to dive. Murphy's Fecking Law.

    Anywayyyyy after being slowly pulled into our dive spot and the boat getting fixed (hey we technically went sailing!) we sat there in anticipation wating to get into the water! The snorklers went in first.. Then the certified divers... Then the three of us had a mini scuba lesson before suiting up and jumping in the water. We learned about the tank, flotation device, regulator and emergency regulator, hamd signals and how to equalize our earsrums under water. We got strapped in one at a time to very heavy scuba suits and were tossed off the boat backwards... It was slightly scary but once you were in the water it was fine.

    The firat step was to "snorkel" with the regulators.. Learning how to breathe normally underwater. Next, we were emptied of air in our flotation devices one at a time and sunk to the bottom where we could kneel and get comfortable underwater.

    My mask kept flooding with water and I panicked (i don't do well underwater as it is) so i kept asking to be pulled to the surface. The instructor gave me his mask and I felt incredibly determined, and finally got to the bottom without panicking. I did grib my regulator into my mouth using my hand like it was my day job, though... Usually you just hold it in your mouth like a snorkel but my anxiety would not let that happen.

    We went on a quick 15 minute dive exploring the area, and I felt more and more comfortable as time went by. I spent the first half holding the instructors hand and eventually felt good enough to let go and and explore on my own. When the firat dive was over we surfaced, took off our gear and climbed back in the boat to head to our next dive spot.

    At the second dive spot we entered the water in the same order. At this spot, we were to do nearly rhe aame diver as the certified divers BUT we couldn't go into caves due to lack of certification. TOTALLY FINE WITH ME.

    So once again we got in, the three of us... But the guy we were with panicked, started shaking uncontrollably and decided not to do the dive. Taylor and I now had a private dive.. What the actual heck. This was too good to be true.

    So we sunk to the bottom (12 metres) and I handed. The gopro to the instructor so he could film our whole adventure... I can't wait to get home and show people the video because it was so incredibly surreal!

    We went through some amazing caverns and saw some reef/volcanic rock and sea life that is indescribable unless you have been underwater. We went through a bunch of small arches until we finally came to the cave that we werent supposed to go in.

    And he took us in.

    One at a time we went in to see the memorial for Jacques Cousteau that his grandson put there after his death. The cave was incredible and honestly an experience that we never wpuld have had if the guy didn't decide to opt out of the dive!

    We continued our dive and headed back to the boat , but at one point my left ear wouldn't equalize. Every metre or so underwater you are suposed to plug your nose and blow to pop your ears (like you would on an airplane) but my left one wouldn't pop. I started to panic but our instructor helped me out, walking me through the steps i needed in order to rise up, re-equalize and head back to the bottom of the sea.

    We continued our dive without incident and got back to the boat.

    It was legitimately one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Not only am i terrified of being underwater (i literally will not put my head under in and water... Pool, ocean, sea.. Nothing) and terrified of people touching me underwater, ll of the fears slipped away as the calm of the sea took over. I have to admit, whenever something went alightly wrong I did panic (my flipper fell off twice, my ears, the goggles filling with water) but a little determination goes a long way.

    After the dive we were both so giddy we decied to just grab some food and snacks amd spend the evening with each other.

    Tomorrow we leave Santorini... In 2 days we are home.

    Im not ready to go yet.
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  • Day31

    Donkey Indy 500

    July 20, 2016 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    First full day in Santorini: so much to do!! We started out by renting ATVs from a local shop (and it was only 25€ for 24 hours... Everything included) and after a quick fuel stop we set our to explore the island.

    Let me tell you a few things about Greek drivers.. First, no matter what type of vehicle they are driving - be it a bus or a moped - everyone thinks they can fit into the smallest areas and that they have the right of way. Second, the roads are very narrow and windy, and Greek drivers could not care less. Third... They like to go fast. Really, really fast. In order to survive as a driver in Greece, you need to become a Greek driver.

    So we hauled ass through the city streets towards Fira, the cente of the island. We made a stop to grab a breakfast (donuts) and then cruised through the city. We decided to wing it without maps because A) that's basically how we have handled this entire trip and B) it's virtually impoasible to get lost on an island this small. The only thing we had on the agends was to get to Oia (the northern part of the island) in order to watch the sunset. We found several cute streets, secluded beaches, and houses that are literally caves in mountains.

    After a while, we were getting hungry (again) so we headed towards the southern mountain to see what we could find. We happened upon a cute restaurant made out of an old converted windmill that was absolutely adorable and had a great atmosphere. We ordered a tsaziki appetizer which was giant and each had a greek salad. Honestly I am in love with greek salad.

    After eating, we hopped back on Gin and Tonic (our ATVs) and raced through the streets towards the top of the mountain. We made it to the top to find a couple of secluded military bases and a monestary.. But we couldn't explore the monastery because we were not dressed conservatively. C'est la vie!

    As we came down the winding hills, a buss was heading straight as us so naturally I pulled off into the side of the road to let him pass. Did I accidentily spin out and pull a 180 into a ditch doing so? Possibly. Did I recover spectacularly and have the bus driver givingnme a thumbs up as he passed? Also possible. They are All Terrain Vehicles, after all... I was simply testing their capabilities!

    After the mountain, we decided to check out the famous steps that donkeys can bring you up and down. We got lost a cew times trying to find it (mainly because no one in Europe can give directions... Honestly) but eventually found prime parking in the middle of Fira and hiked up the mountain through some crazy busy streets. When we finally found the donkeys, we hopped on one each and were led down the steps by its trainer.

    Taylor named her donkey Paco and mine had a bit of an identity crisis before I settled on Minou.. And the ride down was great but a bit steep! When we got to the bottom we looked up at the steps we would have to walk and decided to take the donkeys back up the hill. I got to stay on mine, but Tay was transferred to a bigger donkey who she eventually named Speedy.

    Speedy and Paco must have thought they were in the donkey Indy 500 because holy.. Did they fly up the hill. They literally forced their way past many other donkeys and seemed to be racing each other as we flew up the steps back to Fira town.. It took us half the time to get back up than it did to get down! Still, I had a great time and I am so happy we had then chance to ride the donkeys like my Poppy suggested :)

    When we finally made it back to our ATVs (somehoe the walk back seemed to be uphill again.. How do we always find a way to walk uphill BOTH DIRECTIONS) we jumped back on and decided to travel by the beaches before heading up to Oia. We went through many tiny back roads on the way to see all of the beaches, literally exploring all of the island. I am not exaggerating when I say this.. We actually covered the whole island.

    When we got to Oia, we found a street that led to Ammoudi Bay - a famous section of Santorini. Wellnit was obbiously very popular because it had one TINY road down the hill towards the bay and it was full of cars, mopeds, ATVs and busses who DID NOT GET OUT OF THE WAY FOR ANYONE. SERIOUSLY SO ANNOYING. When we finally got through and parked, we climbed down the the sea sode and managed to find this hidden swimming cove near tide pools and a rock you could jump off of. We didn't swim as we had left our bathing suits in the ATV but we watched people struggle to get in and out of the water long enough to feel like we had the experience ourselves.

    We hiked back to the ATVs amd after some careful maneuvering (they don't have a reverse so we had to push them out by hand. Around 2 busses. And 2 busloads of asian tourists) we were on our way again. We finally headed up to Oia centre where we parked our atvs again and went into the town to explore.

    One of the first thibgs we had to do was find the spot where everyone takes pictures in Santorini. You know the spot.. With the blue dome shaped roof in the background? After exploring and navigating through tourists, we found the spot and took our Santorini pictures.

    We started to get hungry and so we stopped at this cute restaurant overlooking the city which was definitely expensive but worth every penny for the view. We stayed for a couple of hoirs to kill time before the sunset, the headed over to the viewing section to secure our spot.

    As the time past by, people atarted to flood the area to get a good view... There were so many people on this tiny spot it was absolutely ridiculous! The sunset was spectacular (regardless of the stupidity of those around us. "Does the sun set somewhere else in winter" honestly. Honestly? Ahhhhhhhh) and as soon as it went down we joined the hoard heading back to the one road that takesbyou out of oia.

    After what seemed like an eternity, we broke free from the crowd and rushed to our ATVs so we could attempt to get home! We flew through the streets on the bayside (literally flew. There were two guys on another atv that we passed and they looked so butthurt. It was great) and headed back into our village ofnPerissa whrre we attempted to find aloe to sooth our burnt skin.. But it was too expensive.

    After calling it a night, we parked and went to bed in orser to be ready for our next adventure.

    Stay tuned!
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  • Day28

    OUR HOSTEL HAS WALLS

    July 17, 2016 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Up and out of the "hostel" (doomsday bunker) at 10am to check out, we decided to store our bags and check out Paradise beach down the road before catching the 2pm shuttle to our ferry.

    Paradise beach was beautiful (but a tad expensive to do anything but swim) and after what seems like no time at all, we had to head back to the "hostel" to catch our bus.

    Here is where things started getting a bit hinky. Leave it to us to have the hardest time ever!

    Firat of all, the shuttle dropped us at the port and when we got there we were told we were at the wrong port. And the shuttle was gone. Great. We caught a city bus to the other port and found a spot to ait for an hour and a half. Next, we coulsnt find anyone who worked at the port. Literally everyone was confused as to when and where the ferry was coming... But after a little sleuthing I found a small hole in the wall that doubled as an office for the ferry. I was told the ferry was going to be about 20 minutes late and when itnxomes there will be an announcement.

    There was no announcement.

    Regardless, we made it to the ferry eventually and found our seats. We slept right away and thank god... Because this ferry was plowing through waves and apparently so many people were sea sick during the journey... I would have been if I wasn't asleep!

    We got to the ferry and looked for our shuttle bus..... It wasn't there. A sketchy guy told us we werent being picked up and we had to pay 10 euro to get to the hostel. We were MORE than a little pissed off.

    We gotbto the hostel ready to give them a piece of our mind, only to find out it was a misunderstanding and we are being compensated with a free shuttle to the airport (which usually has a charge) to make up for it.

    Let me tell you this hostel completely made our days brighter. Notnonly does it have 4 walls, it is a villa with a walk out porch to the private swimming pool, air conditioning, en suite bathroom and all amenities included. HUGE DIFFERENCE FROM THE LOBSTER TRAP THAT WAS OUR LAST "HOSTEL".

    After dropping our stuff off, we walked to the beach to explore before grabbing dinner and planning our next few days.

    We have some exciting things coming up. Stay tuned to hear more of our crazy adventures!
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  • Day27

    Hungover is a state of mind

    July 16, 2016 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    So Taylor got up around 9 and left our BUNKER because it was so damn hot, but my hungover ass needed a few more z's... So I went back to sleep for a bit. When I got up at 11 I actually felt wonderful! I headed out to the pool bar to grab a water and find Tay. She was sitting there with the guys we hung out with the night before and everyone couldnt believe how excellent I looked and felt - neither could I! How is it that my hangover was virtually nonexistant?

    After chatting with the guys for a bit, they had to leave to catch a shuttle to the ferry and only one of them stayed behind - his name is Australia. (disclaimer: this is not his real name. i don't actually know his real name because all we called him was Australia). So Australia, Tay and I decided to get lunch and I got a souvlaki plate. When iy got here... My hungover hit. In the worst way.

    I ate as much as I could before laying in the cabanas by the pool in the shade to sleep off the worst of the hangover.

    A couple of hours later I was feeling much better, and after a quick swim and tan, Tay and I left Australia to head into Mykonos city.

    The city was very touristy but pretty cute! We walked around the seaside for quite some time and I started to feel awful - again. We stopped and fot some ice cream (the dark chocolate was AMAZING) while we waited for the bus back to the "hostel". I started to feel much better again!

    Once we got back to the canvas shipping container we called a room, we decided to pack and shower so that we wouldnt have to do it in the morning. Afterwards, we went and got some bruchetta from the restaurant because I felt like I could eat for the firat time today (thank god) and sat next to this couple who was dru k and arguing VERY LOUDLY because she wanted to go party and he wanted to sleep. It was great entertainment!

    Afterwards, we strolled around checking out various resorts and sat by the pool to relax before our voyage to Santorini in the morning.

    More adventures await!!
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  • Day27

    My liver wasn't ready.

    July 16, 2016 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    Today we woke up early after very little sleep (as per usual)... This time due to our ability to find each other absolutely hilarious when we get a bit tired. After a quick pack, we called for our über (we freaking love über in Europe.. Never use a cab in Europe EVER AGAIN) and headed to the port. We got there, grabbed our peinted tickets and boarded with little difficulty.

    We found a spot on the top deck and settled in for the 4 hour ferry to Mykonos. Me being the nap queen I am, I managed to sleep the first little bit of the voyage BUT when I woke up Taylor and I witnessed the whitest couple known to man. I'm talking unbutonned shirt money belt picked your nose/ear and smelling it selfies like crazy white people. They provided our entertainment for the duration of the trip and before we knew it, we docked in Mykonos!

    Once again, we disembarked with no incident and found the shuttle that would bring us to our hostel. Our bus driver was an absolute crazy man. He srover the bus 100 km/hr through tiny roads big enough for ony one car that wound through the hills, and stopped to yell at every car that gotnin our way. He also turned on classic greek music and taught us to snap and clap to the beat - of course this meant his hands werent on the wheel.

    So we arrived at the hostel and had to wait for a bit to check in. When we could check in, it was absolute pandemonium ... Everyone was pushing to the front and there were these guys behind us who were annoying us.. But finally we checked in and waited to be led to our room.

    Now heres the thing, when I say "hostel", I use the term very VERY LOOSELY. I am pretty sure camping would be preferable to the canvas dome we are in. Fortunately, it's just a place to sleep so its not really THAT horrible. It could be way, way worse.

    Anyway, of course the first thing we did was throw on our bathing suits and head to the beach. The beach is gorgeous, though insanely hot, and the water was so warm! We spent some time beaching it up before eating.. And then started drinking.

    And drinking.

    And drinking some more. By the pool, by the bar, by the beach. Just had some quality drinks. And some paint thinner.

    And let me fast forward a bit and summarize the night by saying:

    My liver wasn't ready.
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  • Day26

    Our host is famous.

    July 15, 2016 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Remember how we were ordering an über last night to get to our air bnb? Yeah there were no ubers around. And the cab would have cost us almost 40 €... And we couldnt afford that (twice in one day)

    So we decided to take a bus.. We caught the LAST BUS OF THE NIGHT at 215AM (ahhhhhh) and travelled about an hour to the bus stop Google maps toldbus to get off at. Which was literally no where we could recognize on a map. So we falgged down a taxi and he dropped usboff near the street we needed to find... And we couldnt find it.

    After asking several workers and even the cops (who told us to back up and pointed us in a random direction), we FINALLY stumbled upon it almost by accident! We woke up our host by ringing the doorbell (a couple of times) and briefly met him before passing out in our AIR CONDITIONED ROOM. THANK ZEUS.

    So after sleeping around 5 whole hours, we got up and started on our Athens adventure!

    And what is a Frick and Frack adventure without getting lost and walking in circles?

    So we may or may not have walked 2 houra in the completely wrong direction on our way to the acropolis, then caved and took a metro to the ruins. We paid to get in and climbed around the archeological site for about an hour and it was gorgeous! It was very hot and our smart selves decoded to go at noon.. But we stayed hydrated and survived! After visiting the Acropolis, Parthenon and other smaller ruines, we headed to the Olympic stadium and saw what was left. And honestly thats pretty much all there is to see in Athens.

    So we still had half a day to kill, and what better way to spent it than eating authentic Greek salad ( by FAR the best salad I have ever had in my entire life. Ever. Ever.) and shopping? So that is what we did.

    While grabbing gelato, we met some Canadians. They hate Facebook.

    When we were all shopped out, we headed back to our airbnb. Which was about 40 minutes away. Uphill. Oy. I don't even want to talk about it, i can still feel the heat ...

    So after cooling down and sleeping (hey what's up hello... I'm a nap queen..) we woke up starving and in desperate need of Gyros. Asap.

    We talked to our host a bit before heading out ans found out that he is SO COOL. LIKE HONESTLY THE MOST AMAZING PERSON. SOFTWARE ENGINEER, PUBLISHED AUTHOR, FFSTIVAL OWNER, AND ALL AROUND ARTIST. WHAT? Check out his book "Control Zed".

    Anyway we found gyros and HOLY CRAP they were as good as the salad from earliEr. i cannot even describe the flavour.. Best thing i have ever eaten hands down. Besides the greek salad.

    Alright ao after eating the gyros in a park and chatting like crazy people for a while, we stopped at a bakery to grab dessert (obvi) before heading back to our airbnb for a quick sleep before heading to Mykonos in the morning.

    More adventure to follow!
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