Sandra Bourke

Joined July 2019Living in: Pakenham, Australia
  • Day29

    Our last day

    Yesterday in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    8.00 breaky - so much food!!!

    I call Pete to confirm if she can collect me from the airport. She wiill do, hooray!!
    She is shopping for some essentials, like milk and chocolate with the kids. I see Aidan and Charlotte's smiling faces in our video chat. Aidan tells me he found some bird eggs, which is gorgeous.
    Athena says she doesn't want anyone to come get her.
    Me, I want to see Pete's big smiley face and get a big cuddle.

    At 10am we sit by the pool. It is still windy, but the sun is out and I read.

    An hour later, I go up to get my lilo.
    It tries to get away from me, but I wrestle and succeed.

    In the pool is a different matter. Oh dear. I try to be quiet so not to disturb the sun bakers, but that made it worse. On, off, on, off, straddled, off. Mmmm. Splash, giggle. Slowly I somehow get my balance and just stay there, face down, floating away. With minute movements, I get comfy and woo hoo, I am set.

    Trying not to drown, I keep my head above the water line and proceed to fall asleep in the hot sun. (I felt sure everyone was wishing they had a lilo too, hey Carolyn?)
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  • Day28

    A cyclone kind of day!

    September 13 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    The weather has taken a turn this morning.

    Overcast and extremely windy.
    I believe my lilo will up and fly off within seconds.

    For breakfast, I have greek Donuts dipped in honey and sesame seeds. So good.

    Athena is off heading to Old Town today. I told her to hold onto something as she will get blown away.

    I am too relaxed and am reading. In bed. The wind is howling.

    Now it's raining.

    I am thinking Athena will come back to the room! But no, she endures the elements.

    I head outside along the wooden planked pathway between the restaurants and the beach front.

    Loving the empty beach lounges, normally covered in colours and bodies.

    I settle on a restaurant 'Anios' Beach Front and order the Greek speciality, lamb Kleftiko. I ask for some Tzatziki too.

    Two women sit next to me, whom we danced with at the Greek night. I smile and imitate dancing and they copy.

    A DJ pump's out tunes that keep you in the holiday mood.
    Pump and soothe, pump and soothe.

    Wham's Club Tropicana plays around here like it is the island's theme tune.
    Georgios Panayiotou is extremely popular here.

    I went off to the pool to look at Facebook. Athena got back and was a bit windblown.

    We went to the pool restaurant for a bourban.
    I pulled up Carolyn's email of photos of her trip and I show our waiter, Panos, whom is in the background of one of her shots.

    I ask him, is that you? He claps and points out your table, to me, Carolyn, and he calls everyone over. He remembers you and Emily xx How gorgeous is that!
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  • Day27

    Cina Manto 'A Rainy Day In New York'

    September 12 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    We catch a bus to Old Town Mykonos at 7.00pm.

    Athena is fascinated when we hit the floor running in the town. She is wide eyed at the colourful windows and doorways. 'Love the blue the most' she says.

    I manoeuvre through the streets in the direction I walked earlier today, when I first discovered the cinema.

    I open Google maps and find I am 2 mins away. So we follow the dotted blue line. And here it is. A small alcove under trees, with chairs all lined up. It is beautiful. Reminds me of many old fashioned movies.

    The ticket lady will appear at 8.00pm, so we hit a restaurant at the corner.

    Athena has the fried squid and I choose the prawns in mustard and garlic sauce.
    OMG. Devine.

    They give us a shot of something (not Ouzo) and it ends the meal well.

    We get our tickets and take a seat in the open air.

    Kittens are everywhere sneaking around our feet. Meowing for food. I fight my natural urge to pick them up.
    Some people are eating dinner, some drinking.
    I have an ice cream that I left too long and it has melted everywhere.

    The movie starts bang on 8.30pm and we sit back and be entertained in the manner of Woody Allen.

    I can see Timothy has soaked up the Woody Allen mannerisms and his true New York voice is over emphasised in this film. Elle Fanning plays cutsie girlfriend and Selena Gomez plays the sharp, witty distraction. Jude Law is unrecognisable with an American accent.

    The movie tries, as always, to be New York cynical, only to find out that the truth of any matter will set you free.

    It ends and I expect the lights to come up in the cinema. But there are only side lights and tree lights.

    We are tired and head directly to the buses for our hotel.

    On our way through, we see many gay men out and about together. The bars are full of them and an art gallery has an exhibit of paintings of men laying around naked.

    Athena looks at me sideways, and all I say is these boys know how to enjoy life don't they!

    Bed at 12.30pm.
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  • Day27

    Old Town

    September 12 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Breakfast is amazing across the road at The Blu Myth. They are serving brownies!!
    I have grabbed, olives, pistachios, dolmades. Yum

    Athena wants to sit by the pool. I want to explore, so I leave her to catch the bus to Mykonos old town. It takes me 5 minutes and I am here.

    I wander straight into the shops. White walls with white painted cobblestones everywhere.

    EVERYWHERE

    I love the blue, red, aqua painted door and window shutters.
    I buy a small stone boat and chat to the shop keeper.

    I just walk. Forever. It is a maze around here of skinny pathways.
    I take a hundred photos. Loving the scenes of steps and stairways and bright pink bougainvillea hanging over head. A stark contrast against the sunlit white.

    I walked upward to the windmills. Absolutely amazing. Loved them. The wind up here is something else though. Could not hold my phone as had to hold my dress down.

    Full on wind.

    Walked down to Little Venice. Small little houses with no entry path in front. The waves come up and rise and spray everywhere all over the paths.

    Walked into the interior paths. Took photos. Of cats. Lying asleep in the shade somewhere. Loved seeing their relaxed bodies whilst people walk past.

    How clever to make the town like this.
    A white maze of wonder.

    I came across an outdoor movie theatre. It plays tonight at 8.30 and 10.30pm.

    I try to make out the movie name with the red umbrella on the poster and the actors names below in english.

    Timothy Chalemet headlines along with Elle Fanning.
    Well that's it I am in.
    Ha, ha, ha. Tra, la, la!!

    I realise it is Woody Allen's latest movie - 'A Rainy Day In New York'

    I message Athena to see if she is interested in going to the movies under the stars tonight?
    Absolutely,yes, sounds wonderful.
    Hooray!

    Walking along a bit further, I came out the other side of Little Venice and sit at a cafe for a bite. I face the green and blue ocean.

    Little wooden boats bob madly around. A smaller brown one was thrown around so much, I could not take my eyes off it. It had a special little dance.

    Ready to head back to our hotel.
    Walked back through and easily caught a bus back to Petinos Beach.

    Athena was still on her lounge bed and still sunbaking.

    I went up and blew up the lilo, I had bought yesterday. It looks a bit unstable. Think I may try it in the pool tomorrow as the wind may take me out to sea.

    Athena messages would you like a bourban?
    This is not a question that ever needs to be asked of me. There will only be one answer.

    We sit in the restaurant overlooking the beach and drink and share our day.

    Then we both hit the sun loungers with our bathers on to catch the last rays of the day at 5.30pm.

    I pace myself to get ready for a long night of dancing. Athena says she want to go to Scorpios beach club.

    As this is her wishlist for this trip, I tell her, 'You lead the way and I will follow.'

    She never moved from her bed. At 8.00pm (me getting restless) I say come on, let's go. She instead puts on her Pj's and says we'll do it tomorrow.

    OK, but I lay there awake listening to the nightclub music pumping loud until 4.00am. My body aching to go.

    But I did not want to do this without her as she chose this particular thing to do for her birthday.
    I am wondering if she will fulfil her wish yet, or leave for home regretting she missed out!
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  • Day26

    Mykonos

    September 11 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We arrive in Mykonos. We offload from the ferry. And find our transfer to Petinos Beach Hotel.

    The area is call Platys Gialos.
    The water here is a mix of blue, green and aqua. It is so different from anything I have ever seen.

    Our hotel room looks directly onto the sandy beach, covered in loungers and beach umbrellas. Our view is from the righthand side facing out.

    We are in a Cove, with restaurants and cafes lining the beach in an arc.
    White buildings dot the hillside above amongst the brown rocks.

    The pool is a quick walk down the steps from our room. Athena immediately puts on her bathers and she goes down to bake. Her aim is to get brown. I go to the local shop and buy my supplies, chocolate and a lilo.

    Our room is pure white with whitewashed curved cement walls.

    The shower is the size of a dining room. I have a shower and feel like I'm in a cave. It echoes in here. Cool.

    We are very lazy at this point and our thinking brains have turned off. So much so that Athena said she didn't want to go out for dinner or to explore.

    At 6.00pm she has her nightie on and is giving herself a facial.
    I head across the street and grab a pizza... Continued

    She tells me to have a shower so she can blow dry my hair. I do it. She dries my hair whilst I sit in my white fluffy bathrobe.
    I hear clapping, laughing and greek music coming from outside.

    I ask Athena, when is our 'Greek Night'.
    Um!
    We forgot greek night!!!!

    Athena says 'It's ok, we' ll do it another night'
    Me, panicked, runs to reception and asks how often is greek night?
    Wednesdays and Sundays.
    We fly out Sunday.

    I let Athena know and she says she she is disappointed and really wanted me to see it.
    I clapped my hands and said get up, get dressed,
    WE ARE GOING, NOW!
    5 mins it took us to get ready.

    We invited ourselves in at The Blue Myth and sat at the bar. Men in black tshirt and and pants were dancing to traditional songs.
    We sculled a couple of bourbans quickly.

    Then that wonderful 'Zorba' music began.
    I love this. Really gets me excited. Slowly the boys move arm locked, side by side and it speeds up and takes you along.
    OPA!!

    We get up and have a dance, with old and young. Reminds me of a wedding. Thank goodness it is an open air restaurant.
    We do the conga inside and outside.

    A young tall kid steps on my foot and breaks my toenail!
    I keep dancing!

    At around 12.30 it slows down. We creep into bed all buggered.
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  • Day26

    Leaving Santorini

    September 11 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    I woke at 6. 00am and blogged. The streets of Santorini are empty, with the exception of deliveries.

    I hear a loud tinkling sound coming from the street. I rush out onto the balcony, and see 10 loose mules running the streets. They follow one another. People are yelling at them from their shop steps and waving arms. They all turn a corner and disappear.

    Breaky at 8.00am as we have an early transfer at 9.15 to the ferry.

    Last time up on our beautiful rooftop having a massive breakfast.

    2 clean white liners sit below us and I know I will never see a view quite as unbelievable as this one of the Santorini Caldera again in my life.

    The hotel porter drags our bags to the transfer pick up point, at our pool hotel. We share with a couple from Altona Meadows. We all chat, including the driver. (whom when he opened his arms for the luggage, I took it as a cuddle and went in for one, he smiled and hugged me tight)

    The ferry port sits low to the far, far left of Fira.

    I look at postcards by George Meis. I want them all.
    I ended up with a 2020 calendar, for an assortment!

    A man with a Seajets sign for Mykonos begins to shout to us all.

    We all follow him in a mass wave. Never have I seen people drag suitcases as fast, over the cobbles.

    Our ferry backs up and drops it's massive walk planks.
    Hundreds unload and disperse amongst the crowds.

    Then a bloke blows a whistle and we storm the planks like warriors.

    We walk onto the metal into the mouth of a massive creature. You just walk fast and straight. Signs above say 'Luggage'. We quick drop on the shelves available and head upstairs to the lounge.

    We have allocated seat numbers on our tickets, so we squat down in nice comfy seats and the ferry begins to move while people still come up from the hull.

    We sit listening to gossipy Aussie women behind us.
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  • Day25

    Oia

    September 10 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    Another slow morning.
    Breakfast at 9.00 so Athena can sleep in.

    I take a while to get moving as need to complete x8 footprints of my blog.
    Athena goes to the rooftop and bakes in the sun.

    At 12.00 I am over blogging and want to see the pool.
    I run upstairs, grab the girl and off we head.
    The pool is located at a different hotel. It is stunning. A spa hotel.

    We happily sit in one of the white cabanas and order our first cocktail.
    Athena orders a gin base, for me it's rum.
    The sun is directly above our heads and the heat is melting our thoughts away.

    We both slip into the pool and it is wonderful. A waterfall down one end a bar down the other.
    Swim for ages. I realise this is Athena's first time in the water on this trip.

    Another cocktail 🍹and we sink into oblivion. We are so relaxed can hardly talk.

    To make things worse, I decide to get a massage. A massage at a spa!!

    I go into the expensive looking hotel wearing wet bathers. They treat you like royalty. The smells, the music, the darkness. Pure luxury.

    I floated back to Athena all dreamy like. She was on her 3rd drink. I asked can you stand? She said sure love. And she could.

    At 3.30 we headed back to our hotel, in bathers and towels, through the tourist throng, to get ready for Oia.

    We could so easily spend a day basking in the sun here. It takes all our will to move and do something.

    We catch the local bus to Oia. It costs 1.80euro and takes 25mins. The road to Oia from Fira is cut along the top of the crater. It is windy and on a cliff edge. I think these drivers are amazing, but I have a fear element going on here too!

    We hop out and follow the 'throng' up through the x2 people wide paths.

    I had previously read how to get to the best positions for the famous blue church domes. So on seeing the jewellery store on the corner, I veered left.

    Here they are! Wow, they look amazing. We squish in and take our many shots as quick as possible.

    Will try to get closer, so I urge Athena to just follow close behind me and I am off again.

    We find a spot directly over the top of them and snap away. The blue colour is in perfect contrast to all the white.

    OK time to eat.
    We choose a close restaurant and sit and have moussaka. A small kitten pops over the seats and says hello. I immediately am distracted by him. There are many small cats around here, but they all look healthy and clean.

    The moussaka is yummo, bechamel sauce, cheese, bolognese, eggplant and potato. We scoff it down. Athena is so full.

    Now, it's time to watch the sunset.
    Hundreds of people are lined along the paths and nooks and crannies of the Incline.
    We take up a position on some steps and wait for an hour with everyone else. A drone buzzes above our heads and I wave at it.
    The sun slowly sets and we await that magnificent red golden glow when it meets the water.

    But no, we have a thick cloud today. The orange sun disappears before we are all ready and the sunset is over.
    I say how disappointing for everyone. But it's not really. We have seen this sun set the past 3 days so haven't missed a thing.

    The crowd moves out and it is slow going one behind the other toward the buses.

    On the bus ride back, Athena turns to me and says 'I'm free' she claps her hands.
    I ask what do you mean?
    She tells me she is free of my itinerary.
    I say not quite yet, we still have little venice and the windmills.
    She continues with 'I'm free'
    So I tell her to pass me her mobile so I can delete all her photos she has taken whilst following 'my itinerary'
    She sheepishly declines me and succumbs to agreeing she wouldn't have missed anything.

    Back at our hotel, Athena jumps straight into bed. I go out and grab a coke and a Gelati. Lemon and raspberry.

    I read my novel out loud again until I hear snoring, then I know it is time for sleep.
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  • Day23

    Dreamcatcher

    September 8 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Up for breaky at 8.00am on the rooftop.

    It is beautiful but I want more sleep as woke at 4.00am

    Cheese pastries and coffee. Boiled egg, fruit, and breads sitting at the very top of the hill looking across to the volcano.

    Now for our sailing trip around the caldera. (which means volcanic crater fallen into the sea)

    Met the driver at the prehistoric museum at 9.15am
    (a 4min walk from hotel)
    Rode the mini van to the island end opposite to Oia.

    (Did I say this place reminds me of Phillip Island, the scale of the land mass I mean)

    The mariner is full of yachts.
    We board the red and white waved catamaran, which is gorgeous.
    I am over excited. Which is a good sign.
    We are ushered under a cream canopy onto soft red padded seating around a table.

    The catamaran seats 34
    It is a magnificent structure.
    They serve wine to us at an open bar.

    We are sat opposite 2 men.
    Chris and Mikah
    They are originally from San Diego, now live in Chigago and are happily married.

    We chat and discover that Micah and myself are both Saggitarians. This makes the convo go in a totally wild trajectory.
    Chris is a Capricorn so is more laid back and looks after the finances.

    Basically our entire conversation is how they are a mirror image of Theens and I, regarding personality and behaviours.

    Micah and I can take a mean photograph. Chris and Athena cannot.
    We, the Saggies, are the adventurers the risk takers, always wanting to be busy and at the front of the line. The other 2 are less so, instead, happy to follow along but willing to give it a go.

    For the entire sail we all 4 talked, non stop, whilst drinking our wine.

    We stopped for a swim. Athena stayed on the boat.

    The water was cold at first then divine. Armed with my noodle, I paddled around. The two boys jumped in the sea 💦 and we hung together. I was fascinated with looking under the catamaran. Loved the big red looming form above my head.

    After relaxing for 10minutes in the water we set off.
    We spied 2 webber bbqs hissing and steaming at the back of the catamaran so we knew lunch was near.

    We spent hours talking to our new friends. The boys have been married for 2 years and this holiday was a late honeymoon.

    We stopped off for another 15 Min swim and Athena stayed on board taking pics from the netting. Micah and I swam underneath her and splashed up to her like kids. She was telling us off and it made us do it more!!

    Now lunch is served.
    We eagerly sat waiting to see the dishes to be devoured.

    Bbq chicken and pork, greek salad, penne covered in tomato and cheese. Bread with olive tapenade, tzatziki and olive oil soaked baked potatoes.
    I had a second helping!

    We stopped to view the red beach and the white beach. Which ended up being coves with coloured cliffs.

    Then after many wines, we lazily, drunkenly made our way back to the mariner.

    At one point I went to the loo onboard. This was an experience. Getting down the vertical ladder, then trying to sit whilst being heaved up and down all over the place!
    I loved looking out the porthole. The blue water at face level waving along with the white foam waves. Memorising, could've stayed there a while, but Athena was at the top telling me to hurry up as she needed to go.

    The sail was over and absolutely perfect. A quick van drive back.We said goodbye to the boys and headed back to our room.

    Gelati time. Mango and lemon for Athena and I love my lemon 🍋.

    I comatosed into a 10min nap, whilst Athena went to the rooftop to sunbake. I went up too for a short time.

    Nobody told me that Santorini turns you into a sloth.
    We lay on our beds, with our balcony doors open to the soft sounds of the crowds below and music pumping somewhere.
    The blue sky invades our every sense and we are still.

    Lacking any will to explore. We have 2 more days yet.
    Tommorow we will see Oia.

    At 6.00, Athena asks me do you want to head out. My reply is a big fat 'Yes'

    We walked to the left, facing Fira, and meandered upwards behind the elegant villas and expensive hotels. You can see the island at 360 degrees from here.

    Heard tinkling bells ringing and watched the mules, one behind the other, carrying loud obnoxious Americans upward through the streets. I didn't enjoy seeing this.

    By 8.00pm we were hungry.
    Went back to Fanari as it is quiet and the food is good.

    Athena had chicken souvlaki,
    I the mixed fried seafood which included, calamari rings, king prawns, sardines and baby octopus with rice and carrots.
    I am seafood hooked, line and sinker, lol.

    Our waiter, Vagelli, was so excited to speak Greek to a customer he hovered over Athena like a stalker. He even took her plate to remove the chicken off the skewer for her. She tried to take the plate back but he was not having it.

    So full of sun and fresh air and food, we rolled off to bed.
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  • Day22

    On the edge of a volcano

    September 7 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Our transfer to the Athens airport is due at 7.45am. We get up at 6.00.
    We grab some breakfast at 7.00.

    The restaurant is one floor below us.
    In the lift, I press the 'R'. Athena immediately tells me off 'where are you going?' and she presses floor 6.

    Me, I am confused-as the bar is up there??
    Athena looks at me as if to say, yes my hand automatically goes to 6.

    Doesn't that just say too much!

    I grab some of the sweet pastries on display at the breaky bar. Baklava, bougasta, My plan was to eat one a day. But Athens has been too fast. And it has slipped us both by.

    We summed it up with-
    Day 1 Thannassi's tour of Acropolis and museum
    Day 2 Meteora
    Day 3 Hair, bank calls and The Plaka
    So now it is over and out.

    Trying to get the lift down, with our cases, to reception was impossible. A truckload of Americans arrived yesterday and only 2 people plus luggage can fit.
    Everyone is off to breakfast, so it is full each time it gets to us.
    Finally I push in and get down.

    Another transfer and 45min plane trip.
    I capture on camera the many brown islands below from the plane window.

    OMG just landed in Santorini!!!
    I feel like site seeing is done with and holiday begins.

    The island is flat all around the airport.
    Terrain is like Phillip Island. With not much infrastructure.
    A single road into Fira. The sun is fully shining.

    White and sand coloured buildings.
    We go toward the back of the hill top of Fira. It is smaller than I imagined.
    The road is simple
    We hop out with a short walk to the top, dragging our heavy luggage up across the cobblestones, and this amazing view of the caldera is before us.

    Dark deep blue ocean meets baby blue sky, with the remnants of arms of a historic volcano circling around a centrepiece of land.

    It takes your breath away.

    Our hotel, The Theoxenia, is on the main top path and a 2 min walk.
    We haul our luggage up steep marble steps to the reception desk.

    Our room is simple and it has Athena's main requirements
    -a hair dryer, kettle and iron with board.
    For me it has a balcony. We have a half view of the street shops and half view of the ocean.

    For me this is heaven.

    We head straight out, as is lunch time.
    'Fanari restaurant' is our choice.

    Away from the 'tourists' we took a quiet table overlooking the ocean.
    The world below us spread out in a raw form. It is like we are viewing the earth from a satellite. So high up.

    Athena has a massive red octopus tentacle and I choose shrimp. They are served with carrots and rice cooked so divinely.

    We devoured our meals within minutes. Athena and I looked at each other and expressed that we were still wanting more food so we shared a full size calamari.

    The waiter took a couple of snaps of us with our glasses of wine and we were happy.

    Athena had the waiter very attentive toward her as he fully appreciated some Greek conversation, however her preference was more toward the wine.
    .......
    Athena has a few words-
    We found ourselves very sleepy and we decided to get back into the room & take a nap..... Yes your all thinking we have a hard life atm.
    We woke up & decided to have a coffee and baklava. We then went to the rooftop to watch the sunset.
    .........

    At bedtime,
    whilst I am reading my novel (Call me by your name), I ask Athena if she would like me to read aloud. She permits me to. I wish to share with her this magnificent story.
    My voice is monotone and soothing. Athena gets all cosy and she eagerly hangs on every word.

    She reacted perfectly to this beautiful prose that fully captures the innocence of first falling in love with someone.
    Athena-Wow, that is beautifully written!
    Me-I know, isn't it just!

    Shorty after, I hear her snoring.
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