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tower Jul 25th, 2006 08:49 AM

T-girl:

Your resiliency is a thing of envy! I'm afraid I would have stomped out of the villa and ended up in a nearby hotel...or rather my DW would, and I'd be right behind! (We request a top sheet no matter where we stay, if indeed, there isn't one already on the bed...great additional protection against the rarely-cleaned blankets).

I have faith that you and your crew will bounce back with a vengeance.

Go, T-Girl! Go!

Stu T.

palette Jul 25th, 2006 02:08 PM

I've come to the post a month late and am just up to Japan, but am thoroughly enjoying your wonderful writing. Will pick up when I get home tonight.... can't wait for the rest of the trip. I don't ever expect to visit Japan or China and thank you for including us.

lovemyhorses Jul 25th, 2006 07:35 PM

Okay...I've read every single post of this ~wonderful~ travel diary, and it has been such fun! Oh, what a wealth of memories you and your family will gain from this experience. Please, please write more! I read eleven weeks in your initial post, and we are up to day 22, right? That means (hopefully) many more posts. :-)

Belinda

maureencol Jul 26th, 2006 06:43 AM

I look forward to checking in everyday to see if you have updates on your travels! We are all living vicariously through your journals and enjoying it thoroughly. Congratulations on being so flexible! I think that's what makes real traveller's. Anyone can handle it when everything goes perfectly. It's how you deal with the problems that separates the "travellers" from the "tourists." :=0

Lovemyhorses - What kinds do you have? Horses are my love along with travelling. I have a couple.

Maureen


GreenDragon Jul 26th, 2006 09:47 AM

I find it interesting, the dichotomy in service between Santorini - which we all believe will be 'easier' -- and in China, where everyone seemed so anxious to please.

Great reports so far!!! I like your writing style, especially your DSs' reactions to people and things!

travelgirl2 Jul 26th, 2006 04:09 PM

Day 22 – Santorini

We walk in the direction of the bus station in Oia, intending to catch a taxi to the beach. On the way, we pass Autoeurope. They offer us a good rate, so we take a small car for 2 days. I hope this works out better than the time we rented a car in Sorrento (Italy) for a day and had 2 accidents. We realize we’ve left our International Drivers’ Licenses back at the villa. These are required to rent a car here, unless you have had a Greek license for a year. Valeri tells DH to hop on the back of his motorcycle and they zoom off towards our villa.

After the rental formalities are completed, Valeri from Bulgaria recommends that we go to Monolithos beach and also to Mario’s Taverna for lunch. Both are near the airport, on the other side of the island. As we set off, he also tells us that the gas tank is almost empty and we should get gas as soon as possible. There are no gas stations in Oia and the first station we pass on the way to Fira is closed (today is Sunday). We are relieved when the next station is open. As we continue on, the roads are narrow, but the drive is okay.

First, we stop at MARIO’S TAVERNA for lunch. It is right on the beach and is just past Monolithos Beach, directly behind the airport. Valeri has told us that the owner is also a fisherman and that the fish will be fresh. The 3 men there are delighted that Valeri has sent us. They take us over to the iced fish and make a recommendation. We say okay to whatever they suggest. We have wine, toasted bread, tzasiki, olives, tomato balls, grilled octopus, pasta for the kids, and 2 grilled whole fish. We say okay to the octopus because they recommend it. It turns out to be delicious, although it is a tentacle and it looks exactly like a tentacle. The kids won’t touch it. I’m not sure what the attraction is with the tomato balls for so many people. They are just some sort of fried dough with bits of tomato. But, our meal is delicious and DH and I agree that we would like to come back here again, if possible. I saw lots of yummy-looking appetizers at other peoples’ tables that I would like to try. Our total bill is 86 euros. I think that 55 euros of that was for the grilled fish. Everything else was very reasonably priced. Most dishes are 5-6 euros, 3-4 euros for the appetizers. There seemed to be mostly Greek people dining here.

Then, we head over to MONOLITHOS BEACH. It is a family beach, with a gentle slope and calm waves. The sand is black. As the kids dig in the sand, it looks like they are playing in the mud. They look so dirty. We enjoy the beach and stay there until almost dark.

In the evening, DS2 and I watch the finals of the World Cup. Italy vs. France. As I go out onto the terrace to hang up our laundry on the drying racks, I hear the World Cup echoing across the distance from various other houses. There is laughing, talking and cheering.

It is a peaceful night. And, the villa is growing on me. It really is a lovely place. The view is magnificent in the soft moonlight.

sonja_therese Jul 26th, 2006 08:15 PM

Along with everyone else, I am enjoying your journal immensely! Your writing style is to the point, yet still gives a good picture and feeling about what is going on...keep it up, very interesting!!

massagediva Jul 27th, 2006 04:08 AM

Boy,Greece has gotten expensive!I remember going in the late eighties,and you would have been hard pressed to spend $10 for dinner.

palette Jul 27th, 2006 07:48 AM

ttt

lovemyhorses Jul 27th, 2006 08:43 AM

Hi Maureen,

To answer the horse question...I have six of the rascals, and I simply could not imagine life without my horses. I have four Quarter horses and two Paints. Not to hijack travelgirl's wonderful thread, but what breed are your two? :-) Its nice to meet a travel enthusiast who's also passionate about horses.

Belinda

travelgirl2 Jul 27th, 2006 01:19 PM

Day 23 – Santorini

It is lovely to lie in bed and look out our open door. We have a magnificent view over the caldera.

We spend some time doing laundry and cleaning the villa.

When we can finally tear ourselves away from the terrace, we head over to MARIO’S TAVERNA again. This time, we have wine, toasted bread, tzasiki, olives, fava salad, roasted eggplant, fried zucchini, grilled meat on a skewer, stewed beef in tomato sauce, spicy pork and moussaka. Everything is delicious and it is much more food than we can eat.

We take a ride around, meandering here and there. We pass the WINE MUSEUM, so we stop in for a tour and wine tasting. It is about a half hour tour in the caves. Very Disney-esque, with moving figures to illustrate each portion of the wine-making process. We taste, but don’t buy any wine.

It is a nice, relaxing day. Although we are generally doing very well together, these last few days we are all starting to get a little sick of each other. DH and I nitpick at each other. The teenage moments and childish moments start to irritate us more. The brothers have some less than brotherly interactions. On the other hand, we have many, many wonderful times together where we laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

I think this is such a change from the unfamiliarity of Japan and China. There, we bonded together, since we had no choice. Here, we feel more comfortable. Also, no one is paying any attention to us here, so we feel freer to act like our usual selves. The whole environment is loose and easy and casual. We can really relax here.

noe847 Jul 27th, 2006 01:41 PM

"The brothers have some less than brotherly interactions."

Ah, I recognize those moments! Less than brotherly but at the same time, very typically brotherly!! (In our case, sisterly)

LCBoniti Jul 27th, 2006 01:41 PM

It is so fascinating to hear about the family dynamics - like you were on your best behavior and now are back to normal!

Do you like Greek wine? One of my favorite wines is a Greek one called Imiglykos Tsantli - at least that is pretty close (I'm at work and can't check it right now). I actually had it in Germany and have never found it since. Too bad you can't bring me a bottle ;-)

Continuing to enjoy this - thanks for sharing!
Linda

maureencol Jul 27th, 2006 01:51 PM

"The brothers have some less than brotherly interactions."
Boy am I familiar with that one! When I brought my older son and his girlfriend to Ireland with me a few years ago, I threatened to leave them on the side of the road if they started bickering (as they did quite often at home). It worked...they didn't fight until on the flight home!

Lovemyhorses - Yes, sorry Travelgirl for the deviation! I have an Arab, an Appy and what I call a Thelwell pony cuz he looks just like the ponies in the Thelwell cartoons. I go to Ireland a couple times a year and try to ride (not in the Irish sense!!) while I am there. Gotta be careful about some of those terms. LOL

Travelbug13 Jul 28th, 2006 09:45 AM

Loving your posts Travelgirl.....can't wait to read more!

I remember the good ol' days on vacation when my sister and I had our "sisterly infractions" 11 weeks is a long time to spend that closely together. I think your family is doing it with grace.

I might have killed my sister, although I love her to death, was and is not the easies person to live or travel with:-)

travelgirl2 Jul 28th, 2006 10:59 AM

Day 24 – Santorini

We decide that we like the freedom of having a car. So we go see if we can keep the car for another 2 days. It is no problem. As we drive away, on our way to the other side of the island, we all hear a funny noise. Clackety, clack. DH finds a place to pull over (on the edge of the cliff) and we find a nail in our tire.

We turn around and drive about 1 mile back to Oia, on the side of the road next to the dropoff. I am irrationally scared to death, wondering if we are going to lose control of the car and plummet off the cliff. I think of the cross marker we have passed at the edge of the road. At home, this means someone has died at this spot. When we get to Oia, my knuckles are white and even DH breathes a sigh of relief.

The man at the car rental agency tells us the nail will be no problem and we should keep driving. He says it will only be a problem when it is removed. We insist that we would like it to be fixed, so he sends us to his other shop and a mechanic meets us. In five minutes, he has removed the nail and patched the tire. We are relieved to get underway so quickly.

We are trying to get to AKROTIRI, the archaeological site. I have heard that it is closed, but everyone wants to take the trip anyway. It is indeed closed. Instead, we stop for lunch at a little restaurant nestled in a small cove, MELINA’s. We order the fish platter for 2, which turns out to be 4 different kinds of tiny fried fish (sardine-sized and goldfish-sized). Very tasty, but we don’t know whether to eat the bones or not. We pop the tiny ones into our mouths and work on de-boning the 4 inch long ones. It is hard work.

After lunch, we decide to go in search of the WATER PARK. It is on the beach road near Pernissis. This road has a hip vibe. There are restaurants, bars, beach tiki umbrellas, beach volleyball, etc. Lots of twenty-somethings around. It reminds me a little bit of South Beach (Miami).

We easily find the water park. It costs 3 euros to get in, plus 3 more euros if you want to go on the slides. The park is cute, sort of like a hotel pool complex. There are 3 small water slides. Also a kiddie pool and a large pool. We lounge and relax there all afternoon.

A waitress bring us drinks. I point to what I want on the menu and she loudly announces, “You want a sex on the beach.” Yes, thanks. The drink is good and reminds me of a fuzzy navel. There is a man in a chef uniform, grilling skewers of meat. DS2 goes and orders two different kinds. They cost all of 1.20 and 1.30 euros each. We order some more from the waitress, but we miscommunicate and accidentally order the kind we don’t like. Later, she explains that the kebabs are the ground meat patties on the stick and the souvlaki is chunks of pork, beef, etc. We like the souvlaki.

It is interesting to observe people at the park. There is a lot of running and roughhousing. A couple of kids get hurt. Only once does someone come and tell some kids to settle down, after 8 of them have been pushing each other into the pool for about 10 minutes. Everyone is diving into the pool. It is definitely different than in the US, where the pool rules are very specific and regularly reinforced.

After the water park, we go back to the villa. While sitting outside on the beautiful veranda, a cat comes over to us and rubs up against us. She goes to the door and sits, waiting. Obviously, she thinks this is her home and is waiting to be fed. Finally, we can take no more and DS2 and I go to the store to buy some food for her. I am not much of a cat person, so I don’t really know what cats like to eat. The only things I can think of are tuna fish and milk. She is happy with these. While she is eating, two other cats appear. She is ready to defend her food, but today it won’t be necessary. Soon, we have 3 plates of milk and 3 plates of tuna fish. Everyone is happy.

HappyCheesehead Jul 28th, 2006 01:08 PM

Travelgirl - you are a soft touch - I like you better than ever! I AM a cat person, LOL

job816 Jul 28th, 2006 08:14 PM

Travelgirl - I am loving every minute of this report. I can't believe that we have been with you over a month now. I only write now because you brought back a memory, that I forgot, of my first trip to Mykonos in 1988 and the cat that adopted me there. Guess you got the whole litter :-). Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. I know that I speak for many here when I say we are truly grateful.
- Jodi

Dejais Jul 31st, 2006 06:13 AM

Travelgirl2...Just wanted to let you know I am still with you and enjoying every minute. Love that you adopted the cats! Also, extremely impressed with your boys. They are truly getting the experience of a lifetime and it shows in their comments and attitude.

And LoveItaly....You are such a Sherlock Holmes! You saved me the trouble of looking myself. ;)

Stu....Absolutely enthralled with your additional comments and knowledge about China and Japan. It was great to hear how things have changed from your experiences.

I am SO addicted to this thread!

LCBoniti Jul 31st, 2006 12:01 PM

I am addicted as well -
Travelgirl, where are you? I need my fix!


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