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LoveItaly Jul 31st, 2006 01:44 PM

Finally I have been able to get caught up on your terrific and fun trip report travelgirl. I chuckled over the bickering that went on, it happens in the best of families. One time I almost "killed" my dear husband in the Gucci store in Rome. But the afternoon away from each other meant a very relaxing dinner that evening, lol.
IMO your family does a terrific job of travelling together.

Everyone should be glad that they didn't have to travel with my brother and I. My poor parents! Although I must say my brother did save me from drowning at Donner Lake, CA. Imagine he always regretted that, lol.

Continue on please travelgirl...

Dejais Jul 31st, 2006 06:58 PM

LoveItaly....Couldn't have been as bad as the time I warned my husband repeatedly about the gypsies and pickpockets on the metro in Rome. We had just gotten off one and made our way to the Trevi Fountain where we were throwing our coins in to assure our return. Needless to say when he reached in his pocket to get his coin he began to yell, "I got pickpocketed! They stole my money!" He then proceeded to sulk for the next hour and bitch his way through the streets of Rome. Of course, deep down inside he knew he was wrong for not heeding my warnings but he would never admit it! It made for a wonderful afternoon. UGH!

LoveItaly Jul 31st, 2006 10:36 PM

LOL Dejais, I wonder if the four of us were in Rome at the same time!! And the thing that has me laughing is your mention of the Trevi Fountain.

On a hot and humid afternoon in Rome we had gone into the Caffe Greco and had a couple of drinks (first mistake I do believe). Gucci's was in that area and I wanted to go into their store to buy a few presents for family members at home. I am not a Gucci fan but these people were. My husband hated the Gucci products. I told him I would meet him later but noooo, he went into the store with me. Hot, stuffy, no a/c that I noticed. Snobby sales clerk. All of a sudden my very gentleman like husband snarled at the snobby clerk. Good grief, Mama Mia!!!

Long story short, I left without a purchase, husband stamping along behind me, yes indeed, Dejais, he was sulking and bitching his way through the streets of Rome too! How strange, think they were twins seperated at birth?

We ended up at the Trevi Fountain, it was still soooo hot and humid and there was of course quite a crowd. I walked over to throw the coin into the fountain. My every loving husband stood with his back up agains the buildings to the left of the Trevi Fountain with the most snarling, sulky and miserable look imaginable. Arms folded over his chest, you know the body language I am sure. Every time I see a photo of the Trevi fountain with the building on the left I say to myself "yes, that is where he had his temper tantrum", lol.

Dejais, that is when I told him "ciao, ciao" and took off until the end of the day..dinner that night was quite lovely though.

Ugh is right!! I wonder how you say that in Italian, do you know, LOL?

Dejais Aug 1st, 2006 04:20 AM

Okay, sorry to have totally hijacked this thread while Travelgirl is composing her thoughts but...

LoveItaly...I made hubby stand next to the sign in the metro afterwards that said in Italian "Beware of Pickpockets!" Men!

My trip in five weeks to Paris and London is with my mother and I am really looking forward to that. After 27 years of marriage (and 49 for mom) this will be our first solo trip together. Needless to say, we are going to ALL of the museums, we will walk til we drop, and we will eat at GREAT restaurants and there will be nary a complaint!

travelgirl2 Aug 3rd, 2006 11:17 PM

Hello everyone. We have very limited internet access right now. I will post as soon as I can. Travelgirl.

LoveItaly Aug 4th, 2006 12:10 AM

Hi travelgirl, I was wondering where you were!! I and I am sure tons of Fodorites will look forward to your next installment of your trip. Even my daughter who is not a Fodorite has so enjoyed reading your trip report!

And Dejais, LOL, what did you threaten your husband with to get that photo, LOL, I love it!! Your mother and you are taking a trip very precious Dejais! I hope you will give us a trip report. Your mother must be so excited. Thanks again for the good chuckles and good (or not so good?) memories of husbands in Rome ;;) Best regards!

Dejais Aug 4th, 2006 03:46 AM

Travelgirl2...Thanks for checking in. I am feeling a bit protective and was worried about you. :) Figured it was just lack of connection but glad you checked in and are doing well.

LoveItaly...I told hubby to just stand there and smile or I would totally leave him there. He can't speak Italian and I guess he figured it was better to be humiliated in a photo than to have to navigate his way around Rome by himself. :0

Mom and I are leaving for London/Paris on Sept. 7th and I am definitely doing a trip report. How could I not with all of the help I get from here?

We are both giddy with anticipation. One would think we had never traveled before, but I think it is the idea of traveling just the two of us with no rules, no restrictions, and no men.

marigross Aug 4th, 2006 06:43 AM

WOW....inserting bookmark so I can find where I am in this great adventure!

LoveItaly Aug 4th, 2006 11:44 AM

Dejais, while we are waiting for travelgirl to return...

I did go my own way that afternoon in Rome and my husband went his.

I laughed so hard when we met back at the hotel before as while he was wondering around by himself he had experienced various "hustlers" who tried to get him into various "girly" shows. He even had the brochures that they had shoved into his hand. Now he CLAIMS he didn't go to any..hmmmm..I wonder..he sure was in a jolly mood that evening, lol.

I sure wish you and your mother a beautiful trip, it will be so special. Take care.

travelgirl2 Aug 5th, 2006 10:48 AM

Day 25 – Santorini

Today we’ve arranged to take a boat excursion. We’ve purchased the tickets near the bus station in Oia, for 20 euros per person. We meet at Amoudi port in Oia. The boat takes us out to the volcano. Now, I thought we were going to take the boat out to the volcano, ride around for five minutes and then move on. But, the tour guide tells us that we will climb up to see the crater of the volcano. What ?!? She says it is a 1.2 km hike each way.

We all hike up to the volcano. It takes about 30 minutes. It is very steep and rocky. It is exhausting. Near the end, DS1 puts my arm around his neck to help me out. He jokingly says, “Come on Mom. You’ve been training your whole life for this.” Yeah, my office job really prepares me for this.

We look at the crater. The views are beautiful. The hike down is easier, taking us 20 minutes. It is slippery though and several people slip and slide on the rocks. I sit on a bench near the end and watch the people passing by. Some teenage boys come running down at full speed. It is funny to watch the people going up. Some German tourists are singing a marching song, Einz, Zvei, Trei. An Irish lady asks me how much further it is. When I tell her she is only a quarter of the way up, she decides to abandon the climb and sit on the bench instead. We compare notes on our respective trips to Japan and China.

The next stop on our tour is at a hot spring. I tell DS1 to go ahead and jump off the back of the ship. He says “no way and I’m sure you aren’t going to jump either”. Well, now, of course I have to jump the 10 feet into the frigid water. DH follows me. DS1 and DS2 grin and inch their way down a ladder. We swim a little way and the water gradually warms up. The water is orange from the high iron content. The mud is said to have healing properties, so several people smear their faces, including DH.

While swimming, we talk with a young man from Singapore. He is currently studying in Beijing. He tells us that normally it doesn’t rain too much in Beijing, but now they are making fake rain in order to have everything look nice for the Olympics. I laugh and tell him it rained just about every day we were in Beijing. How do you make fake rain? He says he thinks they shoot some chemicals up into the air or something. Hmmm… Maybe I don’t want to know anything more about that.

Next, we go to a small island, which has just a few restaurants at a little harbor. Some people elect to climb the steps to the top of the island. We choose to sit and have lunch while we enjoy watching the boats coming and going.

The tour guide on this trip is amazing. She makes the announcements in English and German. No Greek people are on the ship, so she skips the Greek announcement. Some French people ask her if she can also speak in French. She can’t , but offers to do it in Italian. They understand Italian. The other thing is that she leads the trip up the volcano and then proceeds to give a 5-10 minute speech periodically along the way. While she is speaking, I am busy panting. I decide that in my next life, I will be a tour guide up this volcano. Then, I will probably live forever. Although, to fit in with everyone else, I will probably have to take up smoking.

In the evening, I go to the internet café and spend an hour catching up on my email and posting on Fodor’s. DS2 comes with me and checks his email and plays games. The hourly rate at the café changes throughout the day. We have paid 2.90 euros per hour, 3.60 euros per hour and also 4.90 euros per hour. I haven’t figured out the system exactly. I think the price depends on the time of day.

When we come home, I start some laundry while DH goes to get some pizza. A little while later, DS2 comes running in to tell me there is a flood outside of the laundry room. Sure enough, something is leaking from the washer. I don’t want to play with the electric washer while I am standing in a pool of water. Also, the outlet is situated so that the cord extends in front of the washer and across the room, strung in front of the door to get into the room. It is difficult to get in there to see anything. So we run to the housekeepers’ house nearby. She doesn’t really want to come with us, but eventually does. She seems upset with us because the hose to drain the washer has come loose and she seems to be motioning that we must have moved the washer. I motion that we have not done anything. She “helps” us by getting a mop, swiping the floor for one minute, handing the mop to me and then leaving. I spend the next half-hour fuming and mopping up the mess.

Finally, DH returns and we have pizza on the veranda. We also feed ‘our’ cat again. A dog appears out of nowhere and hops over our fence. We give him some milk, but he greedily scares away the cat and drinks hers too. After he goes, DS2 goes over to refill the cat’s dish. The dog stealthily appears out of nowhere. We wait a while, until it safe, and refill the cat’s milk dish. Now, several other cats appear and start to have a cat fight. We bang loudly on the pizza box and scare them away. We feed “our” cat milk and tuna. She is appreciative.

travelgirl2 Aug 5th, 2006 10:53 AM

Day 26 – Santorini

Today is our last day in Santorini. We have decided to relax at the villa and do some more laundry. I have also talked everyone into going to MARIO’S TAVERNA for lunch one more time before we have to turn in the car. DH shakes his head at my obsession, but happily drives us half an hour to get there. It is wonderful, as always. (This is our third time there.)

DS1 and DS2 have a falling out in the morning, but by the time we get to Mario’s, they have made up and we have a very nice time together. I can sympathize with both of them. It is hard to be the oldest and it is hard to be the youngest. The main thing that I cared about was that everyone got over it and we made it to Mario’s one more time (ha ha :) ).

We spent the afternoon reading and packing.

For dinner, we went to SKALA, which is in Oia. It was fine. We had tzasiki, onion patties, lamb, grilled shrimp, pork souvlaki and spaghetti. The waiter cut himself while opening our bottle of wine and got blood all over the bottle. When DS1 pointed the dirty bottle out to me, I told him it must be tomato sauce and wiped it off. DS2 then told me that the waiter had flinched while opening the wine and, sure enough, we looked over to the waiter and noticed that he now had a bandage on his finger. So, I got wet paper towels from the bathroom and wiped the bottle again and also washed my hands. We all somehow survived.

After dinner, we stopped at the Internet Café again. We all bought an hour of time and the kids were very happy playing computer games while DH and I checked email, etc. I received an email from a friend telling me that one of my friends at home was injured a few days ago. She was mowing the lawn on her riding mower, when it flipped over. She injured her back and has been in the hospital for 5 days. She is in a brace from her neck to her torso and will have to wear it 24/7 for a while. I hope that she regains mobility very quickly, for she has an adorable and energetic 5 year old little boy. When we get back to the villa, we give a call and leave a message for her husband.

We spend a little time packing and then go off to bed.

LoveItaly Aug 5th, 2006 11:23 AM

Hi travelgirl!! I love the way you handle problems in such a calm manner, the overflowing washing machine, getting stuck moping up the laundry toom, the waiters blood all over your bottle of wine, your sons bickering all morning, the fights between the animals, you are terrific!!

crefloors Aug 5th, 2006 12:35 PM

Oh goody, you're back!!!!!! Glad all is well. Looking forward to more.

massagediva Aug 5th, 2006 01:12 PM

Hi, Travelgirl(2)-ahh,memories of Greece.I came back a bona fide tzatziki freak!

tower Aug 5th, 2006 01:15 PM

Welcome back, TG...your return started with enough excitement that most people don't get in three or four week trips!

You have completely destroyed the accepted idea that a visit to the Greek islands is one of tranquility and placid relaxation! But what colorful memories you are storing!! Please don't make us wait too long for the next installment!!
Thanks so much for sharing!

Stu T.

Dejais Aug 5th, 2006 07:13 PM

Thanks for the update, Travelgirl2. You've put another smile on my face with your positive attitude. Tell your boys to just be thankful that neither of them is the MIDDLE child. That ought to give them something to think about!

Now, go forth, enjoy, and report back with more interesting tidbits! :)

marigross Aug 7th, 2006 03:25 AM

I consider myself rather unflappable but a bloody bottle might have thrown me over the edge...congratulations!

Keep posting!

travelgirl2 Aug 7th, 2006 10:37 AM

Day 27 – Flight to Athens

We wake up and pack, feed the cats one more time and head off to the airport for our quick flight to Athens. In Athens, our luggage seems to take forever to come out onto the carousel. Yannis is waiting to take us to our apartment. We load the luggage in the trunk of his mid-size car. There are 3 suitcases hanging (really hanging) out of the trunk. Yannis assures us it will be okay. He said it is too long a ride to have a suitcase on our laps. The seats are black leather and the car is immaculate. Yannis is a handsome older man, wearing a neat t-shirt and a gold chain. He is exactly what I imagine a Greek man should look like. He is very friendly and speaks wonderful English. He shows us into the apartment.

We are immediately struck by how nice this apartment on Immitou Street is. We rented it from Carole. Her web site is I think they have a few apartments now. Our apartment (Beta) has just been renovated. Everything in it is new. Size-wise it is small, but a decent size for a city apartment, with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen with counter and bar stools and small living room. The brand-new appliances are fabulous, especially the full-size washer and dryer.

Carole has stocked it with everything we could possibly need: laundry detergent, bounce sheets, paper towels, new towels, Frommer’s and Fodor’s and several other guide books, etc. There is also a welcome basket with toast, nutella, small tins of Greek specialties, wine, orange juice. Then, there are instructions on how to make a frappe, along with the ingredients. There is ouzo in the fridge and an information sheet on ouzo. Also, a map of the area with a couple of nearby restaurants marked on it. Of all the places we’ve ever rented, and there have been a lot over the years, this apartment stands out for the thoughtfulness put into renovating and equipping it.

We take a walk to the souvlaki place Carole has recommended. On the way, we walk past several cafes, which we find interesting. Each has an indoor area and also an outdoor area, with a sidewalk in between. There is a tent draped over the entire outdoor area, so as you walk on the sidewalk, you are in a covered area and feel like you are in the middle of each café. Many of the outdoor areas are furnished with sofas and lush pillows. There are fans and misting machines. It looks like most people are drinking a frappe, which I think is like an iced coffee. DH and I joke that we couldn’t get into one of these cafes because we would be carded and we’d be too old. This seems to be an area where fabulous 20-30 year olds hang out. Each café has a lovely young girl stationed outside to invite people in.

The souvlaki shop is tiny and very interesting. There are skewers cooking above the heat. One of the skewers has 3 animal (lamb?) heads on it. We ask about a second skewer. It is intestines filled with some meat. There is also the large turning slab of meat (pork) to make souvlakis. The kids opt for chicken kebabs and we choose pork. This is the first time in Greece that we have seen pita bread. We order souvlaki, which is either chicken or pork, with tsaziki sauce, onions, tomatoes and french fries. The french fries are wrapped right into the pita bread with everything else.

We stop at a bakery and get some pastries. We order about 10 small pastries. They are all similar to baklava. Made with phyllo dough and honey. Very sweet.

We also stop at a shop and get a meat pie and a spinach pie. Back at the apartment, we have a yummy late dinner, sitting on barstools at the kitchen counter. The air conditioning in this apartment works great, so we enjoy the respite from the heat.

travelgirl2 Aug 8th, 2006 06:50 AM

Day 28 – Athens

In the morning, Carole drops by to visit. We chat for about an hour. She is very interested in us having a nice stay in Athens. I think it must be so cool to renovate and rent out apartments. She tells us to be sure to come up to the rooftop terrace in the evening and look at the Acropolis, while it is all lit up at night.

For lunch, we go to GEORGE AND ATHINA’S restaurant, which Carole has recommended. They have wonderful Greek home-style cooking. At lunch, you walk into the kitchen and choose your food from the huge pots on the stove. We especially love the vegetables, which are stewed with tomatoes and onions. We order: peas and potatoes; eggplant, zucchini and potatoes; and long green beans. We also have beef and rice with gravy, beef and potatoes with gravy, fried meatballs and spaghetti. It is way too much food and we take half of it back to the apartment for later.

After lunch, we take a taxi to the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. At the museum, we find that the kids are free. The nice lady at the guide desk tells us that they do not have audio guides. Rather, they have people you can hire to take you around the museum. Instead, she takes the time to show us the map of the museum and recommend how we should structure our visit.

The museum is interesting. The objects on display are beautiful. The guards are dressed in plain clothes, mostly white shirts and dark pants or jeans. They are often sitting on a chair, sometimes speaking in groups or on their cell phones. It takes me a while to realize that these people are guards.

We get in trouble when DS1 is taking a picture of me and DS2 makes bunny ears behind my head. The guard comes over and says, “no funny poses”. She then follows us around for a while. We see a sign that says it is forbidden to take pictures of people in the museum. We are not sure what that means. But, we behave perfectly for the rest of our visit.

There is an exhibit about the archaeological dig at AKROTIRI on Santorini. It was closed when we tried to go there on Santorini, so we are interested to see this exhibit on the dig.

After the museum, we go back to the apartment and decide it would be nice to rent a video. DH goes to the Robo-video store down the block. It has vending machines which dispense DVDs. He doesn’t find out until the following day that there is an option in English, so he takes a guess and brings us a couple of movies to choose from.

We decide to go up to the roof and check out the view. The view of the Acropolis, lit up at night, is stunning. There are tons of lounge chairs and a table and chairs to choose from. I wish we had more time to sit up here, both at night and during the day.

When it is 11:30 pm, we decide that we are hungry again. DH ventures out to get us more souvlaki. The kids ask him to bring an extra one so they can have it for breakfast the following day. I guess they like it. Anything with tzasiki (just like massagediva) ! DH says the scene is hopping outside at midnight.

missypie Aug 8th, 2006 06:56 AM

How did you figure out that you were supposed to go back to the kitchen and choose your food for lunch? Did someone speak good enough English to tell you this? That seems like the type of place that would baffle my family!

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