October 29, 2012

Donkey rides and AAR

Setting my alarm to 5:30am on a weekend, on a vacation, in Greece, is definitely something I never thought I would do. But with the time difference (Greece being 1 hour ahead), it was a must-do if we wanted to wake up in time to see the sun rise!! By the time we got ready and out the door, the sun was already semi-rising which made the view from our terrace super gorgeous again (with the street lights, gloomy sky, and peaking sun). We didn't really know where to go to see the sun rise, so we just stood in the middle of the road.. It was super cloudy so we ended up waiting around 20ish minutes for it to rise out of the clouds. But it was definitely worth standing in the freezing wind and cold!! It was so pretty :)
(Sorry for all the pictures but merps!! It's too pretty :))
After the sunrise, we went back to the hotel to snuggle up in our blankets while waiting for breakfast. After breakfast, we packed up and rushed to get to Fira (the main city) so we could go on our boat excursion! It took us a record of 6 minutes because we were speed walking :P
We took the cable car down to the port, and got on the boat with 2 minutes to spare! Amazing race checkpoint success? Haha
It was really windy on the boat but at least we finally fulfilled our boat dream :) haha the boat excursion included a visit to the volcano and also time to swim at the hot springs!
Our first stop: the Caldera volcano! I didn't know that we would be legit climbing a volcano.. It was very unfortunate that we were wearing sandals and that we also had our backpacks with us!! It was super tiring but as per usual, we got through it :) everything just looked like piles on piles of piles of rocks because we walked by many inactive volcanoes. When we got to the one active one, we saw smoke come out of the ground!! It was pretty sick. I wanted to see lava, but that would probably mean I'd die... So I guess I'll settle for some volcanic smoke haha. Also, I took 2 cool looking volcanic rocks home with me :)
Second stop: hot springs!! The boat docked about 10 meters away from the hot springs and people would have to dive off the boat and swim there. SO cool. I've always wanted to do that, but I wasn't properly dressed slash it was really pretty cold! Lamesies. And that marks the end of our boat excursion :)
After that, we went back to the port and road donkeys back up to Fira. PS, they are called "Donkey Taxis" :D
Let me explain my experience.... 1) I wanted to do this because its cool and 2) I actually wanted to do this mainly because of sisterhood of the traveling pants hehe. So basically there were a lot of donkeys just standing around and you'd get on one and the guy just yells at them and they walk up the steps. (Might I mention, they are all SOOO dirty with a million flies around them, and when they wana go to the washroom, they just do it. Barf.) There are about 600 steps to go up and my huge-ass donkey (pun intended) kept walking next to this other donkey that was poo-ing and farting LOL so disgusting. And their tails kept whipping my legs. Barfbarfbarf. But the ride itself was sooo fun!! It was like riding a horse :P good thing I didn't fall off or else I wouldve fallen into a puddle of poop for sure. 
The only thing that I would want to have done differently is maybe NOT have my backpack on with me hahah and also play the song from Sisterhood when Lena was riding the donkey in Santorini. I'll post you the song below as well.. So you can listen to it while seeing the donkey pictures hahah
Yes... That donkey is peeing in public with NO shame.
Anyways, after the donkey rides, we continued going shopping! We bought little souvenirs, which included our matching evil eye bracelets :).
While buying the bracelets, I ended up talking to this girl and she recommended us to eat at this restaurant down the street, where we ordered something off the menu and even got a 10% discount!! It was some rice dish with gyro in it. It was deliciouss!
We ventured off again and strolled around until we got to the taxi stand, where we went to Santos Winery. We originally wanted to do a wine tour but they only operated that in the morning so we just had a wine tasting instead. We each had 6 glasses of wine.
So apparently you're supposed to always start off with a white wine, then gradually go to rose then red. And finish off with a sweet white wine. In Santorini, their specialty wine is the Vinsanto wine. We tasted that yesterday and it was really odd. But today, I finally distinguished what that weird taste was. It tasted like sour plums!!! I would definitely notttt buy that for leisure drinking. But yknow.. My trips are all about doing things I would never have done so there you go! :P
The taxi driver came back for us to drive us to the airport and we said goodbye to Santorini *tears*
We arrived to Athens pretty late at night so we were pretty sketched out while walking to our hotel. We were in a pretty ghetto area but to our surprise, our hotel was SO nice. It reminded me of a normal hotel, unlike all the other hotels we've been staying at that are super ghetto. For dinner, we picked up some gyro pies (wraps) which was SUPER noms. And then we went to bed in our comfy little beds to get ready for our next big day :)

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GOOD MORNING Athens!! And welcome to the AAR, Athen's Amazing Race - KN and VP edition.
We woke up early to start our adventure to visit all of Athens in 2 hours. We left the hotel and went to our first stop - Panathenaic Stadium. The main two reasons I wanted to visit this stadium was because it hosted the first Olympics and it was also made completely out of white marble (and I have a weird obsession with marble). However, sad to say.. We couldn't find it and time was running out so we quickly went to our 2nd stop - Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Zeus. We found it and scrambled to take pictures with it. Success :) I can now say I have been there :P
After that, we were really running out of time. With only 1 hour left to spare, we quickly ran to find the Acropolis. With many tour groups showing up, we had to try to beat the lines to get in. Luckily EU students get free entrance so we didn't have to pay, so we got that advantage! Once inside, we quickly ran around taking pictures with everything we could see. Even though we were super rushed, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had faint memories of being there before, which was really cool for me. Also, the occasional marbled paths made my day!!! Haha, other than that.. We really didn't do much. Bahaha
And here is where AAR really started.. With an hour to spare before our flight took off, and 30 minutes before the gate closed, we found a taxi and started rushing back towards the airport. We were SO stressed because the taxi driver said that it would take around 30 minutes to get to the airport, which would mean that the gate would be closed by the time we got there, checked in, and got through security. MERPS. But thank GOODNESS we had a badass taxi driver. Although it was really dangerous, he drove 160 on a 70 rode... Insane. Needless to say, we got to the airport with 5 minutes to spare.
We ran out of the taxi and into the airport. Thank goodness we explored this hotel earlier when we were there waiting to transfer to Santorini. We quickly ran to our said gate direction and then sprinted to the security line.
We got through security, and then without even putting everything back in our backpacks, we literally RAN for our lives to our gate. And of course... AAR had to make it difficult for us. Our gate was the very last one, which meant we had to run all the way to the end of the hall LOL frig. I bumped into so many people and almost fell but WE MADE IT, with 1 person to spare. If that one person did not have an issue with their luggage, they would have closed the gate. PHEWF.
After arriving to Paris, we thought it'd be appropriate to reward ourselves for getting through this trip. So we had some macaron and tea time at Ladurée :) it was great.
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And that's it!! Hope you all enjoyed my Greece experience! XO
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