09.22.2009 27 °C
So this next bit is going to be something like a blog within a blog. Since I’ll be having minimal internet time on my little holiday, I decided to blog as I go on word, and then just put it all up at the end!
P.S. pics soon, promise!
Sept. 12: Travel Day and Arrival!
My morning goes off without a hitch: got up early, had a hot shower (something that was hit-or-miss at my last hostel…) had a huge fruit breakfast, and made my way to the airport. It seemed simple enough; get the blue line till the end, then take bus 200 to the airport. Metro was simple, of course, and bus 200 was waiting for me at the other side. I get off at Terminal 1 at the Budapest airport, can’t see my carrier (Malev Hungarian Airlines) and the info guy tells me they’re at terminal 2, and to just wait for the next bus to come when I got off. So I did, and another bus 200 comes in 10 minutes. Still way ahead of schedule, so no worries there. 10 minutes into my new bus ride, things are looking awfully familiar, and when I asked the guy when the terminal 2 stop was, he says, “Terminal 2? No, this bus go back to city.” I was like, “No, no, no I need to go to terminal 2!” in only a slightly panicked voice, and he just says, “Well, get off at last stop (at the metro) and start again.” I was like yea, good plan. So I did, asking about 6 times throughout the bus ride if we were getting to terminal 2, as now there was no room for error in the timetable. I’m still confused though, as all the bus 200’s from the metro go to both terminals, and that one from terminal 1 went straight back to town. The only explanation is that maybe the bus driver for that bus went to terminal 2 first? Not sure. Anyways, made it still in plenty of time for my flight, got an amazing salad for lunch that cost a slight fortune - imagine how much my salad was if a bottle of coke was 870 HUN (3.50 euro, over 5 dollars!) Anyways, my meal code worked for the flight and my teeny two-hour flight served sandwiches! I did put in that I wanted a vegan meal when I booked, but I didn’t think it would do anything seeing as how it was such a short flight, but the flight attendant came right up to me asking if I had the vegan meal, and I was like, “Uh… ya!” And she handed me my hummus and eggplant salad and fresh apple, while everyone else had their nasty chicken and cheese sandwich. Apparently being a vegan has its advantages when it comes to plane food!
So we’re cruising along, the flight’s going well, and we’re about to start descending into Athens. I didn’t know I signed up for f*cking six-flags, but that’s fully what I got. You know the hellevator at the PNE? Picture that, but, oh, 35,000 feet in the air in a hurling piece of metal. My stomach flipped and STAYED flipped, THREE TIMES. Like it wasn’t a quick, “Whoooaa!” It was a, “Jesus Christ… Holy shit!!!” moment, directly quoted, by the way. I grabbed my stomach and the armrest, and so did everyone else on the plane. Then we dropped again, and then again, both times you could actually feel yourself lift off the seat. No kidding. Like, when this normally happens in a plane it’s pretty crazy, but to lift off your seat in a plane? IS NOT COOL. Not only that, but I was totally watching 9/11 vids last night, so those were playing in the back of my mind as we seemed to be dropping out of the sky. Top it all off with a near-crash landing (the whole plane screamed) and we were finally in Athens. I couldn’t believe it! I was like, “Is this how they fly planes in Europe?!” And then the flight attendant came on a said something in Hungarian and everyone started cheering and clapping! But they didn’t say it in English! So I have no idea what went on there. All I know is I had a good scare of the day, or year, rather, and my next flight went seamlessly. Actually, my 4 hour wait in the Athens airport was aaaawesome, as there were multiple Grecian men’s soccer teams there, and another really good salad bar, AND free wifi. Talk about making a girl happy!
Once I arrived in Corfu, I waited a few minutes outside for Angelica from Angelica’s Backpackers to pick me up. She had offered to drive me to Sidari for 30 euro, in northern Corfu where the hostel is, because the buses didn’t run that late on weekends, and the taxi would have been over 60 euro. So we chatted all the way up to Sidari, and she showed me little things along the way. My hostel is suuuuper cute. I have a HUGE room/kitchen/deck/bathroom all to myself, the beach is around the corner, and there’s a supermarket down the road. Angelica gave me a big bottle of water for the night, and told me to rest and that she’d give me the tour in the morning.
Day 2: I slept in today until about 9 on the most uncomfortable bed I‘ve had yet, then I slowly got ready (with a cold shower… interesting) and walked through the town to get some groceries and make myself acquainted. It’s a really cute little town; they call it “little Brittain” because about 99% of the tourists here are British. And it’s true! There’s me and a Spanish couple, and the rest of the people are from the UK. The hostel descriptions lied a little, as it’s about 12 minutes t the beach, but it’s all good. A little extra walking is not gonna kill me! There’s a few Greek restaurants, a couple of international restaurants, quite a few beach bars, a couple of free pools with sun chairs and such, and a big, long beach. The internet is bloody expensive, at one place it’s 1 euro for 12 minutes! At another place further down it’s an hour for 3 euros, so that’s a bit better. After getting a few things at the grocery store, I walked back to my hostel (which I’m just gonna call my room, as it’s totally not a hostel!) and got changed for the beach. As I’m walking down it starts to thunder, but it’s still sunny, then it starts to rain, but I get to the beach and everyone else is still tanning away so I did too! The thunder kept going but the rain stopped and the sun stayed out so it wasn’t all bad. I get back to my room, found some English TV channels (woop woop!) and made some dinner. Just as I’m getting into a decent English movie, the power goes out! Frick. Then like 10 minutes later, as I’m going to bed, the hostel lady (who doesn’t speak English, by the way) comes down and points at the generator lights and speaks in Greek, “yadda yadda yadda… kaputzo!” I assume that meant that the power’s out, and ya, lady, I got that 10 minutes ago when the lights went out.
Day 3: Today I didn’t do much. I woke up and wandered around the town again, got onto the internet, then made my way back to my room. It was hoootttt, so I walked back into town to find a spot by the pool. I tanned, I swam, and I tanned some more. That’s pretty much all!
Day 4: Today I did basically the same as yesterday, except maybe read a bit more. I finished my last book, “Midnight Cage”, which was a random I picked up in Vienna at an English bookstore. It was really good though, about a muslin girl from Afganistan who makes her way to London in the 1850’s. Crazy what women had to go through, and still go through in some countries. Blows my mind how women used to be treated. Anyways, now I’m onto Ken Follett’s “Lie Down With Lions,” which is proving to be good already. I’m in love with Follett after I read “Pillars of the Earth,” and am waiting rather impatiently for my mom to come with the sequel, “World Without End,” as it’s much cheaper to buy back home than here. Everything is, actually! She’s bringing me new sandals too, as my beach/shower ones keep felling apart. Hopefully they’ll make it till she gets here!
So Angelica, who picked me up from the airport, is one of the owner’s of the hostel, along with her non-English speaking parents. I haven’t seen Angelica since I got here, but her mom is always around saying hi and bye to me when I come and go. Tonight, as I’m in my pj’s, no makeup, burnt from sun tanning too much, she comes to my room and waves her arms in an upward motion. She’s speaking Greek, but using English words too, and I make out the words “upstairs” and “people” and “talking” and “you come.’ So I’m assuming she wants me to come upstairs and socialize, but I’m in the middle of making dinner, and clearly not dressed to leave my room. Oh, and in no mood to be around couples on their holiday! I told her thanks, but that I was fine. So 10 minutes later, she’s knocking on my door again, practically leading me out of the room, and I’m like, “No, I’m good!” Thumbs up and everything. She’s like, “Ooooh, good, okay.” So that was a bit weird, but they probably don’t get solo 20 year old girls at their hostel that often! I’m totally fine being by myself anyways, but I am getting SOO excited to have some travel partners in, like, 6 days!!
Day 5: Last night it stormed like crazy, tons of rain, it was very loud in my room. And quite freaky actually. It’s weird sleeping by yourself after two and a half months of sleeping with other people around you. I had a hard time the first night actually. Also, it’s really dark in my room, like pitch black, whereas the hostels always had some light coming in, from the streets or whatever, so that’s took some getting used to as well. Anyways, the weather was still crap at 10 (when Oprah’s over lol) so I decided to have a shower and go into Corfu town to explore, that way I wouldn’t lose any precious tanning time. Well, I go to brush my teeth and there’s no running water. None in the shower either. I settled for putting my hair up and I got ready anyways, and went upstairs to see when the buses run. The hostel lady said to me, “No washing!” I was like, ya I noticed! And she brought me out on the porch where she showed me that her husband was trying to fix it. The bus left at 11 so I made my way down to the supermarket, where it goes from, and joined in with the crowd who was also waiting. It was 11:20 and still no bus, but everyone was still waiting so I did too. Finally it came packed full, let 2 people on, closed it’s doors, and left without even explaining! Not very cool. I walked back to my room through town, stopping by a travel shop and booking a seat to Corfu town for Saturday, and the weather was starting to clear up. By the time I made lunch and got changed it was full on sunny again. So I walked back to the pool and tanned until late. Now I’m watching House and relaxing!
Day 6: First of all, I don’t know where 6 days have gone. I think the sun’s got me in some kind of trance. I like it, anyways. Today I got up, watched Oprah (it was about Obama’s inauguration; they’re waaay behind over here!) And headed to the beach! Picked up some anti-histamines en route. Apparently my skin doesn’t like sudden climate change. My skin gets bumpy first, and then red and rashy- so not pretty. It’s not thaaat noticeable- it’s only on my arms. It happened in Mexico, and in Galway, even though there was no sun there, the pharmacist said it was just reacting to a different climate. So hopefully the skin’s better tomorrow. That didn’t effect the sun tanning though, was out in full force again (SPF on Al, no worries!) and it was a gorgeous day, despite the really, REALLY strong wind. It was nice, and I probably burnt because when the wind let up every once in a while the sun was burning hot. It’s all good, it’ll look good tomorrow! I bought another book, “Deception Point,” by Dan Brown, and it’s looking really good so far. It better be for 13 euro, the starting price for books in Corfu, apparently. And I bought some AMAZING olives from the supermarket, which I’m devouring for dinner right now!
Day 7: Today I did the same old. Walked into town, used the internet (real quick!) and laid by the pool, tanning, reading, and listening to my music. My stupid book is so addicting, I’m like 250 pages in already and it’s supposed to last me the rest of this mini-vacation! But I just can’t stop reading! Oh well. I went for dinner today at one of the little Greek restaurants, and it was decent. I ordered the hummus (pronounced HOME-ose over here), olives, and the grilled aubergines (eggplant). They don’t even call eggplants eggplants in Europe. I remember Chris (Welsh guy) mocking me because I didn’t know what an aubergine was, and I was a vegan. Anyways, the hummus was different than the stuff we have back home, or any other hummus I’ve ever tried. It was almost like they mixed normal hummus with Italian dressing…. Hmmm… but it was good anyways. And the eggplants were really yummy. And the waiter couldn’t speak English but he was really nice. And now I’m watching re-runs of AMTM and House, with Greek subtitles, of course!
Day 8: Today I went to Corfu town. I am a little bummed because it was the HOTTEST DAY YET, and I wasted it souvenir shopping and wandering around a not-that-exciting town. I don’t know if the bus just dropped us off in a lame spot or something, but all I was around was dozens of tacky souvenir or knock-off shops, and cafes that I couldn’t eat at. The most exciting thing was stumbling across a sign that said, “Come and try our traditional Greek specialties, made without milk, butter, or eggs.” I was like SOLD. I wandered over, and this voluptuous, highly over-excited woman greets me at the door explaining that the pastries are Corfu specialties, and because they don’t have milk or eggs in them, last for 15 days without a fridge. I was like ok, creepy, but I’m down. I had a vegetable pie for lunch, which was really good, and got 2 sweets to go. I tried both when I got back home. One of them was made with the 3 native Corfu fruits, the only one I remember being the kumquat, and the other one was made with cinnamon and other yummy stuff. They were both good, but I wouldn’t get them again. Anyways, I was so bored by the end of my 4 hour trip in Corfu, that I bought a people magazine to read outside the bus for the last half an hour. A 6 euro 50 people magazine! Frick… but it was interesting.
Day 9: Today I… wait for it… tanned by the pool!! I also made friends with an older British couple, who’ve been greeting me everyday when I get to the pool. They sit in the same chairs every day, and are there before I get there in the morning, and they stay until after I leave. We’ve always said hi, but today we actually chatted about what I was doing. It felt good telling them I was backpacking and just taking a break, as opposed to them thinking I was some crazy young woman who vacations alone from the US (ya, they would think I’m from the states! Pfff!) Very nice couple though. The weather was pretty crap, but everyone else was out, so I figured it wouldn’t be weird if I layed by the pool tanning in the heavy overcast. It even started to lightly rain for 10 minutes, but everyone stayed where they were! It got pretty hot after 3, so I stayed planted and got to catch a few rays before going to dinner. I went out to the other Greek place in town, hoping for some normal hummus. I got into the restaurant and asked the server if I could sit down for dinner, and he patted to the chair next to him. I was like haha buddy, and I was like, “No, haha, that’s ok I’ll just sit over here…” I was wearing my sunglasses, and not my glasses, so I couldn’t see what he looked like from far away, and when he came over to hand me my menu I realized he was a Greek God. No kidding. I fully should have taken that seat offer!! I didn’t need to actually, because after I ordered he sat right across from me and started asking me questions about why I was alone and what I was doing later. Greek guys get right to the point. It wasn’t weird though, and I hadn’t really had a good conversation with someone in a week, so I was glad. Hand gestures with my hostel lady doesn’t really qualify as good conversation. He goes back to being a server and mentions they ran out of hummus, so I just ordered the grilled aubergines like I did at the last place. They came fast… and with parmesan cheese sprinkled all over. And the Greek God is sitting across from me watching me eat. Awesome. It was a weird parmesan because it didn’t melt, so I just brushed it all off, and ate it anyways. So he invites me out to Greek night at his restaurant, where there’s dancing and stuff, and gives me a glass of wine after dinner, and continues to chat with me. It was nice, and the wine went straight to my head, so I stayed and we talked for a bit. I told him I probably wouldn’t come because I was by myself and didn’t dance and didn’t want to walk home alone. He said I could sit at the bar, drink, watch the dancing, and that he would walk me home later. Tempted as I was, I wasn’t about to walk through town at 10 at night (when “Greek Night” starts) by myself. I told him maybe, and left. On my way home I stopped at the internet place again, and the bartender said hi. He was all alone and seemed nice, so after using the internet I said I’d have a drink and chat with him for a while seeing as how he was by himself. He’s really nice, and says hi to me every time I use the internet there, so I thought I’d keep him busy for a while. Spiros is a car mechanic, but there’s no work so he bartends instead. He’s never been outside of Greece though! So we had a good chat about traveling. Really nice guy, and in the end he refused to charge me for my Greek beer. Now I’m ready to pass out from the 2 drinks I had. (How lame!)
Day 10: Today was my last full day at the beach! I tanned by the pool, made hostel reservations, calmed my mother down via face book, and made sure my flights for tomorrow were still a go. I’m super excited to see my mom and Kristal and I can’t wait to have someone to share the rest of my trip with! OUR trip, I should say! But other than that, pretty normal day,
Day 11: EEEEK! Get to see my mom today! Definitely never been so excited to see someone in my life! I got up this morning, packed up my messy room, checked crack book one more time, and took in the last few rays by the pool. I got too anxious to tan, so I went back to my room, finished packing and painted my nails, mostly so my mother doesn’t think I’ve lost my hygiene or something! The people at the hostel drove me to the bus stop for the 16:00 bus that didn’t come until 16:24, making me quite the stress case! I’m already anxious enough, and the freaking bus has it’s own timetable. I’ve learnt that a Grecian schedule should include “+/- 30 minutes” on it! I’ve also learned that Grecians are bloody crazy drivers. While we were waiting for the bus, we saw 2 cars fishtail, a motorcycle do a wheelie, and a big market transport truck not be able to start, roll across the street while repeatedly turning the engine over, get a push start from a teeny smart car, and then it stops on the wrong side of the road, and RACES the smart car! Wtf? Craaazy. My flight from Corfu to Athens was good, and now I’m waiting to see my mother in t-minus 50 minutes!!!