...I suspect I may be the luckiest kid in the world

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Big Fat Greek Holiday (9 Things You Should Know About My 9 Days in Paradise)

They said we were crazy. They said we'd never make it. A trip to Greece - outside of Season? But we came, we saw and we conquered - and had an amazing marvelous 9 days.
Zurich - Milan - Athens (will never fly cheap airline again, ugh) - Meteora (via Trikala) - Volos - Skopelos -Volos - Athens - Milan (will never fly cheap airline again, ugh) - Zurich.

I went with another aupair, Pei Wen, who has the ability to make me laugh so hard I was forever needing the loo. We spent the first day looking all around Athens, before heading to the Areopagus (Mars Hill - Paul preached from up here!) to watch the sun set over the Acropolis.

I'd heard rumours of a €2 Kebab. As in, a donor Kebab NOT skewered meat. Living in a world where I can only dream about affording a Kebab meant I rejoiced with anticipation.
And I was not disappointed. I've never seen such a work of art. It was like a bouquet - with hot chips!

At Meterora, I saw some of the most amazing man-made feats I have ever seen. Six monasteries built on these

It's hard to fathom. They date back to the 14th century, when there was more than twenty monasteries.
They're just sitting at the top of these huge pillars, I'm still speechless when I think about it.
Pei Wen and I were lucky enough to have a contact, now friend - Vasilis, in a little village near the Monasteries to stay with, and even more, to be a part of his family and friend's lives for a little while.
They cooked us fantastic food and we stayed at the family home outside of the village, in an even smaller village. I also saw the biggest vat of tomato sauce I have ever seen and we got to clean to vat afterwards (yum!)

As we were leaving, Vasilis' mother gave us both a Pomegranate. Vasilis told us later in the car that it was a special gift, a symbol of fertility.
Uh, thank you?

(Many seeds, am feeling especially fertile)

I met Rebecca the Brave. Rebecca the Brave with Pepper Spray. We happened to be staying at the same place one night. She told me about keeping the Spray at the top of her bag, at the ready if she felt wary. I didn't want to scare or wake her in the night!
But who knew Pepper Spray came in such a convenient little size?!
But she also told me good things, thoughtful things about being a guest in another's home and embracing the life of those around you - wherever you are. But more than telling, she showed me what it looked like. Her gentleness and grace really touched me and I'm glad to have crossed paths.

After visiting Athens and Meteora, we decided to head to the island of Skopelos. Everyone said not to go there, that the season was over and nothing would be open.
I was in search of beautiful beaches, warm weather and no other tourists.
We hit the jackpot.
None of the touristy shops were open, but that suited us 100%. We managed to find the sole car available for hire on the island and went in search of beauty. At night I came home needing to sleep. My eyes had seen too much beauty and needed rest.
I'm serious.

While we were there, might as well see the Mamma Mia film locations. I'm not one to waste an opportunity!
The best place? Agios Ioannis - (the wedding chapel used in the film). It was amazing. We got to visit many chapels on the Island but this one stood out from the rest. It's almost on it's own island, jutting out from the cliff - and there are more than 200 stairs to climb to the top.
I did this twice.
I'm a glutton for punishment.

(see that second rock jutting out? the chapel is on top of that!)

The second time we got up very early and made the trek there to watch the sunrise. It's even more difficult to climb the 200 steps in the dark!
It was more than worth it.

This is an attempt to 'time lapse' the photos I took of the sunrise into a video.

Unfortunately I got a bit sick - even the morning we climbed the steps I thought my glands might actually pop out of my neck (is this physically possible? and if not, why does it feel this way?) and so we headed the chemist. I'd heard on the grapevine that chemists here could give out antibiotics and so I went to plead my case.

Me: I think I need antibiotics. I heard that it was possible to get them from you. (I then proceeded to tell him my medical sorrows.)

Chemist: (cutting me off, glancing furtively around.) Where did you hear this?

Me: Um, just around. Can you?

Chemist: Perhaps. If you don't tell anyone. Hush hush, so to speak.

Me: Um, ok.

Chemist: But I don't know if you need antibiotics. Perhaps you should visit the doctor.

He made it sound so easy. The doctor was just around the corner and it shouldn't take too long.
I rounded the corner to the doctors and something about the long line snaking out the door told me the chemist never needed to visit the doctor, him being able to prescribe himself any medication. Not too long, indeed.

I spent some time playing charades with the other waiting patients as they wanted to discuss our ailments.

Several hours later I left. When the doctor told me I probably shouldn't leave my bed for the next couple of days, I realized that I probably shouldn't mention the 200+ stairs in the cold and wind that morning if I wanted to maintain any respect. I headed for the Chemist, armed with prescriptions that would set me back quite a few Euro.
Me: Can I please get these antibiotics.

Chemist: (glancing at my list) Oh, so you are sick. It's quite serious.

Me: Yes. Just hand over the pills and no one will get hurt.

I think this is why it cost so much. I should have been nicer.

When I fell in love with the beautiful Skopelos I increased with vigour my search for the perfect Greek man. One who would take pity on me and my obsession with beautiful beaches and stunning cliffs and make an honest woman out of me.
However, then I discovered the Pom Poms.
On the shoes.
And the silly dance with the Pom Poms on the shoes.
Nothing wrong with regular visits, me thinks.

An amazing, amazing trip. So glad we went. Happy happy Greek holidaying!


  1. me thinks your choice of outfit was not at all coincedence....

  2. Reading this gives me delight.... if it is possible to even have delight.

  3. I think that the pepper spray idea is GENIUS!!!! And thankyou so much for talking about kebabs when i am hungry because i can't eat solid foods atm! Stupid braces!
    I just drooled all over the keyboard.
    Em x