Friday, November 28, 2008

Fun Friday

We had our first in-n-out burger.  Oh are we going to have culture shock moving back...the lady showing us around didn't even think twice about going through the drive-through.  We had our burgers specially wrapped to drive and got these place mats for our laps then we were good to go!  Lord Help Us. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We just landed today from L.A. We were looking for a house out there. 
Hope you are all enjoying Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dogs of Athens

The dog is on the roof of the ticket booth 
I wanted to take her home
slow day for guide dogs
There is actually 3 dogs here all lined up - entry of the acropolis 
Watch your step!!! 

There are dogs everywhere in Athens.  Which Foxy was protesting cause there are signs every where that say "no dogs" but it is full of the loose dogs in the sites. 
My favorite dog in Athens...she liked hanging out in the closet and digging on the bathrobe. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Athens day 5

Please let me out I want to pee on all this old stuff

The guy in the green sweater is one of the tourist we saw at dinner on Saturday -actually all 3 of them were there. (temple of olympian zeus acropolis in the fore ground)
Temple of Olympian Zeus

we used miles for our trip and on the way home to fly business class was the same amount of miles as coach so I chose business class (much to Joe's dismay) Well they gave Foxy her own seat-they actually were really concerned and kept asking me if it was o.k. HELLO she is not on the floor under a seat, it is more than o.k. it is wonderful. Also on the lag from Amsterdam to Brussels the same cat was on the flight too - but this time I think they just pretended there was 1 pet in the cabin. 
Hi Grandma - look where I am! 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Athens day 4

Longitude: 22 degrees 10’ 38.18”
Latitude: 38 degrees 25’ 39.61” and an altitude of 700 meters.

What is at this…The Village of Sotena where my great grandfather and grandfather lived. (Before my grandpa came to the US)
Thinking it would be a quick 3-½ hour drive to the village from Athens and stop at Delphi on the way. OHH was I wrong. We got of to a very very late start. Then the GPS took us on a slow way and the weather was bad in some spots to Delphi we could not even see the front of the car due to the fog.
munchies for the road
With a brief so-so meal break in Delphi we were still in search of the village. The drive through and on the mountains with the view of the sea below was fabulous.
My favorite town we drove through was Arachova (it looked like a fancy village) We did try and stop but there was no parking to be found so we thought on the way back we could try and stop. 

Arachova from a distance-we actually saw cloud coming a crossing the road in some spots here.

Finally we got to a road that gps told us to go up. The road was a single lane dirt road up a huge mountain – A mountain nobody told us we had to go up a mountain. I called my Parents to which my mom said “when you dad and grandpa visited the village (like 60 years ago) they had to take donkeys up the mountain to the village”. What donkeys and the top of the mountain! So we started up the mountain in a compact beat to shit Suzuki with a missing hubcap and no get up and go power. We made it ¼ of the way up then carefully turned around. Did I mention it was very narrow with no shoulder just a long way down on the side of you. It was what Joe called switch backs up the mountain.
Views from only 1/4 of the way up the mountain of death as we called it.
on the left of the photo you can see the other side of Greece

Then we tried it again and drove up all the switch backs after a very long hour we reached a village that was all quiet and saw a church (which my great grandfather help build in his village) I told Joe to quick turn around so I could take a photos of the church then we could head back down because it is dark now. All of a sudden these people just appeared from nowhere. 3 old men with there worry beads in hands approached the car and we asked if this was the right village by showing them the photo copy of a map and the letter from the president of the community that he originated from there. There was a scribe of a signature on the bottom of the paper that got them all excited but from what we could tell we had to go back 10k then take that road.
On our way home we got turned around and missed the cute town – not sure how there is only one main road – we stopped at 2 gas stations on the way home for directions. All road signs out this far are in the Greek alphabet words no English translation. My years in the sorority helped with the Greek alphabet but not the language. (in the museums for abcd or alpha, beta, gamma, delta)

After 10 hours in the car we were back in Athens. The real kicker of this is…I bought a road map this summer in the US to use due to the fact the village is so small (50 people) it isn’t on the map and I had a bad photocopy from my uncle that I was trying to follow. Any way I looked again at the map the rental car company gave us – it didn't have road number on it so we used the other map – the darn village was on that map showing roads to it….the F@*%!  

Oh well I got to see cute old traditional Greek men. I’m afraid that is the last of them the little boy we saw in the village looked like any other boy not to mention Athens was really Americanized.

side of a mountain 
War Monument
Cute house/church on a little island. Behind it you can see the main road we came down, our ears were popping the whole trip with up the mountain down the mountain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Athens day 3

After breakfast we noticed the streets were all blocked off and it was nice and quiet no horns honking or cars buzzing by.
We had no idea when I moved up the trip that the Athens Marathon was going on the 9th. The runners started and finished at the Olympic stadium. We just watched some of the 5k and Special Olympics’ runners come in.

We had to get to the Parliament for the changing of the guards that should have taken place at 11:00. But they started to clear out the square and we just happened to be there to get in the front. The show started at 10:20 – yes I know Greeks are late but this Sunday they were early, maybe for the marathon is the only thing I can think of.
a snack along the way-1 euro for a huge doughnut
It was normal to see men in these costumes-growing up we had greek items around the house.

We arrived at the National Archaeological Museum that was free for some reason unknown to us– which is not in a nice are of town. Just our opinion judging from the buildings, people and graffiti.

Some famous compass thing Joe was fascinated with
Very old vase

Then we walked through the national gardens.

For dinner we walked back down and got a yummy gyros and check out the tourist stores that were starting to close up. (yes darling brother I got you a flag)
View from the tourist shopping area where we ate our gyros
Dad you didn't tell me you have a store in Athens

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Athens day 2

We started each day off with breakfast at Di Cappo Café in Kolonakiou square. (It is just like a Paris café little table and chairs outside) We ate flaky croissants, pain au chocolate, freshly squeezed OJ (4 oranges per glass) and Joe had coffee.
This being the winter season for Greek tourism most museums and sites close at 2:30 or 3:00. We headed to the Acropolis grounds. The acropolis museum was closed due to items being moved from the old place to the new one. This was suppose to be done by 2007 now they say mid December (we planned this trip for Christmas but moved it up) We however did have time to check out the little section that they had open – so we will have to go back someday.

What you can't see unless you click on the photo is a huge zit right under my lip that had my whole bottom lip swollen.  
Quick stop at Elias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum. The whole second floor was dedicated to American costume jewelry who knew that stuff belonged in a museum. (From the 20’s -50’s)
I would like this dress
This I thought this was funny-he sure has a big mouth

Then we wandered to back to Monastiraki for gyros at Savvas. The waiter would not let me have a gyros sandwich because they are just for to go not at the tables. So I just sat there while Joe at his Souvlaki plate. Then Joe talked me into getting a gyro and coming back to sit at the table. OHHH man was the waiter pissed-but on the other hand it is true this place has the best Gyros in all Athens. Imagine a really good gyros and then they had some French fries in the middle. It sounds weird but it totally worked. YUM YUM.
The walk way we took - we always manage to find the most interesting routes 
The Gyros to go window. The man in the white shirt makes them for you.

Benaki Museum was open Saturday till 5:00 so we quickly buzzed through it before heading back to the hotel for a quick rest before dinner.

pomegranate bush outside the museum 

Since this is Europe and they eat dinner late –the Greeks are always late and dinner here is later. We got the early bird reservation at 8:30 at Vlassi. It was a ways away from the hotel actually 3 metro stops and a walk.
Along the way there was a quick stop-under a street light in the middle of no where was a card table with a satin table cloth and lots of hand made jewelery by a cute old man. Since this was a whirl wind trip and shopping was not on our agenda it was perfect. 2 more treasure to add to my others. (FYI stores take major siesta too)

When we arrived late at the address a house? In a total residential area also with a different name then what I had – we just went in any way and they had our reservation. It was a house – layout like our in Brussels with different salons on the main floor. They had table set up in the different rooms, in our room there was grouping for 6 parities. One table already had 3 mid to late 20’s tourist that looked totally petrified by this whole thing. The waiter tells what the first course choices are (no menus just what is fresh and what the cook want to cook for the day) Then he brings out on a silver tray the options and pick what you want off the tray. Joe had some marinated eggplant with green peppers dish-some how the waiter offered to make me fried calamari and just like that he brought me hot & fresh fried calamari that was the best I have ever had.
Our main course we had baked lamb in butter with garlic for 2 people. Also wonderful the meat was just falling off the bone (1 leg piece and rib pieces on a huge platter) For dessert we split galaktobouriko a firm white custard square with phyllo down on top with honey sprinkled over it. This caught the eye of the other tourist and got the waiter and pointed to our table and ordered the same thing.
While we were enjoying our meal the room was filling up 2 tables were old Greek ladies all dressed up for their big night out. The other tables were friends and family It turned out to be a room full of loud and crazy Greeks. (Yes I included myself in this category)
Sorry no photos of this – It was totally a neighbor restaurant and did’t want to call out too much attention that we were outsiders.

One thing I would like to mention but don’t hold me to it. Athens is a cheap city. Our gyros sandwiches were 1.60, bottle water .50 Euros and our dinner Saturday night was under 50 Euros. By my standards cheap – Brussels is really expensive. I say don’t hold me to this because one time I told someone Cancun was cheap and they went there like a couple year later and were really pissed because it was more expensive then I told her. They said they had to scrape by on little food because it more then they budgeted for. Not sure what they budgeted for food vs. drinks.

Heir (Yesterday)

Yesterday in English heir in French…any way you say it my day was insane.
I started off to French class to inform my professor that I will not be attending any more classed. I actually was suppose to have an oral French exam that day-it was really quick. However on my way up to class on the bus I noticed a lot of police standing around and the huge bus with a water cannon on it. HMMM I thought what is going to happen today.

Construction I walk by to get to French class -some days I feel like the frog in frogger to get through it all. 
The Graffiti I also walk by

Then Rosa and Joanna and I went to an Italian restaurant for lunch. Since Brussels is so international most of the Italian restaurants they speak Italian. (Which I love I feel like I’m in Italy for a couple hours) The problem with this is Joanna hardly speaks English but her French is wonderful. She could not read the menu that was in Italian and asked me to order her something. Rosa is speaks better French than I and broken English…but we all had a good time – trying to figure out what each other was trying to say.
Me, Joanna and Rosa
The truck that almost took us out as were walked out of class.  

Then I decided to walk home because the bus were on a different route and that makes me nervous – I’m never sure where it is going to take me. Half way down Chausse d’Ixelles there was a protest. AHHH that is what all the police were for. I asked a girl in French what was going on…all the immigrants (sans papers)that did not have papers were protesting. (Africans and Middle Eastern people from what I could see) I high tailed my little pale skin light hair body out of there and went to find the bus.

People watching the protest

The bus took me down Ave Louise then straight down to Flagey – or at least that was the plan…our bus hit a car. Of course I was sitting in the front seats and saw it happening. This would not have happened if they had stop sign or stop lights not this priority right thing.

The car the bus hit.

Oh well I ended up walking home any way. Where I stayed for the rest of the day.
Water Cannon in Flagey 
Police bus by Porte du Namur