Friday, May 29, 2009

Thoughts of Vacation

Greece is a nice place to unwind for a few weeks if you are not Turkish and you get the chance. Unless they are on strike, protesting, or attempting to rob you, or selling something (which can be like robbing you in Greece), the people are fairly easy going.

Around Athens, the ancient city area of the Plaka is the best. Walking down a dark street (vicambulating nocturnally), you can turn a corner, then suddenly before you is a 2500 year old ruin or monument all lit up like an archaeological Christmas tree complete with sculptural bling. Several bars on rooftops and around the squares have good wine and entertainment, but look out for the wine with the pine tar flavor called Retsina (it's ok to me but lots of people I've discussed with don't like it).

A good day trip out of Athens is the legendary (but still real) ancient Delphi. As in the 'Oracle of Delphi' where rulers throughout history like Kim Jong Il went to listen to a druggy priestess mumble incoherently and real world solutions were applied to the serious issues of the day.I'm fairly sure it is similar in functionality to the Oracle of Bacon at Virginia.

Away from the mainland, the islands are great, particularly Thira (also called Santorini). It seems to be impossible to take a bad picture here, particularly at sunset. I tried... I even used one of those disposable ones and scratched the lens up a bit just to see if a few shots would turn out poorly but no luck. You have all the nightlife of downtown, the unique beauty of the caldera cliffs, and museums and wonderful archaeological sites. Speaking of archaeological sites, I saw this in Minoan Akrotiri. WTF is this? Is it a 4000 year old potty-training device???

Even with all the great aspects, driving was an issue on Santorini. First of all, the road I traveled was directly on the top of the remaining volcano cone sectionwith a 350 meter drop on either side of the road with no trees available to help 'pinball' you down the cliff. Then there were the sudden hair pin turns for some real white knuckle action (and not the good kind, is there a good kind?). On top of all that, the signage everywhere is strange because of the Cyrillic-style characters. So as you might be wondering to yourself 'should I turn left or right' as the truck behind you is bearing down, you also have to read a sign, figure out what the damned words sound like, and then convert them to English all the while not looking over either cliff edge to the right or left.If it was dark when this was happening, I'm sure I'd still be falling.


  1. In Indiana, there is a city named "Delphi", and they have a high school. The mascot for Delphi High School is the Oracles, which I always thought was really clever/cool.

    Isn't Santorini where Atlantis was supposed to have been?

  2. I am glad to have found your blog, and will be traveling back here regularly.

    And that does look like an ancient potty-training device. Quite startlingly like.

  3. *sigh*

    I wish I was on vacation. Maybe I'll lay out on my deck chair tomorrow and close my eyes and pretend I'm in Santorini.

    ; )

  4. Mjenks, that is cool. So much more inventive than 'bison' or 'longhorns', and yep based on the accounts of Plato and relative distances, they think that gave rise to the Atlantis legend. There is another 'Atlantis' in the Bahamas I hear, but I haven't been to that.

    Hi Lidian, did you find me through Heather Cherry's blog? (She has a bit of the retro thing going on). Your blogs are very detailed and clever, and I love that kind of history so I'll be following for sure.

    :) S&C
    I wish I was on vacation too. I've been working too many weekends lately and need to get the heck out of town / the country.
    A deck chair? Sounds like you have a nice little setup there.

  5. I've always wanted to go to Athens. My experience of Greece has led me to fear for my wallet. Actually I'm more worried about my wallet's welfare with Albanians than Greeks, I once witnessed an Albanian crash his motorcycle right in front of us, we were sitting outside a cafe. He wasn't wearing a helmet and was very lucky. 'Flamin' Albanians' said my mate, we still occasionly use that phrase.

    [In jest, we're not anti-Albanian or racist!]

  6. That primitive potty device looks like it has the same comfort rating as the stone beds in Pomppeii. I'll bet going on vacation to Europe and the Mediterranean with you would be kind of like having a mixture of Rick Steves from PBS(but a cooler version)and Indiana Jones there to explain everything to us simple folk.

  7. I wish I was on vacation and your post didn't exactly help my yearning feeling...

    My best friend is in Greece right now...she left yesterday. So. Jealous.

  8. Lopez, I'm sorry, you guys were talking about friends in Greece yesterday so I was remembering that it was pretty nice and was compelled to share some pictures and stuff.
    Have fun going out and we'll all be there in spirit.

    Chaka, lol, yes not the best. The Pompeii beds even have stone 'pillows'... Why??????
    ps - Jeez, thanks for finishing that sentence about how I'm cooler than Rick Steves. I was really worried for a second... Does Rick Steves' voice remind anyone else of the dentist character in the claymation Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer???

    Mo - The Albanians are a shifty group, hmm? I'll bet they are the sort that nice old lady would pull out of line down at the M&S with her iron grip.

  9. Great stuff Eric :) My friend is back from Greece now and said they had a lovely time ... although I'm not entirely convinced they ever left the hotel bar

    Btw: Did you get permission from Vic to use the word "Vicambulating"??? She adopted it a few weeks back, so she might still be feeling a little bit possessive

  10. Thanks Girl Interrupted, also glad your friend had good times. Kind of tough not to around so many fun loving Greek people.

    *shhhh* No, and please don't tell her. I'm secretly hoping that I'll be able to bury this post with a few other ones before the effects of her cold medicine wears off. :)

  11. "If you are not Turkish"
    :-) That is so true!

    "Unless they are on strike, protesting, or attempting to rob you, or selling something (which can be like robbing you in Greece)"

    You sure know how to sell a vacation destination :) I would love to rent a sail boat and see the Greek Islands. God, I need a vacation.

  12. My almost husband and I were discussing honeymoon options and Greece is def in my top three.

    I was trying to come up with something clever and witty about the primitive potty device but it really does look like a potty training seat for kids.

  13. lol Dutch Donut Girl,
    the Cypress issue is still a sore point with lots of people down there. Seda, a sexy friend of mine from Turkey told me one time about a Greek guy at a party who gave her crap about Constantinople vs. Istanbul. That happened at least a few years ago. Water under the bridge? Nope.

    And boats rock (pun intended), let's get a group together for some island sailing, haha.

    Hey there Jo Lee!
    BTW, loved your irreverent guest post on LILU...
    You should actually go to Greece, it is great.

  14. Never been to mainland Greece, although I have visited a number of the islands over the years.

    Retsina is one of those things that you start liking after the fourth or fifth glass, but by then you'd probably be able to argue the merits of a pint of creosote as well.

  15. Yeah, we just made our own patio with these cool cobblestones and we have 2 of those meshy lounge chairs and a little table; it's quite lovely.

  16. The Jules, I can't agree more about Retsina, maybe they have some with the higher Creosote content for the more initiated. Nice food post over on your site today. One thing I like about Greece is their love of the traditional 'milk and honey' going back to ancient times. That is, yogurt and honey, particularly if it is on the balcony of my favorite Thira hotel on a sunny morning looking over the volcano.

    S&C, that sounds great! I love stonework outside. Sounds like an optimum place for some wine and a good book.

  17. This may be in obvious question but why shouldn't you go if you're Turkish?

  18. They have been disputing the island of Cyprus and were at war back in 1967. From what my friends over there tell me, there is still some bad blood. I hear they even eye tourists suspiciously if coming directly from Greece to Turkey. I do want to go to Antakya, Ephesus, and some other places though because of the killer ruins.

  19. yassou! I used to see a girl from karpathos as a teenager. I wanted to bang the mom more than her.