Wednesday, June 22

Today was a chill day. It was our LAST DAY HERE (so sad) so we spent our time in the morning to finish editing our pictures and getting things ready for our books. In the afternoon we were able to go to the beach again! Third day in a row, score! By now, I have gotten really really tan (yay) and everyone has been telling me that I look like a local (yay, again). We didn't stay for very long, but I was happy we got to spend some time at the beach on our last day here. The beach is my favorite. The rest of the day we didn't do anything blog-worthy, so don't fret because of the lack of entry this time. Our bus is picking us up at 2:30 this next morning to take us to the airport in Athens. No sleep tonight. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, June 21

Off to the island of Hydra!!!! We woke up early, took a 2 hour bus ride to a dock, and boarded a boat that took us to Hydra! They do not allow cars onto to island so their mode of travel is donkey!

The donkey owners do not treat them very well and they rip you off on the cost of donkey rides, so we were not able to ride any. But I wasn’t too bummed because I already have ridden a donkey in Tanzania. We had a couple of hours to shop and take pictures of portraits of people before we went to lunch. I’m pretty sure whenever we are able to split off into groups to explore or eat or do whatever we want, I am 99% of the time with Erin. Let’s just say we’re besties now (plus we take ADORABLE pictures together [they’re all on other people’s cameras so hopefully they will upload some so you can see!])
I do have one...

After lunch we went to a "cliff" and went "cliff jumping"! It wasn't a huge cliff but it was alright and we jumped off rocks that were about high dive-height. It was so fun! The water is soooooooo salty over there. Almost unbearable. I had a slight runny nose pre-jump, and when I got out my sinuses were cleared. Two-in-one's are always fun.

The Greek boys love us. Especially in bathing suits. (We can't help it.)

Monday, June 20

This morning I had 2 bites of toast and strawberry jam, half of a bowl of cereal, and 2 cups of coffee. I usually eat three times that much. My stomach doesn’t hurt anymore, but I can’t eat as much as normal and I can’t eat any meat here- I’m scarred from Saturday. We climbed up 999 stairs to an old monastery/castle around 10 o’clock. It was difficult but nothing like the Cinque Terra hike. THE VIEW WAS MAGNIFICENT! Everyone said the view was worth the hike, and let me tell you it really is. It was so bright outside that I couldn’t get a quality picture- but this was the best I could do:

After lunch we finally went to the beach!!!!!! The public beach is about a 15 minute walk from our hotel, and it was amazing! The only weird part was that the beach had no sand….it was just rocks about the size of apricots/kiwi and other sorts of shapes and sizes. But it was still fun! I got some sun, finally. OH and we managed to turn many more heads walking up and down the beach! (No, we did not walk up and down right in front of a group of cute guys on purpose....) There were two guys tanning on the beach close to us (yes, men here in Europe tan- you won't see that very often in the states) and one of them was the spitting image of Cristiano Ronaldo!!! And he kept staring at us! I'll just say that Cristiano Ronaldo liked us. Sounds good to me. The men here, as you probably have gathered by my stories, are not ashamed to stare. It took me awhile took get used to it but now that I am, and once I get back to the states, I think I will be offended when I don't see guys staring at me anymore.

Sunday, June 19

Waking up was not fun. My stomach still felt bad, not queasy thank goodness, but still upset. I literally had nothing left in my stomach and I could not eat breakfast. So I drank water. We loaded up our bags and things into a bus and started the last leg of our journey to Nafplio. David bought me some Gatorade and Carolyn bought me a bag full of pita bread. I ate about a quarter-sized piece of the bread and didn’t feel well so I stopped. I drank all of the Gatorade. Thankfully I managed to fall asleep on the bus and 2 and-a-half hours later we arrived in Nafplio! It’s beautiful! It is quiet, but not as quiet as Delphi, and it’s busy but not as busy as Athens by a long shot. It is the perfect city in my perspective.

We went to dinner just down the street and then went to see Whirling Dervishes! It was in a local gym about 3 blocks from our hotel, and we were able to catch the last 20 or so minutes of the performance. It was very interesting and I cannot fathom spinning for the amount of time that they were spinning. I think I would fall over and die. But props to them for mastering that art.

(We didn't have a good view- sorry for the poor quality)

(The better part of) Saturday, June 18

After lunch we saw a protest. There were hundreds of people with flags and signs chanting and yelling as they walked through the streets. It was a peaceful protest, there was no violence, but nonetheless it was really cool to see and watch. I was practically in the middle of a protest in Athens, Greece! What a cool claim.

After the protest we went to another museum, but this time it was actually interesting. There were old Greek outfits and costumes as well as tons and tons of ancient jewelry. It was fantastic.

We were also able to see the changing of the guards in front of the legislative building. The guards had to keep their serious facial expression the whole time and we were able to take pictures with them after they were done! Madeline accidently stood on the wrong side of one of them and he stomped his gun at her. It was funny.

Saturday, June 18

Today was an awful day. I hate Athens, so I threw up on it. Let me start from the climax.

An innocent American girl walks in the back of the group heading to shop in a square. With her shades on, she tries to hide her face. Behind the opaque plastic, lie 2 droopy eyes with tears getting ready to rush down. She holds them back. People bustle around her. Her stomach is in knots. She feels her stomach rise through her throat and she stops in the middle of the square. Puke. Before she can make it to a nearby bathroom she pukes right smack dab in the middle of the square in front of everyone. Carly holds her hair. Everyone stares. Embarrassed beyond thought possible, she lets out her tears and is walked over to a bench. She is mortified. Across the square she eyes 2 boys looking at her laughing. The least of her worries. Within seconds, a group of pigeons swarm the fresh puddle of liquid and undigested chicken, and start eating the chicken. EATING IT. It was disgusting. But kind of funny because it was so extremely gross. The girl starts laughing. Her stomach feels a little better.

From the beginning…

Greek yogurt, as you have learned, is one of Rachel’s favorite foods for breakfast and for dessert. Unfortunately, Greek yogurt will turn on her and cause great grief and pain. (She doesn’t know that at this point, so she digs in.) Around lunchtime her stomach feels a little queasy, but nothing to be worried about (she assumes), so she eats chicken and pita. Yum. After lunch the group was allowed to have a 2 hour break because everyone was so worn out, and Rachel went to her room, threw up, then promptly went to sleep, and continued to sleep until the 2 hours was up.

19:30 happens.

A man walks up to the girls and asks if they are married and then offers them a cigarette. They ignore him. He persists and the girls leave. He follows them. They find a place to sit away from him. Another man stumbles up to the girls and is speaking to them in Greek asking for money. He is overtly drunk, and the girls yell at him to leave them alone. The man reaches over and touches Rachel on the arm and is about to touch her face when she brushes him off, yells at him, and raises her arm ready to smack him in the face. He stumbles off before she is able to do so. Carly suggests they go to a nearby cafĂ© so they will be free from creeps. The girl orders apple juice. Within about 15 minutes the girl’s stomach turns upside down again, and she rushes to the bathroom. She throws up all of her apple juice.

After walking about 20 minutes back toward the hotel with Carolyn, while the rest of the group continued on to dinner, Rachel again has an unmistakable queasy urge to expel what’s left in her stomach all over the ground. She finds the nearest bathroom. There is nothing left. She still has that feeling, but her body cannot find anything left in her stomach to get rid of, so she continues to feel miserable and finds the energy to make it all the way back to the hotel. She makes it up to her room and tries to fall asleep, but her body is so uncomfortable that between crying and cringing she lies awake for an hour.

B-lining it to the bathroom, Rachel discovers that her body has found more food to get rid of, and boy does it want to get rid of it. 8 minutes later her body is finally done. With the food. She manages to feel a little bit better, drinks some water, and falls asleep.

Sleep doesn’t last for long. She can’t digest her water and her body doesn’t want it anymore, so it attempts to get rid of it as well. Success. 6 hours and a truly empty stomach later, Rachel finally manages to fall asleep, and stay asleep until the morning.

Friday, June 17

Greek yogurt with honey was an amazing way to start off the day. We then packed our bags, piled up in a bus, and laughed to My Big Fat Greek Wedding on our way to Athens.
I just bought a French newspaper from 1953 in Athens! There was this incredible thrift store that was literally COVERED in old trinkets and items that was 4 stories high. I met the owner, a man who was around 30, and I asked him how long it took him to collect all of these items. He told me that I would not believe him. Then he asked if I would believe him if he said it took him less than three years. I said no. To my surprise, that is how long it took him. My jaw dropped to the littered wooden floor and bumped a couple of tea sets along the way. LESS THAN THREE YEARS! Here are some pictures just to give you a glimpse of how CRAZY this place was:

Things I have learned from walking the streets of Athens:
-The men who butcher pigs are pigs themselves
-I know how to tell someone off in Greek if need be. That’s all I’m saying.
-Men will make kissing noises and whistle at you. Don’t turn around or look.
-Don’t walk through a meat market if you are just in a group of girls. Especially if you are in a group of AMERICAN girls. And if you are American yourself.
-If you are in a Greek restaurant and you get the chance to dance, dance.
-Dont' make eye contact with gypsies
-Stray dogs are everywhere on the streets, especially at the acropolis (we saw a dog carrying a dead cat through the Parthenon. I wish I took a picture but I couldn't fast enough)

The Acropolis and Parthenon were AWESOME! Again, having seen pictures all my life made it all the more special seeing them in person. They're huge.

Greek yogurt with honey was an amazing way to end the day.