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Naxos/Paradise

We arrived in Naxos in the evening and made a plan to meet Diana at the town hall. Unfortunately, there are two town halls in Naxos and we both waited at a different one. When Diana “no-showed” Joey and I walked up to the famous Portara, which is the location of the ancient temple of Apollo. It was so beautiful in the sunset.

Joey at the Portara

Joey at the Portara

As we were walking back to our hotel, I heard the words “Hey guurrrlll” from a familiar voice. As luck would have it, Billy and Ben were staying at a hotel just down the street from ours. That night we all met up with Diana and her sister Livi and played backgammon and cards on the beach. At the end of the night, Joey and I went for a 4 am swim in the ocean and the water was still warm. The next day we spent a lot of time at the beach. In the evening Diana took us to the opening ceremony for the 31st International Guitar Competition of Naxos. Apparently the most famous duet in guitar right now opened the celebration with a concert. They were absolutely amazing; they played as if they were one. Afterwards we went out for a drink at the 4 Euro cocktail bar along the main drag in town.

Diana and I at St. George Beach

Diana and I at St. George Beach

The next day was the day of Diana’s performance in the guitar competition. Billy and Ben decided to drive us all there with the ATVs they had rented. Unfortunately there were six of us and only two ATVs. Since Diana had her guitar, her and Ben shared one ATV while the rest of us piled onto Billy’s. It was fun while it lasted, but we got caught and had to pay “damages”. We did, however, make it to the concert on time and Diana played beautifully. However, she didn’t make it into the finalists. As it turns out, the Greek student of the Greek competition coordinator one… and he wasn’t even good. Put two and two together.
Joey fell asleep before we went out that night. We met some Greeks, bought ice cream and went to bed. I said goodbye to Billy, Ben and Livi that night because they would be taking the ferry back to Athens the next day.

Joey and I on the ATV

Joey and I on the ATV

The next morning Joey and I were feeling adventurous so we rented an ATV and I drove us all the way down the island to Kastraki beach. We found a little cave there and also went swimming. Then we drove farther south and found the remains of a resort abandoned half way through construction. We wandered about the rubble and climbed down to the beach. We found a secluded grotto and had the beach to ourselves. Then we took our ATV to a tavern for lunch. Our final stop before home was Aghios Prekopios, apparently the best beach on the island. The sand was certainly better than St. George Beach near our hotel, but it was more crowded and I much prefer St. George. In the evening we met up with Diana and her parents and had drinks with them.
On our final day on Naxos we had to spend a lot of time at a café again due to the lack of luggage lockers and early check out times. Then we met up with Diana and went back to her hotel where her dad cut up watermelon that we ate on their balcony. Then we hopped in the beamer and drove Diana to the horse farm. Her parents scheduled a beach ride for her that evening. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to say goodbye because we had to leave for the ferry before Diana got back. We arrived in Athens late, late at night, slept in a hostel for just a few hours, then it was back on a plane headed to Tubingen.

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Filed under Greece, Naxos

Step One: Panic

After a long night on the ferry without much sleep, we were welcomed on to Santorini Island by a bunch of hotel lures trying to bargain with us for a room. It was a bit intimidating for me, so instead of getting a room like we should have, I convinced Joey to take the bus into town. However, before we got on the bus, shocker #2 came. What to my wondering eyes should appear, but Billy and his brother at a café by the port. They were taking the next ferry out to Ios. It is such a shock to see someone you know in so remote a place. As Joey and I got on the bus, the shock, intimidation and lack of sleep combined into tears. My bad.

So, Joey bargained for a room when we arrived in the town of Fira. After we settled in, we headed out again to explore the city. We walked along Fira’s cobblestone paths for the entire length of the city, enjoying the views from Santorini’s cliffs and wishing our hotel had a pool. In the evening, we watched the sunset and marveled at how the fog swallowed up the city.

Exploring Fira, Santorini

Exploring Fira, Santorini

Step Two: Twist

The next day Joey and I bought tickets for a cruise around the island. Unfortunately, I must have twisted my ankle on the cobblestones the day before. I woke up with a swollen right ankle, but we already bought our tickets, so we pressed on. Our first stop was the volcanic crater. Santorini used to be part of a large round island created by a hot spot, but the volcano blew a while back leaving the two outer edges of the former island (Thirassia and Santorini) and a small desolate island with the crater intact. It is here that I realized the gravity of my ankle pain. So, Joey and I were unable to hike all the way to the crater.
The next stop was the hot springs on the other side of the crater. Joey is not much of a swimmer, so I enjoyed the hot springs alone, swimming about in water warmer (believe it or not) than the burning air. Then our little boat took us to the island of Thirassia, mainly a farming island. Joey and I opted out of the steep switchback path up to the main city and instead we enjoyed a leisurely dinner and played around in the water at the beach. After a couple hours our boat picked us up and took us home. What a full day!

On the boat with Oia, Santorini in the background.

On the boat with Oia, Santorini in the background.

The next day we checked out of our hotel and could not find a place to store our luggage, so we lingered at a café having brunch and writing post cards. Finally, it was time to catch our Ferry to Naxos.

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Filed under Greece, Santorini

Birthdays and the coming of Summer

The end of May holds a lot of birthdays for our group. So far we have celebrated Andrew’s birthday with an Indian dinner and Billy’s birthday with the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet for lunch and burritos for dinner. Then we headed out to Club Loco and Ride Club. Tomorrow is Amanda’s birthday and we will go out to dinner as soon as she gets back from Dublin. Then Michelle will be turning 20 to end our May birthday spree.

We also had another cooking night at IKI. This time we made things that I can’t remember the name of. I asked Sara to remind me, but she hasn’t replied yet. In any case, we made a savory soup with bits of pancake in it. Sounds gross, but trust me, it’s so good. The main dish was a noodle thing with cheese and ham, kind of like a casserole. We made Sommersalat again, too. For desert we had crepes filled with various toppings like strawberries, nutella or apricot preserves. Yum! I think they’re called Palatschinken in German.

Reflection of Karlskirche or St. Charles' Church in a pond

Reflection of Karlskirche or St. Charles' Church in a pond

In art history class last week, we visited a church I have been dying to see, Karlskirche. It’s a Baroque church just down the street from my dorm. On the inside they have an elevator that takes you up to the bottom of the dome where you can see all the frescos. Then you can climb the stairs to the tip top of the dome and get a 360-degree view of Vienna. It was amazing, but also very high up. I think Mom would have died when the stairs would shake. Here’s a view from below, looking at the elevator shaft and the platform at the bottom of the dome.

The path up the dome

The path up the dome

As for summer, Vienna is beginning to get quite warm and we’ve been enjoying the sunshine by visiting the Altedonaustrandbad and swimming in the river. Another common summer pastime is to visit the Prater, an amusement park here in Vienna. On Thursday Andrea and I met up with my roommate Diana and the two kids she was babysitting. Diana is afraid of roller coasters, but the kids aren’t allowed to go on them alone. So Andrea and I came to the rescue. Little did we know that a few of the rides are a bit much and made us (particularly Andrea) feel like puking. I powered through so that 9-year-olds Sasha and Anna didn’t miss out on the fun.

Now I am doing a bit of planning for my upcoming travels. Hallie has decided to come visit and I will meet her in Copenhagen next weekend. Then on July 5th I will be traveling to Greece with my roommate because she will be performing in a guitar festival there. However, I don’t know what to do with my time between getting out of school on June 28th and arriving in Greece on July 5th. Perhaps you could help me decide by voting here:

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