Greece: Day 13 (Rhodes to Athens)

The day we left Rhodes was a sad one, but we had some big plans for Athens so we packed up our things and flew back. Felix was upset that we never saw Ginger again, and the kids still talk about that cat.

In Athens, we stayed at a Best Western near Exarcheia, which was a completely different area than we stayed before. Exarcheia is the area where all the rioting happens, as it’s where the university is located, as well as all the anarchists. Our hotel was still pretty safe; it was just on the very edge of it. In fact, there was a cop in full riot gear down the street every single day. Sometimes we saw more than one, and at least once, we saw the police van that was made completely of metal. This area was closer to the modern city of Athens.

We were much closer to Athens Central Market, where we saw lots and lots of food. They had everything from raw meat and fish to cheeses, to all kinds of spices.

IMG_20170613_150437293 IMG_20170613_150941623_HDR

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening, we had booked one last tour with our private driver. This might have been my favorite thing we did on our trip. John drove us to Cape Sounio to the location of the Temple of Poseidon. Poseidon is the god of the sea, so his temple is built overlooking the coastline. We visited at sunset and it was quite possibly the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. It actually rivals a Jamaican sunset, and those are hard to beat! Every minute, the sun would go down a little lower, and it would completely change the scenery. It also changed depending on where you were standing.

IMG_20170613_203131375_HDRIMG_20170613_192202051.jpg IMG_20170613_195411665_HDRIMG_20170613_204106226

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20170613_205016003_HDR IMG_20170613_201812539_HDR IMG_20170613_203030731_HDR IMG_20170613_200010566_HDR IMG_20170613_202837733_HDR IMG_20170613_204230658 IMG_20170613_204748594_HDR IMG_20170613_203105435.jpg IMG_20170613_204921724_HDR IMG_20170613_195658760_HDR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a funny side note, Anya was in a really bad mood that night. She was being super grouchy, which meant that Felix was being borderline angelic. (That seemed to be the pattern – if she was not cooperating, he would be the “perfect” child.) So while she was being grouchy and complaining, Felix was very loudly proclaiming things like “Wow, this is so beautiful” and “Mommy, isn’t this so beautiful?” Everyone around us who understood English was laughing.

 

IMG_20170613_202357270.jpg IMG_20170613_202505392 IMG_20170613_202320684_HDR.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ever find yourself in Athens, this is a must-do and I would highly recommend you visit at sunset.

 

 

 

Check out our other adventures in Greece!

Day 1 – Athens

Day 2 – Athens

Day 3 – Athens

Day 4 – Corinth, Mycaenae, Epidavros, Nafplio

Day 5 – Nafplio

Day 6 – Nafplio

Day 7 – Nafplio

Day 8 – Nafplio to Rhodes

Day 9 – Rhodes

Day 10 – Rhodes (Lindos)

Day 11 – Rhodes

Day 12 – Rhodes to Athens

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures at the Luminous Lagoon

One of the nights we spent in Jamaica, we left the resort. I hired a private driver who drove us first to Rose Hall. For years, we have wanted to tour Rose Hall, especially at night, because it is said to be haunted by Annie Palmer, the “White Witch” of Rose Hall. She was raised mostly in Haiti, and when her parents passed away, she was cared for by a Haitian nanny who was said to have schooled her in voodoo. Upon returning to Jamaica, she married the owner of the plantation. She later murdered him, as well as two other husbands and numerous slave lovers. It’s a very interesting story that makes for a creepy feeling while you’re in the house!

The night tour was a little bit history and a little bit “haunted house.” Actors were dressed in period costumes and jumped out during integral parts of the story being told, which served to both scare us and bring the story to life. I would have liked a little more history and a little less theatrics, but it was still fun. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures, but it was a beautiful house. If you are ever in Montego Bay, it is worth a visit. If you’re too afraid to go at night, you can always go during the day.

DSC_0216

The highlight of the evening, though, was our visit to the Luminous Lagoon. We were the only ones there at the time, so we pretty much got a private tour. They took us out on a boat and explained that the micro-organisms in the water, called dinoflagellates, gave off a glow when moving. You can even see it in the back of the boat as it raced through the water.

 

The guide filled a bucket with the water and dumped some of it on the floor of the boat, and it just lit up the floor. It was so cool. At one point, we all got to get in the water. It was weird because it was partially river water and partially ocean water, so there were hot and cold patches, and if you touched the bottom, you could feel the mud. It was kind of gross in that way, but totally worth it to get to experience the glow of the dinoflagellates firsthand. We swam around and watched the water light up around us as we tread water and swam. Luckily, there was a photographer on the boat who took pictures for us while we enjoyed our swim. Once we got back in the boat, if I touched or moved my swimsuit, it was just enough movement to make my swimming suit glow!

DSC_0163 DSC_0159 DSC_0153

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are only a few parts of the world where you can swim with the dinoflagellates, and Jamaica is one of them. This is definitely one of the coolest things we have ever done, and I’m glad we got to check it off our bucket list!

Greece: Day 12 (Rhodes)

On our last full day in Rhodes, we did a few things that were left on our list. One of them was the submarine tour. Basically, the boat takes you further out from shore and then you go downstairs where there are windows looking into the ocean, and you get to the see the fish swimming around. There was also a diver who was swimming around and showing us things in the water. It was cool, but I’m not sure we would do it again, just because it was expensive and not a very long tour.

IMG_20170612_113059728.jpg IMG_20170612_114531797.jpg IMG_20170612_111359791_HDR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon, we did a wall tour, which was an opportunity to walk on top of some of the old medieval city walls and see the view of the city. One cool thing about Rhodes Town is that these walls are still standing, so it still has that medieval look. If you are ever visiting Rhodes, though, and you want to do the wall tour, you will want to plan a little ahead, because the hours for this are very limited. It isn’t a guided tour, but they only allow people during certain hours on certain days.

IMG_20170612_131018847 IMG_20170612_125034055 IMG_20170612_132425294 IMG_20170612_125046153 IMG_20170612_131350527

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20170612_130423551.jpg

 

IMG_20170612_144334279

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards, we found some lunch, and Felix was still looking around for Ginger, the pregnant cat we saw outside our apartment the first night we were there. The kids were obsessed with finding her because they were worried she was too pregnant to get food anywhere and they were worried about her. Just in case you wanted to know, we never saw her again, but every once in a while, the kids still say “I wonder how Ginger is doing” or “I guess Ginger had her babies.”

A few days prior, we had met a British family staying in a nearby apartment who had told us about some tunnels in the moat. They gave us a general idea of where they were, so we decided to go check them out. We walked around the moat for a bit until we found what she was referring to: tunnels built into the moat. There were so many of them and they went back so far that you could see where people had attached string to the walls so they could find their way back out. We had brought a flashlight and it was a good thing, because if you went too far in, it was pitch black! We explored a little in a few of these but didn’t linger because Anya was freaking out. She kept asking if we could leave, so finally we did, but about 15 minutes later, she said “That was really cool. I wish we could have explored more.” Sometimes I don’t know about that girl! The weird thing about these tunnels is that I could never find any information about them and what they were used for.

IMG_20170612_151035390 IMG_20170612_151045810 IMG_20170612_152441915

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening, we got some dinner and headed back to the apartment to get packed up to fly back to Athens the following morning.

IMG_20170611_221430621-1 IMG_20170611_221423190-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out our other adventures in Greece!

Day 1 – Athens

Day 2 – Athens

Day 3 – Athens

Day 4 – Corinth, Mycaenae, Epidavros, Nafplio

Day 5 – Nafplio

Day 6 – Nafplio

Day 7 – Nafplio

Day 8 – Nafplio to Rhodes

Day 9 – Rhodes

Day 10 – Rhodes (Lindos)

Day 11 – Rhodes

 

October into November

Travel:

  • Anniversary weekend away - We spent 6 nights in Jamaica this month. I will be writing more about this in the near future!

Reading:

  • Read 30 books. (28/30)
  • Read 2 “self-help” books or books about fostering creativity. (1/2)

Writing:

  • Daily Q&A – Still keeping up with this!
  • Post in my blog at least 5 times a month or 60 blog posts. (50/60)
  • Work through the Right to Write. (43 chapters) (36/43)
  • 500 Writing Prompts – 3 writing prompts a month (39 total) (27/36)
  • Work through Writing Better Lyrics. (2 chapters per month, 24 total) (20/24)

Spiritual:

  • Practice and complete a daily devotional. I have been able to keep up so far!

 Music:

  • Learn at least 3 new Classical pieces on the piano. (2/3)
  • Work on learning at least 3 of the modes. (1/3)
  • Listen to 10 classical music pieces. I have a new book about listening to Beethoven’s piano music that I intend to use for this purpose. (3/10)
  • Earn at least 20 CMTE’s (continuing education). (12/20) - I will be going to a national conference in November, which will get me 5 more CMTE’s. I am also supervising two more students this semester.

Home and Organization:

  • Fix the other part of the deck and stain it. – We still need to finish staining the rest of the deck.
  • Wash windows and glass doors in the house.

Family:

  • Make a home video with the kids.
  • Paint with the kids.

Service:

  • Provide at least 3 meals at the Ronald McDonald house. (2/3)
  • Volunteer at the soup kitchen at least once.

Physical/Health:

  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water on most days. - I think I might just have to give up on this…
  • Do something active at least 3 times a week. – I didn’t do as much activity while in Jamaica, but we tried to do something every day.

Miscellaneous:

  • Eat at 8 new restaurants on our list of places to try. (6/8)
  • I plan to cook at least 10 international meals this year. (4/10)
  • Take at least one day to “retreat” and work on my writing, music, etc. - Sadly, this hasn’t happened, and it probably won’t happen this year.
  • Do something nice for myself at least 20 times. (5/20)

October is always a busy month for us…this year was no different! I started off the month by hosting a recital for my students. Anya and I both performed pieces.

We ate a bunch of good food at the fall festival, and over fall break, the kids and I went to the zoo with friends. We also hung out that Sunday because Eric went to a Colts game in Indy.

IMG_20171006_155126247_BURST000_COVER_TOP.jpg IMG_20171008_201747698_BURST000_COVER_TOP.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following weekend we went on a ghost tour of a haunted library in our city. We also visited Cates Farm where we picked pumpkins out of the pumpkin patch and played games on the farm.

IMG_20171014_142030545.jpg IMG_20171014_164024682.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, Eric and I spent 6 nights in Jamaica where we got to relax on the beach, swim in the Luminous Lagoon, tour Rose Hall at night, and lots of other things.

IMG_20171023_173326411.jpg IMG_20171021_224052164.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weekend after we got back, we went on a haunted tour in our city and then went to a Halloween party with a corn maze and a haunted trail.

IMG_20171028_202539053_BURST000_COVER_TOP IMG_20171028_202607532.jpg IMG_20171027_201449870.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric also celebrated his 36th birthday 2 days after we returned from Jamaica.

IMG_20171028_125042223

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Halloween night, we celebrated by having family over and letting the kids trick or treat. Anya and Felix were Elsa and Olaf. Our nephews were BB-8 and a storm trooper. My sister-in-law had planned to go as Princess Leia but wasn’t feeling well, so I got roped into wearing that costume!

The rest of the year will be a race to the finish line!

 

Yeah, Mon!

On Thursday we returned from a six-night stay in Jamaica. This was our third visit, but the other two times we visited, we stayed at a Sandals resort on the southern part of the island. It used to be called Sandals Whitehouse, but is now Sandals South Coast. This time, we stayed at Secrets St. James, located in Montego Bay. This made for much shorter airport transfer times and more opportunities for tours off the resort.

Some of our highlights include the 3 site inspections I did while there, snorkeling at the resort, touring Rose Hall at night, swimming in the Luminous Lagoon, and trying out Club Mobay in the airport.

Watch for more to come about all our experiences!

Greece 2017: Day 11 (Rhodes)

We purposely planned a day to spend at the beach in Rhodes. We figured the kids would appreciate getting to play, and we wouldn’t mind a day to take it easy at this point in our trip.

We had found this amazing bakery in town, so we grabbed breakfast there and then raced to the bus stop to take the bus to Fahlraki, a local beach town. There were several options for beaches near Rhodes, but based on recommendations given to us on Tripadvisor, we opted for this beach, as it seemed family-oriented and had food options for lunch.

I spent most of the day reading on the beach and the kids alternated between playing in the water and digging in the sand. Toward the end of the day, Felix bent over and threw sand up his back for five whole minutes. Silly boy.

IMG_20170611_123039564 IMG_20170611_121524963 IMG_20170611_160830913 IMG_20170611_121508865

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At lunch, we opted to grab some food from the restaurant we had rented beach chairs from. We were disappointed in how much we paid and the portion sizes, but you live and learn!

After we finished up at the beach, we walked back to the bus stop and took the bus back to Rhodes town. After cleaning up, we had gyros for dinner and hung out around town.

IMG_20170611_211041925 IMG_20170611_211031099 IMG_20170611_210835881 IMG_20170611_211444546

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though we didn’t do much that day, it was nice to have some time to enjoy the beach. When taking long trips like this, we definitely recommend building a day like this into your itinerary!

 

 

See what else we did in Greece:

Day 1 – Athens

Day 2 – Athens

Day 3 – Athens

Day 4 – Corinth, Mycaenae, Epidavros, Nafplio

Day 5 – Nafplio

Day 6 – Nafplio

Day 7 – Nafplio

Day 8 – Nafplio to Rhodes

Day 9 – Rhodes

Day 10 – Rhodes (Lindos)

Greece 2017: Day 10 (Lindos)

Originally, we had planned to go to Lindos by bus, but after thinking about it a few days prior, we opted to cruise to Lindos instead. It wasn’t going to take much longer than the bus and this way would at least be relaxing.

IMG_20170610_091938338.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another perk is that the boat stopped at a couple spots on the way so that people could jump in and swim. Felix and Anya took turns swimming with Eric.

IMG_20170610_095747742.jpg IMG_20170610_100210749.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got to Lindos, we decided to make the trip up to the Acropolis there. (An acropolis is actually a citadel built on a hill, so there is more than one!) Eric had planned for us to ride donkeys to the top. Even though Felix had said up until then that he was NOT riding a donkey, somehow we got him on the donkey. We all got to ride our own donkeys because we were accompanied by people who led the donkeys up the hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20170610_115350624_BURST000_COVER_TOP.jpg IMG_20170610_115338955

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ruins and views from the top were absolutely amazing!

IMG_20170610_121925765.jpg IMG_20170610_121633615.jpg IMG_20170610_124704761.jpg IMG_20170610_122918540 IMG_20170610_124309639

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20170610_134032958.jpg

 

 

Once we thought we had enough pictures, we walked back down the hill and headed toward the beach. We grabbed some food to take away and rented a chair, and the kids got to play in the sand (it was a sandy beach this time!) and the water.

 

 

 

 

We made it back to the boat and took the long boat ride back, though the kids were grouchy!

IMG_20170610_102300168_HDR.jpg

IMG_20170610_165051992.jpg

IMG_20170610_092142812.jpg IMG_20170610_104905602.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See what else we did in Greece:

 

Day 1 – Athens

Day 2 – Athens

Day 3 – Athens

Day 4 – Corinth, Mycaenae, Epidavros, Nafplio

Day 5 – Nafplio

Day 6 – Nafplio

Day 7 – Nafplio

Day 8 – Nafplio to Rhodes

Day 9 – Rhodes

 

 

Greece 2017: Day 9

IMG_20170609_095054699_HDR.jpg

IMG_20170609_100842597.jpgOn our first day in Rhodes, we decided to take the little tourist train around the city. Felix loves trains and we thought it would be a good way to get our bearings. We grabbed a quick breakfast and then headed to the oceanfront where the train began. Even though it was only 10 am, it was already pretty hot!

 

IMG_20170609_102823644.jpg

IMG_20170609_102404146_BURST000_COVER_TOP.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

After getting off the train, we decided to go to the Palace of the Grandmaster. What is cool about Rhodes is that it still has a medieval castle in Rhodes Town and the wall that surrounded the old city is still there. It is just like you would picture a medieval castle to look like.

IMG_20170609_114939598.jpg IMG_20170609_121650910.jpg IMG_20170609_120711193 IMG_20170609_120139637_HDR.jpg IMG_20170609_120220345.jpg IMG_20170609_113452472.jpg IMG_20170609_115257681.jpg IMG_20170609_114224355.jpg IMG_20170609_111728362_HDR.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20170609_111748503.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we finished at the castle, we got some lunch and then decided to go to the beach for the afternoon. The beach we ended up at was another pebbly beach, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the afternoon. Eric took the kids in the water and I spent most of the time keeping an eye on our things and relaxing in the lounge chair. It was crowded but kind of fun to experience a hot spot in the town.

IMG_20170609_133056719 IMG_20170609_152920910.jpg IMG_20170609_140103562_HDR.jpg IMG_20170609_152007191 IMG_20170609_103810221_BURST000_COVER_TOP.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20170609_214206067.jpg

That night we ate at a nice restaurant really close to our apartment. We noticed octopus on the menu a lot, so Eric decided to try it. It wasn’t bad…kind of tasted like chicken! I ended up with shrimp saganaki, which is shrimp, cheese, and tomato sauce.

 

See what else we did in Greece:

Day 1 – Athens

Day 2 – Athens

Day 3 – Athens

Day 4 – Corinth, Mycaenae, Epidavros, Nafplio

Day 5 – Nafplio

Day 6 – Nafplio

Day 7 – Nafplio

Day 8 – Nafplio to Rhodes

 

September into October

Travel:

  • Anniversary weekend away - We are going to Jamaica this month!

Reading:

  • Read 30 books. (25/30)
  • Read 2 “self-help” books or books about fostering creativity. (1/2)

Writing:

  • Daily Q&A – Still keeping up with this!
  • Post in my blog at least 5 times a month or 60 blog posts. (45/60)
  • Work through the Right to Write. (43 chapters) (34/43)
  • 500 Writing Prompts – 3 writing prompts a month (36 total) (27/36)
  • Work through Writing Better Lyrics. (2 chapters per month, 24 total) (18/24)

Spiritual:

  • Practice and complete a daily devotional. I have been able to keep up so far!

 Music:

  • Learn at least 3 new Classical pieces on the piano. (1/3)
  • Work on learning at least 3 of the modes. (1/3)
  • Listen to 10 classical music pieces. I have a new book about listening to Beethoven’s piano music that I intend to use for this purpose. (3/10)
  • Earn at least 20 CMTE’s (continuing education). (12/20) - I will be going to a national conference in November, which will get me 5 more CMTE’s. I am also supervising two more students this semester.

Home and Organization:

  • Fix the other part of the deck and stain it. – We started staining the deck this weekend. It looks great so far!
  • Wash windows and glass doors in the house.

Family:

  • CMOE
  • Make a home video with the kids.
  • Paint with the kids.

Service:

  • Provide at least 3 meals at the Ronald McDonald house. (2/3)
  • Volunteer at the soup kitchen at least once.

Physical/Health:

  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water on most days. - This is getting a little better.
  • Do something active at least 3 times a week. – I’ve been keeping up.

Miscellaneous:

  • Eat at 8 new restaurants on our list of places to try. (6/8)
  • I plan to cook at least 10 international meals this year. (4/10)
  • Take at least one day to “retreat” and work on my writing, music, etc. - I am hoping to do this sometime in October if I can work it in.
  • Do something nice for myself at least 20 times. (5/20)

Lots of other stuff happened this month, too. In fact, I was out of town for the last weekend in August and the first three weekends in September.

We went camping over Labor Day weekend…

IMG_20170903_114144426_HDR IMG_20170903_202557145.jpg IMG_20170903_172318075.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric and I got to investigate the wine cellar of this amazing mansion in Alton, Illinois. We camped out on the front lawn that night.

IMG_20170910_082734158_HDR IMG_20170910_083041797

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last weekend in September, I spent in Atlanta at a travel agent conference. I had an amazing time and learned a lot!

Also, Anya started soccer!

IMG_20170914_184409202

Greece 2017: Day 8

The next day, we packed our bags and left Nafplio. We were sad to leave such a beautiful little town but leaving meant that we were headed to the Athens airport to fly to Rhodes, one of the Dodecanese Islands close to Turkey.

We had the same private driver who took us to Nafplio, and he brought a snack for the kids. He was such a sweet man! On the way out of town, we stopped at a ceramics shop that also specialized in revamping old items. They had some really neat things in their shop. You could even ship things to the US if you wanted to.

IMG_20170608_102537086 IMG_20170608_105214423

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that, we drove about an hour and a half and then stopped at Kineta beach for about an hour. It was actually kind of cold and rainy so we didn’t stay in long but it was nice to see another swimming area in Greece.

IMG_20170608_120418432

 

 

 

 

 

We got to the airport in plenty of time to grab a late snack/lunch and then boarded the plan for our flight. The flight itself was probably only an hour or so. When we arrived, we took a taxi and then headed to our apartment, which was this cute little space that had a common outdoor living area, complete with several neighborhood cats. If you ask the kids what their favorite part of the trip was, they would tell you these cats. By the end of the evening, they had all of them named and at least one had run into the apartment at least once and we had to chase him out. They were so friendly!

IMG_20170608_185056958

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening, we just explored our new area and found some much-needed dinner!

IMG_20170608_200003850_HDR IMG_20170608_224315380 IMG_20170608_184116204_HDR

 

 

 

 

 

See what else we did in Greece!

Day 1 – Athens

Day 2 – Athens

Day 3 – Athens

Day 4 – Corinth, Mycaenae, Epidavros, Nafplio

Day 5 – Nafplio

Day 6 – Nafplio

Day 7 – Nafplio

« Older Entries