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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The ruins and views from the top were absolutely amazing!

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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!

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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

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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!

 

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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

Greece 2017: Day 7

Our second full day in Nafplio was spent at Karathona, a local beach. We packed up for the day and got a taxi to drive us approximately 5 minutes to the beach. It was overcast in the morning, so other than a few other people, it wasn’t all that crowded. I thought the water was a big cold, so I didn’t get in much, but the kids loved it.

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This beach was a sandy beach instead of a pebbly beach like the one we had visited the day prior to this. The kids enjoyed playing in the sand just as much as getting in the ocean. They even built chairs out of sand!

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When we were ready to leave, we called a cab and headed back. We cleaned up in the room and spent the evening visiting a local playground and shopping before dinner. It was nice to have a more low-key day in the midst of really busy ones!

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See what else we were up to in Greece!

Day 1 – Athens

Day 2 – Athens

Day 3 – Athens

Day 4 – Corinth, Mycaenae, Epidavros, Nafplio

Day 5 – Nafplio

Day 6 – Nafplio

 

If Ever There Was a Reason…

….to use a travel agent and purchase travel insurance, it is now. Now that Hurricane Irma has dissipated, we can sit back and assess the situation and what could have been.

Can you imagine being on an island in the Caribbean, knowing that a hurricane is headed your way in less than a week? Your flight is cancelled and you have limited internet and phone access. This could be a terrifying situation, but if you booked through a travel agent, you may have someone who might be able to help you. It may not always be the case that an agent can get someone out of a sticky situation such as this one, but wouldn’t you want to have someone who would be around to at least try to get you off the island?

I was fortunate that I didn’t have anyone in a situation like this when Hurricane Irma began her voyage through the Caribbean, but I did spend several hours on hold with Disney to reschedule an upcoming trip that was affected by her arrival. While this isn’t quite as big of a deal as being stuck in the hurricane itself, it was nice for my client to have someone else to deal with waiting on the phone all morning instead of having to do it herself.

When it comes to travel insurance, some people like to gawk at the price and choose the least expensive option, if purchasing any at all. Yes, most of the time you probably won’t have to file a claim, but it happens. In fact, it probably happened for a lot of people this week. Imagine the same scenario I described above in which you are stuck on a Caribbean island staring a hurricane directly in the eye. Even if your airline hasn’t cancelled your flight, you may want to leave on an earlier one to be sure you are off the island when it hits. This means you might have to be ok with forfieting what you already paid for the flight you no longer want to take AND pay for a last-minute flight that leaves earlier. Depending on how much your policy pays out for claims, you may end up spending all your claim money (maybe even more!) just to get home, so it might be worth it to make sure your policy pays out more than 100% of your trip cost for trip interruption benefits.

No, travel insurance doesn’t cover everything, but it covers some of the things you might encounter, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to have some sort of medical insurance when you leave the country; you may not have as much coverage (or any coverage at all) as you think through your primary medical insurance plan outside the United States. Also, all travel insurance policies are different, so be sure to read the fine print and ask any questions necessary.

What I have taken from the situations of the past week has been how important it is to have some sort of coverage to fall back on, as well as how important it could be to have someone standing in your corner when this kind of thing goes down. Just something to consider for your next trip…

Summer Bucket List

At the beginning of the summer, the kids and I had a very important meeting at Starbucks. We came up with a list of things we wanted to do this summer. We did quite a few of them:

1. Zoo

2. Playgrounds (we visited at least two of them)

3. CMOE (children’s museum)

4. Reading time

5. Chuck E Cheese

6. Ice cream

7. Drive-in

8. Barnes and Nobles

9. Feed the ducks

10. Game night

11. Family movie night

12. Central library

13. Owensboro for the park and some pizza

14. Farmer’s market

15. Swimming

16. Play outside

17. Visit the great grandmothers

18. Penny Lane Coffeehouse

19. Hiking in the woods

20. Play in the sprinkler

21. Camping

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff, especially considering we spent approximately 2.5 weeks in Greece at the beginning of the summer, and I worked anywhere from 3 to 4 days each week over the summer.

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Guess we better start making a fall list!

August into September

I have no idea where the time is heading! How are we already going into September?!

Travel:

  • Anniversary weekend away - We are going to Jamaica!

Reading:

  • Read 30 books. (22/30)
  • 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. (40/60)
  • Work through the Right to Write. (43 chapters) (31/43)
  • 500 Writing Prompts – 3 writing prompts a month (36 total) (24/36)
  • Work through Writing Better Lyrics. (2 chapters per month, 24 total) (16/24)

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. (0/3)
  • 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. (2/10)
  • 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. – The deck is finished, and we have the paint we need for it. We plan to paint this fall once the pool is closed.
  • 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. - I’m not sure if I should give up on this or not…
  • Do something active at least 3 times a week. – This has been working out well.

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)

This month was another busy one. We made another meal at the Ronald McDonald House.

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Both kids started school.

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Eclipse 2

 

 

 

We got to see the eclipse in totality.

 

 

 

 

And we camped for one night in a treehouse at Camp Ondessonk.IMG_20170826_172104744 IMG_20170826_150810781

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure September will be just as busy!

Greece 2017: Day 6

Our first full day in Nafplio began with a fabulous breakfast at our pension. We filled up on ham and cheese toasts, boiled eggs, bread and jam, Greek yogurt with fresh honey and figs, and of course, coffee. I miss this breakfast just talking about it!

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Then, we decided to walk the 999 steps up to Palamidi Castle. We told the kids we would give them a penny for every step they walked up to the castle without complaining. They both made it, but unfortunately, Anya lost about half her euros on the way down due to whining. It was a long way up and it was hot, but we took breaks and it was worth it once we got to the top. There were some amazing views and we explored what was left of the old Venetian castle, including an old prison cell and some different lookout points. We had to be careful, though, because the drop-off points weren’t always clearly marked so we didn’t let the kids get too far away.

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Upon coming down from the top, we decided to head to one of the local beaches. Eric went back to the room to get our swimming suits while I waited with the kids. We walked just a few minutes and got to the beach. It was a pebbly beach but with some really amazing views of the surrounding mountains. It wasn’t a very big beach, there were a lot of younger people ,and it gave off a bit of a party vibe, but I’m glad we went anyway, if even just for the views. The kids got in the water for a bit and then we changed clothes and went on our way.

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We took one of the paths to get to the main port area and this offered more gorgeous views on the way.

 

 

 

Once we got to the marina area, we started a self-guided tour I found in my Rick Steves guidebook. It took us all around the little town and pointed out some important spots, including a gelato shop run by local Italians. Toward the end of the tour, we took a detour to the playground so the kids could play. Anya fell on her face and her mouth was bleeding, so Eric had to run somewhere quickly to get ice. It’s always something!

We went back to the room to rest and then headed out for another Greek dinner. It was worth it to spend the day hanging around Nafplio and soaking in the Greek culture. There didn’t seem to be as many Americans here, as this is a popular spot for Greeks to get away for the weekend.

See what else we were up to in Greece!

Day 1 – Athens

Day 2 – Athens

Day 3 – Athens

Day 4 – Corinth, Mycaenae, Epidavros, Nafplio

Day 5 – Nafplio

 

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