The worst day of vacation is always the day before you leave to go home. Of course, we always want to enjoy every second of our vacation, but it’s hard not to think about having to go home the next day.
We spent that last day walking around Athens. We did a little shopping at some local stands and got to see the Olympic stadium. We didn’t pay to go in but were able to get some shots of it from the outside.
I also had to take some pictures of the police vehicle outside Exarcheia in case of riots.
We spent the afternoon walking around the National Archaeological Museum, which was the perfect way to spend the last day. The museum houses lots of artifacts from all over Greece, including some of the sites we visited while we were in Greece, so it was really neat to have seen all the sites first and then view some of the pieces that came from some of them.
Unfortunately, the kids were kind of over it, so we gave them old cameras and a phone so they could take pictures. At one point, Eric found a series of selfies with funny faces that Anya took of herself!
We were so sad to leave Greece, but we had so many great experiences and learned a lot about Greece and Greek culture. We still miss the food!
We decided to do a day trip to a nearby island on our second to last day in Greece. A lot of people visit Hydra, but we decided Aegina was a better option with the kids and for what we wanted to do. This meant getting to Piraeus (the port in Athens) early to catch a ferry because it took a bit of time to get there. The kids were grouchy on the way there but their moods got a little better as the day went on.
Once we arrived at Aegina, we had to figure out how to get around. Unfortunately, they did not have the best transportation system. The port at which we arrived was on the side of the island that had very little to do, so we ended up having to take a bus. The bus stops at primarily three different sites on the island, including a monastery, the Temple of Aphaia, and the beach town on the opposite side of the island. We would have loved to do all three and should have had time to do them, but the bus schedule did not allow for it and taxis were really hard to find.
We decided to stop at the Temple of Aphaia first. It was really cool to see and it was in a very scenic location on the island. It’s amazing how much of these temples are still preserved.
Afterwards, I found a route that we could walk that would take us to the little beach town, so we walked for a bit and found a place to have lunch. The plan next was to find a bus or a taxi to take us to the monastery but we found out that the bus didn’t leave for quite awhile and the taxis didn’t come out that way, so we’d have to call one and wait quite awhile for it to arrive. It would have taken so much time that it wouldn’t be much longer just waiting for the bus, and we’d be saving ourselves quite a bit of money. We took this as a sign that we needed ice cream while we waited!
The bus took us back to the port area where we walked around to a few shops and then dipped our feet in the water at the small beach nearby. There was also a very small church right in the port.
Aegina is beautiful but we wished we could have done more there. The transportation issues just made it difficult. We ended up going back to Athens via a high-speed ferry. It was more expensive but the time was right and we wanted to see what it was like.
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.
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.
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.
If you ever find yourself in Athens, this is a must-do and I would highly recommend you visit at sunset.
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.
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.
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.
That evening, we got some dinner and headed back to the apartment to get packed up to fly back to Athens the following morning.
Work through Writing Better Lyrics. (2 chapters per month, 24 total) (20/24)
Practice and complete a daily devotional. I have been able to keep up so far!
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.
Make a home video with the kids.
Paint with the kids.
Provide at least 3 meals at the Ronald McDonald house. (2/3)
Volunteer at the soup kitchen at least once.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eric also celebrated his 36th birthday 2 days after we returned from Jamaica.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ruins and views from the top were absolutely amazing!
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!
On 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!
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.
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.
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.