Saturday, October 15, 2011

Insert subtle Greek reference here...

Greece - yeah it's ok...

OK, it's frickin' awesome, probably one of my favourite places we've visited. Our Greek odyssey was to visit three of the Greek Islands for a bit of rest and relaxation. Our first stop was Rhodes, a sun saturated paradise surrounded by turquoise seas that defy description or photography.

Of course, we were the whitest people there and even though I had plans of taking my shirt off to try and tan – the screams of horror combined with the blinding flash of light when the sun hit my pasty skin meant my shirtless frolics were cut short. I did, however, put my feet in the ocean and almost drown.

The other great thing is the food and seriously, I could fill this blog with pictures of me stuffing my face with all manner of beautiful goodies. Anyhow, this momentous picture is of our first Greek salad in Greece.

They also have excellent wine as Ruth shows us today.

A very rare view of Ruth with her tail out.

Rhodes, seemingly like most towns in Europe is based around an old town but this one was particularly epic as it is actually the size of a small town rather than being a few buildings and streets.
There was also a large number of cats which were immediately unsafe by Ruth's arrival.

Due to the strikes, we had a few extra days and went to the small island of Symi for the day. It's one of those small islands you see in adverts for Greece and indulged in every cliche of being a alluring utopia under a blazing hot sun.

I got to know the locals but you can't actually tell from this photo that this is the skankiest dog in the whole of Europe - I had to douse my hands in kerosene after patting him.

We also stumbled upon this boat - the Lazy Days, which literally looked as if it had run aground. It was pretty awesome but I resisted the urge to climb aboard as it seemed like a recipe for tetanus or death. Strange to say, this is the boat of my dreams...

After leaving Rhodes, we moved onto Crete and the city of Chania. Insert repetitive comment about being an exquisite paradise on blue, blue waters...

Yeah, it was pretty beautiful...

On the river front strip, you were constantly harassed by restaurant owners to dine with them but these guys took another tact. As their sign says "we don't talk too much" - they, in fact, recite their menu in mime.

It was also my birthday in Chania so we celebrated in style. Ruth took an official birthday portrait by the ocean but really, the day was mostly about me eating meatballs as shown here. 38 and still sexy...

Our next stop was Santorini - playground of the rich and famous. I'm sure that the thousands of pictures and films of Santorini are meant to prepare you for how gorgeous this place is but it really doesn't. White villages perched upon volcanic cliff faces overlooking islands and a sea such an astonishing shade, I'm not sure there even description for it.

However, one word of advice. If you're ever planning a trip to Santorini, make sure you book your accommodation in Oia, not Thira. Thira is beautiful but Oia is mind blowing as shown above.
Probably the biggest reason it's so mindblowing here is that part of the movie the Sisterhood of the Travelling pants was filmed there. Go the sisterhood! (what do you mean you haven't seen it?)

I have no idea why anyone would make a film here.

During the day Santorini fills up with hundreds of rich tourists from cruise ships asking where George Clooney is. The town swells as people buy craptacular souvenirs to remember their three hour stay.

But at sunset, they disappear in a plume of pollution allowing everyone else to enjoy the fantastic sunset in peace.

And as the sun set on our Greek adventure our thoughts now turn to Laos, where we head next which has supposedly been suffering from flooding. That could be interesting...

Note: Ruth has put amazing photos up of Greece on her Flickr site. Check it out here.


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Cheques in the mail

So we took a train to the Czech Republic and arrived in Cesky Krumlov, another remarkable old town which is famous for persecuting Egon Schiele.

It was a beautiful place that had some kind of Children of the Corn-esque harvest festival going on. We found a great vegetarian restaurant we ate at a few times and generally just hung out soaking up the Czech vibe.
The other great thing in Cesky Krumlov was our accommodation which was called the Dilettante's Hangout. It was run by this guy who looked like Johnny Depp who had crammed the room with his paintings of nudes. The room was painted wine red and reeked of incense - if you ever hung out with hippies in the early 90's, you'll know exactly the kind of place I'm talking about. It was vaguely awesome and yet, oh so disturbing.

After we left Cesky Krumlov, we made our way to Prague. At one point we were contemplating living in Prague for a month as part of the holiday so I was looking forward to exploring the city. However, a few hours after we arrived someone stole my bag from the restaurant we were eating at and the whole Prague experience turned a bit sour. The bag contained my camera, ipod, phone etc and after spending time with some unsympathetic cops filling out a police report, my desire to be in Prague greatly diminished. Sure, it's a nice city with some great architecture (if you don't include that Frank Gehry building) but its kind of been spoilt for me. As I don't have a camera to take any photos, here's a picture of a sad kitten.

Is that sad kitten a representation of me? I don't know but we leave for Greece tomorrow and I hope for better things there.