Thursday, October 30

Ahhhhh family!

I have spent the last 3 days with my Grandfather's on my Mom's side, family in Liverpool. Having not met the gaggle of them before, I was very excited to connect further with my history and to learn about our shared family history.

I couldn't have landed in a happier, warmer and fuzzy group of people....ofcourse we are all related ( smiles) but what a gift to be here.

I met my great Uncle Cliff, my grandfather's brother, who is a lithe and sparkly man and who remembers much of the past and stories of my grandmother and grandfather when they were all young in Liverpool together.

I have made lifelong friends with cousins and 2nd cousins and travelled through the streets that my grandma grew up in. It is incredible to look at the person sitting across from you and recgonize pieces of your self in them.

We have been a small family collective in canada and now feel part of a much larger family structure.

I have slept much and talked even more.....tomorrow brings me travelling north through London again to meet my grandmaother's brothers children and such and I am excited once again for the connections and warmth and family that await.

One week til I am home.......mixed feelings about that....happy for home but oh so sad to see this journy end.

Monday, October 27

after getting all that off my chest ( see previous posts)

I am spending my last night in Paris and begining my last full week in Europe...sigh!

I have exhausted myself by spending all morning at the Louvre, some 5 hours...and really just getting from floor to floor is a marathon...up the stairs, down some stairs...up and escalator, over to the left walk though an arch......down an escalator...and that is just to get to the 1st floor! Whew!

After being quite blown away by both the art and the extreme rudeness of the masses....I walked through the entire tuilierries jardin to the L'orangerie, taking in a cafe au lait by a fountain mid route..( it is a good 40 minutes from end to end)

What the Louvre offers in palatial granduer that sometimes competes with the art, the L'Orangerie makes up for with its simplicity. To view the Nymphees series, in natural light, in a simple oval room......divine and perfect and 3 hours disappears in a blip.

I feel I have taken in as much as I can, and actually come out having experienced and walked through a lot.

-Musee D'Orsey
-walk along the Seine and the Champs Elysee, people watching

-The Seine, other side and patisserie stopover
-Arc de triumph, T'our Eiffel, Notre Dame, La Concorde Square, Pantheon, Jardins de Luxemburgh, Les invalides and more...
-dinner at a Moulin Rouge inspired tastiness....mmmmm....escargot!...outside cafe seats to people watch

-The Louvre
-la Touilleries Jardin
-Louvre undergroung mall, for shopping people watching
-shopping at local market for tomorrow's train ride

and now have my feet up and am preparing a quiet night's stroll along the Seine...seriously can not get enough of that...and then to Liverpool Tuesday...

Ahhhhh, Paris....Je suis enchantement, merci Bouqous!

A little art lesson for gallery viewing….

Okay people…I have spent the weekend at some of the world’s most astounding art museums, The Mussee D’Orsey, The Louvre, The Orangerie, and I have a little museum etiquette guide I feel the need to share..

1: don’t stand in line if you have a museum pass and do read the small print, you will wait endlessly only to find out you could have walked right in the front door with pass….line is to BUY tickets…..( not me, others who complained loudly about this, I read the small print thank you very much ☺!

2: DO NOT, walk, stand, stop, block or otherwise impair the viewing pleasure of those people who are actually taking in the art with eyes, in order for you to snap a picture, only seeing the painting through the lense of your camera.

3: it is called deodorant people…say it with me….. D E O D O R A N T …..and I don’t care if you have been living under a rock for 6 months….when entering a sophisticated environment in close quarters with others, remember your pit stick please.

4: timing people, timing….take a few moments……..pick what you want to see and allow just a few distractions along the way to chosen area…….don’t keep twisting down corridors, ending up helpelssly lost and then complaing art viewing is tiring (not me… overheard in line) I mean really…it is leanoardo Da Vinco…how can that be tiring?

There is no need to fight, claw, scratch or otherwise maim art enthusiasts because all you want to see is the Mona Lisa and oh my god, we are standing looking at the rest of the art in the room and blocking your access to the mosh in front of her.
It isn’t even that great in person……

6: and finally…….take your time……be in the moment and drink in the sublime creations you are speeding past. These works of art were all created by a pair of hands……appreciate it for what it is and also recognize what it isn’t, you don’t have to love everything, just cause the guide books say.
This is the mosh in front of Mona I am talking about......see why deordorant is an important part of this equation....?

The Mona Lisa, or "what is all the fuss about?'

I don’t get it…truly, I am baffled…..after clawing my way politely through the mosh, and I mean….MOSH of people fighting for the perfect picture…forget about just getting to look at it with your eyes, the Mona Lisa is very anti climactic and it is really small.

The Louvre has all this amazing art, art that lives and breathes, with light pouring in dark and brooding…but the Mona Lisa is what we all hear about?

I found another portrait done by Davinci to be far superior…..vastly more interesting with subtler tones and lighting…
You decide for your self…here is the Mona Lisa..I have not altered the lighting at is this dark…..

And here is the portrait of a woman also by Da Vinci…look at how the skin bretahes and has life….look at the focus of those eyes……….so I ask you…..which do you prefer?

Sunday, October 26

My eyes are on overload but wow...

I spent the afternoon with a history student as a guide, taking a small group of the four of us through the main monuments in paris,La Tour Eiffel, Notredam, the Arc de Triumph, Trocedero Square,. Luxemburg castle and gardens....and much more...wowowowowowowowowow!!!!!!!

It is all and more than what you imagine and the art, theatre, music, culture, heritage and architecture really do leave one breathless.

I am now in a new district where I am staying for the next two days, the operas de halles area, bustling and still minutes form the Louvre....this eve calls to a brasserie for a quiche I think and then a walk along the seine and up the champs elysee.....sigh.....

Paris is unlike anywhere I have been, and the French people have been wonderful everywhere I have been, and allowing to sort out my French with them as still have not resorted to English for any quick transactions....woohoooo!

paris...Ooo la la!

I have arrived and already exploded onto the Paris scene, or should I say Seine, with great aplomb!

I am staying in the St.Germain district and then moving to the Opera de les halle this evening on the other side of the river and right by the Palais Royal.

The train came in late from prague..2 hours late.... and then involved having to exchange train ticket to paris as I had missed my connection, 4 long line ups til someone could help and much cursing under my breath. I finally got in around 3:00pm and ran to Musee d'orsey, ( after exploding all my clothes all over my petit boudoir, to find my cute paris clothes).....I took in the Picasso, Manet exhibit first and then lost myself in the familliar hues of the Impressionists....sigh....

I had an early night but not before a walk along the Seine and some baquette, cheese and ham.

I have not needed to use any English in my ordering transactions...yay.....and seem to be able to be understood and to understand what is being said and asked of me so far...yay for Mr. Bombezin and Mr. Macnalley-Dawes. I am actually really surprised at how much french lays just at the tip of my tongue.

Today I walked around gardens and pyramids at the Louvre, and am heading off for a guided tour through the main monuments of interest..

Tomorrow will be the Louvre, L'orangerie and we'lll see what else before I head to Liverpool Tuesday.

Friday, October 24

Prague...exquisite loveliness!

Prague is all that people say and more. Today I meandered amongst the seriously cobbled streets and breathtaking architecture, perfectly in tact. Nothing tattered or faded, all bright and beautiful and looking as though it could have been recently built, but ofcourse it is seriously old.

The people are not as friendly as other places I have been, but with the history of oppression, communism and the “velvet revolution”, it is no wonder really. The are polite, just very reserved. A bit disturbing to hear one of my fave others of the revolution, Milan Kundera, has been accused of informing on his peers 60 odd years ago to the Secret Police….I hope it is not true. Quite dissilusioning as he is one of the reasons Prague called to me.

Tonight I took myself out to the theatre and saw Theatre Fatastiquas’ “Themes on Alice Through the Looking Glass”. This was known as a black light performanc, these are much the rage arounbd here, and all is performed in shadow low light and blacklighting, to create an atmospheric show that is rich in subtext.
Mostly set to music, it is a little like Cirque de Soleil meets Theatre of the Absurd…but spellbinding. To describe the show???...hmmmmm…. a little bit like alice meets the chesire cat, eats eve’s apple and discovers her sexuality through the interactions she has with 20 ft white puppets, clowns who juggle in slow motion and a narrator type who sets the whole thing in motion.. Wonderful use of mixed media.

My neighbour ( seated beside me and alone also) chatted me up as soon as he sat down.
(Only I could be seated beside the one lone guy in the theatre who is looking for a warm body for the night…loolololol)…he was polite though, and I made it clear my friends at the hotel were expecting me so “no thank you, drinks in your hotel are not be possible”,
Grandma would say the women in our family all have “sex appeal” lolololol.
He was interesting to chat with though…from Columbia and very interested in theatre. Daiv would have enjoyed chatting with him…a bit like a man we once met in Puerto Vallarta who played classical guitar.

It is cold here but my layers are keeping me cozy and I am glad I picked up an umbrella and gloves in London. Walked across the bridge…so fairytale beautiful, and made my way back to the pension.

Tomorrow holds more wonders and theatre and then poof....I go to Paris.

What have been I been travelling about on you ask???? welll let me tell ya...

What Have I been travelling on ( as of my return to UK )…well let me tell you….can you believe I have figured out all this and not been left behind ( anti jinx)???

1 plane to vancouver from victoria
2 plane to amsterdam from vancouver
3 plane to norwich from amsterdam
4 plane to asturias spain, from stansted uk
5 plane to stansted uk from asturias, spain
6 plane to athens, from stansted uk
7 plane to santorini from athens
8 plane to stansted from athens

1 donkey

1 flying cat to crete from santorini

1 overnight ferry to athens from crete
2 ferry to hydra island from nafplion
3 ferry to stepsis island from nafplion

1 riverboat on norfolk broads
2 riverboat on thames
3 riverboat on prague river

1 train to london from norwich
2 train to cheam from london
3 train to london from cheam
4 train to sutton from london
5 train to london from cheam
6 train to cheam from london
7 train to london from cheam
8 train to brussels from london
9 train to cologne from brussels
10 overnight train to prague from cologne
11 overnight train to zurich from prague
12 train to paris from zurich
13 train to london from paris
14 train to liverpool from london
15 train to london from liverpool
16 train to woking from london
17 train to london from woking
18 train to norwich from london

metros and buses I have attempted

1 bus to nafplion from athens
2 bus to athens from nafplion
3 athens metro system ( lots of back and forth, easy)
4 nafplion bus trip to epidaures
5 nafplion to ferry for hydra island
6 buses around London..lots, really easy to manoever about and see the sights from
7 trams and metro in prague…still figuring out

1 rental car santorini
2 rental car santroini
3 rental car crete

more than a few taxis have saved my butt from planes and train stations, except for dude who got lost in athens and cab napped my souvenirs....

more trains to come! :)

aboard a train....

I am sitting on a high speed train ( ICE) on my way to Cologne, and pleased I made a quick connection with a kind woman on the platform who assured me that even though it said Frankfurt…my train was really going to stop at Cologne first…OI……the little things one learns as one goes along. It does not say this on my ticket or on any of the other info I have so once again, I am glad I always ask several people, if I am in the right place.

I am excited to be back in new and curious lands, with new and curious accents though. There is something very comfort in hearing your own language spoken, but it is much more a feeling of adventure to lose yourself in the sea of new voices around you that happens in a foreign environment.

So far my school french has seen me without the need for English to find my platform, train connections and other small details. …however…I do not have any Czech and am grateful the hosts where I am staying are English, in Prague.

The weekend went by in a whirlwind of all things Royal and English.

I arrived by train from Norwich into Liverpool St. Station……got befuddled as I did not know you need your train ticket to let you off the patforms through a gate and whew…after a small scramble through belongings, found it and got released…lol. D was waiting for me and we found somewhere to stow my luggage ( a long queue, with a very slow moving attendant….yeesh) and then we bussed about and made our way to the Victoria and Albert Museum. What a glorious setting for a museum. There was much that was fussy and we quickly scanned past, but the exquisite art nouveau/deco pieces, and the paintings and drawings we took in were amazing.

I am once again blown away by just how much art there is hanging int the world and am determined to see as much as I can while I am here.

Sunday was a day on my own and I was off to discover the Thames, and some of its sights.

Rode in on a train and then bussed about thanks to clear instructions from D, I found my way to St. Paul’s Cathedral……….it is really impressive…truly, even if old churches are not your thing….this one is spectacular and come one…how great is Christopher Wren as a designer?

I then walked across the Thames to the Tate Modern and wandered aimlessly at first…it ois big and industrial feeling…b ut once I found the materials floor I wanted….I welcomed my new friends, Kadinsky, Miro, Monet, Picasso , Pollack etc.

One room of Austrian postwar ( don’t mention the war ☺ ) art and film, was extremely disturbing but worthy of attention…gripping visuals of destruction and bodies….hmmmmm..

I left the Tate and found a seat by river listening to classical guitar music being played, chatted with a handsome Italian man and then found the Globe theatre.

The tour was a little disappointing in that, there was nothing new offered ( well it is Shakespeare I realize so I am not sure what I was expecting) but the space was amazing and easy to imagine the bard and his local actors doing their thing amongst the regular folk and prostitutes… wonder actors get a bad wrap.

The river then called and I answered with a boat ride up the Thames to the Tower of London and while it was too alte to get inside, I did take in a very cool Tower Bridge exhibition on the design and construction of the bridge. I alsowalked loooooong around the Tower of London and to the entrance where death row was and the tortures and beheadings and all manner of ghoulish things we inflict on each other on dark and gloomy towers.

I feel I had a fast but good taste of what London had to offer and even managed to see Buckingham Palace and Hyde park while the changing of the guard was happening, enroute to train station today

It is a jolly ol’ town, but I wouldn’t want to live in London...whew....exhausting! ( pics to come)

Tuesday, October 21

Train and bureacracy..just shoot me, train lesson for my readers

Well...the week of the train saga continued from ridiculous to the absurd.

I ventured into London and stayed with a friend, D there just outside London on the train ( lots in a future blog on what I got up to)....and while it was lovely there and toodling about London, the big concern were my tickets to prague and the lack of tangible evidence they existed.

I went into the office, as advised to do, on the Sunday...also advised they would be open and the internet said open can hear where this is going...
IT WAS CLOSED!!!!!!!!. I was soooooooo mad, but I called the call centre number posted on the closed door,( yay cell phone working) and managed to convince a nice woman to let me atleast book and put on hold my tickets......whew....she did thanks to having a UK zip ( thanks reading Room Cottage) I leave London at 17:59...whew...

I planned to go back into london again ( trains each way..then a bus) Monday morning....get back to house on train bus etc..pack and have a visit with another friend and then leave for 4:00pm on train, bus again and get started on trip to Prague....whew...okay have plan will travel..good!

Come to Monday morning, I am up and out and at the door to office at opening time 9:00am.......ummmmm they can't book anything til 10:00??????? WTF????? Sooooo I get a coffee and wait.....finally I am in the office.. yes they have my reservation...all is processed and now paid for, and I am going through paperwork......WAIT A MINUTE......WHERE IS THE LONDON TO BRUSSELS CONNECTION>????????????

Yup, that's right....the woman on the phone who read all the connections out to me that I wrote down, read them incorrectly and instead of leaving London at 17:59, I was supposed to be leaving Brussels at 17:59, meaning I would need a connection umm in an hour from London.

OH MY FREAKIN GOD!!!!!! I just wanted to cry, I was sooooo frustrated after almost a week of trying to sort this part of the journey out. I sat dumbfounded while the agent tried everything, including spending the night in way could it happen.......realizing I needed to push the whole thing back to depart on Tuesday and heavy hearted, I called D and told her my woes and my need to stay one more night in her hospitality...sigh...the kindness of people makes it all a little easier...

I then booked the same trip, 24 hours later including the London to Brussels part...gotta hold of my lodging, "the Castlesteps" in Prague who graciously did not charge me for the cancelled night and found me for me for the extra night on the end of the week....

I tell ya.....everwhere else I have been has been smooth and without incident....until England...all this nightmare because they wouldn't take my credit card on the phone and note to have to book your tickets in person at the regent St office to get anywhere out of London internationally, and the office IS NOT OPEN SUNDAY, no matter what they tell you.

Just shoot me!

Friday, October 17

and we're off...

Tonight is my last eve in Limpenhoe, I have laundered and sewn pieces needing a needle and thread, patched my poor old purse....scrubbed and am rested....

Tomorrow I am off to London for weekend, and then the train awaits ( we hope....gggrrrrrr train people) and I finally get to see Prague.

So exciting.....the castlesteps is where I will be.literally staying at the castle's steps ...a few days there and then I am off to many little time.... and will be wrapping up in Liverpool with family, members I have never met before....very enthusiastic about seeing them...

Soooooo farewell ol' Norwich and my friends here....I will be back!

Thursday, October 16

rail europe..kiss my......

Honestly, I have been trying to book my train trip from London to Prague and Prague to Paris for 3 days. It turns out that English beurocracy being what it is, the only way for me to book it, is to go in person and sort there...only trouble is, it is about 2 and a half hours away from where I am staying....dumb....stupid....grrrrrr!

Other than that, I bought a chapeau and a scarf for my travels as it is colder here.......very stylish... and had my hair done...was a little frazzled after fun in the sun.

Monday, October 13


I am back in the heart of Norfolk , in Reading Room Cottage and falling in love with the rolling Norfolk hills, the people and landscape all over again. It is really nice to be back although, even with the sun shining, it is colder than Greece...lololololl.

As it has been the Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, we got a pumpkin and I am using my friend Sarah kramer's cookbook once more "Vegan A GoGo" and making pumpkin curry soup today. A nice taste of fall!

I am settling here for a bit this week, and tripping about to London and surrounding areas before heading out early next week to Prague by train and then through Paris before coming back to London and planning for home.

Home....hmmm....hard to believe I am thinking about home has been a wonderful whirlwind of adventures but as home looms out there...I am not ready to leave yet but I will at the end of 2 months........I will be really happy to get home, but......well....Europe is wonderful!

I know I will be back!

Friday, October 10!

I spent my final day in Greece at the Ancient site of Epidaures. One of the best examples of an ancient theatre that exists in the world.

It was so unbelievable, amazing.....energizing, peaceful.....otherworldy.

I sat amongst the rows and rows of seats watching and feeling the vibrations and thinking on the theatre performed there...."Lysistrata", "Elektra", "Oedipus" for example.

i was also surprise dby the fact that this was a healing centre and had a hospice....all those years ago. the Greek people are remarkable!

After sitting in the theatre for ohhhh about 90 minutes and moving from place to place, I took the bull by the horns, deciding to fulfill a lifelong dream to perform in an Ancient Ampi theatre and walked carefully down the time worn stairs to the centre stone of the orchestra where I opened up and sang "Wearing white feathers as I fly"

The sound that came back to me was better than any monitor I have ever been in front of and the energy that fill the space is visceral, tangeable and breathtaking.

The small crowd were very appreciative and I met a few peeps because of the singing to walk through the rest of the ruins with. It brought happy tears to my eyes....I have been smiling all day.

I have had a dream come true amazing....extraordinary experience that will stay with me forever......thank you have not dissapointed.!

Thursday, October 9


because stupid, noisy, young neighbours on the other side of the,might as well be paper walls.....decided to get rowdy ( wink) at 3:00am...I am pretty sure there were wooden utensils being used as the slap and tickle sounded much more like a good thumping with the screaming to match.......crap...........They have been noisy this whole time , I think they are Dutch from the accents, but I was up at 7:00 for my ferry and I did not sleep well.

I think they must have finally heard me say "fuck" really loud about 4:00 as it got quieter then......Fuck in any language seems to be understood ...just is not boring! :)

a beautiful day...

Today was another lovely sunny, and hot day spent on a boat travelling to Hydra and Spetsos islands.

Hydra was gorgeous, no cars allowed, only donkeys for transporting goods about.

I also met a great couple from new Zealand who joined me for the day. So nice to have company and in English :)
One more day here and then off to England and Paris etc......exciting!

Check out this gorgeous sunset from the boat on the return voyage....

Wednesday, October 8

meanwhile, back in nafplion....

I wandered amongst the cobblestones today, looking for the national Museum, only to find it and discover it was closed....grrrr...

However, i did enjoy some of the beautiful sculpture and architecture that make this place so special.

All around it is a bit like a town held in time from its glory days of being the capital. The Gov't buildings are well maintained, even though often not in use and the monuments and statuaries are glorious....a few examples for you are the castle on an island in the harbour...

and a woman holding a man, need to find out more about that one but I really liked it.

changing gears

Well, as I have been discovering, the shoulder season in greece often means "closed for the season" and after a few frustrations of museums and sites being closed, I have rethought my travel plans and am flying out of Athens Saturday to England and my friend's cottage to reorganize my train plans to Paris does not close for the season!

Nafplion is beautiful as is greece but it is time to move on to a little more life that does not run on a season.

Sooooooo next stop Limpenhoe! Ho!!!!

Tuesday, October 7

I am sitting on the ocean front in Nafplion having arrived by bus from Athens this afternoon. Met a nice woman, turned out was an English actress, possibly famous…??? We chatted through the trip and then she was off with friends.

My pension while lovely is at the top of a steep incline of stairs and made of marble so I am carefully treading along while looking for internet connections….hee hee hee, I thought I had one beside a hotel, but alas even though it shows I have access, I can’t get on the interent….drat, foiled by the man.

Nafplion is a lovely old town, once the Capital of Greece before Athens. There is a huge castle at the top of my pension and I am surrounded with history.

Tomorrow I am debating a bus trip to Epidaures or a sailing trip. I guess it will depend on the weather.

I had my first really lonely moment this eve..sitting in my room, wondering where all the peeps were hanging…and then gave myself a good talking to, got up and came down to waterfront where the friendly waiter who assisted me this afternoon, remembered me, brought me my “usual” tee hee….Mythos beer, and has been very chatty. Amazing what a little pep talk of “get off your ass Kimmee” can accomplish. No more lonely feelings!

Just across the water is a lovely little armarment/castle dating back to about the 1500’s…..a small shuttle ferry will see me visit it tomorrow and then I am definitely leading towards a sailing trip. A good way to meet peeps and be chatty while cruising this beautiful ocean.

The pension is run by a delightful woman, Elene, who welcomed me with a hug, and many kitties about the place all seeking some extra attention. They really need better spay/neuter programs in greee…so many baby cats calling for a boy! Poor little things.

I am here until Sunday and then have made the decision to start winding my way across Europe by train.

I know it is cold everywhere else, but I am starting to long to see other types of architcture and European environments. Greece however holds the key to the sun, so we’ll see……..

There are a lot of archeological places to get to while I am here…..Ancient Corinth, Mycenae and Epidaures…all will be visited by the time I leave.

Ha, found an internet bar on the water so I sit and post whilst listening to greek pop music and the ever present sound of worry beads........sigh....much better than my room.....


Monday, October 6

MTV launch in Greece, and I was there...

My first dinner alone, and I sat with a book and beer when beside me, two black clad roadie types, sat down and started talking in Dutch.
They commented in English about my meal and the conversation was off...we all had dinner together and it turned out they were working for MTv setting the tv stages for a big concert at the Olympic Stadium including REM.

Hmmmmm Athens and a huge concert and an historic stadium all at the same time??? Count me in batman.

They went back to work and I went to my hotel to get clear metro instructions to the Stadium.
Found it no problem after a 40 minute ride and 2 changes and got to front of stadium only to discover it was a noisy football game, not a concert......OH NOOOOOOO...there are two Olympic stadiums..a new one and an old one......ofcourse the old one was the one I needed and is a 5 minute walk from my hotel...far from where I was at the "new" stadium....

meanwhile EEEEEEEKKKKKK the rabid football ( soccer) fans were getting out and I had to share the metro, squeezed between fans singing and chanting...ugh.

I did find my way back to the "old" stadium and finally found myself in the ancient space, right in the thick of things...
I thought I had missed it, but turns out it was just getting going.

I met a lovely sidekick to spend the evening with. A young woman, kindred spirit, and we giggled and danced the evening away together. Thanks very much to Xenia, for sharing a great party.

After my highs and lows of Sunday in Athens, the evening offered the kind of magic you dream about when planning a trip like this.

Ohhh and did I mention the concert was free??? The whole evening cost me 80 cents for metro :)

The Kaiser Chiefs began, followed by a young singer from Australia and finally REM..they did not disappoint. fantastic!!!!!!!!!
What an exciting place to spend my first night in Athens......trulky magical, a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget.!!!!

Sunday, October 5

Bumbling Through Europe

So I have been to the Acropolis. I couldn't help myself, it was 8:00am,had very little sleep, I went looking for coffee and I saw it....high on the hill, and I felt my feet trekking......

It was amazing.....breathtaking, and packed...holy crap. I am so glad I went so early, I actually had some areas on my own but not so by 9:00.

The ferry remained uneventful but not the taxi ride to hotel.
My non english speaking driver, the one who I had another driver explain where I was going, get a total for trip and also showed the address I had written in Greek by another Ferry passenger....spent 45 minutes helplessly lost in the streets around the Plaka.
Popping in and out of the cab, talking to newstand people, stopping strangers on the street, her really couldn't find it.
I made him stop, threatened another taxi, and finally..tada....he found it. Honestly, welcome to Athens at 7:00am.
He wasn't a bad man, just truly lost, maybe first week on the job?

Unfortunately because he rushed me out of the cab carrying my luggage, he left a bag of souvenirs I was sending home in the trunk of the cab. Sigh......I am hoping the parcel karma fairy will show good concsience and drop it off here....there are a lot of yellow cabs here phoning him does not seem to be an option.

Now as a day full of "highs and lows" ( sorry couldn't help my punny self...lololool))...I also managed to come down the other side of the Parthenon and get totally lost in the Acropolis. Did I mention it is huge? Did I mention I am pms'ing? Ugh!

I arived at the museum, very cool and statues..also cool, but nowhere near where I needed to be.
3 guides later ( they all gave me differing directions) and 90 minutes of hoofing around ruins lost, I stopped a NewYorker on the street who had me sorted immediately. Whew... I am telling you it has been a big day.
I came back to the hotel, got my room and promptly passed out for a few hours.

Now fresh as a daisy, I am staying in the Plaka this afternoon and evening.

The good side??? I did manage to figure it all out, "march on Kimmee."...still pissed about the package though.

Saturday, October 4

Thus far.....

I am sitting on the ferry to Athens….2 hours having passed quietly, and 7 more ahead.

So, I am taking the time to muse over the last month and think on the some of the moments that have shaped this adventure thus far!

To begin, I would not have believed the ease of moving from one place to the other. Granted I am in the shoulder season, but travelling amongst the Euro-countries is astonishly straight forward.
In one day, I was in Spain, England, Athens and Santorini……..that is amazing to this Canadian, wide open spaces…travel far to get off the rock… girl.

England was exactly what I hoped it would be.
Full of warmth and humour, made more so by my wonderful host at reading Room Cottage who shared her countryside with me and introduced me to my first castle.

That was something…walking up the hill in Norwich and seeing the castle, high above standing guard over the picturesque town.
Breathtaking. The pub fish and chips didn’t suck either.

Along with that was Victoria weather…blink and it changes, I felt right at home…lolololol.
My friend and her furries await me at the end of my journey as well and I am so grateful to have that familiar comfort to bookend this trip with.

Spain offered the comfort of a soul mate friend and her family, and the incredibly beautiful countryside of Northern Spain. I had no idea it would be so green and lush.
Really everything was exciting and new, and the tastes….mmmmmmm…. Fabados, ciders, vermouths, wine, pimenton and scenery…. extraordinary.
The Gigon harbour sea twinkling its greeting and the mountains answering.
Honestly the best thing about Spain though was getting to do all that with my friend and her family. Not a moment slipped un-celebrated and made special and the laughter flowed easilly and often.
We climbed up to see 4th Century churches, high above the district of Oviedo…..these structures have withstood the test of time and send out a vibration that speaks to its history, architecture that is beautiful. More time running fingers over stones. ( smiles)

It is hard to write about my feelings of Greece so far.
It has been such a dream for so long and it has not disappointed, still pinching myself that I am here.
Santorini and its cliffs of white and blue, the sea, the ruins and the sunsets…..add in friends from my hometown to share it with and truly a magical dream come true.
Our host at Stelios Place was a huge part of what made Santorini special. A ready smile, nothing too much trouble, including picking me up at the airport at 6:15 am…I would return to them again as returning to an old friend.

I was surprised at how small the island was and with a rental car, we traversed much of it.

In spite of the fact that AkriTiri was closed….Grrrrrrrrrrrrr…I did spend time amongst the ruins of Ancient Thira.
Amongst all the rubble of a culture that disappeared after a voclanic eruption destroyed most of the island; this peak, high above the sea, managed to remain and with it, its extant evidence of another time, incredible intellect and innovations we would not even be dreaming about in the west for a long time to come.

My favourite thing seems to be the round columns and structures.
The rubbles needs a good imagination to visualize the life there and I spent many moments sitting, fingers running over stones, creating a world long gone by in my mind’s eye.
The round stones though, they could only have been created by hand, the chisel marks, the smooth surfaces…….it gives me goosebumps thinking about…..and the world they were fresh and new in, obvious for all to see and imagine.

Crete is the freshest and offered the most diversity.
Heraklion is a busy port that has not honored its past as well as other Greek locations. Beautiful Venetian architecture being dwarfed by modern, unimaginative construction interferes with the ability to truly appreciate its history. Spending one night there, I was more than ready to move onto Chania….but not before making iot to the Palace of Knossos.
Okay, so what heraklion lacks in history, is made up for by this incredible excavation and restoration.

Green stone processionals lead you through different wings of the palace. The structures rich in colour and architecture, fresoes recreated and hanging ( the originals in museums), the colours and vibrancy of the people who inhabited the palace, clearly visible…and it is huge.

The energy amongst this place was bustling and peaceful at the same time.
A must see for anyone even remotely interested in our history.

Chania saw my friend and I a pair as our other travelling companions had top depart early to head back to turjey due to challenging ferry schedules. Disappointed we moved on without them and checked into the Anastasia Pension.
3 exquisite rooms in a Venetian home, renovated with integrity.

The harbour of Chania is unbelievable. You could be standing in any moment in time within Chania’s history. The architecture intact and beautifully repurposed.
For example, what was once a Turkish Bath House, now a fantastic restaurant “Tammam” and the holes for the steam rooms still visible.

We spent ages wandering cobblestone alleys, discovering hidden places and doorways of such beauty that I have more pictures than I can remember taking.
We also travelled by car up the west coast, as far as we could go to Phallasarno. A whote sand, cerulean blue sea, oasis, complete with the ruiins of Ancient Phallasarno for us to explore. ( too bad I had to go pee like a racehorse though…not many bushes in the ruins)

We watched a goat herder, chase an escapee group of his mountain goats out of an ancient cave….that really was the highlight for me…lolololol.

The end of the week took us to Rethymno, a smaller and not quite as quaint version of Chania but offering its own rhythm and history. We climbed in spiral wind and 30 degree heat, up into the castle Fortezzo, high above the harbour…..sand pelted us but the views and the stones worth the ancient spa scrub.

Many of the highlights of this week have involved tastes of the local foods.
The spices, combinations and sheer luxury of spreading out a meal over hours is such a rare thing in canada.
Included in the cost of dinner would be; basket of yummy bread, some form of amuse-bouche, our main entrée, caraffe of grappa and a sweet something to end with. Usually for under 30 Euros between us including wine. Really really good food.

Back in Heraklion today, readying for Athens and S’s trip home to Victoria, we found ourselves at the centre of a celebration for Crete’s soccer team. Winning a huge game today, the black and white clad fans spewed out of every café, taverna, alley and restaurant, singing team songs and joyful beyond words. I am really glad they won, I am not sure what that energy would have been like if they hadn’t.

I said a bittersweet farewell to my friend who has been with me since I started thinking about coming on this trip and who shared two weeks of it with me, and then boarded the ferry bringing me to this point.
Alone, in a sea on Foreign voices, I sit here.
I am excited about making it to Athens fianlly and trekking alone through museums, plakas, and ruins.

It is good to be on the road to the Parthenong and the Acropolis. Whew……..will I feel like I really am awake and not dreaming then?.......

Thursday, October 2


Well I am looking at the end of my travels with my friends from home.
One more night and Saturday I will be hitting the overnight ferry to Athens.

I am excited at the prospect of seeing the Acropolis, Plaka, Parthenon etc.........and really excited to be venturing forth alone, meeting what comes head on, but it has been so wonderful to have home pals close these past two weeks.

I am now in Rhythymno, Crete, a smaller harbour than Chania, but not without its charms.

Today we busted out of ambience and went for beachy resort place to lay our head and oh joy, there is a bathtub. I know it is a little thing, but only having, handheld at waist, showers for 2 weeks, it is huge for me.
Tomorrow however, we move to a traditional place with smashing ambience in the old town.

Last girl's night together...thank heavens for friends!

Wednesday, October 1


I am sitting in a taverna on the ocean front in the harbourside of Chania's old town on Crete.

This place has survived Turkish Occupation, the 2nd world war bombings and muc much more.
it is a place steeped in history that you can smell, touch and viscerally experience with every breath.

We began in Heraklion Sunday evening and then moved on in a little rental car, "putt putt" and came to this place.
We are staying in a fantastic old Venetian styled building dating back for 100's of years. Coved ceilings, a fireplace of marble and 3 rooms, sleeping, kitchen and living room that looks out onto one of the many pedestrian only, cobblestone strrets.
It is heaven.

We did go to the Palace of Knossos before leaving Heraklion and this place was magic.
Excavated with one man's impetus, the site is full of conatiners, frescoes and architecture...much for me to run my fingers along :)

Now however, we are very much transported to old world Europe and all that it offers.
The food is amazing.

We spent today travelling to an ancient ruin in Phallasarna and the white sand, cerulean blue ocean that was hradly disturbed by other people. there are certainly benefits to travelling during the shoulder season.

I just can't get enough of this place.
We also visited a monastery that has construction dating back to its roots in an acroplois to Artemis. The monks moved the stones from that place to the spot they are in now and the threashold stones that are worn, the doors and the smell of incense is heady and beautiful
It must be a wonderful place to be a monk these days.

S and I are venturing out for dinner to an bombed out builidng ( 1941) that has been reserected as a courtyard restaurant wioth live music, and great ambience. The vione covered walls and venetian ruin of a building is spectaculr.

Last night we were in an old Turkish bath, now also a restaurant and had amazing food...lots of flavours of European influences in the cooking here.

We move down to the south of Crete tomorrow and the weekend sees me saying farewell to my friends and embarking alone to Athens and the pellopenese.

It is amazing to have seen a month go by already.....will write more as I go....