Thursday, 11 October 2012

What happened in June

Ok. So I've been back in Canada for about a month and a half, and it is still freaking me out. First off, it snowed last night. Two months ago I was taking naps in my Athens hostel because of heat stroke.
So, I thought I should give an overview of what I did in those blog-less three months of travel. Really basic, nothing fluffy, because... there is a photo limit on Blogger! HA! Didn't know that was a thing!
So I left Paris separate from Emily -- she visited family in Strasbourg while I made an impromptu trip to Groningen to a) see Bradon before I split for the south and b) drop off my laptop so I didn't have to carry it for three months. It was a long journey as per usual, I actually ended up seeing a lady get tackled by security for trying to scam me. She was tackled about half a foot in front of me so that was exciting/terrifying. Gare du Nord always brings the excitement! I ended up getting to Groningen after about 12 hours of trains, late at night, then visited for less that eight hours including sleep and then hopped on a fun train route to Munich which took about 14 hours. I met up with Emily in the Munich train station, we grabbed AMAZING pizza, and booked it, and I mean like panic-stricken running, to our night train to Florence. Our train car was dark, humid and excruciatingly hot. By the time we really got going it was packing with six people with absolutely zero leg room because the family that joined us in the car wanted to also have their GIANT suitcases INSIDE the car. Also, the grumpy man in the car with this motley crew was trying to sleep and demanded silence, so the window and the compartment door couldn't be open cause it was way too noisy. Sauna of pain.
Something like 10 hours later, without sleep we ended up in Florence SO early in the morning that the hostel wouldn't take us yet. We chilled at a cafe for like 3-4 hours, the bathroom of which had a faulty lock so this creepy man burst in on me EVEN THOUGH the door was locked and I yelled at him through the wall. For real. Trauma. We dropped our stuff off at the hostel, but we couldn't check in yet. We walked up this giant important hill with panoramic views and walked around the town for a couple of hours until we could FINALLY check in and SHOWER. Showers after night trains are seriously magical. I gave a little bit of a summary of our Italy trip before but... aw man it was ridiculous. We met some really cool people in Rome and Napoli (those train trips were easy!), and our quick over night stay in Bari was beautiful.
We got to the port like 8 hours early for the ferry to Patras, Greece because I read the time table on the Eurail wrong. But we ended up meeting some Calgarians at the terminal and met up with them a couple times in Greece. There was a moment at the buffet on the ferry that I though I might have eaten something I was allergic to and Emily and I absolutely PANICKED which we later laughed about. We snagged some airline style seating, even though our ticket was for the deck. Thank god too, we would have frozen. From Patras to Athens was a bit of a nightmare -- Bus to bus, and totally not understanding what was going on. Then a train to Athens where we were accosted by some Athenian youth who wanted to 1) have sex with us and 2) buy Melia, one of our travel companions. I tried to get rid of them with Jenna Marbles techniques which only succeeded in pissing them off. A lot. One guy punched the window by my face. Boys are scary when rejected! Anyways, we got to our hostel alive, and spent almost a week in Athens. It was incredible. We ate every day at the God's Restaurant by our hostel and it was cheap and delicious and there were VEGETABLES! We saw all the legendary things you see in Athens, went to the Markets, made friends at the hostel -- it was great. Then we got a ferry to Santorini. Without a clue where we were staying. I'd read that you can just kind of show up at the port and then someone will barter for a cheap place to stay (cause of the recession) ... I was ready to be tough.
We sleep for the 6 hours or so on the boat deck -- so uncomfortable -- and show up at the port. We bartered for like... 5 minutes before we realized it was no fun and then we broke away to the tourist centre. They had hostel booking services there, luckily, and we got a place for super cheap. They hostel picked us up in a van at the port and drove us up the giant hill to the town where our hostel was. Santorini is beautiful. Our hostel was a hotel. It was my first time not on a top bunk since Florence. It had a kind of sketchy bathroom, we couldn't flush toilet paper, and the shower was pathetic. But there a pool, a bar, air conditioning, and a beach nearby. We got an ATV our first day when we realized we couldn't get anywhere without one. We ended up meeting up with the Calgarians by chance at the gas station where we were filling up our ATV. It was crazy. This girl was like, "Are you Mikaela?", "..Yea?" (we did not recognize this person) and she was like, "Do you know Michel from Paris? I went to school with him, he showed me your Facebook!". CRAZY. Then she introduces me to her brother WHO WE MET IN ATHENS on an accidental rooftop bar excursion. Then they're like, "Hey, we met some other Calgarians!" and up drive our pals from Patras. MADNESS. So crazy. We spent the day following them (and getting really lost) and going to the Red Beach, and Fira. The next day we went for Fish pedicures in Fira which was AMAZING and so weird. We spent four days just relaxing on beaches and driving ATVs and eating pastry. It was unbelievable.
Then we got on the most expensive ferry EVER to Mykonos (60 something euro!) which was this tiny little nugget that got absolutely tossed around on the ocean. Everyone was puking. I was giggling the whole... 4 hours? Except the times I got lulled to sleep by the symphony of gags and retches.
Then Mykonos. The most beautiful place in the universe. We spent something like 5 days here, but I really couldn't tell you for sure. We snagged a super cheap hotel/apartment at the Santorini port. They told us a price which we thought was EACH and it ended up being for both of us. The lady made us dinner our first night and was the kindest, greekest, lady ever. She had us call her Mama, and she spoke zero english. But she tried speaking Italian to us. Which was fun. There was a grocery store across the street from us that we got cucumbers and feta and balsamic and roasted peppers had THE BEST SALADS EVER. We got giros for 2 euro in town, we walked EVERYWHERE. I think I lost a lot of weight in Mykonos. We wandered through the little streets in Mykonos Town and bought way too much stuff. We tried caffe freddo (amazing) and bought bikinis and got really, really sketchy waxes (Greece is where you get creepy spa treatments I guess) and went to Paradise beach for a whole day and night. We danced till dawn, walked home to the literal sound of roosters crowing. It was seriously heaven. I did not want to leave.
Emily and I split again and I boarded a plane to Berlin (with absolutely no security by the way, I brought ouzo). I ditched so much stuff in Mykonos to make my bag the right size (clothes, purse, toiletries, etc) so I was really pissed they didn't even check. Getting to my hostel in Berlin was no fun because the airport was so far out of the city (EasyJet flights, pfft). But the hostel was amazing. 180Hostel, I will never forget. I had this amazing Hostel family of two Finnish people, a German girl, an American guy and a French Canadian girl. We all explored Berlin together, ate together, became really close in a really short time frame. I was only there 3 nights and two full days, I didn't see a whole lot of Berlin but I absolutely adore the people I met! Then I boarded, yet another, long train to Groningen. I stayed there for several days I think, it all kind of blended. Then Bradon and I set off to Austria (separately because he took a night bus and I took a early morning train) to see our good friend Alina and then go to the UrbanArtForms Festival. But... I'll write about that later because that's July :)!

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