Travel

I just got back from Greece

It’s really bittersweet coming back from vacation. One part of you is SO sad that you’re leaving such a beautiful place, but the other part of you is glad to have your routine back. Okay, I’m not really a “routine” person, so it’s mostly bitter, rather than sweet, for me. I’m actually vehemently against a routine and I am so glad that I have a job where every day is a little bit different, but if I could get paid to travel and experience the world I 100% would. In a heartbeat.

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Christie, me, and Amanda at the Acropolis

 

So back in December, my two friends and I decided to book a round trip flight to Athens. That’s all we did. We figured we would fill in the rest later. And that we did. Here’s how we did it.

STEP 1: Decide where you’re going within the country

  1. Santorini from June 25-28
  2. Mykonos from Jule 28-July 1
  3. Athens from July 1-4

STEP 2: Book transit from place to place

We used SeaJets for the fast ferries from Santorini to Mykonos (2.5 hrs) and Mykonos to Athens (just about 4 hrs).

We also decided to just get all the flights out of the way on day 1 so we flew from NYC to London to Athens to Santorini. And a fun-filled day it was.

STEP 3: Decide where to stay in each place

Since our friend, Christie, had done a study abroad in Greece four years ago, she had a pretty good idea of where to stay. Since she spent the majority of her time in Santorini in Kamari Beach, we decided to stay in Fira. More on that later.

When it came to Mykonos, we decided to stay in the party-centric Paradise Beach. Didn’t do a ton of research on this one, but again more on that later.

In Athens we weren’t picky. We just wanted to be within walking distance to the major tourist attractions. We ended up staying in a really nice Home Away right in the city center.

STEP 4: Don’t overthink it

That’s pretty much all we did. The few excursions we did we decided to just play by ear when we got there. We would have all driven each other crazy over-planning and over-booking. I’m glad we did it that way.

We ended up having a f*cking awesome trip. More on that later. Any questions?

Always,

Allie

P.S. Follow me on Twittah. Ya won’t regret it.

 

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Lyon, Travel

Lyon: Recap

29/07/2012

I can’t believe we are leaving our home of Lyon today. This is so surreal. The memories I’ve made here are definitely some of the greatest in my life and I swear that I will never forget everything I’ve learned about people, the world and myself.

The people in Lyon are not 100% tourist lovers, but I liked that. I don’t want to be treated like a tourist – I want to blend in to the culture. I can see why some tourists would think that the French are rude; but really, don’t go to a place that you’re not willing to adapt to.

Learn a few quick French phrases before you leave and talk to people! The best advice I can give to people travelling to a location is to go out to places that locals go (clubs, bars, etc.) and just start up a conversation. Nine times out of 10 they will want to practice their English on you and will want you to practice your French on them. No matter how broken it is. No matter how many times they have to hear you say, “Comment dit on en francais ___?” 

I learned that lesson from doing just that. I met countless random twenty-something year old guys walking home from the discotech at the same time as me who would help with my French while I helped with their English (in a huge group of us of course).

Au Revior, Lyon!

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Lyon, Travel

Lyon: Le Beaujolais

28/07/2012

How is it that this is our last full day in Lyon already?

I got some silly souvenirs (shot glasses, more post cards, basically all stuff I don’t need) and then we went on the most phenomenal day trip. Le Beaujolais is basically wine country. There are vineyards everywhere and all you can see for miles is hilly green rows of plants growing the grapes to make their famous Beaujolais wine. 

It was raining so some of the photos aren’t so great but check them out anyway:

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Then we went to a little wine cellar to do a wine tasting. They paired their rose wines with some sausages and the red wine with some cheeses. It was so delicious and I wish cheeses and sausages were even remotely the same in the USA. 

Update: I saw brie cheese in the supermarket and it said “product of France” and so I tried it. Definitely not as good as the French cheese.

Au revior (for now)

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Lyon, Travel

Lyon: Parc de la Tete d’Or

27/07/2012

Class today was pretty much just pointless. Actually, it was not. Thanks to Chelsea trying to make out with our professor yesterday, he wasn’t any fun. She definitely sucked all the fun out of him, dementor-style. Connell and I shit on her about that for a while.

Although we did watch a pretty good movie, The Untouchables, which I would have liked more if it didn’t extend our class an extra 15 minutes.

I forgot to mention that we went to an amazing zoo too! It was totally free (awesome) and some of the animals weren’t in cages (they had natural walls – also awesome).

Deer!

But I got other great pictures too!

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It was so great and free!! Parc de la Tete d’Or. GO THERE!

Au revoir (for now)

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26/07/2012

We graduated today!! But we still have class tomorrow, which is weird. I guess that’s how they do shit here?

My diploma

During graduation, we obviously had to do the cheek kisses (or for those of you that are cultures: faire la bise, bisous or bisou) with our professors, which is something that I personally always stress out about. Which way do you go first? What if they go the same way as you? What if you unintentionally make out with the person on the other end of the kiss?

Thank God I had Chelsea to answer that question for me.

Chelsea had a very interesting experience during this. Not only did Connell and I go before her so she could watch which way was acceptable to lean first, but many other members of our class did as well. But for some reason, Seb flustered her and she almost made out with him. I’m pretty sure someone, somewhere has it on video. That could probably make a baller YouTube video.

For those of you still confused about this gesture, click here.

Au revoir (for now)

Lyon, Travel

Lyon: Faire la bise

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Lyon, Personal

Lyon: Snappy the Watch

22/7/2012

Ahhh Sundays. You know what that means. The farmer’s market again. I bought another beautiful and adorable watch. Chelsea bought another four. She now has a whole family of Snappy’s.

Family of Snappy’s

To make matters even worse, she made the original Snappy a Facebook and Twitter. If that wasn’t enough, she took pictures of her Snappy’s in various positions and in various situations. The obsession may have gone a little too far.

The view from Snappy’s apartment

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21/7/2012

We went to Geneva, Switzerland today. We took a train at 8:30 a.m. and were in Geneva by 10:30 a.m. Such a quick nap to such a wonderful destination!

Once we got there we had to exchange our euros for Swiss Franks. OK, I’m not going to lie, that was pretty effing annoying. The Frank is apparently comparable to the American dollar, except everything in Switzerland was overpriced! Sorry, no, I am not paying $8 for a cupcake. I’ll give you a real life example: Leighann wanted a Swatch and it costs 90 Franks in Geneva but then she ended up getting it for 67€. I’d say she got a decent deal – even with the exchange rate.

Which reminds me…I owe Chelsea $9. I’ll just buy her a pitcher at Conor’s when we both get back to Boston.

Anyway, after finally figuring out our money situation, we decided to check out the United Nations. The people at the visitor’s center told us not to walk there, so naturally we did. It was a pretty far walk, but not altogether unpleasant. We walked along the lake and got a feel for the city. Then we arrived.

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Flags of all the countries lined the entrance. We got in, paid our money and went on our tour. It was so phenomenal to stand in the rooms that the leaders of our world discuss treaties and war in. Just imagine being that powerful.

In one room, there were two separate entrance doors. At first, no one really understood this. But the reason for it is that when two countries are at war and must discuss conflict resolution, they enter and exit at the same time (rather that one entering before the other) so that neither person (or country) shows dominance.

Then we went for the most amazing fondue. We shared a huge pot of bacon flavored cheese fondue with ham (they think that bacon = ham here) chunks in it. It was really delicious but I don’t think I want to look at cheese for a while again.

bacon fondue

After that we did some shopping and exploring and then, after blinking an eye, our day in Geneva was over. Such a beautiful city.

Food, Travel

Lyon: Geneve

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