Saturday, May 29, 2010

Greece part 2

Day 3 and onwards.

There's a little town called Imerovigli near Fira which came highly recommended by friends, so we thought we'd make a wee detour there and see what it's all about. Turns out the village consists of mostly tourist hotels built on cliffs and little else to do (or so we thought!). However the landscaping of the village was spectacular with the whitewashed buildings scattered on the cliffs and lovely villas with balconies overlooking the Aegean sea. We sneaked into the hotel areas for the view, and managed to take a few photos before getting chased off the property. Haha!

Oya is another must-go in Santorini. It is said to have the best view and people flock to it to see the sunset everyday. I thought it did live up to its expectations indeed, and the sunset view was surreal. It would have made a perfect place for couples to spend a romantic evening. Tip: do go early to get a good spot for the sunset as the place can get very packed very soon. Perhaps about half an hour early would be sufficient.

The next day we took a local boat tour to the nearby volcanic islands. We stopped at an island with volcano craters, a hot springs area at which the people had to jump off the boat and swim a distance to reach the springs. I didn't jump - I didn't bring my swimsuit with me that day, a decision which I kinda regret. However they were only allowed half an hour to swim to the springs and back, which was not really enough time to fully enjoy the place, but anyway.

We met a Malaysian girl unexpectedly on the boat trip, Wanxing - Su Mei's high school friend who was studying in Finland. She told us she was on a one-month trip around the EU countries - - alone! Salute betul.

Day 5 - Mykonos

Mykonos is yet another Greek island with quite similar buildings and landscaping, albeit with much more tourists compared to Santorini. For my part, I preferred the latter as walking around with a bunch of tourists bustling around you doesn't really make the perfect vacation, now does it?

We even met a huge pelican waddling around a restaurant's al fresco seating area. I thought it looked a little old what with its balding-ish head, hehe.

Greek coffee. I don't really recommend that you try it unless you're able to take very strong coffee. Besides being really strong, it also has a gritty texture and it has a bitter taste. Not my cup of coffee I'm afraid.

Next stop: Ireland!

PS I love you, Ireland short post. Greece part 2 still pending.

Just a quick and short diversion from my Greece travel diaries, but I was just watching PS I Love You and it came to the part where Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler met for the first time on a bridge....or rather, on THAT bridge. I was swooning when I saw the beautiful heather blooming on both sides of the road ( they weren't there when we went) when I heard Hillary say, that was her post-college trip and she started off from Greece. I swear we weren't trying to copy the storyline when we told our fellow tourmates the exact same thing! And yes, we were telling the truth all right!

I don't know why and what it is with places where movies were shot, but when I saw that part of the movie it was like, a thousand fireworks lighting up the sky at once! And it is So. Romantic. Swoon......

The bridge when we went a few days ago.

Has any of you had this sort of love? The sort that leaves you out of breath, intoxicated yet refreshed, and gives you a little spring in your step when you think of him/her? The sort that makes you 100% sure that he/she is The One, and anyone else would never do? The sort that would make you feel as if you'd died a hundred times over when he/she died?

I don't even know if I will experience this sort of love in my lifetime. I don't know if it is the sort of love that can only come out of movies and novels, idealised by people's imaginations. But hey, imagination is what makes the world turn round, is it not?

p/s: Obviously this is not all I'm going to write about my travels to Ireland. A much longer post will be coming up (soon, I hope!). I posted this just because I was too excited when I saw the movie. Yeah right.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Greece part 1

Dear all, did you miss me? I'm sorry this blog has been neglected for a good long time. I have finished my finals (and crossing my fingers every single day), and went on a well-needed vacation to Greece and Ireland. I'd always thought that I would never want to see another book again in my life after what I went through during the finals, but after a refreshing break I feel I just might take up further studying in the future.

Our original plan was to fly in to Greece via Athens, but after seeing the turmoil we decided on a change of plans to fly straight to Santorini instead. Santorini is a collection of lovely little islands off the southeast of Greece formed from volcanic eruptions. It is difficult to say exactly what was its charm: the beaches were clean and peaceful, the architecture of the buildings were very different from the rest of the country, and the people are one of the friendliest I have seen.

We spent a day on Perissa beach. The sand is black due to the volcanic soil, and the sea is in the bluest shade of blue I have ever seen. The one thing I regretted was not bringing more warm clothing to the island. Foolishly I thought all islands would be sunny and happy but unfortunately that does not include santorini! The temperature was cool but the wind was...cold. The locals were wearing jackets and sweaters and I felt like such a fool in my summer dresses, shivering away on the beach! In the end I had to put on my thick jacket I brought along, and planned to wear in ireland cos I assumed the weather was much colder there, and still looked like a fool on the island wearing my winter jacket and thin flouncy dress. Le sigh.

(actually I didn't really get to wear the thick jacket in ireland much in the end. We overestimated the weather in greece and underestimated that of ireland, but more of that later anyway.)

Our most expensive dinner in santorini, totalling to over 17 euros per person.

And, we had a surprise birthday celebration for the bestie! =)

We recruited many cute guys to sing her a birthday song.

On the second day, we rented two cars for the six of us and went a-exploring around the island. It is impractical and somewhat impossible to walk around in santorini as the island is not really that compact and dust was blowing into our eyes all the time as the wind was so strong (which explains the chilly weather too). ATVs are cheaper than renting a car but one ATV only sits two people and it goes SO. SLOWLY. A car costs about 45 euros per day not including petrol for an automatic car, and a manual one costs 40 euros. But the manual car wasn't a feasible option as the driver sits on the left and drives on the right side of the road, and the clutch is on the right side of the driver (all opposite to malaysia). Sin Wee was really excited to be able to drive after a dry spell in glasgow but me, as always the one with no sense of direction always seemed to read the map wrong and we ended up reversing the car quite a number of times as we took a few wrong turnings or didn't turn at the correct place. Good times.

Sinwee looking very excited behind the wheel.

Vilchada beach.

All six of us with the flag of Greece behind.



Another souvlaki.

Greek salad! with a huge chunk of feta cheese in the middle. Yum!


A little tip for those who are also heading to Greece. How do you know if the restaurant has cheap food? An average moussaka costs around 8-10 euros, so if its moussaka is cheaper than that it's considered cheap enough. A cheap greek salad will cost about 5-6 euros.

Part 2 coming up next!