A Travellerspoint blog

Bologna

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The final stop before our train, or I guess plane, heads back for New York. Now, one should know that the entire reason that we came to Bologna is for the simple fact that Bolognese is Erin's favorite sauce, and she needed to travel to its home and eat as much of it as humanly possible. Therefore, a lot of our time here was spent eating. After getting back into Italy (Ancona) from the ferry from Croatia, we hopped a train and headed up to the city which is in the North of Italy. It's a fairly small college town, that has the same vibe as a college town in the U.S., namely alternative/hippy/intellectual. Also, the entire city looks like it hasn't much changed since medieval days, which is pretty cool. There aren't many sights to see, with the exception of the Piazza Maggiore which is a giant plaza that always has somebody doing something crazy in it (we've seen a brass band and marionettes so far) and the Neptune Fountain that sits in the corner of the plaza.

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Erin with the fountain

Other than that, we just relaxed and ate, a lot. Our first shot at eating the famous ragù sauce (aka bolognese) was at a small restaurant around the corner from our hotel. The pasta was real good, but the sauce just ok.

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first try dishes.

We really hit the mark with our second try. It was amazing. After the restaurant we originally wanted to go to was closed (like almost everything else in Bologna currently is cause all the Italians are on vacation and apparently the city isn't really a tourism hotspot), as stumpled upon the restaurant of our dreams. The mozzarella in our caprese was watery like it should be, and the lasagne with ragù sauce rivaled both of our mother's lasgne, which is hard to do. And then we finished it off with some homemade gelato. Perfection.

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And just before we left the city, we were graced with a somewhat amazing goodbye from an unknowing man.

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Posted by Erin.Devin 8/23/08 07:22 Archived in Italy Tagged food Comments (1)

Best of the 2008 Mediterranean Vacation

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As we come to a close on our 2008 Mediterranean Vacation we wanted to share with you our reflections on the highlights of our trip.

The winners are as follows. Feel free to add categories and we will be sure to respond.

Best Hotel Stay

Hotel Empress Zoe in Istanbul, Turkey with her 4 poster beds, wood floor, ceilings, walls and 5 start breakfast that was included (not to mention they had travel guides for Istanbul that we could borrow for our stay)

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Best Man Made Site Visited

Devin's pic: the Colloseum in Rome, Italy and really the inspiration for our whole trip. Devin has wanted to see this since she took Latin for 7 years through Middle School and High School. She skipped like a school girl towards it.

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Erin's pic: for my family members this may come as a surprise but the Vatican was my top choice. Mostly because of the incredible amount of art and craftmanship concentrated into one space. The Sistine Chapel would make anyone sit and wonder what the heck they are doing with their life.

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Best Natural Site Visited

Santorini Volcano and Hot Springs in Santorini, Greece: Who can beat walking on the worlds largest sea cladera and swimming in hot springs off the side of a pirate boat? Not us.

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Best food experience

Still Sora Margherita in Rome, Italy. The Roman fried artichoke, meatballs, kiesh, and cheese cake still call our name in the middle of the night.

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Best shopping experience

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey was Devin's shinning moment. She haggaled her way to stardom and to the frustration of many a Turkish men.

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Best Overall City

And the winner is...Istanbul, Turkey. The food, the culture, the people, the shopping, and the haggaling all riveled that of a good day in NYC.

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Best Transportation

Blue Star Ferries won our hearts at first soft warm blanket and private shower with great water pressure. While we participated in some cool overnight sleeping on trains. No private bathroom really takes it down a start or two.

No pictures to show its awesomeness....unfortunately. It can only live in our memories.

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/23/08 07:13 Comments (2)

ummm...tragic if you missed this...


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We felt it was very important to re-post this video.

1. Because it is our favorite
2. Because it makes us laugh and we want you to laugh
3. Because we think it will freak out our parents and now that we are safely on land again it is ok to do that
4. Because it is our favorite and therefore can not be missed

Additionally, we havent posted this video yet but we drove the ATV from our side of Santorini to Oia to catch dinner at what is known to be one of the best sunsets on all of the greek islands (and in the world). We had dinner at a restaurant that had cliff side seating and was in a prime location for sunset watching...

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/20/08 13:07 Archived in Greece Tagged events Comments (2)

Dubrovnik

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We are about to leave Dubrovnik, Croatia, which is quite possibly one of the most romantic and beautiful cities ever, which we knew from the moment that our flight began to descend into the city, because below is what we saw out of our window.

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The city itself is rather small, the heart of it is concentrated into the old city (which is pedestrian only). The old city sits nestled between the mountains and the Adriatic Sea and is surrounded by giant castle/fort-like walls, which you can walk the entire length around and get an amazing view of the city and the sea. It was probably one of the most amazing things we've seen, the views being really mindblowing, pictures don't really do it justice.

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Erin with her beloved audio guide on top of the wall

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A view into the bay next to the old city from atop the walls

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A view into the fishing port next to the old city from atop the walls

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View out over the city from atop the walls in Sepia, cause we started to feel artsy

If you can even believe it from looking at the city itself, during the shelling of the city in the conflict in the 1990's, 70% of the building in the old city took a direct hit. Since the end of the fighting, UNESCO (our new best friend) poured A LOT of money into the city in order to rebuild the building and restore the walls surrounding the city and are we ever glad they did. In terms of the history of the city itself, which we got a lot of information on from Erin's audio guide, it has historically been an extremely progressive and independent place. Until the 20th century Dubrovnik was an independent state, the Republic of Ragusa. At one point in the 1500's, it held more consulates in other countries that any other country in the world at that time. It also built one of the first hospitals for the poor in the entire world, and has long been known as THE place for weaving and philosophers. Being on the sea, fishing and trading was a huge part of the culture and society, and in the past, transport boats-barges made in Dubrovnik were regarded as the best in the world.

We made good use of that fishing part by eating a TON of seafood since we've been here. We started with a giant platter of mussels,

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Erin with mussels and my Croatian beer, which rivaled that of Austria

and have also had some calamari, which wasn't quite as good as the ones we had in Istanbul.

Croatia also has some of the bluest water we have seen so far, but still more of those pebbled beaches we've grown so fond of.

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Devin in front of the water, proving that we didn't just steal a picture of it from somewhere online.

We spent one full day laying out on the beaches, still no burning on Devin's part, possibly a world record. The second day we did some sea kayaking, which we've been wanting to do for awhile but haven't had the chance. So we get to the meeting point, and the guides are explaining what the 3 hour trip is going to be like. We're going to kayak around this small looking island and then rest on the beach, snorkel, relax and then kayak back. So we are understandably quite excited. Also there are some kids in the group, about 8 or 9 years old, so we're thinking, this can't be too hard. Um, yea, we were wrong. The whole trip was 3 hours, we resting for about 20 min. That small island, not so small, but deceivingly oblong. But the resting place was in a gorgeous cave, and Erin yet again braved her fear of swimming with fish and did some snorkeling. All in all, at the end of the trip, we were feeling pretty proud and fit.

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Erin at snorkeling beach

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Us, showing off our on-dry-land snorkeling skills

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/20/08 12:38 Archived in Croatia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Layover

all seasons in one day
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So in order to cut down on travel time between Istanbul and Croatia, we had booked a flight which had a layover in Vienna. We both desperately needed the travel rest, never has flying been so relaxing as when compared to trains and ferries. During our layover we discovered a number of very interesting things.

1. Airport weinerschneitzel is disgusting and should not be eaten under almost any circumstances. See picture below as exhibit A.

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2. Austrian beer is amazing and should be drunk under almost any circumstance imaginable. See picture below as exhibit B.

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Other than that, we napped and finally found peanut M&Ms after fiending for them for about 3 weeks.

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/20/08 12:32 Archived in Austria Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Istanbul was once Constantinople

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Like every journey we have taken...our adventures begin with food (mostly because Erin turns into a crazy person if she is not well fed and that just makes site seeing about as fun as tweezing your nose hairs). As soon as we got settled into our fancy digs at Hotel Empress Zoe we headed off to eat our first Turkish meal. And Turkishly delishush it was. Manti is a common dish in Turkey and it consists of ravioli filled with lamb then covered with Turkish oil, spices, yogurt, mint and adorned with slices of tomatoes. A refreshing twist on pasta and pleasing to the palate.

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Manti in full action.

After being fully fortified with a delightful Manti meal (which also sounds like a fish or maybe Barnies cousin), we headed out to get a start on our very full four day schedule in Istanbul (yup we made a full on day by day schedule for this stop because there were too many exciting Turkish things to do -- like haggle over prices, hang out with a guy who reminded us of our grandfathers and could have beaten Oprah for the speed walking champion of the world, and eat the worlds best clamari).

Below is a picture of Mustafa -- Mustafa is the live version of an Audio Guide Tour (which Erin is in love with - the Audio guides, not Mustafa). Mustafa gave us a private tour of the Aya Sofia -- the once Muslim, once Christian, once Muslim, once Christian, once Muslim, once Christian church, now a museum. By the way, private tours rule.

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Since the Christians love to put up pictures of Mary, Jesus, God and all those other prophetic type people the Muslims had to keep thinking of creative ways to cover them up because when they pray they do not like to be distracted by human figures. Therefore, large discs with the name of the Muslim Khalifahs. Which results in an interesting mix of Muslim and Christian cultures co-existing together peacefully and visited by millions of people a day.

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The Aya Sophia

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In the Aya Sophia there is a spot that is known to bring you good luck (apparently these spots are mandatory at every UNESCO site). The trick is, and there is always a trick, you have to put your thumb in and turn it all the way around (clockwise or else you bring destruction to all your friends offspring -- dont worry we got it right) while making a wish and if you pull your finger out and it is wet then you got your wish. Fortunately, Mustafa was smart enough to carry around a bottle of water and if it wasnt wet then he would immediately douse you with his water. Phew.

After the Aya Sofia, Mustafa took us to the Blue Mosque and gave us a tour of that and the Hippodrome. He probably would have given us a personal tour of the whole city but our money ran out and then suddenly so did our time with our new friend Mustafa.

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The Blue Mosque. The Mosque had tons of speakers attached to the spiral columns shooting up into the air and 5 times a day they would fill the air with prayer. It was actually a very moving experience to hear.

That night we met up with Mike, our friend Ana's sister's boyfriend. He was studying in Istanbul for the summer. He took us to the main drag where all the cool kids go for dinner and to hang out at night. When we got there we were greeted with a full on essemble playing for us. After experiencing a couple of great live music performances we went out to dinner with Mike and the best clamari in the world. I kid you not, Istanbul has got it on lock down. You cant get any better.

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See photo above to drool over worlds best calamari

Other incredible things we experienced:

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Turkeys aqueduct system. Basically a gigantic under ground well. They ran pipes from about 8 miles north to this spot where the water comes and then hangs out until it is pumped out to its next location. They built walkways so you could tour these underground wells and put in some cool uplighting which made for great photographs (probably intentional).

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The President of Iran heard we were in town and decided to visit us, so there was all this crazy security surrounding our hotel and all the major sites. They had police lining the streets as far as you could see and helicopters hovering above. We usually like to keep a low profile but is hard when you are being visited by a president. It was all cleared up in a day and we went back to being our regular selves.

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Grand Bazaaring it up. For real, Devin is the real McCoy when it comes to the haggle. They said 170 she said 15 and 30 minutes later we walked on with new item and only 15 lira (the Turkish currency) poorer. All we can say is that if you are Erin's mom or Devin's dad (or have a love of finding or haggling your way to a good deal) dont ever visit Istanbul without a large cash flow to back you up. We haggled our way through an entire afternoon and are now traveling with about 30 more pounds of weight on us and a big dent in our bank accounts.

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This is the Spice Bazaarr (see paragraph above for rave reviews on Devins haggling ability)

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No day of haggling would be complete without an evening of Turkish bathing. That night we treated ourselves to a Turkish bath. Devin added an oil massage to hers and Erin added a mud mask to hers. Needless to say, it was an incredibly intense experience (the details of which are too private to go into but were hilarious).

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Almost finally and most tragically - Mevlevi or Whirling Dervish Dance - a form of prayer that involves poetry put to music and spinning while praying. We purchased tickets to this event only to find ourselves in a auditorium that resembled a high school and ensuing was a production that could easily be out done by an middle school with a very limited budget. Devin insists the dancing was good but Erin was too distracted by the power point presentation shown on the white backdrop (that had stains) and the bottle of water rolling across the stage during one of the musical performances.

You win some you lose some and then you have a really good laugh when you get outside...or in your seats when you can't help it.

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Finally, we took a boat ride up the Bosphorus river to the mouth of the Black Sea (which we thought would be pretty cool because this is the farthest East either of us have ever traveled). The boat took us to the mouth and then dropped us in a town to eat and hang out for a couple of hours. We sat and thought about deep stuff and then headed back to Istanbul to pack up and get ready to take off for Dubrovnik in the morning.

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/20/08 12:01 Archived in Turkey Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

update about our entries--


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---just so you know.

We were finally able to upload pictures to the blog -- so we went back as far as the Athens entries and added the pictures and a cliff hanger video. We also just added 3 new entries to get you up to date with our travels. Tonight we are traveling to Istanbul....until next time....happy days.

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/13/08 11:03 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (3)

The Great Divide


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On our first ferry ride they actually sold us tickets for plastic lawn chairs on the outside deck. You heard me right, they sell you tickets to sit in those seats. Did i mention they are plastic and outside. The ride was overnight and 14 hours. Now I realize they see the backpacks and think are willing to rough it but they do not know who they are dealing with. We like fancy things and this was just not going to do for us. We only brought backpacks because the thought of rolling a suitcase over cobble stone roads and up many flights of stairs seemed the far worse evil than the backpack.

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People actually just slept on the floor wherever they could get space - inside or outside on the deck. We don't think so - puhleeeassee!

btw - that leg of the trip we upgraded to a cabin with bunk beds and private bathroom. Not ashamed at all...

Throughout this entire vacation we have had some long travels, Italy to Greece, boats throughout the Greek Islands, lots of buses and trains. The journey that we are currently on might just be our longest to date, our trip from Ios to Istanbul. We started out in Ios, the pretty Greek Island with the Italian resort. From there we took a ferry to Pireaus, which is the port city just outside of Athens. That trip in and of itself took us about 11 hours. Luckily we ended up on a somewhat nicer boat this time, and managed to score some plush club chairs near a tv so we could watch the Olympics.

Once the boat docked in Piraeaus, we made a made dash to a cab, as we were running a little late for our train connection. We hopped in a cab, and took a half hour ride to the Athens train station, where within 20 min. we were on a train to Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. The train was fully booked and an overnight ride which was 7 hours long, midnight to 7am. With her natural chutzpah when it comes to getting things for free, Devin swooped in and scored us a cabin with beds that we got at a discount cause of our Eurorail passes. We immediately fell asleep and woke up in Thessaloniki.

Now mind you, that in all of these travel plans, we kept asking people how to get to Istanbul, which trains were going to Turkey, etc. Some people may or may not be aware of the history between Greece and Turkey, but basically they're not so fond of each other. Therefore, every single person that we asked about travel between the two countries either met us with silence or said you could only fly. Therefore with a somewhat outdated guidebook and our geography skills to guide us, we decided to just keep working our way up through Greece towards Istanbul.

So, from Thessaloniki we got on another train, a VERY hot, sweaty, uncomfortable train, for 7 hours to Alexandropoulos, a small college town near the Turkish border. We were under the impression that from there we'd immediately jump onto another train to Turkey, but the conductor at the station informed us that we had to wait till midnight (it was 2pm at this point) for the next train which was overnight to Istanbul. But, luckily, we scored another cabin for this one and while we relax in Alexandropoulos right now, we excitedly await our midnight train to Turkey.

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/13/08 09:03 Archived in Greece Comments (1)

Ios

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Our next stop on our Greek Island tour after Santorini was Ios, pretty much the only island that still had rooms available. Somehow, after a mad dash to find a place to stay in the Greek Islands for two nights after some unfortunate booking (or lack thereof) choices, we ended up at what was an Italian resort on the island. We were a little skeptical at first, as when we walked into the lobby to check-in we were greeted as "the American Girls," but the island was absolutely spectacular! There was sparkling crystal clear blue waters, actual sand on the beaches, and mountains popping out of the water in the distance. While there we got a lot of stares and lots of people questioning our ability to be on the private beach since we weren't Italian....but it was a very relaxing day and a half before a REALLY long journey from the Greek Islands to Istanbul (more about that later).

Devin hurt her back putting down her back pack so Erin had to carry both our bags for a couple of days. The bags together make her almost disappear in between.

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no caption necessary

While i was resting my back by the poolside of the hotel Erin hiked the rocks we could see in the distance from our hotel and snagged some cool photos looking back at the bay where the hotel was.

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Devin's view while she roughed it poolside at the hotel

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the white cluster of buildings in the right side of the picture is the hotel is we stayed at.

Erin also came across people cliff jumping into the water but because she was thinking of Devin and didn't want to hurt herself (because then who would carry the bags) she restrained herself from jumping as well ( or perhaps she was just chicken shit -- we may never know).

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only about 20 feet in the air. Erin was above them taking the picture.

Oh, almost forgot, at the resort, right outside of the main restaurant there was a family of cats, with one mom and 4 babies. It was maybe the cutest thing ever. We said hi every time we walked by, and even got a picture of them all sleeping together. It was pretty much cuteness overload.

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Yes, more cats for Erin's mom (or maybe we are really obsessed with them too)

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/13/08 08:42 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Attack of the Genie Pants


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This blog entry has been brewing for awhile, but I think that the time has come. It appears that all over Europe, a trend is sweeping the continent. It is in every city, on women of every age, in every pattern and fabric, in pants, in jumpers, in shorts.....and that trend is genie pants. Below is a sample image. Now I apologize in advance if I am offending anyone with my response to this trend, but I just couldn't take it anymore. What in god's name makes people think that this is an attractive look! It makes everyone, regardless of body shape appear as though they are wearing a diaper! I just don't understand, and I just had to get it off my chest.

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a prime example of the genie pant sweeping the european countries

-Devin

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/13/08 08:35 Archived in Greece Tagged women Comments (3)

Santorini/Thira aka: largest sea filled volcano in the world


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We pretty much love volcanos (or atleast I do) and we stayed on the Caldera (Spanish word for boiling pot) of the largest Sea volcano in the world. The deal: Back in the day - like Greek Gods and Goddesses and stuff -- the island used to be a big circle with a cone in the middle. They just thought that was neat and built very important monuments on top honoring Poseiden and Zeus and those other dudes and dudettes who ruled the world and heavens. Then BOOM. The island blew its top and created a 40 ft. Tsunami that took out the civilizations living on the surounding islands (and all the cool monuments). Then the island was turned into a croissant shape and the cone in the middle turned into lava rock rubble.

Now that you have the history this is our story...

We stayed on the Black Sand beaches on the outer cressent of the island. Basically this means it was really hot because the black attracts heat and in the water were big slabs of lava rock which is jagged and sharp. While Black Sand beaches sounds exotic you better be prepared with modern day rubber to fight off the daggers waiting to jab into your skin.

After half a day on the beach (because that is about all the fight we had in us) we rented an ATV. Yup, you read it right, we rented a four wheeler to go cruising the island for the rest of the day. We drove all the way to the highest point on the island and then all the way to the opposite side of the island (which is about an hour and half ride that involves cliff hangers and narrow roads - don't worry I documented it with video you can experience the thrill live - Real World style) to catch one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world (not cliche - it really was and it says so in books).

The next day we took a half day sailing excurion on a pirate boat that took us on a hike to the top of the cressent in the middle of the culdera (the lava rubble). At the top we were able to actually touch the smoke/steam coming out of the volcano from on the rocks on top (we also captured real live action of that one - and the footage is much better than Vesuvious). After the hike they took us to a spot where we could jump off the boat and swim over to a spot where the volcano created hot springs in the sea and you could rub volcano mud all over yourself (it is supposed to be good for the skin). Finally they took us to Therissa (the least inhabited island in the greek islands. We ate lunch and swam in crystal blue water. I got scared of the fish (because I could see them) and then we got out and took a nap on the boat.

Now we are in IOS at an all inclusive resort where we I hiked and Devin rested because she hurt her back putting down her backpack (resting included laying on a beach chair at a huge pool that overlooked the Sea). We are traveling for the next two days to get to Istanbul. First a boat all day to Athens and then a midnight train to Turkey that will connect us to a train on the border of Turkey and Greece and take us the rest of the way to Istanbul (by the way, the Greeks really, really hate the Turks - every time we even mention we are going to Istanbul next the room goes silent and when we were trying to figure out how to get there NOBODY knew).

Hopefully pictures and more entires from Turkey. We will be there for 5 days and then on to Croatia.

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The pirate ship we road to the volcano

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Us at the top of the volcano

ATV drivin' : (warning, parents, just remember, we're safely at sea-level again)

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/11/08 13:31 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Athens & the Acropalapoulos

(we know we spelled it wrong, that was on purpose)


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Athens, one of our favorite cities so far. Our hotel, Acropolis House, was situated perfectly in the Plaka district of Athens, which is full of little shops and restaurants. We followed our trusty Lonley Planet guide when we got there, and ended up having dinner at an amazing little restaurant where all of the tables were situated on steps. At one point though, a dog chasing a cat apparently bit a Canadian lady two tables up from us. There was much screaming and alarm, with the Canadian lady and her husband freaking out. Well, the bit turned out to maybe have been a scratch, which maybe have actually come from the cat, but was blamed on the dog who was at this point curled up on the ground by the table. Well, terrified of rabies the Canadian couple demanded to know the owner of the STRAY dog for fear of rabies, and ended up going to the hospital. It was a very eventful start to our time in Athens.

The next day we packed in as much sightseeing as possible. We did the the Acropolis, with the Parthenon and other famous ruins, and even took a nighttime train ride around the city. Important note, Greece appears to be amazingly gifted at their lighting displays. Every single sight was lite as though it had been done by some Broadway set designer. Way to work it Greece.

One of the most exciting things that we did in Athens was to head to Stavros Melissos, the poet sandle maker, and get leather sandles made! It was a teeny tiney shop in a somewhat deserted corner of the city, and for pretty cheap, you can go in, pick from any one of about 20 different sandle styles, and you can watch while they custom make the sandles, hammering things and shaving leather, etc. It was pretty amazing.

We also did not have a single bad meal in Athens. The food was cheap and good, gyros, greek salad, sayanaki, spanakopita, baklava, etc. It was all good.

Last note, our hotel was amazing. If you're traveling to Athens you should REALLY stay there. It was super cheap, and the people there were so nice, making calls for us and things.

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Devin doing some heavy lifting of the Parthenon

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Erin's part-time job at Acropolis House in Athens

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Devin holding things down with a Greek Warrior

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The poet sandle-maker making our sandles

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/11/08 13:09 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

More things about pizza and other things we didn't tell you

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Erin really worked up an appetite at her new modeling gig...

erin_statue.jpg This pedestal was left in the center of a home in Pompei and who wouldn't take the opportunity to act like they were important enough to be chizzled out of stone.

Pompei was the vacation town for the rich Romans. It was a whole city unto itself surrounded by a brick wall. In the city, surrounded by mountains (and seemingly harmless volcanos), sections were dedicated to different activities. There was the "restaurant" area, the "shopping" street and the food markets. But all of it was no more than a half a mile wide (no yards obviously). Most of the streets were pedestrian and the ones that were for carriages, you could see (and sprain and ankle on) the carriage treads in the stones. The homes had a common room that had a huge hole cut out of the ceiling for light and then the bedrooms and other rooms were situated off the main room so they could benefit from the light. Some of the rich had huge fountains and gardens in their house. There were several amphitheatres, circus maximus, colosseum and other forms of raunchy Roman entertainment.

After Mt. Vesuvius and Pompei we were crazy, tired, dirty and so, so hungry. We headed to the most acclaimed pizza place in all of Naples only to discover a crowd of about 50 people standing outside waiting to get in for a table. Devin, in a moment of brilliance, thought "take out." She ran inside and learned that "take away" would only be a five minute wait. Eating on the sidewalk was not considered shameful if you had seen us. Acting like we weren't filthy and trying to go in to sit down and eat might have been more shameful.

In the 5 minute wait for our pizza, Devin made friends with all the men who made our pizza. They let her take pictures of them and with them AND they invited her into their kitchen where the magic happens.

PICTURE COMING SOON - CHECK BACK BECAUSE IT IS REALLY CUTE

It really was magic. The pizza was actually smaller than it looked in the picture. There were only four slices and they were so glorious. It was the sauce really. It was so fresh and had such a unique flavor. Devin and I agreed that the fresh, fresh ingredients just really go a long way. The sauce was sweet and the crust was slightly crunchy but firm and chewy in some parts (but not spongy like America pizza) it was more light and airy like a good pita bread.

Important details that we needed to add to our Naples adventures because we are neurotic and soon we will start telling y'all what outfits we were wearing and how many times we brushed our teeth (not really but if we do, please send us a personal email and tell us to come home straight away). Today we actually had the experience of not remembering what country and city we were in the night before (It was Amalfi, Italy and now we are in Athens, Greece - luckily it only lasted a few minutes and in our defense it took us 14 hours, 3 buses, 3 trains, and 1 boat to travel between the two places)

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/7/08 11:31 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (2)

Amalfi

sunny 90 °F
View Devin & Erin in the Mediterranean on Erin.Devin's travel map.

After our hours of sightseeing in Florence and Rome, volcano climbs and hours of eating, it became clear to us that we needed a vacation from our vacation, so we headed to the Amalfi Coast just south of Naples, to the town of Amalfi. And, whoa, was it ever gorgeous. Note, Erin's reaction while on the boast, about to reach the coast:

Amalfi, and other towns on the Amalfi coast are basically built into the sides of cliffs, with more steps in the town than roads, with thins strips of beaches separating the town from the sea. We had an amazingly gorgeous room with a terrace and AIR CONDITIONING (a luxury we don't even have at home), because we have now both succumbed to the truth that we like fancy things.

terrace_view.jpg This was the view from our terrace

amalfi_beach_shot.jpg Looking from the beach of Amalfi to the surrounding cliffs

devin_and_..i_beach.jpg Us on the beach

We spent our days there laying on the beach (during which Devin tanned with NO BURN, a miracle, and Erin got an unfortunate burn), which was a fine mix of pebble and sand, and our nights eating. The most amazing food in Amalfi, and that region of Italy are the lemons. They're giant, ugly (green and yellow and covered in lumps) and delicious, almost sweet tasting. We had lemoncello (lemon alcohol), lemon gelato, steak with lemon, lemonade, just lemon......we couldn't get enough.

The relaxation time was also much needed because from there, we made the long haul to Greece, a trek that took us from bus, to bus, to train, to ferry, to train and to Athens, which we'll be writing about soon.

Miss you all lots.

Posted by Erin.Devin 8/7/08 11:30 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Mt. Vesuvius erupts to destroy Pompei and then we ate

Yup, you guessed it we are at the top of a volcano and it was absolutely mind blowing. It took us several hours, a bus, a train and 45 minute hike but we made it to the top (and Devin did not whine at all). It felt like being on top of the world. We were above the clouds and could watch them racing towards us and part for the Volcano (not us of course although it felt that way).

After experiencing the immense power of Mount Vesuvius and yelling dumb things in the volcano just to hear them yelled back us (such as hello and this is wicked cool), we headed to Pompei to explore the destruction that Mount Vesuvius caused.

devin_vesuvius.jpg
Devin atop the mount

creepy_person.jpg This is real victim from the explosion over 2,000 years ago. As you know lava preserves like no other and when they found the site -- they found full intact human remains.

pompeii_ruins.jpg The ruins Pomepei with the still active Vesuvius looming in the background

Our home base during the trip was Naples. And as the guidebook says, you will never feel more alive than in Naples because you will never feel your life so at risk.

erin_with_pizza.jpg Erin with the original pizza, who"s birthplace is Naples.

Sorry this blog was brief on the writing. Our FREE internet time was limited and we love FREE.

Next stop, Amalfi.....

Posted by Erin.Devin 10:25 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (2)

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