Thursday, April 24, 2008

Au revoir Paris :(

Just a short blog. I am waiting for Manuel to pick me up before we go to the airport. Just saying one last online goodbye while i am still in Paris. I have too much reflecting to do that I can't even begin in the 10 min that I have left. Just know that I am a better person for living my life in Paris for a year and a half. I look forward to what's in store for me. I know it can only get better from here. I'm so very fortunate for these opportunities and I have to take them when they come. Stay tuned for US adventures...this is A Bientot Paris....I will be back :)

Last Day in Paris/Moulin Rouge

So it was my last day in Paris and I was a mad woman! It was great though because I saw everyone I wanted to see (except manuel but he is taking me to the airport). I saw Alex (who I haven't seen since I graduated cause he went to Australia), Kaitlin, and Fernando! It was a day filled of love. I felt very special. It was also hard because I truly don't want to leave these people. They know I care about them and will miss them a lot.

At 7 pm I went to the Moulin Rouge alone...but it was something I wanted to do in Paris and what a great way to end my travels here. I went to dinner and the show. The dinner...I could have done without! The Show...great! However...I have never seen so many perfect bodies on a stage at one time...more like perfect titties :) And the men...they weren't even good looking per se....they were all like Ken...just perfect! They show was a spectacle. The singing was dubbed...the dancing wasn't in sync, but the costumes and lights were amazing! And the little ponies they was in awe! Overall I enjoyed the show SOOOO much! I was very happy I went. I could tell you more...but I don't wanna give the show away. Honestly, if I told too much it may give the excitement away from seeing it. If anyone comes to Paris...I would say it was a must see. And for my friends that didn't want to fork out the money...I would say to fork it out :) It was worth it. Even just to see the perfect bodies! hahaha. (and make you a little jealous!) was a great last day/night!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cruise Greece/Turkey

Ok...Postings are up! The way you have to read it (if you wanna read them chronologically) are by going back a few days and starting with Begin Athens (not End Athens). And then work your way through to End Athens. There are about 8 postings. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed my trip! Thanx for reading!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

End Athens

I woke up at 6 am and finished packing and ate breakfast. I met some couple who got married at Santorini the day before. So sweet. We all got off the ship as a group at 7:30ish. We then took two separate buses, 1 for people going to the center of town and 2 for the people doing the excursion. However only 4 of us did the excursion and Ryan. The excursion took us to a bunch of places I already went to when I was in Athens but this time I got to go to the top of the Acropolis. I was actually a little disappointed. Oh well.

Afterwards we dropped our stuff off at the Hotel we had stayed at and said goodbye. From there Ryan had directed me in the way to get a Harley t-shirt for my daddy :) Then we just grabbed some lunch together and he showed me how to get to the airport from the metro around 4ish. I flew home around 6ish (plane was late as usual). I got into paris around 8ish and took a cab home because I was miserable to be finished with my cruise and depressed that I was leaving Paris soon. I came home and CRASHED. I couldn't even talk to Asima.

THANK YOU to everyone on this trip. I had an amazing experience. You all truly touched me in some way. I hope to stay in touch! It was a pleasure meeting you! What a fun trip!!!

St. Nicolas/Santorini

What a mistake to wake up this morning but I did at 8 am. I ate breakfast and went off to the ship to experience St. Nicolas. It was essentially an hr away from crete. If you didn't do the tour, you couldn't get there. The group didn't do the tour for many reasons. However I took the mini train ride through the town for 40 min. Waste of time and money. The town was pretty dingy, but the architecture was ok. I got back on the ship at 9:45 and layed out til 12.

I wasn't feeling well so I went to my room to get ready and then at 1 pm we took a group photo. Then lunch and then a group mtg at 2 pm. After that I went back to my room to read and relax til about 4 in which we started to port into Santorini. At that point I went to the top deck to take some pictures and then we all got off the ship to take the excursion to Oia and Fira. They were 2 very cute towns. We primarily just walked around and took pictures. I tried a sweet wine called vincento. Ryan got a free bottle, so he gave it to me because he knew I loved it but didn't wanna buy a bottle. So nice! At 8 pm we had to go back to the boat but we had to decide if we wanted to walk down the hill, take the cable car or a donkey ride! what do you think i did?!!?! DONKEY! it was hilarious! One of the best experiences of my trip! It was shitloads of fun! (literally) We then took the tenderboat back to the boat. I then dropped off my stuff and met my group for dinner at 9 and after dinner we caught the tail end of the last show. I was still feeling sick so I went to my room after and packed and went to bed around 1ish.


I woke up at 6:30 and went to breakfast by myself where i met some nice people from Nashville who actually used to live in Chicago. Strange! Then today's tour was only me Eric and April. We took the Rhodes/Lindos excursion. The other people could only see Rhodes (that's why i took the excursion-so I could see Lindos). We first went to Lindos. We saw the Acropolis and St. Paul's Church. It was so gorgeous. On the bus ride back (about 45 min) we stopped and went to a family run pottery shop where we watched a guy make pottery. It was fascinating! He then cut what he made in half so we could see the ridges. Really neat. Then we went to the old town of Rhodes. We walked around a bit with the tour guide. Then at 12:15 we finished and I went off on my own. Eric and April went back to the ship and I stayed in town. I had a great greek salad and then may my way to the beach from 1:30-4:30! The sea was nice, but the sand was horrible! Like big rocks! I then walked back to the boat. Once on the boat I sat with the group for a while and chatted. Eventually I went to my room to read for a while and pack (sad). The boat was super rocky today but Ryan said it was normal on the day they ride through Rhodes. Eventually I got dressed for formal night. Like i said, no one was really formal, but I did the best I could. Then Eric came over and I flat ironed his hair! He always wore a hat, so I was happy to help him out! At 8:15 we had captain's cocktail hr. free drinks again! I had bad wine :) We were introduced to the staff which was nice. Then dinner was at 9:15. At the end of tonights dinner they made baked alaska and all the servers ran around with the alaska on fire. They were dancing to Zorba. At 11 pm I quickly ran upstairs to take pictures of the HORRIBLE chocolate buffet the pastry chef made (who i was introduced to-as well as the head chef) Then i ran back downstairs to watch the horrible show which the theme was musicals. Needless to say, I had a good laugh! I think this was the worst show of all!!!! After the show I chatted with people from the group for a bit and then went to my room and read a little and went to bed around 3:45 am.


I randomly woke up at 6 am. I wasn't hungover at all. I'm lucky like that :) But I didn't know where I had to be when so luckily I woke up then. I showered, ate breakfast and met the crew at 7:30 (after reading my sheet). We then went to the island of Patmos. Ryan gave us the tour today. We went to St. John's Monastery and the Grotto. It was quite a trek but really worth it. It was so beautiful and great views!

We then got back on the boat early and I layed out from about 10-12:15. Then showered again and at lunch and re-met the group at 1:30. We then took a guided tour through the next island we landed in which was Kusadasi, Turkey. It was super cool!!! We went to the House of Virgin Mary and Ephasus. You see that type of stuff in photos but when you are actually up close and near it, it's unreal. Almost unbelievable. Then we walked the town individually and I bought a necklace and leather coat. I also got pegged for a french woman and hispanic (which i got all week actually). I also met the HOTTEST turkish guy. He gave me his email and told me to stay in touch and he would come visit. It was hard NOT to talk to him because his eyes were so gorgeous. I told him that. hahaha. He told me I was good looking too...and i was in sweats! hahahah. I got back on the boat at 7ish. I then made a toga out of sheet since it was Greek night. Yes I wore it to dinner (no pictures though! sorry). First it was Contiki Cocktail night (30 min of free booze) from 8:30-9 and then greek dinner at 9:15. Not as bad as the other dinners. Then the show tonite was a greek theme. A lot of greek dancing and singing. Pretty different. After the show I went to my room and read a little and went to bed around 2 am.


I woke up at 9ish (i think this was the latest I slept in all week!!) and layed out from 10-1 (that was the longest I had all week!) and then had lunch at 1 pm and then a mtg with contiki and then proceeded to lay in the sun again from 2-4. At 4 I finally got dressed to get off the boat. Mykonos!!!! I walked around with Eric for a while. We went to a store Ryan suggested and a guy from CHICAGO sold me a ring for my mom! It was beautiful. Then the night gets crazy! I went to dinner with Eric where we sat less than a foot from the sea! We ate lobster and it was SOOOO fresh and tasty! Along with that we had two bottles of wine and then a shot of some yumminess at the end of dinner. Then I went with Ryan and Eric to a bar and had 2 bourbon and cokes plus another shot. I was completely fine (luckily though I went to the bathroom while they had another shot!) After that we went back to the boat (i think around 11) And as we were on the elevator all went to hell. Luckily they got me overboard where I proceeded to get sick. I think it was too much sugar (since it's out of my system now!) The both of them were super sweet and took me to my room and put me in bed. I owe them everything!!!!

Istanbul, Turkey 2

Woke up by the 6:45 am wake up call set by Ryan (tour manager) and quickly threw on clothes and at breakfast to meet everyone for the 7:30 tour! First we went to the blue mosque! It was gorgeous. We had to remove our shoes because people still pray inside the mosque. It actually has a real name, but when you see the pictures of the inside, all of the tiles are blue, so to the tourists that's what it's called. Then we went to the ayasofia. It was first a church and then a mosque and now a museum. It was also rebuilt three times! Then we went to learn about turkish rugs and how they make them and the different types! It was then that i tried a turkish coffee! bad idea! The second I drank it my heart started to pound and then I bought two rugs! hahaha. We then left and a few of us went to a TURKISH BATH! It was super cool! I mean so unreal! You go in nekked (or with undies) into a steam room and lay down for about 15 min. Then a woman screams for you and you get scrubbed up and down for another 15 min. She uses a scrub brush and soap and even washes your hair. It feels like an exfoliation! After that I was super relaxed and we went back to the boat for lunch time. Then i tried to get some sun but it was too cloudy so i read for a bit and then had a cup of tea with Ryan. Eventually I got dressed for dinner (woah that was quick- but i actually had a lot of relaxing in there!) Dinner was semi formal tonite. And you know me, i love to dress up! Then we went to the once again horrible show at 11:15 which was a latin theme! HAHAH. I had a dirty martini which was almost as bad as the show. Then to the disco again...but again...shit. I went to bed around 1:30 am.

Istanbul, Turkey 1

At 6:50 am there was such a horrible turn by the captain (or so we hope) that things in the room started to fall so I started to wake up. But eventually at 7:40 I got out of bed. At 8 am I took a walking class and then a stretching class!! It was a fun way to start my cruise ship life ;) Then at 9:20 i ate breakfast with Eric. Then at 10:30 we had a contiki mtg and then it started! At 11 am I went tanning on the top deck. I was there til about 12:30. The weather was goregous! 27 degrees celcius (uh...i dont know it in F) I had to go and get ready then because we needed to be back on the top deck to take pictures of our arrival into Turkey. The island really is large. Part of it is in Asia and the other in Europe! So cool! At 2 pm we docked and took our first excursion. We first went to the Topkapi Palace. It was beautiful. Then we went to the Grand Bazaar! THAT was fun. I bargained a bunch. I bought a plate, a bowl, and a shirt. Then we went to the egyptian spice market where i bought some tea and honey. We then took the turkish metro back to the boat at 7:15 and got ready for dinner at 8 pm. After that we left to go to Bubble street which is comparable to times square in NY (however not THAT elaborate!) We went to a Hookah bar where Eric and I shared a cappucino hookah and everyone else had apple tea. It was a blast and I have to say I was pretty high for a while :) We came home around 12ish.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Athens/Cruise Boarding

I woke up at 8 am, got dressed, packed my suitcase and went to breakfast where I met up with Eric from Cali. We decided to go tour the town together. We went to the changing of the guards at the Parliament, the National Gardens, Zapion Exhibition, Congress Hall, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Arch, Panathinaikon Stadium (where the original olympics were held), then to the Lycabeitus Theatre which is the highest point in Athens. There were so many steps just to get to the funicular (almost as many as sacre coeur) It was a beautiful view and the theatre was cool except for the fact that you couldn't go into it. When we arrived back to the hotel we had just enough time to grab our suitcases and meet the group. At 12:15 we all left to go to the bus and go to the boat- Louis Hellenic Cristal! We checked in as a group and after we boarded we went to the buffet at 2 pm. After that we had a mandatory life safety mtg (u know those annoying orange vests!). Then we had a contiki mtg where we talked about optional excursions and kinda just hung out from there. I then left and walked around the boat to get my boundaries. I activated my on boat account and drink card. I only bought the non alcoholic one because i knew I wouldn't take advantage of the alcoholic one. I didn't need to drink THAT much (although it was a good deal-all u can drink for 140 euros-mine was all u can drink non-alcoholic for 56). I then went to the piano bar to listen to name that tune! I didn't participate...but i did listen :) I then read my book for a relaxing! Off to a great start! Then went to my room to change for our 8:45 dinner time slot. We met at the Caruso dining hall (that was the name of my jr high!). We ate til around 10:30 and then went to the Metropolitan show lounge to see the show! The show was HORRIBLE! I mean, i can't believe I sat through it! It lasted 45 min, thank g-d! We then went to the disco, which was also pretty lame! I decided to go to bed at 12:15.

Begin Athens

Let me start off by saying...this was an amazing experience! One i will never forget! Thank you to everyone for my memories! For those of you reading this and looking at the pictures, I will be as precise as I can, but most of the pictures I can't remember exactly what they I'm prolly just gonna post slide shows! So enjoy it all...cause i know I did :) And P.S. A fun little fact about Greece- they don't flush toilet you had to wipe and then put it in the trash can! That took a little time to get used to! WEIRD!!!

I woke up at 3:30 am because my Paris shuttle picked me up at 4:15. SO annoying. I arrived to the airport at 5 am which was 2 hrs and 20 min before my flight. However the shuttle was so cheap I had to do it. I waited one hr before I could check in and then another til I could board the plane. What a waste of good sleeping time!!! I had a couple of coffees to perk me up and to get started on my vacation! I then boarded the plane which took off on time and got me into Athens, Greece at 11:15 (one hr later than Paris). I got my baggage and took the bus to my hotel. The bus driver had longer hair than mine and he spent about 5 min in the mirror fixing it! It took about an hr to get there. I dropped off my luggage, got settled into the hotel hermes (4 stars) and immediately left! I took my coat with me because i was a bit chilly, but as i started to walk I was boiling! It was gorgeous out! I first walked to lunch and before hand managed to pick up some dude. I tried to walk away from him, but he wouldn't shut up. Anyway, at lunch i had a greek salad! I had to start right away eating greek food, especially feta cheese! It was yummy. Then I walked the Plaka area. I didn't want to go into the Acropolis because I was going to do that the last day of my vacation. After that I went shopping and all I bought was a belt because my pants were falling off of me and it was annoying! Then I came back to the hotel and showered and relaxed a bit before my 7 pm mtg with the contiki group I was going with. So we finally had our briefing with the other tour mates! There were 14 of us (plus our tour manager). Supposedly this was a very small group. Normally they are 30-60 people. I think it was good so I could remember everyones names and we were actually very close by the end of the trip! So the people are Eric-California, Mark- New Zealand (lives in London), Louise- Australia (lives in London), April- Australia, Carrie and Bed- Australia (lives in London), George and Geri- (newlyweds)- Kentucky, Tuly, Jose, Maria and Marcela- Columbia (live in London) and then our tour manager Ryan- Australia (lives in Athens while touring) and then me!! So it was a good group. At 8:30 we went to an authentic Greek restaurant for dinner as a group. There was dancing and singing and just overall Greek Fun!!! We got home at 11 and I went to bed around 11:30!