Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Italy/Greece : Day 12 - Olympia -> Delphi

I've been procrastinating on writing up this day... this is a HUGE DAY! My apologies to all those who have been waiting...

Wake-up at 6:20am. It is so HOT and STILL. We took a short bus ride to the ruins at Olympia. It was a HUGE site!

Our guide gave us a VERY thorough overview of the site and the first Olympic games (very thorough as in, "Is she ever going to stop talking so we can look around?!")

Doesn't this look like an important place? Like where they would light the Olympic torch?

Nope! That is a fountain. Right in front of the fountain is Hera's Alter where they light the torch every Olympics. It's certainly not much to look at.

Here's the Olympic stadium!

Cheryl and I raced through the Olympic stadium. I think she jumped the gun...

Chris took that picture of us starting, then he took off after us (wearing flip-flops) and passed me before we reached the other end of the stadium. He almost passed Cheryl too. Yeah, Cheryl beat me. But I beat her back! Long distance running has it's advantages!

We never said we were racing up AND back, but that just makes sense, right?... I declare myself the winner! hehehe...

The museum was very nice. We saw the famous statues of Nike and Hermes:

The museum was full of other statue pieces and nick-nacks.

Chris was fascinated with all the little toys:

Now, it's back on the bus to Delphi. And a long ride it is! We have to leave the peninsula and head to mainland Greece.

We stopped a couple of times on the way to Delphi. Our first stop was a fort where the battle of Lupanto was fought. This major battle kept the muslims from entering Europe.

It really is a beautiful spot!

Our next stop was for lunch in Itea. It's at the foot of the Delphi mountain.The food in Greece is wonderful. Cheryl and I shared a Greek salad and stuffed tomato.

We had some time after lunch to mess around. Here we are trying to remember how to play checkers. It's Jim and me against Cheryl and Chris. We were doing all right until Jim had to jump Cheryl, hahaha! Too bad you can't see the older couple from New Zealand sitting on a bench laughing at us, lol!

We even had time to get our feet wet before climbing back on the bus.

I'm going to stop the commentary here and continue with Delphi in another post. This is already a HUGE post and the day isn't over YET!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I cleaned!

I can actually see the top of my scrap table now! Just looking at that bare table makes me want to scrap something. Here is a sweet little card that I made with the Unity NOV 2009 KOM.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We interrupt this program....

Well, we interrupt the trip recap... to give you the newest member of the family garage... A 2010 Kia Forte!

This is for Cheryl to drive to Cal Poly when she starts at the end of next month... The mini-van is gone. Chris really liked driving the mini-van, even though it wouldn't start sometimes. Anyway, Chris will be driving Cheryl's old car to Saddleback.

BTW, Cheryl got "smart girl" glasses, lol! Does she look like a smart girl, now? She's such a pretty girl... The Italians said that she looked Italian and the Greeks said she looks Greek. All the nationalities are trying to claim her as their own, hahaha....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Italy/Greece : Day 11 - At Sea -> Patras, Greece

We are on our way to Patras, Greece. On a ginormous overnight Ferry. Yesterday was uneventful. We found our cabins, even though the number scheme tried really hard to confuse us! You know Greeks are the fathers of science and math... I think they used some complicated Greek number scheme for the cabins. Here's our cabin. This is top of the line! LOL!

There are different classes of travel on the ferry... There were the cabins which we had. There were airplane seats. It was just a big room with rows and rows of airplane seats. People just slept in the seats. Then there was steerage. Look at the photo below of the deck:

Can you see the people with mats and tents setup on deck? They have a ticket to ride, and they sleep where ever they can find room. I wanted to take a photo inside, but it seemed rude... people were lying all over the floors in the halls and in the stair wells.

The first evening on the ferry, we explored (stepping over sleeping bodies). There was karaoke, casino, video room, a pool and Internet (but the wifi didn't work with the iPad).

We had a nice sit down dinner in the dining room: soup, fish, salad, some kind of meat kabob, chips (french fries) and melon for dessert. Yes, in that order...

We spent the rest of the evening playing cards with the kids in the lounge.

The next morning we passed the ferry heading in the other direction. So you can see what the ferry looks like:

Cheryl is still getting over her cold, so as she was taking a nap, Chris hung out with us. He would like recorded that he beat me at Egyptian Rat Slap, rummy, crazy-8's, two games of rat-a-tat-cat, and speed. I did manage to win one game of slap and one game of speed.

The boat stopped at Corfu. I can't even tell you how many times Fabrizio told everyone, "Do not get off at the first port!" Well, no one got off at the first port, and it was a long wait to get to the second port at Patras.

At the port we met our Greek bus and headed off to Olympia!

The Greek countryside looks a lot like it does at home (just a little more unkempt). Dry low growing brush, and even the same types of trees. The sidewalks are cracked with weeds growing through, the houses we passed were rundown and there was trash all over the sides of the road. I was expecting the worst, but our hotel in Olympia was gorgeous... just what I pictured Greece would look like; white balconies, angular with bright splashes of color!

We got in late and had a buffet dinner in the hotel dining room. Look at the size of this buffet. All traditional Greek food!

I loved the little signs with the name of each dish (in English and Greek). Can you see the dish on the right? That's Cheryl and my favorite... stuffed tomatoes!

I couldn't bring myself to pick off the pig.

Oh, look there's ice cream!... not as good as Italian gelato.

After dinner we went into town where Jim got me a lapiz ring for our anniversary.

Since we got in too late to see the Olympia ruins today, we are doing a double header tomorrow... Olympia and Delphi! Get your walking shoes on!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Italy/Greece : Day 10 - On the way to Greece

Last night we had to have our bags outside our door before we went to bed. The bus was going to load up, take the first ferry back to the mainland and meet us there.

The following morning, the kids were coming down the elevator. Part of the way down, they met Fabrizio, who was rounding up the suitcases from the people who forgot to put them out last night. He saw the kids in the elevator and said, "Oh good! Take these two suitcases down to the lobby." Then he pushed the suitcases into the elevator with the kids. When they got to the lobby, the door opened to a harried looking porter who scolded the kids (in Italian) for not having their suitcases ready on time. hahaha!

Today is our travel day. We leave Italy behind! Here is our last meal in Italy on the way from Venice to the Ancona.

Here is our last gelato in Italy (down the street from the sandwich shop):

Here us our last church viewing in Italy. I don't know what the name of the church is. It was just across the street from the gelato shop:

In Patras, we boarded the ferry for Greece. There are only a few ferries going from Italy to Greece because of the unrest in Greece. The port that the tour company usually uses was closed. We had a few problems getting past the port authority, but Fabrizio took care of it all (in very heated Italian).

I'll talk more about the overnight ferry to Greece tomorrow. Today, I want to add a few tits and tats about our time in Italy. Here is a field of Tuscan sunflowers. There were sunflower fields all over Northern Italy. We were there just at the end of the growing season. You can see that they are starting to droop. They must have been spectacular to see a few weeks earlier.

Oh look! Here's my beau from Florance. All the wooden boys and toys reminded us that the story of Pinocchio originated in Italy.

Oh look! It's Chris's dream car!

The amount of luggage was AMAZING! Everyone on the bus had one suitcase and one carry on, and almost everyone's suitcase was the maximum size allowed by the airlines.

Venice is famous for MASKS! They were so FUN to look at! Some were really gorgeous!

Cheryl got a mask for a souvenir. I don't know how she could pick one out of the thousands and thousands of masks that we saw.

Chris is styling his new hat and sunglasses. He lost the sunglasses that he brought with him, and he's really going to need a hat in Greece. The sun there is supposed to be brutal!

This is a Burano color study... I'm dressed kind of blah, so Cheryl picked the green for me...

Blue of course for Jim...

Chris is styling the neutrals....

Since Cheryl picked my color, I picked hers... What do you think?

Chris is learning all the features of his new camera...

Lastly, here is my favorite photo of Cheryl and Chris. People on the trip were unsure about Cheryl and Chris. Some people thought that they were 14yrs and 16yrs old. Some people thought they were teenage twins. Most people thought they were going to be trouble. At the end of the trip, I think every parent in the group told me what joys they were. They were so sweet and polite and pleasant to talk to. They also commented on how well they watch out for each other and what good parents we are...

Those are my sweet kids... I'm so proud of them!

Italian wisdom: Parents need to be parents, not friends...