Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Blog!

Hi all!

If anyone is still following this I just wanted you to know that I started a new blog HERE to share my latest adventures in New York City.

Now no yelling at me to post more!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Best and Worst of Europe

Favorite Country: Ireland (you can't beat friendly people, pubs full of live music, green hills, and zero creeps)

Best Food: gyros and bakery goods in Santorini, pizza in Naples, and paella in Barcelona

Cheapest Place: Santorini (cheap food and cheap lodging, you could eat and sleep for about 20 euro a day)

Most Expensive Place: Paris (Versailles was 35 euro which is about $53)

Best Hostels: The Green Man in London, Farmhouse Hostel in Perugia, and River Aille in Doolin

Worst Hostel: The Mona Lisa in Rome (we didn't have any horror stories like a lot of the people we met but this place was basically an apartment with only two regular (house-style not separate stalls or showers) bathrooms for 30-40 people)

Nicest People:the Irish

Creepiest Individuals: French man in London who gave me a piece of fruit and then acted completely insane, Barcelona flasher

Dirtiest City: Naples

Cleanest City: Amsterdam

Most Encountered Travelers: Australians (seriously, everyone in Europe is Australian. In a few years, all the whole European Union will be run by Australians and thanks to me you can be like, "Yeah, I knew that was going to happen")

Best City: Madrid (so pretty, so much to do, such friendly people)

Worst City: Milan

Best Walking Tour: Madrid (he knew so many fun stories) and Dublin (that kid knew everything!)

Best Architecture: Barcelona (you can't beat Gaudi)

Most Fun Inter-City Trip: Bari to Patras (the whole trip, Sorrento-Athens, took 30 hours but the ferry ride itself was fun thanks to good weather and some new friends)

Worst Experience: having my backpack taken by the world's worst thief

Best Experience: impossible to pick but all the best moments involved the people we met and a lot of them involved food (picnic in Paris, cooking class with Amy and Dan in Barcelona, playing poker with our friends in Perugia)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Things I Miss:

-Tomato and cheese sandwiches (although let's be honest, I'm bringing that food staple home!)

-Meeting new people everyday. And then learning their entire life story before realizing I for it to get their name. Happened a lot.

-The complete freedom to go wherever I want and do whatever I want. Now I have to go to school and have responsibilities which is way less fun.

-Aimless wanding around new places

-Crystal clear sea water. Or really any sea water.

-Trying new awesome food in the places where it is actually from

-Wandering past ancient ruins and landmarks so much they become unimpressive ("oh yeah, that's just the Colosseum, I see it everyday")

-Carrying everything I need with me on my back. The actual carrying wasn't so great but it made me feel very self-sufficient.

-Trying new things like snorkeling, driving an ATV, and, once again, awesome food. I know I can continue to try new things but the opportunities were so frequent and I had all the time in the world to try them.

-Trying to communicate with people who don't speak your language. I didn't think I would miss it but it was kind of a fun challenge.

-My new level of fitness which I will inevitably loose within the next three weeks.

There is probably more but that is all I've got at the moment. If you think of anything that I am forgetting to miss, please let me know!

Up next: Backpacking tips

Best ways to pass time in airports:

OK I don't actually have a list. Mostly I just read or wander through their shops. Really not that exciting. If you want something more creative you can probably Google it.

Currently on the final leg of our journey, JFK to Cleveland. I watched four movies on our ten hour flight from Athens to JFK (Midnight in Paris, Bridesmaids, The Lincoln Lawyer (in which Matthew Maconahay is totally the male Veronica Mars), and X Men: The New One). I have to take a moment here to declare my undying love for SkyMall. They offer great solutions to problems I never knew I had like unheated towels and not having life sized meerkat statues in my yard. It's the greatest. Excerpt from SkyMall: "Potty train your cat faster than most people potty train their kids." Awesome? Also, please don't potty train your cat, it's weird.


That was a few days ago! I'm now home and recovering from my jet lag (not nearly as bad as it was when we got into Madrid, thank God!). Headed back to school tomorrow or the next day. By my count I have a out four more posts planned so this is not the end! I swear there will be pictures of Greece!

In the meantime check out this list of ways to keep yourself entertained in the airport!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Things I'm excited to go home to:

In honor of my upcoming return to the states, here is my first end-of-trip list. I'm probably missing something but here are some things I'm looking forward to stateside:
-my own bed
-dressers/closets (I've never been so excited about putting things away in my life)
-my friends and family (brief sappy moment: thank you so much to all my friends and family for being so excited for me and supportive of this trip and also for being generally awesome! Wouldn't have made it without you)
-being legal (I know I'm legal here but I have been for ages so it doesn't really count)
-Indian food
-bagel sandwiches
-not having to worry about language barriers
-soap in the bathrooms (hostels seem to think this is not a necessary ammenity)
-chips, salsa, and margaritas (I told you it was going to be all food)
-my laptop
-my car
That seems anit-climatic but it's all I've got. Mostly I miss people but it would be lonfpg and annoying to list all of you and then I'd forget someone and everyone would be mad at me. So it's your fault the list is so short.
   Coming up: "Things I will (by the time I post it'll be "do") miss about my European adventure," "favorite locations for European adventuring," and maybe even "Best ways to pass time in airports" if you're really lucky. Going to bed now, I have to get up at 5:30 because we have to get up super early because Delta wouldn't let me check in online. My dad says this is because I entered my name Amy L Wicks in one place and Amy Louise Wicks in another. I think that is a dumb reason and that it is probably because I am on a List. So that'll be interesting. Here's hoping I make it home instead of getting detained by security due to the T word!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back on the Ferry

    Well, back on a different ferry. I am writing from the very windy deck of our Mykonos to Athens ferry. I'm planning on posting this when we get to our hostel and have internet but there is a definite possibility that I will fall asleep instead.
    The rest of our stay in Mykonos was uneventful. We never actually made it out to find drag queens because once we went back the hotel after beaching we couldn't bring ourselves to leave. Whoops. We did, however, find a nice beach side bar where was laid around for the price of a 3 euro frappe. Not a bad price considering the mist of sand and trash that kept blowing on us when we just put our towels on the sand.
    We're hoping to do a walking tour in Athens, although the site of the one we found doesn't give a time for some reason so we have to figure that out. Other than that, a trip to the Parthanon is obviously in order, as well as an ouzo sampling since we actually haven't tried it yet. I'll definitely post more about that after it occurs.
    In spite of these plans the trip is winding down which means no more travel blog. I am planning on posting some lists along the lines of "Things I'm looking forward to in the US" and "Things I miss about Europe." Both these lists will probably be mostly regarding food and I planned to put them up while I'm still here but that may not happen. I'm also thinking about starting another blog. I have a few ideas so if I decide to do it I'll post the link. I also promise to out up pictures of Greece! Going to go hibernate from the wind now!
    I was going to put up the above post sooner but that didn't happen so I'm just going to add to it.
    We ended up getting into Athens later than we were supposed to. This final ferry ride of the trip was our fourth since Italy and was less "exciting adventure" and more "huddled masses freezing on the deck before fighting to the death to get off the boat." Seriously this one group of people were being so pushy I think they might have been being chased by bears. Hope they had a ride waiting because the to get a taxi we had to wait in a crazy line as they ushered people into the waiting cabs. It was efficient but weird. Our cab driver didn't know where we were trying to go and he called like twelve people and kept talking in Greek and then shouting out the name of the street. So that was encouraging. We didn't get to our hostel until 2 am and, after waking up the poor receptionist who seems to actually live in the office, we immediately crashed.
    Today we slept in, then grabbed spinach pie (easier to spell than the word we use for it in English) and headed to the Acropolis. It's supposed to be 12 euro to get in but only 6 if you,'re a student so I gave the ticket woman my international student card. She asked where I went and I wasn't sure if the discount only applied to EU students (insert metaphor about high school cliques and Mean Girls and the EU hating everyone, I'm to tired to make one that makes sense) so I said Trinity College in Dublin and she just let me in for free, completely disregarding the fact that my card says University of Cincinnati and that my accent is entirely un-Irish. Not sure if EU students are free and other students are 6 euro or if it was a holiday or something. Don't really care because free = awesome, as all college students know. Anyway, the Acropolis/Parthenon was cool even though it was surronded by scaffolding. They are trying to reconstuct it I think which seems pointless. I go to the Parthenon to see old stuff that lasted thousands of years. If I want to see what it used to look like I will look at I book. I don't know, I just think that if they reconstruct things too much, it cheapens the experience.
    Tonight, we hit a nearby movie theater and saw Bad Teacher (I know, not very Greek of us, but sometimes you just need some more Cameron Diaz in your life). It was super funny. Don't take your kids to see it. Also, Jason Segel, will you marry me. Ok,  I've officially stopped making sense, probably because I am super tired (I know I said we slept in but I also slept badly cause it's really hot) and hungry, so goodbye for now!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Still in Greece!

   Woke up this morning with an internet connection. No idea how that happened but I've decided against questioning.
   I never wrote about the rest of Santorini so: we ended up renting ATVs instead if scooters because all the rentals said we needed motorcycle licenses. This was strange because they did not make any if the boys who rented them present motorcycle licenses. This seems to be due to rampant sexism. The ATVs were probably easier to drive so and we had fun so that's good. We went to one of the biggest beaches to cliff dive but all of my contact solution had leaked out of the bottle so I couldn't take them out. I decided not to jump because I knew they might fall out in the water and that would make driving tough. We hung out for a while though and watched some mean teenage boys steal a little girl's Barbie doll. From there we mostly just drive around. We stopped by one beach that's famous for it's red cliffs and road up a hill to get pictures from high up. We ended up watching the sunset from the lighthouse at the south end of the island. The view was great but we were surrounded by hilarious couples taking each oths pictures and being in love which was both funny and a but awkward. The next day we mostly hung out on the beach and Sunday we headed to Mykenos on yet another super long ferry.
   Mykenos, to be honest, is a bit of a disappointment after Santorini. I think we were spoiled after the five minute walk to the beach, two minute walk to the ddlicous bakery, and patio full of friends in Santorini. Here the beaches are harder to get to and they are all very small and packed with beach chairs. In Santorini the beaches were lined with restaurants and bars each of which had its group of beach chairs for people who paid or ordered something, but there was plenty of room between groups of chair to lay towels so it never felt over crowded. Here there are so many restaurant owned beach chairs that the only place to put a towel is on the very edges of the beach. On the plus side, Mykenos town is really pretty and within talking distance and we are staying in a cheap but nice hotel which means clean towels every day. This is a huge luxury after months of using my slightly musty towel seventy times before washing it. The cleaning lady also straightens up and today she even folded my pajamas! She's the greatest!
   We've developed a routine in Mykenos: go into town in the morning/early afternoon for veggie gyros, go to the beach, come home and hang out, eat whatever we dig up at the supermarket around 10 (yesterday we made awesome Greek salad in cups), think about going out, fail to go out because they don't go out until 1 here and we are too tired/bored to wait that long. We have decided to make some extreme effort to go out Friday because there are supposed to be many awesome gay bars with drag queens. We will accomplish this by eating in town and then staying there until party time. Wish us luck!
   One week to go. I can't believe it's gone so quickly. Three months seemed so long three months ago. Will be sad to leave Europe, particuraly the freedom of backpacking but am excited to see my friends and family! Stay tuned for the rest of our adventures in Greece (including pictures) and some "goodbye Europe" reminiscing.