A Travellerspoint blog

The Greek Isles

and riots

We had a great time in Santorini and are having lots of fun in Mykonos. Unfortunately our internet connection is crummy here but we wanted you all to know that we have avoided the riots and are doing fine. Our flight to Naples was cancelled today due to the strike in Athens (and throughout much of Greece) but we are set to fly out of Mykonos on Friday. There are definitely much worse places to be stranded! We will upload photos and write more about our Greek Isles adventures when we get a better connection. Yasoo for now...

Posted by k2arevalo 09:40 Archived in Greece Comments (3)

Athens and Delphi

Sat. Apr. 24th - It was hard to say goodbye to Morocco but feel confident that we will return one day. After a long day travelling from Agadir (Agadir to Casablanca to Madrid to Athens) we arrived in Athens at midnight. We are staying at a Marriott and there is something comforting about an American hotel. After arriving the girls and I went down to the bar and ordered buffalo wings and fried cheese sticks and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! We commented on how it reminded us of our treks to Crogan's.

Sun. Apr. 25th - The first day in Athens we didn't wake up until 10:30am (there is a 3 hour time difference) and had to order room service for breakfast. Good thing G'mama noticed the sunlight streaming in through the curtains. We visited the National Archeological Museum which was fascinating and everything was so OLD. We did the on-off bus in the afternoon and stopped by Hadrian's Arch and Olympian Zeus' Temple. In the evening it was off to the hotel pool on the roof for some swimming and views.

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Mon. Apr. 26th - A fantastic day of touring the Acropolis, shopping in the Plaka (old town neighborhood at the base of the Acropolis), seeing the changing of the guard at Parliament (and some protesters as well), taking a fununcular ride up a high hill to soak in the views, and having mai tais and sushi for dinner at a Hawaiian restaurant.

Ever since reading The Lightning Thief series Gracie has been a huge fan of Greek Mythology and it was great to see her soaking in the sites and discussing legends with our tour guide. While she was talking about how Athena beat Poseidon for the sponsorship of Athens, Lucy was filling her camera with photos of all the dogs that live at the Acropolis. I'm happy that her dog bite in Morocco hasn't lessened her love for pups. It was so incredible to be walking around the Parthenon, seeing the sites where Aristotle and Socrates taught, and standing on the rock where St. Paul preached to the Athenians.

Athens is a noisy, busy city of 5 million people and as you are all aware, things are a little tense here with their economy on the brink of collapse. We've seen protestors and have to be aware of who will be on strike which day but so far all is well and we are having a great time.

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Tues. Apr. 27th - We headed out of Athens through the countryside, past Theibes, and on to Delphi for a tour of the famous historic site. In Opera Camp last summer the girls did a performance where Gracie was an Olympic athlete who came to Delphi to compete and Lucy was a citizen of Delphi. They enjoyed actually seeing the spot although we were bummed that the oracle was "not home" and we weren't able to consult her. I guess we were 20 centuries too late. The Temple of Apollo where the oracles did their magic has amazing views and the landscape is dotted with olive trees and is high on a mountain.

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Wed. Apr. 28th - We are heading off to see the Acropolis Museum this morning and then to Poseidon's Temple in Cape Sounion this afternoon. Gracie is excited to see the temple dedicated to Percy Jackson's dad.

Tomorrow we leave in the early morning on a high-speed ferry to Santorini. We will be staying there for 4 nights and then off to Mykonos for 2 nights. Looking forward to seeing the famed islands!

Posted by k2arevalo 00:24 Archived in Greece Comments (5)

Gracie and Lucy's Moroccan Favorites

Gracie's Favorites:
1. going into the mosque in Meknes
2. walking on sand dunes in the Sahara
3. Land Rover tour of the Sahara and seeing the flamingos and elephant mirage
4. Writing a play and having the other kids perform it in the gite
5. Eating fish eyeballs with my pals in Essaouira
6. Throwing rocks at frogs in the river in the Valley of the Roses with Alex
7. going to the movie studios in Ouarzazate and seeing Jerusalem (a prop for a movie)

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Lucy's Favorites:1. seeing little kittens at the tannery in Fez
2. playing with all of our new friends
3. seeing the mommy dog and her puppies at the argan oil cooperative
4. riding on my camel named Sparky
5. being a fish scientist and looking at their eyeballs and opening their mouths that had sharp teeth and making sure they didn't have broken bones
6. covering my face with a scarf in the sand storm on the beach in Essaouira
7. a picnic on the river in the Valley of Roses

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Posted by k2arevalo 13:17 Archived in Morocco Comments (4)

Morocco

What a wonderful 3 weeks

Oh Morocco, as Jackson Browne says about the place "we've just had a taste of something fine"!. It's hard to summarize our last three weeks because we have seen things that we've never seen, eaten exotic foods, riden on a wide variety of animals and made many new friends along the way.

The country is the size of California and has high snow covered peaks in the High Atlas; rolling sand dunes of the Sahara; beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic and Mediterranean; cedar forests full of Barbery Apes; Roman ruins in Volubilis; miles and miles of rolling hills and rocky deserts with the soil the color of pink, purple and brown and with homes that blend into the landscape and shepards in jalabas (hooded robes) tending their flocks of sheep, goats and even camels; and palermies that are oasises in the middle of desert towns. Sprinkled in between all of the gorgeous landscape are cities and villages with medinas, kasbahs and thriving souks that are centuries old. Rising high at the heart of the towns are the minerets of the mosques that routinely call out the Islamic faithful to prayer. The Moroccan people have been friendly, charming, spiritual and proud of their beautiful country.

Our adventure started on April 1st with a ferry boat ride from Tarifa in Spain to Tangiers in Morocco. It's amazing how in 45 minutes you can be transported to an entirely different culture. We toured the lovely city and the following day took a train to Fez. The train was a great experience and the four of us were quite a site trying to figure out how to buy tickets and where to wait. A French or Arabic dictionary would have come in very handy here! This was a fun jump into the country and the train a great way to travel.

After arriving in Fez we arranged for a private tour of the ancient medina (built in the 8th century) with Ali. The medina in Fez is a fascinating step back in time and nothing can really prepare you for the sensory overload that you feel when you walk through one of the gates. No cars are allowed due to the narrow streets and over 150,000 people live inside. The streets are full of donkeys working and spiced food being cooked. The souks are divided by trade (metal, wood, clothing, food, meat (the cow brains on a counter were particularly interesting to the girls)). There is a working tannery that is the largest in northern Africa, many mosques and hammams (baths), schools, food stalls, weavers, and many homes.

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Our second day in Fez we met up with our traveling companions for the next two weeks. What a fabulous group of Brits! We had the Fletchers (Jim, Carol, Kathryn and Eleanor) from London, the McSorelys (Adrianne, Jean, Rose and Charlie) from Yorkshire and the Shaws (Danny, Lyn, Lucy, Alex and Laura) from Birmingham. A wonderful group of interesting people and we all became fast friends. We drove miles and miles together in two vans driven by Amin and Abdullah and were led through it all by our fearless leader Radouane. Just thinking of them all brings a smile to my face.

We all spent two glorious weeks together and here are some of the highlights:

  • riding camels in the Sahara, donkeys in the medina in Fez, mules in the Valley of the Roses, and horses in Agadir
  • sleeping in hotels, auberges, a gite and even a tent in the desert
  • the children performed plays for the parents both nights in the gite
  • bargaining like Berbers for carpets
  • visiting the Todre Gorge and Ait Benhaddou (an ancient kasbah that was used in Gladiator)
  • our hikes in the Valley of the Roses
  • sipping mint tea and eating wonderful food (and sipping an occasional beer and glass of wine)
  • Lucy's dog bite in the medina in Marrakesh and the subsequent trip to a medical clinic for rabies shots (thanks for all you did Radouane!)

Whew! And I know that we left out some stuff but you'll just have to look at our photos when we return.

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We said farewell to our new friends in Marrakech on the 17th and we are hoping they have been able to get home since they were delayed due to the volcanic ash from Iceland. The four of us headed to Agadir and are spending this week at a Club Med. This week has been restful and relaxing but we feel we could be anywhere in the world and the true Morocco is far away from here. With our suitcases full of clean clothes and our bodies relaxed we are heading to Athens on Saturday to start the Greece leg of our journey. We are all a little sad to leave because we have connected with the country but look forward to new adventures in other lands.

Posted by k2arevalo 13:13 Archived in Morocco Comments (2)

Our final day in Marbella and G'mama arrives

Mar. 31st - G'mama arrived last night and we were all very excited to see her at the Malaga airport. We stayed up late chatting and all had things we wanted to share with her. We had a nice lunch at a restaurant on the beach. My friend Jose told me that she remembered having calamari and wine on the beach in Spain and since I heard that I wanted it as well. Today was the day and it was fantastic. I enjoyed getting caught up reading the People magazines that mom brought and she enjoyed the Hello magazine that I had. It was a nice afternoon lounging on the beach and watching the kids play tag and build sand castles.

For the ladies that were in Palm Desert last week, do you notice the beautiful and stylish black frock on G'mama? She was lookin' good!

Adios Espana!

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Posted by k2arevalo 10:31 Archived in Spain Comments (5)

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