wrote this this morning with literally no sleep over the night. Sorry for the broken paragraphs and lack of flow (not that they usually have these things with a good nights sleep anyway lol)
It's 937 am and I'm contemplating grabbing a coffee and staying awake or trying to sleep through the rockiness of this boat. We didn't sleep last night.
The funny thing about Athens is that in summer all the night clubs in the city close and move towards the coast. I absolutely loved Athens but I feel like that one small issue ruined a large part of my experience. In my previous blog post I was banging on about how I was so over Italian food and I wasn't expecting much of Greek food but my god, it was amazing. It was a large part of why I loved Athens so much. I actually enjoyed and finished my meals there.
Athens is super fucking hot. Like 35 Celsius every day. And we're walking heaps, but we do go home for siestas around 3. The markets are abundant and the people are soooo nice and polite. You get your usual waiters at the front of restaurants trying to convince you to come in and eat. In the past they've been kind of annoying to deal with, but as we walk past the ones in Athens, we say 'sorry no thanks' or 'sorry we just ate' and they actually respond with 'you shouldn't be sorry!' Or 'thank you that's very kind' maybe they get snobbed a lot by other tourists. We've gotten so many drinks and desserts on the house cos were friendly with waiters, but really, it's their friendliness that fosters our conversations.
The food is also so much cheaper here than in other countries, the alcohol is slightly more expensive but it evens out :). I have loved every meal I've had in Greece so far (with the exception of one Arab meal we had haha) it's all so fresh and so meat and vegetable based! Not like Italian which was 10000000% carbs omg, such a refreshing change from so many carbs!!!!
I had a mixed souvlaki plate and I was actually left wiping up all the sauce and meat at the very end with my pita bread. I don't think I've ever done that with any meal ever! It was that fucking good. I also had the best grilled sea bass which reminded me so much of my mums fish from home. I was so happy :)
We were all kinda weary coming into Greece cos everyone warned us of pick pocketing and riots in light of the refugee influx, but everything felt so relaxed and so calm. It was odd. I think it was because of this, and their surprising kindness that made me love Athens so much! However, the lack of a night life was such a big let down. On two nights I was actually so geed to go out, but we couldn't find anything open, only bars :(
Athens would have definitely made the top of my list so far! But the club thing lol. Maybe if we had visited in October it would've been a different story.
Going back, Naples was alright. It was more just a place to sleep in between our day trips to Positano and Pompeii. On the first day we were locked out and had to wait 2.5 hours for the owner to come and let us back in. We hung out with the neighbours and their dogs. The language barrier was such a struggle, but we had wifi and Google translate. One lady, Maria, kept calling us crazy girls cos there were 5 of us and we all managed to forget the key (but it was my fault lol) anyway, she basically told the whole neighbourhood we were locked out but they all tried to help in their own way. Another lady brought out her 3 dogs and we played with them for a while :) she was so nice. Offered us coke, water and food.
She had a son named Francesco and he would stare at us from his balcony during our time there. Lol teenage boys aye. During this whole event, she had made pasta and it was obviously time for Francesco to eat. However, instead of him coming down to eat in the kitchen/ living area, she packed 2 plates full of pasta and he dropped down a wide bucket attached to some rope. She put the plates in the bucket and he pulled it up! Like wtf. How lazy are u Francesco!!!
Anyway, coming back from Pompeii, I saw the exact same thing happen but with a grandma and her grandpa husband! Maybe it's a Napoli thing...... Hahah def did not see that happen anywhere else in Italy.
On the first day I was super hangry and the only thing open was a kebab shop. I was kinda glad cos I was so over Italian food, but I was a bit ceeb for kebab too cos I wanted a salad or something. Anyway, there was only one kind of kebab and 2 sauces you could get, and the guy put cucumbers and chips into it, it was odd but actually so tasty! I went back to him 3 times that day, once for food. Then water. Then directions. I think he started to like me hahha. We went there for dinner the next day and he gave Jenny Em and me free chips, water and discounted food. He was Arabic Indian and I later found out that his name was Saleem. Anyway, different groups of us would go and get food from him, like shanice Jenny and dalz, and he's also give them chips on the house and stuff. On our last night he asked how long we were staying and was so disappointed to hear that we were flying out the next morning. He told us to add him on Facebook and that we're always welcome back into his store the next time were in Naples haha. Really nice guy!
It's cos of experiences like these that I really like a place, the beauty of Positano and Pompeii also added to it, of course. Even though there was literally nothing to do in Naples, I really enjoyed my time there. It's quite high on my list :)
I keep mentioning this list, but I don't think I have actually shown u guys hahaha. Our group has a doc which ranks all the cities as we visit them, I can't access it right now, but from memory it was:
From best to least best (cos I didn't hate any place, I just liked it the least)
Will confirm soon!
We're headed to Santorini, our third last city. I can't believe this trip is almost over! Time has gone by so quickly. I'm not ready to not be on holiday looool
Can't wait for the rest, also can't wait to see my family and friends :)
How are y'all?
I'm so over pasta and gelato. I didn't expect the pasta to blow me away or anything, like I expected it to be more bland/ simple compared to home and it is, but even then it's still a bit disappointing. Like the pad Thai I had in Thailand is dry and bland ish, even though it's authentic. I'm just used to and I prefer the white washed Aussie one. I thought this would be different cos I'm going in expecting it to be about the simple flavours, and it is, but it's still a bit of a let down. I miss having a meat like steak or salmon with 3 veg. I actually miss it so much hahah. It's hard to get a balanced diet here cos they don't really eat meat and their salads are so bland/ basic and everything is carbs lol
But in spite of that, I'm really liking Rome. We're on our way to Naples now and I kinda wish that I had 1 more day there cos I feel like there's still more to see and learn.
Another thing I'm a bit disappointed about is not really learning much about the history. Like if we were on a tour, they'd tell you all about the history of a place or statue or like just a small fun fact. I live for stuff like that when I'm looking at ruins and temples and stuff. In Thailand we had a person look after us at the house and he took us around chaing mai and taught us about the temples and the markets and stuff. We're just doing things on our own and the most I get out of a place is 'oh this is massive' or 'oh this is beautiful' which is still better than not going, believe me. I just want a little bit more :( maybe ill just google it haha
I went through a period where I really missed home, this was about 2 weeks into the trip in Paris/ Amsterdam. I still miss home but it's not as bad as it was during that period. You really start to appreciate the things you take for granted at home. Things are so different here. Like I'm so glad we have such strict road rules and speed/ red light cameras and stuff cos that means people will actually stop for u at a red light. They don't do that here even though there's a zebra crossing or a red light. And just basic things like free tap water at bars and restaurants. Omg the only countries with potable tap water are Italy and UK. What a violation of human rights like u always have to buy water in those other countries. In Ibiza, at a club called amnesia they sold tiny ~200 ml bottles of water for 9 euros (about 14 aud) and we found the exact bottle the next day at a convenient store for 50 cents. Like wtf. We have it so good in Australia lol. But yeah, in Italy there are water fountains on every corner and it's cool and drinkable and I love Italy for that!
And finally, I do kinda wish we were staying in 1 country for more than a week. I wanted to immerse myself in the culture, but we're moving around so much. This is a good and bad point, like its a taster buffet. We're getting a bit of everything which is good because if something is shit/ underwhelming, we don't have to endure it for long, but obv that's bad when u get to a place that has so much to offer (Barcelona haha) and you're only there for a few days. You leave feeling a bit sad and deprived of a proper experience. When I come back here next I want to stay somewhere for a good month, and maybe just do weekend trips to other cities/ countries. I wanna really be part of a place. I wanna learn the language and the customs. I want to meet locals who will show me all the hidden gems or I want the time to be able to find them myself.
Lol, this post was a downer. It really isn't that bad here. I'm having an absolute blast! It's just not always rainbows and sunshine so I thought I might write about some of the realities. In spite of everything I said in this post, I am so happy to be in Europe! I really don't know how I'm going to get back into my normal routine in 3 weeks. I wish I had unlimited money so I can travel for the rest of my life haha.
I am so in love with Barcelona!!
It's probably my favourite Spanish city and Spain is probably my favourite country so far :)
So we're just over half way through our trip with 3 countries and 5 cities to go! I'm not ready to go but I do miss my friends and fam.
I feel like this is so forced lol lets pros and cons again
- SO MANY BEACHES!!! - this is probably why it's my favourite city! I fucking love the beach, and the beaches here are 100000x better than Ibiza and there's so much more Spanish culture, which is why Ibiza is second to baca.
- So many Asians. I know I know, I'm here to meet locals, but sometimes it's nice to see a familiar Asian face, and it's cool how they're as in and can speak Spanish :)
- It was the first time we got to hike/ walk for a long period of time to a lookout/ out of the city - if y'all have seen my fb or Instagram, the pic of the lookout at night and again at sunrise, Bunkers Del Carmel, was probably my fave place in Barcelona. It was just under and hour walk from our house and it's an abandoned bunker from the Spanish civil war days! Mostly locals go there but you do run into a handful of tourists. It's got a 360 view of Barcelona and is absolutely lit at night. It's also amazing at sunrise and during the day!
- Mercado de la Boqueria market! It's the one with all the fruit juice and salad lined up in the market front. Had such an amazing lunch there!!!! We went back the following day to have brunch but it was closed cos Sunday :(
- we went onto our rooftop and is was so fun! Such a thrill. Omg I just have so many good memories there !!!
- whole place smelled like pee
- not eating Spanish food (although this was a choice cos we were hella over it by this city)
- we walked everywhere - Both a pro and a con cos I loved seeing the city and saving money and getting the exercise but it was so hot.
- not going to drink/ club (again our own fault cos we were ceeb and Far away from people and also cos on one of the nights we woke up at 430am to go to the lookout for sunrise)
Not that many cons :)
- drinks were so cheap
- our bar tender/ waiter on the first night was super nice and serenaded us haha
- food was pretty g
- good night life
- we were there for such a short time, we wouldn't properly explore the city which is why it's my least favourite city so far
- everyone was so angry
- hard to find the house cos the owner gave us the wrong address
- he also said there was aircon but there wasnt. There were only 3 fans :(
- no beach :( haha
- it was too glam for me imo
Oh my, I've totally forgotten about blogging on this trip!!! Haha, no I actually have been meaning to do it on a few nights but I was either too tired or too busy. Anyway, there's a lot to catch up on so I shall dot point everything
was a haze HAHAHAHHAHAHA
One word is use to describe Amsterdam is 'drugs'
I'm so sick of the smell of weed OMG haha
It's a very nice place.... To retire. It's green and everyone is super polite and English is very common. But there's no rush, it's a bit too tranquil if you know what I mean. We stayed in a suburb called Badhoevedorp which is the equivalent of like western Sydney in Amsterdam, so it took 40 mins via bus to the city centre or 30 mins by bike. We rode the bike and it was so fun!!! Anyway, I guess I'll just paragraph these cos I actually have so much to say haha.
OKAY, so badhoevedorp at times gave me chills up my spine because of how quiet everything was. Sort of like waking up to a dystopian 1984 or something where everything is orderly and everyone is polite and nothing goes wrong. It was TOO perfect, u know. Like something was up or something would go really wrong at night. But nothing did haha. It's not a very stimulating city, everyone is so chill. Ergo, I would only go there to retire haha. Coffee shops were very good! Space cake was actually a very nice, even if it didn't get me high (it did) I was still a very good chocolate cake haha. We spent a lot of nights staying in and watching TV cos we had cable and it took us just under an hour and over 20 euros for a round trip to the city haha.
Awakenings was good. It started off very slow and I was a bit ceeb cos I am not a fan of techno, but it's growing on me! We had so much to drink and by 5 pm the sun came out and everyone was really into it! We met this Spanish couple who were so amazed that we were from Australia haha. Everyone was nice! I don't regret it at all :) that night Clarence's mate Justin came to visit us! He was in Amsterdam too haha, I remember talking to him about meeting up but never thought it would happen. Very chill night, good convos with good company :)
Last point, it is so fucking hard getting around without a sim. We bought the Lyca mobile one but it doesn't work pretty much. Only thing that's worth it if you're travelling around heaps of countries is using your vodaphone plan from home, but even then it's 5$ a day for unlimited everything. 5$ x 60 days is a lot of money haha. Anyway, on the morning we were to leave Amsterdam, we had so much trouble calling and uber and a cab. We were cutting everything so short and I almost had a heart attack cos we had 30 mins before our check in closed and we weren't on our taxi yet. 10 mins later we finally hop into our taxi, who then proceeds to get us lost and does a loop around the 4 highways around the airport and we JUST make our check in. My heart has never been under so much strain LOL anyway, point of that was, we didn't have a sim or anything so we couldn't call a cab or uber so we had to download the cab app and finally found something that worked. Anyway,
I FUCKING LOVE MADRID
Spain was such a dramatic change from the other cities cos it was HOTTTTTT. We arrived to 29 degrees (9 am) and it climbed to about 35 that day! Cos it's so hot, most people stay in during the middle of the day. We were super keen to roam but it was 11 am and nothing was open and no one was around haha. Anyway, I finally met up with HELLEN!!!!!! And Marcos :) we had dinner and I had my first taste of sangria and girl, I fell in love!
Spanish food is so carb-filled and salty. But I loved it! (3 cities later, I'm over it hahaha) Madrid was beautiful. I definitely want to go back! Such good night life, stores open super late and so much culture to soak in. things are generally pretty cheap too. We went to this roof top bar and had sangria until 2 am on a Monday night. In Sydney we'd be out of the bar by 10 pm hahaha.
I love jamon! Spanish ham :) Danny and I watched finding dory too and it was very good, made me miss home!
Anyway, on our final day we met up with Hellen again and she took us to all these markets with such
good food!!! it was so good seeing her and speaking English with people other than the ones I'm travelling with haha. I love Madrid :)
I had a love hate relationship with this place, but in retrospect it was pretty amazing! We arrived at night and went to a club right away. We didn't pre drink, that was a mistake haha. The club sold things using coupons so instead of paying with cash at the bar, you buy these drink coupons at a kiosk, but the weird thing was each drink had its own coupon, like u had to buy a vodka coupon or a tequila coupon, not just one for any alcohol. The second retarded thing was that vodka was 18 euros for 1 that's just under 30$ aud for 1 vodka. We thought it was 1 shot but it's 1 glass, so about 2-3 shots, but still exy as fuck. You also couldn't buy mixers, you had to buy the vodka coupon and then a coupon for red bull and mix it yourself like wtf?!! Anyway, the bar we went to was called 'Space' and a DJ named Carl Cox was playing one of his final shows there ever! The music was shite though and it sucked not being drunk :(
Morning after, we woke at around midday and tried finding breakfast, but found out that nothing actually opens til 3 pm. This messed with our sleep pattern a bit haha. Each morning we'd have heavy food like paella for breakfast at 3-4pm. The food was pretty cheap and super tasty! 10$ bowl of mussels was ace :)
I fucking love sangria! On the second night Em and I had more than 2 litres of sangria and were so happy drunk haha. We also spontaneously went to another club called Amnesia where Chris Leibig (saw him at awakenings lol) and pan pot were playing. This clubs vibe was 1000000x better than Space. They played techno too and I got into it so much more here than at Space. Anyway, we were dancing at the front near the DJs and this group of Asian guys comes up to dalz and asks her where she's from. Apparently they said 'we saw a bunch of Asians muzzing from afar and figured they must be from Sydney' lol we weren't even muzzing. They were nice though, and they're also from the Fairfield/ livo area! Haha, kinda went to holidays to get away from that tho tbh
We went to a beach on our last day and it was pretty shite. It's called Talamanca beach and it was more like a port/ bay with some gravel. I'm so sure Ibiza has more to offer than this, this just happened to be the closest one to us and we didn't wanna pay for a bus or taxi to a nicer one haha
Anyway, on one of the evenings Em and I went roaming and ended up at the top of this cathedral on top of a hill and we watched the sunset over the city and it was amazing. We had another one of those conversations that make you a lot closer. I'm so glad she's on this trip :) I think that's when I fell in love with Ibiza. It's actually so beautiful, it's not just about partying. But partying is very good haha.