So we finally decided on a plan and started a road trip to Delphi. We stopped on the way up at a random town and went for a swim and relaxed and read our books. We decided to stay and eat as well. We ordered three different types of fish and sat right on the water. Then we continued the longer than expected drive to Delphi. We had the best Mythos beer - ice cold - and watched Germany win the world cup!
The next day we toured the ruins, and got in for free again! I guess greeks don’t often come to these areas, especially in the summer, and they’re all excited to see a Greek guy bringing a foreign girl to their country. The site was really cool, but the views really made it.
Round two in Greece and this time its going to be even better! It’s fun coming back somewhere, I’ve already done a lot of the must sees and have a really good idea of how I want to prioritize my time.
However, after a setback where we were supposed to stay with a friend but found out the morning of that we couldn’t… we spent our first few days in Athens. Thankfully the metro in Alimos right next to George’s house finally opened up! It was very easy to get downtown where we walked around, had gyros finally (wow was craving that for about a month leading up to that moment!!), got into an ancient site for free, which was constantly closed last time - classic Greece, and I bought a cool necklace, which George hates!
The next day we walked to a lakia (small market) near the house. It was the smallest one George had ever seen but I bought four tomatoes for 15 cents so I was really happy - I love good tomatoes. We also went to a beach 8 minutes from George’s house.. which he had never been to! I actually quite liked it, I like the style of music they play at the beaches here. We also saw a beautiful sunset.
Our final day in Athens we drove out to the Temple of Poseidon ruins. Thanks to some bad GPS work, and very strange Greek policies was a failure. The ruins were fenced of and had pay entry (surprising) and they close the entrance to the site 20 minutes before sunset (the whole point of going here), but allowing people to stay inside until they pleased, we missed the sunet. Many people were turned away, it was kind of sad. We did however end up at a nice beach, which took us all of two hours to figure out was a gay beach!
Paris was a lot of work. But thanks in part to veeery low expectations I actually liked it. I was surprised at how much it lived up to some of its stereotypes. People literally just walk around carrying baguettes all the time. And the fashion waa very formal, monochromatic, and most of all black. I had to forego all of my summer clothes to try and look less like a tourist. George and I met on July 3rd and hit up the biggies like The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Versailles. Versailles, what I was looking to most, was actually a huge disappointment. The effort was so much and it honestly did not live up to the hype for me. I preferred the palaces in Munich and Schonbrunn which I went to 2 years ago. The best part for me was the little village Marie Antoinette had created.
George and I were staying near little Italy and got to go to a local market that happened every other day which I thoroughly enjoyed. We also met up with Mai and went to the Pompidou (modern art) on Free Museum Day, which I really enjoyed. Another highlight for me was biking around Paris. We took advantage of their Velib system (like bixi) and it was at times hard, but worthwhile.
Now we are relaxing a little in Greece for my final 2 weeks of my trip!
I’m almost down to my final 3 weeks of travel. So far I think things have worked out pretty well for me.
The worst decision I have made was definitely taking a night train. It was the worst train ride I’ve had and my worst sleep. On top of that I had to pay an extra 27 euro to do it haha, so frustrating! I also lost my water bottle in the process, a lose-lose-lose situation.
I also bought an extra 2 days on my rail pass that I didnt really need. If I had stuck closer to my original plan I would have used them easily. I ended up not being able to go to Bruges because of a train strike, but that’s okay I wasn’t too set on going there at this point in my travels. It was weird to not go though since it was one of the first things I had an exact set date for (to be able to meet Mai). I also just didn’t end up going to Neuschwanstein. I enjoyed relaxing in Augsburg a lot more than I expected and didn’t really feel like waking up at 6am to spend the day surrounded by tourists.
My best decision has definitely been trying out Couchsurfing, especially with my first host Anna. I had such an amazing time seeing Baden-baden with her and we have such similar food tastes. She lived in a quiet area next to a lake with tons of cherry trees and fresh eggs from her chickens. This is essentially the life I dream of!
My favourite experiences have been the baths in Baden-baden, the beer festival in Antwerp, watching Greece win soccer in a coffee shop in Amsterdam, and walking around Haarlem. Germany has been my favourite country so far, I think the people just remind me of my Oma and Opa so much I can’t resist it. Also in Germany they sold beer on the (long distance) bus. In Belgium/France its forbidden to consume alcohol on the bus. Obviously Germany wins.