After Delphi we spent the day in very nearby Arachova which is actually a ski town. It was funny seeing down jackets sold in Greece but other than that the small town was underwhelming. It is supposed to be a hot spot for rich Athenians in the winter but I think they’d be shocked to see something like Whistler or even Tremblant.
That evening we took a long drive to Meteora full of switchbacks. It was a really pretty drive, probably the best we’ve done in Greece, and I finally got to see some mountains.
We ended up just popping into a hotel and asking for their cheapest rates. The guy who owned this hotel was so weird. He wore the same red shirt for the 3 different days we saw him and would talk to George constantly. He didn’t speak English really, only Greek and French. But he kept saying random Spanish words to me? I know much more Greek and French than Spanish, and in the context I constantly had no idea what he was saying until later I would realize they were Spanish words..
The next two days we hiked around the different monasteries of Meteora. I’ve heard from other travellers that they loved Meteora but I think they described it very strangely and it wasn’t really what I was expecting. But I did really really enjoy it. Luckily we had two full days to see them so we took our time and did a really nice hike to three of them the first day. The next day we tried to hike again but this trail was not very well maintained and was out in the sun.
After our two days in Meteora we drove in the evening to Volos where we were going to stay with couchsurfers. It was Georges first time and he was really nervous. But the guys we stayed with were really nice and we got our own room right in the center of Volos.
Volos was way more hot than I expected and the beaches not as nice as I had hoped. However George and I had fun walking along the water where the street was pedestrianized and lined with tavernas. We also tried the local specialty trisporou (sp?). You order an ouzo or vodka type drink and it comes with the restaurants choosing of mezedes (greek word for tapas). I loved the concept but I do not love the drink! Stelios was a great host and I really enjoyed meeting his friends. Apparently my accent sounds like the movies according to them. For me, I had never heard such thick Greek accents! Im glad ive gotten used to them over the last couple years or else I don’t think we would have been able to communicate. I also met another guy who had an aunt who lived on “lake victoria, at the water” which confused me until he said “the lake moves up and down.”
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!