Spring 2019 - Greece and more...
Happy May Long to all of our Canadian friends. We love all the pics as you blow the dust off of your trailers and fire pits to get out camping with some cold ones. And also a Happy Birthday weekend to Junior and Glenice, as we understand you are celebrating together in Calgary! Tip a couple back for us.
Thanks for checking out our latest update. We just returned from two weeks in Greece so will share stories and pics from there and will also update you on what we've been up to this spring.
Before we jump into the travel, things sure are changing in Saudi Arabia. Last year, they allowed ladies to drive and brought back movie theatres.
This year, they've started bringing more entertainment to the Kingdom. There have been many concerts and Russell Peters, the comedian is coming in a couple weeks.
We were very excited to go see Pitbull in Dammam, only about 10 minutes from our house. Unfortunately, we got to the event and found out he had plane troubles in Iceland and had to delay the show until the next day. We had plans already in Bahrain that day so just got our money back. We were that close to our first Saudi concert...and our first one without drinks!
We have spent many weekends in Bahrain this spring, popping over the causeway to get away and enjoy time with friends having some drinks. Here are some pics from some of the hotels, brunches, as well as the Spring 2019 Tribfest, which has become a tradition for us and a great day out with live music.
We were very excited to visit Santorini and it did not disappoint. It looks exactly like the images you get in your mind when visualizing the island.
We didn't know this, but the island is the remnant of a volcanic caldera, and was formed from one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever, about 3600 years ago.
Santorini is officially called Thira or classic Greek Thera. The crusaders named it after a chapel of Saint Irene - Santa Irini, which then came to be Santorini.
The population of Santorini is only about 15,000 people but it gets very busy with tourists, especially with the many cruise ships that stop by daily.
We stayed in a cave called Aura Caves. These caves were excavated and inhabited in the late 18th century after the explosion of a volcano in 1707. After the earthquake of 1956 the front part were destroyed and ruined. In 2016, it was reconstructed by architect Stogiannidis Grigoris and a team of builders and then converted into a small hotel you can stay in.
We stayed in Fira, which is the largest town on the island. There were tons of shops, great restaurants, and many bars with patios overlooking the Aegean Sea to view the amazing sunset!
We spent our first full day doing a 'Best of Santorini' private tour:
- Imerovigli and Oia (pronounced "ee-a") - small towns that offered unique buildings and amazing views
- Monastery of Profitis Ilias - built in the early 1700's, this monastery is built on the highest location of Santorini, 1860 feet above sea level
- Megalochori - traditional village and shops
- Lunch at Forty One 41 in Agios Georgios. This was a very cool beach restaurant and bar built in an old tomato paste factory. It is located on Black Beach - yes, the sand is like real sand, but only black...from the volcanic ash.
- Wine Tasting at the Estate Argyros - they have some great white wines on the island
We stayed at the all-inclusive Cactus Royal Resort in Stalis on the north side of Crete. It is a great resort and located right in the beach town so it is easy to walk out and right onto the tourist street to visit shops, bars, and restaurants.
We love buying the authentic greek spices for souvlaki, greek potatoes, greek salad, and tzatziki. We found some great restaurants along the water to go for lunches and dinners - so cheap...pita, tzatziki, greek salad, 2 large beers, and 2 shots of ouzo for less than 20 euros.
We also sampled a few shots of Raki, which is a famous 'moonshine' originating in Crete.
Love Crete! Beautiful island, beautiful people!
Athens is definitely a city full of history and stories. We checked in and went venturing out down one of the many 'walking streets'. We will never forget turning the corner and looking down the street to see the famous Acropolis and both dropping our jaws in awe. What an amazing piece of architecture. We stopped for pictures of it down the narrow street (pics are below).
Acropolis is the name of the ancient citadel on the rocky outcrop in the centre of Athens. It is the home of the famous Parthenon, built in 438BC. It was heavily damaged 1687 Great Turkish War and restoration didn't begin until the late 1980's. We decided to continue onto a few rooftop bars to enjoy the view of the mighty Acropolis and then to visit it on day two.
On our second day in Athens, we boarded the Hop On, Hop Off bus. These are one of our favorite ways to see the highlights of a city, all while listening to the history of each site.
It first drove us past the 'Runner Statue', and incredible 12 m tall structure built from thousands of pieces of jagged glass.
Our tour stops included:
Overall, Athens is a very old city with some incredible history and views. Be sure to check out the sights at night, as all of the ancient architecture is lit up and looks amazing. And you can't go far to find a great greek taverna for a meal. Love greek food!
Oh yeah, and what is the Greek fascination with wooden penis carvings and threesomes?
As you can tell, we loved the Greek vacation - so much history, so many beautiful places! Pretty amazing to think that we are just a 4 hour flight from this amazing country!
It is starting to warm up in Saudi now, with humidity rising and temperatures closing in on 45 Celsius, dropping to about 27-28 at night. It's Ramadan for a couple more weeks, which means there is no public eating or drinking in Saudi. This also means we will take advantage of less traffic on the Causeway to Bahrain to go to the rugby club a few times, just to enjoy some cold beverages!
Eid starts the beginning of June to celebrate the end of Ramadan. We get those Eid days off and will be going south to Uganda and Rwanda for some adventures. Trekking with chimpanzees, gorillas, and lions/leopards through the jungle. Send your safe wishes as we venture out on foot to observe these beasts!
Lisa will be back in Canada for a week in late-July and will fly out to meet Jeff in Portugal for 3 weeks as we tour across Europe. Lisa is also excited to meet our friend Anita in Ireland in September!
We will update the blog with Africa pics and stories once (and if) we return.
Until then, here are a few pics to close off...
All posts are updated by Jeff & Lisa