Saturday, January 01, 2000


April 27 - May 14

We traveled to Athens by overnight train from Istanbul. After two days, Lauren joined us. We flew down to Santorini and back before saying goodbye to Lauren and starting out for the north. We made an abortive attempt at seeing some islands not too far from Athens before getting back on track and heading inland to the monastaries of meteora. After that, we spent a few pleasant days sampling the urban pleasures of Thessaloniki before heading to Bulgaria by train.

Day by day:
  • Thu Apr 27 - cross border on daytime train, make the change in Thessaloniki for overnight train down south
  • Fri Apr 28 - wake up missing stop at athens, try to get a taxi but end up taking a train back one station, then get a taxi that wanders around quite a bit, first choice hotel is full but they redirect us to another that has room, can not check in until 10, walk down to busy square to have a light breakfast and coffee/tea, check into hotel and have a nap, out to nearby square for dinner, watch films on TV, sleep
  • Sat Apr 29 - up around 11:00, out to internet cafe, grab a big lunch, send some parcels from the post office, relax back at hotel, mike drops off and retrieves laundry between reading about the crusades, walk around checking out alternative hotels for lauren's arrival, buy movie tickets at theatre, spend an hour snacking and drinking beer, watch V For Vendetta, walk back to hotel, sleep
  • Sun Apr 30 - up around 09:00, breakfast in hotel and arrange to stay two more nights, hang around in hotel and cafe for most of the day reading and blogging and such, head out to airport by bus and meet lauren, return to hotel and drop bags, out to local bar to down ouzo and other strange drinks, mezze dinner not too far away, cafe for a bottle of wine, back to bar to have one more raki, get a bit of baklava on the way, retire to hotel to sleep
  • Mon May 1 - up at 08:00, breakfast in hotel and make plan for the day, walk up to parthenon but find it closed, admire the view, walk into town and take in a few protests, have a sit in the park, down to studenty area to have lunch and then coffee and a couple of glasses of wine (for mike), walk a bit more across town to view some hipster cafes and shops, back to hotel, go to internet cafe to upload some shiz, mike and lauren hit the hotel grand bretagne for cocktails and conversation, jason joins and all head out for dinner, very filling meal along somewhat touristy street, return to hotel, pack, early to bed
  • Tue May 2 - up at 03:30, head to airport via bus, long line to check in, catch flight to santorini after a bit of a wait, arrive around 07:00, taxi to kumari but unable to find an open hotel, jason arranges a hotel and transport to thera, check in, get breakfast, take a nap, out for drinks and snacks with ocean view, walk down to old port past lots of donkey poop, have a beer by the water, cable car back up to the town, back to hotel to change clothes, run by supermarket to get some snacks and booze, down a bottle of wine, head out to cafe to have cocktails and watch sunset, seafood dinner, hit the bars to booze it up and dance, back to hotel relatively early, sleep
  • Wed May 3 - up around 11:30, out to breakfast after a bit of a lay in, a few drinks over crepes and back to hotel, jason scores some beers, play mexican for quite some time on hotel balcony, very nice dinner at lonely planet recommended restaurant, out again to murphy's to get things started, have a boogie there than bar hop to a few other places, retire around 5 AM
  • Thu May 4 - mike sleeps in until six or so, jason and lauren go out for breakfast and some internet during his slumber, shower and head out in the evening for dinner of multiple souvlaki wraps, grab some baklava and enjoy it overlooking the water, cup of tea in a nearby cafe, over to box bar for a drink, mike calls it a night on the grounds of general whoozyness, jason and lauren carry on late
  • Fri May 5 - mike up early to shower and blog, lauren and jason rise somewhat later, pack and drop bags at hotel and book a taxi to hotel, out to local cafe, jason enjoys mexican omelette and corona to celebrate the mexican holiday, get a newspaper and sit in another cafe with a view just chilling, mike and lauren climb up hill to get a look at old church, come back down and meet jason, back to hotel and jump in cab for airport, no issues boarding flight and arriving back in athens, luckily manage to find a hotel room by way of a booking service in the arrivals area, bus than tube than a short hike to hotel, check in and drop bags, mike and lauren back out for indian meal in slightly dicey part of town, back in to sleep
  • Sat May 6 - up at 07:30 and downstairs for nice hotel buffet breakfast, out the door around eight on foot and arrive at parthenon half past, get in early and see the hill, walk down from there to national gardens and enjoy coffee and a bit of a debate at the cafe, walk up to archaeological museum and take in the excellent collection, have lunch in weird russian gypsy porn disco, back to hotel to relax for an evening on the town, walk a good way through not the nicest hood to reach a tourist free family neighborhood eatery, great meal, back to hotel and in bed for around one after copying lauren's photos
  • Sun May 7 - wake up late at 06:10 and immediately leave for the airport in a taxi, get there in plenty of time especially because lauren's departure has been delayed, have a cup of tea and a cheese and spinach pie while we wait, say goodbye, return to hotel on the very new subway, mike stops for a bowl of cereal, nap for a bit, awaken and pack, down to internet cafe to take care of some backlogged business, lunch at local cafe, pick up bags and take subway to train station, train we want is not leaving until late so choose another somewhat at random, end up in halkida, unable to get a bus that day so check into john's hotel on the advice of a very friendly and helpful taxi driver, watch a police academy movie, out for seafood dinner and ouzo, watch some crappy movie on TV with ralph machio playing blues guitar before falling asleep
  • Mon May 8 - up around 11, shower and pack and check out, decide to head elsewhere on the advice of the hotel manager, back to train station to get back to the main line, lunch and a few beers there waiting for train up north, get on the wrong train so get after one stop, taxi back where we were to find our train long gone, change destination and get new tickets, board another train (the right one), read and blog and nap and watch the hilly scenery as the sun goes down, get off a bit early at larisa and head straight to nearby hotel, mike out to atm and back, watch a bit of escape from la before heading out for basic dinner at very nearby restaurant, return to sleep
  • Tue May 9 - up around 06:00, shower and pack up, to the train station and have tea and a small breakfast, sleep through most of the train ride to kalapaka, get a taxi to kastraki and check into sydney hotel, have a cup of coffee with the very gracious hotel owner, get a map and head out for a long circular trek that includes stops at lots of scenic hilltop monastaries and a break for lunch, back down to the village and get some OJ before retiring to the hotel to rest, shower and head out for a couple of beers at the only bar/club in town, dinner and wine at taverna with good view, retire to hotel and watch a bit of AI before falling asleep
  • Wed May 10 - up around 09:00, breakfast separately in the hotel, jason out early for rock climbing lesson, mike hangs out in village square and reads and blogs, meet back up for simple lunch and decide to split, check out, taxi to train station but find that the trains are not running so carry on to bus station, wait a bit waiting for ride, arrive in thessaloniki that evening, taxi to hotel, back out for a dinner at the kitchen bar on the waterfront, also stay for one confused post dinner cocktail, martini rossi ain't all >that<>
  • Thu May 11 - up around 10:00, mike out for a run, gets bit by a dog (not badly) on the way back and has a bit of a shout at the apologetic owner, shower and gather up laundry, march out to drop off clothes, have a nice lunch at a quiet restaurant near the student cafes, hop over to an internet cafe for a few hours to get some stuff uploaded, pick up laundry, stop off at book shop and pharmacy on way back to hotel, relax for a bit, hit the oceanside strip for a few beers, have an unsatisfying dinner at an ouzeri back near the hotel before heading back to the seafront, hang around in a bar with well-dressed locals for a bit before deciding to retire for the evening
  • Fri May 12 - up around 10:00, mike has a minor hangover, dress and out the door, head north to see the older (turkish) part of the town, have a nice seafood lunch with a view over the old city walls and down to the harbor, check out fortress that was used as a prison, than over to what appears to be an old church but is actually in the process of being built (or possibly rebuilt), down to the lower city, have a cup of tea at the byzantine history museum before having a look around the exhibits, the place is nice and the collection interesting but the very watchful staff are unnerving, walk back towards hotel, stop at internet cafe before going up to the room to chill and shower and watch a spot of TV, dinner at a noodle bar then pop next door to "don't tell mama" to hang out with gay bartender that we met at the museum cafe, down quite a few drinks before jumping into a cab for an entertainment complex called "milos", dance to dj spooky and leave shortly after the start of the comparatively lame set of one df food, taxi over to a place called "boutique" but only stay for a bit because mike is feeling very unsteady, taxi back into town and crash at the hotel
  • Sat May 13 - jason up around noon and out for lunch, mike up around 16:00 with a good hangover, watch TV for a bit before heading out, mike gets a chicken gyro to snack on, sit for three hours in a place called elvis drinking and doing little else, head over to a place we saw that has karaoke, sit at the bar and talk to the saucy bartenderess and bleat out a few tracks, stop by elvis again briefly on the way home but decide to turn in, hit the sack for about 15:00
  • Sun May 14 - up at 11:00, pack and check out - leaving bags at hotel, head down to post office so jason can send off a few things, have a gyro lunch at a little place and chat with the waiter about his dream of going to the US, walk up to internet cafe and shift some bits, hang out in nearby cafe for awhile before walking back to hotel to collect luggage, take a taxi to the train station, wait there for a bit before boarding direct service to sophia, hang out with some cypriot kids on board that study in sofia

Photo Albums

Video Clips
Karaoke Mike