Saturday, August 23, 2014

2nd Day- Santorini

We slept well and had a nice buffet breakfast at the hotel.  Really enjoyed the Greek yogurt.  I watched people put granola, fruit and honey on it.  It was delicious that way.
The Gate 1 tour representative told us we could take the city bus around the island.  So we asked the hotel where to find the bus stop.  It was only a 10 minute walk from the hotel.  I had researched before going to Santorini about a Wine museum and tasting near the hotel.  So we decided even though it was 11 a.m. that we would stop there first and then take the bus into Fira for lunch.
The bus was so crowded and there was a man going down the aisle collecting money.  He never got to me before we got off at the Winery.  I thought Januck was paying for me and he thought I had paid for myself.  What an experience!  Much different than Japan where we pay the driver when we get off.
The Winery Entrance

The museum was in a cave

Wine barrels inside the cave
We tried 4 different wines.  One was a sweeter wine called Vizcaino that the Greeks cook with- later we had a chicken dish used with this wine.
After the winery, we got back on the City bus and went to the city of Fira.  I had heard so much about this city being built on a cliff and being a beautiful and romantic place.  The bus was once again very crowded but I was able to pay my fare this time.  The last stop in Fira was at the bus terminal and it was on top of the cliffs.  The cruise ships that come into the port can take the cable car or donkey up the hill.  We walked along the cliff and found a delightful restaurant that overlooked the water.
Our lunch was tomato balls and seafood salad.

Cruise ships docked at Fira in the caldera

The cliffs of Fira

Beautiful day in Fira
We ended up walking around more after lunch and getting some delicious ice cream where they make their own flavors.  Januck got pralines and I got coffee almond crunch- so good!
We had heard the sunsets in Oia- (pronounced without the O) are beautiful and decided to get on the City bus again and head there.  When we got to Oia and walked around though the heat got the best of us and we headed back to Kamari beach after a few hours.
Shopping streets of Oia

Beautiful flowers blooming outside a public restroom.  Had to pay 75 cents to use it.

The cliffs of Oia with the white buildings and blue domes
25 years of marriage!

A blue dome


Castle ruins at the edge of the city of Oia

When we got back to Kamari beach we asked our hotel about a good local pizza place.  We had heard the pizza was really good in Greece and it was!  I think the Pizza place had the best WI-FI too.

After getting back to the hotel, I decided to take a swim in the pool and Januck decided to have a beer from the bar.  It was a great second day in Greece.


2nd Honeymoon Santorini- First day

Januck and I saw Alex off on his flight back to California and then boarded our own flight to Athens, Greece.  We opted to pay a little extra for the seats by the emergency exits for extra leg room.  We first flew to Abu Dhabi and arrived at 3 a.m.  The airport restaurants were not open until 6 a.m.  Januck really wanted a Whopper from Burger King so we waited until it opened.  The tricky part was knowing what money to use.  I wasn't sure the airport shops and restaurants would take Euro but they did.
We flew into Athens and met our Gate 1 travel Representative outside of the easiest customs and immigration check we've had in awhile traveling abroad.  He gave us our flight information for our domestic flight to the island of Santorini.  Once we got to Santorini, we were exhausted but were bused to our hotel in Kamari Beach.  The hotel called the Aegean Plaza was within blocks of the beach and had nice rooms with patios.  We went down to the beach, ate dinner then went to bed.


                                              We saw the Greek flag everywhere we went.

                         One of the restaurants at Kamari beach that we liked was close to the water.
Gyros
Greek Salad

                                                               

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Greece - 25th Wedding Anniversary Trip

   After I graduated from college, I went on a European Seminar trip with my High School roommate Isabel to 8 different countries in 10 weeks.  Or was it 10 countries in 8 weeks?  I don't remember.
With two college professors, there were about 30 college students staying in hostels with curfews and lots of sightseeing.  I remember visiting cities like Amsterdam, Brussels and Rome.  We camped in tents too and I remember getting the flu in Rome and staying at the campsite all day.  Very boring!
   The trip was a perfect amount of class time and free time.  It became expensive though after wanting to buy a leather jacket in Italy.
   Our trip to Athens was the best.  I remember thinking this city reminds me of Kobe where I grew up.We had the chance to visit an island close to Athens one day with the class.  Isabel and I did some exploring once we got to the island and realized we could stay overnight in a hotel room for only $7.00.  So we purposely missed the cruise ship departure and stayed on the island that night.  We ended up going to one of the Open Air cinemas on a rooftop and staying in the small hotel room and catching the cruise ship back to Athens the next day.  I knew we would be in trouble from the professors the next day but it was worth the adventure.
   Greece was exciting and beautiful.  I remember seeing lots of stray cats and eating Gyros.  I think I told Isabel at that time I would be coming back on my honeymoon.
   When I met Januck, we decided to get married in December.  He had grown up in California and wanted to go somewhere cold for our honeymoon.  We ended up going to Banff, Canada over Christmas and had a wonderful time.  However, I still always wanted to go back to Greece.  We have been saving for many years and celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary last December.  So, in four days we will be going on a 10 day island tour to Santorini, Mykonos and Athens by ourselves to celebrate our years together.   I am so happy he is willing.  I am more excited to show him the sites I remember but also to experience new adventures with Januck.
   The next post will have many photos of our awesome trip.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Alex's Exam


Alex had his Mock Exams and this was his Japanese essay. I can't believe he knows this many Kanji characters!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Parking!




Yes, parking in Japan can be tricky since there isn't much space here. I was amazed that our neighbor parks this way on a daily basis.