Thursday, March 31, 2011

rompin.

I've never considered myself very "trendy".


I have always (okay, not always. There was this awful Easter outfit she wore once...) envied my middle sister's sense of style.

She makes dressing cute look so easy.
She also spends a lot of money (my mom calls her "Hollywood" and "Imelda Marcos").
Something I'm not too fond of.

I am cheap.
I like to use the word frugal.
It is really difficult for me to justify spending money, especially on clothes.
I'm always on the look out for a sale or deal.

I digress...

As I mentioned, I don't consider myself very "in" with the latest trends.
I rarely leave my "box" and try something new.

There have been a few trends that I have resisted because I considered them down right stupid at the time.

However, I gave in to each.
1. Flats: like wearing slippers!
2. Boots over jeans: Love!
3. Leggings: like wearing comfortable pajama pants wherever you go! "Girl, where yo' pants at?!"
4. Headbands: As my hair has been growing back, they've been life-saving.
5. Gladiator (or like) sandals: Still struggle with this one. I feel like they make me look shorter.

If there is one trend I have tried to avoid with every thread of my being
it would be
"the romper"
They remind me of skorts (are they shorts or a shirt?)
or something my mom would have made me wear to a picnic at the age of 5.
And what happens if you get a wedgie?
Pretty ridiculous looking, right?

Or so I thought.

Until Forever21 dedicated an entire section to the "Jumpsuit and Romper" on their site.
Some of them are just so darn adorable.
I can actually picture myself wearing them
in Greece
tan
with super hot wedges.

I have one in "My Bag" right now waiting to be bought.
Don't judge me.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Acropolis

This post is long overdue.

In March, I spent 2.5 weeks in Athens (plus a few days in Patra) visiting my God siblings.
While there,
we experienced Athens nightlife,
navigated the metro,
shopped on Ermou,
visited the Acropolis,
and explored the new Acropolis Museum.


My first taste of Athens by night was an outing to a club named "Boutique" for an "RnB" night (in Greece they call "Hop-Hop" music "RnB" and "RnB" is called "Jazz". Don't ask me why).
It was completely packed, but very fun.

The day my God sister and I spent at the Acropolis was perfect.
Warm and sunny with a light breeze.
It had snowed a few days before, but the weather cleared just in time for our little adventure.
We climbed up to the Acropolis and took lots of photographs.
Since it was low season, there weren't too many tourists which was great.

It had been 10 years since I last visited the Acropolis.
I loved it then, but even more so now.
Having graduated with a degree in Anthropology
and having taken several Archaeology courses, it meant more to me this time.
I had a much greater appreciation for everything; the architecture, as well as a better understanding of ancient lifeways.

Afterwards, we crossed the road to Lofos (Hill) Filopappou.
My god sister and I hiked it to the very top and saw hundreds of caterpillars along the way.
We took in an amazing view of Athens on one side and the Acropolis on the other while sitting atop a giant rock.
We heard music being played and found it to be a man playing Lyra (the traditional instrument of Crete-the island we are both from) beneath a rock with the Acropolis in the distance.
It was inspiring.
Special life moments like that remind me of how wonderful life is and how lucky I am to be experiencing it.


A few days before, we visited the newly built Acropolis Museum.
It is a great museum. Very nicely built and kept clean. Well done.
There are a lot of exhibitions and a variety of artifacts.
The Greeks have made copies or left empty spots where they hope their marbles are returned to them.

Πατρινό καρναβάλι, Patras Carnival

During the 40-day Lenten fast in Greece, people abstain from meat and animal products.
That is why the 3 weeks before Easter are called Apokreas (abstention apo=from kreas=meat).
Lots of celebrating goes on at this time and Apokreas has become synonymous with festivals of fun and masquerading for all ages (like Mardi Gras minus the beads).

I celebrated Apokreas with my God siblings and their friend
at the Patrino Karnavali (Patras Carnival).
It is the largest carnival in Greece with over 180 years of history.
It is rumored to be the 3rd largest Carnival celebration in the world.
I learned that Patrino Karnavali is Greek for fun.
We painted our faces and went out every night until 9 AM.

On Sunday, we took part in the Grand Parade, well-known all over the world.
It was complete insanity.
There were fireworks, pieces of confetti and silly string everywhere
music was being amplified through large speakers
people lined the streets and those on their balconies tossed us treats.
There were over 200 themed groups and thousands of people dressed in costume.
Our group, "Farmaville" (we dressed as farmers) was the final and largest.
For an hour and a half, we drank, danced and blew our whistles through the streets of Patra.
At one point it began to rain, but that didn't stop us.
It was like nothing I had ever seen or experienced before.

«Πατρινό Καρναβάλι για πάντα
Έλα να μάθεις τι θα πει Πατρινός
Πατρινό Καρναβάλι για πάντα
Έλα να ζήσεις για λίγο τρελός»

Along the drive from Athens to Patra, we stopped at the Isthmus of Corinth

Thursday, March 17, 2011

drum roll please...Rome and My "Top 10". finally.

We left Venice to set off on our long (6-8 hour) drive to Rome.

Once there, we settled in to our hotel and went on a walking tour.
We saw the PantheonSpanish Steps
and Trevi Fountain.
Looking back at the notes I had taken from that day all I wrote was "WOW".
It was much larger than I had expected.
I did the logical thing to do at a fountain and threw in a coin to make a wish.
I'd tell you what I wished for,
but then it won't come true.It began to get dark and Rome seemed so romantic at night.
Little restaurants with fire pits and live music lined a square with a fountain
Simply beautiful.

The next day...
"Here, you can touch history with your fingers."
We began with a very interesting "Imperial Tour" of the
Colloseumand the Roman Forum.After the tour, the girls and I ate at a restaurant across the street.
We dined on pasta with a fantastic view of the Colloseum from the window next to our table.

When we had finished our lunch; and thinking we had extra time to spare before the Vatican, we went off in search of an ATM.

We didn't have extra time to spare.

We ended up losing the group and the bus and having to take a taxi.

However, we made the mistake of telling the taxi driver to take us to the Vatican
instead of the Vatican Museum.
Whoops.
We had to walk 1 kilometer (that's over half a mile) to get to the Museum.
Luckily, along the way, we ran in to our tour guide.
She waited 30 minutes with us for our entrance ticket
and then
we ran
through the entire Vatican Museum
to meet the group in the Sistine Chapel.

It was quite the adventure.

We weren't allowed to take photographs in the Sistine Chapel, but it was gorgeous.
After, we headed to St. Peter's Basilica.
Sadly, I was not impressed.
I had expected that I would be moved
feel something
at the center of Roman Catholicism,
but I didn't.
I blame the fact that it is treated like a tourist attraction rather than a place of worship.
People were loud, moving around and snapping photographs with flash;
treating it like a museum rather than a holy place.
Our Farewell Dinner was at Ristorante Papa Rex,
an adorable, traditional Italian restaurant
like the kind you see in the movies.
There were white lights strung outdoors, decorative tablecloths, candles, an opera singer and accordion player.The girls and I enjoyed bruschetta, pasta and lots of wine!
We also took some silly pictures of us sharing pasta (think Lady and the Tramp style)
During dinner, I was pulled to the floor to dance to "Mambo Italiano" and had so much fun!

Afterward, we headed to a club where a crazy-haired promoter named Francesco
set us up with 2 hours of all-you-can-drink at the bar for 20 Euros
We took advantage of that by ordering two at a time
(vodka sprites and "sex on the beach" were my drinks of choice for the evening).
We met lots of people and had the most fun
dancing until passed 3 AM.

The next morning after saying good-bye to Dani
and breakfast with Marika
I headed to the airport to catch my flight to Athens.

I didn't want to leave.
I fell completely, madly head over heels in love with Italy.
It is a European treasure filled with beautiful people and a rich history.
Every place surprised me and excited me
and I literally ate my way through the entire country
with 3-course meals, pastas, desserts and wine daily.
And, I met wonderful people whose friendship and company made my entire experience
more enjoyable and filled my days with laughter.
I hope to visit them and Italy again some day.

Here are my "Top 10" from Italy (in no particular order):
1) Florence-everything!
2) Michelangelo's David
3) The Sistine Chapel
4) St. George's Greek Orthodox Church
5) Venice-the alleys, the gondola ride & Bellinis
6) Lake Garda in the fog
7) Cinque Terre in the rain
8) Wine tasting in Tuscany
9) Santa Maria del Fiore
10) The FOOD! The best bruschetta, pasta, pizza, seafood spaghetti, gelato & wine I have ever had

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

to my loyal followers in the blogosphere

all 7 of you

aka Mom.

my sincerest apologies.

I have yet to update on my last day in Italy
as well as what I have been up to for the past 2 weeks.

I've been visiting Athens and will write about my adventures soon.

:)