What I Got Up To
October was crazy. I got in a car accident. My dog almost died. There was some minor sexual assault. Yet, despite those things, this was one of the best months ever.
I started out in Cyprus, visiting the Troodos churches. I spent a lazy day on Nissi Beach in Agya Napa. And on my last free day I went back to Larnaca and finally went to the beautiful Hala Sultan Tekke mosque.
Then I flew to Athens, where I’ve fallen hard for this gritty little gem surrounded by history. I’ve met some amazing friends, eaten my weight in Baklava and Souvlaki, escaped the horrific crescendo of the last days of the US election, found the perfect shade of red lipstick to match my red glasses, and survived sleeping one month on a futon in my thirties without a back injury.
Pic of the Month
For October, my most popular picture on Instagram was this (iPhone 6s+) shot taken out the window of the airplane as we flew into Athens at the beginning of the month:
On Facebook though, this (Nikon d810) pic of one of the monasteries at Meteora ended up being more popular:
I can’t decide which I prefer, although seeing the monasteries was heaven.
- Cyprus: Nicosia, Troodos, Agya Napa, & Larnaca
- Greece: Athens
- Watching the sunset at Nissi beach from the top of the rocks
- Getting handed the keys to a 13th century UNESCO chapel and getting to visit it by myself.
- My first night in Athens, taking a cab from the airport to my apartment at sunset and then waking up the next day to violin music wafting in through the windows.
- Going to the Acropolis (twice!). It’s just as overwhelming as you imagine it will be. The Parthenon is spectacular, but it’s great to take in all the buildings together. And the views of the city from up there are amazing. I went back because October 28th is a national holiday, so all the archeological sites and museums were open for free that day.
- Hiking to the top of Lycabettos Hill, the highest point in Athens, and seeing the view of the Acropolis and the Aegean sea.
- Seeing the monasteries in Meteora in person. Completely worth the eleven hours on a train it took to get there and back in one day.
- Visiting the Oracle of Delphi and climbing the mountain to the stadium. The views there, man.
- Cruising the Saronic Gulf to some of the closer Greek islands. Donkey taxis are adorable.
- Finding a real American-style Tex Mex restaurant with amazing guacamole in the Athens neighborhood of Monastiraki. I went three times already, and I’m going back tonight. Who knows how long it will be until I find good guac again.
- I wrecked my rental car. On my way to return it. Because I forgot to take out the gas pump. Ugh. Basically I tried to buy gas with my credit card, but the meter wouldn’t register my card so I decided to leave and just pay the rental agency for the top off. However, I completely forgot that I’d already put the gas pump in the car, so when I drove off, the pump came out of the car and smacked the back window, which shattered. And there was no one working at the rental agency on a Sunday morning, so I had to leave the car there with no back window. As I left, I called the company to let them know. My credit card company is covering all the damage, knock on wood.
- My dog almost died. I can’t decide if I’m being hysterical about this or not. Every day for the first two weeks in Athens, I’d let her hang out alone on the balcony of our 5th floor apartment. Then one day she figured out how to get through the safety bars and got stuck on a 12″ ledge. She didn’t bark or make noises and the door was open, so I figured she was fine. When I finally realized what had happened, I grabbed her, but I have no idea how she got there or if she was ever close to falling off. And she was never out alone again.
- An old man harassed me/very minorly sexually assaulted me on the street in broad daylight. One morning I was out walking Lucy near our apartment, and I stopped to let Lucy go to the bathroom. Out of nowhere, a very old man walks up to me, kissed me ON MY ASS, and then walks away like nothing happened. It was so weird. By the time I realized what was going on, he was walking into a crowd and I knew I wouldn’t be able to find him. It didn’t seem big enough to report (other than to text some friends), but I started crying and I was shaken for the rest of the day. (Side Note: 2 of the 3 guy friends I told about it said I should take it as a compliment. Eff that. It is not a compliment to be violated in the street).
My most popular post of October was These 5 Psychology Tips will Make You a Better Traveler (Infographic). It’s a collection of advice from happiness psychologists from their research on travel and happiness.
Other October Posts:
- I threw some shade in 3 Reasons Paphos Kind of Sucks
- I wrote up my amazing visit to the painted Byzantine churches in UNESCO World Heritage Site #28: Painted Churches in the Troodos Region (Cyprus)
- When I visited Choirokoitia, I discovered it is only for the UNESCO diehards among us, and I explained in UNESCO World Heritage Site #29: Choirokoitia (Cyprus)
- I recapped all the places I went in Cyprus for 51 Seriously Awesome Things to Do in Cyprus
- After missing out on the perfect Cyprus souvenir, I formulated a theory about travel shopping for How to Know When You’ve Found the Perfect Souvenir (Infographic)
- Hearing about how the kids in Greece party til 6 am made me want to die and helped me reflect on 5 Ways Travel Changes in your Thirties (It’s not ALL bad)
- I went to six UNESCO sites in Greece, and I started writing them up in UNESCO World Heritage Site #32: Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus (Greece) and UNESCO World Heritage Site #33: Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns (Greece)
- And finally, since November 1 is National Authors’ Day, I did a roundup of recent books that have changed my life in 10 Books that Made My Life Better Written in the Last Decade
Travels with Lucy
Besides almost falling off my building (see above), Lucy had a rough October. She hated staying up for the presidential debates (they were on at four o’clock in the morning here). The 4’x4′ elevator in our building frightens her, so I feel like I’m torturing her when we go out. But when we did get out the door, she was happy as a clam. Everyone in Athens loves her, and she got so much attention wherever we went.
October by the Numbers
- Walking Hours: 68.45
- Nights Survived Sleeping on a Futon as a Grown Woman: 27
- Pieces of Baklava: 21
- Houses of Worship Visited: 10
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 8
- Sites Completed on the 7 Sites Athens Archeological Pass: 7
- Greek Temples: 7
- Times I Took the Train the Wrong Direction: 3
- Airports: 2
- Countries: 2
- Beds: 2
- Continents: 1
- Mexican Restaurants: 1
- Swimming Days: 1
- Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Bars
- Sally Hogland‘s marketing theories
- The Hashtagged Podcast – a podcast for Instagram Users
- Chicken Souvlaki on a Stick
- My new hairdryer (after going six weeks without one. Never again!), red lipstick, and my “Brunch Squad” sweatshirt
- My new fave travel hairdo (looks better AFTER climbing to the top of a mountain than before = swoon)
- Frank Ocean’s Blonde album, which took me a bit to get into it (it’s so mellow), but now I can’t get enough. I cry every time “Ivy” comes on.
- Finally, my new sidebar design (in development and coming soon!)
Okay, I spent a lot of money this month. Between adding bougie tours, eating out, and some more expensive cab rides to get to places off the tour routes, I went a little crazy. I don’t regret a thing, but I’ll be happy to settle down in Bulgaria for the next month where prices are much lower. Greece is a cheap country, so I got value for my money. But if you’re looking to visit Greece as a budget destination, my month here was not budget backpacking.
My Favorite Pic
I love this glimpse of a rusty spiral staircase I saw when I was walking in Thisio to a museum that ended up being closed. Even though I’ll never get to that museum now, the time was well spent. This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken (iPhone 6s+):
For November, I’m finishing up my time in Athens, and heading to Sofia, Bulgaria on the third. I’ve been pinning Sofia posts all morning, and I’m already drooling over the architecture.
You can check out earlier month’s adventure and expenses here.