Monday, October 6, 2008
The island of Santorini has been very nice. We're staying in Kamari Beach, which is in the middle of the island. Our place is a very small "hotel" with no real reception. It's run by a little Greek woman who speaks no English. Needless to say communication is very challenging!
We estimate that Santorini is about 30 km tip to tip. We have a total of 7 days here so we're moving pretty slowly. We've rented a car (shitbox Daewoo Matiz) for 3 days and our activities consist of travelling town to town and hanging out at the beach (Andy's chest is still nuclear white). The views have been absolutely amazing and what we've imagined with the white washed buildings and blue roofs. Andy's gone crazy with snapping up pics! One of the key attractions here is to watch the sun set in Oia, which we did. We met a fellow Canadian from Alberta who noted that our westcoast sun set is equally as nice if not better. Funny how we take what we have at home for granted sometimes! To top it off Andy and I woke up at 6:45 this morning to watch the sun rise on the beach. It was very picturesque with me, Andy, and our stray doggy friend (I named him Buddy) who joined us. Andy thought he wanted to be apart of our pack. And in case you're wondering there has been NO PROPOSAL!
The food here is very much like Greek food at home. To be honest I'm getting sick of it. I don't think I can eat another gyro for at least a few months. The chicken souvlaki though is great! Tatziki is ordered separately, but it's worth it! The only crappy thing is the feta...they use goat/sheep milk, which most of you know I dislike!
So all in all it's been a nice way to end off our 4 week vacation. The weather here has been okay, sunny but windy. Santorini's tourist season is on the tail end so there are no crowds or young party people to contend with. I can imagine how crazy it would be here during peak season. We're back in Munich on October 8th and then we leave for Vancouver on October 10th. We'll upload more pics when we're back!
Hope things are going well at home. Pearl Castle on October 10th???
Monday, September 29, 2008
To sum it up, Oktoberfest is an annual event celebrating Munchner culture and of course to drink lots and lots of beer. We saw loads of people (tourists and locals) dressed up in traditional garb. The fair grounds including the buildings (a.k.a. tents) are built from ground up every year starting in about August for this 2 week event. Each of the local breweries have their own dedicated 'tent', which are lined with tables and equipped with a live band. There are rides, games, and souvenir and food vendors on site...kinda like Playland.
(The Paulaner Tent)
We arrived at about 1:00 p.m. and there were loads of people for a Monday afternoon. The tents were already full and there was no way we would get a seat inside. Apparently people go at 9:00 a.m. right when the doors open to secure a spot. Otherwise, people can try to reserve a table a year in advance. Generally, once seated inside people don't leave until the evening.
(Example of a tent)
We spent the afternoon checking out the different tents and walking around gawking at drunk people. Apparently different tents house different crowds, for example HB is known for the rowdy English and Aussie crowd. The family eventually settled down for beer and chicken at a beer garden.
Here's Andy with his first and last beer. He downed 1 litre of 6.5% (higher alcohol content at Oktoberfest) beer in about 1 hour. He quickly turned bright red and went a bit loco after that! That's my boy!
Here's the after picture! Anyway, we didn't get the true Oktoberfest experience this time, but I think we need to do a group Oktoberfest trip! Who's in?
Andy and I are flying to Greece tomorrow afternoon. I doubt we'll have internet so no updates! See everyone in less than 2 weeks!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Today we left Verona on Lili-time (as per usual) and drove to Innsbruck, Austria. There we walked around town and had a nice lunch on a sunny patio before heading back to Munich. It's funny to think we visited 3 countries in just one day!
All in all, I've quite enjoyed my 3rd time in Italy. Even seeing Florence, Siena, and Pisa again was nice after 6 years. However, I've had enough pasta and pizza to last me for several months. I think the best meals we've had here included large portions of meat...the Italians sure know how to do a steak!
That's it for now. We're spending the afternoon at Oktoberfest tomorrow and then doing some shopping on Tuesday. Andy and I fly to Santorini, Greece on Wednesday for a week. We're looking forward to it, but we'll miss Lili!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Anyway, with so many days already gone it's hard to feel motivated to blog about what we did. For the sake of documentation in case you guys ever want to do this kind of trip in the future I'll do a whirlwind summary...
We left Munich for Italy on Sept 14th. Our mode of transport was a Peugot 7-seater van (rental). Thank god it's a diesel. We were able to get 900 km on one tank of gas! Gas by the way is much more expensive out here, about 1.40 Euro/L.
Our first stop was Tignale, Italy which is located on the west side of Lake Garda (Italy's largest lake). We stayed at Hotel Gallo (www.hotelgallo.com) which is a typical 3-star. This actually worked out to be pretty cheap with breakfast and dinner included. The important thing is that it was convienient since travelling with a 5-month old isn't easy! We were in Tignale for 3 nights and basically took day trips to the surrounding towns (Limone, Toscalano, etc.). The driving terrain here is pretty crazy...lots of turns, hills, narrow and unpaved roads. Good thing Tino and Andy are capable drivers, although we're probably returning the car with no brakes, clutch, or suspension.
After Tignale we headed south towards Tuscany. We stayed at San Giorgio (www.san-giorgio.net) which in a nutshell is an old converted farmhouse 4 km outside of Siena. It's pretty much off the beaten track with the famous rolling hills of Tuscany its backyard. The way to and from San Giorgio is on a dirt road that really only fits one car at a time or one flock of sheep (which we enountered). Our place was a 2-bedroom apartment that cost 65 Euro/day (in total). We stayed at San Giorgio for 7 days and again took day trips in the country side (San Gimignano. Monteriggioni, Chianti region, Montipulciano, etc.) The family also spent one day at a local thermal bath. On our last full day in Tuscany Andy and I ended up doing a solo trip to Florence for the day to give Denise, Tino, and Lili a break. We didn't know where to park the car so Andy set the GPS for a parking gargage in the heart of Florence which was a bad idea, but of course we found that out the hard way. Our van barely fit on some roads and Andy got a bit freaked. It all worked out fine though. Florence was pretty much the same for me compared to 6 years ago, but there were loads of tourists! Andy was turned off by how busy it was, but I guess that's to be expected since we've just spent a week in the country.
After leaving San Giorgio we headed northwest to Pisa for one night. Denise, Tino, and Andy had never seen the leaning tower so we decided to make a trip of it. I think everyone would agree that it was time well spent.
So this brings us to today. We arrived in Verona this evening after shopping at a mall and outlet. We're at a bed and breakfast (www.bbinthesun.com) for 2 nights. Again the road that brought us here was crazy. I think we barely made it up. Cars just have to constantly backup until there's space to pass because 2 cars just won't fit!
So that's it! I'm really enjoying spending time with the family. Andy and I love Lili more and more each day even though she sometimes goes by the name of Satan. Her cries make Auntie Christine a bit loco at times, but the "awe" moments make up for it. I'll post up pics when we're back in Munich! Ciao!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
So here we are and we got to meet Lili for the first time. She's super cute! I think I love her more than I did before...if that's possible! She gets a little crazy when she's tired or hungry, but who can blame her? I think Andy is quite smitten with her too.
Our first day here was pretty mellow. It's Sunday and all the shops are closed. We went on a long walk with the baby and then Andy and I spent a hour at the Deutches Museum. We leave for Italy tomorrow afternoon.
Disclaimer: This blog will contain a countless number of Lili pictures...be warned!
Lili almost eating carrots.
Lili not liking Auntie Christine.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I don't think she likes monkey very much! Poor monkey!