awkward in anafi

if you know me well then you know that i like my quiet time. i love jason, my friends and my family lots but i don't need to be around them all the time. they get me. i guess that is why i miss my family and friends so much. i'm a bit sensitive to sensory overload i guess. too much talking, forced small talk, being 'on' drains my energy quickly. i like people, i am not a recluse but from time to time i need my own space to recharge. this has been my challenge as on the road you meet people from time to time...some are instant friends and others...mmm...not so much. couchsurfing has been a great way for me to expand my horizons and push my comfort levels with new people. most of our experiences couchsurfing have been positive with only one or two awkward moments.

sunrise over the island of anafi

we've been in the greek islands for about 10 days. we were on the ferry from santorini to anafi when we met a guy from germany. we hadn't couchsurfed since athens so we'd had a few days to ourselves by then. the guy, i'll refer to as 'w', convinced us to come with him to the beach to look for a room instead of going up the hill to the village. 'it's paradise', he said. so we shook our heads at the bus driver and followed w up the path that would take us to the beach. little did we know at the time...that was IT for buses...that was the last bus of the day.

chora, anafi

we hauled our backpacks to kleisidi beach which was not far from the port but far enough for me to start doubting our decision. we arrived at a place that w said was a tavern with rooms to let, at least it was when he was there 5 years before. cool! we hung around for awhile but no one was home so we dropped our bags on the terrace and decided to look around. w was planning to pitch a tent on the next beach over (the nude-is-ok beach) so we climbed another hill to check it out with him.

kleisidi beach paradise

when we returned to the 'tavern' there was still no one around so we went down to the beach. it WAS paradise...seriously! i was really looking forward to staying in the rooms overlooking the beach. plus, there were about 15 cats and kittens milling about so i knew jay would be entertained for hours and hours.

jay and i left w on the beach to see if we could put our stuff in a room. a woman greeted us warmly but all my dreams were dashed when she told us that she was closed for the season. doh! luckily she was heading to town so she could give us a lift and we could choose from 'many places to stay'...quote, unquote...haha

she dropped us at the bus stop and told us how to get to the street with many rooms. the village was empty. I mean devoid of all human beings. a few chickens, roosters and dogs could be heard but no people. it was 4 pm and there was a funeral. aaaah...that explains alot in the greek islands. everything always closes between 2 & 6:30 and everyone attends a funeral in a small village like chora.

we plunked our bags down in front of a villa that advertised rooms and motos for rent and 2 hours later we got a room. we found the only restaurant open in the whole town and chowed down on veggie gyros. as we were on the way back to our rooms we noticed at least 3 more restaurants, a bakery and a market open. after a week in anafi i think we have the timetable down. shops are open 9-2ish unless it's wednesday morning church, restaurants are open after 6:30 pm and whenever they want to be during the day and the market...that may just depend if the shop owner has left the keys in the door or not.

breakfast with w above kleisidi beach

but back to our new friend w...the next day we walked down the hill to the beach and w met us for lunch. he walked us up the hill and we had dinner together. day three... repeat day two and rinse. day four the rains came and w moved up the hill to the village...into our complex...right next door. breakfast, many card games, dinner...and...corina bows out of drinks in the village.

jay reading on the terrace of our villa - his favourite past-time in anafi

the next day it was still raining and there was no way i wanted a repeat of day four. i was feeling w overload. he was a nice guy but not one that got my need for space. jay made it known that we would just be reading in our room most of the day. when it cleared we went for a walk on our own and we didn't invite w for dinner either. he must have taken it personally because the next day he was less thrilled to see us, didn't want to hang out and even though it was his last night in town didn't suggest a drink. in fact, he didn't even say goodbye. the next morning i heard his door close softly as he left to catch the 7 am ferry. i felt guilt and relief in the same moment.

distracted by a snail during our walk along an anafi road

i'm not sure why this incident has bothered me so much. why do i feel badly for wanting some alone time with jay on the romantic isle of anafi? should i have forced myself to spend time with w even though by day four it was obvious to me we would never be lifelong friends? i enjoyed our time in anafi but possibly 7 days was too much of a good thing. like everything in life, perhaps even paradise is best in moderation.

view of rainbow over kalamos mountain from katsouni beach



tired of ancient ruins?

too bad. we went to athens and therefore you must endure more photos of more ancient buildings and ruins. there might be more to athens than the acropolis but we didn't experience it. well...that's not completely true. we, once again, landed a sweet couchsurfing host to help us navigate our way through the huge metropolis that is athens. vasilis was super friendly and outgoing and made sure we had something to do every evening. he took us to one of his haunts and we tried his favourite brazilian drink, caipirinha. vasilis is obsessed with brazil and is even learning portuguese...his 7th language. what better city than athens to be hosted by an architect?

view down to the temple of apollo and athens from the acropolis

odeion of herodes atticus

the parthenon front facade

our day exploring the acropolis was uneventful until we pulled out the flat people for a photo op in front of the parthenon. jay was down on his knees holding up flat hannah, flat ellie and flat sasha high above his head in front of the famous athenian ruin as i focused the camera on their flat forms. my concentration, only on the flat penners, was broken when i heard a woman say, "you can't do that, it's forbidden!". i wasn't sure at first who she was talking to. i took the picture and turned to see what the fuss was about. she came towards us and said again that it was forbidden..."what? is forbidden?", i was wondering. well, apparently you cannot take photos with representations of things or any type of symbol with the parthenon...not even the greek flag. she warned us that if the guards saw us they would confiscate the photo. funny...cuz in the next 15 minutes we took the photo of us in front of it with me wearing a barcelona tshirt and no one said a thing. PLUS we saw many other tourists with logo tshirts doing the same.

temple of apollo corinthian columns

temple of hephaistos

that concludes this segment of all things old in greece. we won't bore you with anymore ruins...at least until we get to turkey.

ya sas,


chocolate & brussel sprouts

our inital plan was to go from croatia to greece...but apparently its not as easy as it would seem. we assumed that both being coastal countries it would be logical that a ferry would run from some croatian port to a greek port. if there is such a ferry...jay didn't find it. he didn't find an affordable direct flight either. we could have taken a bus or 2 and a train or 2 but it seemed like such an ordeal. i was not in the mood for a 30 hour train ride through serbia like our friends alison and ron had to endure. so we put financial and emotional stability over our desire to be nice to the environment. in the end jay found flights that would allow a stop over in geneva and budapest on our way to athens.

switzerland is known for its quality chocolate and corina (that's me) is known for eating quality chocolate. we arrived in geneva fairly late in the evening and caught a train our to our couchsurfer hosts' near satnigy. unfortunately we missed out on a poker game with gus & corinne and their friends. i was really looking forward to gleening some tips from them so i could test out my skills against our avid gaming friends, em & j.r. back home. our hosts also let us borrow their electric bikes for an afternoon of exploring the hills and villages. we took the opportunity to break out the toblerone bar, our travel towel and our lastest paperback to enjoy the perfect lazy afternoon.

the weather held out for another couple of days as we explored geneva and the surrounding areas. there is an extensive boardwalk along the shores of the lake geneva (with free wifi...yay!). the jet d'eau fountain shoots water 140m into the air and proved to be a great way finder for us. we would be wandering around the city getting lost and then we would see the tip of the fountain and know exactly which way to turn.

our next hosts, dajana & greg, suggested that we go to le saleve which is a small mountain just over the border into france. from the top you can see all of geneva spread out below you. we took 'le telepherique du saleve' up to the top. jason thought it was pretty funny that i was willing to get into another gondolier after my last experience in barcelona. le saleve was actually steeper and a longer climb than barcelona's montjuic but the sturdiness and size of the carriage made it seem safer to me.

we spent the afternoon getting lost in the forest, hiking the trails and once again laying out under the sunny skies with our lunch and paperbacks. as a side note, jason has become quite the reader in the last little while. i guess he's gotten tired of staring into space while i am fully engrossed in a book.

our last day in geneva was cold and rainy so we took in a museum, had lunch at dajana's office and then headed to the airport. we were checked through to our gate and waited and waited. we were there hours too early because of the rain, then there was a 20 minute delay and finally the announcement that our flight had been cancelled due to technical difficulties. everyone swarmed the boarding desk and a flight attendant yelled over their heads that we were to make our way to the transfer desk and pointed in its direction. jay and i just looked at each other, shrugged and followed a pack of business men out of the boarding area. behind us people were clamouring to get the attention of the flight attendants..."what about those of us with connections to greece?" we were smug in our decision to stay in budapest for a few days.

we stumbled upon the transfer desk after i went through the 'wrong' doors. i thought we were still following the business men but two doors led to one area and the two doors we went through led to another. and behold the transfer desk! whoo hoo! we were 3rd in line, got our tickets for the next afternoon via munich, got our hotel room and hopped onto the shuttle to our home for the night. we stayed at the crowne plaza, ate our free dinner, slept in our free king size bed, ate our free delish buffet breakfast and jumped on our free shuttle back to the airport. we were finally on our way to budapest.

we had an apartment to ourselves for the first couple of days in budapest. our cs host, margit, was gracious to let us use her place while she was out of town. we only had one day of good weather in budapest which had we known it would be the only one we would have spent it more wisely. we did manage to walk down the waterfront on the buda side and through a bit of the pest side one afternoon.

we attempted to climb castle hill on a blustery, rainy day but we got lost on top of the wrong hill so we decided to call it a day and head home to make dinner. we arrived home to margit already in the kitchen chopping up some brussel sprouts for a soup. a combined effort between jay and margit produced our thanksgiving dinner of curried lentils and brussel sprout soup. it was tasty but i couldn't help thinking about the spread i knew would be on the tables at our parents' homes in winnipeg.

au revoir & szia,



it has only been 10 days since we left croatia but i already long to be back. the pink-hued sunrise welcomed us after our night ferry from bari, italy. it was a long journey but we were anxiously up at the crack of dawn to capture dubrovnik from the sea view.

we didn't have the opportunity to meet any couchsurfing hosts in dubrovnik so we stayed in a private accommodation room. it was comfortable and came with a set of grandparents and a cat we named max. max came to visit us over the 4 days we were there and the last 2 nights he stayed the night. jay was beside himself with joy. i felt a bit like we were cheating on jake and midge...but if reports from home are accurate, our cats have pretty much abandoned all hope of our return and have settled in with my parents quite nicely...so i didn't feel that bad.

dubrovnik's city center is where all the action is but i found it a tad disappointing. many of the shops in the old town are conspicuously geared to tourists only. we wandered through the narrow, incredibly clean and polished streets but rarely ventured into these shops. once off the main streets we found the charm of dubrovnik...the daily washing hanging out to dry in the midday sun, a man singing along to the oldies from beyond his front door, and a terrace cafe with a view of the adriatic sea.

our blogging buddies from winnipeg, gadi & rebecca, strongly recommended plitvice lakes national park. much of croatia is part of UNESCO (something that jay is obsessed with btw) and this park definitely deserves the status. it is stunning. the colour of the lakes is turquoisey green and is so transparent that you can see the bottom in many of the lakes. the lakes are full of fish and they seem to revel in the attention that the tourists flourish upon them. they hover near the footpaths and boardwalks in the shallow water...possibly waiting for a morsel of bread from a passerby or perhaps they are avoiding being some other creature's lunch.

waterfalls are the main attraction in the park. there are hundreds of them. as you walk through the park there are signs that indicate what level you are walking on by showing a section view of the earth. i think we made it to the top level. the big waterfall was "2" km from our accommodations. i say "2" because there are mileage signs posted along the road and i saw at least 3 km markers along the way. maybe 1 km isn't much if you are driving but add that 1 km to the end of a long day of hiking trails and walking in the sun...i'm just sayin'...
the leaves were just starting to turn and the days getting shorter but the sun still shone strong during the day. it was perfect. warm during the day, wool socks & long sleeves in the evening. there wasn't much to do other than visit the park so our first afternoon we walked down to the big waterfall walking past the unattended rangers' station and had a drink at the restaurant. the second day we caught a ride to the main entrance and paid our entry for the day. the third day we were supposed to catch the 9 o'clock bus back to split but we met a lovely australian couple, jenny & mike, who offered us a lift. we got to spend another 1/2 day wandering the paths of the park which we boldly entered at the main entrance without a ticket...what can i say, it was our last day...what were they gonna do? kick us out?
jenny & mike were heading to trogir so that's where we went too. we spent a bit more on a hotel room than we might have if we'd planned the stop but it was definitely nice to have a comfy bed and an ultra clean and modern room if only for one night. we spent the next day exploring the tiny old town centre and had lunch on terrace underneath the grape-vine arbor.
back in split we hauled our backpacks to our couchsurfing host pascal's pad. it was a bit of a round about trip...all i can say is don't always believe google maps...especially if you already have directions from your host!
grgur of nin - this guy has a shiny toe because everyone rubs it for luck
...in love, in life...etc.

on our last day pascal took us for a ride in his convertible with another couchsurfer, celine (from france). we ended up at the source of a lake that i can't remember the name of. we ate a picnic on the shores and spent the afternoon wandering around taking picture after picture...the perfect way to end our time in croatia.

do vidjenja,