Corfu > Athens
Leaving Corfu was really sad. We had even gotten an extra day there, but it didn’t feel like enough. I was also dealing with the fact that the next day was my last with my travel buddies/family. We got onto the ferry to the mainland and THANK GOODNESS we did not have to drag the bags up 2 flights of stairs again (not that I did, I had the boatman do that for me last time). We headed upstairs to claim territory. Ellie and I set up shop with Zac and became the T-shirt helper outters…we were the chairs of the T-shirt committee and designed them, after all. It was a shorter trip to the mainland and we got off the ferry and onto our new fancy (still no Rui, sadface) bus. I decided sitting in the front of the bus was a good idea, to not get carsick. Ellie and I entertained ourselves with giving Zac headrubs, coloring (on paper and each other) and telling stories. We stopped at a place on long our journey for lunch and walked around the town a little. It was a little sketchy, to say the least, but there were kittens everywhere, which was all I really needed. God, I missed my little Betsey girl so much. 2 more hours on the bus and we stopped for a short time at the Corinth Canal. It is very similar to the Panama Canal. We then crossed the Rio-Antirrio bridge, which was like a 64 € toll, just to cross one way! We arrived in Athens and George informed us it was a super sketchy part of town. I don’t know how he came to that conclusion, if it was the stories he had been told about it before (he was Greek American and had been there many times), the fact that Zac told us to grab our bags and move into the hotel VERY QUICK or the security guards outside. We, as usual, were hurried to get ready, because we had our final dinner to go to L I was rooming with the twins, Brooke and Courtney, both of whom were super sweet. Not quite the party girls we were, but still a good time. I took a quick shower and headed down to get onto our bus. The restaurant was on a hill with a lot of stairs and looked like a movie set, with the sunsetting behind it and cafes on each side of the walkway on the way up. I don’t remember eating too much of the dinner, but the wine was good, good! People from the restaurant came out and danced for us, which was fun. It is always a good time to scream out, “OPA!,” for really no reason, and it be ok. We all got a lot of pictures and when it was time to leave, we were all high on life (maybe a little drunk) and had a great time walking back to the bus. I was a little scared, especially with all the things I had seen about Greece on the news back home. Of course now, I feel foolish because I know that it is all about being aware and not being an idiot, just like in any city. We decided to go to the top of our hotel to the bar there, which had an amazing view of the acropolis, which was all lit up at night. A few drinks there and a group of us decided we wanted to go out on the town, on our last night together…needy. Luckily Zac seemed all about it too and called us taxis, so we wouldn’t get lost. I had a great time, as usual, making friends with the taxi driver, who took my hand at one time and kissed….I just love those Greeks! We got to a strip of clubs/bars, which looked like they could be on a South Beach strip. We met up with everyone and went into some club with red lights and trees. It literally looked like it had trees inside, but it was amazing. Zac got us a bottle, which was gone pretty quickly. The night was a haze, but everyone around us was beautiful. Gotta, love those sexy Greek people. Rachel, Zac and I headed back to the hotel, once we had enough. I was afraid of being too hung over for the acropolis the next morning…that is just something that cannot happen.
Notice, the beautiful blue marker Ellie had marked me with.... she won the marker fight.
Rio Antirrio Bridge
I woke up around 8:00 am which was still too early. I, luckily, did not have to take my bags down to the coach by 8:15, because Ellie and I had made the arrangement the day before that we were going to keep our bags in Zac's room (who had a late check out), since we were all going to take a cab to the airport together. This gave me a little more time to "take my time." I showered, moved my bags to Zac's room and headed down to the coach. We were missing a few people, due to early flights. Stuart was missing because he had shacked up with some other babe at a different hotel...this was information we learned later. On the bus, we had a great time hearing about how one of Ellie’s roommates, or “E,” as I will call her, kept everyone up all night because she brought a boy home and that’s all I will say about that. Ellie had even told them it was time for him to leave, so E took him to the bathroom…and needless to say, did not leave. I will truly miss these great contiki stories. It reminded me of college. I was sad I didn’t get to see E before she left, she had an early flight and left before I was even up. We had a bus tour as well and the tour guide, Alex, was wonderful! He had so much passion about what he was talking about, but spoke very softly. His voice was quite lulling and a few people fell asleep on the coach (maybe from the rough night before). He tried to stress the importance of living in the now and being present. There were stray HUGE dogs all over the mountain where the Acropolis began, which was so fun. They were all just chilling and it almost seemed like they were the guardians of this precious land. I, of course, hadn’t made it to breakfast, choosing to sleep off the booze a little more, so I was pretty starving. I got a slurpee type thing for a little stand outside the gates, which proved to not be the smartest decision on my part. A sugary drink with no substance was not the appropriate thing to put in a slightly hungover and possibly still drunk tummy. Afraid of getting left, we all convened outside the gates, waiting on the rest of the crew to show up. That’s when I realized we were loosing some of our people there. It was the beginning of the end…well that morning when I woke up and like 5 people were already gone was the beginning, but I wasn’t alive for that yet, so this was the beginning of the end which I was conscious for. On the bus tour we saw the Olympic Stadium and Hercules temple and at one stop, a big group got off the bus (it was close to the train to take to the airport). This was when it began to really hit. I cried a little when I saw Janelle getting off the bus and waving. I would truly miss her wise cracks about everyone, including her sister. Back to the hotel we went, which is where I would be saying good-bye to Zoe and Rachel. I was happy that my girlies were really the last ones to leave. I loved spending the last precious hours with my faves, Rachel, Ellie and Zoe. It's hard to believe they are all as young as they are. I feel the bonds I have made are the same ones I made in Pi phi. I shed a tear or 2 knowing that I will really loose it hen I'm in the comfort of my hotel room. Ellie and I joined up w some girls that were staying a bit longer, with later flights like us, to eat some food. Ellie and I ate quick, hoping to get back up to Zac’s room and take some showers and maybe nap. However, when we got back around 1:25 we were unpleasantly surprised to hear the late checkout Zac had got was only till 130 and we were not going to be able to shower and nap before leaving our hotel. Wah. I think that was his plan all along, so he could get a few hours to himself. Sneaky jerk. Another thing we had learned when we got back, was that Stuart, who had not been back to the hotel since the night before, was finally back. He had missed the island hopper bus, but grabbed his things and headed out. He had Zac only in a minor panic attack, as Zac was considering calling hospitals or jails looking for him, which we urged him against. After a long deliberation, I said, “Fuck it,” with changing and decided the sexy/sweaty dress I had worn all around that day, would be what I wore on the plane to Rome. Ellie and I sat in the “meeting room,” where our bags were being stored, as we maneuvered things around into what we needed in our carry ons, etc…something we were PLANNING on doing in Zac’s room, so we hadn’t felt the need to do it prior. We went up to the second floor, where there were sofas and chairs and computers…SCORE! I showed everyone my favorite YouTube videos including the honey badger, "I ate your Halloween candy," and babies laughing. We all rested and chilled for a while before Zac, Ellie and I grabbed a cab to the airport. I made Zac hold my hand in the cab, which I also asked of Ellie, but she wasn’t too keen on it. We had a good time leaving video messages on Zac's iPad for him to watch when he got lonely and missed us terribly, which would obviously be right when he departed from us both. When we got to the airport I had chest pains thinking of cutting the ties of my contiki family. Ellie was my first friend and Zac had provided to be a really fun guy, a requirement of all my guy friends. It is quite proper to end the tour with them. I got cheeks from Zac and he gave me his number, reassuring me that if anything happened while I was alone in Rome that he would answer and make sure I was alright. Saying goodbye to Ellie was rough. We spent most of the trip as roomies and I feel as if we have known each other for years. I trust her so much and cannot imagine going through a single day without her asking me for some thing, beginning it with, "can I be cheeky and ask...". She walked me to my check in and the tour ended the way it should. With my tour guide and first friend. I was off to Roma now and I had to get back into the, "I got this," frame of mind.
Loved that Ellie was represntin' the US with my flag shirt!
αντίο Greece. Goodbye Contiki.
Ciao di nuovo Roma