Volcano, Hot Springs, and Sun!

Trip Start Feb 18, 2008
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Trip End Jul 04, 2008


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Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Monday, June 2, 2008

Hi Everyone!
It seems like so long since I had last written, so I wanted to update you on how my time has been. Surprisingly, I only have THREE WEEKS left! The time here flew by!!!
 
I'm going to jump back to May 19th, a Monday. This was the day that a professor from City University (my school) took a group of us on a fieldtrip to the National Archaeological Museum. Even though I had already gone, I decided to go again because she was going to be giving a tour focusing on the three different art periods: Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic. It was very interesting.
 
Tuesday, May 20th, Aphrodite (our program director) took the girls in my apartment out to lunch with her and her husband at the officer's club, which is similar to a country club, but exclusive to present and former officer's in Greece's military. The building was beautiful and we had a lot of fun! We got to walk around after we finished eating. The building used to be a mansion and there was even a ballroom upstairs! After lunch we went to explore Pangrati, an area in Athens with some cute cafes and a movie theater.
 
On Wednesday we ordered take out from a Greek restaurant down the road. The food was delicious. And after dinner we went to see the London International Tour of Mamma Mia! It was fantastic! I had already seen it before, but it was nice to see it in Greece since it actually takes place on a Greek island. We were all up and dancing for the final three encore songs!
 
On Thursday we went to the Cycladic Museum which is also housed in an old mansion. Although interesting, a portion of the museum was closed for renovations, which was disappointing! Thursday night we had a school party which kept us out all night before getting on a ferry bright and early Friday morning!
 
Friday we left for Mykonos! It was apparently the Greek University's Spring Break and so our ferry was filled with Greek students. It was insane! When we got to Mykonos I was amazed, the port and surrounding area was absolutely beautiful. We found a hotel in Paradise, a beach town outside of Hora (the main town). It was perfect. When we arrived we immediately put on our bathing suits and headed down to the beach - we spent four hours lying in the sun that afternoon! It was perfect! When we got back to our hotel, we met some of the other people staying there. One guy, Nick, from Brisbane, Australia convinced us to rent a 4-wheeler on Saturday. So on Saturday we had breakfast in the morning, went to the beach for an hour or two, and then drove around the island, exploring. We started our tour stopping in a small town - Ano Mera. Then when I took a wrong turn we ended up in Fokos, but it was perfect because it was a gorgeous, small, secluded beach. There was a cove and I even ended up swimming so I could explore it. Then we continued on to two more beach towns - Kalafati and Kalo Livadi, where we had lunch. After lunch, we went to meet up with Mixos (a friend from City University). He was there because it was his Spring Break. He was at a beach called Paraga, where they had a DJ and hundreds of college students dancing and just having a good time! It was so much fun! Afterwards we decided to head to Hora to sit by the windmills and watch the sunset. It was beautiful. Absolutely perfect. Saturday night we went out with Mixos and all of his friends. It was a fantastic time, but of course, because we're in Greece we didn't go out until about midnight and then headed home at about seven the next morning. I'm finally getting used to this timetable and I'm about to head home where it is going to be completely different! On Sunday I was really sad to head back to Athens. I wish we could have spent one more day. We spent the day exploring Hora. We wandered through some side streets, in and out of different shops and then sat down for a coffee while we waited for our ferry departure. It was an amazing weekend!
 
Then, last Monday (May 26th), Memorial Day, we went to see Indiana Jones at the movie theater in Pangrati. Although not my favorite movie, it was quite entertaining!
 
On Tuesday, Kristina and I went to the Central Market on Athina Street. It was a giant open air market, with a lot of different vendors! It was fun to see, minus the meat hanging. EWW!
 
Wednesday we went out to celebrate my roommate Jessica's 21st Birthday! Our friend Thalia joined us and took us to a lovely café called Soul. Then we met up with some of her friends and had a really nice night!!!
 
Thursday was pretty low key because of the heat. However, we did go to Starbucks and as I was ordering the power went out. Typical of Athens, really. Luckily it did go back on so I got my Frappuccino.
 
Finally...this weekend. Friday morning we got up early to get on a ferry to Santorini! (I love the islands!!) Everyone from the BCA group came with us so it was a lot of fun! When we arrived in Santorini's port, everyone was amazed by the beauty of the island. All of the towns sit on top of a mountain, so we had to drive up a cliff from the port to our hotel which was near Perissa Beach. When we arrived we all sat by the pool for a few hours. Then Kristina and I went for a walk down to the beach. All of the sand is black from the volcano. We decided to rent ATV's again because it makes seeing the island much easier and much cheaper. So after we did that we drove into the main town, Fira. We went into some really cute shops, taste-tested Santorini's famous sweet wine and then stopped at a coffee shop to enjoy the night and our surroundings. After coffee we drove to the beach so we could stargaze. It was incredible. The sky seemed to go on forever. On Saturday we drove up past Akrotiri (what is believed by many to be the lost continent of Atlantis), and then up to the red sand beach. It gets its name from the millions of small, red, volcanic pebbles. After sitting on the beach for a little while, we made a detour to the lighthouse at the very end of the island. Then we continued our journey back into Fira for lunch, some shopping, and some donkey riding. Yes...I rode a donkey! We walked down to a small port in Fira and then rode back up about 580 steps on donkey! The two donkeys were tied to one another and they knew the path but it was nerve-wracking when they would stop every once in a while and not move. They were just resting, but you never really knew if they were going to start again. After that, Kristina and I met up with our roommate and drove to Oia. We went down to a bay area called Ammoudi, where the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was filmed. We had dinner at a seafood restaurant, where three of the four actresses from the movie had eaten when they were there. I had mussels saganaki. It was delicious! Then we watched the sunset and the reflection on the water was absolutely beautiful. After that we walked around the town and went into the shops where we dreamed of being able to afford anything! Sunday was equally as busy. We did an excursion to the active volcano (where you could see smoke coming out of the crater), the hot springs, and Thirassia, a smaller island on a sailboat. It was very cool because we also found out how Santorini (as we see it today) was formed. It is kind of set up like a circle where the islands surround a crater (the caldera). The crater, which is underwater, has two islands in the middle. One is the active volcano and the other is an inactive volcano. The caldera formed when the volcano blew out the island's center between 1600 and 1500 BC. It was very cool! After our excursion we got right on the ferry to head back to Athens. And now I'm just spending my time getting ready for Roxanne (my best friend) to come tomorrow!!! I'm very excited!
 
Hope all is well with everyone!
Love,
Leighanne!!!
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