Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ventimiglia, Italy

July 28th 2008
I took this picture from the car, before we parked! Not bad huh?
Day Trip
This trip was a continuation from the sister visit. We took a little trip over to Italy. We crossed the boarder like it was nothing. There was no boarder patrol, only a sign saying welcome to Italy! We entered Ventimigila, a small city right on the Italian boarder 30 mins from Monaco and about 1 hour from Genova. The city was very busy and it wasn’t easy finding a parking spot. We tried pulling into this one spot for 15 minutes but got laughed at and decided to try one that would actually fit the car. We finally got the car parked and then began walking, checking out stores as we went a long. We after stopping a few books stores and other random shops, we decided to sit in the park and talk for a while. After the park, we decided it was time to head back to the villa. So we took some pictures of the city and ourselves, made our way back to the car and drove toward France along the coastline.

Ventimiglia is a 2.5. Small, quite, and quaint.


July 26th 2008
View a long the cost of Monaco.
Day 2cont.
Monaco is a country within a country like the Vatican and San Marino. It is where the wealth of France and Europe goes to be with their kinfolk, and the other richies from around the world go to escape paying taxes! I don’t blame them, if I had endless amounts of cash I would live there too. It has beautiful architecture, breathtaking views, nice cars and a plethora of mansions. I got first hand experience at what Monaco was like because I went to visit my sister who was living in a villa in Cap Martin, which is right outside Monaco. We took a ride on the scooter around the city to explore its richness. It really is a world of its own. Monaco could possibly be richer than France itself, doubtful, but you never know! Anyway, we went to check what the open air, English original version theater was playing and at what time. I had already seen the movie that was playing, so we decided to go back to the villa and watch one there. It was a short trip to Monaco, but from the villa I could look down upon it and see its true beauty. It’s a place to visit whether you could ever afford to live there or not. I liked it a lot but I couldn’t spend a lot of time there, I would be aware of how little I fit in, every time I went anywhere. Nevertheless, I had a good time.

Monaco is a 4. It is a very rich, small, beautiful country.

Cap Martin, Eze & St. Tropez, France

Cap Martin
July 25-27th 2008
View from the Villa where my sister lived in Cap Martin!

Day 1
I arrived in Nice at 11:40pm from Dusseldorf to visit my sister. She was living in a villa right outside Monaco in Cap Martin. She was waiting at the airport for me and we took a 120 Euro cap ride to the villa. What a rip off. Anyway we got there finally after a train ride, a flight, and a 30min taxi ride! We decided to sleep downstairs so we could talk. It was a garage converted into a very nice big room. After an hour of talking we decided to go to bed. When we went to go upstairs to use the bathroom, we realized we were locked out. We couldn’t get out of the room from that door, nor the door that leads to the driveway, both locked. So we finally got one of the windows open, but didn’t want to know on the door or ring the bell and wake people up. So in stead we used the hose to brush our teeth. Then we went to bed with the lights on, because the switch was outside the door! It was an interesting night, not one you would expect to have in a luxury villa in Cap Martin!

Cap Martin is a 4.5. It's beautiful, charming, rich and alluring!

July 26th 2008

View from the top of Eze village.

Day 2
Night passed rather well despite what had occurred. We woke up early at around 7:30am after going to bed at 2pm. We went out through the window and into the front door of the villa. We told the story of last night and everyone had a good laugh. We ate breakfast, watched TV and then decided to go on a scooter ride. We took the scooter first to Eze, a small, but beautiful town north of Monaco. We drove a while, until we came to what looked like a fairly touristy spot. We parked, used the bathroom then walked up the hill to the church and garden. To get into the garden we paid 5 Euros, kind of a rip off once you realized how lame the garden was. It was a lot like the landscapes of the Arizonan deserts, lots of cactus, and sand. We hung out in it for a while, and then went back toward Monaco (see other blog for Monaco). We went back home after Monaco and watched a movie, then bed (not in the garage again!)

Eze is a 4. Its a small village, but the beaches are amazing.

St. Tropez

July 27th 2008

I did not take this picture, but I wanted you to know what St. Tropez looked like.

Day 3

This was the big St. Tropez day. We were supposed to meet up with some people at a party down in St. Tropez, which is the Hamptons of France. This is where the rich people of Europe go to party and vacation. We took our time getting ready and left the villa at around 12. It took us about 2 hours to drive down there. We got a little lost trying to find the house where the party was, so we meet our friends in town, and then drove together. The house was large and the back yard endless. When you walk out to the backyard, where the party was, to the right was a covered patio, where the food was being served, and to the left was the dance floor and DJ stand. When you continued walking out of the door you a grand marble 2 directional staircase lead you down to the rectangular shaped pool. To the left of the pool was a grand bar, which was more crowded than the food area. Past the pool were scattered tables for guest to dine and chat. We ate the delicious buffet of grilled chicken, hamburgers, fruits, salads, pasta, and much more. We filled up quickly then went to mingle with the guests. After about 3 hours we had had enough, my sister and I weren’t really in the mood to stay and so we decided to visit St. Tropez more. We drove around then headed back toward Nice for my flight, cancelled so I had to stay at the villa until they could rebook my.

St. Tropez is a 3. It is small and pretty, but its for a select bunch of people! Not me!

Bremen, Germany

July 19th 2008
Bremen is very picturesque, dispute the fact that it was raining!

Day Trip
Victoria and I took a train form Rheine to Bremen on Saturday to meet up with my sister and check out the city. We arrived at 11:15, shortly before my sister, and went to her track to collect her. We put her bag in a locker and left the train station. We went to tourist information first, to see where an original version movie theater was. We got directions, followed them, and arrived at the movie theater within 5 minutes. Unfortunately the OV movies were showing too late in the day for us to see, as we had to catch a train back at 4. After the disappointing trip to the movie theater we walked toward the center of the city. On the way we passed this nice little park area with a windmill-turned-restaurant in the middle. It was a lovely scene despite the awful, rainy, grey weather. After taking a few pictures of the park we ventured on, finding the shopping district of the city. We popped into a couple stores, but weren't really in the mood to shop so we decided to be tourist. We went to the Rathaus, the platz and medieval quarter. We got hungry so my sister ate a salad while we sat and ate Chinese restaurant. After lunch we walked toward the harbor stumbling upon a small festival. There we found this stand with mini pancakes, that would have been amazing, if cooked all the way! We were tired so we sat on a bench by the canal leading to the harbor. In front of us was a massive pirate ship! We sat and admired it for a while until it started to pour rain. After the rain let up, we headed back to the train station to catch our train.

Bremen was a 3. It was pretty especially for being one of the oldest cities in the north.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Greek Islands

July 13th 2008
Sifnos is a mountainious island with much to explore.

Day 9
The last day of the cruise had come and Victoria and I had lost steam. We didn’t feel like renting a scooter or really exploring the island. The island wasn’t as inviting as the others had been. It was one big mountain and we were nestled in a cove. Sifnos was less windy than the others because the mountains blocked a lot of wind, which in return made the island seem smaller. After breakfast, we took our time to get to the beach, which was a hop-skip away from the ship. We weren’t really outside for that long because we were tired of the sun. We hung out on the ship a lot, reading, playing cards, and talking. We ate lunch on the ship too, because we planned to eat dinner on the island. We watched Fun With Dick and Jane after lunch and then I took a nap. By the time I woke up it was time for dinner on the island. So we changed and wore our black and white dresses for the occasion. We went to this cute little restaurant, not too far for the ship, and had traditional Greek food. We took our time eating, savoring our last day in the isles. After dinner we went for a walk, bought some souvenirs, and post cards. We headed back to the ship, took some pictures, packed our bags and went to bed. And that was the end of our Greek Isles cruise.

Sifnos was a 3. A lot less windy than the other two islands, but also a lot smaller.

July 12th 2008
Pretty day and night!

Day 8
This island is smaller than Mykonos, and flatter but just as windy and pretty. Once again we ported at around 11:30am. Vitoria and I were determined to get a scooter on this island, so that we could be in control of our own transportation. In order to do that we thought it best to be ready to disembark the boat as soon as it ported. This was not a problem since we hadn’t slept past 9 since the cruise started. We were showered, dressed and breakfasted with time to spare! We were among the first to set foot on land and we bolted for the nearest scooter stand. Disappointment came quickly. The first place was out, and the second, the third didn’t even have scooters. We searched for a while to no anvil. Instead we headed back to one guy and ask if they had 4 wheelers and he told us to go down the street. We did and lo and behold they had a plethora of scooters! We secured one with little difficulty, only a little harassment from the owner who said “are you sure you GIRLS can handle this, if not you can take a 4 wheeler it’s safer.” He continued with “I don’t want to have to charge you if you get in an accident it will be expensive, you can still change your mind.” I just wanted to smack that guy. He was making me doubt myself and I had driven one before, although briefly, and done fine. It just takes some getting used to, that’s all, practice makes perfect. We left with our blue scooter named Sasha Jr. (Sasha Sr. is back in Interlaken, Switzerland) and headed to fill her up at the gas station. Sasha Jr. wasn’t glamours, but she was sturdy and had spunk and we had a blast on her. We found our own beach on the other side of the island and hung out there for a while. We got hungry quickly and quitted the beach in search of food. We parked the scooter near the ship, ate chicken pitta’s at a little cafĂ©, again, then rested on the ship. After our quick R&R we headed in the opposite direction to an unknown destination on the island. We found the wind surfing site, where we watched and Victoria tired driving the scooter. After she had enough we went on further and found a nice secluded beach. We took some pictures, played cards and relaxed. It was getting late so we headed back, watched the sun set at a beach near our ship, and then returned Sasha Jr. in perfect condition. Dinner and bed came shortly after sunset.

Paros was a 4. A perfect place to rent scooters, lay on the beach and enjoy great food.

July 11th 2008

The Windy Island

Day 7
Mykonos is a fairly large Greek Island, with beautiful beaches, lots of tourist and relentless strong winds. We ported the windy island at around 11:30, after an exciting safety drill, breakfast and a brief tanning session. Victoria and I caught the first shuttle bus to the main part of the island; as our ship ported away from the main town. The shuttle bus only rain every 30 mins until 2pm, then it didn’t run again until 7pm. (As if no one would want to do anything on the ship for 5 hours!) Annoyed by this aspect, but charmed by the island, we set out in search of a beach for some serious tanning. It was a long journey with no real reward at the end! After finding a dirt covered mound with dead grass to tan on, we realized why everyone took the other shuttle to paradise beach. There were no real beaches on the side that we were on; there were only small nooks around where few people could place a towel. That didn’t really bother us, the wind and he heat did more than anything. We made due with what we had though. We tanned and played on the rocks for a few hours then headed for food. We ate traditional Greek food at a small whole-in-the-wall joint in the center of town. After our, not too filling, chicken pitta’s we decided we had had enough of the sun and wanted shade and R&R. None of that come for the next hour and a half, because we decided to walk back to the boat! It was a long hot walk, but for some reason it was highly satisfying when we accomplished it. You could look back from the ship and see where we had come from and wonder “what the hell were we thinking.” Back on the ship we relaxed, ate dinner then took the bus back into town at around 8pm. We bought apple juice, got a crepe and walked back to the bus. We only took the shuttle again, because we were pissed that we would have paid 7 Euros to use it once. So we did our best to get our money’s worth and took it 3 times! After our quick in-town-adventure, we watch a move and fell asleep around 11pm.

Mykonos was a 3. Very pretty, but it is almost too windy to enjoy yourself.

July 10th 2008

Day 6 cont..
We landed on Aegean at 8:30pm. We walked around, bought apple juice, took some pictures, got a post card, and then headed back to the ship. We went to bed around 10pm, falling asleep to Rush Hour 3!

Aigena was a 3. We weren't there long enough to really tell.

Athens, Greece

July 10th and 14th 2008
Honestly I'm not sure what this building was, but I thought it was cool!

Day 6 cont.
After arriving on time to Athens I proceeded to the metro station. I paid 6 Euros to get into the city center/the port. I went the metro stop Monastiraki, locked my bag up, and killed time before Victoria was due to meet me. I walked around looking at all the cool shops and ruins mixed together. I was getting hungry and decided that the best way to kill time would be in an AC restaurant easting good food! I was there for an hour, then called Victoria who said that there was a strike so she couldn’t take the metro (that I just took) and had to take the bus. After about 30 mins she finally met me at my metro station and we headed for the port.

Day 10
We arrived back in Athens at around 11:30am. I didn't want to walk around the same area that I had been a few days ago, so I decided to head straight for the airport. Victoria walked around. I took the metro as before to the airport and arrived a few hours early. I attempted to catch an earlier flight straight to Dusseldorf but it would have cost a lot of money. Instead I decided to just get something to eat and wait for my flight. The airport in Athens is really crazy. There were so many people all over the place, I'm surprised I didn't feel more uneasy about my stuff. Anyway my flight left as planned and I got home at around 7pm.

Athens was a 4. I didn't see that much but what I did see I enjoyed. Athens has an amazing history and I still need to explore it.