Monday, April 23, 2007


After I came back from Santorini, everything has turned back to normal. I went to school, enjoyed the returned sunshine and as a result went to Halkidiki last sunday (for the second time). This time we didn't go to Kalithea, but to a small village called Psakoudia (don't know how to write it). The woman that had helped us at the Halkidiki busstation had told us that it was 'a great beach!' Really beautiful. So we went there, and after 1,5 hour in the bus we arrived in the village.


Well, now I don't know what her interpretation of beautiful is, but it's not what we saw. The road, which was connected immediately with a small beach, full of white Americans and Germans... Horrible. However, right before the bus stopped we had seen a quite nice part of the beach, so we decided to walk there. It was the right decision. No people, beautiful surrounding and the galara (relaxing) sound of the sea in front of us. So Marijn, Levinia (Mieke was with her boyfriend and Marielle didn't feel like relaxing on the beach) and me have spent about hours there, just lying on the beach, listening to music, sleeping, and enjoying the sun.

And now it's already monday. I have just send an e-mail to my teacher of Interview, Talk and Discussion, to tell her that I have decided to go on with Interviewing, and drop this just called course. The information is almost the same and I feel more like writing. So now it's only 6 courses left!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Continuation: Santorini

After dropping our stuff on the great beds, we decided to look around in Fira (the capital city of Thira). Santorini actually exists out of 3 islands: Thira (where we stayed), Thirassia (where we ate) and Aspronisi (with the still-working crater). To get from the city to the water, we had to walk about 20 stairs all the way down. On our way we also walked through donkey poop, as the donkeys are one of the attractions. Instead of walking down, taking the cable car, you could also go up on a donkey. It was really sad, the way the donkeys were treated. We, of course, also didn't like the people at all that made use of the donkeys. So we walked down and took the cable car up (as it was way impossible to walk the whole way up...). We have also seen the lifeguard boats of the 'Sea Diamond', the ship that has sunk a couple of weeks ago. One day later the place where the boat had sunk was also 'shown'. And of course everyone had to take a picture from that spot...
After taking the cable car up, we watched the sunset at Santorini, which was as beautiful as it always is, everywhere you go in Greece.

In the evening, we ate at a tavern and we went to bed quite early, as we were all very tired from the trip.
The next morning, friday, we took the bus to Akrotiri, a little village at the other side of the island. There were supposed to be excavations, but unfortunately we didn't find anything. After that we went to 'Kokkini Paralaia', which means the red beach. Really everything there is red: the rocks, the sand, it looks great. The only disadvantage is the way towards it, as you have to climb all the way up and go all the way down the rocks. But actually I liked doing that, a little bit of action. It's better than only walk some way up, I like climbing more. We have been on the beach for a couple of hours, burning of course (except for me :P). At 3:30 we wanted to take the bus back, but as we're in Greece, the bus didn't arrive until 5:45. After going to a taverna for some dinner, the others went to a disco to go out, and I went back to the hotel to go to sleep, as I was reall very tired.
The next day everyone was ready at 10:30 to go on a boat trip to the other 2 islands. At the first one, we have climbed the volcano and seen the crater. This crater still works, and that can be seen by the smoke that is coming out of it, and of course the smell of rotten eggs. The view was really beautiful as well, so we've played chinese and made hundreds of pictures.
After that we moved on to the hotsprings, at the other side of the islands. Unfortunately, they had not told us that you have to swim towards it, because of the rocks. Of course our boat was the most far away, and the water was freezing cold, so I was not able to make the trip. That was really a pity. The ones who did face the cold water were John, Mieke, Preeti and Peter. Crazy people.
After that we moved on to Thirssia, where we had a little (Greek, so it's big) lunch and enjoyed the sunshine. The last trip to, and stop, was Oía. We were not allowed to go into that city, only when you wanted to stay for the sunset and take the bus back to Fira. Oía seems to have the most beautiful sunset in the world. Unfortunately we had to take the baot at 8 o'clock that evening, as the next day would be the last day of Eastern, so all the boats were fully booked. So we decided to take the night boat. There was a lot of place left, so I thought that I would be able to sleep really well, but the airco was blazing as crazy, so it was freezing cold. But I think I've slept the best of all of them...
Back in Athens (6 o'clock) we heard that also (of course) all the trains were booked as well, only standing places were left. So we had to take those, as there was no other option. So on our way back to Thessaloniki we have changed places quite often. At some point we were even sitting with 7 people on 3 places!!
Everyone: really tired and sleeping at the trainstation of Athens. Me and MArielle were playing 'thousands'

Conclusion: It was a really great trip!! Everyone should see Santorini, as you can only see the real beauty with your own eyes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Athens and Santorini: the story

Last week, on a wednesday morning, we took the train at 7:35 am. Our first plan was to take the night train that evening, but Mieke would fly back from the Netherlands that day and she would arrive at 1 in Athens. Of course we wouldn't her to be alone, so we changed plans. At a quarter before six, I got up and at 7 I was ready to go. However, where were the others? I only had seen Jan and Preeti (England) coming down, because they wanted to check something at the train station, so they had already left. The others (Marijn, Peter and John) had overslept, so I had to wake them up! What They were all finished in 15 minutes and at a quarter past 7 we were at the train station.

At 2 o'clock we arrived in Athens, where we have checked in at a hostel. After that we have visited the Acropolis. It was really beautiful, but while we were there, the sun dissapeared behind the clouds and it seemed that it would start raining (of course, why not, we haven't had enough rain yet). Fortunately, it didn't, so we all returned to our hostel safe and dry after a nice meal nearby the hostel.

The next day we had to get up early again (5:30 am) as we wanted to take the boat at 7:30. It would namely take 9 hours to get to Santorini. The boat was quite nice and we had a lot of space, as most people did not go somewhere in the middle of the second week of Eastern.
At Santorini we met Levinia and Marielle, who had been island hopping. They were really tanned!

After 'looking' for a hotel (the hotel-owners were coming to as as bees on honey), we ended up at a really nice hotel called 'the Golden Star', in Fira. Telvision, breakfast, fridge, it was all included in the price (of only 15 euro's per person per night)!

To be continued....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Athens and Santorini

A couple of pictures to start with:

In front of the Akropolis

Athens in the sun

On the boat: 'Mother' Marijn is making breakfast ;-) Me and Preeti on Santorini
Walking to the Red Beach The Red Beach Our boat to go on a trip to the Volcano, The Hot Springs, Thirassia and Oia

5 Dutch girls on a row on Santorini

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Roasted goat and more....

I hope you’ve had all a nice Eastern! At least I did, as I have celebrated it with a Greek family (see last post). Kostas and Eva had invited us.

One of our presents, a delicious strwaberry cake (although, the sales woman told us that there was chocolate in it....)
First, Elise and me went to the international church here in Thessaloniki and after that we drove with Elizabeth and Hannah (2 woman from Sweden) to the Greek family. We drove out of Thessaloniki and higher into the mountains. The view was so beautiful. Also the house of the mother of Kostas was really nice. It didn’t look big from the outside, but when we entered the house, there was a lot more space than I thought it would be.
As it is a Greek tradition, there was a whole goat roasted in the backyard, where we also ate.
In times like this, it’s a pity that I don’t eat meat, because it smelled really good, and it is of course a Greek tradition. But I ate a lot of other Greek food as well. Of course, there was the spinach pie, green salad (not spinach, but something else that I do not know the name of), some pasta of fish eggs (no caviar ;-) ), which was really good. And of course rice stuffed in vine leaves and roasted/grilled peppers with vinegar could not be missed at this meal. They both have a specific taste, but I really like them. So I ate a lot…. The Greek people (4 persons from the age of 60) could not speak English, but they did speak German, so I still could have a conversation, which was really nice.
Kostas and Victor (with the winning egg)
The view from the house, and the house itself were beautiful. It was outside Thessaloniki, more upon the hill, so you could see Thessaloniki and the whole bay lying in the sun.

Afterwards we went to an other Greek family, also known from the church. They lived nearby, so it was easy to pass that house as well. Here I got a piece of chocolate pie. As you can read, eastern is not very good for my weight ;-), I really ate a lot.
They had also Greek music on, and some women started to dance. Of course I had to join, but according to me, the Greek dances are not so swingin.
"I feel like dancing, dancing..."

Hannah acting weird ;-)
In my last post, I told about the skirt that I bought for Eastern. Unfortunately, I discovered some holes in it, so I returned to the Zara today. I actually wanted a new one, but all skirts in my size were broken (either holes or buttons missing). So I received my money back, and I’ll hope I find another skirt, just as beautiful as that one was… Elise picking flowers, during our walk after dinner. As real Dutch/Belgian people, we of course had to make a walk through this beautiful peace of nature.

Only one night of sleep and then we’re off: to Santorini! We’ll take the train tomorrow morning at 7:35 a.m. (Grôôô….zzzz). After a journey of more than 6 hours, we will arrive in Athens, where Mieke will be waiting for us. We will stay the night over in Athens and on Thursday in the morning we will take the boat to Santorini. I’m really excited to go, as Santorini seems to be the most beautiful island of Greece. Most of the pictures with the white houses and blue sky and sea, that are always put on books and postcards, are taken on Santorini. So I will finally see that part of Greece, that I’ve come here for ;-). We’ve also heard from a girl here, that it was already possible to swim in the sea (nearby Thessaloniki), so we’ll definitely go to the beach one time. Santorini is also famous because of the volcano that once split the island in 2 parts. One of the parts has sunk to the bottom of the ocean:

Modern Santorini
Santorini was annexed by
Greece in 1912. Major settlements in Santorini include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Imerovigli, Pyrgos and Therasia. Akrotiri is a major archaeological site with ruins from the Minoan era. The island has no rivers and water is scarce. Until the early nineties locals used to fill water cisterns from the rain that fell on their roofs and courts, from small springs as well as by importing it from other areas of Greece. Nowadays, there is a desalination plant that provides running, yet nonpotable, water to most houses. The primary industry of Santorini is tourism and in the summer the island can get quite crowded. The pumice quarries have been closed since 1986 in order to preserve the caldera of Santorini. Santorini is home to a small but flourishing wine industry, based on the indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko. Assyrtiko vines are extremely old and are resistant to phylloxera. Consequently they did not need to be replaced during the great phylloxera epidemic of the early 20th century. Assyrtiko Vines are well adapted to the Santorini habitat and are planted far apart as their principal source of moisture is dew. They are trained in the shape of baskets, with the grapes hanging inside to protect them from the winds. Also unique is the red, sweet and extremely strong Vinsanto.

White wines from the island are extremely dry with a strong, citrus scent; the ash resulting from volcanoes, gives the white wines a bit of a mineral/smoke flavor much like the Visanto. It is not easy to be a wine grower in Santorini, the hot and dry climate gives the soil a low productivity. The yield per acre is only 10 to 20% of the yields that are common in France and California. That said, the wine can be delicious. It has a hint of a smokey flavor, the latter undoubtedly from the still active volcano.
1707 an undersea volcano breached the sea surface forming the current centre of activity at Nea Kameni, and eruptions centred on it continue—three times in the twentieth century, the last being in 1950. Santorini was also struck by a devastating earthquake in 1956. At some time in the future, it will almost certainly erupt violently again. Although the volcano rests at the present time, at the current active crater [there are several former craters on Nea Kameni] steam and sulphur are given off.

So, I’ll go and pack my bags now. Let’s see what Santorini will bring.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Kalo Pasxa!!

It is almost Easter and you can see and hear that everywhere. ‘Kalo Pasxa’ is written on every bus and it is said to you in every store you come. The feeling of Eastern wasn’t quite strong yet, but the last couple of days have made up very well. As written on Thursday, we were kicked out of the library at 12 and yesterday, on Good Friday, the bells of the church were ringing continuously the whole day long.
On Thursday I went shopping for some nice clothes to wear with Eastern, and I really wanted a skirt. So after pushing through loads of people (who also wanted to have nice clothes at Eastern) I found the perfect skirt at Zara. I was in love with it the moment I saw it, and although it was quite expensive (in my opinion) it fitted really well, so I’ve bought it. You will see it on the pictures that I will place here next week, because tomorrow I will take a lot of pictures. I am namely invited with a Greek family to celebrate Eastern.
It went like this: I know the people via Elise, who is my Belgian neighbour here in Matsi. She goes to church here, and I went with her last Saturday. Last Friday, Elise was invited to an eastern gathering of some of her friends from church (whom I had met as well now). She asked Lizzy and me if we wanted to join her, so we did! It was really nice to be there, with 6 nations in 1 house. Sweden, Greece, China, Belgium, Austria and of course the Netherlands were (aanwezig). After a little (mis) and dinner, I was asked what I did with Eastern Sunday, and after they heard that I would probably spend the day alone, they invited me as well (they had already invited Elise and Lizzy will have her boyfriend here). So I will take a lot of pictures tomorrow.

This morning I went running with Elise and Lizzy came later, but she didn’t run, as she didn’t felt well. I ran 1.2 km without stops, so I’m already improving my condition ;-). After that I switched between walking and running.
Afterwards, Elise and me went to the centre of the city, to buy some food we will bring tomorrow. Unfortunately it is packed, so we can’t take a picture of it, but it looks really nice. One is a kind of cake, with lots of chocolate, and the other one is an Easter bread.
Afterwards, I have done a little sunbathing on my balcony, and it is really hot here. It looks like summer in the Netherlands, so I did not wear more than jeans and a tank top when we went to the city. However, here in Greece, everyone looks really weird at you when you do that at this temperature. Some of them are even still wearing the winterjackets!!! They must be really crazy…

And by the way, the boy we met last Wednesday night, also comes from Deventer!! Isn’t that funny. It (blijkt) that he has lived really close to my parents house, and then you meet here in Thessaloniki….
Elise and me on the rainy wednesday night, both wearing socks and a sweater from Matthijs

his is my vacation so far. For now I wish you a Kalo Pasxa!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Eastern Vacation

So, here I am, all alone. Almost everyone living in Matsi has left at the moment, to go travelling or go home. There are about 5 people left, but it is still cosy ;).

Last days I haven't done much. Sleeping a lot, my intestines do work better, but now my throat has decided to be annoying, so it already hurts for 2 days. I hope I won't get sick, or get a cold (again).
The sun has shone last monday and tuesday. Unfortunately it did not continue, so yesterday all we saw were clouds. Even worse: In the evening it started raining so badly that my shoes and socks were totally wet. So when we (Elise, Lizzy and Flip) arrived at the dormitory of a guy where we were supposed to have a barbeque (uhuh...) we (Elise and me) needed dry socks and a sweater from him, that's how cold and soaked we were. It was really like going back to the Netherlands....

Instead of the barbeque, we have just eaten bread and ordered pitagyros (the guys) and fries. We watched a movie, but I can't remember the name. I will tell you more later, but now I have to go, because the library will close at 12. Because of Eastern....