Greece Bus Tour Day 7- Meteora

greece-map_cropped Final adventure day! Yay! Right?

I didn’t mean to say it outloud it was one of those private thoughts but it came out a little louder than I thought.

I want off this f-bomb bus!

I said it Lol I had enough of everyone talking shit about me, the tour and all the things we were supposed to be enjoying! Where did all the fun go? Did we really leave the good times back in Athens? Is my family really this ungrateful? They haven’t paid for anything at all! Nothing. Not even a bottle of water. I made sure of that. We had no food on the bus. We had a long bus ride that day and we had no snacks. That was not all my fault. I tried! I tried really hard to find some place but the town was big and crazy. I got lost a few times. I had no sunglasses! I was not feeling it!

We found out that Meteora was probably the monastery capital of the world because we toured 4 of them. It was really interesting. The hills were beautiful and a lot of climbing but it was worth it. So beautiful. I really got some good shots. We learned a lot about the area and asked a bunch of questions that never got answered. We held onto the hope that I would be able to find some food for the ride back. My Aunt, the one that wandered off came back with a box of cereal. We all chanted her name like she just won an Olympic event! She grinned and passed the box around. It was empty within 5 minutes. We had a 5 hour bus ride back to Athens. I told our english speaking guide we need to stop someone to eat or it’s going to be a mess. He didn’t believe me. We never stopped.

The bus driver drove right passed the 3 places our guide told him to stop. They got into a shoving match. Keep in mind the bus driver is still driving the bus but he stood up, shoved the guide then did the come at me bro with his hands waving at chest level. Finally he sat back down and hurled us away from on coming traffic Lol Now this was living!

On the way back to Athens my Uncle started the crowd to plot my death. Apparently the whole reason half of my family agreed to come with me (By the way, they all invited themselves when I told them I was taking Drew and his family to Greece this year) is because they wanted to go to Sparta. Sparta. You mean to tell me you wanted to go to Sparta and I’m just now finding this out. On the last day on this bus tour? We were close to Sparta on Day 2 Lol Why didn’t anyone tell me.

So I let them have it. You ungrateful shits! I have done my best to do everything you all wanted. I have run myself ragged trying to find food and water. And your dried olive snacks that you all got addicted to! I am doing my best here. And now you are revolting because I didn’t take you to Sparta. Son of a ……

My Aunt stood up and told me to go sit at the front of the bus. I was in a timeout. Fine by me. Lol F all of you, F this bus. I’m done! DONE!

So now no one was talking to me. Not even the bus driver. He just looked at me and laughed a few times.

Before we got off the bus in Athens I stood up and apologized. And told them I had lost my mind 3 days ago and was stressed out. I missed my boys and just wanted to see them. No one said a word. Nothing. Great the silent treatment.

So we got off this bus for the last time, waved goodbye and as it pulled away my Aunt said I think I left my phone on there Lol So I ran as fast as I could and smacked the side of it. We looked and looked and out of nowhere she shouts oh it’s right here, duh, sorry!

We walked into the last hotel and just deflated. We all got cleaned up, met downstairs and I took them to a really nice nearby restaurant. We finally started laughing again and having a good time. They were all doing their best impressions of my flip out which was fun and uncomfortable to see. Drew added in throwing a water bottle on the floor which I did not do but it made his wife and kids laugh really hard so it was worth it. Yes, I flipped out in Greece. I couldn’t help it. You guys weren’t on that bus! The smell, the lack of food, the attitudes. It was too much.

We woke up the next day excited to get on the plane and go. But not until I checked us all out and found out my Uncle ordered Greek porn at the tune of $15/show Lol I didn’t say a word I just handed him the bill and said I paid for this. He said Oh and shoved it in pocket. Yeah, oh. Dirty Uncle Lol

We flew back into NYC and parted ways. Everyone else was flying into Lincoln, Nebraska. I was going home to Chicago. And I had the best time being completely alone finally. They were all Drew’s responsibility. I told him good luck. He hugged me and said we really did have fun, thanks bro. And his kids hugged me and kissed my cheeks telling me how much fun it was. Even though I flipped out. I said Hey guys at least I didn’t touch a goat’s butthole and they both cracked up!

I made it home finally. I met Sarah. She said you smell. I said I know I’m sorry. I got home, took a shower right away and went right into the nursery. My beautiful baby boys had both grown. I cried. I did not realize how much I would miss them. It was hard being without them. They woke up and I held them both for an hour. I didn’t want to let them go. They were smiling and laughing. They were babbling away telling me all about their days with their cousins. I kissed on them, held them, and then we got them fed and back to bed. It was weird changing diapers again without having done it for over a week. I have gotten really good at it. I can get butts cleaned up fast, wipe everything really good and get the diaper on like a baby pit crew member.

I will NEVER take my Aunts and Uncles on another vacation the rest of my life. I told them all that too. Then I started getting the thank you cards with photos they had gotten doubles of. And I felt bad. We really did have a trip of a lifetime and these are memories that have no price. My Aunts and Uncles are all crazy and annoying but I love them and I am really, really blessed to have that time with them.

I am really humbled by how much they appreciated the whole trip. The letters and cards were so nice.

I think they faked it Lol

 

Greece Bus Tour Day 6 – Kalambaka

Kalambaka_Greece.gif The hunger pains were hitting all of us. I was looking at tree leafs and wondering if I boiled them would they flavor the water enough for me to be able to sustain my life. It was bad. This bus was driving erratic, going nowhere, and really giving us so little time to see anything good. We were cattle and we were being herded daily. It didn’t set in until Day 5, DAY 5! that I was in charge of a group of whiners. Even the kids turned on me and they love me like they love all of their toys.

We got in late, slept in late and no one was happy. There was mutiny. The bus rides were bumping, every time our driver would fling the wheel one side or the other the entire bus would swoon. I’ve seen women swoon, swans swoon, but a bus? This was new. This bus ride to the first stop was taking forever and I was hearing about it. We all decided 8 days was way too long for a vacation. I asked them all to just gut it out the last few days. I would make sure when we got home that everyone went to a spa and got massages or something. Anything. Just please stop complaining!

In Kalambaka there are a ton of places to do stuff. Hiking, walking, photography tours. You name it. And to Drew and his wife’s amusement, several monasteries. This is when both parents banded together against their kids and really threatened to leave them there Lol It was mean. Every time Drew’s son even looked at a girl or woman his mom would say that’s it, you are staying here and living in that monastery! And the daughter was getting the worst of it. Drew kept asking her if she liked boys. She said yes and he would say that’s it! You are living in the monastery! It was funny the first 3 minutes, not the next 3 hours.

We were struggling to find food for the bus. The snack places were harder and harder to find. We found restaurants. But no small grocery stores. One of us found a bag of oranges. It was the highlight of the day. We all shared which was nice but then the bickering started over who got the bigger orange piece Lol I could not win!

The photos I had been taking were coming out amazing. I bought a digital camera and every night I unloaded them onto my Macbook to see what I had. I was getting really good at adjusting the settings on it. My close up photos were all in focus. My far way photos came out great in panoramic view. Things were okay. And my selfies were making me laugh. All of my photos are on my Facebook. My family and friends have been having a great time looking at them and commenting. It’s been a lot of fun. I still need to upload them onto Flickr so I never lose them but I need to do that later next week.

2 more days on this bus I wasn’t sure we were going to make it. The only hope we had left was to get to the next town, find food, get everyone cleaned up and try to get a good night’s sleep.

That was wishful thinking…

 

Greece Bus Tour Day 5 – Delphi

aegan2_map02  I don’t exactly know how to explain it. It really is one of those stories where you had to be there to really laugh hard. Typing it out I have found it losses a lot of the comedic effect it had from when I saw it all happen live. But I’m going to try to get this right.

Picture it, Delphi, July 2016. We had all just finished a very early breakfast at the hotel and we were all standing outside on the street looking at the map. I had finally realized we literally were zig zagging all over places and our path on this bus tour made zero sense. To me I thought the tour company had a very packed and big historical site tour planned out. And they really did for us. They were great. The only thing is when I really started looking at how far apart some of our cities were and how we literally would pass by some really cool things I started to wonder WTF.

map

It sort of looks like this, and if you are an 80’s kid like I am, you will appreciate this because maybe you haven’t seen it in years.

family-circusThis was what our bus driver was doing Lol I figured it out and asked our guide. He just shrugged at me. Which doesn’t explain anything. So I stopped asking.

As we are talking about the sites we will see today these little goats came up from the alley. They were cute and the kids were wanting to play with them. They were very friendly goats. I didn’t know goats were nice. I have only seen Youtube videos of them causing problems and eating kids tshirts through a fence because they are petting zoo goats and demand to be fed by everyone. Not really a goat expert at all but my Uncle started laughing and saying he had goats as a kid and it was a fun reminder of how goats can be nice.

He started petting this goat on the back and kept talking about his childhood goat stories. We were all laughing until Drew nudged me and I looked at him then he shot me that Look kind of expression and I noticed my Uncle’s hand had reached the backside of this goat. He kept talking and petting it. It was sort of a pat pat pat pet pet pat pat pat pet pet kind of routine. Right on the goat’s asshole Lol The little guy’s tail was sticking straight up. Not sure if he liked it, that answer was made known in 30 seconds from now. My Uncle did not notice, I guess he has lost all feeling in his fingers or something to not realize that was not goat hair? Goat fur? Goat coat Lol or whatever goats have on them and know he was touching goat skin. After a few minutes my Uncle wrapped up story 3 of his childhood goat Gary. Yes, that would be Gary the Goat. And stopped petting this goat’s asshole. Well we all decided later the goat loved his asshole being petted on and he raised up, turned IN MID AIR and kicked my Uncle right in the leg. His upper thigh to be exact. My Uncle fell over on his side and sort of did a roll onto his ass. We hollered at the goat and someone clapped a few times to scare them all off, they left. We all looked down at my Uncle to see if he was okay. Drew said did he get your nades? I said are you okay? Drew’s son said you were touching his butthole LMAO I was laughing so hard. I was doubled over and couldn’t stop. This is the Uncle that has pulled a quarter out of my ear for years. The one that stole my nose, the one that thought it would be funny to put a whoopy cushion under me anytime I sat down. That guy, so yes seeing that guy get a roundhouse goat hoof to the leg to me was hysterical. We all laughed and helped him up. Then we looked at his leg. It wasn’t even bruised. In fact the only mark on him was his wrists were a little skin rashed up from catching himself on the pavement. He started walking to make sure he was okay. Again I’m laughing but I’m helping him and we all told him he had been petting the goat’s asshole for about 4 minutes. It was probably only maybe 2 minutes but it felt longer. I’m sure the goat could tell us how long if we ever find him again Lol That was awesome. So funny! And it was something we kept mentioning anytime we saw a goat!  I really don’t know what else to say about it but you did have to be there to appreciate it.

So Delphi, ooohhh Delphi. You son of a …… Delphi was not a friendly place for us. We tried very hard to win them over but they were not having it. So finally Drew said we are not rude Americans but let’s stop trying to kiss these people’s ass. Just get in, do what we need to do, and get out of here. They were shoving us, pushing us out of their way. We huddled like a school of fish at one point. And moved like it too. Delphi is full of very interesting historical stories. We finally made it to the Temple of Apollo. The one thing we all agreed we really wanted to see. And it’s amazing. Huge columns. Huge everything. Apollo’s temple is up a bunch of steps and it’s only 5 minutes from a museum where you can really enjoy a lot of his story. It really was fun. I learned so much about Apollo than I ever knew. I guess Drew’s kids had been reading Greek travel books together for a few weeks so they were very eager to share all they knew. It was cute and really interesting. I loved seeing them both so excited when we finally got up there. So cool!

We also got to see the other ruins nearby and a few more museums. The best part of this day was not only the goat kicked but also seeing everyone interested in the history and wanting to know more and more.

Then we loaded up and headed onto the next town, Kalambaka. When we got to our hotel after a long, long bus ride with the crazy bus driver weaving in and out of traffic breaking the sound barrier in speed, I realized I had lost my sunglasses. I only had brought one pair and it was hot so I needed them. I was tired and really wanting to just come home at this point. I’m glad I didn’t because Kalambaka really was cool!

Have a great day! Lol Peace out!

Greece Bus Tour Day 4 – Olympia

Greece_Islands_web  Olympia is about 6 and a half hour bus ride from Nap. We had eaten through all of the snacks by hour 3. At hour 4 the group was getting restless. By hour 5 I was getting asked every 2 seconds ARE WE THERE YET SAMUEL? And by hour 6 I was rocking myself and hugging my knees in my seat praying, PRAYING to get off of this BUS!

We finally made it late into that night. We got all of the children and older adults settled in then we brought in food. It was much easier than the disaster of us trying to get through a late night restaurant mess. I had already been through that for 3 days now. Drew and I ran out and grabbed food. Any food. We brought it back with huge smiles and even stood through the never ending You Forgots that my family and his wife yelled at us. I don’t think Greece has your brand of mustard and I’m pretty sure they do not even know what Fuji water is. Sorry! We are so sorry everyone!

Guess what? They also have no idea what Chobani yogurt is in Greece. They have no clue. I know because I asked. Oh well wait, my Aunt asked everyone.

Nope, don’t know. You don’t have Chobani? Really? It’s greek yogurt. Don’t you people churn it in your backyards or something? Literally what she said Lol

Chobani-Greek-YogurtGreece does not know or care that the #1 yogurt brand of all time is a Greek Yogurt called Chobani. We got everyone fed, I took a very cold shower and crawled into bed by myself. I had enough of my Uncle and was very happy to pay for his own hotel room. I’m pretty sure he plotted that out before we even left. I survived 2 days of the snorting and Jimmy legs. I needed a good night’s sleep.

The next day we actually all got up early enough to enjoy a breakfast together. In the hotel. They offered a free breakfast with our room. I know this because I initially panicked when I woke up and there was no lunch sack hanging from my doorknob. I called downstairs and said Hi, where’s my breakfast sack. They said What is that? Come enjoy a hot breakfast buffet downstairs. I almost cried. So we all went down and filled up on food we recognized.

There’s no Chobani Samuel. Do you see this? You paid for this whole trip you need to call somebody when we get home. No greek yogurt in Greece, I think you got ripped off Samuel.

Thanks to my Aunt, the yogurt detective.

Off to the wonderful sites and sounds of Olympia! There are so many great places to see in that city. We all had a very great time on this day. I remember it because I was not getting yelled at as much. The bus trips were much shorter because all of the sites are very close together. We got to visit some really, really cool places. I have the best photos of our trip in this city. Some of them are too hilarious. Then there are others of Drew and I doing Olympic style poses. It was so much fun. We took our shirts off and got one whistle and 2 claps from girls standing there watching us. It was fun.

Olympia is awesome. It really is. I highly recommend making your way there someday. Great food! The best food on the whole trip. A lot of really cool restaurants and the stores are all set up completely backwards to what I’m used to but I loved it. The fruit, the fruit is so lush there. Huge, HUGE grapes. It was really cool.

Olympia was the best also because this is where Drew’s son asked his dad why there was a woman with her moobies out. He calls them moobies, I have no idea why. Drew covered his eyes, took a long look himself, got smacked by his wife and started laughing then telling his son her shirt was in the laundry and she was probably walking around looking for a clean one. I swear the stories I will tell my kids will probably be that false and that ridiculous Lol It cracked me up. I also found out that Drew’s wife had been having the same stomach issues I had been dealing with which meant he was not enjoying any late night husband and wife time. He was pretty pissed about it too. I told her close your mouth when you shower and you will be fine in 2 days.

I loved Olympia. But it was time to start heading over to Delphi.

Delphi.

F-bomb Delphi! The city where I lost my sunglasses!

Greece Bus Tour Day 3 – Nafplio

nafplion-map  Having very little sleep from my missing Aunt I woke up to my alarm going off and my Uncle’s foot on my calf. Weird, very weird feet he has.

We got our breakfast sacks, swapped food around until everyone was happy (It was getting easier the 2nd day of this) and decided it was time to shove off and back into the bus) Nafplio is very beautiful! It’s a coastal town and full of great places. All of which I couldn’t pronounce. It became a funny game where someone would ask me to pronounce the greek word and with my southern drawl I would murder it and everyone would laugh at me. Especially Drew’s 2 kids. They would crack up so I would say it a few more times just to hear them laugh. Great kids!

We hit 6 sites on this day. We had to figure out where to eat for lunch since that was not supplied to us and information on when we were supposed to stop to eat lunch was sketchy. Our english speaking guide was very helpful in pointing out restaurants that no one wanted to eat at. I finally had to take decision power over everyone and say this is it, it’s right here, let’s go try it. When the unknown food would come out we all took bites not even knowing what any of it was, then pushed the plates back and ate all the pita chips we could find Lol That’s when I figured out we needed to start finding snacks for on the bus. I thought it could wait until we got to the new city at night and I would go around buying up water, drinks, and snacks. My Aunts do not wait to eat. When they are hungry they all turn into angry octopus with flailing 8 arms all poking me asking me what’s to eat. Where’s some snacks? What kind of tour is this without snacks on board?

The sites were very picturesque and I had a great time snapping away trying to get as many photos (And selfies) in as I could. My favorite site was the Palmaidi! Wow was that cool. My second favorite was the Bourtzi. I had to look back at my brochure to make sure I spelled them right. Lord knows I still can’t pronounce them at all. The Pala is up 800 steps. We had a heck of a time getting everyone up there. The kids made it into a game counting the steps as we went up. A game my relatives did not want to hear. So I was at the back of our group making sure my Aunts kept going. I had to use several different motivational phrases to keep them going. We finally got to the top and realized we had 20 minutes to enjoy the view before it was time to crawl, slide, or roll back down Lol It was interesting. Very beautiful though!

We finished up there and loaded up for our ride to Olympia! This was the one place in the world I have wanted to see in person. I was so excited I could barely sleep this night. I mean I did, but I still couldn’t wait to get there. The snack hunting started as soon as we got into town. I made sure everyone had a great supper than I took Drew and his boy out to buy stuff. We loaded up on as much as all 3 of us could carry. I thought for sure our stockpile would make it a few days but I was wrong. I was sooooo wrong. Who knew 12 people stuck on a bus could eat that much! I don’t know how we all managed to go 2 days with zero snacks and all of a sudden it’s snacktastic time and all the snacks are gone in 3 hours Lol I was shocked and Drew just laughed.

Olympia. Wait until you guys hear what happened there! Oh boy was that fun.

Greece Bus Tour Day 2 – Athens

map_of_athens1  The first real day of our tour. We were in Athens. It’s breakfast time. It’s 6am Greece time and 10pm Sam time. I’m dying already. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. My Uncle has the Jimmy legs (Seinfeld joke) and I tossed and turned. Breakfast was a sack left on the door knob of all of our rooms. It contained an orange or an apple, a water bottle, one muffin, one slice of toast with nothing on it, and a whistle.

I thought cool, we all probably need the whistles so I shoved mine in my pocket. I ate my orange, bartered my muffin for an apple, gave away my toast and only took a few drinks off of my water bottle just in case I may need more later. We packed up, grabbed our bags and off we went.

The bus! The bus was awesome. I had school flashbacks of Drew and I commanding the back few seats for only us and our friends and trying to act cool. Well as cool as you can be riding on a bus. The bus driver was affable and looked a little like that doctor in Cannonball Run.

cannonball

The finger guy. That one. Yes. It’s probably his son.

We hit the first site, got out in an excited group, walked up, took photos, read all of the historical information. We got to ask 2 questions each, OKAY LETS GET BACK NOW THANK YOU YES WE GO Lol Our guide said that every single time. We had no idea this was exactly how each site would go and we figured out how to get the most out of our 1 hour at each place. The next site and the next went exactly like that. Walk, photo, info, question, load up!

We made it to the last site, the 5th one, and I was starting to feel weird. I asked Drew how he was feeling and he said like he got flung off of a space ride and landed back on Earth with no parachute. I said I don’t feel that bad but something’s up. Guess what I forgot. When you are taking a shower don’t let foreign water drip into your mouth Lol Guess what I dealt with the entire rest of the bus tour. Bad water stomach! Dun dun dunnnnnn! It was horrible.

We left Athens at 6pm and traveled to the next place. Up next according to my papers said Nafplion!

Okay, so I started reading off some random things my tour book said about Nafplion. The bus driver decided I didn’t know shit about anything and would add in his 2 cents. Which was funny and also offensive. He seems to know a lot about all the good drinking places and what dark alleyway not to go down late at night. He wasn’t very helpful on the good shopping places or any places to eat. He kept saying no good, no good.

We make it to Nafplion, check into our rooms, get settled in and pass out for the night. Until our English tour guide bangs on my door at 2am and asks if I know where one of my aunts is at. She’s missing.

She’s what? She’s 67 years old, how is she missing! He said her roommate (Husband) can’t find it, she went out to get some bottled water 2 hours ago and hasn’t been seen since. Great. So I had to get up, get dressed and start looking around. We asked the hotel people if they had seen her. Yes, yes, she went out the front doors 2 hours ago. She asked where to buy water and snacks. I guess my uncle and her had been having hunger pangs late at night and he did not want to go out and get food. So she went to shut him up Lol I started walking around looking to see if I could find any stores open. I asked the guide what was nearby. He went one way, I went the other and we finally found her sitting in a restaurant drinking greek coffee and watching soccer Lol She said she had gotten lost and found her way to the restaurant and needed to calm her nerves before she found her way back. I told her if she needs something send me, I would go. It’s dangerous and it worries me. She said it was an adventure and she’s not a child so stop treating her like one Lol We walked her back to her room, gave each other a look like Wow, and both went back to bed.

Greece Bus Tour Day 1

The idea of a family vacation with Drew started up last year. He wanted to go international and his wife really wanted to go to Italy. Him and I had already went to Italy a few times. We volleyed ideas back and forth for weeks until we all agreed on Greece. I have always wanted to go there. It’s the history and the architecture that I’m interested in. All so very complex and beautiful. I knew some of my older Aunts and Uncles would want to join us because they have always wanted to visit there also. I promised Drew my side of the family would not ruin the vacation and he didn’t believe me at all. He was right.

We got everyone to New York city on time. Then we loaded up on the plane and off we went. 11 and a half hours later we land in Athens, Greece. Day 1 starts off and the hotel is not at all what the pictures in the brochure advertise (Is it ever?) so we had to adjust sleeping arrangements and I ended up sharing my bed with my Uncle that I don’t like. He snores, talks in his sleep, and puts his teeth in a glass on the bathroom counter. I know one day that will be my teeth in a glass on the counter, but for right now I cringe looking at them sitting there.

We got dressed and ready for a nice family dinner. Right? Wrong. The only restaurant we all agreed to go to had the worst service. The food was terrible and the water, I mean the sludge they say is water was not drinkable. After we left we walked around a little then met up in the lobby to figure out the schedule for the next day. I was the Trip Advisor. I was also the luggage guy, the errand boy, the Messenger and the Bad News Giver, as well as the last man standing when it came to being left on the bus at night looking for someone’s glasses, phone, or anything else that was a lost and never to be seen again.

Day 1 really was all about trying to get a good night’s sleep and soaking in the amazement and awe of being in Greece. The jet lag did not hit me. Yet. Oh but it did hit me, then slap me, then yank me down into these random bus naps that made my neck hurt the entire trip.

Day 2 was not much better. Day 2 we met the bus driver and saw our glorious tour vehicle from hell!