Category Archives: Travel

November 29, 2016

GREECE | SANTORINI TWO

It’s the second part to our stay in Santorini! We were there for a total of three nights, spending each night in a different Airbnb. Here’s the second night’s cave home:

31163735355_8d2f4cb7f8_k

Don’t be fooled, that door is very short! I know because I knocked my head on it two different times. In case you’re wondering, yes I was warned and yes it hurt!

This spot was really interesting. We only had the bottom half which wasn’t much from the outside (compared to night one’s upgrade!) but the interior, specifically the “disco room” as our porter called it, was hip as hell!

30342439164_6852ea7f1e_k

After we got settled in we went to grab some breakfast and do some more exploring.

31049650491_00b44c037a_k

Stetson hat, vintage Coach bag, Anthropologie jumper, Bussola sandals

Then we loaded up on SPF and headed to Jojo’s down at Black Beach.

Jojo’s vibes were everything I ever invisioned of from a Greek beachside hangout-all the rattan, neutrals, driftwood,various swimming pool options, beer on tap, hanging chairs and on and on!

We had been told that if you ate at their restaurant, the regular chairs are free so we grabbed a a quick lunch and headed down to the beach and found a set literally ON the beach. Perfection.

Bussola sandals

Black beach for a reason!

While we bobbed in the salty Mediterranean we scooped up colorful stones to bring home. This collection grew and grew during the trip. So glad I thought to grab stones along the way (thought it’s nothing new, been obsessed with rocks my whole life!) because I recently made a terrarium and used a few handfuls from Greece which made it even more special! *See Instagram for the finished product.

Stetson hats, Target bathing suit, FP cover up, Bussola sandals

So I know I just said Jojo’s was everything I dreamed of but Wet Stories (yea, terrible name…) was a minimalist’s beach dream, those cacti, HEART EYES!

my current phone wallpaper

After a day on the beach, it was winery + sunset time! We changed back into our clothes and headed to a winery that was recommended, Santos, but they were randomly closed and so we mapped it over to Venetsanos Winery.

It was CRAZY WINDY, like blowing off the food on our plates windy.  Several people sitting around us had their wine glasses blown right off the table! We figured out that if we set the glasses in between the two plates and pushed them it, it anchored them down. It was a real struggle though especially not wearing the appropriate amount of clothes.. but the delicious treats, setting sun, Greek wine and spending time with my “bb” was glorious!

During the chaos of the wind shattering glasses and the terrible service-they threw away our food and Dustin’s wine while we were getting sunset pics- we connected with two ladies from the states, Cat (NYC) and Lara (currently London). They were so fun and leaving around the time we were and asked where we were going and we said, “FIRA!” and they were all “that’s where we’re staying, we love it!” and since they were going to call a cab we offered to give them a lift,  When we arrived they suggested we hit up Tropical for cheap drinks and fun music. DONE!

Many drinks and making additional friends later, we all needed some FOOD. Brick oven pizza it was! So glad we were able to connect with fun folks!

Onto the last full day~aka Dustin’s 30th~aka third Airbnb cave home:

This lil spot was so bright and open, I loved it but Dustin and I both agreed, nothing beats that first spot!

After our final settling in we went to have another Greek breakfast feast. I got really into Greek yogurt with seasonal fruit and honey. Tasted so much better there!

If you’re wondering if the moving around so much in such little time was annoying, well, it was and wasn’t. We were thankful to get legit Oia cave homes in such short notice but it would have been nice to leave hanging clothes up rather then hand carrying them to the next spot. But on another hand, getting three different experiences was also rad. So, if you’re up for it, do it! If you are more than happy with one sleeping environment, steer clear and book far in advance.

30356533513_d4413c0c57_k

I for real didn’t make the sky that blue! au naturale!

Salt Optics frames, Free People dress

30342441324_83b61f31d1_k

31163742355_8351cd4813_k

31163741665_a1cab38d1a_k

Santorini has a reputation for having lots of cats everywhere but if you saw in my Athens post, they also had a ton of cats hanging around. So it’s safe to say, Greek cats aren’t afraid to chill wherever they dang well please! Wait, that’s all cats…

31163750345_ce3c85032d_k

To celebrate Dustin’s 30th we wanted to do something adventurous. We spoke with our host and she suggested a sunset cruise on a catamaran, yes please! That didn’t set sail till 2pm so we had time to kill which meant walking more stairs to see different angles of our hillside hood.

30356537413_d23979407b_k

All aboard the catamaran!

The cruise included dinner and ALL YOU CAN DRINK. It was about $280usd and so so so so worth it. The food was prepared on the boat and was a top meal on the entire trip-ridic good.

“Dustin, what are we doing for your 30th birthday?!”

That’s Amoudi Bay where we walked the 300 steps and road donkeys. We sailed all around the islands and saw so many different layers of volcanic eruptions and erosion. The boat stopped at three different beaches-anchored out in water-and let us jump off and explore around. In addition we stopped at a “hot spring” that wasn’t hot at all. We laughed and joked around with other tourists about how lukewarm (at best) it was. The Mediterranean is cold y’all!

Salt Optics frames, FP cover up, H&M top

Buzzed and salty, we had a bit of fun posing in front of the setting sun :)

Confession, I totally flooded the bathroom and let someone else take the blame. Oops! After getting in a final swim I went to shower off in the cabin and for whatever reason the water wasn’t draining but I figured it was some button outside the shower so I went about my way and got cleaned off. When I got out of said flooded shower all the water went into the bathroom area, panicked I started pressing buttons and flipping switches. Nothing worked.  So I dried off and fled. I was drunk (hello, all you can drink..) and was in fight or flight and I chose flight! A women we had befriended was walking in after me and I said “gosh, someone flooded the place!” and after her trip to the bathroom she told one of the boat folks and they got it figured out. Yea I’m a jerk for not fessing up but everything in there was waterproof so no damage was done and now I have a funny story to tell :P

Man, what a couple of three days.  To say Santorini has magical powers would be an understand. At the time of this trip we were in between homes, staying at friend’s places and living out of suitcases. Our marriage was suffering because of it and this trip was just what we both needed!

Can you believe there’s ANOTHER leg of this trip? I’m having so much fun reliving it!

GREECE | SANTORINI ONE

Could it be? Could it really be my Santorini post I’ve been promising?! Why yes it is!

Prepare yourself folks, lots of stupidly pretty scenery ahead~

But, before you’re blown away, lets first start with Dustin and I getting there. That was a scary situation lemme tell you- the flight from Athens to Santorini was garbage!  We flew through Ellinair. They left 50 minutes late for a flight that was only supposed to take 45 minutes and the landing was scary af.  Also, forewarning, the Santorini airport is comically small and very dirty but don’t let that discourage you because there is magic outside of that one crummy spot. As far as airlines to use while avoiding Ellinair, we’d recommend Ryanair based on what others used that we met along the way!

As far as transportation we didn’t really have a set plan, after all this entire trip was last minute. So we visited the Hertz to just see about prices versus taking the bus and taxi’n around and the cost seemed fair ~$375 total usd for the entirety of our stay in Santorini, about 3.5 days so opted for the cutest option available:

30342442804_9c44694abf_k

Convertible Fiat!

While it had zero “get up” as Dustin would call it, it was blast riding through the windy roads  with the top down and Greek music turned up loud! Turns out it was definitely the best decision for being mobile because the other alternatives were dirt bikes or ATVS both of which were slow and annoying as crap to get behind plus they don’t have coverage for the chilly nights/dust/blazing sun or much storage. We saw a lot of miserable looking couples who probably regretted it but if you were to rent for just short distances that’d be fun, just not idea for zipping all over the island in our opinions.  In addition we heard the taxi’s were very pricey.  So, adorable little convertible is a win!

Because the trip was last minute I had a hard time finding Airbnbs that were for all three nights. Instead I went with the same rental company but three different cave homes. When we arrived into the town we were staying in, Oia, the porter showed us to the home and it was amazing, like so amazing I was confused because it wasn’t what I booked, it was way better!  I thought, ‘did he show us to someone else’s mansion by accident? Should I say something?’ And then after the grand tour he said “you were upgraded to this home because there was a cancellation and this was going to sit empty anyways.”

UM, HELL YES:

31127888246_14f476e1b4_k

This thing could have slept 7 adults comfortably! It was huge. Joked about calling up our friends and telling’em “hey come over, we have so much extra room!”

31049652931_1a6ae26bd5_k

I had to take a few to run around and admire all the decor and furnishings, squealing around every corner!

31053977365_194a057e21_k

img_2772

After I admired every square inch, we got changed for an adventure.

We knew we wanted to hit up Amoudi Bay’s cliff jumping and restaurants overlooking the water, however, I asked if we could have one chill day because my knees were killing me from all the Athens adventuring.   Somehow (still not sure about this one) there was miscommunication and we ended up starting the journey down the 300 stairs…

31204923751_b80823c5d1_k

These are not the Amoudi steps but right before I realized there was no turning back we snapped a pic of pre-sweaty me. Took a hot second to get a pic where my hat wasn’t trying to blow off and my cover-up wasn’t over my head but we got it! The shoes I’m wearing here were bought our last night in Athens and worn every single second there after until they got so gross here in the states they’re waiting for a cleaning. LOVE THEM SO MUCH! These are the ones from the previous post I mentioned I tried to track down to store away for the future but they were all gone.

Bussola, please remake the Nashville gladiators!
Thanks,
Nashville’s #1 fan

Instead of getting bent out of shape about needing some lounging and instead getting an intense workout, I made the most of it and got silly on Snap and also joked with passerbyers who were barely making it back up!

After making it down the stairs you then walk through the strip of restaurants then down and around the island to the other side.  Not sure if it was the time of year but it was insanely windy!

31283601936_d84d6ca7d1_k

We set our stuff behind a rock, got in the chilly water and swam to the above island that has the cliff everyone jumps off. Swim was a breeze, if you can handle swimming against a current, but I will say getting up that thing wasn’t the easiest. There are a few path options but the easiest wasn’t the rope people were using it was actually the pure rock path.

Couple things to note: water is always cold so a rash guard would definitely come in handy, bring water shoes or something like that for the sharp rocks, we loved having our dry bag within our regular bag, point  your toes when entering water-otherwise it hurts the arches of your feet and lastly: DO IT! 

I jumped off twice and was good but my fellow water baby hubs wanted to get in a few more so I watched from the other island and documented.

30951405910_d783c04078_k

photo by friend made over drinks, Nicole Sweet

After all the stairs, swimming and jumping it was snack time!

We went down to one of the water front joints and ordered some of the octopus and some drinks.

31204918791_1faec51273_k

This is how the octopus comes out. First they hang it in the sun and let it dry out then they marinate and throw on the grill. Very good! During our time at Amoudi Fish Tavern we met two friendly Americans, Nicole and Lawrence. She’s a photographer and he’s a pro basketball trainer. We chatted and hung with them for about an hour and later invited up to hang. With the crappy service and Oia being confusing it sadly didn’t happen but it was fun visiting while we did.

While walking down all the steps we saw a few people riding donkeys back up and then saw them chilling around the bottom and put two-and-two together, they were for rent! These guys were brilliant. 5 euros each got you back to the top! You and your achy knees could rest while listening to the jingle bells and watch your man pretend to be a Greek cowboy! Best money spent on the whole trip.

31204921391_c6526fa23b_k

After donkey ride it was back to the cave!

30356523263_cad8b50f21_k

Hit up a local market along the way, picked up some regular and spicy olives and margarita ingredients. We danced and goofed off and hung out in just about everywhere, except that “jacuzzi” which was just cold fresh water ha!

30796439950_d390bd2cfc_k

30356521343_3cdbf3b567_k

Just like in Athens, with the changing colors of the sun, the bright white buildings changed shades with every minute of the sunset.

30796438330_52e6b63780_k

Judge away, I did! Even though I thought he looked sexy staring off into the Mediterranean Sea. This is not typical but he does enjoy the occasional foreign smoke.

Glad I’ll never have to forget this moment :)

If you’ve ever done any looking into Santorini you’ve probably heard of the epic sunsets. Well, lemme tell you, it’s no myth! People are intense about catching them front row too. The first night we watched with a crowd right outside of our home getting more creative with spots the following nights. Here’s two snap shots from Dustin’s phone:

31179050252_eaf98d1370_o 30501023304_fdbd3e60bb_k

After sun was down it was back to playing in our cave mansion!

30356526013_dce08c6e62_k

Just look at the view from the couch!

For real, all the above wasn’t even in a full day! We really know how to pack it in on trips :)

Up next: Rest of Santorini!

October 26, 2016

GREECE | ATHENS DAY TWO

Hope you enjoyed the short but fun recap of day one! Now onto day two.

Started with a crazy spread of food at our hotel’s complimentary breakfast; I’m talking every carb on the planet, olives, sweets, seriously name it and it was there! No complaints from these breakfast loving folks :) After loading up and getting in as much caffeine as possible it was time to explore some old stuff.

First stop was just around the corner from our hotel, Temple of Olympian Zeus.

We opted for the ticket that was more money that included seven locations but since we only made it to two of them, didn’t really pay off but it wasn’t that expensive overall. Keep in mind the hours of the sites because we didn’t and they close earlier than you’d think.  If you do miss them being open, they are close to paths and behind rod iron fences so you can still see them.  More info here.

greece

Temple of Zeus | Athens, Greece

It was hot as hell so we had to hide in shade in-between photos and guard our face and eyes from the dust but we really enjoyed seeing something so old that’s still standing, well, most of it’s still standing.

30336881062_f3650a9e74_k

After the temple we spontaneously decided to hit up the National Garden.  On the way, walking down a very busy street we spotted these underground remains that were discovered while they were digging to make an air vent for the train in the early 2000’s. So crazy! Just digging along a city street and you find the above, I’m sure it was annoying for workers to have to go around but how fascinating. Glad they kept them intact.

Another unplanned visit was the Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern olympics was held. We just so happened to walk by so we took a closer look and I gave a shout out to my buddy that helped me plan the trip, well if you want to be exact, shoutout was given to his alter ego-Philotheos!

Outside of the stadium we found an olive tree that appeared to have ripe olives, watch video to see if we were correct…

If you can’t tell, we were easily distracted *per usual* which is something I love about traveling with Dustin. He’s always up for a change of plans or just living spontaneously! Earlier in the day we saw this turtle just trucking along a hill and then right outside the gardens we heard rustling around in some leaves to discover the following dude trying to get up a curb into a bush. We gave him a lift but before I gave him a personality via Snap:

29821831143_fd6fbf2d41_k

National Garden | Athens, Greece

30337483432_0c8e2fa72c_k

The gardens…what to say about the gardens. Well, there were tall trees! Even some palm trees. But overall sorta disappointing.  Of course we made the most it, documenting silly pics and videos, but I’d say unless you just wanted a pretty walk, don’t bother for exotic plant sightings. I suppose I’m a little snobby about this because it’s something I’ve always done having a dad that’s plant obsessed and Atlanta having a beautiful botanical garden. The moment that I was like “meh” was when we tracked down my favorite tree exhibit, the ginkgo, and discovering there was one sad tree, ha!

But it got better, or worse(?), when we stumbled upon the saddest zoo ever. See Zoologist Dustin debuting the star of the zoo:

One pin for real had goats and rabbits free range living together! It was sad and silly all at the same time. After being landed on by one too many flies, we bounced out:

Never a good thing when you see a fly on a foreign bird that then lands on you…

So it was off to the First Cemetery of Athens.

30157874720_921fc38c8c_k

Why did we visit a cemetery? Cause we always do on trips to old cities! New Orleans, Savannah, even walk around the Oakland Cemetery here in Atlanta from time to time. There’s a certain kind of beauty about them.

30367627391_57362cb346_k

Beauty in the previous generations of families being remembered by a display of their favorite keepsakes, poems, scripture, plants. I especially like when plants are incorporated because to me, it’s like a part of them keeps growing.  It’s a place for family and friends to go and remember them while they shared time together on earth. Something about cemeteries to me is just, peaceful.

30493691371_cfe305c00f_k

First Cemetery of Athens | Athens, Greece

30367622971_dda8ed828d_k

Feet and back were hurting so we sought out a nearby cafe for brews and water. On the way spotted a shop that makes the marble figures for cemeteries.  The doors were wide open, dust flying out and a couple of men were inside hard at work.  Couldn’t help but watch in captivation.

30337486552_a9c682cc3d_k

Cafe pitstop | Athens, Greece

Right before our trip Sprint added Greece to their free international plan allowing us to use our phones a lot more than we did in Mexico. Basically we could connect to internet wherever there was WIFI but in addition they had deals with Greece’s phone companies and in some areas we were roaming for free and had decent service. Whenever we had the chance though, we’d (well, I) would ask for the WIFI password.  Ended up becoming a big joke later in the trip.

window

In route to food we popped into a tiny church in the center of Athen’s downtown.

With several strangers we lit some prayer candles. Raised as a Southern Baptist I had never done this but enjoyed the symbolism.

30336877742_c6af7bd6b4_k

So we wouldn’t miss the sunset we hightailed it to the Acropolis on the prettiest of paths!

30337702142_6d6c051e12_k

Acropolis | Athens, Greece

29821837933_f49c3cbd17_k

Different view of Mars Hill, hello ant people!

It was quite the hike. Lots and lots and lots of stairs and slippery marble but we made it! Toured around the top until the Greek army came and took down the flag-that was special to see. Then we plopped down to say goodbye to the sun.

29822948654_a4c5655d6b_k

29823664174_3a5bf3a1ea_k

Acropolis of Athens

29823667374_de6809cbf8_k

We know you’re not supposed to stare at the sun but it was moving so fast and we couldn’t help ourselves! I wish I had saved the video of it disappearing because it was so cool, I said “goodnight sun!” and poof, it went behind the mountains and we hiked back down.

On the way to our hotel to get cleaned up there was a concert about to take place at the amphitheater which is the venue under us in the photo where we are standing on the rock.  We got to hear sound check!

Night two was more Ozou for Dustin, Greek wine for me, shopping around Plaka and enjoying the last few hours in Athens.

Congrats to me for finally getting in the swing of posting about Greece and to all of us for making it to hump day! Santorini is coming up next!

October 24, 2016

GREECE | ATHENS DAY ONE

Remember that time I went to Greece and never posted about it? Well I’m fixing that because I’m finally getting around to recapping our trip! Starting with our first day, or half day rather, in Athens~

We landed around noonish and with buying a train pass, waiting for train, riding train while falling asleep in public, walking to hotel we didn’t arrive until about 3 or 4 and immediately took a nap but first looked out our small hotel porch to see this:

30336879642_24ac47233c_k

We kept saying how this style reminded us of cruise ships, you see it? Very common around all the parts of Greece we went to. I was fond of the colors of this particular building.

For this leg of the trip we didn’t splurge on our room by any means, but instead got something cheap and close to everything.  The Airotel Parthenon was close to everything but I will say, it looked nicer online, ha! Our room smelled of sulfur and it overall felt dirty but the lobby and breakfast that was included was very nice. I wouldn’t say don’t stay there because we were able to walk to all we did and the staff was great but beware, you get what you pay for.

29822950024_47afb5b0cb_k

After our power nap we got up and went to get some spiked coffees with no real plan just going where details led us like “pretty flowers! lets walk this way” stopping at the cutest outdoor cafe.

Greek iced coffee with Bailey’s ~ fun energy!

29822949094_46f129aaea_k

Went a little nuts snapping photos of this cafe, but I was so in love!

29822951454_0fbdf8ac4e_k

30336879102_cb808558bd_k

I climbed inside a tree to get this pic! Screams Europe right?!

29821169263_cc930dfaaa_k

snacks

We did a lot of walking from the start, had to pick up some fuel from a street vendor.

This day was very short so after coffee and snacks we hightailed it to Mars Hill to catch the sun setting on the entire city and view of the Parthenon atop Acropolis. You can’t tell from this photo but it was very windy up there and we had to be extra careful walking around all the slippery marble.

30367626161_689e5ca51e_k

I was squealing with delight over the rosy gold glow, it was like Joshua Tree in the sense of it just kept getting better and better!

29821835963_1a84e00461_k

Ray-Bans, Anthro top, vintage Coach bag, Old Navy sandals and Free People shorts

30367082581_e3ee8371e7_k

Some of these were taken with my little Rebel but this last one Dustin took on his phone and I was very impressed! The following day we switched over to the Acropolis side but first getting a different view of it was extra cool.

Once it got dark I stuck with just using Snapchat so no more photos from day .5 but the fun didn’t stop after Mars Hill. Next destination was the historic neighborhood, Plaka. This is where you can do it all -shop, drink, have fish eat the dead skin off your feet, watch street performers, eat, shop some more.  A friend here in Atlanta that’s from Thessaloniki who helped me big time with the trip recommended a spot for dinner he and his family go to every time they are in Athens, Thanasis Kebab.  He said “it’s nothing fancy but I love it” and I would agree, it wasn’t the fanciest but we sat on a cobblestone street lined with other restaurants and lots of foot traffic and enjoyed some Greek beer with the traditional plates and loved it!  We attempted to stay out as long as possible to battle jet lag but that night was pretty brutal for me. Having never traveled with such a big time difference, 7 hours ahead, I laid wide awake most of that night being envious of Dustin soundly sleeping like it was no different.

img_4317

Have no fear, I totally rallied the next day! Check back tomorrow to see post two from Athens!

September 29, 2016

CALIFORNIA | JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

This was the shortest part of the trip but maybe my favorite, this place is MAGICAL. Everyone needs to get out there and see the Joshua Tree National Park!

29501627490_438609eac3_k

Our original plan for Saturday was to get up and enjoy the pool a bit then head back to Los Feliz for a lunch Court had planned. After chatting it up with Aleksandra, we both got really excited about the possibility of seeing Joshua Tree.  Ultimately decided it was worth skipping the luncheon and making the trek out to the real deal desert. We knew it was too hot to go out there during peak heat hours so we killed time on the Palm Springs strip. IT WAS A JOKE.  Felt like we were in Orlando or somewhere even cheesier.  Silly souvenir shops and overall not good shopping.  Best thing we found were the sunglasses in these photos, pretty stoked on these especially for $6, but still we both wish we would have skipped that and spent time around Joshua Tree’s strip instead. Live and learn!

29711591371_3872406a9a_k

28837710870_9b71591376_k-1

Steson hat, cheapo shades, Free People X Trunk Ltd. shirt

When we got to the entrance it was the perfect lighting.  But there was a line to get in I mean, who would have thought at 6pm…. By the time we got in I was in “we’re missing premo light!!!” panic mode. For real, acting like a crazy person.  In my defense, it was so dreamy and I knew if I didn’t get hyped up I could lose the chance to get some great shots but I could have kept it a little more chill.  As mentioned in the last post, sometimes you just gotta enjoy life and not worry with photos but occasionally that thought goes out the dang window and I’m a weirdo.  That day, I was in that form.  Unfortunately, Court had to deal with it but turned it around with her amazing positivity and all was good!

She got me to step back and think “this is beautiful and I need to enjoy and capture what I can with the time we have” while learning that for the next time, get there with a lot of timing to explore and choose what location is most photogenic.  So take it from our hiccup, the place is gigantic and there are so many different areas and rock formations. We pulled over at the first pretty looking spot and I hit the ground running (literally.)

29166524624_e8ae0efee6_k

29378327124_b1f90531d8_k

29971393666_c9c78274d9_k

29166514204_f4c9495b40_k

29794017105_53ca25cb7e_k

This dude scared us half to death! What looks like a rock in the desert, may not be a rock, watch where you step!

This dude scared us half to death! What looks like a rock in the desert, may not be a rock, watch where you step or sit!

29794014445_8f4becf795_k

29891824552_6313a412cf_k

30005930655_de8d6d5056_k

I really do have this thing with plants <3

I’ll never forget the first time I saw one of these wacky plants back in 2007.  In route to Las Vegas on a buddy pass I got trapped in Phoenix and had to rent a car and drive to Vegas. Though it was annoying I was immediately thankful because the ride was so scenic! Tall-as-houses cacti and joshua trees. I was in love and been infatuated with cactuses ever since.

29168646193_338bccdba8_k

The lighting changed so much, kinda crazy that all these pics were taken in about an hour. The skies turned from gold to pink to a faded blue then got all kinds of MORE BEAUTIFUL like above. I’d love to take Dustin back and go camping (maybe glamping…) for a few days and get a longer experience. Thankful for the time we did get!

NEXT UP: some Greece, finally..

Happy almost weekend!