Tag Archives: vacation

Vacation in Spain

Warning: This is a fucking long post. I couldn’t be bollocksed to cut it up into smaller parts.

So here I am, finally back from Vacation, I’ve managed to get time, a good night’s sleep and now I think it’s time to stop procastinating and write this damn post.

So just in case you missed me in the previous week, I’ve been at Toledo with my girlfriend. This is actually the first time in my 28 years of life that I’ve ever been a tourist. Before this time the most I’ve managed was to visit some islands in my home country of Greece. I’ve never been at all interested in Tourism or seeing foreign places and this vacation didn’t really change that.

It was, unfortunately, not as good as I’d hoped.

Travel

We travelled by plane of course but because of the way we booked our trip, we were scheduled to arrive half an hour before the last train to Toledo (from Madrid).Unfortunately the online Travel agency we used to book the trip did not plan or mention this last part of the journey so we discovered this very short window after the fact (in hindsight, I guess we should have first checked the train timetables before booking). As a result, we decided to rent a car for one day in order to be able to reach our Hotel without having to spend a night in Madrid. We went with Europcar which allows you to leave your car at any other Europcar location in other City, or even Country.

And then we reached our first snag. My girlfriend was booking the car on her name as I don’t have a driver’s licence and because she doesn’t have a credit card, she used mine. Once all was done, she got an email telling her to bring her Passport, Driver’s licence and credit card to get the car. This seemed worrying as the card would not be hers. Nevertheless we thought it certainly wont be a problem.

Never underestimate beaurocracy.

Once we landed, we headed towards to first Europcar kiosk. A lady there started the procedure and at some point requested the credit card. At that point I pulled it out of my wallet and handed it to her. She looked at me and then asked us (I can’t remember exactly what was said or who of us was replying so I’ll attribute everything to me. This is the general idea):

  • Clerk: Is this not your credit card?
  • Me: No, it’s mine
  • Clerk: I’m sorry but I need to have the same unit for the driver and the payer
  • Me: But I can’t drive and she doesn’t have a credit card
  • Clerk: Errr…
  • me: Look, can’t you just accept it? Here’s my passport so you know it’s not stolen. Your online system already accepted it so the name is obviously not a limitation.
  • Clerk: I’m sorry but I can’t. I can add you as the driver and your girlfriend as a second driver. It’s going to cost a bit more but…
  • Me: But I can’t drive! I do not even have a driver’s license.
  • Clerk: I’m sorry but I can’t give you the car then
  • Me: So what are going to do? We booked this car because the trains are not driving to our destination anymore. This is preposterous.
  • Clerk: I suggest you talk to my manager in the main kiosk.

Great huh? We though the same as well. We thought about several ways to go about this, from asking them to cancel the reservation and re-register it by cash from her, to pleading. In the end I had a good idea. Simply hand the card over to my girlfriend before we reached the kiosk for her to give over and hope he doesn’t pay too much attention to the name on it 😉

So we reach the second kiosk and we act as if this is the first one we head to. She gives the papers and card and the clerk starts registering the car. I can honestly say that at this point I was afraid to look directly at the clerk because I was afraid my body language would make him suspicious. I ended looking at the shiny floor the whole time. My girlfriend on the other hand had to look straight at him and talk to him and I was surprised at how normal she looked. She later told me that she was so stressed, the felt her heartbeats moving her away from the table’s ledge.

Fortunately the guy didn’t seem to notice and he was happily preparing everything. There was one point of near heart-attack when he was passing back the credit card. As he was extending his hand towards us and my girlfriend reached out to take it, he paused and looked at the card…and then he pulled it back. My heart sank to my stomach and I can only remember shouting inside my head “OhnofuckFuckFUCK!!”.

Very luckily, he only wanted to ask us if we want to get insurance and afterwards the exchange ended up hapily. But this was truly a moment out of a Holywood movie. After that, me and the gf moved as casually as humanly possible to the first corner (Seriously, we only lacked the whistling) and nearly collapsed on each other from the stress. Once we recovered, we almost run out of the airport to the car.

Fortunately, the rest of the trip did not hold any other surprises. We did manage to get lost in Madrid as the google map directions I printed were ridiculous. You can basically see how there is the direct highway A-42 towards Toledo but yet, GMaps takes us on a merry-go-round in the countryside. Fuck if I know why. Fortunately I noticed A-42 before we got lost in the dark and we simply followed that.

Finding the hotel was simple as every corner in Toledo was basically chock full of hotel pointing arrows.

Activities

I don’t want to get into much details of what we did in the vacation as that would probably bore everyone to tears, including me. Our end result looked like this.

Saturday

Drive around for an hour or so in Toledo to find somewhere to eat. Get lost in the maze of the inner city. End up eating at a chinese restaurant outside because there was no fucking place to park, or drive for that matter within the city walls. It turned out that this chinese restaurant was the best and cheapest meal we had in all our vacation there. Go home and sleep.

Sunday

Excellent Weather

Look for an open gas station for 40 minutes or so in order to refill the rented car before returning it. Return the car and find out the europcar office was closed and there was no parking place nearby (the original directions from the clerk in Madrid was that we “leave the car close to the station”). We decided to park it at the station, next to the Europcar positions which were all already taken. After we parked we found a sign (in Spanish) on the door of the closed-for-the-day Europcar office informing us that if we parked the car at a station parkplace that was not reserved for Europcar, we’d be charged for the time.

We walk back to the hotel on the other side of the city to rest and in the afternoon go shopping. Eat dinner at an overpriced, medium-quality-food, crappy-service Tapas (Sersiouly, the waiter didn’t smile once and looked as if he was doing us a favour) in the middle of the town square. Eat a very tasty chocolate ice cream and go home

Monday

Excellent Weather

Get up at 8:30 to have breakfast [rant] Don’t you hate it when Bed & Breakfast Hotels serve breakfast at some ongawdly hours like 8-10am? WTF is that? I wouldn’t mind so much if they had actually a cook present but to have to wake up at anything before 11am on vacation time to eat premade cold food on self-service is a goddamn crime.[/rant]

Laze around a read books until 3pm. Take the bus downtown and start doing the tourist. Attempt to find the Tourist office with a tourist map taken from the hotel, so as to get perhaps a better map and any more info). Spend two hours walking in the maze looking for that place. I can’t remember how many times we turned back because the crappy map we had seemed to simply teleport us around. We’d be walking down a street and once we reached the intersection we’d discover that we were 2 “blocks” further than we expected. Eventually find the Tourist office near the big cathedral and discover that it basically only had the same crappy map to offer. Sit around the cathedral to rest our feet and get shat on by birds.

Pictures, window shopping etc continued. After 2 more hours of that, my feet were basically killing me so we look for a moderately cheaper place to sit and eat. We manage to find one which was something like 10% cheaper than the rest (thus only 180% overpriced) and discover that it’s even more crappy to sit it. At least it played AC/DC in the background. The same night both of us had stomach troubles.

Tell this girlfriend that until now I’m not finding this vacation too great. She agrees sadly.

Tuesday

Weather: Rain

Decide that I’m not going to try and be positive and invite the girlfriend to eat dinner at the overpriced hotel restaurant. Sit around all day reading books with a short break to get online for 30 mins (at 1 euro per 15 mins!!) from the available PC. Discover that the PC runs windows without any Antivirus software. Get scared enough to download firefox portable and login to my gmail account from there, still certain that the PC will certainly have over 9000 keyloggers by now. Fortunately I was spared.

Other than that, the day ended up with an ass-grabbingly expensive dinner in the hotel restaurant. It was at that point that I realised I still hadn’t adjusted my clock for Daylight saving. Specifically it was at the point were the front door clerk asked me to stop banging on the restaurant door and shouting “feed me!” because they open in one more hour.

Wednesday

Weather: Sunny but cold.

Having stumbled into a few seemingly cheaper shops in our previous travels in Toledo, we decided to try and find those and then ride a little tourist bus-train which looked promising. We started at around noon as always, had some delicious cake, some photo-tourism, some shopping (it was there were I saw Emo Jesus) and the best part was when we discovered the museum of Torture.

We then headed to find the train-bus. Unfortunately by the time we reached it, it was 5 minutes before it left and we didn’t have time to buy tickets. We thus went to a nearby Tapas we just noticed and for the first time we managed to eat good food that was only a bit overpriced. Both me and the gf showered the waiter with thanks for simply existing.

We then took the train-bus and did the little tour around the city. It was cold but worth it as it at least showed some interesting locations, some history and most importantly we didn’t have to walk. Unfortunately by the time it had ended or bus had just left so we either had the option to stand around in 6 degrees for one hour or just walk to our hotel again. We decided on the second. Yes, I could bite my dick from the cold but at least we got some nice night shots.

The bus ended up reaching the hotel 1 minute before we did.

Thursday

Weather: Ice cube shit inducing

We had decided from the very start that we would head once to Madrid since we were so close and also check out the Prado Museum. We begun our journey relatively early and thus managed to get a train at around 12:30. At that time, already the trips back at the time we scheduled (18:30) were taken so we could only take the next available one at 20:30.

We reached Madrid without incidents and without a clue on what exactly to do or where to look. Initially we rode the expensive city train to a big station and ended up in a Mall to get snacks and something to eat later. We got some cold croquettes which we ate on the street. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate,

The gf bought a scarf and then we set out to find the Prado…randomly. After 2 blocks of walking around aimelessly in the freezing cold, we noticed a sign for a Natural History museum and decided to head there. It was all in Spanish but at least the clerk happened to have a map of the area which included the directions to the Prado. It was one block away from the main train station from which we entered Madrid…

The Prado was nice, although I ended up sitting down every 15 minutes because at that point my feet were sharpening knives to kill me in my sleep. Thus I saw about half of what the gf saw, but at least she was good enough to point at paintings and explain stuff. My favorite was a Virgin Mary with Baby Jeebus painting where he looked like a spoiled brat. My exact quote was:

Is that baby Jesus? He looks pissed!

After that, we headed back to the train station to head home. As always delayed, I had the idea if there was a Tourist bus for Madrid as well. There was. Duh! I decided to pay for the gf and take it on the last day before we left so that we might actually do something appropriately tourist-y.

Note of the day. If you’re in Madrid’s Atocha Train Station, don’t wait in front of the trains for yours to arrive as most people expect. You have to go out and around, then up and then in some random doors where you can pass a airport-like security check before heading to the train platform. We found out 5 minutes before our train was set to leave when we were stopped from going to it and after some frantic pantomime we understood we had to go somewhere vaguelly “above”. A 3 minute mad dash later (the gf in high heels mind you) we found the place and luckily, there was a big queue which delayed the thing.

At Toledo I just took a taxi to the Hotel as I couldn’t be bollocksed to walk and wait in the cold anymore. Best goddamn money I spent.

Friday

Weather: Cold again

After we woke up, we had the plan to go to Madrid at noon so that we don’t get rushed, and anyway, our Plane was flying at 6am so we thought we have plenty of time to waste in Madrid. We thought 2:30 might be a good time. So we get ready, go down, the hotel calls the taxi and only then I notice (in the train times they had stuck on the wall) that there’s no train between 1:30 and 3:30. Fine. Ok. We’ll take the 3:30 then. We can survive one hour of waiting.

We reach the station and what would you know. 15:30 is totally booked out. Next available seats at 17:30. So now we’re looking at only 3.5 hours of waiting. Awesome no? So we just think we’ll head back to Toledo and get something to eat.
We go to the same Tapas bar as last time and have a good, slow meal. At around 4 we start back towards the station, whereupon I notice, while in the bus, that I forgot my quite-expensive teeth shield (against grinding if you must know). So the gf gets off with the luggage at the station while I do the unofficial Ttour-de-Toledo and simply stay in the bus until it completes a full circle and takes me back to the Tapas bar. Fortunately they had found it.

Another mad dash to the bus stop hoping to catch the same bus on his return where I notice another one that is going my way. I get in, followed by half the fucking town square! I kid you not, something like 50 people entered the same bus at this stop, and almost everyone had to buy a ticket from the driver…

In Madrid, we leave our bags at a bag-holding-place and go buy some tickets. The lady at the counter informs us that the bus does not leave from the station but we have to catch it at one of it’s planned stops, 3 of which are close to us. So, we get out of the station and expectedly, the bus just passes us by.

Yet another mad dash to the first stop, but we’re not fast enough this time and just end up arriving tired. I convince the gf to check out the next bus stop just in case the other one will come (she was so fed up at this point that she wanted to simply go back to the station) and lo and behold, the same bus we run like crazy to reach is sitting around while the driver is having a coffee. At least one thing went right.

We get in and are told that this is the last tour of the day so we won’t be able to get the other bus and get our full money’s worth of our ticket. The tour was OK but it was already dark so it was difficult to see many things, the audio playback was horrible and the controller kept missing the timing.

Anyway, after the tour, we do some further shopping and then head to the airport as we’re informed that the last metro train is at 12. We reach the station at around 11 and now we have a nice 7 hours to kill before our flight. And since the check-in was not open, we couldn’t even go through to the waiting lounge to sleep until the time. We wonder around the airport hoping to find an external waiting area but only find a closed cafe where we sit in outside, before being kicked out by the opening waitress 1 hour later (it was apparently an all-nighter)

More aimless wandering and finally we come to the realization that it’s the floor for us. Needless to say, those 4 hours until the checkin-opened did not pass quickly, especially because a floor shining device which produced a very loud sound kept on passing back and forth just next to us the whole time. It even followed us in the check-in area FFS!

So, 2 more hours of loud waiting and finally we were on our way back, both of us vowing never to take an early flight like this.

So this was basically our week of Vacation. Now for my impressions of the cities itself

Toledo

Toledo is indeed a very culturally rich town. The center of the town is built inside the castle walls and everything within is totally cramped. As I mentioned above, the streets are very small (most are just big enough for a medium sized car to pass, slowly) with cobblestones as floor. There are a lot of extremely narrow streets crisscrossing where you can just go in and lose all track. The city plan is so chaotic that even with a map it took us 3 tries to find any one place.

There are quite a lot of stuff to see, including a number of musems, quite a few of which were closed when we were there. Even simply walking around nice as you get to pass some very epic locations and graphic setups. The interesting thing is that people actually live in the inner city and these extremely tight conditions.

Unfortunately, the good stop sutff here. Toledo has become so commercialized and geared up for tourism that it’s ruined the Spanish atmosphere we were expecting totally. Half the shops sell tourist shit, of which 1/4 is Swords, 1/4 Knives, 1/4 Don Quixote stuff and 1/4 Assorted pottery and jewelry. It was seriously ridiculous, I even saw knives being sold at mini markets.

Those shops that do not sell Tourist crap, sell food at prices that would rival Ibiza. Not only are they expensive but they all sell the same food. It’s the same crappy brand of Pizza (the one that send me to the bathroom on Monday) and the same brand of pre-prepared Paella. Places which sell something different charge you something like €15 a plate. We were simply lucky we managed to find a place with prices not meant for millionaires.

All this generally ruined the experience for me.

Generally we got the impression that Toledo has ended up being something like a resort for Spain’s upper class. Almost everyone we saw wore brand clothes, expensive accessories and drove big friggin’ cars. For people like this, the prices are small change I guess.

So generally it was a bit of surprise as we booked Toledo hoping that it was a low-expense location but ended up being burnt. All in all, this trip cost us together €1100 and that is with really trying not to spend a lot.

Madrid

We saw Madrid only slightly and mostly through our 1.5 hour tourbus ride. All I will say is that this city has so many sightseeing items, it’s insane! Wherever you throw a rock, you’ll hit an ancient monument of some sort or a musem. I did get the impression that if we had gone to Madrid instead of Toledo we would have saved quite a bit of money and also have had much more destinations.

But that city just has a ridiculous amount of culture.

So that’s it. My next vacation is in 2 weeks were I plan to merrily not move an inch from my appartment and instead spend all the time playing Fallout 3.

PS: Ayeah, I forgot, you can see all pictures in my gallery of course

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Flower Power

Aaah, finally I had one nice relaxing week of vacation. Specifically I went to Viola’s Village and we stayed with her mother who has also an amazing garden. Thus I had the opportunity to test my new camera to see how well it funky function to take flower pictures works.

Some of the the results are below:

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Oh did I also mention that the Garden is amazing?

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We also went for a walk in the forest around the place and I got the opportunity to see wooden mushrooms, duckies and play around with wood photographs 🙂

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Generally it was all around good fun and I got to play around with my m4d photographer skillz. You can the whole collection of pics at the gallery as always but I also uploaded some of, what I think, are the best at my Deviantart profile. So if you’ve got one of there, go and comment (or just do it here 😉 )

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WoA ready

  • Pile of camping stuff: Ready
  • Shit Kickers (To hold against the rain): Ready
  • Pozer outfit: Ready!
  • A crapload of torrents downloading: Done!
  • Rsyncing my whole music collection to ftp since I have the time: Why not.

Alls good. I probably forgot a shitload of stuff which will mean that I will end up in a very bad situation but what the hell. Lets screw up.

Wacken 2007, here I come!

Ωραία πήγε…

Προσπάθησα να κάνω την καλή πράξη και τελικά καταφερα να στεναχωρήσω τόσο πολύ την φίλη μου που κάνει διακοπές στο σπίτι μου που σηκώθηκε και έφυγε άρον-άρον απο το σπίτι για να μην “με ενοχλεί”.

Τι έκανα; Ζήτησα συγνώμη, γιατί το Σαββατοκύριακο ήμουν λίγο πιο απότομος/απόμακρος απο ότι έπρεπε (και όπως γενικά είμαι δηλαδή) και συνειδητοποίησα οτι ο λόγος ήταν γιατί δεν είχα συνηθίσει να είμαι τόσο πολύ με ένα άτομο.

Συγκεκριμένα το πρόβλημα για εμένα ήταν ότι τα ενδιαφέροντα μας ήταν αντιδιαμετρικά. Σχεδόν ότι άρεσε σε αυτή δεν άρεσε σε εμένα και τούμπαλιν. Βάλε και το γεγονός οτι οι χαρακτήρες μας δεν συνδυαζόντουσαν σχεδόν καθόλου και ήταν λογικό να υπάρξει τριβή.
Δεν είπα τίποτα όμως διότι δεν ήθελα να χαλάσω τις διακοπές του άλλου και στην τελική είχα αρχικά δέχτεί με χαρά να την φιλοξενήσω για λίγες μέρες.

Όταν όμως πρόσεξα σήμερα ότι όλη αυτή η καταπιεσμένη “ενόχληση” άρχισε να βγαίνει με υποχθώνιο τρόπο (Αυξημένη ανάγκη να είμαι μόνος μου, αυξημένη επιθετικότητα κλπ) ένοιωσα την ανάγκη να ζητήσω συγνώμη. Δυστυχώς ο τρόπος που το ανέφερα της άυξησε την περιέργεια και ζήτησε λεπτομέρειες. Αυτές ήταν και η αρχή του τέλους, διότι αναγκάστηκα να της εξηγήσω ότι έχω συνηθίσει μία μοναχική ζωή και τόση πολύ “συγκατοίκηση” με έκανε πιο στριμένο, καθώς και δεν εκτιμούσα το να με λένε βρωμιάρη και τσιγκούνη συνέχεια (γιατί όταν κάτι το λές τόσο συχνά, έστω και για πλάκα, δείχνει πόσο πολύ το πιστεύεις).
Όλο αυτό την ξενέρωσε τόσο πολύ που ήταν έτοιμη να φύγει για να βρεί ξενοδοχείο εκείνη την στιγμή. Προσπάθησα να την συγκρατήσω εξηγόντας οτι το πρόβλημα είναι κυρίως δικό μου και δεν φταίει σε τίποτα, και στην τελική εγώ βρήκα τον τρόπο να το ξεπεράσω (εξού και το γεγονός οτι απολογήθηκα εξαρχής), αλλά δεν ήθελε να ακούσει τίποτα. Εφόσον δεν πέρναγα τέλεια μαζί της αυτό σήμαινε οτι πρέπει να προσπαθήσει να με αποφύγει για τις υπόλοιπες μέρες που θα παραμείνει εδώ.

Μάταια προσπαθούσα να της δώσω να καταλάβει οτί δεν ήταν αυτός ο σκοπός που απολογήθηκα αρχικά. Τελικό αποτέλεσμα; Είμαι κομπλεξικός (είμαι αλλά μόνο με συγκεκριμένα κριτήρια), και μου ετοιμάζει μια “τελευταία κίνηση” πριν φύγει ωστε να νοιώσει καλύτερα για την δυσφορία που μου προκάλεσε.
Όταν την ρώτησα εαν αυτή η “κίνηση” θα ήταν να μου αφήσει λεφτά για το “ξενοδοχείο” που έκανα, το παραδέχτηκε (“Έξυπνος είσαι”) και τότε εξήγηθηκα οτί εαν το έκανε αυτό θα ξεπέρναγα αμέσως την στεναχώρια μου (γιατί στεναχωρήθηκε αυτή κυρίως) και θα μου γύρναγε σε μίσος. Διότι τέτοιες passive aggressive κινήσεις μου την βιδώνουν άγρια. Ίσως να το ξανασκεφτεί πριν το κάνει τώρα.

Στην τελική, δεν ξέρω τι άλλο έπρεπε να κάνω. Θα μπορούσα να κρατήσω το στόμα μου κλειστό αλλά πίστευα οτί δεν φέρθηκα σωστά τις τελευταίες δύο μέρες. Να μην ζητήσω ένα συγνώμη; Πως στο διάλο μετά να εξηγήσω οτί δεν χρειάζεται να κάνει τίποτα παραπάνω από το να δεχτεί την συγνώμη μου χωρίς περαιτέρω λεπτομέρειες;

Τέλος πάντων κατάφερε να με κάνει να νοιώθω σκατά πάλι. Το ίδιο είχε αρχίσει να συμβαίνει και όταν η τριβή μεταξύ μας μεγάλωνε αλλά έλπιζα να το αποφύγω απο σήμερα. Πόσο λάθος είχα…

Τουλάχιστον τώρα ξέρω οτι εκτεταμένες διακοπές για φίλους/ες μου οι οποίες εμπεριέχουν και την δικιά μου συμμέτοχή δεν είναι καλή ιδέα εαν δεν τους ξέρω καλ και δεν έχουμε έστω και λίγα κοινά ενδιαφέροντα.

Vacation over.

…heads in!

That’s it then, my short [tag]vacation[/tag] in Greece has finally ended. and I must confess that it totally rocked. Initially I was planning to go on week before and one week after Easter so that I might catch everyone on their vacation period and get three weekends at Greece as well. That soon turned sour when I glimpsed on the air ticker prices in store for those dates so in the end I decided to move the whole vacation period back one week and leave on dates where the prices might be lower. In restrospect that was a bad move since I may have gotten a cheap ticket (just 100 euros) but it meant that I strayed just one weekend in Greece and I flew at awkward times. On the plus side, since I left one week earlier, I managed to catch some friends before they left for their home town

I arrived at Athens on the 27th of March at around 1am and immediately went to see my friend Vaggelis (or Baggio as I prefer to call him) who is the only friend I have left from my 15 years of growing up in Athens.

BaggioBaggio 2

This guy was the only one who stood up to me when I was a little dweeb in High School and kept hanging up with me when everyone else was avoiding me like the plague. He might not be perfect, but he’s one of the best guys out there. Rock on Brother!

Rock On

I stayed at his place for three nights (monday night to Thursday morning) and we got to hang out together for a while.

During the days I found the chance to finally visit the offices of Fokas in Athens, while vaggelis was meeting with a new friend of his for beers, and finally meet Antonis Stefanidis that I used to work with. He’s older than he sounds. He showed me around the offices and I got to meet some of the people I only talked to on the phone. I knew only three unfortunately since the rest seem to have moved on.

After that, I met up with Tasos (Kensha) from my old days as a gamer. It’s amazing how I ended up a friend with that guy when our last encounter while I was leaving Athens permanently was very hostile.
We went to the Monastiraki for a cofee and talked about old and new times.
Kensha.jpg

After that, I went to the house another old acquittance of mine, Tasos Zachariadis. I used to go to the same school with this guy but we were never friends of any sort. He started hanging out with Vangelis after I left Athens and now they have become close friends. I met him for that reason in the past and now we’re friends. He did me the favor of letting me crash at his place for that night while Baggio was still drinking beers and we ended up having a huge discussion about Politics.

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Btw, if anyone’s in Athens and looking to have a tattoo I highly recommend this guy. He has just started but I’ve seen samples of his initial work and have been blown away by the quality. He’s been drawing alternative style for many years and his improvisational tatoos just kick ass. I know who I’m going to see to have mine in the future.

On Wednesday, me Tasos and Baggio went for a coffee at Monastiraki where a huge discussion broke out about drugs and LSD in specific. I won’t go into details but we ended up splittiong up 2 hours later than we intended.
Me and Baggio got ready so that he would take me out and show me on of the classic metal places in Athens. Jasmin. Initially we planning to go there with Tasos and Virgilia, a girl friend of Vaggelis, but unfortunately both bailed out on us and we ended up going alone. I can’t say that it hurt us though since the music was great and for some reason they kept giving us free us beers (maybe to offset that horrible the horrible prices they have on drinks there. 5.5 euro for a Cricket? ugh!). Perhaps it was Vaggelis’ good looks or perhaps it was the fact that I kept dancing like there was no tomorrow. I even had one random girl come and talk to me because I was the only one headbanging to Kamelot and she was supposedly the founder of the Greek Kamelot fan club. Too bad she had a boyfriend with her, oh well.

I didn’t really sleep that night since we left the place at about 5am and my Train was leaving at 8. I just went to Vaggelis’ place, took my things and scrammed. Vaggelis himself would come with me to Thessaloniki on a different train that same day.

I arrived in Salonica in the noon and immediately started calling my old friends to go for a coffee. On the first day I saw Panos and my sister (I didn’t think to take pictures at that point. It must have been the fact that I was tired.). And in the night I went to see my old group of friends sitting in a classic Tavern. It was there where I fist layed eyes on my sisters newish super-Christian boyfriend, George. The next day I met Niki by chance on the street and we arranged to meet her at her place the same day.

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We talked and she told us she would meet us the same day at the Dizzy rock but she didn’t really keep her promise. I was later told she has become quite introverted so that might be the reason. I didn’t see her since then either.

Later that day my sister made us Dinner with George and everybody got to cook a dish. I cooked mushrooms of course but my sister and George refused to eat because they were fasting and I used butter…meh.
After that we headed to Dizzy with Baggio where I ended up meeting a few friends by chance. Initially we sat there and enjoyed the music (and my sister had the owner once more hit on her) but later on I made them visit the 8Ball where it was playing the “Whatever music” (Disco-pop-greek-rock etc) and Thrash-Death Metal on the top floor. As expected Baggio decided to hang out upstairs while me and my Sister were dancing like crazy downstairs. I did see a few friends there as well and even kissed a girl that I always wanted (she decided not to pursue it further though 🙁 ) and later on almost did something with another girl when a guy told her something and forced her to leave (I think he must have been her ride home that got disappointed when he saw her dancing with me and forced her to leave. It couldn’t have been her boyfriend because I saw him before trying to “seduce” her and getting rejected)
Quite a good night all-in-all.

On Friday as well, I decided to visit one of my old haunts, the gaming shop KAISSA. Needless to say I was severely dissapointed when two of my once-gaming-friends, could not stop playing the Warlord CCG for 5 minutes to see what I’m up to after almost 1 year. I expected as such of course but hope always dies last. They told me to arrange with my other friends from the group but I didn’t think they would show up in any case.

On Saturday I did meet up with two of those friends and we visited on of the classic Taverns we ate at, Η ωραία Ελλάς where we reminisced the old days and mostly talked about comics and gaming. The guys have stayed mostly the same although Panoramix’s (Kwstas) UHS (Up-Hair-Syndrom) has evolved.

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After a short coffee (beer) break with Baggio, we went to Ladadika again to visit the rest of the places. We were initially planning to visit Harley but when we found out that A. It had moved and B. The new place has a entrance fee of 15 euros for a live of two bands, we decided to get a rain check. We went to the Cult instead where I flirted with the Waitress and Baggio started getting drunk. I was also lucky that night because by pure luck I bumped into Fotini, Xristina the old KNE group and even my old girlfriend, Angelique (who promised she’d try to see me in the next days and didn’t follow through…meh)

Sunday was more lazy since Baggio left in the morning and I woke up at 2pm. I went to eat (very salty fish) with my sister and her boyfriend and we sat there until late in the evening. I also took a nice pic that I’m modified as my new wallpaper.

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After that, I met with yet more of my friends, Iro who henceforth will be known as Beero and Fotini where later on we went to meet Panos and his girlfriend and the Ekkentron and drink lots of beers.

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On Monday after unsuccessfully trying to visit Kosta (Elt) i ended up going to the offices of Fokas where I visited all the people. Things were identical as I expected but I was pleasantly surprised to see that most people in the offices remembered me (or at least seemed) fondly. However seeing my old workplace made me glad I’m not working there any more.

I returned to Salonika center and after grabbing a coffee with my sister (where I made fun of her choice to fast in the Christian fashion) and her boyfriend (where we started a nuclear discussion about Christianity) once more, I managed to meet my sisters old Boyfriend and current friend of mine, Manolis and his brother where we talked about encounter in IT and bad bosses.

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and later on I met with a friend I was not counting on seeing, Chrysa.

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yes, shy person. Since we both were quite truthful, I decided to tell her that I’m always fancied her, only to be told that I don’t click for her. (I didn’t think to go “click” at that point) It doesn’t really matter since we’ll remain friends but it’s good to get it off my chest. We later met with Mersa with whom I continued my night at a place she had a exhibition of her work. Later in the night, after much talk about her newest relationship, a friend of hers turned up and there was an immediate spark. Nothing serious happened but it did make the night better. Problem is that I forgot her name 🙂

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Tuesday went by much more rapidly since I had a few people I hadn’t seen yet. After a brief encounter with my sister’s boyfriend who wanted to talk to me about marriage (!), I went to see my -always busy- godfather. He only had time to say a few brief words to me and buy me a shirt I didn’t really need

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After that I went straight (Σούμπητος) to see a two friends I missed, Elena and Eirini (with the later of whom I almost had something solid).

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I stayed with them until my tongue got hair from talking (at that point my voice had started getting hoary from saying the same stories again and again) and after admiring the waitress of the cafeteria for a while, I met with a girlfriend-for-a-week I had a while back. It seems she never fully recovered from me (a-tssss) and we ended up hagning out together for a few hours where I continued to give her training on french-kissing (no, seriously).

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After that, I visited my sister house once more and stayed until it was time to catch the train to Athens where i would meet my Aunt and cousins before heading back to Frankfurt.
Here’s my sister knitting if you don’t believe me 😉

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The trip to Athens was uneventful if you ignore the fact that I almost lost my train stop. My uncle picked my up and took me to the house to see the family and eat with them. I stayed with them most of the day talking about communism and to my surprise Epicurus where they even gave me a very good book on him. I went for a coffee with my cousins and then returned to the house to see Borat (I didn’t really like it)

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After a hasty phonecall with [tag]Baggio[/tag], I took a taxi and went over to his place to see him one last time and go to Jasmin together again. This time Virgilia would come but not Tasos.

Baggio FTW

Unfortunately We got caught in the rain and had a short stupid encounter with a drunken dude that got in the same cab with us and raised a fuss. We reached Jasmin alright however and proceeded to get stupid drunk, or at least Baggio and Virgilia did. I blame it on the staff who kept buying us beers once more! 🙂 I don’t know if it’s my good looks or Intarnational style that made the bartender and waitress to like us so 🙂

In the end, I had to literally carry Virgilia to a cab after she puked her brains out for an hour or so in the toilet. For my troubles she puked on me as a parting gift. Fortunately it was mostly saliva since she had emptied he stomach at Jasmin’s toilets. After we got rid of her, Vaggelis started puking on himself…sigh. I took him home, put him to sleep and then slumbered for four hours until it was time to catch the plane.

Sleeping on the airport like a bum FTW!

Crabholes

Crabholes were my third vacation time this summer. It is a free camping nudist area and I was planned to go there with my sister, her boyfriend and three other friends. The others had all gone there from Thursday/Friday and I was left to come alone on Saturday. Good thing about this is that when I arrives all the tents were already set up and I didn’t need to get tired, just head straight to the beach.

When I arrived there, the place was packed. In a small beach not much bigger than a big house, there were no less that 11 tents set-up, most used by families with children, so there was quite a bit of a clutter. Luckily the crabholes area has in total 4 beaches where you can go to and one was right next to us. Fortunately, that beach was filled with young people, around my age and many beautiful girls. Unfortunately there was a constant beat played from a dude very loud, who just wouldn’t understand that not everyone wanted to hear it all the time, and all the really gorgeous girls were taken as well.

There was too much nudism going around and although the rest of the team was naked or semi-naked (topless) I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It just isn’t me. There are of course good and bad things related to a nudist beach. The good is that I got to ogle at some perfect female bodies walking around, the bad is that I had to suffer seeing countless dicks hanging around as well as some err…not so perfect female bodies.

I had also brought my training staff with me, so when we got to the beach with the beats, I found the perfect excuse to do some twirling. When people came to me to congragulate me on my skill I was of course very flattered. I mean, even I don’t think I’m that good. At some point I saw my sister looking at me with a smile that was like saying “Well done brother” and it felt better than anything she could have said. I only heard one bad comment, from a guy that just couldn’t stop making bad remarks, about how “unmanly” my style was.
After that, I took any excuse I could to bring out my staff and practice a bit. It actually helped to pass the time as well since just sitting around getting sunburns wasn’t good enough for me.

Here are some shots I got my friend to take me. I had to pester her for a while to take them and I just don’t understand why it was so hard to do it. (Press the thumbnails for fullsize)

Food was handles by way of coal barbecue (without bbq sauce of course. Just the Greek way). Usually ribs or fish (one of the girls liked fishing) with a side of tomato and onion salad. That was quite fun as well as I got to play with the fire all the time 😉

Nothing especially interesting happened though. The only things that stayed with me was my discussion with another IT pro I found there. He was a router expert and we started talking about IT infrastructure after I mentioned my plan to migrate our enterprise to linux. He tried to convince me of my error but in a way that showed he was not a MS drone. He didn’t (convince me that is) and in the end he tried to tell me some conspiration theories about the locking down of TCP/IP and shit. It was at that point that I grew bored enough to go take a swim. I later heard he hit on my friend and she grounded him fully.

The other memorable thing that happened was my hasty flee from the camp after I found out that the guy that was supposed to take me with him to Thessaloniki decided at the last minute to leave the next day. That was after I asked him 5 times when he was leaving to make sure it suited me. So I had to run to get ready and leave for the bus stop. Damn thing is expensive as well. 13.5 euros for a god damn ticket. In any case it was probably for the best this way. I later heard that the guy who was going to take me home with his bike died from a car accident on his way back…

Just kidding, but we did see a motorcycle-car accident on one of our trip to the town for supplies. The guy looked very bad.

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Vacation at last! (Part 3)

Sunday came up and found me trying to sleep uncomfortably in the tent. The heat was just oppressing out there.
After drowsily stumbling out, I took my friends and we went to the beach where I saw one drop dead gorgeous girl entering our company. Unfortunately during the course of my stay it appeared that she wasn’t interested in me (or any of us for that matter) and I later found out that she was in a casual relationship with one of our friends, the one they called The French. Oh well, at least her almost-perfect body and deep tan made for excellent eye candy. The day proceeded uneventfully to its end. At this point we had lost sight of Mazetas who we later found out had been hanging out with some newly arrived female neighbours. The KNE guys at the Cantina where I had started hanging out (mostly because Lena was helping there for 2 hours every day) told me that they had a movie planned for the night; it was an older Greek movie, a surreal comedy of sorts.
I also surprised some of the KNE guys by volunteering for a job without being a “comrade” (Σύντροφος in Greek) as they like to call each other. The work was easy, just unload a couple of cases of beers and it showed that you don’t need to be a communist to be good guy. The fact that two of their own “comrades” didn’t lift a finger to help, even after being asked to do it, says a lot.
After I returned they asked me why I don’t join the communist party to which I replied that I do not see things going anywhere and prefer to show generic discontent. As expected a big discussion on the philosophical nature of politics followed 🙂

The movie turned out so and so, although I would like to see it again. I seems to me that it need more than one viewing to appreciate.

After that, I hanged around a bit with Lena and then, after the sun came down I bought a small bottle of Ouzo and a lemonade, hid them in my deep pockets (Oh how I love multipocket trousers) and sneaked them into the beach bar.
Said beach bar was almost empty for some reason and even after getting drunk enough to dance (alright, wobble) to Greek Light Country music (Dog Music – Σκυλάδικα, arf!) I couldn’t find anyone to accommodate me. In one case a dude almost assaulted me for having the nerve to dance near his girl. It was a silly conversation actually (and now in two language translation. In Greek and in free English. yay!)

Greek Guido – Hey man, what’up? (Τι έγινε φιλάρα;)
Me – All’s good my friend. You? (Όλα καλά φίλε μου. Εσύ;) – Thinking that he is just being friendly and patting him on the shoulder
GG – Don’t you “friend” me man, what do you think you’re doing? (Ασε τα “φίλε μου”. Τι νομίζεις οτι κάνεις εκει;) – Removing my hand and getting obviously hostile
Me – What? Was that your girlfriend? (Τι; Να σου πω, κοπέλα σου είναι αυτή;)
GG – Yeah, cut the bullshit (Ναι, και κόψε τις μαλακίες)
Me – Hey man relax, how was I supposed to know? (Έλα ρε φίλε, και πως έπρεπε να το ξέρω εγω;)
GG – You’d better watch your step, yo! ( Για πρόσεχε…)
Me – Alright man, chill. I didn’t know (Ελα ρε φίλε ηρέμησε, δεν μπορούσα να το ξέρω έτσι δεν είναι;)
GG – Yeah, fine (Καλα, αντε γειά)

Now this was extremely funny to me because I could easily turn this into a fight. I so wanted to make him look like a wuss in front of his girlfriend for acting like an ass, but I restrained myself.
In any case the night proceeded dully with the only notable parts being me trying to dance with some girls and them semi-ignoring me, and then I laid down on the beach until my friends dragged me to the tent.

Monday arrived and I wasn’t certain if I wanted to stay or not. It turned out that Mazetas had not left the last night as he was supposed to, mainly because he had been having such a good time with his new acquaintances and some other guys that labeled themselves as The guys with the branches (Τα Παιδιά με τα Κλαδιά). After the morning (ok, midday) swim, I had one conversation with Mazetas where I couldn’t decide if I was going to leave with him in the evening or not. In the end I decided to see how the day would turn out.
Well two things made me stay.

  1. A KNE dude offered to put me in the cantina to work for a few hours per day which also meant free food. Since I was seriously running out of money, this was a very good thing.
  2. Mazetas introduced me to the girls and the guys with the branches.

Now, originally I only met the girls after I hanged out with Mazetas a bit and we met them on the beach. There were 3 girls there and a foreign dude, named Asem (A very appropriate name, it almost sounds like “Ασε με” in greek which means “Let go”. He was from the middle east and he was a real “masterpiece”. At some point, because of the number of metalheads in the party, we started singing “A Question to Heaven” by Iced Earth with two doing the angels and two singing the vocals. It was awesome (although the punks didn’t really like it)!
In any case, I had become a bit light headed in the process and at some point Kathryn asked me to escort her back to the tent to get her cellphone. It was kind of strange to me because I didn’t know her at all. To make a long story short, we made out on the way back, almost by chance as well.
We took our time and even had a walk through the camp before heading for the tents and then sat down on the plastic chairs in front of their tent to make out some more.

Now for some reason I seem to draw these kind of events. This is the second time a soap opera-like situation took place in my life (or as I like to call them: Φάση Φώσκολος). As we sat there kissing, at one point Kathryn exclaimed her joy that Asem, who has been buggering her all the time since she got there and wouldn’t take no for an answer, finally left her alone (her words were more like “Good riddance to the bad bug”) immediately after which I heard a zip open up behind me and then a voice…in a heavy arabic accent: “You little whore” and then all hell broke loose…

It seems Asem has returned disappointed to his tent (which he had set up next to the girls’) after we left and as was still awake as we sat down on the plastic chairs. Once he got angry enough, he got out.
I was desperately trying to defuse the situation before it got out of hand, when a bulky dude appeared, I don’t know from where, and asked if there was any trouble (he was trying to protect the girl I think). Kathryn and Asem were too busy cursing each other and so he turned to me

Bulky Dude – Hey man, what’s happening here?
Me – Man, it’s unbelievable. The Dude wants the girl. The girl made out with me. The dude heard us and got pissed off.

The dude blinked at me, patted me on the shoulder while nodding and left. 😮

In any case, Asem wanted his pass back (As I’ve said before, you can only get in Posidi if you are a Student or a Guest. Guest carry a special pass. Kathryn was Asem’s guest) and after he got it, I managed to drag Kathryn out of there to calm her.
We walked around a bit, encountered the black metal girls returning, made out some more and then headed out for the beach again because I had forgotten my shoes 🙂

At the beach, the fun had died down a bit. The black metal girls had left because one had returned and found her wallet open and out of her bag, they had a kind of fallout and left. We sat around a bit with the guys and were talking bullshit mostly.
We even invented a new Olympic game loosely translated as “cockettes” (Κοκορέττες) which is played like beach tennis but instead of wooden rackets you have big plastic watering buckets (Ποτιστήρια) and instead of tennis balls you have live roosters…don’t ask.

In the end, after most were on the verge of collapse or had indeed collapsed, we returned to the guys with the branches area and sat around until morning. I was planning on sticking around until 8am but at around 7am I got bored and went to sleep.

Thursday wasn’t very exciting. It turned out that I couldn’t work in the cantina because I wasn’t a comrade but I did get some free food from the guy that proposed it. We actually went for a swim together and with some of his friends. I Saw kathryn at night, after we had gathered at the guys with the branches and then we left together and went to the beach to make out. I am sad to say that it didn’t go any further as it rightly should.

Wednesday was the day I was planning to leave, after the morning swim in the company of Kathryn, I packed my things and along with the Tall one and the French Dude, we got on the bus.
Kathryn didn’t come to say goodbye and so I had to give my number to Spyros to transfer it to her.
Funny thing is that the moment I stepped out of the camp I started to feel tired, feeling even more tired by the minute. By a stroke of luck I bumped into a female friend of mine who had a birthday and which was returning from her friend’s house. The fact that I couldn’t contact her to wish her happy birthday because my cellphone was dead and that I bumped into her in the most unlikely place says something about fate. In any case, she was supposed to have a birthday party at the Dizzy Rock Club and I missed it. The reason is that as soon as I reached my house I was almost ready to drop dead. I actually had fever! A bath didn’t help much and thus I had to miss the birthday 🙁

Phew! That’s it…finally.
Back to the routine now.

Vacation at last! (Part 2)

Saturday (cont.) After an uneventful trip we arrived at Posidi. Now our way of admittance was by a way of sneak entry through a hole in the back fence. You see, Posidi is only for Students of a specific university and each student may bring in one non-student as a guest. Since we didn’t have any students amongst us, this was the only way in.
It wasn’t at all difficult to get in, however we learned after a while that things have started tightening up a bit. Camping security was touring the perimeter searching rogue campers and throwing them out. I wasn’t very worried at the time since we weren’t planning to stay long anyway.
Our original plan was to stay until Sunday night and then get out the same way we got in and head back…well that plan obviously went down the drain, and pretty soon as well.
During the trip, one of the guys we were going with announced that he was going to stay there for at least a week. Upon hearing that of course I wanted to stay too but I had only packed enough things for two days and so I was a bit worried. I also had very few money, just 50 euro, with me and I didn’t know if I could make it.

We found a spot near the guys’ friends and set up our tents there, got dressed and went to the beach to meet them.
It was a shock, everywhere I looked, young, nible female bodies were swimming, playing, talking or just lying down. I has to force myself to close my jaw. Literaly boobs and asses everywhere.
In any case we met some of the friends of the guys and specifically Ourania, a girl I came to like from the first time (Too bad she was so very fat), and then had a swim. Of course I didn’t have sunblock with me and the 6 protection of Kostas (the other guy I came with, hereon known as Tall) wasn’t very comforting.

After the bath we got to our tents beside which a few people had gathered, some I had seen their faces and one I knew as Ksi (or Xi). I took a normal bath and changed into more normal clothes, black trousers and a black sleeveless shirt which I left open because of the heat. And then the first interesting thing happened, one of the girls, which I later found out was Ksi’s sister, started looking at me…a lot. I was kind of invigorating. Unfortunately they left the same day and she also lives in Athens so there wasn’t much chance anyway.

Now there was a Reggae/Jazz/Whatever concert at the local cantina, which was run by the Teenage Communist Party (KNE) and we decided to hang out there originally before heading for the beach bar. We sat there making fun of the band (it really wasn’t very good) and drinking beers when the first surprise struck. A girl, Lena, which I had met while I was still with my ex, and which had taken an interest in me back then showed up again. She just walked up to me while I was sitting in my chair and asked me if I was going to the X club.
Now believe you me, I was overjoyed. I had been searching for this girl for quite a while after breaking up and I just could not locate her. She also seemed very glad to see me and we got to talking.
We talked so much that the show ended and my buddies left for the beach bar. I told her all about my ex and my adventures after that and she told me about her current bf and what’s she’s going through (not much). There was also much holding of hands and hugging which imho is good. In the end we decided to meet up again at the beach bar.

The beach bar was packed. Packed in the equivalent of New York Guidos. After I met with my friends i sat amused watching a steroid pumped guy dancing (or trying to dance) with a group of girls. The only thing that guy did was clap his hands. I mean, all the friggin time. He would stop for maybe one minute and then start clapping rhythmicaly again clap,clap,clap it was getting ridiculous and I think the girls were getting tired of it as well.

Lena showed up but she disappeared again and I was left literally hanging dry. The other guys retreated to sleep at about 2am and I was left alone. Luckily Ourania and her friends stayed as well so I at least had an anchor. But even with that I was extremely bored. The music (Greek light country music) is the worst kind for me and when it did play foreign music was for a little while and only the most idiotic beats around. I’m telling you, the DJ should be shot in the street.
Fortunately there was some eye candy around (Specifically a couple of girls from the ANT-1 radio dancing around semi naked) and so I had something to occupy me. Nevertheless I grew bored, took a walk on the beach and was about to leave when I found Lena again.
Unfortunately she seemed to want to pass more time with her friends than me, I didn’t mind much but I was bored. Thus I drank a glass of expensive cocktail, hanged around a bit and went to bed.

Anyway, more later. I’m bored right now.