Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

 

Who doesn’t get wanderlust over Santorini?  I was lucky enough to go there last fall.  I don’t know that it’s my favorite place on Earth, but it was certainly a special trip nonetheless.  The winding streets, the steep cliffs, the amazing blue sea, the white stone buildings, the volcanic beaches, and the crowds during the day with the cruise ships passing through.

wanderlust

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Wanderlust

ARRIVING IN ATHENS 

My first impressions of Greece were possibly brought about by a Russian taxi driver not too subtly telling me it was ok to fuck strangers on vacation. Thrilled this way too friendly man already knew where I was staying, I invented friends in the city and a make believe itinerary to answer his endless questions while I stared out the window waiting to reach my hotel. The city seemed to stretch out as far as the eye could see, with graffiti everywhere and something about the landscape reminded me more of a Middle Eastern city than any European capital I know.

I took one amazing walking tour my first night of the hidden gems of Athens. I had another walking tour scheduled that never happened and a eating tour that was a disappointing and awkward one-on-one meal at one completely empty restaurant. I felt like I was on a very bad blind date with my female tour guide.

THE NEXT ADVENTURE 

The 2016 solo adventure is booked!

Initially I was considering Peru and an inclusive tour traveling between the Amazon, Lake Titicaca and hiking Machu Picchu. After reading several blogs and articles, the mosquitos talked me out of the trip (for now). One blog suggested slathering yourself in an unscented shampoo building a barrier between your skin and the mosquitos…which sounds incredibly disgusting and not what I’m in the mood to sign up for this trip. After remembering the number of mosquitos I met on my trip to Belize, and considering the zika virus… I decided to pass (for now).  

Then I considered where else I would want to travel alone and again and again I was dreaming of the Mediterranean Sea I fell in love with last year. So…rather than go to Italy for the fourth time… I will be taking my longest and farthest adventure yet! Fifteen days in Athens and three Greek islands. And, after spending over 24 hours in the Barcelona airport last year, I made sure to end my trip on a Friday in case there is another crazy delay. 

BUSY BARCELONA 

I wrapped up my Portugal/Spain trip in Barcelona.   I spent one day wandering the city on my own and one day on a food and wine tour in the neighboring mountains before heading off to the airport.

I arrived in the evening and immediately regretted leaving all of the tranquility of Mallorca.

I sat outside at a bodega across from my hotel for a quick dinner and was immediately warned of the terrible pickpocket problem by a waiter who clipped my bag to a chair.

The next day I went exploring.  I went to Sagrada Familia (where after 133 years construction is still underway), then Park Guell, a short cruise and a stroll along Placa de Catalunya.  It was an enjoyable day, but I could not find what I was looking for.  I’m not sure if I was tired of traveling, or if the contrast between the peace of Deia and the bustle of Barcelona was just too much for me.  I was beginning to miss home.

On the last day before my flight home, I had an amazing day-long food and wine tour booked.  The food and wine was unbelievable.  The tour guide was the worst I’ve ever experienced.  We stopped and asked for directions four times, and circled the mountains lost numerous times throughout the afternoon.  I missed seeing olive oil being made (disappointing), but I did get to see Montserrat for half an hour (a very rushed amount of time).  Eating lunch outside overlooking olive trees was beautiful, but there was always a tiny dread of getting back in the van and driving in circles which put a slight damper on the outing.

I hope if you go, you find more enjoyment than I did, and perhaps go to Barcelona before visiting Mallorca!