Monday, 26 May 2014

Travel Log: Apologies

As I said, I wished to post a blog a day about my time in Greece. However, my laptop broke last week and will hopefully be up and running soon.

Regard,

Jon

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Travel Log #3 - Mt. Kyllini (August '12)


Hercules, Hercules!

Sorry mythology lovers, but whenever I hear Hercules I picture this first:




So when I returned from Santorini alone and my friend John asked me if I wanted to follow the footsteps of Hercules, you must forgive me for picturing Eddie Murphy clapping in drag at a rotund slab of a boy flexing his flabby muscles.

Foolishness aside, John interested in his Greek heritage had been busying himself visiting historical sites that he had studied in the past and Lake Stymfalia, the site where Hercules was fabled to have slain the almighty hydra, was on his checklist. I didn't really need asking, though. Of course I would accompany him. So, in a quaint little rental car, we set out to visit a site of a legendary Labour of Hercules.

Lake Stymfalia is somewhere amidst a great mountain range containing Mount Kyllini. We scoured Mount Kyllini for hours, witnessing its beautiful green gorges and winding roads clinging to the mountainside.

Me, going for the pensive explorer look.
Just before me was a sheer drop and an amazing view.

After hours of searching we decided we were out of luck and made our way slowly out of the labyrinthine mountains and journey back home along the coast. 

The amazing view.

It was a beautiful outing to say the least.

We say no hydra...only goats. You want proof? Here are your goats! And my awful drawling Black Country accent.




If you enjoyed this, here are some of the Travel Logs:

Travel Log #1 - Vrahati
Travel Log #2 - Santorini


More snaps for y'all:

Beautiful flower arrangements at a mountainside cafe
Goat-works ahead...
...estimated waiting time 30 minutes.

The picturesque view of mountains enclosing a beautiful valley.



A bit of open road for you thrill seekers.

A bit more open road...

Johnny the adventurer.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Travel Log #2 - Santorini (August '12)

To start with, I during August I visited Zakynthos, too. However, I do not wish to dedicate a post to it seeing as I was completely disappointed with the British presence there. Not only was I disgusted by the behaviour of the youth pouring onto the streets in a drunken sex-mad frenzy, but also by the way the tourist industry on the island catered for this from the seedy nightclubs to the hepatitis beaches.

In one quick collage, this is how I saw Zakynthos...


Yeah, because people go on holiday for such vulgarity and Sainsbury's.


In contrast, this is Santorini:

The sunset at Oia taken from the ruins of the castle.

Notice the difference? I ruddy well hope so!

Santorini is a fairly small island. You can travel from North to South, I'd say, in just an hour or two. Sure, the island has its tourism, but it is nothing like that of Zakynthos. All of the souvenirs on the island are traditional trinkets like charms necklaces made from the rock of the volcano on the island.

If asked to describe Santorini in one word I would say 'quaint'. Bear in mind that this is quaint in the best possible way.

Tourorising Santorini.

My friend Lily and I rented out a moped, for a very reasonable price, and razzed around the island. One of the most awe-inspiring feature of this island are that is coastlines are quite mountainous, which not deter the island dwellers who built their houses into steep cliffs. It is such a beautiful sight to look upon. Santorini is the most picturesque place I have visited in my short time on this Earth.

A view of Santorini's coastal capital, Fira.

Another fine feature lending itself to the island's fame is the beaches. Due to there being a volcano off shore, Santorini has a beautiful sea and beautiful beaches, some of which are famously red and black. That's right! Red and black beaches! For any soul-seeking, body nurturers out there, I am sure that these sands hold spiritual minerals that let you absorb solace through the spaces between your toes or something like that.

A beach that bleeds out into the sea.



I captured Lily capturing the sunset. Riveting stuff.
Santorini's most famous trademarks are its sunset and sunrise; they are classed as one of the most beautiful of their kind in the world. I had the privilege to witness one. It was breathtaking, definitely romantic. I watched a couple getting married with the gold, purple sky as a backdrop.


Every day we passed a Mexican restaurant on a cliff top. One day we caved - thank God we did!



Me and Lily at the Mexican restaurant atop a cliff.

Although, the experience for me was not a romantic one as such, I must say that this would be perfect for any lovebirds. Imagine being around 200 metres in the air, overlooking the ocean as the sun goes down AND THEN a waitress bring you the first of your gutbuster BBQ ribs challenge! Pure bliss. I went through 2 and a half racks of ribs for about £12. Bargain!


Simply wonderful.
One down!

Bargain for blokes and dreamy view for the madams. Everybody's happy! No tears; relationship bolstered.

I couldn't recommend Santorini enough as a relaxing and fulfilling getaway- especially if you aren't interested in your typical drug-addled Ibiza rave or the Marbella lounge-by-the-pool-athon.

Thanks for reading.

Click here for Travel Log #1 - Vrahati

Some more holiday snaps:

Can this selfie be excused? I guess some may consider me young and hip.

My father would love this van. I think I was addressed as 'Bullshitter' more than Jon growing up.
'You can't bullshit a bullshitter!' he would tell me. Never a truer word...


'I give you the end of a golden string'. Do something different. Grab that chalice.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Travel Log #1 - Vrahati (July-September '12)


A standard night relaxing and singing Bon Jovi together. We were half way there.

As corny as it may sound, my spiritual journey began in a small village in the Peloponnese called Vrahati, where I studied a month long TEFL course and lived with five other students and the teacher. It was such a rewarding experience for me I am glad I packed up my old life and embarked on this one.

Over the month I stayed here, I lived with 6 such different and wonderful people, whom I still hold I high regard for. I will always have a fond memory of these people and will always cherish the experience and moments we shared together.

Hannah never had the time for my incessant photographic needs.

I will never forget falling asleep whilst watching Fight Club with the carefree Hannah and the times when she played me foreign music and told me interesting bus stories.





Never will I forget the times when I swam in the sea with fun-loving Louise and Ruth, treading water with a smile when in reality I was, pretty much, close to 'surpassing' myself for fear of the sea.

John and I sitting on our shared patio,
basking in the sun




Then there was the engimatic, John, historian turned actor turned writer turned farmhand turned teacher; forever a student of life. Our relationship was philosophical. He taught me a lot about the way America worked and showed me just how complexed the human situation could be, that you should always be quizzical and question exactly what you want from life.










Lily, being a tourist in front of grapes.
The person I spent the most time with was an American called Lily. I will fondly remember cooking fried aubergines in breadcrumb and our countless bike rides - including a 9km ride to a McDonalds so she could move closer to completing her dream of eating McDonalds in every country. I will also never forget the time we swam about 200 metres out into the sea and, after a few minutes floating on our backs, we found ourselves in the presence of large jellyfish.

There was also my teacher Sherrie. Admittedly, she was younger than me and by far more mature. She is fluent in more languages than I know. She has taught all over the world with the ambition to open her own school one day. From this I took the notion that whatever you do one day can open up to the next. Life should progress, not hinder.

I came to Greece mentally exhausted and completely bored of my life in England. My month in Vrahati amongst such excellent company was the detox I needed. It was just what the doctor ordered. It kickstarted the process I felt I needed. I wanted to find a better self. A not so bitter - better me.

TEFL Class of 2012:
From left to right: Sherrie, Colonel Strumpet, Hannah, Ruth, John
Lily and Louise.




 Other Pictures from Vrahati

A melon is the future...

Nice bit of green for ya.

Road to the beach.


A place to sit by the sea.

Just learning the ropes with my new camera.

Another bench by the sea.

Disused railway track that runs for miles along the coast.

This ain't Blackpool. It's Vrahati's funfair.

Greek beer. γεια μας!


Concept photograph. Old pipes pushing water.

A sunset splits between skeleton leaves.

Lily wielding her camera.


Me, being a tourist in front of acres of vineyard.



Today I... THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

Doo doo doo doo d-loo doo doo doo d-loo doo D-loo doo doo doo DOO DOO D-LOO DOO D-LOO DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO DOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!






Yes, indeedy! I can almost count my remaining days in my hometown of Arta on my fingers and toes, and - for your information - I do have the normal amount.

This is the beginning of a challenge to myself. I will post a small blog every day containing things that exemplifies an aspect of my two years living and teaching in Greece. That's right, folks, my first travel blogging this year. For those who particularly enjoy my traveling accounts, you will be in luck as it will be a chronological account starting from the summer of 2012 onwards.

The first installment is to come in an hour or so! I hope it brings some enjoyment.

Best wishes and thanks for the readership (especially to my American readers),

Jon.

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