Page 14 of Zpet Travel Blog Posts

Friday, 5 June We got up a bit late since it was raining, then took showers and headed to the beach. Parking was a bit of a problem, since this early in the season some of the lots were closed and those that weren't wanted $5.00 for any amount of time. We finally located some metered spots around 23rd Street where you pay 25 cents for 15 minutes. We strolled along the beach for about an hour and a half. Virginia Beach is much more commercialized than Pensacola Beach, with high-rise hotels, souvenir shops, and restaurants everywhere. They do however have it very nicely set up, with a cement boardwalk for pedestrians and a paved path for bicycles, with benches and landscaping along the way. We found out that apparently they were holding some sort of ... read more
Virginia Beach Boardwalk
Indoor Miniature Golf
Birthday Party

Thursday, 4 June We checked out of the Cherokee KOA around 8am and headed for Virginia Beach. Overall, the Cherokee KOA was well-equiped, clean, and the staff weren't unfriendly, but it was a bit desolate, the WiFi mixup was annoying and coffee isn't free anymore. I'd give it a 7 or 8 overall. The first part of our 8 hour trip was on a very steep, winding, narrow road, with downhill grades up to 9 percent with runaway truck ramps. Once we reached Maggie Valley, the auto speed limit was 55 but for trucks only 35! The rest of the trip was easier and uneventful. We pulled into the Virginia Beach KOA just after 6pm and were promptly met by the friendly host. The office and store closed at 5:30pm. He got our key and check-in ... read more
Roger & Maribel
Maria Regla & Jay

Wednesday, 3 June: We left Serena's around 8:30am, heading for Mason's Mine, near Franklin, N.C. After about 3 hours of driving mostly on small roads, we arrived atg Mason's Ruby & Saphire Mine. I believe this is the only place where you can still dig your own dirt and isn't "seeded". They maintain a board listing all stones found there over 10 carats. There were already quite a few this year, and two were added that day. Unfortunately, neither of them were mine or Manoli's. We spent about 5 hours there and had a good time. It didn't rain and it wasn't that hot. Manoli found 2 smaller, but nice stones about 1 or 1 1/2 carats each. I found 8 stones ranging from 1/2 carat to almost 4 carats, with 2 or 3 nice ones ... read more
Cabin at Cherokee KOA
Paul's Restaurant

Monday, 1 June: My wife and I don't start our real vacation until Wednesday, so I have two days with my grandson Justing, my daughter Serena, and my son-in-law Jeremy. Somehow on the way up from Pensacola, a rather large crack showed up in the Jeep's windshield. After getting the windshield replaced, everyone but Jeremy, who had to work, went to the Greenville Zoo for the day. Although the zoo is fairly small, it did have a nice assortment of animals, including elephants, giraffes, and lions. The place was well-maintained and nicely laid out. After a couple of hours wandering around the zoo, we ate lunch at a nearby park/playground, where Justing and us big kids had some fun, then headed home. Tuesday, 2 June The new HD video camera is great, but until I get ... read more
Playground time

Tanya took me to the Greyhound Bus station in Pensacola. When I found out the station itself wasn't even open, I should have known I was in for a weird trip to Greenville, SC. Leaviing at 6:40pm, I arrived in Mobile to await my bus to Atlanta... at 11:35pm! At least this bus station was open, even the snack bar... all night! At this point, I started to discover the, shall we say variety of people that use Greyhound. All ages, sexes, and races, with a larger than normal dose of weird. Between a lady that chatted with me, then asked me to watch her bags while she went to the bathroom, then when asked where she was going, responded in all seriousness that "she shouldn't talk to strangers"! To the drunk that pulled up in ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Chipiona May 26th 2008

After a couple days of rest and meeting family, we went to watch a bullfight in San Lucar de Barrameda, near Chipiona. I had never been to one, so I was anxious to see what it was like. Tickets were a bit more expensive than we expected, at 35 Euros each... for almost the cheapest seats. After a brief wait, during which we watched the horses and bull out back, and move further from the band that was right behind us, it began. First an announcer came out to announce the fight and introduce the judge (I think), then the three bullfighters and their entourage paraded in. This was a bullfight from horseback instead of on foot. After the parade, began the first of six bullfights. Each caballero would fight two bulls, one in each... round. ... read more
The Horses
The Announcer

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Chipiona May 24th 2008

Everything worked out today. We woke up by 5am and were ready for the taxi (12 Euros) when it arrived at 5:30am. Got to the airport ontime and they didnĀ“t even weigh our luggage, much less our backpacks. Phew... since we were surely over the 20 kilos per bag and/or 6 kilos per carry on. The young man in front of us had two bags, so the lady weighed them and at 34 kilos, he was told he owed 138 Euros extra! We arrrived in Athens and boarded our ontime flight to Madrid. They served a decent brunch of cream and mushrooms crepe, spinach pastry, croissant and muffin. We arrived in Madrid with a four hour wait, so we had capuccinos and shopped. The Madrid airport is laid out strangely. They have T1, T2, T3, and ... read more

Europe » Greece » Crete » Knossos May 22nd 2008

We got up early to catch an early bus to Knossos. We caught the bus at Liberty Square (Plata Venizelou) at about 8am. It was a city bus, cost 1.15 Euros each, and became quite crowded. Knossos is right on the outskirts of Iraklio, so you don't realize you're there until the driver yells "Knossos". The entry fee was 6 Euros each. Knossos is quite extensive, fairly well excavated, and partially restored. The columns and frescoes were really cool! The crowds of mostly tours were annoying. There is a stone replica (?) of a bull's horns large enough to sit between the horns, but it is outside the ropes (barely). People tended to ignore the rope and sit there for a photo anyways. We could hear the staff lady blowing her whistle at them quite often ... read more
The Entry Sign in Knossos
Knossos Overview
The Bull Frescoe

Europe » Greece » Crete » Heraklion May 21st 2008

Mr. Tountas took us up to the bus stop on the National Road to catch our bus to Iraklio (Heraklion). We thought the bus would come before 10am, so when a bus showing "Iraklio" stopped, we started to board, but the driver's assistant saw our tickets and told us "No, wrong bus line. Next one in 10 minutes." I was under the impression there was only one bus line on Crete, KTEL, but we waited and sure enough another came in 15 minutes. Arriving in Iraklio at 12:15, we decided to take a taxi to our hotel, Pension/Hotel Rea, for 7 Euros. I think they charge extra for luggage. The hotel wasn't anything special and was a bit run down, but clean and, at 34 Euros a night cheap for Iraklio. It is only one block ... read more
Cafe Wine Bar Venezzia
Strange Bird

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania May 21st 2008

We arrived at the town square to wait for our minibus for the tour at 9:30am, to be safe. When they finally showed up at 10:35, we'd been worried for a while. Along with us, the driver, and the guide, there were 7 other people, all from Australia, and all apparently... well heeled, as one couple told us they came from Australia on their yacht! We rode up into the White Mountains above Kalives a bit to a town called Mahteri. Here we stopped at an old house where we met our chef and hostess. After a brief tour of the property with its fruit trees, plants, and oddities, we all sat down for some coffee/drinks while the guide explained what we were going to do and eat. First, we would pick some mint and grape ... read more
View from the hostess's terrace.
Garden and Courtyard
Kitchen at Work

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