Page 5 of Jay and Alex Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Greece » Attica » Marathon January 6th 2009

After 4 nights in Athens we are now leaving for a villa outside the small town of Marathonas, 26 miles north of the city. This is where the Battle of Marathon took place around 500 BC between the Athenians and the invading Persians. I know it's 26 miles from Athens because this is where, supposedly, Pheidippides ran from the plains where the battle took place into the city to announce the great victory for the home side, thereby running the first marathon. The story isn't one hundred percent true but it works in Greece. The villa is managed by a local couple, Stavros and Rosa, that lives right next door and they offered to pick us up straight from our hotel in the centre of Athens. The trip takes about an hour and the traffic is ... read more
The Villa
The Villa
The Villa

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens December 30th 2008

Yay! The family made it… and almost on time too! Alex and I were holding our breath watching the flights the family was supposed to be on via the airport updates and watched with dismay as the trans-Atlantic flight was about 30 minutes too late for the Amsterdam-Athens connection. However, they did manage to fly in via Paris and were only about 6 hours late. We were worried they hadn’t made it when their Air France flight came in with no sign of them… but their baggage was lost so they had to deal with that before coming out the arrivals section of the airport. There was a Johnny Walker ad on the arrival sliding doors that I will never forget as we peered through the opening as people came out to meet their families. One ... read more
Athens
Athens
Athens

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens December 26th 2008

Well we are in Athens now waiting for our family to show up tomorrow. I’m super worried they won’t make it in time because of all the snow back home. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that they won’t make it on time… I just hope they do make it! The ferry ride from Santorini was really nice. BC Ferries should take some notes! It was Christmas Eve while we were on the ship, and very unexpectedly the crew served traditional Greek ginger cookies with champagne. We got into the terminal a little early (11:30 pm) which was super lucky because the metro in Athens only ran until 12:00 and we had to make a transfer. We ended up making the very last metro train headed downtown and rolled into bed at about 2:00 ... read more
Athens

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini December 24th 2008

We've dragged ourselves away from Istanbul and got on an overnight bus that took us all the way down the Aegean coast to the town of Bodrum. We had booked a ferry the following day to the island of Kos but we needed to spend a night in Bodrum. There was potential here for a nice relaxing day in a small beach resort town but instead it turned into a major hassle. There was nobody at any of the hostels or pensions in town. By nobody I mean nobody to let us inside so we spent the first half of the day waiting outside the backpackers hostel until one of the guests finally let us in and we found an empty room (of course in the morning there was somebody there to collect our money). The ... read more
Kos
Kos
Kos

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul December 19th 2008

Well we finally made it .. Istanbul. We were starting to get a little tired of eastern Europe and have been looking forward to this for a couple weeks. There are few cities like Istanbul, it's at the crossroads between the East and the West and it's history is unmatched. To get here we took an overnight bus from Sofia. That was an adventure unto itself. The bus pulls up to the border at about 2 am where everybody gets off and goes through the usual border hassles. We had to buy travel visas which unfortunately cost 3 times more for Canadians than any other western country (go Canada!). After the required stamps were received our bags were quickly searched for contraband and then we were on our way into Turkey! At the bus station we ... read more
Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul

Europe » Bulgaria » Sofia City » Sofia December 12th 2008

Finding our hostel in Sofia was a bit of a scavenger hunt. The Hostel Mostel was listed in our Lonely Planet and was on our map of Sofia. We thought it would be a piece of cake to find. The spot listed as the Hostel Mostel was easy to find, but there wern't any hostels near the dot on the map. We must have looked somewhat flustered as we were standing on the sidewalk, because a German fellow came up to us to help us decipher the cyrillic road signs. With the German's help we were able to find a large building with a Hostel Mostel sign on it. However, once we got close to the sign we realized it was a sign explaining how the hostel had moved. There was a big map explaining how ... read more
Sofia
Sofia
Sofia

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje December 10th 2008

We had another slightly stressful trip on our way to Ohrid, Macedonia. Thanks to another inaccurate Lonely Planet map, we were unable to find the tourist agency in Tirana where we were supposed to buy our bus tickets. No one told us that you can just buy them on the bus! We ran around looking for this place while also trying to exchange our money, as Albanian Leke is virtually worthless outstide of the country. In the end, we were reassured by a couple americans waiting for the same bus that tickets were sold on board. We got in to Ohrid in the afternoon and found our guesthouse. We went out for food but it was starting to get dark so we retired to our room to spend the rest of the night watching Animal Planet ... read more
Skopje
Skopje
Skopje

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana December 5th 2008

Wow, Albania. Absolutely crazy place. Are we still in Europe? Firstly, the trip from Bar, Montenegro to Albania was a nightmare as expected. Once again, we were travelling on a Sunday (we gotta mix up our schedule a bit). The first leg of the trip was a bus from Bar to Ulcinj, a town closer to the Albanian border where we hoped we could get a bus to Shkodra in Albania. Of course the only bus that day left at 6:00am and we missed it by a long shot. There are always taxi drivers hanging around the bus stations offering rides to stranded travellers but until now we always ignored them. We were approached by a guy who offered to taxi us straight to Shkodra. I knew it was illegal to taxi across the border but ... read more
Tirana
Tirana
Tirana

Europe » Montenegro » Kotor » Kotor November 30th 2008

Country number #20 of the trip and back in the EU.... sort of! Well they use the euro. Montenegro is the world's newest country after a referendum passed in 2006 to separate them from the union of Serbia & Montenegro. We took a bus from Dubrovnik to the town of Kotor, built on the largest inland fjord in Europe. The ride was beautiful as we wound our way down the coast from Croatia. There was an interesting whirlpool-like thing in the Bay of Kotor that looked like an underwater spring. The old town of Kotor was yet another pedestrian-only, walled Roman city (will it never end?). However, this one was quite unique as the wall was built straight up the mountain cliff immediately behing the city. On top of the cliff was an ancient Illyrian fortress ... read more
Kotor
Kotor
Kotor

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik November 27th 2008

Dubrovnik is a beautiful coastal town in the south of Dalmatia. Alex and I arrived by bus from Mostar and were met right at the bus station by our guest house's owner. He drove us to the 'Banana Villa' via a series of narrow hairpin turns. Apparently winter tires are absolutely unheard of here, because the owner's car slid backwards down the wet road about three times before he managed to gain enough momentum to make it all the way up the road! As we were opening the shutters to the balcony, the owner got in a screaming match with what we could only guess was his son. The neighbors came out and shook their heads at the display, so we thought it must have been a regular occurrence. Afterward the son surprised us by throwing ... read more
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik




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