Lana Gail

The Happy Travelers

Lana Gail

Mother and daughter duo traveling Europe in celebration of both a retirement from and entrance into the teaching workforce.

Europe » Greece » Attica » Piraeus August 13th 2010

Today, our leaving day. It seems impossible that our trip is done and we are now packing to go home. At this point we're quite efficient in our morning packing for day trips, but somehow, planning for the trip home seems inefficient to our travels! There is so much world to explore, it would be a wonderful life to wander and discover! Alas, it is time to go home and share all our stories and experiences with our friends and family...not such a bad deal!! Some final reflections on our journey: Anywhere you go, there will be people who are determined to bask in their own negativity and remain in a self serving bubble. But there will also always be the people who make traveling -and life in general- such a wonderful endeavour. People whose hearts ... read more

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Milos August 11th 2010

We left the calm serenity of the western Peleponese for our overnight in Piraeus awaiting our island experience. Getting into Piraeus was about as fun as driving into Paris...not so much. We were shocked by the numbers -and the persistence- of the beggars on the streets. We were bombarded by squeegee adults -and children- and amputees banging on our windows for money. Between that and the apparent lack of available maps for the area, we were lost. Thankfully we found a man in a garage with no English who grid his best to get us in the right direction! We found our way and happily got rid of the rental car and continued to our hotel on foot. It took most of an hour to get there, but we were happy for a safe place to ... read more

Europe » Greece » Pelopennese » Xiropigado August 10th 2010

So we've found a little piece of paradise. The pebble beaches and wonderful apartments are great, the mountain coastline is amazing; but the culture, the friendly people we've come across, are really the icing on the cake here. The ouzo doesn't hurt either!!  ;) There are a lot of really genuine people here. For example, we arrived at our apartment (late), Angela met us outside before we even look for where we were supposed to go. She asked us how our trip was, how we liked Greece so far and showed us to/around our apartment. Meanwhile, her dad is parking our car because "it's dark, we've had a long trip, and it can be problem!". And what's sitting on the kitchen table but homemade cookies and cake from Angela's mom. Ya, that's right, baking.   ... read more

Europe » Greece » Pelopennese » Xiropigado August 8th 2010

So we left our 12 degree weather and hit the wall of Italy in the 30's. On the plus side, we went from an auberge with shared bathroom and shower to a 4 star hotel with cushy everything! The train ride to Bari, however, was not so cushy. 9 hours later, we arrived in Bari, where we were to catch our ferry to Greece. Due to traditional Italian tardiness, we were on the run...again. The port was not as apparent as we were hoping, and a sardine style bus was required to get to the boat. Once at the port, we had an entertained (and encouraging) audience waving us through to our SuperFast ferry. We weaved through 18 wheelers (the last to load) to find our entrance. The "boat" was insane. A huge city on water ... read more

Europe » Switzerland » South-West » Mürren August 8th 2010

We woke up feeling extra ambition and decided it was high time we dangled ourselves off one of the fine cliffs we had been ooh-ing and ahh-ing. So we set off to Murren, one gondola ride up from our town, Gimmelwald, to get mountain wear: harnesses and helmets. With no signs marking the trail we wandered the streets of Murren until we ran into our auberge neighbours going the same way. We started out together, but only one of the three in that party made it through. We, on the other hand, were two for two. So we started out with some gorgeous views, some seriously steep rolling drop offs, but nothing we couldn't handle. A few iron rod steps, a serious respect for the sheer size and height of the mountains, and we were on ... read more

Europe » Switzerland » South-West » Mürren August 3rd 2010

So we left the best breakfast buffet in Milano 5 minutes after it opened so we could catch our train to Switzerland. On the up side, we stuffed our faces, and our packs, before we left!! We traveled in, and arrived to, rain. We got ourselves some ambitious mountain passes to see the Swiss alps and headed up the mountain to our auberge. It took a train, a bus, and a gondola to get to the town of Gimmewald...then there was a cute 5 min "path" to the was more like a decent ski hill of stairs with 30lb bags on our backs. We were more than happy to leave our backpacks in our room and head off to explore the area! Our host sent us off on an "introductory trail" through the valley along ... read more

Europe » Italy July 31st 2010

After leaving Rome we were ready to cruise through to Sorrento and crash...but why be so plain? Instead, we..."toured"...Sorrento for 2 1/2 hours and introduced ourselves to several store owners, gas station attendants, and taxi drivers who thought they might know where our apartment was. It was some comfort to know the taxi driver himself was lost in his attempt to bring us to our street. We also found a number of would be NASCAR drivers who watch too much Fast & Furious, and motorcycle/scooter drivers with big cahones and little brains. Perhaps the grappa is a little too accessible here! We did find our apartment though...very cute! We took a lazy day and walked around Sorrento for the afternoon. Some neat shops -one of which introduced me to chocolate liqueur...OMG- a few shops that made ... read more

Europe » Italy July 31st 2010

On our way to Sorrento (from Siena) we hit up Rome. Oh boy! It was super exciting for me as I had been doing a big Rome unit at my last placement and had lots of things I wanted to see. The Colosseum and Pantheon were highlights for sure, both were enormous feats in their own rights. We took a guided tour through the Colosseum and Forum...completely worth it! Learned all kinds of history...for example it was an earthquake that broke the Colosseum up; the marble from the Colosseum is now in the Vatican (our tour guides sarcastically referred to this as "recycling"); sheets of marble were hung over brick walls to make palaces appear to be solid marble...all kinds of good stuff!! Our guide also pointed out, with distain to the current intended lifespans of ... read more

Europe » Italy July 29th 2010

After a good sleep in Siena we were ready to tackle a new day (and sort out the previous day)! The house we rented was actually a few km's outside Siena in a place called Viglaglia. We walked into town, caught a bus into the old Siena (a beautiful walled city) and set out looking for an Internet cafe. On the way, we found some awesome shopping! Found aspace with Internet, sent out a couple choice word emails, found a Siena location for the car rental company, and went on our way to get a car. Ready for fight (I'm sure you can all imagine!), we entered the building...only to find we'd been beaten to the punch. We took notes from this feisty Italian, sure we would soon have a round of our own. By the ... read more

Europe » Italy July 29th 2010

We left Cinque Terre for Milano to pick up our car rental so we could start clocking miles and seeing the countryside. Somewhere along the line, unbeknownst to us, it had been decided we needed a challenge. Upon arrival to the Milano central station (also the address of the car rental company), we found that they didn't actually MEAN the train was just a guestimate. A couple guards from the army that were stationed at the...station...were nice enough to direct us in the right...direction?? Haha! Anyway, we found what the rental company REALLY meant by "Milano Central Station"...a few blocks away in a building with it's very own address. Although that building was now condemned, having been bought out and evacuated more than a month ago. We got the low down from the nice police ... read more

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