Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 5 | Santorini, Voted the Best Sunset In The World

I am in Olympic!!!!!

Olympic Air that is.... HAHHAHAHHA.... by the way, they give away nice & yummy chocolate.

You guys must be wondering, we must be rich taking a flight instead of boat/ship from Athens to Santorini right? Story mory sikit, when I made the decision (Yah! I was in charge of all "big" transportation and Wahidah handles the accommodation - that's how we split our chores), if I remembered correctly the boat (ermm... perhaps we call it ship cos it's really huge) takes more then 7 hours from point to point (click here for more detail) which cost us RM155 p/pax (diff liner, diff speed, cost differently). I figure a flight taking only 50mins which cost RM276 will buy us more time (6 hours more) in Santorini as we only be spending 1 night here. At the end, it's cost versus time and time won. I guess at times we need to be practical lor.

Oh yah! I book my flights via Expedia as it was cheaper at that point of time. Of cos occasionally I book directly with the airline lar.

As a sweet friend volunteered to treat us ladies to a 1 free night in Santorini, I "assume"; Santorini will be managed by them lar.... after all, the island is fairly small. No trains, subways etc, only buses - easy peasy kan. So, panic giler they all sesampai airport, baca map cam nak rak camna pi hotel. Heheheh... kesian and kelakar ler pulak. I will cite their outcome and thoughts on the trip. Very interesting I must say.

We took cab which cost us EU15 from airport to hotel which is less then 10 mins away (seriously, luckily we split the cost 4 way, else memang leh kopak!). How the hotel look like, cost and view will be storied towards the end of this entry yah. Be sabou.

This is a must share, this is actually a fridge magnet and abit mahal but since I collects fluffy fridge magnets too; I just must have this lar kan! And the guys sombong tak nak beli yet but ended up with no magnets from Santorini (at all). YUP! None! Kelakau giler, tuh ler, procrastinate and dok pikiq lama lama sapa suruh. Picky ler lagi! By the way, magnet CUTE kannnnnn!!!!

This one, Zali excited giler, cos Pontian town is in Santorini. (Pontian is a town in state of Johore located in Malaysia).

I read about this cable car but it doesn't sound at all impressive in fact it was so hard to get more info aside from the cost. We stumbled on the signage to go the cable car station so we decided to check it out (naik atas ler gak), of cos along the way was caldera view and shopping lanes (click here for more info on caldera) which is breathtaking.

It cost about EU4-4.50 per way and you can only go up either via cable car or donkey at EU5/=.

Once you reach the bottom/port, there's nothing much to see, well.. you CAN take some of the island ride from here. And since we only have today for sightseeing the tomorrow leaving to Mykonos, we decided to forgo the island hopping. Rationally all the islands are beautiful and not to be missed, but can we cover the whole island on Aegean Sea? I figure we can't lor... sooo... opted it out. Sedih ler gak kan... abih nak buat cam na, cuti 2 minggu jek.

Nih bodyguard kiterang, check out the water... everywhere looks like this okay! The water is crystal clear, felt like jumping in!!!! GERAM!

Then we headed to... yup! You've guessed it! Oia (pronounce as Ia), this is where the most beautiful Caldera located, apparently it IS said to be the MOST BEAUTIFUL sunset in the world. Wallahuallam... To me, if you are with you love one, anywhere is the MOST BEAUTIFUL sunset ler kan. Hehhehe..... But, it is superbly beautiful even though I wasn't here during sunset.

Thus.... there's so many wedding couples come here for their wedding album, I asked the planner and the news is that most of them are from China. In fact, 27 couples stayed at our hotel. Meaning.... KAYA!!!! (Rich!). WOW!

How to go about here? You need to get to Oia from Thira or Fira town bus stop/terminal which cost around EU1.60 or so, the journey took 30-45mins and it goes thru the mountains overlooking the sea and what I believe either a vineyard or olive farm. A very scenic ride for sure.

First thing when we reach Oia was this Proton shop, amboi!!! Side business ker En. Proton kite? Hehhehe....

We asked for direction (in general, following the crowd will do ler), and the tourist info counter at the bus stop happily told us tourist... "turn here, go straight, turn there, then you see the caldera... yeah! That's where the blue domes are". I guess, she gets the same question 10000 times a day. Hahhahha.... As we go upwards (Yeah! UPWARDS).... we did few stops here and there to take picsss and picssss and more picsssss.....

Then woe behold!!!!!! You see it??? There... the Aegean Sea, the caldera, the blue dome, the most beautiful place in Greece! I have been here, done that! WOO HOOO!

I believe the below is one of the popular scenery pic to all tourist.

Donkey is everywhere... like everywhere.... it's hard to miss them.

It will take you about 1-2 hours to reach this nice site and of cos shorter time if you do not stop everywhere to looksee-looksee and take those awesome view pic. Not sure whether is it a good idea to overnight here as I imagine it will be very quiet at night. Oh yah! So, we stayed near the town and airport (Thira/Fira).

OK! Next, about our hotel. We stayed at Volcano View Hotel & Villa.... I really need to thank our dear friend, it was the absolute best (but Bucharest bed was nicer lar) view hotel I ever stayed in my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.

This is my little room facing the sea.... oh yah.... cool huh!

This is my hotel view, all rooms are facing the sea. I suppose I do not need to describe in details, pic says a 1000 word right :)

I checked out shortly after this pic was taken. Sigh.... next island - Mykonos.

For more pics, please stop by my Facebook link :
Athens click HERE
Aegean Island click HERE

Hyperlink credits : Wikipedia & Volcano View Hotel

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 4 | Roman Agora & Arrival of 2 NEW Travelholics

Flashback 1 hour earlier.

Wahidah and I were anxious on what to do, what to expect and especially whether the 2 guy can get to the hotel safely and CORRECTLY.

Oh yah! Did I mentioned that 2 of our friends (basically ex-colleague/ex-IBMer [Biq, ntah ntah ko lenal kot]) will be joining us today? Hemm.... they have been PM-ing us via Facebook as well sms-ing us. Panic kot, this is their first trip DIY.... I can just imagine what's going in their mind, perhaps like how I felt during my first trip with Wahidah to Morocco & Spain a couple of years back. Kesian ler pulak.... Hhehehe... tapi tak pa, kan anak jantan (ceh wahhh......)


It's free entrance to Roman Agora on Sunday (well, perhaps only this particular Sunday, I seriously don't know), I thought it was a great way to encourage locals to visit own country historical site right. Hemm.... Malaysia gomen...????? Apa lagi, do something!?!?

Anyway, as some of you might know, one of my "mission" to cover as much as possible the Wonders of the World or Unesco site for my love of history and travel. Hhehhehhe.... So, this is truly exciting for me ler kan...

My first impression of this place is.... SUPER HUGE! And it also reminded me of Rome's Forum which is in a smaller scale I think (I didn't walk thru Rome's Forum during my previous trip...sigh... looks like I have to revisit then *wink wink*), those that visited both, do advice yah.

This one really caught my eyes, Altar of Zeus.... I thought it was a good idea (jeng jeng jeng) to climb up and took a pic of me (as if I am THE ZEUS), YUP! As you have guessed, the guard blew his whistle and screamed for me to get down. OPS!!!! Tuh ler, terlebih pandai sapa suruh...

OK, Yang ni is for Chawana, nak panjat seksa... so, stroller out!

The rest are ruins which I will share again later in this entry however, this is the ONLY building that is still in one piece, I assume if Parthenon were in one piece, this is how it'll look like. Cantek gak kan.... this is much smaller obviously! MUUUUUUCH SMALLER.

There were few details that I like, the columns, the carving, the location etc; and of course no one is allowed to go into this building for obvious reason. I certainly don't want to be screamed at twice on the same day, in the same compound. Kuang kuang kuang...

Hemm..... Civic Office? Hemmm..... depa dok langgar aku siap tak cakap sorry pun, tanya direction siap tak nak cakap...nor tolong.... ish! Rugi duit buat sivik opis jek.

Last man standing? Or is it last armor suit standing.

Chup! Even the museum entrance is FREE as well! YEAY!!!!

Cik Wahidah kita trying hard to understand the body, torso, face, statue etc of the carving at the museum. By now, every statue or body parts looks the same to us. Hahhahah......

It's fairly a small museum but still a museum nonetheless, thinking that this is probably the ONLY museum we will visit and since it's FREE; might as well right!!?!?!?! RIGHT???? Pandai dak, bende tak plan memang best when it happens. RIAK!

Dang! Simon had an open house without me!!! Hahhaha.... I tagged Simon (my exboss in US), he said " they left a mess in his house that is so bad, now it is in RUINS" Hahhahahah...... miss my boss!

By the way, do you know how we got to know this place? Hehehheh..... we decided to check out the flea market at Monastiraki as we heard and read that it is a MUST visit place, we dutifully took the train, but to our surprise; it doesn't stop at Monastiraki, in fact it stop at the station after. We got sooooo panic! (Lerrr.... mana lak nak bawak kiterang nih, negara nih memang huru hara giler!)

Thus, we decided to get down at the next stop and hop to the next train going the opposite direction, thinking that was the smartest thing to do. But as we about to step out of the train, we realised 2/3 of the folks getting down too... Hemmmm.... I said, they must be going to church or something (since it was a Sunday). As we walk upwards out from the train level, we realised that they are moving towards "a noisy" area. That's when it struck me that the flea market is closeby or at least connected to this area.

We walked out form the station and follow the crowd lar, thinking how wrong can it go right, yeay! we were right, it IS CONNECTED to Monastiraki Flea Market. Sungguh PERASAN sesangat!

Tah dah..... found thou thee flea market.

Yup! I insisted to look for this... Mosque, but it is part of the ruins and it was converted to a museum some sort, it was closed when we were there for a year for restoration.

Tuh diaa.... this is the view of Monastiraki from one of the building, the flea market is at the small lane on the left.

While walking looking for lunch, we saw this guy trying to hard sell us, check out the menu!!!! on iPad ok!!!! Changgih giler... Kalau kat KL, tobat kene rembat dah kan.

We went back to our hotel for a rest while waiting for the guys to arrive to the hotel, we estimated they will be here around 3ish or so. True enough, they arrived safely, tak panic kan? Tak susah kan? Pandai puuuuun....

We decided to take them around Monastiraki to buy some souvenirs reason being the next day we were to fly to Santorini, we left after solat Asar to Monastiraki.... Wahidah & I jadi tour guide sekejap, langgak pandai woh...

Ahh...... this is the mosque that I mentioned earlier, this is also part of the Roman Agora. By the time we arrive here, the sun beginning to set, pic perfect I thought.

Finally a pic of Wahidah and I, heheheheh...... background? Acropolis! I told you that it can be seen from everwhere right. So, just imagine how huge it is.

Night view from "A for Athens" Hotel, we managed to get permission to sneak up to the roof top bar to take this pic. Cool huh!

Tomorrow, new adventure - Santorini!

Hyperlink credit : Wikipedia

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 3 | Temple of Olympian Zeus & The DIET Tree

Terasa diri nih pendek... cis.... they are the few pretty Greeks that I met, they're from different HoHo company both operates from the same stop. Got to know that they are students working thru their summer holidays.

After discussion with Wahidah, we decided hari nih we should bow to Zeus (hemm... never knew Zeus participated in Olympic before, HAHAHAHHA) as well and go to the nearby park (they have mini zoo - YEAY!!!! I suka giler zoo okay). Plus we thought of taking the 2nd route which is heading to the port. That's our changgih plan ler.... as usual, we played by ears; if we reach the venue and decided it's no big deal, we switch immediately. Eksen giler ok! Isk isk isk, sure tuhan mawah...

Our first stop was the park, which was nothing much when we compared to those that we have been in NZ, Granada, Tokyo... but still a nice stroll was good, keep us thinking straight after the hectic schedule from the work, the flight, the journey, the rush and yesterday's strike. Pening.....

I was asked by Chawana, how the weather was, dia cam nih....
It's a Europe country, if you take into consideration that October being autumn thus the weather should be cooling, then you are right. BUUUUUUT, because it is located by the Mediterranean Sea, thus it is slightly hotter and the cool chilly autumn arrives much later. MEANING, it's cooler at night, an extremely light jacket is sufficient (in fact a cardy alone will do). And during day time, its sunny with cool chilly breeze blowing your face which to me; was PERFECTO for walking trip.

Don't ask what animal is it on the top pic as I couldn't find the signage to decribe it. Whatever it is, CUTE huh!

This was the only cool one that was there, the rest was chicken, duck, goose, ish! Dekat belakang umah pun ada (umah atok nenek ler kan). Memang dasar depa orang bandar, ayam pun masuk zoo.

Posing maut atas pokok nih dah berapa ribu tahun bro? Sampai jadi batu tuh! Kesian lak, nak ayaq dak?

The zoo was not huge, but substantially enough to take 2 hours or so if you want to terhegeh hegeh ler... we only cover 1/3 of the part ie move directly to the mini zoo. Hahhahha.... Wahidah actually put up with me when it comes to park & zoo, she knows me well then I love them and insisted it's in our itinerary (those that have been to Australia, would have guessed right; I LOVE their wildlife sanctuary).

We move out of the zoo looking for the president residence but could find the right way out... BUDUH betul. GPS tinggal kat hotel lak tuh, can one uses GPS for a walk in the park? Hemm.... I kept getting lost in the park (sama macam kat NZ Botanical Garden). What is wrong with me?!??!

Udah udah ler tuh, depa kat Greece gemuk semuanye, nih bukan nye Paris! Udah, stop dieting! Ingat!!! Die is DIE with a "T"

So, we came out near to the door which we came in just now and decided to walk towards the parliament, and guess what....?????

We arrrived at teh time where the allows the tourist to take a pic with the guard (but NOT to touch them at all!!), I pun apa lagi, terkinja kinja ler..... (my pic was in Wahidah album, belum copy lagi) but I do need to share this; CHECK OUT their POM POM SHOE!!!

Apa apa lah.... we continued walking, agak jauh gak the whole walk, I think we easily covered 1-2 km by the time we reach tempat bertapa Zeus nih. This place was huge but only columns was left from zillion years ago.

And guess what??? Hehhehehe..... YUP! Here too you can catch a glimpse of Acropolis, apahal kiasu benor depa bina polis polis nih, seantero Athens leh nampak. Hahhaha.... RIAK RIAK! Dosa woh...

Excerp from Mr. Wiki :

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods.

Fifteen columns remain standing today and a sixteenth column lies on the ground where it fell during a storm in 1852. Nothing remains of the cella or the great statue that it once housed.

Tuh dia eh.... god of the god pun main Olympic, Raja raja negara should do the same kot kan... ehhehe..

Mr. Wiki told as well that (macam ler kenal sangat kat Wiki nih) :

This Arch of Hadrian was built to celebrate the adventus (arrival) of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor him for his many benefactions to the city, on the occasion of the dedication of the nearby temple complex in 131 or 132 AD.

I bump into this, stop right on my TRACK, err.... kopi katak? Why FROG? WHY? WHY? WHY?

We took the HoHo to Pireaus port, we did stop at the terminal to take pics of the liner but it wasn't great. I post my Facebook link below if you want to see more pic.

What I like about this area is the cafe facing the port, best giler but too far from town for us to lepak at nigh...sigh...

How hard is it to take the train in Athens, it is seriously VERY EASY PEASY. Anywwhere you go is EU0.70 ONLY and you can take as many time as you want for the next 1.5hours. Then they have the day pass, 1 week etc, all can be purchase at the machine (works both in Greek & English) as well as human counter. Where else cost you EU8/= per pax ONLY.

Above is the cost for city to Airport, do take the train versus taxi as taxi cost is very expensive - EU40/= per taxi.

Their train too is modern as I guess, time of arrival is clearly stated and so far they have been punctual. No worries, clean and have English direction (kot kot risau).

I shall tell you this 2 auntie story in the Metro subway, they are both Greek and I believe 1st time taking the subway (we were behind them ofcos). They were trying to understand the Greek instruction and we thought of helping them but obviously we can't as we don't speak Greek and they don't do English. So tengok je ler, kang depa kata Asian undermining them lak kan.

You know what happen? They press everything correctly ie 2 tix (for 2 peson), EU0.70 each which totaled to EU1.40. They then took out the dollar NOTE, and SLOT INTO the COIN hole. We were "EHHHH!!!! WRONG!!!!" They kept pushing the note in, they even took another note to push the earlier in and deeper. What!??!?!? TIDAK!!!!

I can't take it any longer, I said "Excuse me! No! No!.... Showed them the coin, and show them the coin hole/sign. Then I took the note, point to the note slot portion. They go "Ahhhhhh......". Ek elaaa..... the instruction was in Greek! Even I knew! Tak pa, orang tua!

What they did next? They try to pinch the money out ler... not sure how much was the note but I guess it wasn't a small value. HAHAHHAHHAAA....

I hope I don't do that when I am old!

Anyway, the Metro subway even have a screen in the subway to tell the weather and news. Cool kan kan kan

Chawana, bab nih depa ok, ada lift & escalator for stroller/wheelchair folks.

Day 4 will be on Roman Agora and the arrival of my ex-colleague Zali & Wan.

For more pic, please click on my Facebook link here.

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