Friday, April 24, 2009

Greece is the word...have you heard...

This really should be several different blog posts... but hopefully you can deal with one long one instead :)

Greece was SO incredibly lovely. I am not sure that I can do it justice and I am very grateful that we were able to experience it. For so many years I have wanted to travel but it just was not possible. We didn't have the money. We didn't have the time.

But now, it appears to be our time so we are enjoying it, savoring it and appreciating it.

Our first few days in Athens were quite fun. We spent a good deal of time walking around and exploring the city. Observing the differences between it and Bangalore.

Stray animals? Yes, but they look much healthier and people seem to care for them a bit more.

Beggars? Yes, but they are Gypsies.

Walking street/sidewalk vendors? Yes, and they appear to be mostly Indian! (Very versatile though- they had water and sun umbrellas when it was hot, and switched to rain umbrellas when it was wet!)

Colorful? Yes, but for different reasons...

Ever present Athens grafitti

It was definitely a European city, and apparently our hotel, even though it was nice enough, was directly across the street from a charming church that doubled as a junkie shooting gallery.

nice. They didn't seem to bother anyone, nor did they seem to be bothered by anyone, going about their business regardless of who seemed to be walking or driving by no more than 8-10 feet from where they were. Definitely a different world. But, this was an interesting area,

we had a rooftop view of the Acropolis and we were just around the corner from quite a few tavernas that had Greek food which we enjoyed...

Mmmm... Greek Salad! (had a lot of that!)

We saw ruins!

Now, when I was asking people about visiting Greece, quite a few people said that 2-3 days in Athens was enough. We were there for 5 1/2 days and feel like we missed quite a lot! Part of that is because we like ruins, we like history and perhaps in contrast to our European friends, being from the US we have not seen much of that sort of thing. The Acropolis, Parthenon and accompanying areas were stunning.

It was quite a treat to be there in the Spring as the ruins were surrounded and enveloped by fields of wild flowers. That first morning we were walking through the Roman Forum and I smelled this wonderful scent and when I looked down I realized that we were walking through blooming chamomile!

The pictures, lovely as they are, cannot quite show how stunning this is. Plus we just don't see this much in India.

We enjoyed the Archaeological Museum,

luckily on a day that it was raining (and if you are wondering, yes, we were cold during most of our trip!). To see things that I have read about and studied was pretty darn cool.

Even the kids were impressed by this. though even the best museums lose their charm after a few hours,

so we kind of breezed through the end of it, which included the golden mask of Agamemnon and walked back to the hotel... and passed an H & M. Well, we did plan on doing a bit of shopping in Greece as well ;)

The next day we took a day trip to Delphi.

We ordered a car for this, mostly because that is what we are used to doing at this point, and ended up being driven to Delphi in a black Mercedes limousine. Don't think I'll have that experience again! It was something to watch people's reactions as we drove by. But then we would get out, and we just look like any other tourists. We really aren't so "flash". Anyway, Delphi was also very interesting, though lacking in instructional signboards, guides, or brochures. We walked up, and up the hill.

Surrounded by more wildflowers, gorgeous views, and were incredibly grateful that we were not attempting this in the middle of Summer. Seriously. We had cold air coming down off of Mount Parnassas, which was still covered in snow and this made the climb up the hill more bearable. Still I was grateful when we had reached the top and we were able to start the descent. After viewing the main site we made a quick breeze through the nearby museum which had some impressive things,

but we were still a bit "full" from our museum experience the day before. The girls enjoyed it, but as you can see below, were ready to go in the end.

We enjoyed the street life in Athens, and appreciated so much being able to WALK around a city. While we were close by to the metro, buslines, and could have easily taken taxis, we walked everywhere, and perhaps were able to get a better feel for the city because of it. I do wish that we were more familiar with the Greek language though. It is different enough from any that we are familiar with that we were a bit fluxomed. I tried, but repeatedly failed, to remember even the simplest words. In the end I was at least able to say "Kalimera", but that's it. Luckily most people speak English and didn't seem overly annoyed by our inability to communicate in any other language.

I have posted a lot of photos here, but if you would like to see more, go here.

Next, I will tell you about stunning Santorini!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Late FPF

Yeah... I know. I missed Friday. Our hotel here in Santorini has less than convenient internet access and the island itself is a bit distracting. So, here is a bit of Santorini for you and I will tell you more once we have returned to Bangalore... all too soon.

Friday, April 10, 2009


So... we are here, we are here, we are HERE!

Yup, we are in Athens, Greece.

Really, this is a lovely time of year to be here. Is it cold? Well, it is a bit chilly. Understand, we left 95 degree weather in Bangalore and that is what we are now used to. Here it is a balmy 70 degrees and we are a little shivery!

We had a lovely day today, wandering around the Acropolis. Tomorrow we will do some museum visiting and then the girls and I will probably do a little shop wandering while Bryan does something else. Really, it is better that way ;)

Sunday will be Delphi, and Monday and Tuesday we will see some more sites in and around Athens before we depart on Wednesday for a visit to Santorini.

Wish you were here!

Wishing you all a Happy Easter...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


There are occasions in life when you have to stop and make a reality check.

Am I where I need to be? Yes? Check.
Is my family well? Yes? (mostly) Check.
Am I focusing on the right things? Yes? Check.

I get a little nervous when all is well. When everyone is happy and doesn't need me to do anything for them. I'm just not used to it! But indeed, everything does seem to be well. The kids are growing up and becoming mostly self organized. My husband seems to be happy and well and even I am doing well.

Seriously, am I the only one who gets nervous when this happens?

On other fronts, I am busy getting school assignments done, taking lots of photos,

"These are the people in my neighborhood..."

...writing a paper that is due on the 20th. Oh yeah, I am trying to finish it this week because we are going to be traveling. Should I tell you??? Should I just surprise you with a Friday Photo from this mystery location? I could just give you a clue... it is going to be cold! Well, to us anyway where we have temps in the mid 90's every day! It will be substantially cooler and I am packing some sweaters and warm things :) You are all going to laugh at me though...

Had to say goodbye to two friends last week. Hate that.

Fellow crafter Gill

Elka, Tiki, The Departing Andrea, Linda, and myself...

The house feels different these days. Isha is here,

..."the boys" are often here,

Boy One, aka Brenton.
Need to get a pic of Boy Two...

...which is actually kind of nice... and life just feels, well, good!

Friday, April 03, 2009


Last weekend we had a fantastic get-away to Kabini (stayed at Orange County- HIGHLY recommended!!) It is along a section of the Cauvery River in Karnataka, but quite near Kerala. It is close to two Indian National Parks, Bandipur and Nagrahole, both of which are well known for their wildlife populations. So naturally one of the activities is to go on safari! There are many animals that we can see in this area, elephants, monkeys, leopards, deer (three types), HUGE squirrels, Water buffalo, wild boars (they are also HUGE), Jungle fowl (aka "wild chickens"), and of course, tigers. Apparently the animals that most often make trouble for people who live in the area are the boar and the elephants. Tigers and leaopards are shy and run away from people! Go figure. Still, the above list would indicate WHY we don't go camping in India. I know how to deal with bears in the Sierras, I know how to deal with mountain lions and mischievous chipmunks... but elephants? Tigers? Giant huge squirrels that look like they would cart off a young child if they were covered in cookie dust? No thanks.

Anyway, this being Friday, we need a photo. This is one of my favorites of the elephants along the banks of the river. This is definitely one that is better viewed in a larger size, but hopefully you will enjoy it anyway. You can go to my Flickr account to see more photos from Kabini. Enjoy!

And Lisa? I was thinking of you!