Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First Week In Italy

We had a fantastic month in Greece, better than we could expect, we didn't want to move on, we had to. A few days before, we made our schedule. For a split second we questioned going to Venice, but we said it out loud and Maria ended the debate before it started: "Of course we go to Venice, I want to see it!" The other factor was transport from North to South, how to get to Napoli. The cheapest and fastest way was to fly on a particular day. We were left with eight nights in the North, to cover Milan, Torino, Florence and Venice.

I considered skipping Milano, but my mother said we really have to see the dome, the children, hearing its story, expressed some interest, and I was happy. I heard about it maybe forty years ago. I started to collect postcards as a child and all I had from Italy were with the Milan Dome. It seemed then to be the center of the world, the one and only site that I must see. Quite wrong, but I was a child.
The Dome in Milan, postcard type picture

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A History of Greece Through Our Travels

People come to Greece to see the Acropolis and dip in the sea, to eat gyros and yogurt. Or to learn some real history. It is the birthplace of the Western civilization, the beginning of art as we know it and the first experiment in democracy. During our four weeks here we learnt a lot. We visited a lot of places as they came our way, but it makes more sense to put them in historical perspective. I am sure it will help us to remember, but I also hope that you will learn something new.

Our itinerary in Greece

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Greece in Four Weeks

I never understood how Eol was such an important god, actually I didn't understand why he was a god at all. That is until now, when we left the island of Mykonos on a BlueStar Ferry. It is the biggest boat we've ever been on, but the wind is so strong that everything is trembling. Anna, the owner of our hotel, repeatedly told us over the last week that we are lucky, they didn't have one good day all summer. We had two or three days without wind, it was uncomfortably hot, but, when the wind blows, it is almost cold and it is certainly unpleasant.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Scrambled Foxtrot (2)


Cristina and I have been BFFs since 5th grade. No matter how much time passes from the last meeting, we talk and work together like we saw each other just yesterday. She takes the children fishing (Mihai, Ileana, and I are not fans) and then she shows them how to clean them.

Ready to eat grilled fish, hand caught crabs, tomato salad with feta cheese and many other goodies!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Scrambled Foxtrot

 Athens greets us with sunshine and social unrest. The bus doesn’t go all the way, the subway doesn’t stop at the Syntagma station, the one close to Parliament. We arrive at Cristina and Dan’s house safe and sound. Six years is a long time, but it didn’t change a thing. They spoil us with freshly squeezed orange juice (not all oranges are equal to this task, they have to be small, soft, and with a shiny peel), dried figs from their garden, olives from their trees. Our children don’t remember meeting (they were less than 5 years old) but get together like all teenagers do. They live in a very small apartment, next to a church that rings its bells from 7:30 am. If we all get in the kitchen there is barely room for standing, so we go out and eat feta salad (feta cheese with tomatoes and flooded with virgin olive oil), kokoritzi (a dish made from sheep intestines), sausages and meat patties. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Greek Continent


Our first experience in Greece includes meeting Mom's lifetime friend's husband at the Athenian airport. We take a bus for a while… then have to get off the bus because there are strikes going on and public demonstrations.

Apparently this is the new norm in Athens.

It's kind of weird to say you're in Athens. For some reason, I think of this more as a history-book place, which I suppose is normal, since people do tend to read about it quite a lot in history books.

It does look like an Ancient History type of place, but mostly that's reserved for the museums and the ruins. 

We met Cristina, Maria, and Eleni again, had dinner at a Greek restaurant, watched the Romanian version of the camp presentation, and talked till after midnight.

(Some of us, however, (read 'we girls') laughed hysterically the whole night.)

The next morning, after talking a while longer, we headed to Ermioni (in a round-about way).

It took us 4 days to reach it, despite the fact that the trip could easily be made in three hours.

First we went to Meteora, where we visited 4 Orthodox monasteries.

It is so comforting to be somewhere where you know all the rules and how to act and everything seems familiar. Catholic churches, for some reason, don't feel like places of worship to me. Then you reach an Orthodox church and there are paintings of saints on the walls and icons everywhere, and the altar, and they're so cluttered, in a way, that you feel very very cozy, as if everything's alright and nothing can go wrong.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Zeus's Hiding Place

"It’s far away....20 euros!"

"No," says Mihai and walks away. Another taxi driver approaches and gives his price: 15 euros. The first one insists “I’ll take you, 20 euros!” Mihai can’t believe it, there is a lower offer on the table, and the first one insists on his price. NO!

Our hotel is far, far away but it has a kitchenette. While we settle in, Mihai goes to the corner store for a quick grocery shopping. The vendor was eating a pomegranate and offers him a piece, and when Mihai refuses, he puts it anyway in the bag “They are not ripe yet, but they’re sweet.” I’m happy for it, I haven’t had a pomegranate in more than a year, and just before I taste it I say out-loud “Bogdaproste, let it be for the departed souls.” The Greeks are Orthodox Christians, like ourselves, and give alms thinking of the ones who left this life. I don’t know if he intended it as alms, but if he did, I want to recognize it.

We wake up before sunrise, amidst barking and roosters cockle-doodle-dooing. We take a bus, change in town to another one and we arrive at the opening time at Knossos's Palace. The place seems empty, just a few other tourists. We didn’t do our homework, so we don’t know where to go, we’re just following the road. And suddenly we’re there, at the same level with fluted red-browned columns, blue frescoes, mosaics and door jambs made of plaster that imitate the wood grain. And groups of tourists, blocking the view! Suddenly, our main task became to see the bits and pieces in between groups. Their guides talk loudly, and the tourists are hanging on their words, crushing anything in their way. 

Greek Islands


Here's a secret. I'm not sure how to spell this island's name.

The view from our grandparents' hotel's balcony.

On the Facebook update it says Mikonos. In Remington Steele episodes it says Mykonos.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Europe Since Then

So the last post I put up was "Europe So Far" and now we're just continuing since then.

We left off with Kutna Hora. After going around town and seeing the sights, Daddy and I caught a bus back home to Prague, and the next day we took another one for Berlin.

The first night we stayed at a very nice hotel, and Mom and Daddy went to dinner with some friends, who, starting with the next day, would lend us their apartment as they went off on vacation. The parents came home at an absurdly late hour and we were torn between worry and that "WOOHOO THE PARENTS ARE OUT AND I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT YAAAAAY" feeling that most people get when the parents shut the door. And, like most people, we didn't really use our fleeting freedom and just hung out doing whatever. And then, you know, scolded our parents when they came home at 11.