Monday, September 10, 2012

our big trip: fira, last swim, london

 On August 26th, we had a very long day before we would be able to catch our overnight boat back to Athens.  We were able to store our bags with our hotel managers, then we headed out for one last day of exploring.

We went to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira to check out the treasures that were discovered in the ancient Minoan city at Akrotiri.  It was pretty cool to see the archaeological dig site, the volcano that destroyed the city & the artifacts that were uncovered, all within a few days of each other!  There were portions of preserved frescos displayed in the museum (that apparently you are not allowed to have your photo taken in front of...go figure!), as well as tools used for cooking, imported tools & art from other regions.  It was pretty fascinating!

 After the museum, we wandered Fira to see the caldera side.

 Pretty church!

 We had another great recommendation from Stavros & ate at a restaurant named Argo.

 Nice view, huh?

We shopped & explored & tried to spend a good amount of time before heading back to Oia.

 When we did return, we walked down the very long stairway to the port of Oia to find the place where people swim.

 There was no beach & hardly anywhere to actually lounge around, but we managed to find a fairly flat rock to spread our towels.

 The water was wonderful & we did our best to enjoy our last swim in the Aegean Sea.  After our swim, we hiked all the way back up the very steep stairway, back to our hotel.  Whew!  What a hike!  We seriously thought about paying for a donkey ride this time, but we did it ourselves.  Then went straight to our hotel to jump in the pool!

We stayed until it was getting close to dinner time, then took the bus back to Fira to get ready for the next stage of travel.  When we got to the bus station, we found out that our boat was delayed by four hours!  Instead of departing at 10:00 pm, it would be departing at 2:00 am!  Yikes!  We had about 5 hours to kill before we could head to the port & we had all of our luggage with us.  We navigated the cobblestone streets & did our best to spend as much time as possible at an internet cafe, a restaurant for dinner, then another restaurant for more Loukoumades!  We used the iPad to play games, to help pass the time.  Then we went to the train station & waited some more.  After waiting, waiting, & more waiting, we finally boarded our overnight ferry & thanked God that we had reserved a cabin with beds & a bathroom with a shower!  We left closer to 2:30 am & we slept hard until 10:30 am.

On August 27th, we arrived in Athens with just enough time to take the Metro to find a restaurant for lunch & to walk around some shopping areas.  Then we took the bus to the airport & flew to London.  We arrived around 9:00 pm & had an overnight layover.  We stayed in a hotel near Kings Cross Station & didn't end up doing anymore exploring that night.  What a long couple of days!

 Outside our hotel in London, we were ready to go exploring before getting to the airport for our 3:00 pm flight.

 Kings Cross Station.  We had to find platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter books.  ;)

 Colorful building near our hotel.

 This street was lined with flags from all of the countries of the world.  We wondered if there had been a parade down this street for the Olympics??

 Cute buildings!

 These guys were all around, painted by different artists.

 Not a great photo, but that's our name!

 We walked through Green Park to Buckingham Palace.

 Love the puffy white clouds!

Palace Gates.

 Kenton really liked this dude.

 Self portrait.

 Pretty fountain.

 Photo by Kenton.

 Hee hee.

 Trafalgar Square...and more puffy clouds.

 Wow, London!  What a whirlwind visit, that was.  We'll have to come back some day...

We took the tube back to Heathrow, ate lunch & flew home.  We each watched about 4 movies to try to stay awake & beat jet lag.  It was a long, hard drive home from Seattle, but thanks to Kenton (& a 5 Hour Energy drink!), we made it!  We went straight home, but were quick to get up & get over to Kenton's parent's house in the morning to see our boys!  We missed them!

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