Me Greeeeeksta. Europa story time.

As I write this I am currently sitting on a beach a few meters away from crystal clear Naxos, Greece water. The blue at the shore is a Tiffany blue, then slightly whiter and finally a deep navy blue. In the distance I can see the mountains from the other side of our island which Sean is itching to explore via scooter. We are clearly the whitest people on this beach, everyone else is strutting their euro brown tan with the women looking particularly leathery. There is random wi-fi on this beach even though or rented apartment behind us has none due to our Greek lady who owns it insisting it’s tech waves will impact her newborn. She waited for our late arrival last night and greeted us with a baked cake. It was around 10 pm and we were starving so we went to the restaurant beside our place and feasted on rose wine, zucchini balls, fried squid and ridiculous mouth-watering tzatzki. That is probably spelt wrong. The owner then naturally brought us ouzo. So gross. Sean and I went for a night swim while Alexis tended to an adorable stray cat who followed us and we nicknamed Costa. We got him some tuna for the next time we see him. There are plenty of friendly stray kitties lounging around and we are trying to convince Alexis to not ship them all home. 

Our travel day yesterday was ridiculous. 7 am flight out of Berlin where we spent 3 hours in a plane with screaming children and one who puked behind me. We landed at Athens and took the hour metro ride to the ferry port. Sean and I left Alexis with or bags and in the shade while we spent another hour walking in the blistering and dusty streets of Athens to find the right ferry office that had our printed tickets we reserved online. We then sat at a bar drinking iced coffee and beers for 3 hours till we could board. 

P.s Alexis is still thinking about the stray cats while she is suntanning because she just asked “how do cats get on an island?”. 

The ferry ride was 4 hours long and after some beers the ship REALLY started rocking. Even the staff were tumbling as they walked by. I knew I was going to get motion sickness so I headed outside in the fresh air and took a nap. Finally after 15 hours of travel we stepped onto our island and this was the Greece I pictured in my mind. The chaotic traffic and loud voices of Greek men filtering out of the taverns, the lights of the sailboats twinkling on the water, the women standing in the doorways of their small white houses shouting for their children who you can hear laughing and running in the distance and of course the constant dreamy and slow hum of the water lapping on the pepply shore. As we drove further out to our quiet beach town where we are staying, I sighed and remembered my stay at the amalfi coast 2 summers ago and felt so happy I was back in a similar environment. And as Sean and I lazily swam with beers and champagne in hand ( double fisting swimming? Vaaaaacaaaaationnnnn) out in the warm salty water with the stars above us and the sandy and smooth stone bottom we could still see so clearly even in the night, with Alexis sitting at the shore playing with Costa, I couldn’t help but feel completely and utterly at peace. Later, as we slept in our little beds with the cool crisp sheets, the yellow moon shining in through our windows with the green shutters and the crickets singing, I fell asleep with a smile on my face and thinking about absolutely nothing. Which hasn’t happened in awhile.

Alexis has woken up from sunbathing and is contemplating another swim. I’m done my champagne so I think I will join her. My hair is a giant Afro of salt, I’m going to give up brushing it this week. We’re going to pick up our scooters later and head into town to check things out and get Drew from the ferry. I want to make a sign that says “team euro goulet” and add sparkles. Before you send me hate mail about how you are currently sitting at work on a Monday morning and thinking I am a total dick for writing about my vacation, I would like to add that Sean and I both look like victims of a virus outbreak. It started in Berlin when I got attacked by mosquitos in my opa’s garden which for some reason got infected and the bites on my right leg are indescribable. Loud red in a weird design like paint splatter. Then Sean got a giant outbreak of a heat rash on his entire back which is frightening. Just as I started to laugh at him my left leg broke out with the same heat rash so now we are up to 3 creams that we think are helping us that we smother on each other, but who knows with the Greek writing on them. Alexis has a huge blister on one foot and gashed open two toes so her feet are covered in band-aids. At this point Canada won’t let us back in the country, we look kind of diseased.

Alexis and I just succumbed to the beach gypsies and bought matching bracelets. Stupid north American tourists. Anyway, time to get back into the water, it is me gusta hot out here. 

P.p.s. The main thing you need to know about Berlin is at Marc’s birthday with all his canoe friends, Sean passed out drunk underneath their dragon boat. Funniest.thing.ever.

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EUROPA TIME

Once upon a time, back somewhere in January or February, two best friends were drinking on a weekday at a bar with beautiful drink specials discussing life, when we both agreed we needed to get the fuck out of Vancouver which prompted…

Sean

We should go to Greece.

Julia

Yes. Greece.

After more shots of tequila and life complaining, we agreed, Greece it is. And after months of planning and putting aside spare cash, Sean and I are Greece bound with extra awesome people to boot. Alexis flying with us into Berlin and then onwards we go to the island of Naxos to meet up with Drew who’s been busy getting a tan and galavanting around Europe on a bike tour to raise money for a charity. What better way to end up in Greece then with your best friends?

just going to leave this here....

I’m also very excited to be back home in Berlin. Yes I have lived in Canada most of my life but Berlin will always be home, not just cause my sister and family live there but as I grow older I realize how much the city and it’s roots haven’t left these bones, and there is a sense of belonging and peace that I don’t feel anywhere else until that plane touches down in my home city.

As per usual, my planning for this trip has been poor. While Alexis and Sean seem to have booked all tickets and printed maps, I have done nothing. I am the worst traveling partner. I think it’s because I moved around so much as a kid and had the pleasure of traveling a lot as well that foreign lands do not concern me. If I step off a plane with no hotel booked or no idea where I am going, it does not phase me. I know that no matter what, I will end up where I need to go. It might take longer, it might be more problematic, but I will make it. This does not always bode well with my friends who like to pre-plan, but that’s why I let them go ahead and plan everything and I just join their ride. And if something messes up (they printed the wrong map or the reservation screwed up, anything really), I’m always the one to calm down their panic attack and make them sit down at a local bar for a drink so we can laugh about our situation and then move forward. That all being said, it’s still laughable that the suitcase I used for the Franz and Julia L.A trip 2011 is still lying in my bedroom awaiting it’s next trip. It knew. I gradually “unpacked” it, as in I was picking clothes out of it to wear instead of putting them back in their drawers, until it was empty and lonely amongst the mess that is my room. That was over a month ago. Classic Niendorf. I also ended up spending last night not doing laundry and packing, but going to Final Destination 5 with Sean and Byron so we could play the drinking game of ‘spot the Vancouver landmarks in this movie’. Needless to say we got drunk quite quickly. And then we all ended up at the Morrissey killing shots till 3 am. Now I have 2 hours left before my flight and I’m still sitting in my messy room, unpacked and wearing a face mask. Priorities. Whatever, it takes me 5 minutes to pack.

Either way, I have been looking forward to the next two weeks for a very long time. I can’t wait to be in Berlin during the summer, drinking beers on patios as the dogs run around at my feet (Berlin has to be the most dog friendly place I’ve ever been to), seeing my Oma and Opa in their garden eating strawberry tart, seeing two of my best friends appreciate the history of where I’m from and finally ending up in a small town of Greece where I will be riding on the back of a scooter with the sun in my face and no worries with people I love. Life is good sometimes.