So, this was an amazing trip! We had a lot of fun even though we had trouble getting over the jet lag. This will probably be a long post because I'm going to post stuff by day, and add some videos here and there that I took, even though I sound like a complete doofus on them. lol You might have to occasionally "refresh" the page so that the pictures start over on each day since there are so many pictures. I added a few videos in this post but will add another post with just videos since they take longer to load. So stay tuned! :) We had a blast, and I am so blessed to have been able to go on this trip. I miss everyone already!
Day 1: We left Tuesday--headed for New York City! Sarah, Melodie, and myself met up with our friends, Lana, and Steve and Debbie Saiz! We had a great time in New York together! Yep, there is always lots of laughter going on! :) We met up at the hotel then found our way to Little Italy and ate at Novella's....which is the BEST authentic Italian restaurant EVER!!! It was freezing, but we went downtown to Times Square and walked around for awhile, while Starbucks kept us warm! :)
Day 2: We got up from NYC and slept in a little bit since we only got less than 2 hours of sleep the night before, we ate lunch at a local pizza cafe that had amazing chicken and spinach pizza! Then we met back at the hotel, got a cab and headed to JFK airport to meet up with all the other SAM'ers!!! We boarded the plane, and get all situated, and my neighbor (elderly gentleman) and his son come and sit down on the same row as myself. It wasn't long before I noticed that B.O. came to visit as well. I was already miserable and the 9 hour plane journey hadn't even begun yet! Of course this gets the girls to laughing because I kept making faces! (I have to add pics of that later). So I snuck a couple of pictures just for your enjoyment! haha (Bad I know...). The plane ride was miserable. I'm not gonna lie. It was HOT and stuffy! And my lovely neighbor couldn't not get comfortable and he kept bumping into me the ENTIRE 9 hour flight. Not only that, but he was all up in my space as well and there was plenty of room. But, we finally made it through. Boy was I ever glad to put my feet on foreign soil so I could just get off the plane! LOL
Day 3: After not sleeping all night, we finally arrived in Athens, Greece, got our luggage and cleared through customs. We then loaded our big purple bus which we nicknamed "The Barney Bus". We then went to the Acropolis and it was absolutely amazing! The giant amphitheater was amazing!!! The view that we saw over Athens was incredible! The city of Athens has over 5 million people, so its just huge!! After the acropolis, we saw the Pantheon. Then we drove around the city and saw the Modern Ancient Olympic Stadium that they still use once a year! It was awesome!!! Then we climbed to the top of Mars Hill! That was incredible to know that we were standing on the hill where Paul stood back in the Bible days! Later that afternoon, we finally arrived at Park Hotel, in Athens. Refreshed and got ready for dinner. Not quite sure what we had for dinner that night, but I didn't eat very much. lol So we ended up getting a midnight snack from Pizza Hut!!! LOL
Day 4: We got up this morning, had breakfast on the 8th floor of the hotel, with the most awesome view, looking out over the city of Athens, with the Acropolis not too far away! We then headed down to the Port of Athens and boarded the AquaMarine cruise ship!!! It was awesome! It was an older ship, but it was still amazing! If I remember correctly, we left around 10 am and was on the Aegean Sea/Mediterranean Sea all day and we arrived on the Island of Mykonos right at sunset (around 6:00 pm). I LOVED Mykonos!!! It was pretty much all the white buildings with the blue roofs! It was amazing!!! I was in complete awe. Arriving right at sunset was amazing!!! I loved walking around that island. I just wish we would have had more time there. Everyone was SO friendly and we found an amazing bakery there! Holy Moley, it was SO good! I have tried baklava before and didn't like it, but their baklava was amazing!! We got back on the ship, got to our rooms and found our covers turned back...but we didn't have any animals out of our towels. :( lol Dinner was hilarious that night. Our waiters name was Fotis and the water guy was Antonio. We had a lot of fun with them, but of course they loved to flirt! haha This was one of the better dinners on the ship. For appetizer we had some fried cheese (but its not what you would have thought)...it was more like a hushpuppy. Then we had salad and chicken parmegian (or however you spell that lol). For dessert we had....well...I'm not quite sure what it was. lol It was a mix between custard and flan. It was gross-not gonna lie. lol But we had fun with the girls at our table! We then, went and saw part of the "show" after dinner and then went and watched kareoke and disco dancing. We laughed so hard until our stomachs hurt!
Day 5: We arrived at the Island of Rhodes! It was beautiful! We met our tour guide for the day and we drove along the coast line to the city of Lindos. Absolutely beautiful!! When we got to the acropolis, we could either walk up 400+ stairs or we could ride a donkey up to the top! LOL Needless to say I chose to walk, because I would probably have killed the poor donkey. LOL But a couple of our friends rode the donkey up and one of the donkey's names was "Marcos"...so needless to say we have a lot of memories and jokes about "Marcos"!! "Ohhhh Marcus....where art thou when we calleth you?!" :) When we got to the top of the acropolis, it was one of the most breath-taking views of the Mediterrean Sea, I have ever seen! It was absolutely beautiful!!!! The pictures don't even do it justice. God is just amazing!!! After that tour, we went and saw a guy make a piece of pottery! How cool is that?! We also saw them paint some pottery by hand! It was amazing that they could do all that. We also walked through the only living med-evil cities and do some shopping! Oh, and we had some gelato!!!! All I can say is that, that is the BEST kind of ice cream there is!! :) This night, we saw another beautiful sunset!!!! We saw God's handiwork at its best!!! It was awesome!! For dinner tonight, it was "formal night". Well, it was more like business casual, but we got all dressed up in our church outfits, and our waiter, Fotis, was at his best again! We had a lot of fun with him! It was Greek night for dinner so we had some very interesting food once again! Needless to say I didn't have much to eat again! lol We had octopus for part of our appetizer that night. Ew, and no I didn't even try it! lol Fotis kept trying to make sure we told him what we wanted to eat in Greek! LOL
Day 6: We had to get up before the crack of dawn this morning! But let me say, IT WAS WORTH IT! We got to see the SUNRISE over the Mediterranean Sea this morning and it was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!! I've NEVER seen anything like this before!!!!! We arrived at the Island of Patmos today. Then we loaded a tender boat and that took us to the actual island. We went up to the Tomb where John wrote the book of Revelation. Then also went to the monestary and the church of St John. We got back on the ship and then docked in the country of Turkey, which is on the continent of Asia!! Where we went to Ephesus!!! It was absolutely amazing! We then went to a rug shop and watched a girl start weaving a rug! And tried some Apple Tea! Wow, it was so good! We only had about 45 minutes to shop before we had to get back on the ship! Then we went and hung out on the deck for a little bit even though it was cold. Since tonight was the last night on the ship, all the crew sang us a few songs during dinner!!! (I'll add some videos later). It was so much fun!!! Then we went and watched kareoke and disco dancing again.
Day 7: We arrived back in Athens and did a day tour and went to Ancient Corinth. We saw the temple of the god of the seas. It is amazing to have been able to walk around where you know they did back in the Bible days. After the tour, we went back to Athens, took a walk to get some Starbucks and ate dinner at the hotel.
Day 8: This was our free day in Athens. We got up and and spent the day shopping at the Plakka, which is like the shopping district. We had a great time hanging out with all our friends! We ate lunch at an awesome local Greek restaurant and had chicken gyros. I'm telling you this was the BEST meal ever on the entire trip!!! We went out for gelato later that afternoon and was sung to by some locals! Of course you had to give them money! lol Later that night, we went back to the hotel for our last dinner with everyone. It was once again a gross dinner but we went back out to the Plakka and got a good Greek meal since it was our last night there. Lets just say "what happens in Greece, stays in Greece"!!! LOL It's a inside joke that we have. It was funny though because we met 3 guys in the square while we were taking a picture and they wanted to talk to us and get pictures with us. LOL So we talked to them for a few minutes then we got in the taxi and went back to the hotel. We were wired when we got back to the hotel and only got 2 hours of sleep before we had to get up and go to the airport. But hey, it was our last night in Athens, right?! LOL