Monday, June 20, 2011

It's All Greek (Islands) to Me

I have arrived on Crete and it's just beautiful. A far more modern island than any in the Cyclades--the shower is attached to the wall over your head instead of hung like a telephone at hip height! It's remarkably hard to wash your hair with one of those. The sun is vicious but there have been beautiful sea breezes everywhere in the islands.

There are also lots of kittehs!

I have been chasing cats up and down the labyrinthine streets of these Greek Islands. The first was Mykonos which was a crazy party place. There was barely any room to hold a drink, let alone dance, in the club we were in. I think that could be attributed to the impromptu strip-tease that a girl dancing on the bar decided to do. Plenty of cameras came out and I'm sure she's now been uploaded to YouTube. I felt like shouting up to her, "I HOPE YOU'RE GETTING AN EDUCATION YOUNG LADY." The young men around her certainly were. Of her KNICKERS.

The windmills on Mykonos

Next was Naxos, which was where I got some Culture, capital C. I went to hear some traditional music and see some dancing...

...and hung out on Plaka Beach, which was quiet as well as utterly gorgeous. Got through a good thwack of Stephen King's The Stand that day.

A view of the port of Naxos looking down through the ruins of a temple to Apollo

My last day on Naxos I unfortunately broke out in a seething rash all over my body. I'd been slapping sunscreen on three times a day for a week and I'd finally had an allergic reaction to it. Did it ever hurt and YE GODS did it itch. For several hours I was a weepy, itchy mess, waiting for the pharmacies to reopen. Most shops close for the Greek version of a siesta, and I couldn't get get cortisone and antihistamines until 7pm. The pharmacist also told me firmly NO SUN. 

Good lord, I'm in the Greek Islands, how do I avoid the sun?!

I convalesced on Paros, swathing myself in cotton and dutifully observing the no-sun rule (zzzz....a pleasant way to spend the afternoons). I chased moar kittehs ...

...and visited museums. This is the Gorgon, or Medusa, seen here with a snake belt rather than snakes for hair. This was the most striking piece in the Museum of Archaeology at Paros. I was terrified she was about to come alive and bite my head off when I took her picture. AN IMAGE OF AN ANGEL BECOMES AN ANGEL. (A little Doctor Who ref for you there, hehe.)

I was mostly better by Santorini, or should I say SANTORINI!!!! It's a truly beautiful place. I was in a rather dull mood when I arrived, but the sight of the sheer cliffs when the ferry docked were so reviving. The town of Thira is literally perched on the edge of cliff. Me, perched on the edge of the edge!

 It's a cresent shaped island, the middle having repeatedly blown out by a volcano, the last time being around the 17th century BC. I visited the caldera, an islet in the bay, the following day, by boat. AMAZING place. The rock formations are stunning. The boat also moored just off some hot springs and I went for a swim. Probably a mistake, and the sunburn I got on my legs on the boat (can't use sunscreen, remember!) made the rash on my legs flare up like you wouldn't believe.

Which made me rather miserable.

And I also got stood up that night. Which was even more miserable : /

This is a little Rhiannon IRL (In Real Life): I'm travelling alone so the people I meet make a big difference to the experiece I have. The lovely backpackers on Mykonos that I partied with, the lovely locals on Naxos that I went bar-hopping with ... I've never been stood up before, so thank you, G------, for that delightful experience. Here's a little Lily Allen, Fuck You Very Much, just for you.

Being a long way from my friends mean I have to find some way to vent, you know? ;)

I took a sleeping pill (damned itchy rash!!) and woke up with the worst ache in my shoulder for sleeping on it the wrong way. I woke up with it again this morning, on Crete, and actually had a little cry. Mostly it was frustration because I couldn't find my ibuprofen. Paracetamol coming out of my ears, and it's completely useless!

Dear readers, I'm feeling better now. You can't stay cranky when your hotel looks like this.

I'm visiting the Palace at Knossos tomorrow, and then heading to the pretty little port of Agios Nikolas to finish of my time on Crete. Then The Journey Home begins. I don't actually get back to Melbourne til July 2, so I'm definitely taking the scenic route. 

More anon.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Quick Update

It's a beautiful summers morning here in England and we're about to get on the road again. I'm deep in Midsomer Murders territory, if you've ever watched the show. I'm sure it's dangerous to go wandering in the woods alone.

NYC was AMAZING. I stayed with a friend in Brooklyn. Total hipster central. The bars were amazing and so was the brunching. Epic brunching. I saw the New York Public Library, the Met, Grand Central, Rockerfeller Place, the West End, Chelsea, the park (north, east, west and south) ate SO MANY hotdogs, drank Snapple, sweated in the subway, hailed cabs, shopped, shopped and shopped. The Strand Bookstore. OMG. Massive pile of books bought. And a Lord of the Flies t-shirt. Also, the clothes. Things are so expensive in Australia, as Australians know, so I went a bit mental on the shopping. I got to meet my agent, Ginger Clark, while I was there too, and we had a lovely lunch in Noho.

Now I'm in England with my family (dad is English so there are lots of aunts and uncles and cousins about) and we're all off to my cousin's wedding. Looking forwad to catching up with everyone.

Tuesday I fly to Greece and I'm not sure when I'll get to post next. I'm not sure how much internet access I'll get in the Greek Islands. Talk to you all soon!