Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
Trip End Apr 30, 2011

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Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Saturday, April 16, 2011

Well the last two weeks or so have been crazy and I have had zero time to write my blog. I will be impressed if you read the whole thing, because it's practically a novel. Anywho, let’s take it back to Wednesday March 30th.
Lyndsey, Gretchen and I left on our trip to Greece on Wednesday. I would just like to say right now… I hate trains. I never seem to have a train ride without problems. We were waiting at the  station and our train kept getting delayed, after about   an hour of this they made an announcement saying that NO trains were going to King’s Cross (the station in London where we needed to go to get to the airport) until the next day. We had a bit of a panic attack and told one of the men working at the station our dilemma. He was really nice about helping us and the train station paid for a taxi to get us to the airport. Now, trains take about an hour to get to London and cars take about 3 hours. They said they would try their hardest to get us to the airport, but if we missed our flight we couldn’t blame them. By the time we were in the taxi on our way to the airport it was about 5:45 and my flight was at 9. I happened to have a different flight than they did, because when we were booking them my credit card wouldn’t go through the first time and when I tried again all the spots on that flight were gone. It wasn’t a big deal though, because our flights were only an hour apart and at this point I have done enough traveling that I can easily do it alone. Anyway, our cab driver booked it to the airport and we made it in about two hours instead of three, giving me about an hour and 15 minutes before my flight. It has never taken me longer than half an hour to check in and go through security, so I had plenty of time and was even able to pick up a sandwich! I also flew through British Airways this time which is a lot nicer than the other airlines I have been using. They even served me dinner! When I arrived I had to wait an hour for Gretchen and Lyndsey to come in on their flight. Our original plan was to stay the day in Athens, then take an overnight ferry to Santorini. We had to come back through Athens to catch our flight back to London anyway so we decided to go straight to Santorini instead. We waited around until there was a bus that would take us to the ferry, took the 45 minute bus ride to the ferry, and then rode that for 8 hours. We tried to sleep, but it was hard to because there was a little boy that would scream every 5 minutes. When we arrived in Santorini, we had to take 2 different busses to the other side of the island which took another hour. We finally arrived after about 22 hours of traveling. When we got to the hotel, they had a few open rooms, so they let us choose which one we wanted to stay in! After settling in, we walked around town and bought some groceries for dinner. We didn’t stay out too long, because we were all exhausted and after being out for over 24 hours we needed showers.

Friday we got up and explored some more of the town. There are dogs everywhere you go just wandering around or basking in the sun. It is so cool! As we were walking a dog started following us. We thought it was a boy at first, so we named it Leonidas. We later figured out it was a girl so we changed it to Leahnidas. She was following us around for at least 2 hours! We went in a wine shop and bought a bottle of wine made in Santorini. All along the main strip of town there are small shops, so we spent part of the afternoon shopping and buying souvenirs. It was good timing, because many of the shops just opened for the season. Plus, there weren’t many tourists so we were normally the only ones in the shops. The weather was so beautiful that we decided to go back to our hotel and lay outside. I laid down right on the ledge so I could have a beautiful view of the water and the town. Apparently I fell asleep for a little while and didn’t feel the earthquake. Lyndsey said that she thought Gretchen was pushing her until she realized that she was lying on cement. We heard later it was a 3 on the scale where we were. We later went back out again to do some more shopping and to get dinner. We went to an outdoor restaurant and right after we ordered (of course) it started to rain. They had umbrellas, but there were small holes in them so we still were getting sprinkled on. We then ran back to our hotel, played some games and drank our wine… which turned out to be quite disgusting.

We had planned to get a donkey ride up the volcano on the island (only 5 euro!) Saturday morning and then catch an overnight ferry back to Athens. Unfortunately, we didn’t look into this until Friday night and the donkey rides went from 11-2 and the latest ferry was at 3:30. We didn’t want to risk missing the ferry so we had to skip the donkey ride. HUGE disappointment. Instead, we went out to an old castle on the island and back to the stores to pick up a few last souvenirs before catching the bus to get to our ferry. It was nice for me that we had another 8 hour ferry ride, because I needed to work on my term paper (due Monday that I barely had an outline for… oops). When we arrived in Athens we hadn’t booked a hotel or hostel for the night since we had thought about taking an overnight  ferry. We had brought the address for one we could possibly stay at, so we made our way over there by taking the metro. Out of all the metros I have ever been on, this was by far the slowest and crappiest one. When we arrived at the hostel, they only had one bed left. We walked around town and went to 3 other hotels before we finally found one that had any open rooms. By the time we got there it was 2:00am and we had to get up early if we wanted to see the sites in Athens.

Sunday we got up at 6 to get ready and were out the door by 7. The hotel we were at also included a nice carb filled breakfast! We made our way around town to the Olympic Stadium, the Olympieion, the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Athens was cool, but it is pretty much a big city with these historical sites randomly placed around town. It comes nowhere near the beauty of Santorini. We had to try to pace ourselves at each site, because we had to be on our way to the airport by noon. We were planning to take the metro, but the bus was cheaper so we tried to find that instead. It was a pain in the butt, much more difficult and not worth the money we saved to take the bus, but we made it. Our flight went smoothly, then we took the metro back to King’s Cross station. We had a couple hours to wait before our train back to Grantham, so we went to McDonalds, ate and played cards. Our train finally got back at 10:45 and Ralph from my meet-a-family picked us up at the station instead of having to call a taxi!

As you may remember I had that 2,000 word term paper due Monday that at this point I still hadn’t started writing. Although I was exhausted from the weekend, I HAD to get this done considering I had all semester to write it. I stayed up literally all night (except when I fell asleep sitting up for about half an hour) and turned it in at 5:00pm when it was due. Needless to say, I went to bed early that night.

Tuesday night I had my last dinner at my family’s house. It was fun but sad, because it is the last time that I will see Ralph. Sadly, he left for the United States and wasn’t able to make it to the last Meet-a-Family reception.

Wednesday was another fun day where I had to pull together my marketing paper and presentation which I also hadn’t started. This would turn into my second all nighter of the week. I would just like to mention that before this week I had never pulled an all nighter in my life. Procrastination definitely got the best of me this semester. Although, I also had another paper for my Human Genetics class due on Thursday which I had written beforehand. Go me!

Thursday after class I took a nice long nap until the Meet-a-Family Fest. It started off with the choir singing what I thought was going to be just a few songs, which turned into more like half an hour’s worth. I was also assuming this was going to be a dinner thing like the first one had been, but instead all we got were a few bite sized dessert pieces. It didn’t last long, so we didn’t get to spend too much more time with Judith.

Friday we had class to make up for the Thursday we missed for the Paris trip. After class, Lyndsey, Gretchen and I went into town to find our costumes for the Costume Ball. We wanted to do something that was a group of four and were planning to be the Ninja Turtles along with Jordan. We had no clue what we were going to use, but we happened to stumble upon everything that worked perfectly for it. We found green serving trays for our shell, ice cube trays for our chest (we had 28 packs, no big deal), green socks, green knee pads, scarves for our masks, foam swords for some of the weapons and rolling pins to make my nun chucks (I was Michelangelo, the party dude). It definitely was the right costume choice.

Saturday afternoon Gretchen, Lyndsey, Jordan and I layed outside and enjoyed the sunshine, because it was in the mid 60’s. The Costume Ball was Saturday night as well. We all got ready for it together and went outside to take some pictures. We had the great idea of taking a jumping picture by jumping off the steps onto the gravel driveway. Bad idea. Gretchen and I both fell as we landed, she hurt her pinky and thought she might have broken it and I got a deep scrape on my hand. I like to call it my battle wound from when I was a Ninja Turtle. Anyway, we had pretty much the best costume at the ball (although I am a little biased) and got a million complements on it. We had a nice dinner and then danced the night away in the Great Hall.

Sunday afternoon we layed out in the sun again since it was so nice outside. The Harlaxton Olympics were also going on. It was just a bunch of funny group games that related to things in England, such as sheep herding where one person had to lead a group of four blindfolded people. I didn’t participate, but it was a lot of fun to watch. That night I had to finish my group marketing presentation that we had been working on the past few days, since we had to present Monday.

My marketing presentation on Monday was my last bit of work for the semester besides finals, so I went into town to celebrate with my friend Alana and her friend Betsy. It was a lot of fun and there were a bunch of people from Harlaxton out trying to take advantage of their last week in Grantham.

Tuesday was a fairly unproductive day besides having the Italy briefing at night.

Wednesday afternoon Jordan and I went on a tour of the walled garden, which turned out to be pretty lame. It was basically walls, grass, a few trees and bushes. I was expecting to at least see some flowers! Most of my friends were still working on projects, so Lyndsey and I just watched a movie that night.

Thursday was our last day of class. (Yay!) It was also the Valedictory Convocation and Dinner.  There were a bunch of presentations, awards and speeches and a fancy dinner. It was a lot of fun, but sad because it would be our last nice dinner together. After the dinner, Gretchen, Lyndsey, Patrick and I celebrated Gretchen’s engagement (she was proposed to a couple weeks ago in front of the Eiffel Tower). 

Friday we had planned to go to Nottingham for some shopping, but we celebrated a little too much on Thursday that Lyndsey and I didn’t feel up to it, so Jordan and Gretchen went without us. Lyndsey and I don’t have finals on Sunday (yes, we have finals on the weekend), so we are planning to go then instead.

Today I had my Marketing final. Done with marketing forever! Except not at all considering it's my major.

I will try to do one more blog entry before I leave to tie up everything before I leave Harlaxton forever :[ BUT then I am off to Italy for 9 wonderful days. :]

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