• General Travel,  Greece

    Thessaloniki

    After Kalambaka, I headed on to Thessaloniki – yes, that Thessaloniki of “Thessalonians” fame. Thessaloniki is right on the water, and it’s in far north Greece. I knew it would be my stepping off point for other countries in Europe, so I took the train there. When I got off the train, I decided to walk the mile and a half to my hostel because I really didn’t want to deal with cab drivers. Whoops. I definitely got lost and probably ended up walking more than two miles in 100F+ heat and with all almost-50lbs of luggage. I did mention I feel like I’m getting stronger, right? After getting into…

  • General Travel,  Greece

    Meteora: Monasteries on Cliffs

    When I first saw pictures of Meteora, I thought it was unreal. And then I arrived and it stole my heart! Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s got six active monasteries perched high up in the rocks above the village. The villages at the base, Kalambaka and Kastraki, are perfectly nestled in the valley with red-roofed houses and incredibly walkable streets. Meteora is in inland Greece (basically the center of Greece), and it’s compared to Mount Athos – with one important difference. Women are invited to Meteora.

  • General Travel,  Greece

    Island Hopping Close to Athens: Agistri

    Greece is known for its islands – so I knew that although my Greece trip would focus on the mainland, I’d also like to get out and swim in the Aegean. Luckily, there are a few islands an easy day trip from Athens. Two easy ones are called Aegina and Agistri. Aegina is the bigger one, and having just a day there, I decided to do Agistri because the small size made it seem more manageable.

  • General Travel,  Greece

    Ancient Athens Beyond the Acropolis

    Athens is a city filled with history, and they’ve done a great job preserving it. There are even parts of the sidewalks that have windows down below to where the ancient streets were! Beyond the Acropolis, there’s still so much to see. I bought the combined ticket that let me into the Acropolis and six other ancient sites. I made great use of it, and managed to get to all the sites except one, and then even a few others. One other place I was happy to visit (and it’s free!) was the Aeropagus. This is a giant rock next to the Acropolis, and it’s filled to the brim with…

  • General Travel,  Greece

    Visiting The Acropolis!

    I knew the Acropolis was going to be a highlight of my trip, and I also knew it was going to be insanely crowded. It’s the biggest attraction in Athens, and I was there at the peak of high season. So I woke up early, and went to stand in line. I got there at 7:30am when they open at 8am, and I was the only one in line until 7:50am. That surprised me! As soon as they opened the gates, I practically sprinted to the top (yes, I was incredibly out of breath by the top!) so I could try to get some pictures without other people in them.…

  • General Travel,  Greece

    A Non-Acropolis Day in Athens, Greece

    I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy to have a plane touch down as I was the plane to Athens. Europe, blessed Europe. Where I can drink the water and eat the food! And hopefully not be leered at as I walk down the street! It was such a refreshing change to be somewhere that’s made for tourists, too. The airport in Athens is well-signed, and it’s easy to figure out where to go. It’s also easy to figure out where and how to catch the train into Athens. It did not, however, say that you’re going to need cash for the train ticket! I hadn’t gotten Euros yet,…

  • Egypt,  General Travel

    Visiting Egypt as A Single Female Blonde

    Since I got to Europe, people have consistently been asking me what I thought about Egypt – did I feel safe? Is it ok to go? Should they go? And I have to say that my feelings on the trip are very mixed. I’m so glad I went to Egypt – seeing the Pyramids and all the temples are a life-long dream come true. I got to meet so many cool people, and see so many awesome things. There aren’t many tourists, so the attractions were practically deserted. In so many ways, Egypt was awesome. For me, it was a dream trip and an absolute dream come true. But then…

  • Egypt,  General Travel

    Cairo Chaos and Egyptian Museum

    Another reason I stopped in Sharm el Sheikh was to rest up and have a (hopefully) better impression of Egypt before I got to Cairo. The stories you hear about Cairo are quite endless, and few of them are good. I decided to take the bus from Sharm to Cairo – to be honest, it felt easier than flying. So I bought my ticket online; in Egypt, there’s a service called Go Bus that has pretty nice busses and a pretty good website to find timetables, prices, and bus classes. I always worry in Egypt that things aren’t going to run on time or I’m going to get delayed on…

  • 30 Before 30,  General Travel,  Jordan,  Travel

    Wonder Number 6: Petra!

    I got to channel my inner Indiana Jones at Petra for two days. I’m so glad I took two days – the site is HUGE, and especially in the summer, you really can’t do a full day there! To get to the Treasury (which is what you picture when you think “Petra”), it’s a bit more than a mile walk (I think). The first part is just down a normal dirt path that’s nothing special, but then you enter the Siq. The Siq is the canyon that leads to Petra, and it’s an amazing entrance to the site. Nothing builds up the suspense quite like that twisting canyon – every…

  • General Travel,  Jordan,  Travel

    Floating In the Dead Sea

    My fight left New Delhi at 3:55am, which meant I needed to be at the airport in New Delhi by about 1am. The night before, we’d gotten in from dinner at about 10:30pm, so I went to my hotel room, and set an alarm for about midnight. I was heading to the airport with Maria who was also on my tour. I woke up suddenly to a phone call in my room. My phone alarm had gone off but alas it had gone off almost silently! So I slept right through it. I went as fast as I could to pack my stuff up and get it all together and…