These past few days have consisted of some of the most BREATHTAKING moments of MY LIFE. I am unsure of how to even begin describing how beautiful Greece is. So I’ll start off with how Ash and I spent our 3 days between London and Greece.
After our flight from London to Pisa on Monday morning, and then a train ride from Pisa to Florence, and a relieved burst through the tiny front door of our apartment to throw off our travel backpacks, we finally were able to curl up in the sheets of our beds. Although London had been beautiful, it sucked out all the remaining energy that our colds left us with.We both wanted to get better before leaving for Greece on Thursday morning, so we ended up not leaving our beds until probably Wednesday night when we started packing. I didn’t even have to get up to eat because Ashley gave me her leftover pizza while I was still in bed. Perfect! By Thursday morning my excitement tickled me all over. Our bus left at 6 30 am, and lasted for about 4 and a half hours to Ancona, where we boarded our cruise ship. Our tour guide warned us that if we don’t like to drink, we shouldn’t be on this trip, and it will probably the craziest time of our life. OKAY?!
The cruise ship was very strange at first because one of the men who worked on the boat was giving out random key cards and no one was rooming with who we were supposed to be rooming with, and people were given rooms that were already full and it was all messed up. Our bus2alps guides were really frustrated, and Ash and i had to wait awhile before we could finally put our luggage somewhere. In the meantime, I drank a mimosa and had some peanut m&ms.
The 16 hour boat ride was a perfect chance to meet the people that we would be spending the trip with. Everyone had already started drinking upon arriving on the boat, and were scattered around in lounge chairs playing card games or introducing themselves. The bar drinks were really expensive, like 6.50 euro for a skinny little glass, so I split a bottle of vodka with Ashley and two girls we met on the boat, Clea and Sarah. The guy at the liquor store taught us how to say “thank you in Greek, but I forget. Clea bought a Toblerone bar and it lasted her the whole trip. Everyone eats these here and I had no idea what they were, but it is a legendary Swiss chocolate bar that you break off in triangles and it has honey and almond nougat in it. Sinful.
That night we walked along the boat deck and watched the water splash against the boat as we zoomed across the Mediterranean Sea and we imagined a all the fish and whales under the surface of the water living their lives and pictured the whole Finding Nemo movie happening right under our boat.
The next morning we arrived at the Greek mainland, Igoumenista at 8:30. From there, we had to transfer to an hour and a half ferry crossing to Corfu. As we boarded the ferry, some guy told us that we had to leave our personal belongings down with him and I was like, HELL NO and ran to the top deck. The ferry rode through a cloud of fog, and in the distance you could see little islands with mountains and rolling hills and lambs on them. During the ride, I ate a toasted turkey cheese and tomato sandwich on pumpernickel bread and listened to my iPod, while the tour guides from Euroadventures and Florence for Fun went around with a plastic squirt gun and squirted shots into peoples mouths. One time they tried to convince an old Greek woman to take a shot, they were actually harassing her.
Once we got off the ferry, we then had to take a bus to the Pink Palace. While we were driving up the steep hills of Corfu, the luggage door started to appear in the window and Sarah started screaming the luggage was falling out all over the road! We had to stop the bus and run out and get the backpacks that fell out. As we continued driving, I could not even believe that what I was seeing was real. We were coasting through narrow, steeps roads with no guard rail except for flowering bushes. Below was the coastline, and a huge cliff with fluffy trees and a giant rock sticking out that looked like it was fake. The water was a soft blue and sticking up from it was the rock that always comes up when you Google image Corfu and it was just CRAZY. Then it just kept getting better as we arrived at the Pink Palace where we were all staying, with 500 other students!!!! We were on a big hill covered in hot pink buildings. The main lobby was complete with refrigerators filled with subs, juice, water, beer and wine. There was a bar and a man named Brian working there. The view from our room overlooked the entire beach! First thing everyone did was order a Pink Palace from the bar which was rum, pineapple juice, coconut, milk and grenadine.
First thing I wanted to do was ride the ATV’s around Corfu. A bunch of us signed up and then we all ran outside to pick out our ATV. The instructor told us how to maneuver them and I wasn’t even paying attention and then he told me to hop on an show everyone how its done and started it for me and I was like, “Wait how do I go?! How do I break?!” and then I just zoomed off and it was SO much fun, I’m smiling now as I think about it, but we all set off and rode up the hills, past all the trees and abandoned houses. All the houses were very messy and looked like no one lived there. We hardly saw any living things except for little kittens running around or hanging out on trash bins. There were clothes hanging out on drying racks everywhere, and as we reached the top of a hill, we were right on the edge of a million feet drop that we would tumble down straight to the rock cliffs splashed with the sea. We rode through a little neighborhood and all the old men sitting outside the gas station waved at us. There were no power lines, no name brand stores, no anything. Once we reached the very top of one cliff, we ate tuna subs and took pictures by the edge. We then drove to a mountain top cafe and I had a Greek coffee, which is basically coffee grinds and boiling water.
At one point we had to stop and get gas and and I accidentally accelerated into the instructors ATV and he yelled at me, “Why you hit my car?!” and I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not so I just laughed and everyone was cracking up. Oops!
After our ATV ride, everyone got free shots of Ouzo, which is Greeks most popular alcoholic drink. It has, I think, 45 percent alcohol content and tastes like black licorice or Sambuca but more potent.
In order to go to the beach, we had to follow the Pink Palace steps that were made of this green colored marble and extremely steep and slippery all weekend-very dangerous for sober or drunk people. It was about a ten minute walk and after the first flight of stairs is the Pink Palace Palladium which is where dinner was served, and where there was a dance floor and bar. A few flights later there were more Pink Palace rooms and a hot tub with a deck and beach chair, and our little peacock friend that we named Niema. Then you arrived at the beach bar, where you could get drinks, gyros, tuna pita melts (my favorite) greek salads, and a deck with beach chair the overlooked the beach. That night we watched the sunset, and then had dinner at the Palladium: rice, chicken and salad with TZATZKI SAUCE!!! Tzatziki sauce is a greek sauce that is used on gyros or salads and it is made from strained yogurt, olive oil, cucumbers, garlic, salt, sometimes mint or dill. It was basically on everything we ate that weekend. After dinner we drank and danced and went in the hot tub which was more like a giant orgy. Everyones favorite drink was “Kar on top” whatever that meant but it was vodka, rum triple sec, tequila, gin and red bull. HOOOOLYY!
The next morning we wanted to sign up for the booz cruise, so we woke up around 8am to go wait in line. The first booz cruise was at 9am and I couldn’t even imagine drinking that early, so we went to breakfast and figured we would sign up for the afternoon one later. Clea and I sat at the beach bar and had eggs with toast and apricot jam and greek coffee by the sea. It was so gorgeous and relaxing. Every time I looked up at the cliffs I just tried to breath it all in but it still didn’t seem real. It was too majestic.
When Clea and I went back upstairs, the afternoon booz cruise was canceled, so we tried to sign up for the kayak safari, but that was also canceled. We decided to just hang out by the beach and get sunburns, since the sunscreen was 24 euro.
For lunch I had the most amazing tuna pita melt of my life. As I ate it, I watched all the kids come of the booz cruise and they all looked wild and crazy and wet. Some of them looked scared too, actually. What happens on the booz cruise stays on the booz cruise!! Even though we heard stories..
That night we had the famous toga party, where everyone wears giant pink sheets and ties them in all different ways. We get plates smashed on our heads and a ring of fire erupts from alcohol poured on the ground.
On Sunday morning, it was another day of hanging out on the beach and enjoying the sun. As I was sitting in the main lobby at one point, my family friend, Eric Ryder came walking in! I was like, “Eric!” and he was like “Holy shit, Mackenzie!!” and it was such a happy moment. We ended up hanging out for the rest of the day by the beach until we had to begin our long and tired journey home. Around 7 oclock, after a few beers and sex on the beachs and a bottle of sparkling wine, we hopped on the bus which took us to the ferry which I bought Pringles and these strange individually wrapped baklava snacks on and fell asleep, which brought us to the port where we then had to wait from for 3 hours to get on the cruise ship. There were stray dogs sleeping next to everyone and I found a little music box that played a Greek song to add to my collection in the gift shop! When we finally got on the cruise ship at 2 30 am, everyone pretty much went to bed and didn’t get up until afternoon on Monday. The rest of the 18 boat ride we just sat and stared at the ocean and tried to continue our lives after such an amazing weekend..