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Coreyoria World Tour

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

It's all Greek to me.

26 August 2005
Get ready for the longest post I've ever made. Deep breath. Now go!

Grecians are crazy ... and I love them. I just spent 3 of the most amazing days on the Greek island of Corfu. I have so much to share and I don't know where to begin. I have seen scenery that I never imagined I'd see in my life. Definitely the most beautiful country I have ever been to. I'm going to try to post some pictures when I get back here to Athens in 4 days, but I'm not making any promises. Meanwhile, thanks for all of the emails, everybody! Continue to send them - I love hearing from you all!

That first night was the craziest toga-party I have ever attended. Okay, so it was the only toga party I've ever attened. But the Greeks know how to party and party hard we did. :-)

So let me begin with the second day in Corfu, since the first was mostly traveling and exhaustion. I rented a car to drive around the island with 3 others from my tour: Cassie, Mary, & Craig. We got a little, red, open-topped 4-wheel drive Suzuki and we named her Suzi. Traveling north from Corfu, we drove to the beaches of Sidari, where the rocks jut out above the water and you can jump into the crystal clear Adriatic Sea. We swam under a cave and when we emerged at the other side there were mountains stretching across the horizon, contrasting with the bright turquoise water. Absolutely breath-taking.

From there, we went back out on the roads to battle the crazy Greek drivers, and took the more rural winding roads along the Western coast of Corfu to the beach at Agios Georgios. We had the wind blowing in our hair and the sun was shining - not a cloud in the sky! The second beach was just as beautiful as the first and we took another dip in the ocean before continuing on.

We got out of the car in some of the smaller towns and wandered around the shops and met some locals. One lady stopped our car to give us directions when we got a little lost, but she then proceeded to give us a sales pitch for family-made honey, olive oil, or wine. She was a real Greek mama. Well her kindness worked on us and Craig bought a $2 bottle of delicious red wine from a country town in Corfu. Something I forgot to mention, the roads have no names or signs in Corfu ... you just have to look at the signs that tell you which direction you're heading in and pray for the best. It made things interesting to say the least, but Craig's an automechanic so he was an ace at driving and I sat beside him in the front seat, doing my best to help him navigate. When you're in Greece, you're in a hotbed of chaos, but all of the people are completely relaxed. No one is ever on time and things don't run smoothly. You just have to adapt the same attitude they have. So if you're standing at the counter for an hour waiting to be served, it doesn't mean they have not seen you, it simply means you'll get served when it works for them. After being here for a few days, I certianly know where the phrase, "It's all Greek to me," hails from.

Our last stop of the day was Pelekas Kinopiastes, a beach surrounded by caves. But we didn't get out there because we still had a trip to get back to our hotel by 7. We left at 10 in the morning by the way, so we had a loooong day. But it was a great way to get a feel for the culture that most tourists don't ever have the opportunity to truly experience.

Then, yesterday, which was our last day on the island of Corfu, I had the most amazing experience. We were blessed with another gorgeous, clear, bright blue sky and and the sun was at it's finest. We woke up bright and early and headed to the port to jumpaboard George's Boat, where we went on a special all-day boat ride around the southern part of the island.

After a beautiful cruise and a history lesson interspersed with some of perverted Geroge's jokes (he was a real character and had us cracking up the entire time), we reached our first stop where we had the chance to partake in virtually any watersport you can imagine. So I took advantge of this!

First thing off, I took to the skies and went parasailing with my buddy Steve. After harnessing up, attaching ourselves to the boat via rope - the boat started and we ran and then all of a sudden we were flying high above the islands ... looking over the mountains and horizon in every direction. The water below was clear as could be and we could see all the way down to the coral reefs below. There was a warm breeze and I just let go and flew throw the air. I'll never forget it. After that I went tubing with 3 others in these triangular tubes called Mambos that are designed to give you a bumpy ride and get lots of air. It was bumpy all right and the whole time I couldn't stop laughing hysterical. What a workout! But even more of a workout was this ride that they call "fly-fishing" even though it actually has nothing to do with real fishing. Basically you sit on this flat raft that has 3 bumps across it and each person sits on the own bump. Then you hold on for dear life with all of the strength you can muster up as the boat starts and the raft goes over bumps, turning vertical, and flying into the air. Boy am I sore today. You have nooooo idea how sore I am today. I'm still glad I did it all though. I wouldn't take it back for the world.

Our second stop was right off the coast, in more crystal waters. We dove right off the boat and into the ocean. The water was so salty that you could float standing straight up, without treading water. From where we were, we could see Albania in the distance and we just splashed around, some people snorkeled, and all had fun. Then more beautiful cruising until we came to our last spot, which curious George deemed "Hanky Panky Island." Well a group of us girls swam pretty far away from the ship and then we all skinny-dipped in the Adriatic Sea. No boys were allowed. And now I can say that I flashed Greece (and a couple of passing boats, which made for overall hilarity and a bunch of giggling girls).

The boat ride in and of itself was a wonderful experience. I've never done anything quite like it and I really felt like I was on vacation at that point. Geroge kept us busy with his antics, at one point making everyone group up according to nationality and making us sing our national anthems. They played this old Yankee-doodle dandy version of the star-spangled banner, which left us 3 Americans sounding like downright fools, but it was enjoyable anyway! I got some spectacular pictures and I'll cherish these memories forever. I've been blown away by Greece. I think I'd be hard-pressed to find somewhere more spectacular. And I'm getting along great with all the kids from my tour. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I was really lucky to get this tour group. I've seen the other groups and every time, I'm thankful for the (mostly) normal bunch I landed with. No party-poopers aboard. I'm experiencing new cultures with these people, and we're growing into a big family.

And lastly, last night we went to a traditional Greek dinner nearby and it featured traditional Greek dancing. The men were wearing tights and skirts, and throwing plates. One man even stood in a ring of fire and lifted a table with his teeth. Wow. We all had the chance to get up and take part in the dancing, which we all readily did and everyone clapped along the entire 4 hours that our dinner lasted! This was after a whole day out in the sun filled with all those activities aforementioned. The highlight of the night for me was the "potato-dance." Let me explain. You and your partner must hold a potato between your forheads while following the orders given by the lady orchestrating the whole thing. My partner, Clint, is a lot taller than me which made things interesting, but he's a hilarious guy and we ended up doing really well. We managed to make it pretty far, spinning around, getting to our knees, sitting on the floor, and laying on our sides - all while keep the potato pressed between our heads. But we dropped it when we went to get up. At that time there were only about 10 potato-dancing couples left out on the floor. So I was pretty proud to place tenth. It was the funniest thing ever. I nearly went cross-eyed and was dying from laughter. At the clubs we've been to, Clint is the craziest dancer and we always pretend to ballroom dance when the music is the most inappropriate for doing such. He even dragged me up on stage to ballroom dance in Barcelona to Spanish techno. Don't worry, there's video footage that I'll try to obtain as soon as I get home. Good clean fun of course, just good clean fun.

After that, as you can imagine, I was wiped out. And we had to leave Corfu at 6:45 this morning to catch the ferry to the mainland of Hellas (Greece). Needless to say, I slept through the whole ride. Then we drove all day to make it to Athens, and I slept most of the bus-ride as well. On our way to Athens, we saw the Corinth canal, that was dug in 3,000 BC and it was truly unbelievable. Everytime I see these things that were constructed or dug so long ago, I can't imagine how they were able to create things on such an enormous scale without the advances of modern machinery. One guy from our tour bungee-jumped down the canal, which was pretty crazy. Other than that, just more riding on a bumpy bus while trying to catch a few zzz's. Tomorrow morning we leave at 5 am to catch a 6-hour ferry to the island of Mykonos, where's we're staying at a resort for 3 days of pure relaxation and sun-filled fun.

Whew. Well that was a lot of typing, but I had A LOT to say. Thanks for taking the time to sit down and read it! I can't wait to share my pictures and memories when I get back. I seriously wish you all could be here with me. Hope all's well on your side of the world! It's time to get me some dinner!



21 August 2005

Favorite city so far: Roma!!! Oh man oh man. I spent today touring
Roma with my American buddy, Cassie. The day started out rough, seeing
as I was inappropriately dressed this morning for our walking tour (it
was raining and cold, I was wearing a skirt and tank-top, no
umbrella), so Cassie and I decided to head back to camp and get on
some proper attire. Well by the time we made it back into Roma, we
would have had to leave right away if we went on the bus with everyone
else at 4:30. So, we decided it would be best to just do our own
thing. We explored the colloseum ... 2,000 years of history under your
feet and all around you is something that is just inexplicable. We
toured a palace nearby that has been excavated from the times of
Imperial Rome. It was once under newer structures and has been
unearthed. We walked down the main strip of town, right down the
middle. In other words, we divided and conquered Rome! The campsite
was miles from the train which was a half hour from the metro. In all,
I would venture to guess we walked for about 7 hours and 20 miles. I
ate my fair share of eggplant and tomato paninis and drank LOTS of
water. The highlight of the night was definitely when we got beraded
by an angry Italian man on the metro because we put our aching feet on
the plastic seats in front of us. Something about dirty Americans and
a very passionate waving middle finger. I tried not to laugh because
we obviously upset him some, but it really capped off our day in Rome.
Everyone else was incredibly friendly and the transportation was
fantastic. Tomorrow we head to Pompei and then take a ferry across to
the Greek island of Corfu. Time to go get packing; another very early
day tomorrow.

Thanks for checking in on me,

Ciao, bella!

19 August 2005
Okay, I have exactly ten minutes so I will need to make this short and sweet. I spent today wandering around Firenze (Florence) with two friends from my tour, Cassie and Matt. We climbed the 463 stairs to the top of the first dome every built in Europe. We walked along the coblestone paths. Yesterday I saw the leaning tower of Pisa and everyday I'm astounded by the next thing I see, just trying to take it all in, and pinch myself for being so freaking lucky to get to experience all of this. Tonight we get to dine in the Tuscan countryside and tomorrow we make our way to Rome and the Vatican city. We just got here from the French Riveria and Monaco and everything is taking my breath away.

All of the people on my tour are wonderful and fun, the sites are spectacular, and I don't have much to complain about. The accomodations have been fine for the most part (aside from the frigid shower I was forced to take this morning - not a good way to start the day!). Food is all right, but I'll be happy to read menus and have options again by the time I return, I'm sure. I've been getting in lots of walking and drinking, but I'm taking care of myself and making sure that I don't let myself get too worn down. The 12 hour bus rides I could do without, but they always make for great conversations and it's a good way to get to know a new person.

Anyway, I'm in love with Florence and traveling to all these wonderful countries is rough, but someone's gotta do it. I'll check back in ASAP. Ciao!

G´day, mate!

14 August 2005
Hey, everyone! I´m in Barcelona right now, just took a dip in the Med Sea, and this is the first internet access I´ve had since I left London. I am having the most amazing time in my life and every time I see something that reminds me of my friends and family I think, Oh (insert name here) would love this. But I have been really blessed with a fabulous tour group filled with amazing Aussies, two other awesome Americans, some New Zealanders, and even a couple of gals from South Africa. I´m even picking up Aussie slang, full on.

Paris was astoundingly wonderful and seeing the Tour Eiffel at night was really magical. Also saw Notre Dame, the Louvre, Arc de Triump, Champs Elysee ... and more. I toured around with two really cool guys on my tour and we accomplished a lot, and did TONS of walking. I´m falling in love with every place I go. Spent the last few days at a French chateau south of Lyon and we drove 10 hours today through Barcelona. I´m getting awesome photographs and getting along very well with everyone. Our group is laid-back and I feel very lucky.

Best part so far: the Cross-dress/ Shock-your mother themed party we had the other night at the chateau, in an underground club called The Cave. If you know my affinity for dancing, then you know why. It was awesome, all of the guys (blokes) went all out, skirts, dresses, you name it. I swapped clothes with a guy and gave myself an eyeshadow mustache. We acted goofy and even pretended to ballroom dance. It was the best night I could have asked for.

Tonight, we had some tacos and sangria and had a beach party that´s still going on, but I needed to come check my email before midnight. Tomorrow night (it´s about 11:45 right now) we go to watch Flamenco dancing and then go out on the town. I´m very excited. Well that´s about all the time I have. I miss you all and look forward to seeing you again in a month or so. Adiossss!

Cheerio, London!

08 August 2005
It's my last day in London and I am, for the most part, all packed up. My tour departs tomorrow at 6:00 am. But, tonight I get to meet all of my tourmates, etc. I really hope there are some cool, down-to-earth people. I think there will be. I can't believe I still have so much time left - more than a month. So I probably will be posting shorter posts and less often from here on out, considering I'm not sure what my internet access will be like. Continue to write me emails and post comments though; I love hearing from everybody! And I'll update when I can.

Cheerio, friends!

Mullets are cool. I swear.

05 August 2005

Mullets are cool, well at least here they are. Inspired by the
veritable multitude of European mullets bouncing around on the
streets, today I ventured to Toni & Guy's to get myself a more
fashionable do. It's not quite a "cullet." A "cullet" for those who
don't know, is also defined as a curly mullet. No, I don't really have
one of those. And no, it's not backwoods country-style or anything,
but it is really layered and funky. I'm quite please with my
overpriced London hairstyle. I wish I could post a picture ... but I
can't, so I won't. She spent all of this time afterwards individually
twisting my hair into curls that were pantene hair-commercial
material. I never knew it could look so good. And it probably never
will again because I certainly don't have that kind of patience!

Last night Sarah and I went on a haunted tour of London, which wasn't
all that scary, but the stories our tour guide told were fun and
entertaining and it was a nice way to walk the city by night. It might
have been a smidge unethical, but we just blended ourselves into the
crowd and never paid our £5.50. Believe me, London has enough of my
money anyway. I did feel kind of bad, but I'm sure there were plenty
of other good people who actually paid. That said, our free tour was
awesome! :-) There are many a haunted buildings, theatres, flats, and
parks here in London. I might do another walking tour tomorrow if I
get around to it. I'm definitely going to go to Notting Hill &
Portobello market (recommendations give to me by my hair stylist,
Jude) and on Sunday, I was advised to check out Brick Lane and
something else I can't remember. Shoot. Maybe it will come to me. We
also got some pretty good Chinese food last night after walking
through Piccadilly Circus to Chinatown. Tonight we're probably going
to try catching a show; I'm hoping we can get tickets at a decent
price, but it is Friday. Can you even believe it's Friday?! Zoinks.
This is going by sooo quickly.

Also, I explored Tate Modern yesterday during the day and was given a
free interactive audio guide with palm pilot and part of a survey they
were conducting after you were done. So again, a free tour. Hehe. I
loved that museum by the way. It was probably the best art museum I've
ever been to. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the Frida Kahlo
exhibit because I didn't have time. However, I did see mostly
everything else. I'd better go now - my time's running low.

Only a couple more days here ... before I meet up with my tour peoples
on Monday. So far, I've loved it here, met very nice people, and I've
heard great things about everywhere else I am heading. Take care
everyone! I miss you guys.

Ego-boosting and acrobatics.

04 August 2005
Yesterday marked the hilarity of the British Beer Festival 2005. Oh man, what a day. Sarah wasn't around because she was at work and I was left wondering what I would be doing for the rest of the day, when Sarah's roomie Jenni approached me about this BeerFest, which sounded harmless. Haha. So then we meet up with a bunch of other girls and make our way toward the Olympia train station, because we didn't know exactly where it was. Well we found it. It was this huge expo center filled with hundreds of booths for beer coming from different countries. And well, there weren't very many girls. It was the only place I think I've ever been where there was a line for the men's' bathroom, and not for the ladies'. Anyway, being a small small minority amongst middle-aged balding men drinking beer became funny quite fast. No one bothered us and the atmosphere wasn't scary, but it was OBVIOUS we were a little out of place. At which point we decided it would be a good idea to take it for what it was worth and all wear cardboard pirate hats that they were passing around. I sampled beer and cider for a good 6 hours ... maybe a personal record. Luckily, more young guys started showing up after a few hours and they started buying our drinks. We were then assaulted with endless compliments, but they kept flocking to me in particular with all of these compliments which I thought was completely hilarious. They all looooved my eyes. Let me break it down for you - that never happens to me in my every day life. One guy even said to me that I must think British people were really ugly ... because I had such nice eyes and teeth. HAHAHA. I just found the whole thing to be a huge joke, but they were all serious and it was really the funniest thing to experience. Anyway, I took it with a grain of salt because it was, after all, BeerFest and I'm sure everyone had on some serious beer goggles. But it was a ton of fun and at one point some guys working behind one of the bars illegally swapped his badge with some of us to get behind the counter and pull some beer. If you want to be treated like working-class royalty, go as a girl to a beer festival. It will be a riot.

Afterwards we went to this punky club called the Notting Hill Arts Club where I felt my hip factor sink back down to its normal status. We met up with Sarah there. These kids were pretty fashionable hipsters, but the environment was really fun and we got to listen to a local band with a kick-ass female drummer. Now the only problem with getting started so early in the day is that we were done for by about 10:30 or so, at which point we headed back to Earl's Court, stuffed our faces, and went to bed pretty early.

The night before, however, was really the most spectacular of them all. Sarah and I had been planning to go to Tate, but we wound up at Shakespeare's Globe after it turned out that Tate was closed. We just kind of stumbled into buying tickets for Pericles, which was a great accidental decision. It was by far the most spectacular Shakespearean play I have ever witnessed. All of the actors were also gymnasts. One of the props on stage were a bunch of ropes tied to columns on either side of the stage, which gave it a kind of marine feel. But then, for the scenes that took place at sea, they would untie the ropes (about 4 men, 3 women), climb up them with their bare hands, and proceed to perform all kinds of acrobatics while belting Shakespeare at the top of their lungs. They performed all kinds of fantastic tricks, at times even swinging over the audience on these ropes and hanging upside by one hand or no hands while doing a split, flipping and tying their ropes, swinging around as though it took no strain. It kept us in complete awe the entire time and afterwards, Sarah and I really felt like little kids whose mouths were probably wide-open during the entire performance. I have never seen gymnastics like that in real life before and it was truly incredible. Not to mention the awesome man from Ghana who played the narrator and a very talented international cast. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to snap photos, but I did get one right at the end when they climbed up the ropes for a final time. It was AMAZING.

Later we're planning on taking a haunted walking tour of London by night, which should be very cool as well. And for me, I'd better get going because I am wasting too much of my day behind this computer. Ciao!


Pimms, anyone?

01 August 2005
Hello and g'day! I'm once again stationed in the cheap internet cafe above the McDonald's down the street from Larimer's flat. I'm falling quite hard for London. This city is seriously fantastic. Last night Sarah and I did this whirlwind megatour of some of London's more notable tourist attractions: Big Ben, Westminster, and a million gazillion other sites. We walked a ton and everywhere, meandering through Spitafields Market, eating tradition sausage and mash at S&M (stands for, you guessed it - Sausage & Mash) veggie style, stopping for a Pimms (a rather delicious fruity summer drink that I'll be learning how to make as soon as I step foot back onto American soil), stumbling upon a huge gay parade close to Chinatown, walking through lovely Hyde Park at dusk, stopping to watch the swans a swimming, then traversing back across some posh and expensive residential areas, and finally landing back at Larimer's flat. Lucky for me, several roommates have already returned home to the States so I have a bed and everything. I'm bunking with Sarah! Today I took it kind of leisurely getting ready seeing as yesterday started at 4 am for me and didn't end until maybe 1 am. I was exhausted! All of the flying, tubing (hehe), walking, and amazement had me TIRED. We had an absolutely awesome time yesterday, though. I had a great introduction to London.

Today I headed out to the British Museum where I wandered around for about 2 hours. Among the coolest things I saw were a piece from the beard of the Great Sphinx and huge Grecian columns, some things dating back as far as 1,000 BC or more. After I grew bored with the endless British stash of artifacts from around the world (unbelievable amounts of stuff, really), I decided to search for a vegetarian restaurant I'd read about called Food for Thought. After snapping some photos and consulting my handy pocket map, I finally found my way to Neal St. in Covenant Garden, where the restaurant was situated, which was good because after all of my walking, I was famished. I had a great bowl of Vietnamese Eggplant Tofu stew that was chock full of veggies and that fueled me for a lot more walking and wandering. I bought a watch because I'd been suffering without one - I never even thought about the fact that I would have my cell phone to check the time! I walked in and out of lots of shops and even bought the British fashion accessory of choice - the pashmina. And unfortunately, you pretty much need it because the weather here is pretty chilly. It's constantly going from hot to cold and I keep finding myself removing layers and then putting them all back on.

Navigating the tube has been a cinch, though unfortunately most of the Piccadilly Line is shut down due to recent events. That would be the main line to get me into the heart of where I want to go. That's okay though because I'm having to do a little more exploring this way. After I'm done here, I'm going to travel to the AP Bureau to meet up with Sarah before heading to Tate Modern. It's really easy to accomplish a lot in a little amount of time here.

That about does it for now, but I'll check back in soon, so you should, too. :-)

Thanks, love. Hehe.