Category Archives: Greek

Adventure in Fluency’s Calendars for 2018: Croatia, Greece, Thailand and new for 2018, The Caribbean

New for 2018 – Adventures in Fluency’s Caribbean Calendar

Just in time for 2018, we have added five calendars that are now available for purchase.  Just visit our Adventures in Fluency store to buy yours today.  These calendars feature beautiful photographs from our trips to Croatia, Greece, Thailand and the Caribbean.  Claudia Rodriguez, my daughter, and Frank Sandoval, my husband, are the talented photographers.  Where will your adventure in fluency be in 2018?  Let these calendars inspire you and my blog be your guide.

Life is an adventure, not a destination.

Our Family’s Big, Fat, Greek Vacation

Our family vacation to Greek was a great mix of Greek history, laid-back island life, and family fun.  With a two-year-old, a fourteen-year-old and two adults, we took it nice and slow, savoring each stop.  This slow pace gave us plenty of time to enjoy the locals’ affection for children and for the all important nap-time.

I would highly suggest following our route if you have three weeks to spend traveling through Greece. We flew in and out of Athens.  After seeing the historical sites in Athens for three days, we headed to the islands.  We traveled from island to island just like the locals, via ferry.  From Piraeus, the port of Athens, we took a hydrofoil to Hydra.  After five days in Hydra, we had to return to Piraeus to catch another ferry for the islands on the remainder of our trip (Piraeus to Paros to Santorini to Piraeus).

Here is our trip via Route Perfect.  I will take you through the logistics and provide a quick overview of the highlights.  I have also provided links to the stories about each place on my blog if you would like more detailed information.  If you want to make our vacation your vacation, just click on the bright orange “View trip details” button and enter your departure date, number of people in your party to price your trip.  If you like what you see, book it.  It’s that easy.

1. Athens

We arrive in the Athens airport via Swiss Air and take a taxi to our accommodations, an apartment in the Panormou-Abelokipoi neighborhood.  It is hard to believe that we only spent three nights in Athens considering all of the things we did. The highlights include exploring Plaka, hiking to the top of the Acropolis to see the Parthenon and the Erecthion, visiting the zoo and the Children’s library in the National Garden, watching the changing of the guards outside the Presidential Mansion, drinking ouzo in a neighborhood pub in the Panormou-Abelokipoi neighborhood and riding the metro all around the town.

Continue reading Our Family’s Big, Fat, Greek Vacation

Greek Sushi

“Are you Greek?”  I shake my head.  “is your husband Greek?”  Again I shake my head.  “Your parents?”  “Όχι” (no) I respond.  “How do you know how to speak Greek?” asks the man working behind the coffee cart.  He is making me a φραπέ, an iced coffee drink with condensed milk and Nescafe.  “I learned Greek for this vacation.  It is a hobby of mine.”  He whistles through his teeth and adds a complementary cookie to my order.  He winks at me as he hands me my change.

Learning a language and then going on a vacation to a place where that language is spoken has been my hobby for the past eight years.  I am not a linguist, just a geek.  I love to talk, so adding more languages just seemed to be a natural extension of my gregarious nature.  In June of 2009, on the day that the Euro hit an all time low and Greece was in the midst of beginning of the debt crisis, my family traveled to Greece.  For twelve months prior to our departure, I taught myself Greek.

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The Ferryman of Paros and the Princess

The Ferryman of Paros

“Tickets,” demands the man in the uniform, his hand out stretched with impatience.   His face is filled with disgust and disapproval.  I can hear him tapping his foot.  We are seated in four very comfortable, squishy chairs on the air-conditioned interior of a ferry headed from Athens to Paros.  In our group is my husband, Frank, my 2 year old son, Max, and my 14 year old daughter, Claudia.

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We found these beautifully vacant chairs after searching high and low on the gigantic ferry.  On the deck of the ferry the heat of the summer and the smoke of the cigarettes cling to the deck like a frightened sailor, afraid of being swept into the sea.  This combination of smoke and heat is suffocating.  There are no available seats.  We boarded late and now everything is taken.  It is like a game of musical chairs and we arrived after the music stopped.  As we search desperately for a place to sit for the five hour journey, we drag our suitcases behind us like balls and chains.  Finally we spot four large, beautiful, cushioned chairs side by side in the cool air conditioned interior of the boat just around the corner from the bathroom.  They are tucked in a corner as if forgotten.  Gratefully we sink into this heavenly oasis.

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Atlantis Found in Santorini, Greece

Fur Elise

The wind is blowing fiercely.  Our ferry heads directly towards a sheer cliff. It looks as if we are going to smash into the giant cliff face. Then I notice a narrow  line of buildings huddled together at the base of the cliff.   This lonely group of buildings and narrow road does not seem large enough to receive  the avalanche of human bodies and cargo that is about to erupt from the interior of our ferry.  I stand with my husband, my son and my daughter in the bowels of the ferry waiting to disembark.  The sea is rough and we wait for the ferry to steady.  Finally, the giant ramp begins to slowly lower.   As the giant ramp lowers, a digital version of Fur Elise plays eerily over and over again, a strange accompaniment to the methodical, mechanical descent of the back flap of the boat.  As the ever widening patch of light and the howl of the wind entering the dark interior of the ferry, the light melody repeats as if we are trapped in a giant music box.

2015-12-06 15.33.21 Continue reading Atlantis Found in Santorini, Greece

Mr.Henry’s House in Hydra, Greece

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June 14, 2010

A wasp is fighting a losing battle with the light by the kitchen.  He angrily buzzes at the light as if he is enraged by the light’s very existence.  The wasp wants something from the light. It is upset by the light’s inaction.  The wasp is getting tired.  I wonder whether it will leave or just die of rage.

I hear the donkey in the yard behind the house walking around in the hilly enclosure, its hoofs clacking against the rocks.  A crowd cheers as a team scores a goal in the World Cup.  A boat hums as it passes into the harbor.  Everything echoes in Hydra at night.  People’s voices mix with the call of a bird.  Being at Mr Henry’s house is like camping with beds inside.  There’s an explosion of barking dogs.  I wonder what sent them off.

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Continue reading Mr.Henry’s House in Hydra, Greece