6/01/01: Monterosso: As customary we woke up at the crack of dawn, around noon, to hike the 5 villages of Cinque Terre. By 1 PM with the midday sun overhead we started for Vernazza, a 1 1/2 hr uphill hike. The goal, Vernazza, is a strikingly beautiful little town on a small rocky peninsula surrounded by cliffs. We stopped there long enough to take in the whole place and swim a bit in the port. The next stop was another 1 1/2 hike to Corniglia the end of the line. As Scott quickly pointed out, in our book it is Tres Terre since we only saw 3 of the 5 towns. We trained it back and had a dinner at our usual restaurant and then hung out at the bar overlooking the ocean where, after a card game with two 16 old German kids, Scott practiced his French for a bit.
6/02/01: Monterosso - Verona: Deading the pospects of finding an affordable room in Venice, we took a train toward Venice but stayed in Verona instead. It turned out to be a good call. We found a nice hotel in between the town center and the train station at a decent price. People watching, some pasta, and some gelato were the elements of a relaxed evening.
6/03/01: Verona - Venice - Bologna: In the morning we woke up and hopped on a train to Venice. Once there we figured out the high tech lockers at the train station, stashed our packs, and hit the city with our daypacks. Venice was very nice as we walked the mouse maze of allies and canals leading to San Marco Plaza. Once near the Rialto Bridge we had had it with the throngs of thousands of tourists scurrying like frenzied ants all over the place. We wanted out. Luckily by an act of God we bumped into David, whom we had met on the train to Verona, and joined him and his Brazilian friends at a cafe in the pigeon infested plaza and fought the tourists together for a bit. The highlight of the day was the very unique and impressive interior of the San Marco Cathedral. Nature worked against us as we attempted to escape Venice. A torrential downpour caught us on our way to one of the boat ferries where tourists were panicking and rushing the boat dock. At the train station David, who was also escaping Venice, met us and we set out for Firenze. Half way to Bologna the tracks were broken and we all got off the train to take buses for an hour to a part of the track where we could continue our trip. Slow on the draw we did not beat the masses of people running to the buses and had to wait over an hour for a bus. Hours later, in Bologna, we decided to not go any further and found a place to stay. Although Bologna is known for its food, we had a late dinner of hamburgers, nachos, and fries at an Irish Pub.
6/04/01: Bologna - Sorrento: We woke up and decided that since we were in Bologna, the historical birthplace of our fraternity Kappa Sigma, and the site of one crazy night seven years prior, we had to revisit a few key sites. Therefore we returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak, and snapped a few pics before bidding farewell to David and catching our train south to Naples. We then caught a "piccolo" train to Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast. Being a weekday, we missed out on the pulsating nightlife we had heard about and hit the sack.
6/05/01: Sorrento - Capri: Our search for a relaxing place away from bus loads of tourists had us taking a ferry to the very picturesque island of Capri. Once on the island we took a funicular up to the town of Capri and after a good while of walking found a great place to stay, Pension 4 Estacione. We walked down a few hundred stairs to spend the rest of the day relaxing and swimming on a pebble beach. For dinner we joined Lara and Crystal, from DC. We then took advantage of the incredible deck above our hotel to have some wine with a french couple on their honey moon, who we entertained with Saturday Night Live parodies and Tom Green theatrics.
6/06/01: Capri: We woke up to a beautiful day and met up with Lara and Crystal for a quick snack before heading for the Grotta Azzurra. A bit overpriced and a tourist trap, we nevertheless were impressed by the blue light shining underneath the rocks into a cave. We felt further compelled to enjoy the experience with our rowboat guide commanding us to "Like it!... see the blue light. Enjoy it!" The 4 of us spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach and planned the evening festivities. A salad and some apetizers started off the night before turning Lara and Crystals apartment into our own restaurant/disco with a ton of pasta, just a few bottles of wine, and some salsa dancing.
6/07/01: Capri - Positano: With no idea where we were headed we packed up and made our way down to the marina. We ferried it back to Sorrento and decided to take a bus to Positano. The best dollar ever spent, this public bus wound its way along the extremely scenic cliffside road on the way down the coast to Positano. Once there we quickly found a hotel and hit the beach. Positano is a beautiful cliffside town where it is hard not to have a great view. For dinner Let's Go lead us to a beach around the bend where lo Guarracino Ristorante had a spectacular view and made our top ten restaurant list. After a bottle of wine, the evenings entertainment consisted of a carnival-like shooting gallery where we took turns bursting bottles with our pellet riffles, very random but extremely entertaining.
6/08/01: Positano - Salerno: A nice little ferry ride farther down the coast put us into Salerno. Not one of our glorious travel days, we spent the majority of time trying to find an internet cafe and a travel agency for our ferry to Corfu. In what has become all too common of an event, we were directed all over town with all sorts of correct and not so correct info. In the end, we found a wonderful travel agent who hooked us up with the right ferry info and found an internet place for pennies. A little patience and alot of footwork finally paid off.
6/09/01: Salerno - Ionian Sea: Today we traveled and traveled. From Salerno we boarded a 4 hr bus to Taranto. In Taranto, we hackied before boarding a train to Brindisi. In Brindidi, we grabbed a quick bite and then spent our last Lira in the supermarket before boarding our overnight ferry to Corfu. We opted for sitting at tables on the deck instead of the cramped seats we had inside. On board we met Jason and Chi who were to become an integral part of the group of friends we met and hung out with while on Corfu. At some point we all took over the comfy floor space inside and drifted off to never never land.
6/10/01: Ionian Sea - Pink Palace: Well rested from our few hours of sleep in the ferry locker room, we disembarked and taxied to our vacation from our vacation, the infamous Pink Palace. With an entertaining orientation complete with a shot of ouzo we moved into our A class room and promptly climbed into bed for a few supplemental hours of rest. Bright eyed and bushytailed, whatever that means although it could refer to the length of Carlos' hair nowadays, we headed down the hill for our stessful day of lounging on the beach. We finished off the afternoon watching the sunset with Jason, Chi, Danielle, Julie, Dave, and Mike, or what would become the Palace Family. One up one down. Whether you like it or not, you enjoy your cafeteria style dinner and then hit the Palladium for some dancing.
6/11/01: Pink Palace: We awoke to the beautiful view from our room and headed down to the beach for some Lunchfast. After lounging on the beach we convinced the kayak rental guy that we could probably handle the 2 person sea kayak in the voilent Mediterranean with its 1 ft waves. We kayaked out to a rock formation and around the coast to appreciate the island from the water. Before dinner the whole family prepartied in our room listening to Dave Matthews on our portable speakers. Thanks Dave. Soon after we had dinner and then witnessed and participated in the Ouzo Circle Extravaganza. An enormous game of spin the bottle dancing, some traditional Greek dancers, and a shower of ouzo for all kicked off the disco.
6/12/01: Pink Palace: A bit weary from another night at the Palace we finally made it down to the beach again to hang out with Paula and Melanie. AS was ritual the Family started off the evening on our balcony before having to bid farewell to the Chicago girls. Ready for a change of pace, we put together a large group to head down the street to Dan's Dancing Pub. Another very fun night with great new friends.
6/13/01: Pink Palace - Athens: We bid a tearful farewell to the Pink Palace and boarded a short flight to Athens. Once there we had to go into the city to find accomodations. The airport is outside of Athens next to nothing. Dinner and a very short update to the website finished off the day.
6/14/01: Scott: Athens - Norfolk: Parting ways for the first time in 6 months, I started a very long day at the Athens airport. Two flights and a long car ride later, I was back in the good old USA at the Norfolk Sheraton in preparation for my good friend Chris Sambar's wedding.
Carlos: Athens: After saying goodbye to Scott and a few more hours of sleep, I made my way uptown to the subpar Hostel Aphrodite to meet up with a group of new friends from the Pink Palace to see Athens before heading on my own to Crete. Once there seeing Paula, Leese Anne, JF, Melanie, Helen and Ben I was convinced to join them traveling in mainland Greece instead. We all headed to the very impressive Acropolis and then for a walk around the very nice Plaka district. That evening we headed back into Athens for a very traditional Greek dinner at the market complete with copious amounts of Greek wine and a very authoritative waiter. For the first time in 7 years I slept in an 8 person dorm room sweatbox where I opted for grabbing a pillow and instead sleeping outdoors on the roof. Comfy.
6/15/01: Scott: Norfolk: After some very sound hours of sleep, I met up with Chris to find out that his bag with his military uniform for the wedding and my garment bag which I had packed 6 months prior had been lost by American Airlines. Great timing. After a few entertaining phone calls, Chris was authorized to spend as much as it took to replace the items and we headed off to pick up my tux. With me in my nicest outfit my backpack contains and Chris in a fancy new outfit courtesy of American Airlines we attended the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. After a great dinner, the night got even more exiting with Chris getting tossed in the water by his Navy buddies and by watching my Lakers win the NBA title. After hearing that our bags had finally arrived we finished off the night at Dixies screaming Kenny Rodgers at the top of our lungs.
Carlos: Athens - Delphi: As we could not get out of that hostel fast enough, the 7 of us boarded an early bus to Delphi, to visit the famed Oracle at the temple of Apollo. Our hotel turned out to be cheaper and 10 times nicer than our Athens accomodations. In the afternoon we hiked all over Delphi and marveled at the views and the ruins. Paula gave a guided tour while Lesse Anne and myself ignored her and ran ahead. Dinner was a traditional Greek smattering of appetizers and one or two glasses of wine. The evening entertainment was ouzo dancing at a club near our hotel where the ladies were skillfully and seductively charmed by a pack of wild frenchmen complete with crawling, barking, licking and groping. The French really do know about Love.
6/16/01: Scott: Norfolk: Wedding Day. In the hours before the wedding I spent some time enjoying the things I missed from the states: reading the paper, watching Stanford play in the NCAA baseball title game, and enjoying a tasty appetizer at a sports bar while talking sports with the locals. Content with my US style afternoon, I donned the tux and was proud to serve as a groomsman at Chris and Audra Sambar's wedding. It was a special event and I would not miss it for the world. For the world, get it? I crack myself up. We gorged ourselves at the reception afterwards and carried on the dancing at a nearby club only to have the entire male wedding party shed their tuxes and uniforms for a dip off the waterside docks. Congratulations Chris and Audra. I wish you the best in life, love and happiness.
Carlos: Delphi - Kalambaka: Early rising once again to make our way farther inland to visit the Byzantine Monasteries at Meteora. My travel companions got a small taste of what it is like to travel in Latin America: 3 buses, winding roads, little food, some heat, and a bit of bus surfing. I love it. Once in Kalambaka we checked into another nice hotel and after relaxing for a few hours went to have dinner at Koka Roka Taverna. The food was great and the wine flowed in an amazing setting at the base of the Meteora mountains. JF entertained us all with his French Canadian gangsta interpretation as he squirted cats with a water gun while menacingly saying "I am going to pop a cap in your %$&*!#".
6/17/01: Scott: Norfolk - Jersey City: I packed up, bid farewell to Chris and Audra, and made my way to Jersey City where my old roommate Scott Cooper was gracious enough to put me up for the night. Short and sweet.
Carlos: Meteora: This waking up early stuff is really killing me, can't wait for Scott to get back. For breakfast we decided to torture the poor Creperie girl by ordering and reordering a large number of crepes in English. Then off to the Monasteries. Our taxi took us first to Grand Meteora Monastery and from there we hiked to two more monasteries throughout the day. I cannot emphasize enough how impressed I was by the spectacular scenery and the gravity defying monasteries built into the cliffs, it was a must see in Greece. At our third monastery the secluded Agias Triades we were greated by brother John who fed us home made turkish delight and water before we toured the 800 year old monastery. From there we hiked down the cliff to Koka Roka and after relaxing had dinner in the plaza where the mountains were lit up in the background. A very good day.
6/18/01: Scott: Jersey City - Santorini: I started off the long trek back to Greece with a cab ride through New York to JFK. Then 3 flights and bam, back in Greece. I am pretty sure at this point you could say I was suffering from Jet lag. Who knows what time it was or when I was supposed to sleep. Oh well, at least I was back home on the road.
Carlos: Kalambaka - Santorini: Melanie, Hellen, Ben, JF and I bid farewell to Paula and Lesse Anne as we began our journey to Santorini. I am pleased to report that I have a new personal record for bus surfing at a little over 4 hours. Once in Athens I booked a flight while the rest booked a ferry to Santorini. A temporary goodbye and I headed to the airport for an uneventful flight to Santorini and Pension Petros.
6/19/01: Santorini: To cheers heard around the world, the Wanderboys were reunited on their journey around the globe. Appropriately we right away took a nap. We spent the afternoon on a nearby black sand beach with JF, Melanie, Ben and Helen and enjoyed a few beers at a waterfront cafe. Braving the unusually chilly winds, we ate a greek dinner and hit a few bars for the rest of the night.
6/20/01: Santorini - Naxos: On the road, or water, once again, the Wanderboys booked a ticket to the island of Paros to spend a few days before returning to Santorini to meet up with Ben^2 (Wanderbro Fonseca and Ben). Halfway there we were awoken from sleeping on the bench of the boat to discover we were at the port of Naxos, an hour before Paros. We both decided that Naxos was a cool name for an island and promptly decided to jump ship. Later we realized that we were both secretly craving nachos and that since nachos sounds like Naxos this is why we decided to stay. We found a decent hotel in Horas, the port city and relaxed by the pool after a long nap. For dinner we satisfied that nachos craving and had some real tequila and Mexican food at Picasso Bistro. "Naxos.. Nachos, Naxos.. Nachos," try it, it makes sense.
6/21/01: Naxos: The stressful activity for the day was lying on the Agios Anna beach for most of the afternoon. A rather uneventful night of a greek dinner and some tunes at the Prime Bar ended the day.
6/22/01: Naxos - Santorini: Back to Santorini to meet up with the Bens. We caught a high speed boat and in about an hour were back in Santorini and Pension Petros. Once there we found Benji, the Wanderbro, and Ben sleeping in after their arduous journey to Greece from Chicago. We let them sleep and updated the website. In the afternoon we had our first beers of the trip at the Tropical Bar, Benji thought the spot was so beautiful he did not deserve to be there. The evenings entertainment consisted of dancing and drinking in the wake of Benji's boundless energy.
6/23/01: Santorini: With an early afternoon start we headed for the Pastrami Beach for a few hours of sun and then juice and milkshakes at a beachfront cafe. Strangely they served no pastrami. We entertained the bus stop crowd with a four person hackey and then bus surfed it back to town for a nap. What started out as a mellow night got much more exiting when we assumed control of the Blue Note Bar and its Norweigan clientele complete with Ben and Scott dancing on the Bar.
6/24/01: Santorini - Ios: After a late night it was quite difficult to motivate everyone to make the 1:30 ferry to Ios. The situation turned a bit hectic when we found out there were no buses or taxis to the port. At last we piled into cabs and off to Ios. In Ios we were assaulted by people wanting us to stay at their hotel and settled for Hotel Markos. Scott and Carlos lounged by the pool while the Bens napped. For dinner we went close by and were nearly driven mad by the traditional Greek music. To cut down costs, we pre-partied at our hotel and headed out to see how crazy Ios realy is. Quite crazy. The whole place seems to be bar after bar after bar after bar. After the 15th bar, Carlos and Benji headed home while Scott and Ben partied until dawn.
6/25/01: Ios: Today was our first full day in Ios, the island of sin. The afternoon started with a hike to the Far Out Beach. Breakfast was served one by one by one. Ben had to wait until Benji finished his plate so they could reuse it. Utencils were also scarce but the food was edible. The beach was pleasant: smashball, and for the Bens (first glimpse at uncovered watermellons). Beached and winded out, we changed scenery at the Far Out Club where we swam in the pool, drank some beers, and met Kevin, out 12 foot tall pretorian protector with arms like hammers and Shaq like feet. Kevin (aka William Wallace) "killed 12 men, effort was 1!" We decided to keep him on our good side. After an amusing bus ride home, where Ben befriended two Austrian ladies because of his exotic allure, we were ready to pre-party. Ben was later heard stating: "it is tough being so sought after, I am after all the only Chinese man in Greece." Anyway, after doing some bull fighting and earning our wings, we charged to the nightlife of Ios. "Ooo, Ahh, O, Ah, Ehh, Iii, baby do you want to be my girl" were Benji's first lines as we started strong by fanatically and enthusiastically dancing away at every night club we came across. E! Entertainment, compliments of Sean Olsen, interviewed the four of us for "Wild On the Greek Isles." Unfortunately, we doubt our comments were very insightful. On our way home, Carlos and Benji decided to play some street soccer with a local. Unfortunately for the local and his ball, Kevin saw this playful comotion as a sign of danger and quickly came to our rescue. Early morning dancing with Paula and her friends ended a fun filled day, night, morning in Ios.
6/26/01: Ios: Amazingly, after a long night of partying and providing attractive footage for the E! Channel, we got up early enough to return to the leeward (non-windy) side of Far Out Beach. After baking in the sun and enjoying mellons of different flavors, we headed to the cafeteria and ordered greek style pasta dishes (we should have known better). After some story filled pre-partying we headed into town ready to perform some Peace-Corps style community service. We volunteered to help a local bar market itself by dancing and entertaining the ladies there for free. Our motto was: "Ve are here solely for de pleasure of de women." Our next stop was club 69 where we just missed making the Make Out List. As a result the Wanderboys and the 2 Bens watched as young patrons from all over the world "danced under the pale moonlight." The Wanderboys exercised their BATNA'S and retired early while the 2 Bens partied till dawn.
6/27/01: Ios - Mykonos: Time to get off the island of excess. Leading the way for the weary bunch was Benji, making all the right decisions and speaking for the group when called upon. We were soon in Mykonos and safely resting our exhausted bodies at Hotel Damianos. Licking our wounds, we splurged for a huge dinner and then met up with Petros and mate, the pair of mascot pelicans that entertain the tourists with their feeding antics. Against all odds, the 2 Bens and Scott rallied "One more time" and explored Mykonos nightlife.
6/28/01: Mykonos: Scott and Carlos spent the morning having breakfast at an outdoor cafe watching speechless as the well oiled Ben duo expertly tackled making and changing ferry and flight tickets to continue their journey. We now understand how they were able to visit 3 major European cities in 2 days and hit all the sights, we are most definitely buying as much Mattel stock as we can get our hands on. Eventually we made our way to the not so quiet or relaxing Paradise beach for a very entertaining day. The highlight of which was the conquering of "Our Island" with grand plans of exploration and expansion to neighboring islands. Our empire was foiled when the island was taken over by an 8 year old. That evening after visiting Scandinavian Bar and a nightclub, Carlos called it a night while the trio danced the night away and discovered the allure of "savory" crepes as a late night snack. As Benji pointed out "why would you eat anything that was not savory?"
6/29/01: Mykonos: After the Bens packed up and threw their packs in our room, since they were catching a ferry that night, we all headed back to Paradise beach for one last day together. We were happy to see the E! Wild On crew once again and snapped a pic for the website, just incase that interview won't get aired. Ben and Scott grooved to the beach rattling tunes a final time and we headed back to send off the WanderBens. A couple quesadilla crepes and we said goodbye. Good luck on the rest of your trip guys. Scott and Carlos finished off the night at the Scandinavian Bar with Scott playing psychologist/saviour to a distraught Australian girl.
6/30/01: Mykonos - Larissa: On our own again, we boarded a high speed ferry to the Athenian port of Piraeus. Once there we searched for the train station and were finally assisted by a friendly local on the Metro. At the train station we discovered, to our surprise and dismay, that we had missed the last train to Kalambaka. Ever resourceful we caught a train to Larissa and discovered, to our surprise and dismay, that we had missed the last bus to Kalambaka. Ever resourceful we booked a room at the Ritz Carleton Larissa which, to our surprise, was also the bus station, restaurant and convenience store. Ever resourceful we went out for dinner and a very decent movie: "One Night at McCools????" and upon returning home we discovered, to our surprise and dismay, that the Ritz was realy a mosquito infested sweatbox. Ever resourceful we went to sleep.