October 30, 2014


Feeling... Excited! The Pilot and I saw an apartment this weekend that we really liked and we got it! We'll be moving in December and I can't wait!

Reading... The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory. It's the third book in her Cousins' War series and I love it. Each book has focused on a different character, and it's interesting to see how their stories all collide and how you can go from loving one character in one book, to hating them in the next. Historical fiction is my guilty reading pleasure.

Working on...  Reorganizing my summer and winter clothes, starting the process of packing/moving, my plan for my blog redesign.

Eating... a granola bar.

Anticipating... Getting our wedding video. We should be getting it today and I can't wait to see it. Related: wedding pictures.

Watching... Well, the World Series is over so it's back to Fall TV. I'm still hooked on Scandal but haven't started anything new this season. Any recommendations?

Loving... scouring the internet Pinterest for new apartment ideas. It's a very different layout from what we're in now and I'm determined to make it look awesome within the first month or two of us living there.

There you have it!
What's currently going on in your world?

October 29, 2014

Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 18

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC and Mizuno. I was provided the shoes for review and compensated. All opinions are my own.

I haven't been tremendously adventurous when it comes to running shoes. I ran in Nike for my first year or so of long distance running and then switched to Saucony. Sometime last spring, I started reading more and more about switching up your running shoes during a training cycle. Being injured, I did a lot of research, but wasn't testing anything out. That doesn't mean I didn't buy a lot of shoes.

One pair of shoes I bought was the Mizuno Wave Sayonara. The Pilot has a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires that he loves and I decided to give them a shot. I haven't gotten a lot of mileage out of them because I've spent most of the year injured, but I was really happy with the few runs I did get out of them.

So, when Mizuno sent me a pair of the new Wave Rider 18s, I was really excited to try them out. They're have a great design and while I love neon running shoes just as much as the next person, I found the sleek, black and turquoise ombre design to be refreshing and modern.

Mizuno describes the shoe perfectly as hitting the "sweet spot" for neutral runners with just enough support for other runners.

The long-term stability shoe runner in me loves this...and found it to be remarkably true.

First, this shoe fits like a glove. Mizuno uses what they call Dynamotion Fit uppers which make the smooth mesh fit like a glove. That being said, I recommend sizing up in Mizuno shoes. I wear a half size bigger in Mizuno than I do in any other brand.

As soon as I put these on, I was eager to head out for a run. I took Peyton out for a walk in them first just to get a sense of how they felt, and then headed out for a few miles in my neighborhood. The first thing I noticed is how well they absorb shock. They have such a smooth, natural motion as your foot strikes the ground and lifts off again that you don't at all feel as though you're bouncing, which I've always thought to be a normal feeling of running. They're also really light and in general, feel great.

Weight: 7.8oz (8.2 for Men's)
Drop: 12mm
Price: $119.99

In the next few weeks, I'll start base training (more on this later) to finally start getting ready for my next 26.2. While I'm still running minimal distances (I attribute this to being sick post-wedding-and-honeymoon, as well as a hesitation and slight fear of just getting back out there), I definitely plan to add these to my rotation during my next training cycle.

Have you ever run in Mizunos? Do you alternate different types of shoes during a training cycle? If so, I'd love to hear what's in your rotation!

October 28, 2014

What I've Been Up To

In my rush to get all of our honeymoon posts up as quickly as possible, I haven't really updated on what's going on with me lately. Here's what we've been up to in October.

I've been sick. It's been awful. I got sick on the last day of our honeymoon and had the most miserable travel experience of my life coming back. I got some meds and started my job that week but never really recovered and ended up getting sick again last week. This time around was worse and I ended up missing three days of work. I still don't feel like myself and it's awful. I want to run and go to yoga and be active...I'm tired of putting on my pajamas at 6:30 and falling asleep on the couch.

We went to a wedding. Our dear friends Drew and Laura got married this month and we went to New Jersey for their wedding. They had a gorgeous day and their wedding was beautiful. We danced like fools and had a great time.

I tried zumba. One of my college roommates opened a zumba studio in NY about a year ago. I've been dying to take one of her classes and check out her studio but it's not too close to where I usually travel to in NY/NJ. When I looked up directions for the wedding, I realized that her zumba studio was 2 miles away from the wedding venue! I called her right away and was able to go to one of her classes. It was awesome. I had SO much fun and would definitely do it again! It's a great cardio workout and if you love to dance, it's perfect!

We've been apartment hunting. We've been in our current apartment since we moved to DC and we've been really unhappy there this year. Aside from a myriad of issues with the building's management, we just want something bigger. We move out in December and I'm just so ready for a new place.

I've been looking at making some changes to my blog. All good things, but I'm getting a little tired of the layout and in looking at different layout options, I started to explore a lot of other options. That's all I'm saying for now!

We watched the Marine Corps Marathon. My friend Emily stayed with us the Friday before the race and we had a great time. (She also beat her 3-year-old PR!)Between MCM and Chicago, I have major marathon fever. I'm not running the race I had been thinking about running last year and am hoping that I start feeling well enough to start base training for the spring marathon I'm thinking about in the next week or so.

Emily in her shiny new finishers' shirt
One of my big sisters paid us a surprise visit. She called me Saturday afternoon and asked if I had plans that night. Then asked if we could have dinner. She lives in TX and had popped up for the weekend with her boyfriend. It was so awesome to see her!

So that's that. It's been a busy October, but we've tried to have fun! I'm just hoping I can finally kick whatever it is that's been ailing me so that I can make the most of November before winter really sets in (hiking anyone?).

What has your October been like?

October 24, 2014

Our Honeymoon, Day 12: Paris, by Mouth

Ahh, I've been so excited to write this post! Our honeymoon was incredible, but we definitely saved the best for last, and I'm so excited to wrap up these posts with my favorite thing that we did on our honeymoon - a food tour of Paris.

Doesn't that sound divine?

One of my co-workers went to Paris in the spring and came back raving about this tour. I knew we had to do it! We were so tremendously lucky to have it gifted to us by my big sister Zuzy as a wedding present.

Paris by Mouth is a website about food and wine in Paris. They also run food tours conducted by food and wine professionals who have a passion for eating in Paris. They run a few different tours exploring different neighborhoods of Paris, and even host wine and cheese workshops!

In this post, I'm going to walk you through our tour. It'll be picture heavy, and it will make you hungry. So sit back, grab a glass of wine (or a cafe au lait, depending on what time it is) and enjoy!

The Pilot and I woke up eager to start our morning eating our way through Paris. We made our way to the St. Germain des Pres, our favorite neighborhood in Paris, to start our Tour.

We were instructed to meet at The Polaine Bakery. Our tour guide was an American chef and restaurateur named Sarah, who has been living in Paris for 4 years.

1) The Poilane storefront, 2) A chandelier made out of bread, made for Salvador Dali,
3) Poilane's famous sourdough loaves, 4) Apple tarts...made with croissant dough
The Polaine Bakery was founded in 1932 by Pierre Polaine, who shocked the French when he built a bakery that, to this day, does not sell baguettes. Poilane is famous for those gorgeous sour dough loaves you see in the bottom left picture above. The loaves are handmade daily with four ingredients: stone-ground flour, sea salt, water and a sour dough starter that has been used since the bakery opened. The loaves are than carved with that beautiful 'P' and sent into a wood-fire oven.

The whole history of the bakery can be found on their website. (You can even order a loaf and have it shipped to you the same day!) But to summarize briefly, Pierre Poilane passed the bakery down to his son Lionel in 1970. Lionel Poilane and his wife kept the bakery running until 2001, when they were both tragically killed. At the time, their oldest daughter, Abigail, was an 18-year-old studying at Harvard. She took over the family business and continues to run it, true to her grandfather's tradition, today.

We sampled some of Poilane's bread, along with some punitions (small butter cookies) and the apple tarts you see above...which were baked with croissant dough and were absolutely amazing.

That was just the first stop on our tour. Our next stop: Pierre Herme, a pastry shop with to-die for macarons in exotic flavor combinations like pumpkin and corn, chocolate and passion fruit, and chocolate and foie gras.

Are you hungry yet?
We tried two of his specialties: coffee-orange and lychee-rose. They were heavenly. Macarons are quite possibly my favorite treats in the world. We even served them at our wedding!

Our next stop continued down the sweet, rather than savory, path and brought us to the chocolate shop of Patrick Roger (Ro-jay), a bronze sculptor turned chocolatier, awarded the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), the most prestigious award for craftsmen in France.

That is a lion...made entirely of chocolate. 
Patrick Roger makes delicious flavor combinations of chocolates...like basil-lemon (to die for), pistachio-marzipan, and almond-orange-grape.

Our next stop was the Marches Couvert. The Pilot and I stayed in the St. Germain the last time we were in Paris and must have walked past this Market every day without ever going in. It really didn't seem like anything special at all. What we didn't know was that it houses one of the best butchers, and one of the best fromageries (cheese shops) in all of Paris.

Clockwise from Left: 1) Serge Caillaud with one of his famous black footed chickens, 2) The Marches Couverts, 3) The Sanders, a husband and wife team that runs one of the best cheese shops in Paris, 4) Serge Caillaud hard at work, 5) Sea urchins! 6) CHEESE!
Our first stop was the Boucherie Au Belle Viander, the butcher shop (boucherie sounds so much better) of Serge Caillaud, a famous butcher who appears on French cooking shows all the time. We spent some time talking to Monsieur Caillaud. I love that people buy whole chickens in France...the food there is just so fresh. That chicken he's holding? Sells for some 25 euros A POUND.

Next up, we made our way over to see the Sanders, a husband-wife team that sell a delightful assortment of cheeses.

We picked some charcuterie from Monsier Caillaud and some cheeses from the Sanders before making our way to Le Dernier Goutte, a wine shop that exclusively sells bio-dynamic wines. Sarah, our tour guide, knows the owner of Le Dernier Goutte and he lets her use the little room in the back of his shop for tours. 

So, that's where we went and laid out our spread of cheese, charcuterie, chocolate, and some wine we picked up on entering the shop.

From there, the tasting began. We sampled both a red and white wine along with our assortment of cheeses which included: a Fermier goat cheese, an ashed Fermier goat cheese (I love ashed cheeses), a Livarot (cow, and the smelliest, most terrible cheese I've ever had), a Comte (also cow, and my favorite), a Brie de Melun (a savory version of the Bries we're used to here in the US), and a Roquefort (sheep).

We sampled the cheese with the wine and the chocolates and talked about all things food, wine and cheese in Paris. I even tasted duck confit. I hated it.  But the afternoon was absolute perfection.

Our last stop of the day was La Maison du Chou. Another MOF owned shop, this one specializes in cream puffs that are filled to order so that they never get too soffy. The filling is fromage blanc and it is flavored with either vanilla, chocolate, coffee, or a filling du jour. I had butter salted caramel. It was divine.

The tour was by far the best part of our honeymoon. We enjoyed an amazing three hours sampling all of the best breads, cheeses, pastries, sweets and wine that Paris has to offer. I would go back and do this tour again and again and again, exploring every other neighborhood where they're offered!

So, there you have it, our last day in Paris, the last day of our honeymoon. It was tough to come home, but we were ready to face reality. The Pilot had to go to fly the next day and I was starting a new job on Monday. Our honeymoon was absolutely perfect and we had an amazing time. I know we'll be back to Paris, and I really hope we make it back to Crete some time. Even if we don't, I know we've got thousands of other adventures ahead of us as we start our married lives together!

The Details: 
The tours cost 95 euros per person.
They're offered every day. Some days, there are as many as three tours offered. 
All of the tours are conducted in English. 
Once on the tour, everything is included (aside from any extras you want for yourself or as gifts).

October 23, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Day 11, Disneyland Paris

Our flight from Crete landed in Paris on a cold, rainy Wednesday. We were both tired and hungry and went out in search of food. It was Fashion Week and we paid a fortune for a hotel that we already knew we hated, and it was in an area that was a food dead zone. There was nothing around. After an hour of searching, and both of us getting hangry, we opted for sushi.

I don't remember when we realized we were going to have an extra day in Paris, but when we did, I proposed the idea of going to Disneyland. Neither of us had every had much of an interest in Disneyland Paris (formerly EuroDisney) but it seemed like a fun thing to do and a change of pace from everything else we had done, so we went with it!

The train from Paris takes about 45 minutes. Once we got there, we had the option of going to either Disneyland Park or Walt Disney Studios Park. We decided to go to Disneyland Park.

First up, Aurora's Castle. I was super bummed when I realized that it is Aurora's Castle. Belle was from France, shouldn't it have been Belle's castle? Plus, Sleeping Beauty already has a castle California, she doesn't need one in France too. (I'm not a big Sleeping Beauty fan, can you tell?)

Cinderella's Belle's Aurora's Castle...with the wrong evil villain inside.
The whole place was decorated for Halloween and it was awesome. I've never been to any of the Disney parks during a holiday and it was really cool to see. The decorations looked like they've been there year round!

Next up, rides! We started at It's a Small World, then went to the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast (my husband still loves Toy Story just as much as he did when he was a kid). There weren't a lot of people in the park so the lines were minimal, which was awesome. I attribute that to it being a cold Thursday in the fall!

1) A replica castle in one of the rides, 2) Small World, 3) The Pilot and his ultimate super hero, Buzz.
For lunch, we headed back to Main Street (which was still Main Street USA, but would've been better as the main street in Belle's provincial little town). I was really surprised to see that the food in Disneyland was so much cheaper than the food at any of the other Disney parks. It was actually priced similarly to the rest of the food in Paris.

After lunch, we made our way to Adventure Land and went on the Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean rides. We made our way through Peter Pan's Adventure Isle, and then went on the Peter Pan ride. (Peter Pan is a close second to being my favorite Disney movie.)

1) The Jolly Roger, 2) The saddest Disney movie of all time, 3) AGRABAH!
We made our way around to Frontier Land for a ride on Thunder Mountain before lining up for the parade. I felt like I could take or leave the parade, but it seemed like the whole park shuts down for it, so we went and I'm so glad we did. It was awesome and definitely made me feel like a kid again.

L>R 1) Elsa, 2) Peter Pan!, 3) Minnie Mouse!
4) M-I-C-K-E-Y
Having worked for Disney for years, I really appreciated how well done the parade was. After the parade, we went on another one or two rides, took a stroll through downtown Disney, and then made our way back to Paris.

Evening shots of Disney
When we got back to Paris, we decided to take a trip to the Eiffel Tower. We hadn't been there when we were at the start of our honeymoon, so we really wanted to go back. I just love seeing it at night, and one of my favorite things to do in Paris (as cliche as it sounds), is to eat crepes under the Eiffel Tower. We were both hungry (and low on cash), so we each ordered a crepe - 1 savory and 1 sweet (nutella, of course) and shared and looked up and marveled at just how gorgeous that tower is.

We were pretty worn out from the walking around and riding all the rides that day, and we caught the Metro shortly before it closed. The next day was our last day in Paris...and of our honeymoon, and we definitely saved the best for last!

The Details
We got a discount on tickets to Disney which ran us around $75 USD each.
In hindsight, I wish we had gone to Walt Disney Studios Park instead Disneyland Park. The Park we went to wasn't much different from the Magic Kingdom in Disney World (Orlando), whereas Walt Disney Studios Park (we later learned) had a bunch of different, and exclusive to Paris, rides like a Ratatouille ride, and a Cars ride.
I had heard some bad things about Disneyland Paris. The one thing I will say, it is definitely not as impeccable as Disney World, but it was still a lot of fun and I would recommend it. I might even go back to the other park, if we ever find ourselves with an extra day in Paris. 

October 21, 2014

Blog Update

Hi everyone,

I've been sick with a fever for the last two days. I'll be back as soon as I'm feeling up to sitting behind a computer for more than 5 minutes!

October 17, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Days 8-10, Crete

We left Santorini at about 5pm on a ferry to Crete. The ferry took about 3 hours and put us into Heraklion around 8:30pm.

We had heard that there wasn't much to do in Heraklion and that it was 'just a city' so we only booked one night there.

As soon as we got off the ferry, I knew that Heraklion was wildly different from both Athens and Santorini. We were staying about a 20 minute walk from the port and the walk was just so refreshing. Despite it being mostly up hill and us lugging our suit cases up those hills, I instantly knew I loved Crete. The streets were quiet and peaceful, there were tons of families out and about, and it just felt so much more relaxed than either Athens or Santorini did.

Our hotel was gorgeous, and immediately upon checking in, we regretted the fact that we only had two nights in Crete.

(We actually thought we had three nights and realized in Santorini that we miscalculated everything by a day. Oops!)

We were starving when we got in so we went to an adorable little pizza place across the street from the hotel and ordered a bottle of wine and a pizza complete with yummy Greek toppings. As sad as it is to say, it was the best meal I'd had in Greece. Post-pizza, we took a walk and stumbled on Georgiadis Park, which, despite being really late at night, was very well-lit and packed with young couples and students walking around, reading books, and just hanging out. I loved it!

The next morning, we got up and started our day with the most unbelievable breakfast spread I have ever seen in a hotel. Greek yogurt, fresh fruits, cheese, freshly-baked bread, and delicious desserts like halva and baklava.

After breakfast, we made our way out and about to explore the city.

The harbor
The Pilot and I immediately fell in love with Heraklion. As compared with Santorini, this was much more our speed. It was very cultural, and we absolutely loved walking around the city. The harbor area was a little bit touristy, which is to be expected, but other than that, it was a city where everyone was just going about their days.

More shots on the harbor
Once we left the harbor, we made our way back through the market, which was starting to wake up and become a lot more active.

TL: The bust of Nikos Kazantzakis, BL: The Morosini Fountaion, whose center statue of Poseidon was destroyed during the Turkish occupation
I took that picture of Nikos Kazantzakis because, not only is there a bust of him in the center of the city, but the airport is also named after him. He was a writer (famous for Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ). I just love that a city honors their authors in this way. It's such a testament to what they value as a culture.

After exploring Heraklion, it was time to head back to our hotel and grab our bags to catch the bus to Rethymno,  the next stop on our trip. The bus ride was beautiful and took about 90 minutes.

Once we got to Rethymno, we walked took an exceptionally long roundabout way to get to our hotel, which we were so excited about. It was a mansion built in the 15th century!

Our hotel.
We checked into our hotel and the woman at the front desk greeted us in the most traditional way possible...with shots of raki! Raki is what's left over from the grape during the wine-making process...and is basically pure alcohol. The shots definitely had a bite to them but we enjoyed them nonetheless. 

Once we checked into our room, we headed out to go explore the Old Town.

Exploring the Old Town. The fountain (BL) still functions and was built in the 15th century.
Rethymno was gorgeous and so full of history. We LOVED it. Aside from a handful of German tourists,  it was definitely not a tourist destination! We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then just walked through the town. The streets were so quaint and filled with historic Venetian history that it almost felt like we were back in time.

As we were walking through the Old Town, we passed a fish spa. We had seen tons of these in Santorini and we're intrigued by then but never took the plunge (no pun intended). When we saw that the prices were better in Rethymno, we made our way in. 

It was so weird! You dive your feet into a bucket of (toothless) fish and let them go to town on your feet, eating away at the dead skin.  I was giggling uncontrollably the entire time, but you know what? It actually felt good! I had some blisters on my feet from running and dancing at the wedding and after my 10 minutes was up, they were mostly gone. It was amazing, but also super weird.

Guys, I think I found the cure for runners' feet!

Post-fish spa, we made our way to the fortress, which overlooks the entire city.

It was insanely hot that day so by the time we were done at the fortress,  we decided to make our way back to the hotel to cool off by the pool.

That night, at the recommendation of the hotel, we went to dinner at a place called Pigadi, which was built into the yard of a 16th century stable. (Are you noticing a pattern here?)

Here, finally, was the unbelievable Greek food I had been waiting for. The food was incredible...and the wine, even better.

We spent a few hours at that restaurant...and were served shots of raki with our bill. Then, we decided to have a night out on the town. We went to a bar for some more wine...and were again, served shots of raki with our bill...and that's how the night went. We had so much fun.

<3 Honeymooners
The next morning, slightly worse for the wear, we decided to head to the beach. It was almost 100 degrees but the water was gorgeous. We spent a few hours in the water before heading off for lunch and a day spent walking around the Old Town. 

That night, we again, went to another phenomenal restaurant, where The Pilot ordered some kind of phyllo dough stuffed with chicken and spinach that looked so good, this vegetarian had to try it...and would probably revert to eating meat if I could eat that every day for the rest of my life. I had a truffle oil risotto which was equally as good.

We were really sad that it was our last day in Greece, especially since we loved Crete so much. One of the things we desperately wanted to do was hike the Samaria Gorge, but it would've taken us close to three hours just to get there. We went to bed that night with solemn swears to return to Crete, and spend much more time there.

The next morning, we left Rethymno around 9 to make our way back to Heraklion for our flight back to Paris.

When we told people we were going to Crete, we were met mostly with surprise. It's definitely more of an off-the-beaten-path destination and I have no idea why. We fell in love with the island, the people, the history, the food...everything.  Rethymno is so well preserved, and really pays homage to its Ventian roots, which I loved. It was such a refreshing change of pace from Santorini...and much easier to get to from mainland Europe, so we will definitely be back. I'd love to explore Western Crete, and just more of the island in general!

The Details
In Heraklion, we stayed at the Galaxy Heraklion Hotel for $123 USD per night (amazing breakfast included). I couldn't recommend this place enough.
The bus from Heraklion to Rethymno cost about 8 euros each.
In Rethymno we stayed at the Palazzo Vecchio for 120 euros per night, which I would also recommend.
The fish spa in Rethymno cost 8 euros per person.
Crete was much cheaper than both Athens and Santorini, which was awesome!

October 15, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Days 4-7, Santorini (Part 2)

So, where did we leave off? Ahh yes, watching the sunset in Oia!

We spent about an hour waiting for the sun to set and then just sat back, relaxed and watched. The sunset really was absolutely gorgeous.

Once the sun set, we tried to make our way back into town to find a place to eat. The streets were insanely packed though and it took us a really long time to get back to the center of town.

The crowds just to get up the street after the sunset.
The streets were so crowded that we snuck into a bakery for some baklava to bring back to our hotel. 3 days in Greece and this was the first place I found baklava!

Since everything was so crowded, we decided to make our way back to Fira for dinner. We had an ok meal and sampled some of the locally brewed Santorini beer before calling it a night.

The next day, we slept in and took an afternoon bus to Akrotiri to see the ruins. Akrotiri is a Minoan settlement which was discovered in 1967 after being buried in volcanic ash since about 1600 BC. It's often thought to be the lost city of Atlantis.

It was incredible. The site is a living laboratory where archaeologists continue to work to this day. It is enormous, and impeccably preserved and pictures do not do it justice.

The Akrotiri ruins of Santorini
We spent well over an hour perusing through the city. It was awesome. I wish we could have done a guided tour, but we weren't willing to cough up the 60 euros to do it!

When we left the ruins, we were pretty tired. We didn't get to Akrotiri until two hours after we had wanted to because of some issues with the buses, so we made our way back to Fira to get in some pool time before doing a little shopping, since it was our last day in Santorini.

L>R: The Pilot in front of the volcano, Us at Akrotiri Beach, Me in front of the caldera
The Bold Honest Truth

Sunday was our last day in Santorini. We were taking a 5pm ferry to Crete, so we woke up, had breakfast and spent the day by the pool, reading, sun bathing, and just relaxing. We really didn't have much of a desire to do anything else. To be honest, I really didn't like Santorini.

When cruise shops dock and unload anywhere from 800-1,000 tourists on the island each day, it's really hard to feel like you're anywhere but a cruise ship. The fact that the entire island seems to be comprised solely of tourists left me really missing the culture that I expected to find in Greece, and we were there during what is considered the off season!

I was also tremendously disappointed to find that the food was not very good. Rather than serving traditional mezzes (small plates), the whole island caters to Western style portions of appetizers, entrees, and desserts, which left a lot to be desired.  I was also really disappointed to find that all of the seafood is frozen! I was happy that the menus stated this, but I expected to have fresh-out-of-the-water seafood for almost every meal of the day. I also hated the bus system. It was chaotic, the drivers were rude, and it was not at all uncommon to be on a standing-room-only bus, weaving through the cliffs of Santorini.

The island was beautiful, there's no denying that, but it wasn't at all what I expected and we were both disappointed. We still had an amazing time, how could we not? We were on our honeymoon after all, and weren't going to let anything bring us down, but the is land was definitely more chaotic than relaxing.

Now, I can definitely say that Crete was completely different; but that's a post for another day!

The Details
We stayed at Anamnesis City Spa Hotel for 78 euros per night. It was a perfect little oasis that we adored coming back to every night.
Buses around Santorini cost anywhere from 1.40 to 2.50 euros. 
Our highlight was the Akrotiri ruins. 

October 14, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Days 4-7, Santorini (Part 1)

When The Pilot and I started planning our trip to Greece, we knew we wanted to go to Santorini. There were a few other islands we were interested in, but Santorini was at the top of our list.

We woke us in Athens at 5am on Thursday and made our way to the port to catch our ferry. Boarding was pretty seamless and before we had even taken off left port, I had fallen asleep. We took a high-speed ferry which took about 4 1/2 hours. I slept the entire way.

When we docked in Santorini, the port was absolute chaos. We were staying in the town of Fira and found the bus that was headed toward Fira, about a 20 minute ride away.

Once we got there, we had a really hard time finding our hotel. Not that it was particularly hard to find, but that we couldn't find anyone to give us clear directions. We ended up walking into another hotel where they generously gave us a ride to where we were staying.

The view from our hotel balcony, complete with donkeys!
Once we finally checked in, we were ecstatic with our hotel choice. It was perfect. We took some time to settle in and then headed out to grab lunch and explore Fira.

Scenes from Fira. (Right: The view from where we ate dinner)
Fira had quaint, narrow streets and abundance of shops and restaurants. I was surprised to see that almost all of the shops were souvenir shops and jewelry shops though, and that the town was almost exclusively tourists.

We had dinner at a famous wine bar, with decent food and a spectacular view. (See above).

The next morning, we got up and hopped on a bus to Perissa Beach (about 20 minutes from Fira). Air-conditioned coach buses are the primary way to get around Santorini and the bus stations are chaotic, but somehow manage to work.

Perissa is famous for its black sand beaches. We spent about half the day lounging around the beach, eating gelato and finally relaxing after spending the last few days bouncing around from Paris to Athens and then Santorini. The water was really cold and it was pretty windy, so we just spent the day sun bathing.

After spending half the day in Perissa, we headed back to our hotel to freshen up before making our way to Oia, where the sunsets are supposed to be the most beautiful.

Oia was gorgeous. I immediately loved that the shops seemed to cater less to tourists than those of Fira and that the city just seemed a bit more cultured. That said, it got more and more crowded by the minute. We perused the shops, and found a book store that I could have spent hours in. Atlantis was incredible and had first edition copies of such an amazing selection of books. I picked up a signed novel about Santorini that I still haven't started, but am really excited about.

After spending time looking through the shelves of Atlantis, we made our way to see the sunsets.

Clockwise from Top Left: Watching the sunset together (my favorite honeymoon picture), a street in Oia, the caldera cliffs of Oia, the famous Santorini sunset.
With that, though, I'm going to wrap up this post because it's getting long and I'm getting tired! I'll be back tomorrow to share more sunset pictures, plus a bit more about our trip to Santorini!

October 10, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Days 2 and 3, Athens

Our flight to Athens was at 5pm on Tuesday. This gave us the morning in Paris with plenty of time to get to the airport.

We landed in Athens at 9pm and took the Metro into central Athens. The ride took about an hour and by the time we got back to our hotel, we were pretty tired.

We checked into our hotel and promptly headed upstairs to the rooftop bar for a glass of wine, and immediately saw this.

The view of the Acropolis from our hotel bar.
It was breathtaking. All of a sudden, it hit us...we were in Greece. I mean, this was Ancient Greece...and it was gorgeous.

A few glasses of wine and it was time for bed. We wanted to get an early start to the next day since we only planned one full day in Athens.

We had planned a tour that was gifted to us from our honeymoon registry and we started at the Acropolis. We didn't go through the central entrance (which I've heard is the easier one), rather, we started at one of the side entrances near the Theater of Dionysus and then walked all the way up to the Parthenon.

We spent a few hours just wandering around the and the Acropolis grounds. From there, we ended up in Monastiriki, where we stopped off for some gelato. I hate pistachio and The Pilot had chocolate strawberry. It was really hot out, so it was a nice, refreshing snack before we continued on our way.

From Monastiriki, we took the metro to Syntagma Square and started by watching the changing of the guard at the Greek Parliament.

From the Parliament building, it was just a short walk to the National Gardens, which we cut through to get to the Panathenaic Stadium, where the first Olympics were held in 1896.

The Olympic Stadium was awesome. It was so cool to see. Not only is it the site of the very first modern Olympic Games, but it was the Finish of the 2004 Olympic Marathon and is the Finish of the Athens Marathon! I loved that they had a podium set up with an Olympic crown for us to play with!

They even had a room which has all of the Olympic torches from every Olympics! Above, the torch from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I loved that they pay homage to the Olympics, year after year, not just the 2004 Games in Athens. The bottom left picture lists the location of every Olympics since the first one held right there in that stadium. It was so awesome!

After visiting the Olympic Stadium, we meandered over to visit the last of the ruins that we hadn't seen before grabbing a late lunch.

The Temple of Zeus & Hadrian's Arch
After lunch, we made our way to the Port to pick up our ferry tickets for the next day. We were taking a 7am ferry out of Piraeus and we wanted to pick up our tickets the night before. I'm so glad we did, because it took us close to an hour just to find where we needed to pick up the tickets, since the confirmation we had listed the wrong dock. Since we had such an early start the next morning, we picked up our tickets and made our way back to the hotel to get some rest before our early wake up call!

We had been told not to spend more than a day in Athens, and that was exactly what we needed. We skipped all of the museums. Had I been there for another day, I probably would have gone to the Acropolis Museum, but the idea of seeing items that had been taken off of the Acropolis and put into a museum didn't appeal to me as much as seeing them in their 'natural' habitats, so we skipped that.

One day in Athens was perfect. We saw everything there was to see, explored the city a bit, and got a good introduction to Greece.

We stayed at the Dorian Inn Hotel for 69 euros per night. The hotel had a good breakfast, was close to a metro, and had a great view, but it wasn't in the best neighborhood.
We got around using the metro. We each bought a 24 hour ticket for 4 euros.
Our highlight was definitely the Olympic Stadium. 

October 8, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Day 1, Paris

Part of the reason we wanted to go to Paris, as opposed to some of the other destinations we could have gone to to get to Greece (Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich...) was that we had been there before. Knowing that we were going to have approximately 24 hours wherever we ended up, we knew we didn't want to go somewhere that we would be compelled to get off the plane and run to see all the things...especially right after our wedding!

We landed in Paris at 7:30am and made our way into the city. We had chosen a hotel in the 2nd Arrondissement, right above the Grands Boulevards Metro station. We left our luggage at the hotel, and went next door for a Petit Dejeuner, a traditional French breakfast of a croissant (or pain au chocolat), orange juice, and coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

From there, we just set off walking. We had no particular destination in mind, we just wanted to stroll around Paris.

From Top Left: A peek at Sacre Cour in the distance, Le Tour Eiffel, Paris streets, Laduree - Paris's famed macaron shop, Rue du Tour Mauborg, where we ate lunch...and possibly got caught on Google Street View, another shot of the Eiffel Tower.

We did some serious walking before it was time to wander back to our hotel and check into our room. We checked in, took a nap to stave off jet lag, and then made our way out and about for the evening.

The last time we went to Paris, we didn't make it to Montmarte, so I really wanted to make our way there this time around since Sacre Cour is so beautiful. We took the Metro out to Montmarte, and then walked up the hill Sacre Cour.

From Top Left: Sacre Cour, the view from Sacre Cour, gargoyles, the walk up to Montmarte Village, a cute little house-turned-gift shop in Montmarte. 
Aside from being a beautiful church, I just love Sacre Cour because it's one of those places that just makes you feel on top of the world. The view from up there is stunning...better than the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, in my opinion!

 From Montmarte, we decided to make our way back to the St. Germain des Pres (my favorite neighborhood in Paris, The Pilot's too!) for dinner.

We ate at Le Hibou and it was delicious. We ordered a carafe of wine and talked about our wedding. It was the perfect first night of our honeymoon.

The next day we got up and made our way to the Luxembourg Gardens for a stroll and some lunch before heading to the airport for our flight to Athens.

Paris was wonderful. It was so fun to be back there, and so nice to just walk around without feeling the need to really have to do or see anything. After the busy week leading up to the wedding, and taking off less than 24 hours after actually getting married, it was nice to have a low key time in Paris...before hopping on a plane again that is!

We stayed at The Holiday Inn Paris Opera, which we booked on points. 
We bought a carnet, a book of 10 tickets, for the Metro for 13.70 euros. This was enough for both of us to get around the city for the day and a half that we were there. 
A petit dejeuner ranges from 6 to 9 euros, depending on where in the city you are. 
Our highlight in Paris (from this trip) was Sacre Cour. 

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