The days have taken on a different cadence. The time once spent on planning and scheduling activities now spent appreciating food, wine and impressive coast of the Aegean Sea. I have lost most of my ambition to do any of the activities on offer, instead whiling the hours away with my face hidden behind my Kindle, my wife doing the same. It’s certainly not the same kind of experience we had back at Turtle Island but all the same have I found myself wanting to do not much more than sit down and watch the hours tick away.
We headed out to the main pool area to check it out. We spent a few minutes there but after a short swim felt our time was probably best spent down at the beach. There’s no surf to speak of here so after milling about in the water, admiring the small sand fish that swamped our ankles, we headed back to our beach umbrella. Feeling the heat of the early afternoon sun starting to cook us we headed back to the room to clean up before heading to one of the restaurants for lunch.
Disappointingly it was basically the same buffet as we’d had at one of the others a day or two prior. It’s still good food, especially when its accompanied with as much beer as you could want, but a little variety wouldn’t go astray. Afterwards my wife returned to the beach to read her book whilst I holed myself up in the hotel room, eager to escape the unrelenting heat that soaked everything it touched.
From there the hours ticked away, some of them spent in a book others with my head resting unceremoniously on the cushion I was using to prop up my kindle. When the sun started to make its way below the horizon I thought I’d better go find my wife to make sure we could make our dinner reservation. Coincidentally I bumped into her on the way down to the beach, the resort staff only kicking her out as they were setting up beach front dinners for a few couples.
Our dinner at the French restaurant here was just as good as the previous experience we’d had at the Greek one. I choosing steamed mussels and a rack of lamb, my wife the cod croquettes and the beef bourguignon. I was halfway out of the restaurant with the unfinished bottle of red in my hands when the staff spotted me, only to give me a sly wink and a thumbs up as I made off to our room.
I will be surprised if tomorrow is much different.
Waking up seems to be the hardest thing to do here, especially with nearly anything you could want a mere phone call away. We persevered however, managing to make breakfast at the leisurely time of 10AM. My wife really only had one goal for the day: ride her first bike in Europe, something that had gone unrequited the whole trip. So once we were fed and happy we went up to the equipment hire shed and procured ourselves 2 bikes to take on an adventure. The shed operator let us know of a few attractions nearby that we could cycle too and so we headed out to the first of them.
The town of Nea Moudania was reminiscent of other rural coastal towns I’d been in before. Cafes lining the beach, odd shops dotted along behind them and from there a mix of residential and other commercial buildings. It did have a rather large harbor however and I’d hazard a guess that that’s where it derives the bulk of its income. At the top of one of its hills lies the church, a massive monument that towers over much of the region. We didn’t go inside, since they neglected to give us bike locks, but it was an impressive structure to see in such a small town. Satisfied we decided to head back down the other way.
It was a similar story as we made our way up north with cafes and residential buildings hugging the coast. We took a detour through the various apartment blocks to see if there was any shops we wanted to look in but it was mostly just small supermarkets. Again the poverty that Greece is struggling with was evident with numerous abandoned structures and others in varying states of disrepair. Still many of the cafes and bars along the coast seem to be doing an alright trade, surprising given their proximity to our resort.
The ride there and back had been relatively easy, thanks to the rather small changes in elevation, however the ride back up to the top of the resort quick took all our remaining energy away. The shop operator expressed his disbelief that we’d managed to make it to both of his suggestions in the time we’d be gone, saying it’d take him just as long to get to one. Turns out we hadn’t made it to his other suggestion: a small village that was a few more kilometers away from where we’d turned around. Ah well, we can always try again another time,
We then went down to the beach to cool off and try our hand at rock stacking again (it’s surprisingly relaxing). As the hours ticked away I mentioned that we should probably head back to get lunch but my wife suggested we just get something down there. Calling over one of the attendants we ordered ourselves a few drinks and some food. The drinks came quickly, necessitating that I get another beer (oh the horror), but the food took quite a while to make its way to us. Still its hard to complain when you’re lounging on a sun chair next to a lovely beach.
I then made my way back up to the room to spend an hour or two reading while my wife stayed at the beach. This proved to be something of a fools errand, the carbs and beer hitting me with a food coma of epic proportions. I think I managed a single chapter before my wife returned, my kindle lying in my lap when she knocked on the door. We then returned to the indoor pool and sauna area, spending an hour or so relaxing before we made our way to dinner.
We attempted to make reservations at one of the restaurants for dinner but they were all booked and so we headed back to the main buffet. The offerings there are always good, including their large wine list. They didn’t have the one I wanted but they had a similar region and style. Our waiter also got a little aggressive with serving it, telling me “You think I don’t see?”, pointing to the meager effort I had made in draining the bottle before pouring me a huge glass. I finished it of course, although that did make the walk home a lot harder than it needed to be.
On the way back my wife grabbed a DVD from their library to watch whilst I roamed around the resort, taking a few photos (one of which adorns this post). I was probably an hour or so late, the usual intense pink and orange hues dimmed significantly now that the sun had dropped below the horizon. I’ll likely try again tomorrow as the colors are quite spectacular and worthy of being captured.
I’ll hazard a guess tomorrow will bring more of the same, although I might avoid the bikes for a bit. Whilst it turns out that you never really forget how to ride it does seem your ass can forget and mine is none too happy about what I put it through.
I was on a high from my trip yesterday having lucked out into the air show I wasn’t able to track down and narrowly escaping any sunburn despite my late and hastily applied sunscreen. The morning however started slow as my in room air conditioner had flipped itself from the previous night choosing to bake me in the Florida heat rather than trying to freeze my head as it did the night before. I first checked my email to see if there had been any word from my travel agent so I could go about planning (or not) the extra day that I would spend here so I could see Discovery’s last launch.
Whilst I hadn’t heard from my original travel agent one of her colleagues was watching her inbox and got back to me. The flight changes would set me back a cool $150, just $2 over the limit I had given them to take action without first confirming it with me. I sent her a reply back saying to go ahead and then hit up Hotwire to secure myself a room for the night. Hoping to luck out and get a room in the airport again (saving me a few headaches) I found that there were only 3 star hotels available in the airport area, knowing this meant the airport was out of the question. Checking with the hotel directly also proved fruitless all their rooms were booked out. The room I got was extremely cheap though and only a short drive to the airport so I figured that it wasn’t too bad, plus I’d need to book the car for 2 days in order to cover tomorrow afternoon after I returned the corvette and the trip out to the Kennedy Space Centre.
Getting a car also proved to be slightly difficult. There were a few with an extremely good rate however their return point wasn’t in the airport. Not wanting to have to chance getting a cab from there to the airport I decided that I’d pay the premium to get one I could return to the terminal. This also increased the range of vehicles that were available to me, including a convertible Ford Mustang (or similar, but here’s hoping). With that booked I was all set to go to the KSC on launch day, provided nothing else made the schedule slip again.
After perusing my usual sites I thought a grand tour of Orlando would be a good way to spend the day. I had a couple markets sussed out as well as a couple of the local parks which would have provided some great photographic opportunities. I began at the Orlando Prime Outlets, basically an overgrown strip mall with factory outlets from all the major brands. A couple shops caught my attention but there wasn’t anything really unique there, I could get all of this at home for pretty similar prices. When I’m overseas I like to get things that I just can’t get at home like the hand made turtle lamp we got whilst on Turtle Island. After about an hour of walking around I noticed that it was getting harder to walk normally thanks to a pain in the middle of my left foot. I sat down to give it some time to rest.
Upon resuming walking however the pain hadn’t quelled as much as I had expected it to. Fearing the worst I went back to my hotel room and let it rest for a couple hours, devouring a couple chapters of Pandora’s Star in the process. Getting up and walking around I felt I a little better so I decided to visit one of the parks I had tracked down. By the time I reached the car I knew that walking on this foot wasn’t doing it any good but I decided to go for the drive anyway, wanting to get the most out of this last full day I had with my yellow beauty. I didn’t end up getting out of the car since the area I wanted to go to was sectioned off for a concert they were holding tonight. If it wasn’t for my foot I’d probably be there right now, blast it all.
Coming back to the hotel room feeling defeated I had resigned myself to shamefully calling room service again (3rd time at this hotel) and resting the foot up whilst wasting away to American TV. About an hour into this pit of self loathing I felt inspired to not let the last night of my time with the corvette go idly by and hobbled my way down to it for one last night of shenanigans. I drove around randomly for a good 15 minutes until a thought struck me, why don’t I do a night shoot of the car? The auto HDR on the camera would make for some impressive shots, so I looked around for somewhere with some light (and absent of people) to do my shoot, and I found the perfect place.
It was the front of a truck depot just off the highway, lit by dozens of lights with nary a skerrick of people to be found. I snapped quite a few shots and will endeavour to get them all online sometime (along with the numerous other pictures) but this one is probably the best of the lot. The yellow just seems so much more vibrant than in the other pictures I’ve got.
I had still resigned to going back to the hotel for dinner since my initial attempt to get into Olive Garden had been thwarted again by the massive late night dining crowd there. However on the way back from the photo shoot I noticed a burger joint I had read about before, Five Guys Burger and Fries. I pulled in to find I was the only customer there but was instantly greeted and served. About 10 minutes later I had my dinner and was off back to the hotel where I spent the next half hour consuming the mad burger and only a handful of the half kilo of fries they had given me.
Today has the overwhelming feeling of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Had I not been spurned on by Brett’s words in the comments and Dave’s recent posts about his China trip I would’ve spent the entire time sitting in the hotel room feeling sorry for myself. Whilst my foot may not recover as quickly for this I still believe it was worth it as the pictures I got on the last night with my lovely yellow beast will bring back fond memories of ignoring my self preservation instincts and just having a good time larking around. That’s something I can’t really put a price tag on.