Monthly Archives: October 2015


Italy. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Italy. In short, we are loving it to death. Tourist hoards are coming in droves to take in the amazing sites of Italy, its food, its wine, and its culture. We love it. From the immense wealth of the Vatican and priceless artwork, to the canals of Venice, the Leaning tower of Pisa, Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast, and the culinary heritage of Naples, we all venture forth to take our pictures, videos, and selfies. We love it so much we are starting to destroy what made it beautiful to begin with.

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21 years ago I set off on a train from Antibes, France following the coast into Italy to the sleepy terraced villages of Cinque Terre. It was the height of summer and as a young man felling restless and wanting to see more of the world, I happened upon these five delightful villages falling into the sea. Each home painted in Pastel color as if an artist rendered them just for the pleasure of the eye. People going about their daily lives like the generations before them, making a life from the sea and the limited land the villages clung to. A simple pasta transformed my idea of how good pasta could be, resembling nothing of the glutinous mass a noodles piled high with red sauce alla American. Garlic slow cooked in olive oil, tomato, basil, spaghetti and parmesan. 5 simple ingredients on a mission transformed a peasant dish into the representation of what Italy meant to me. A country for the senses.

21 years later I find myself bringing my young family to the very places I adventured to in my youth. Much to my surprise, some things don’t change. The Italian trains are still just as run down, graffiti covered, and still not on time. A fire on the tracks caused us a 6 hour delay on our way to Milan en route to Venice reminding me, yes, I am back in Italy. Seeing Venice again was a bit like seeing a long lost friend. Elegant villas overlooking the Canals bustling with gondoliers and Vaporetos, bridges providing the perfect vantage point for the perfect picture, waiters outside selling the menues of the the restaurants they serve, vendors selling endlessly colorful Merano glass, artists painting in the corners, the occasional musician playing his instrument for spare change to be collected in his hat. The camera loves Venice and everyone has a camera these days.

Piazza San Marco

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Our next destination was in the hills of Tuscany near the ancient town of Casole d’elsa set against a backdrop of rolling hills covered in the grape vines of Chianti, Montalcino, and Montepulciano. Our medieval villa made for the ideal location to venture off the discover the neighboring towns, including the fabulous city of Florence. A capital of art and culture as well as food and wine, Florence is a fabulous city to discover the best of Italy. The Central Market is bustling with Florentines buying their daily groceries or enjoying a feast from the myriad of vendors just one floor above. A butcher cleaving off a huge T-Bone of aged and marbled beef, grilled rare right in front of me and presented as the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina. A 1 Kg slab of rich perfectly grilled beefiness to be shared with my family alongside, tripe, roasted potatoes, grilled eggplant, arancini, and a perfect riserva Chianti. My son opted for a hamburger, still craving his American roots. Visits to the Pitti Palace and the Boboli gardens highlights the rich cultural heritage of the city and height of the power of the Medici family.

Green Grocery

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Moving onto Rome was more of a shock. For the those not accustomed to driving like a Roman let me give you a bit of a lesson. Just focus on the what is immediately in front of you and not about what is behind you. Count on the people behind you to do the same, Be bold and don’t hesitate. Driving too slow will cause problems and much consternation from other drivers around you. Scooters will be passing you on all sides so don’t make any sudden moves. Signs will let you down from time to time. One sign will says 24 km to your destination and 4 km later it will say 24 km to your destination. Signs will come up on you very fast and may be placed just before the turn, at the turn, or just on the other side of the turn. Sometimes you destination will not be posted at all so your navigator might have to look behind from time to time to see if you missed your turn. Parking is infuriating and designated parking spots give way to a free for all, find a spot if you can mentality. Don’t imagine your vehicle will escape being bumped, scraped or damaged in the urban jungle of Rome. My wife was trying to use Google maps to navigate, but the maps refused to give an accurate location for ourselves and our destination. Navigation to the center of Rome to our rental apartment left Benedicte a screaming hot mess trying to figure out where we were at. Benedicte cursed at the phone and my driving and began acting particularly French for that moment. Getting lost in Rome allows you to take in all the colorful graffiti lining the buildings, roadways, and trains. Some of it quite extraordinary in scope and others more like a dog pissing on its territory. Trash was another issue. Bottles and other detritus thrown from cars littering the streets and sidewalks juxtaposed against the graffiti and absurd traffic makes Rome feel particularly like it no longer belongs in the first world.
Visiting the cultural sites also has its hazards. Lines to get into the Vatican and St Peters Basilica border on the absurd. Hours spent waiting in the sun with your fellow tourists taking selfies, clicking away at anything that looks interesting trying to capture that shot that makes them look more interesting to those on their social media sites. Unfortunately, I am not immune to this, bringing my family, my cameras and my American good looks to the streets of Rome adds a few more bodies to the tourist hoard that has become Rome. Surly waiters, bad expensive food, and slow service add to the unsavory feeling I was having in the cultural center of Rome. Scaffolding in the middle of the Trevi Fountain or the 50 foot tall advertising dropped behind the Spanish steps reinforce my growing discontent with the tourist center. We escape to the less touristed part of town to live like actual Romans live. Clusters of apartment building stretching for blocks in every direction with cafes, restaurants and stores all at street level for the pedestrians of the city to wander in to have their coffee, nibble on snacks and smoke their cigarettes. The food improves, the prices drop, the faces are not as hostile, the pace begins to slack. We stumble into one of the finest gelato shops I have ever visited to enjoy real artisan Gelato made from all natural local ingredients, Gelateria Bartocci. This might have been my favorite gelato/ice cream ever! It was that good.

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Leaving Rome we made our way to the Amalfi coast to visit Positano, one of my favorite places in the past to visit when I was working on Motor Yachts. With my family we rented a small apartment in Vietri Sul Mare on the edge of Cinqueterre. This village was a delight and reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast of the past with smiling locals, quaint streets, local life not crushed by modern tourism. The town seemingly dedicated to the production of pottery with small shops everywhere selling its wares making for a colorful display of terra-cotta and locally produced products. Shopping from small vendors for our daily needs adds to the charm of Vietri. Local fishermen bringing their catch to market, a butcher chopping away, the green grocer selling seasonal produce, a shop selling olive based products all add to my culinary curiosity

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Suddenly I feel my love for Italy returning until… The bus.
Long my nemesis in many of the countries I visit, the bus is a thing I loath to take. Perhaps I have become too spoiled with luxury motor yachts, private jets, and exotic cars over the years working for those with such means. A billionaire I am not so from time to time one must endure the diesel driven machines of mass transit purgatory, bound to their schedules, destinations, space requirements, availability and cleanliness. Asia is the worst as I barely fit in the space provided, but the Amalfi Coast bus ride pushed my buttons but hard. They are cheap and for a reason. It was late, it was packed, it smelled of body odor, it was harrowing, it was long, and lastly it was numbingly slow. The coast is a winding road of absurdly tight corners not fit for a motor coach and barely wide enough for 2 cars to pass each other with cliff face on one side and and long fall to the sea on the other. I will say I give the bus driver an immense level of respect for his nerves of steel dodging Vespas, cars, tourists, and by a matter of centimeters just missing a scrape across the cliff face. His driving skills were masterful. How this mess of a road operates day in and day out is a mystery to me. An accident feels like it would take a Hercules Helicopter to clear it. Tourists should not be driving on this road by any means, but there they are, clogging up what used to be one of the worlds great driving roads, a vista paradise now looks more like a parking lot at LAX. We finally arrived in Amalfi just 16 km away and 2 hours later to find a town packed with people, stuck in queue trying to walk up the pedestrian street to take in the sites of T shirt vendors and snack shops. Not impressed was got back onto… the bus. #$H&T?!!

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Another 1 and a half and 10 km pass with more of the same as before. Good god I am disappointed by what I am seeing. But the bus finally lets us off and we walk the remaining 100 meters to get the overview of Positano. This is what I remember, this is the view I fell in love with 21 years ago and it has barely changed. The vivid colors of the cliff perched village are perfectly weathered with time. The village cascades from high on the cliff down to the beach lined perfectly with colorful umbrellas and tanned sunbathers swimming in the surf washing up on golden sand. Suddenly, as if the drugs kicked in, I feel better, much better like I was 24 again seeing a former lover just as she was. If anything, Positano has become more refined, more discerning, more tasteful, more expensive. It feels luxurious and this seems to keep the tourist throngs away who look for a cheap thrill and a snapshot rather than an experience. Winding cobbled streets make their way through the town and up the cliff face. Art dealers, jewelers, and sellers of couture line the walking streets. On the sea front we make our way to a restaurant I have waited 12 years return to just to have one of my favorite pastas in the world, the squid ink pasta of Chez Black. Chez Black, a seafront alfresco affair whose walls are lined with the photos of a self aggrandizing owner posing with the many celebrities who have frequented this seafood establishment. More photos have been added over the years since my last visit, but otherwise it was unchanged as was the menu including the squid ink pasta. Exactly as I remembered, spaghetti with bits of sautéed squid in a rich sauce of squid ink was deeply black arrives and it is accompanied by simply grilled vegetables, a chilled seafood plate and a Pinot Grigio. Simple fresh ingredients perfectly prepared. I am happy, maybe even giddy that I can share this experience with my family and all was suddenly right.

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Choosing not to take… the bus, we chose the ferry this time. Arriving right on time allowed us to catch the setting sun from the sea and take in a final glimpse of Positano from a distance. I have missed you, I will miss you again.
Getting off the beaten path and back to the kids education, we decided to make a trip to the little know Greek ruin site of Paestum. If you have never heard of it, look it up. The ruins of this magnificent site makes the Acropolis in Athens look humble. A parthenon of such scale and grander was an astonishing site to see giving we were in the middle of the countryside without a major town anywhere in site and. Only a handful of tourists were visiting this magnificent site and the accompanying museum filled with treasures of the past mostly exhumed from the Tombs of the long deceased elite. Archeological evidence dates the founding of Paestum somewhere around 600 BC with the oldest of the Temples, dedicated to Hera, dates back to 500 BC and still stands intact today.

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Our parting glance was that of Naples, birthplace of the pizza, and a pilgrimage of sorts to find the world best pizza. Pizza is a simple thing. A street food for the masses with international fame concocted in every possible way these days in restaurants everywhere, but it all started in Naples. I have a soft spot for pizza to the point I installed a pizza oven in my restaurant to create an artisan version for my guests. Venturing out into the street by foot in Naples feel a bit dodgy. It is not clean, people drive like mad, graffiti, garbage, and unkind stares make you feel immediately not at home. The best of the pizza restaurants in Naples always have a wait, but I hate feeling as if my very presence to pay for a meal is somehow an inconvenience to them. Surly waiters briskly taking your order, annoyed by our lack of Italian and foreign accents. The chefs can be seen in the back stretching dough and topping each with dizzying speed and accuracy. Wood paddles lightly coated with semolina, gently glide the raw pizza into the wood fired inferno, quarter turned every 40 seconds. Our pizzas arrive quickly as the 700 degree wood burning oven makes quick work of the pies. They smell amazing and the anticipation of eating one of the world great pizzas was now going to be satiated alongside a bottle of Campagna. We dig in and take that first bite. Hmmm. It is good, but not the mind blowing creation one reads about in travel blogs. The puffy outer crust has a nice amount of char, good chew, no crunch, an maybe just a bit bland. Bland? Bitting into the center gets no better. Overtopped and maybe just a bit undercooked, the center is a wet, flabby mess. The mozzarella has the lactic flavor ones comes to expect from good mozzarella created from buffalo milk, the sauce is a simple crushed tomato sauce with little or no seasoning, the basil, oddly, was the star of the Naples famous Margherita Pizza. Chef do have their off days and dough can change in nature from batch to batch, but I think I got what they serve everyday. I just did not feel the love in the food, very much the same way I felt in Rome. And I wanted to love it. I wanted a transcendent experience and a opportunity to bring something back in my culinary bag of tricks and that did not happen. As a matter of fact, most of the pizza we had in Italy was exactly this. A problem where the legend does not live up to real life. The world has started to speed past it in terms of excellence, creativity and affordability. Now am I talking about Pizza or Italy?

Leaving Italy was bittersweet. Seeing Italy again after so many years brought back so many memories, but it reminds me the world is changing, and sometimes not for the better. Magnificent history and culture now being commoditized and destroyed by those who only seek to profit from its existence. Lack of care and pride in the community manifests itself in the vast amounts of graffiti and garbage present in the streets and sidewalks of the largest cities. Lack of vision and investment is evident in the crumbling structures and endless traffic congestion show a world living in its past and not looking forward. Maybe a lesson for us all.


The Blue Marine Resort

We stayed at the Blue Marine Resort and Spa in Agios Nikolaos. There were lots of activities to do. I played darts I wasn’t very good at it, but I was much better at playing ping pong. The food was alright, it was an all you can eat buffet. You could choose what to eat, the desserts weren’t my favorite. I especially enjoyed the 4:00 waffle time, every day I would top them with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Pour une fois mes parents avaient choisi un hôtel style club tout inclus. Il y avait plein d’activités à faire. Comme jouer aux fléchettes (je n’étais pas très bon), j’étais bien meilleur au ping pong. Pour manger, c’était un self service, un grand buffet pour tous les repas, je choisissais ce que je voulais manger, les desserts n’étaient ce qu’ils faisaient de meilleur. Mon moment préféré était le 4 heures, avec les gaufres sur lesquelle je rajoutais toujours de la sauce au chocolat et de la glace.

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We also played tennis, the court was really beaten up. The balls were terrible one had holes, and the rackets were awful one had no grip and the others were also really bad. But we ended up having a lot of fun playing. There were lots of other kids at the resort, more less my age. I met some, I wouldn’t have met them if I didn’t go to the dart game. We hung out together. One evening, we went on the second floor, we were exploring a dark hallway that had things inside of it. There was a faint light that was flashing and things looked like they were moving on the floor. There was someone peering from a door then they went back in. The next time we went in that hallway there were legs at the same room and hand’s on the sides of the wall like they were ready to come out. My friends and I were so freaked out that we ran all the way to far end of the Resort.

On a aussi joué au tennis, ils nous ont prêté des raquettes, mais elles étaient assez pourries par rapport aux nôtres, et les balles devaient être les même qu’il y a 10 ans. Mais on s’est bien amusé. Il y avait beaucoup d’autres enfants à l’hôtel plus ou moins mon âge. Si je n’étais pas allé jouer aux fléchettes peut être que je n’aurais pas joué avec eux après. Un soir, notre petit groupe était allé se promener dans les couloirs du deuxième étage, il faisait noir mais on devinait des choses à l’intérieur. On voyait une petite lumière et on avait l’impression qu’il y avait quelqu’un qui nous surveillait, on a cru apercevoir des jambes et des bras. On est parti en prenant nos jambes à notre cou! Après on a bien rigolé.   

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In the evening they put on a show, it was games that the guests of the resort could participate in and they were a lot of fun. My dad was a captain for a team in the music quiz, I was on the same team. Our team was called the Ex Patriots. We demolished the other. They had a comedy show that was one of the funniest I had ever seen. They had an animation member named Andrea dress like an Irish guy to make Irish coffee, he made it in his mouth and not in a cup because he pretended he couldn’t find a cup before Davide was telling us the recipe. Plus the chocolate was mistaken for the coffee and the coffee was mistaken for the chocolate. The next part of the comedy show was a circus act. When Davide dressed as clown walked on a rope that was on the floor then he asked 2 people to hold the rope up so he could walk on it, then he asked for 4 more but it was just for a drying rack for his clothes. Then came my favorite of the acts. It was two of the workers that only spoke to each other by saying lalala, and the other spoke like LALALA! The one that spoke loudly was kind of fat he drew a 🙁 on his stomach and drew x’s on the side of his face he acted all tough but I don’t think he was that tough). Andrea will come with something and Davide will want it and bully/shouting to get it. They fought over toys,  a ball, hula hoop. He twirled it around his arm then he broke which made me really laugh. To get the hula-hoop the loud one was fake spitting to get him to drop the hula-hoop, and run away since he was fat he had trouble getting it around him. Then Andrea had a pool noodle that he poked the other one with. Davide grabbed it then use it as a machine gun which was really funny. Andrea had cake and when Davide found he begged for it since he liked cake. The audience said to give it to him so Andrea told him to close his eyes and open his mouth. Then he smashed it into Davide’s face.

Le soir, l’équipe d’animation menée par Davide proposait des jeux. Mon père a été selectionné pour être le capitaine le soir du quiz (où il fallait retrouver le nom de l’artiste et le titre des chansons). Il est très bon à cela, j’étais content car j’ai trouvé la réponse à 2 chansons. Un autre soir ils ont fait des sketchs super rigolo, j’ai beaucoup ri, notamment quand Andrea et Davide ne parlaient qu’en faisant Lalala, et ils arrivaient à exprimer des émotions (en fait Andrea arrivait avec quelque chose et Davide finissait toujours par le lui prendre, le dernier truc était un gateau au chocolat et comme Davide disait à Andrea qu’il le voulait Andrea le lui a écrasait sur le visage, j’ai beaucoup beaucoup rigolé).

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The kids I befriended were Jay, Shaun, Fin, Ricky, and Calum. We found something weird about the hotel like as if people were trying to hide something. There was a small entrance that went through the mountain, a cave that could have something hidden inside of it. Plus there was also a fence that had flowers put on it like they were hiding something. On an archery day Davide a member of the animation crew let us fire one arrow I had the best shot on the target.

We were running around, swimming, playing, we would hang out with no adults. All in all I’ll have a hard time topping my experience at The Blue Marine Resort, because I had so much fun.

Mes nouveaux amis sont Ecossais, Anglais etc, ils s’appellent Jay, Shaun, Fin, Ricky and Calum. En arpentant l’hôtel en groupe, on pense que les gens de l’hôtel essayer de cacher quelque chose. Il y avait une petite entrée qui continuait comme un tunnel sous la montagne et peut être que c’était une cachette. Il y avait aussi une clôture avec des fleurs pour cacher l’entrée. Le jour où Davide organisait le tir à l’arc pour les adultes, il nous a laissé tirer sur la cible car il n’y avait as beaucoup de monde, mon tir  était en plein dans le mille.

Ce qui m’a plu dans cet hôtel, était le fait que je joue avec des garçons de mon âge a des jeux d’enfants. De plus mes parents nous laisser beaucoup de liberté. Je ne sais pas si on ira dans un autre endroit aussi bien.

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Living the life in Crete

When we arrived we got our bags and headed for a taxi when we arrived at the Atrion hotel we got to our room and dropped of our bags and found a Restaurant for dinner. We had grilled Dorado, fava bean soup, a salad with a honey mustard vinaigrette, with apples. We also had grilled peppers, for dessert we had a sort of cake that was made of couscous, and honey. The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel, I had a waffle with lots of chocolate sauce, toast with chocolate spread, bacon, and a croissant.

Après avoir récupéré nos sacs dans le ferry, nous avons pris un taxi pour l’hôtel Atrion où nous avons passé la nuit. Comme il était tard, nous sommes allés à un restaurant tout prêt de l’hôtel. Nous avons pris une dorade cuite sur les braises, une spécialité Crétoise la soupe de haricots secs, une salade avec une vinaigrette moutarde miel et des pommes. En plus, il y avait des poivrons grillés, et pour le dessert ils nous ont apporté une sorte de gateau à la semoule avec beaucoup de miel. Le lendemain matin au petit déj, c’était un buffet, j’en ai profité pour manger: des gaufres avec beaucoup de chocolat, des toasts avec du nutella, du bacon et un croissant.

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After breakfast we visited the archeological museum of Heraklion, it was really amazing it was like the Vatican museums. I learned a lot about the history of the Minoans and the others that live on Crete through the artifact’s that were displayed. There was a replica of the palace of Knossos. You’ve probably heard of it if you have read the legend of the Minotaur, it’s where the maze of the Minotaur was but it’s just a legend, the maze is real but not the Minotaur. There were lots of double axes (called Labrys) because the axe was the highest religious symbol to Minoans, they would put sculptures of the horns of the Minotaur then put an axe in between. There were ancient weapons. Egyptians buried their dead in coffins, the Minoans buried theirs in giant urns. There displayed helmets made of wild boars tusks. We saw Roman sculptures, because the Romans once conquered Crete. There were lots of heads of bull’s artifacts because of the Minotaur and for the popular bull leaping games. There were lots of jewelry exhibits that my mom really liked. Their collection was very amazing. It was a museum about the riches of the Minoans and other Minoan artifacts.

Nous avons visité le Musée Archéologique d’Héraklion, je l’ai trouvé aussi bien que le musée du Vatican. C’était un bon moyen pour apprendre des détails sur la culture Minoenne et les autres civilisations qui ont peuplé l’île de Crète. J’ai particulièrement aimé la réplique en bois du Palais de Cnossos. Vous avez du entendre parler de la légende du Minotaure, le labyrinthe était vrai mais pas le Minotaure. J’ai admiré les casques des guerriers faits avec des défenses de sangliers, leurs épées et leurs boucliers.  Dans le Musée, il y avait beaucoup de haches doubles appelées Labrys, c’était des symboles religieux extrèmement importants pour la civilisation Minoenne. Elles pouvaient servir pour des sacrifices rituels professés par des femmes. Nous avons aussi vu des statues Romaines, car les Romains ont envahi la Crète. Les têtes de taureau étaient très présentes à cause du Minotaure mais aussi parce qu’ils faisaient partis des jeux. Ma mère a beaucoup aimé les bijoux retrouvés dans les tombes car ils étaient bien conservés. 

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Balos Beach

When we first arrived at Balos beach we had to hike down to get to it. When we reached the bottom tried to find a good place to sit. When we found one my sister and I made a trench with a wall to keep the water from flooding our area but it just ended up by the water making it fall apart. After it did I covered my legs in sand. There was an area where water flowed really fast I went in it and it was like you were in shallow rapids. My dad and I went snorkeling in an area that had lots of fish, we’ve been trying to find sea urchin skeletons and my dad finally found a green one. My mom was really happy when we came back and showed her the urchin skeleton. We had lunch at the beach I had sausages with French fries, that was mostly the best thing. We walked on rocks where I found a really cool piece of drift wood (drift wood is wood that has drifted in water when it comes on land the sun bleaches it and it becomes white. Sadly I couldn’t bring it around the world. To get back up we had to hike up to the cars. When we got back up, there was a goat that went to a dumpster diner. Literally it was eating from the trash can. Our visit to Balos beach was nice but I wished there was more sun.

La Crète a des très belles plages, mais les plus belles sont plus dures d’accés comme Balos. Pour y arriver il faut marcher pendant 40 minutes de l’autre côté d’une montagne. Une fois sur place, nous avons cherché un bon endroit pour s’installer. Avec ma soeur, nous avons travaillé dur pour empêcher la marée montante de nous repousser. La mer montait très vite et tu avais l’impression d’être englouti. Nous avons perdu, donc après je me suis amusé. J’ai fait du tuba avec mon père, et il a trouvé un squelette d’oursin vert.Ma mère était super contente qu’on ait ramené quelque chose. Nous avons mangé dans une paillote j’ai pris des saucisses avec des frites, c’était le meilleur. Après nous nous sommes promenés sur les pierres, et là j’ai trouvé un gros morceau de bois blanchi par le soleil et la mer. Il était super cool mais je savais que je ne pouvais pas le ramener. Au retour, il a fallu remonter la montagne que j’avais descendu pour venir. En haut, il y avait une chèvre qui mangeait son dîner dans la poubelle. Nous avons passé une bonne journée mais il n’a pas fait trop soleil.

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Elafonisi was another beach that was twice as amazing as Balos beach. I had no trouble jumping in the water because it was very warm. There was this very shallow lagoon where my sister and I had a sand fight. A little farther from the lagoon there were kite surfers, if you’ve never heard of kite surfing it’s where you stand on a board and a kite propelled by the wind drives you in all directions. We went snorkeling I saw  a big group of fish that had a triangle shaped noses. I found a partial sea urchin skeleton that was green. It’s strange every partial urchin skeleton we’ve found has been green and even the whole urchin skeleton was green. Although you can’t really see it in the pictures but the sand was pink not entirely but were the waves hit it was pink. To go back home we got stuck behind a bus and it also happened when we were going to Elafonisi. The roads are small and very windy because of the mountains.

Nous sommes allés à Elafonisi le lendemain et cette plage était 2 fois plus belle encore que Balos. Je n’ai eu aucun problème pour me jeter à l’eau car elle était  bonne. Il y avait un endroit où ce n’était pas profond, et avec ma sournois avons fait une bataille de sable. Il y avait aussi des kite surfers, c’est faire du surf avec une voile. En nageant avec le tuba, j’ai vu un groupe de poissons avec un long nez en forme de triangle. J’ai aussi trouvé un morceau de squelette d’oursin vert. Même si ça ne se voit pas bien sur les photos cette plage a du sable rose. Ce sont de petites routes dans la montagne et à l’aller comme au retour on est resté coincé derrière un bus!!!

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Minotaur legend and the Knossos Palace

Knossos is an ancient Minoan palace with a surrounding city located in Crete. It was ruled by the 9 year old king Minos the son of Zeus. Minos was one of three gods that judged the underworld. The settlement of the city was established well before 2000 B.C.E and ended in 1700B.C.E by fire but some suspect it could have been a tsunami. King Minos hired an architect, mathematician, and an inventor called Daedalus to build his castle so if any one entered they would never come out without a guide. It was also home to, the Minotaur half man half bull creature that eats humans. King Minos’s wife, Pasiphae slept with a bull sent by Zeus and gave birth to Minotaur. King Minos was embarrassed but didn’t want to kill it so he hid it. It was put in a maze that he could never get out of. Legend said that King Minos would put his ennemies inside the labyrinth and Minotaur would eat them.

Le Palais de Cnossos est le plus bel exemple de la civilisation minoenne en référence au roi Minos, fils de Zeus. Minos faisait parti des 3 rois qui régnaient sur le monde des ténébres. La ville date d’au moins 2000 avant J.C et la fin de vers 1700 après J.C. On suppose le feu ou même un tsunami aurait mis fin à cette civilisation. Le roi Minos engagea un architecte mathématicien et aussi inventeur du nom de Dédale pour lui construire son palais. Il voulait en effet que personne ne puisse en ressortir. Sa femme Pasiphae avait mis au monde Minotaure en s’accouplant avec un taureau envoyé par Zeus. Le roi Minos était embarrassé mais ne put pas le tuer alors il décida de cacher ce monstre moitié home moitié taureau. Minotaure fût mis dans le labyrinthe et ne devait pas en sortir. La légende veut que le roi mettait ses ennemies dedans et ils devenaient le manger du monstre. 

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One year one of the sons of Minos, Androgeus was killed in the Panathenaic games by the bull that impregnated his mom. King Minos was furious and demanded King of Athens Aegeus, to offer 7 men and women has sacrifice every year. They would be sent into the maze and never come out. The third year, Theseus the son of the king of Athens decided to be one of the 7 men that would go to Crete in order to kill the Minautor and end the sacrifices. Theseus met Ariadne daughter of King Minos and fell madly in love with her. She decided to help him. She gave him yarn so he could find his path back and he would not get lost. He defeated the Minautor and escaped with Ariadne. He had promise his father that upon returning to Athens he would put up white sails if he was victorious or leave the black sails if he lost. On the way back to Athens they stopped on the island of Naxos and celebrated too much. They forgot to change the sails to white and when his father saw the black sails he committed suicide and fell in the sea, since this sea is called the Aegean Sea.

Une année, Androgée fût assassiné lors de jeux par le même taureau qui avait engrossé sa mère. Fou de rage, le Roi Minos demanda réparation au Roi d’Athènes Egée, et de lui offrir 7 hommes et 7 femmes comme sacrifice chaque année. Quand la troisième année arriva, Thésée le fils d’Egée se porta volontaire parmi les 7 hommes. Il voulait tuer le Minotaure. Il rencontra le princesse Ariane fille de Minos dont il tomba éperdument amoureux. Elle décida de l’aider, elle lui donna une pelote de laine qu’il devrait dérouler et rembobiner après avoir tuer le Minotaure pour ressortir du labyrinthe. Il le tua et en sorti. Il repartit pour Athènes en emmenant Ariane avec lui. Il avait dit à son père qu’il hisserait des voiles blanches en cas de victoires ou elles resteraient noires s’il mourrait. Après une halte sur Naxos et ayant fêtait sa victoire, Thésée repris la mer vers Athènes mais ne changea pas les voiles. Son père croyant son fils mort, se jeta dans la mer donnant ainsi le nom à la mer Egée.

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After the end of the construction of Knossos place and the labyrinth Daedalus and his son Icarus were locked up in the high tower because they knew the secrets of the maze. To escape, they made wings of wood, wax and feathers. They flew out but Icarus flew to close to the sun and his wings melted and he plummeted to his death.

Quand Dédale eut fini la construction du labyrinthe, il fût enfermé dans la grande tour avec son fils Icare, car ils étaient les 2 seuls à connaitre le chemin pour sortir de ce dédale de rues. Pour s’échapper, ils se firent des ailes avec ce qu’ils avaient autour d’eux : de la cire de bougies, des plumes et du bois. Ils s’envolèrent, mais Icare s’approcha trop près du soleil, cela fit fondre la cire des ailes et il tomba et mourut.



I heard a local Greek say that Crete was paradise on earth, I want to know if paradise on earth really exists, and if so, is it in Crete?

Un jour un Grecque nous a dit que la Crète était le paradis sur terre! Il fallait que je vois ça de mes propres yeux.

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When we first arrived in Heraklion, which is the biggest city in Crete, I was a little sea sick from the ferry boat ride. But I was rejoiced when I found out that we would be staying in our first hotel of this trip. A decent one too. It had a diverse breakfast and good Wi-Fi so that was all I needed. The next morning my mom, my brother and I went to an archeological museum while my dad went to get a rental car. That museum was so impressive, all of the artifacts were from the palace of Knossos, which was where the legend of the Minotaur was born. The museum had all sorts of urns and stamps and jewelry from ancient Greece. I learned that they used to put the deceased in huge urns instead of coffins. The jewelry they recovered was in perfect condition, I could have easily worn most of it! And the pots! There were all so different. Some had spikes and others were tall, whilst one was made entirely out of crystal. The artwork they had was just as stunning as the rest. The way that the people were depicted and the gestures they made was very Egyptian-like I thought. That was a very interesting museum and probably one of the best collections I have ever seen.

J‘étais un peu barbouillée après le voyage en ferry depuis Santorini. Mes parents avaient réservés un chambre d’hotel! Nous allions rester dans notre premier hotel depuis le début de notre voyage, j’étais super contente. Il est très bien. Au petit déjeûner, le lendemain matin il y avait un grand buffet et je me suis régalée. Pendant que mon père restait pour s’occuper de notre location de voiture, avec mon frère et ma mère nous avons visité le Musée Archéologique d’Heraklion, un vraie merveille. Il y avait les objets trouvés dans le Palais de Knossos (la légende du Minotaure). Ca allait des premières figurines jusqu’à l’époque de l’occupation Romaine. Les objets étaient de grande qualité, et très variés comme de grandes jarres pour conserver huiles et vins, les bijoux portés par de riches femmes, des têtes de Minotaure, des cercueuils, j’ai appris qu’à une période ils mettaient leurs morts dans des urnes. Mon objet préféré était un petit pichet tout en crystal. Les fresques retrouvaient à Knossos reflétaient l’influence Egyptienne, même position de profile.  Ils faisaient beaucoup de commerce avec l’Egypte qui n’est pas loin. Ce Musée vaut le détour pour mieux comprendre les Minoans, les peuplades qui ont construit le palais de Knossos.

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We were staying in a city called Chania, which is on the west coast of Crete. It is an average town with apartment buildings and small super markets. It was nicer at the port though. Whole streets of clothing stores and jewelry stores and pottery. We had a traditional Cretan meal at a small restaurant in the middle of all the streets. They cooked in clay pots, we tried their rabbit and pork stifado sorts of tomato stewed meats. It was all very tasty. The island of Crete is a long island, with Mountains throughout all the inside. They can get snow in the winter. The landscape was lusher in the east part than the west. The beaches we visited in the west part were gorgeous. Clear turquoise water, pink sand, but still not many fish. On Balos beach, I made an amazing discovery while digging a barricade to keep the lounge chairs from submerging under the water. I had found a tiny sandollar that fit on roughly half of my pinky nail. At that same beach, my dad found a green sea urchin skeleton while snorkeling with my brother. That made two incredible finds in one day! Another beach we went to was called Elefonisi, the pink-sanded beach. I preferred this one to the previous beach we went to because it was sunnier and the water was much warmer too.

Après nous avons continué notre chemin vers l’ouest dans la ville de Chania (prononcé Hania). La ville en elle même n’est pas très charmante sauf le vieux port avec ses petites échoppes et ses restaurants. Nous allions y faire un tour tous les soirs. Nous avons mangé la cuisine Crétoise traditionnelle cuite dans des pots en terre sur des feux de bois. Je dois dire qu’on s’est régalé avec le lapin stifado entre autre. L’île de Crête est tout en longueur pas très large mais très longue et au milieu il y a de vraies montagnes qui peuvent avoir de la neige en hiver. La végétation est plus luxuriante à l’ouest qu’à l’est. Nous sommes allés sur des plages magnifiques à l’ouest. D’abord Balos, une plage accessible uniquement par bateau ou une marche, le spectacle était magnifique quand on arrive de l’autre côté de la montagne avec ses eaux turquoises comme un lagon. La marée montait alors pour nous protéger j’essayais de faire un barrage de sable, malheureusement j’ai perdu ma bataille. En creusant j’ai trouvé un minuscule sand dollar, j’étais contente de ma trouvaille, mais plus tard dans la journée mon père a trouvé le squelette d’un oursin. Deux super trouvailles la même journée ! Le lendemain nous sommes allés à la plage d’Elafonisi. C’était magnifique, elle est appelée la plage de sable rose car le corail qui s’est effrité donne une couleur un peu rose au sable. Je l’ai adoré car il faisait plus soleil et l’eau était plus chaude.

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Now we leave the west to go to the eastern part of Crete. Immediately I realized while we were driving that it was more arid and rocky than in Chania. The beaches too were not as nice as in the west. My parents decided that since Jayden and I have been so good on this trip, we could sacrifice a little money to stay in a five star resort. It had an all-you-can-eat-buffet, a nice pool, a game room, a tennis court, and a private beach. The food was all right, but the Wi-Fi was non-existent, you had to pay to go in the hot tub, and it had probably been 50 years since the tennis court was last refurbished. But other than that, the resort was great! In that resort, I had a lot of freedom (which I will probably never get again during this trip). I could get drinks and my 4:00 waffles, and roam around the hotel with the other children without my parents. I made many new friends including a little 8 year old German girl named Sasha. She really took onto me as if I were her big sister, and we played with each other almost every day. I also made friends with 2 French girls about my age. But in the last few days, I became friends with the English and Scottish kids that were staying at the resort. We all had fun venturing through the dark corridors of the hotel at night and playing table tennis, swimming. Had I been less shy in the beginning of our stay and gone to them, I wouldn’t be here regretting it. Though I am still happy I befriended them. Every night that we stayed at the resort, there would be a show, and my dad volunteered himself every time which embarrassed me a lot. But these shows made everyone laugh and were very fun and entertaining. One of them was a music trivia show on American 80s music. My dad was a pro at it and our team won. Another one was a comedy, where a member of the animation crew dressed like a baby and acted that way too. On one of the last shows, my dad and three other men were chosen to go on stage and do crazy things like imitating an animal and being spun around after drinking a beer. My dad won, which embarrassed me even further. After this week of freedom, it is going to be hard to go back to reality, there will be no buffet, or mini burgers, or even table tennis or friends. But there will be those great memories, and that is what matters most.

Nous avons quitté l’ouest pour l’est, pendant le trajet en voiture on se rend bien compte de la différence de végétation et les plages ne sont plus aussi belles. Parce que nos parents étaient contents de nous depuis le début du voyage, ils ont choisi un hôtel tout inclus pendant une semaine de catégorie 5 étoiles.  La wifi ne fonctionnait pas très bien dommage! Il était bien même s’il fallait payé pour  aller dans le jacuzzi (réservé à la section Spa de l’hôtel) et que le terrain de tennis avait vu de meilleurs jours. On a joué un matin, ils nous ont prêté des raquettes et des balles, on s’est bien amusé quand même. Il y avait tout le temps quelque chose à manger en plus des buffets pour les repas. Je pouvais faire plus ou moins ce que je voulais, me chercher des cocktails et bouger où et quand je voulais sans avoir besoin d’avoir mes parents à mes côté, super! Je me suis faite plein d’amis, notamment une petite fille allemande du nom de Sasha, elle me suivait partout elle était trop mignonne, mais aussi des françaises de mon âge, Angélina et Lilou. Vers la fin de mon séjour je me suis faite amie avec des écossais et des anglais qui étaient là depuis le début. On s’est bien amusé, entre autre avec le ping-pong, nager, et le soir à courir dans les couloirs noirs de l’hôtel et à se faire peur. Je regrette d’avoir mis tant de temps à les rencontrer car je me suis vraiment bien amusée après avoir fait leur connaissance. Tous les soirs, l’animation de l’hôtel faisait un show et des jeux pour les adultes, il a fallu que mon père se porte volontaire, j’ai trouvé ça assez embarrassant. Un des jeux était de reconnaitre le titre et l’auteur d’une chanson qui était jouée, il est très bon à ce genre de jeux, du coup son équipe en avait fait leur capitaine et bien sûr ils ont gagné. Le lendemain soir, ils ont élu Mr Blue Marine, mon père a fait parti des 4 hommes qui ont fait des jeux sur scène, et devinez! Il a gagné, moment encore plus embarrassant!!! Après cette semaine de quasi liberté, ça va être dur de revenir à la réalité, plus de buffet, de gaufres pour 4H, d’amis avec qui ont fait les 400 coups. Mais bon il est temps de passer à un autre endroit.

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My Stay in Santorini

Santorini is a Greek island located on a volcano crater that has sunk into the sea. We stayed in a hotel called Rena’s suites, it was ok. My mom and dad slept in a different bedroom. When we put all our bags down and got settled in, we decided to go into town, Thira. It was just 12 minutes away, we had to go up hill and take a lot of turns the town is like a labyrinth, but after the third day I memorized the path.

Nous voilà sur l’ile de Santorini, nous séjournerons dans la ville de Thira dans l’hôtel Rena’s suites. Nous avons deux chambres séparées, je dors dans un grand lit. C’est une île volcanique et les villes sont situées sur le cratère du volcan qui est submergé par la mer. Les villes sont construites à flan du cratère. Après avoir défait nos bagages, nous sommes allés faire un tour en ville. Il a fallu marcher pendant 12 minutes à peu près, tout en montée et des petites rues comme des labyrinthes, il m’a fallu 3 jours pour me repérer et pouvoir retrouver le chemin tout seul.

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There were lots of little shops and tons jewelry stores, my mom really liked the jewelry they made. We went into a store called Art of the loom it had really interesting things like Venetian glass animals that were on logs liked the lobster. For lunch we ate gyros, its pork or chicken, French fries, tomatoes, wrapped in pita bread. There was a shop I forgot its name but it had really cool things like glass that had metal fish in them they were put in different layers to be 3d. For dinner we had one of the best tables in Santorini to watch the sun set. We had a platter of Greek appetizers: we ate deep fried tomato balls stuffed with Greek cheese, deep fried cheese, and other stuff. We also order a block of feta cheese that had another kind of cheese that was melted on top of the feta. For dessert my sister and I had Viennese hot chocolate because the temperature had dropped and it was getting chilly. It was really good. But I forgot to tell you about the amazing sunset we saw. It was probably in the top 3 best sunsets I’ve seen, the best was probably in Arizona.

La ville est composée de petits magasins, souvent des bijouteries, ma mère était très contente car ils ont de beaux bijoux. Moi, j’ai aimé certaines magasins comme un qui s’appelait Art of the loom, il y avait des objets en verre un peu comme à Venise. Pour le déjeûner nous avons manger des gyros (sandwich greek servi dans une pita avec de la viande  et une sauce au yaourt) c’était très bon. Ensuite nous avons continué notre tour de la ville. Pour le dinner, nous avons mangé dans un restaurant super bien placé pour admirer le coucher du soleil. Mon père avait commandé des assortiments d’entrée grecque, comme des feuilles de vignes farcies avec du riz, des croquettes de tomates, du taramosalata, du tatziki, et aussi de la feta rôtie au four avec un autre fromage fondu dessus. Pour dessert, avec ma soeur on a eu droit à un chocolat viennois car il commençait à faire frais. J’ai oublié de vous parler du coucher du soleil! Il était très beau, je dirais qu’il fait parti des 3 meilleurs que j’ai jamais vu. Ceux d’Arizona sont mes préférés.

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The next day we went on a long hike to Oia a village on the other side of Santorini. The walk was really about 6 miles. About half way there we sat down in a restaurant, I was really surprised when my mom said we could have a soda because it was really hot and we  wouldn’t get dehydrated. When we arrived in Oia which took 3 hours, you have to go downed uphill. We walked around town it had lots of little shops and jewelry stores like Thira. We wanted to stay for the sunset but we decided to go back because we would have had to wait 2 hours instead we watched the sunset from Firostefani it was alright not as nice as the first one.

Le jour suivant nous avons marché de Thira à Oia, un petit village au bout de l’île. On a marché pendant 3 h, et fait à peu près 13 km. C’était joli, mais il faisait très chaud. A mis chemin, nous avons fait une halte dans une petite échoppe et j’ai été super surpris quand ma mère nous a dit qu’on avait droit de boire un soda. Elle avait peur qu’on se déshydrate, on a pris un Fanta, ça n’arrive jamais. C’était plus facile après pour finir la marche. Oia est un autre petit village comme Thira avec des petits magasins. Les gens y viennent pur admirer le coucher du soleil sur les moulins. Il fallait attendre 2 heures de plus alors on est rentrer par bus et on a vu le cocher du soleil depuis Firostefani.

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The day after we spent the whole day doing homework, after we were finished I went for a swim in the pool. After dinner, we did a stroll in town.
Our stay was finally over, we packed our bags. We did some homework while waiting for the ferry at 5h30. We took a taxi to go to the ferry, it was late to pick us up and then the driver went to get more people, and we had to wait because they were late. We were afraid to miss the ferry. Fortunately it did not happen. The ferry was really big, it took us about 2h to get to Crete. The biggest island of Greece.

Nos deux derniers jours nous avons fait des devoirs, mathématiques, grammaire et orthographe. On allait manger en ville pour couper un peu. Nous avons pris le ferry de 17h30, notre taxi était en retard et en plus il est allé prendre d’autres gens qui n’étaient pas prêts. Nous avons eu peur de rater le ferry, heureusement ce n’est pas arrivé. Nous somme en route pour la Crête.

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My stay in Milos

I will first tell you about the ferry we had to take to get to Milos. The waves were really big and I got seasick fortunately I only ate Greek yogurt for breakfast. When we arrived in Milos the owner of the apartment was waiting for us with his car. The apartment wasn’t the biggest but it was the cleanest and very pretty. The beds my sister and I slept in were on the sides of the of the kitchen walls. When we got settled in we decided to go visit the town when my mom realized that she forgot her purse on the ferry. It had all her credit cards and other important stuff. So we went to the port police and explained that she lost her purse, they called the boat and it was found, they said they would bring it back at 4:00p.m.

Mon premier voyage en ferry dans les îles grecques ne s’est pas très bien passé, en effet il y avait du vent et la mer n’était pas plate et j’ai été malade. J’ai vomi mon petit déj dans le couloir du ferry, heureusement ce n’était que du yaourt. Le trajet a duré 3h30, un peu long quand on ne se sent pas bien. A Milos, le propriétaire de l’hôtel nous attendait sur le quai, du coup c’était  plus facile avec les valises. L’appart n’était pas très grand, mais il était tout neuf et charmant. Je dormais dans la cuisine avec Mélia chacun dans un lit de chaque côté du mur. Après s’être installé, on est parti en ville pour manger, c’est à ce moment que ma mère s’est aperçue qu’elle avait laissé son sac à main dans le ferry. Un peu panique à bord car il y avait ses cartes de crédit dedans et un peu d’argent quand même. Elle est allée au port et là ils ont contacté le ferry et ils lui ont dit que son sac avait été retrouvé, ils le déposeraient quand le ferry repasse vers 16h.

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We rented a tiny and crappy car to go around the island. Milos is a volcanic island. The first site we visited was Sarakiniko a beach that was made of white rocks that you could climb and explore. It was all made from when a lava flow came and made the rock formation. There was a place where the lava made a sort of tiny maze, there parts that made perfect sitting areas. We discovered shell fish that were fossilized in the rocks. Farther from that area there was a ship wreck that was really cool. We visited some cave’s that were dark. I enjoyed our visit.

On a loué une voiture toute petite et toute cabossée pour faire le tour de l’île. On est allé à Sarakiniko, une plage faite de roches volcaniques blanches, j’ai ben aimé explorer cet endroit. Parfois ça ressemblait à un labyrinthe, parfois des pierres formées des bancs parfaits pour s’asseoir. On a trouvé des coquillages fossilisés, c’était cool. Un peu plus loin, il y avait l’épave d’un grand bateau échouée près des côtes, et aussi des grottes très très grandes qui faisaient des galeries.

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We went to Pollonia a small village where we had lunch. We had mussels prepared style saganaki (feta with tomato sauce) with a mountain of crispy fries that were really good with the saganaki sauce, octopus, fried sardines, and a Greek salad. There was a cat that wouldn’t stop meowing, and begging for food. We splashed him with water, and I really freaked him out twice so he stopped.

Pour le lunch, on est allé à Pollonia un petit village sympa. On a pris des moules façon saganaki (sauce tomates et feta) et une montagne de frites qui étaient très bonnes, mais aussi une salade de pieuvre, des sardines grillées et une salade grecque. Les îles grecques sont pleines de chats, il y en a de partout ils viennent vers nous quand on mange, là il y en avait un qui n’arrêtait pas de miauler, alors de temps en temps je lui éclaboussais un peu d’eau (je lui ai donné les arêtes de sardines quand même!).

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After we had lunch we went to a beach called Palaiochori that had really cool snorkeling. Near big rocks I saw fish that had a green body, a black head with a blue design that looked like an atom and it had blue stripes on its body. While snorkeling I discovered a place that had volcanic activity, like an underwater geyser that was spitting bubbles. When we arrived we had hot dogs, rice and vegetables for dinner.

On a passé l’après midi sur la plage de Palaiochori, elle était protégée du vent du nord. J’ai fait du masque et tuba. Et j’ai vu sous l’eau un poisson dont le corps était vert, sa tête noire avec un dessin bleu comme un atome et il avait aussi des rayures bleues sur le corps. J’ai découvert un endroit où il y avait de l’activité volcanique, sous l’eau comme des petits geysers qui crachaient des bulles. Je suis retourné explorer tout cela avec mon père. Pour le dinner, on a mangé des hot dogs avec du riz aux petits légumes, la cuisine n’est pas grande.

The next day we sailed around Milos, when we first arrived we were asked to take off our shoes to not get the boat dirty. We saw a rock that looked like it had the lion of Venice on it, one that looked exactly like a rabbit, and one was like bear’s head. We snorkeled in a sea cave that had colors, blue was for iron, red was copper and yellow was sulfur. The water was warm and very clear. We sailed for a while before arriving at Kleftiko, a place where pirates hid like the famous pirate Red Beard. There were tons of little sea caves that were interesting. We ate lunch onboard the boat, we were we had a meal of spaghetti shrimp and mussels, with a Greek salad. After we finished eating the shrimp, we tossed the head to the fish. The fish started to school around the food we gave them. We spotted some Garr fish, they were skinny and had spikes like swordfish. The spikes had a red tip, not like the alligator Garr that is huge and extremely deadly but I’ve never heard anybody being attack from these. Then we swam in an area that had very shallow water that was really warm. There wasn’t much to see but I had a great time trying to throw my sister in the water. After we had ouzo time its where the adults have ouzo, it’s a drink that smells and tastes like a lot of black liquorish. They also served grilled octopus and lots of appetizers, it was all very tasty. On the way back we saw a fishing village Klima, each house had a different color, the Captain explained that they started painting their doors with the left over paint that the cargo ships would get rid of, that is why nobody has the same color. After we didn’t see much but rocks. Our tour around Milos was great, I would say it definitely made me☺.

Le lendemain, on a fait une ballade en voilier,on a enlevé nos chaussures pour monter à bord pour ne pas salir le bateau. En partant, le captaine nous a montré des rochers spéciaux, l’un comme un lapin et un autre comme une tête d’ours en colère. On a nagé avec nos masques et tubas, on a vu des couleurs, bleu pour le fer, rouge pour le cuivre et jaune pour le soufre, l’eau était claire et bonne. On a mis les voiles pour la baie de Kleftiko, l’endroit où les pirates se cachaient, notamment le célèbre pirate Barbe Rousse. Il y avait beaucoup de grottes, j’ai trouvé ça intéressant. On a mangé le lunch à bord du bateau, salade grecque puis spaghetti avec des moules et des crevettes. On a lancé les têtes des crevettes dans l’eau et des poissons sont venus les manger. On a vu des poissons Garr (pas sûr du nom en français). Puis on a nagé dans un endroit pas profond et l’eau était chaude, il n’y avait pas grand chose à voir alors je me suis amusé avec ma soeur, j’essayais de la faire tomber dans l’eau. Avant le départ, le capitaine a dit que c’était l’heure de l’ouzo, en fait les adultes boivent de l’ouzo, une boisson avec de l’acohol qui a un goût d’anis. On a aussi mangé plein de petits trucs apéro, pieuvre grillée etc c’était tout très bon. Sur le chemin du retour on s’est arrêté pour admirer le village de pêcheurs Klima. Le capitaine nous a expliqué que les pêcheurs avaient commencer à peindre leurs portes avec les peintures restantes des grands navires de frêt, c’était pour cela que personne n’avait la même couleur. Après il n’y avait rien à voir que des falaises. J’ai passé une bonne journée.

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A day out at sea in Milos

Yesterday, we went on a day cruise around the island of Milos, in Greece. I started the day off early, with my usual homework, then we made our way to the sail boat. It was a guided tour with other people from different countries. The sea that day was a little choppy, but my breakfast stayed in its place and didn’t come back up.

Hier, nous avons fait une croisière autour de l’île de Milos en Grèce. J’ai dû me lever tôt pour faire mes devoirs d’école avant de partir. Puis on est parti, sur le voilier il y avait des gens de plusieurs nationalité, des Brésiliens, des Espagnoles, des Grecques et puis nous! Le capitaine du voilier s’appelait Elias et il avait un assistant, Dimitri qui était cuisinier et matelot à la fois. La mer était un peu houleuse au départ, mais mon petit déj est resté dans mon estomac.

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Our first stop was near a sea cave. We had to take a tender to go in it because our main boat was too tall. Though the opening was small, cave was gigantic, it was 30 yards in diameter. Its ceiling had collapsed in an earthquake about 40 years ago, what remained were the walls around it and 1 tree. Surprisingly, the sea water in there was really warm, and I mean it, because I’m usually really sensitive to cold water. After exploring our surroundings, we returned to the boat to go snorkeling. The water was crystalline clear, you could actually see the individual pebbles on the bottom of the sand. I was pretty chilled by the wind, but the water seemed to be beckoning me in, and I just couldn’t resist. So I put on my mask and tuba, then dove into the water. Silence surrounded me as I swam deeper and deeper. I was surprised to find that there were very little fish, but since Milos is a volcanic island, that probably was to be expected. I followed the rest of my family into a small sea cave and was blown away by what I saw. The rocks were alive with bright colors. Yellow and blue, red and green were all around me. Sea urchins dotted the wall like little black dots of ink on colorful paper. I saw a small crab crawl back behind a rock, away from the frightening monsters starring at it and trying to pick it up. I didn’t go very far, big waves on the other side of the cave crashed against the rocks, driving me back. Fearing that I would get run over by the tender, I made my way back to the boat. It left a 10 minutes later, giving the time for the rest of the people to come back on board.

Nous avons jeté l’encre près d’une caverne marine appellée Sitia, pour y aller nous avons pris le petit bateau à moteur. L’entrée était toute petite mais l’intérieure était immense, facilement 20 m de diamétre. Malheureusement lors d’un tremblement de terre il y a une 40 aine d’année une partie du plafond s’est écroulé. L’eau dedans était particulièrement tiède. Puis nous sommes revenus sur le voilier pour nager avec le masque et tuba, l’eau étant cristalline je n’ai pas pu résister. Sans toucher les pieds parterre je pouvais voir tous les petits galets ou les rochers sur le sol. Je nageais presque dans le silence, car à ce moment tous les autres étaient partis dans la grotte Sitia et il ne restait que nous 4. Milos est une île volcanique alors il n’y a pas trop de poissons, dommage. Nous avons nagé dans la grotte, et là devant mes yeux une multitude de couleurs sont apparues, du bleu, du jaune, du vert et du rouge, un peu comme des tâches d’encre ou de peintures (il y a beaucoup de minéraux et les couleurs venaient de là). J’ai vu un petit crabe aller se cacher derrière des rochers pour échapper aux montres qui le regarder. Je n’ai pas nagé au fond de la grotte car il y avait trop de vagues. Je suis remontée sur le voilier et me suis séchée car il y avait un petit air assez frais.

We now enter Kleftiko, THE PIRATE’S COVE, and the most beautiful place in Milos. Kleftiko was almost like a labyrinth of sea caves which you can only access by boat. We visited some of them with the tender. They were amazing, every one of them was entirely different than the other. One was really tall and another made strange gulping noises that freaked me out. And, the water there was even clearer then the last place. But I didn’t want go snorkeling because I was still really cold from my last swim. After everybody got back from snorkeling, we had lunch. It was Greek salad and spaghetti with mussels and shrimp. It was good, but I would have liked a little desert to finish off the meal. After lunch, we set off to yet another destination.

On a mis les voiles pour Keltiko, le repaire des pirates, et l’endroit le plus beau de Milos à mon goût. C’est une crique avec des grottes et on peut y accéder que par bateau. Il y en a beaucoup et les pirates cachés leur bateaux derrière les grandes falaises avant d’attaquer par surprise. On a dû prendre le zodiac pour les visiter car certaines sont très basses. Elles étaient différentes les uns des autres, certaines basses, d’autres hautes, une avec de l’eau bleue marine appellée la grotte des monstres car les vagues faisaient un drôle de bruits dedans. L’eau était encore plus jolie que vers Sitia. Je n’ai pas nagé car j’avais toujours un peu froid. Dimitri nous a servi à manger, au menu salade grecque et spaghetti aux moules et crevettes. C’était bon, mais hélas je n’ai pas eu de dessert!! 

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We got there at about late afternoon. It was a nice beach that was protected from the wind, unlike the other 2 places, but the water wasn’t turquoise and it was quite a bit colder. I swam without my snorkel since I thought that I wouldn’t be needing it. I was wrong since my brother kept trying to push me down into the water! After a half hour of swimming, we all went back on the boat for OUZO TIME. The captain brought out an assortment of small dishes to nibble on, including grilled octopus (which was very tasty by the way). The adults on the boat had ouzo, which is an anise flavored liquor. On our way back home, I conversed a 5 year old Spanish girl who spoke really well English. Her name was Natalia and she was adorable. Finally, after an amazing day on the ocean, we got back to the village and I took a much needed shower.

Nous sommes remontés vers une plage appellée les Triades, il n’y avait pas de vent mais l’eau n’était pas aussi turquoise que les deux autres endroits ou nous nous étions arrêtés et l’eau était un peu plus froide. J’ai quand même nagé sans masque et tuba. En fait on s’amusait avec Jayden il essayait de me mettre à l’eau, on a bien rigolé. De retour sur le bateau c’était Ouzo time, l’apéro en quelque sorte, avec de l’ouzo pour les adultes et des snacks, comme la pieuvre grillée, des toasts de tomates etc…J’ai discuté avec une petite fille Natalia  de 5 ans(son père était polonais et sa mère espagnole), elle ne parlait pas bien l’anglais mais elle essayait c’était super mignon. De retour à l’apart j’ai pris une douche bien méritée.

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My favorite place we went to that day was the pirate’s cove. I don’t know when I will see water that beautiful this trip, but if I do, I will make sure to snorkel in it!

J’ai adoré la crique des pirates, l’eau était spectaculaire, je ne sais pas si je vais revoir une eau aussi claire. Mais si ça m’arrive je n’hésiterais pas à nager dedans!


A day in school in Athens

Last night in Athens, Greece, we met up with my dad’s friend from college and his family. They had 3 children, Ally who was six, Reece who was nine, and Kaitlyn who was 11. We had a very nice dinner with them. Then completely out of nowhere, somebody said that it would be cool if Jayden and I went to school with them the next day. We agreed and to school we went.

La nuit dernière à Athènes, nous avons rencontré un ami d’université de mon père  Jeff et sa famille. Ils ont 3 enfants, Ally a 6 ans, Reece qui a 9 ans et Kaitlyn qui a 11 ans. Nous passions un bon moment avec eux quand soudain je ne sais pas trop comment c’est arrivé mais quelqu’un a dit “Mélia pourrait aller à l’école avec nous demain!”. Après quelques textos à la directrice, c’était tout arrangeait !

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THE NEXT DAY, we woke up early and got ready for our first and last day of school in Athens. I was extremely nervous, I thought “what should I wear, is it cool enough? What should I put in my backpack, what should I pack for lunch?” I was tormented by these questions all the way through the subway station and on the walk to the school. When I got there, my anxiety doubled. It was bigger than I had anticipated. I knew it was an American school, but I thought that it would be more like my old private school, Bement, but no, this was exactly like an American middle and high school. I had never been in a public middle school before so this was all new to me. But I found Kaitlyn and we walked inside the campus.

Le jour suivant, nous nous sommes réveillés assez tôt, et nous nous sommes préparés pour notre premier et dernier jour d’école à Athènes. J’étais super nerveuse, je me demandais si ce que j’allais mettre serait assez cool? Qu’est ce qu’il fallait que je mette dans mon sac à dos? Qu’est ce qu’il fallait que j’amène pour le déjeuner? Je n’ai pas arrêté de penser à tout cela pendant le trajet dans le métro. Quand je suis arrivée à l’école mon anxiété devait toucher le ciel!!! L’école était immense, bien plus grande que Bement, car il y a aussi le Lycée.Heureusement, j’ai vite trouvé Kaitlyn, et elle est restée avec moi sur le campus.

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Our first period was P.E. We did sprints and warm ups before playing dodge ball. I found out that I was particularly bad at it but it was fun anyways. After P.E., we went to language arts class. Since Kaitlyn was in 6th grade, this was all review for me but I still payed close attention. We all wrote small stories about prompts we read then talked about descriptive writing. After that class we had lunch. Since the cafeteria was full, I, Kaitlyn, and some of her friends ate outside. The cold wind blew around us and we shivered as we ate, but then we all played a game of tag to warm ourselves up. I liked her friends, they were kind and easy to be around, but they reminded me of my friends that I left behind in Massachusetts. That day was a special day where the students could sign up for clubs that they wanted to be in. There was an art club literature club, a Scrabble club etc. That part I didn’t find too interesting because it didn’t really concern me. It was about 70 minutes before we took off to art class. They were working on self-portraits so I just drew random things. A threesome of 7th grade girls were sitting across from us. One asked if I was new, and I told her the same thing I told so many people. They were all really interested and we were soon conversing about different things. After a half hour, they all wanted me to stay at their school! I think I made a few new friends that day. When the bell rang, Kaitlyn and I went to the 5th and final period, MATH. When the teacher asked me to introduce myself to the class and tell them where I came from, I found the opportunity to tell them about our trip. Straight away they were asking me questions and telling me I was really lucky. The teacher though got impatient and told them that the questions would have to wait. They were working on decimals and fractions so it wasn’t new material for me. I was a bit rusty, since it had been a year since I studied them. The teacher called me up to answer a fraction problem and I solved it with ease. Though I got stuck on most difficult addition of all, 19+4. My brain seemed to shut down at that moment and I could not come up with the right answer. Finally, I got that right but not before I made a fool of myself. Their teacher gave us all worksheets and the first part was easy, but I couldn’t remember how to convert decimals to fractions and visa versa. But before I could finish the last problem, the school bell rang, marking the end of my school day. I met my parents, Ally, Reece, and their mom and we said our good byes. This was my day at school in Greece, and I liked it.

I am very thankful for Kaitlyn to have been with me all day and I had a great time.

Le premier cours était gym, on a fait des sprints puis on a joué à dodge ball. J’ai découvert que je n’étais pas bonne à ce jeu! Mais c’était quand même sympa. Le cours suivant était anglais, j’ai un an de plus que Kaitlyn donc pour moi c’était un peu comme des révisions. On a écrit un petite histoire et on a discuté en classe de nos écrits. Puis on est allé manger comme la cantine était pleine on a mangé notre lunch dehors. On était un petit groupe avec les amies de Kaitlyn,  il y avait un petit vent glacial et on s’est un peu gelées. Ce jour là les élèves devaient choisir des clubs d’activité comme les échecs, littérature, scrabble …Ca ne me concernait pas vraiment. Après ils avaient une classe d’art, ils travaillaient sur des portraits, j’ai fait des dessins de mon côté. Pendant cette classe des filles de 5eme étaient assises en face de moi, elles m’ont demandé si j’étais nouvelle alors j’ai expliqué mon histoire. Elles avaient plein de questions, puis on a parlé d’autres choses, après 30 minutes elles voulaient que je reste à l’école! Je pense que je me suis faite de nouvelles amies. Puis on est allé en math, la prof m’a demandé de me présenter à la classe. Et de nouveau les élèves se sont mis à me poser pleins de questions, la prof a vite arrêté la conversation sinon personne n’aurait travaillé. On fait des exercises sur les fractions, je suis passée au tableau pour résoudre un problème, j’étais un peu nerveuse du coup j’ai fait quelques erreurs. Puis la cloche a sonné la fin de la journée, on est sorti. J’ai retrouvé mon frère et la maman de Kaitlyn, puis mes parents sont arrivés. On s’est dit au revoir. J’ai passé une très bonne journée et Kaitlyn a été super, elle ne m’a jamais laissé toute seule.


I went to school in Athens

This all happened when we went to dinner with one of my dad’s friends from College, he has a son named Reece and the next day I went to School with him. His dad works at the American Embassy of Greece.
I went to the school be metro. So the title says it my day at school, I was really nervous when we got there. But the teacher was very nice. The first thing we did in class was writing but I didn’t  have to do it. Then the teacher read a few pages from a book called Stone Fox. After that we did a session called Dogs and learning, it’s where they bring in a dog and you have to learn about it, its breed was a Jack Russell.  They started this new program because the head master thinks it helps kids to take care of an animal. Then we did Learning about how to find the right book, I chose a book about ancient Greece and I read it. I forgot to tell you that the class was for third grade and I’m in 5th grade. When we finished we did math, in math we did subtracting money (which was very easy for me). Then we went to P.E, we did probably half an hour of jump roping, then we finally changed to a different game kind of like musical chairs but you had to walk around the room and then get in a circle when the music stopped. It was fun. At  recess I played a game of soccer with Reece and a lot of other kids I didn’t know. Then we went to lunch, I ate a lunch that my mom prepared and Reece mom did give him extra in case I didn’t have anything. After that we did some social studies where I had to put the directions to go to my classroom from my school Bement. People thought it was amazing how fast I did my work, what would take them the whole session to do, I did in 5-7 minutes, and they were also impressed by how I could write cursive. My day at school ended and I had a great time. It was fun to play with other kids, Reece was a great friend to me. I was nervous at the beginning but he made it easy for me to have a nice day. Everybody was friendly.

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Nous sommes allés manger avec un ami de mon père et sa famille dans la banlieue d’Athènes là où ils habitent. Son père en fait travaille pour l’ambassade Américaine de Grèce. Il a un fils qui s’appelle Reece qui a 9 ans et je suis allé à l’école avec lui le lendemain. On a pris le métro pour aller à son école et j’ai passé une journée en classe en Grèce. J’étais très nerveux quand je suis arrivé mais la maitresse était très gentille. Les élèves ont écrit quelque chose, mais moi je n’ai pas eu besoin de le faire. Après la maitresse a lu quelques pages d’un livre le Stone Fox à la classe. Puis ils ont amené un chien un Jack Russell et les enfants se sont occupés de lui. En fait Mme la Proviseur pense que les animaux sont importants au développement des enfants alors une fois par semaine les élèves passent du temps avec certains animaux. Puis la maitresse a expliqué comment trouver le bon livre par rapport à un travail ou une question. Moi, j’ai choisi un livre sur la Grèce ancienne, et je l’ai lu. Jai oublié de dire que Reece est en CE2 et que moi cette année je suis en CM2. On a fait des maths comment rendre de l’argent, j’ai trouvé ce travail très facile. Puis on a eu gym, on a dû sauter à la corde pendant au moins 30 minutes c’était long. Après on a fait un jeu un peu comme les chaises musicales. Pendant la récré, j’ai joué au foot avec Reece et ses copains. C’était enfin l’heure du lunch, j’ai mangé ce que ma mère m’avait préparé, et la maman de Reece lui avait aussi donné un petit snack pour moi. De retour en classe, on a dû faire un plan pour se situer dans l’espace, la maitresse m’a demandé de le faire par rapport à mon ancienne école, Bement. Les enfants de la classe ont trouvé que je travaillais très vite, en effet ça ne me prenait pas top de temps pour faire les exercices. Ils ont été surpris comme j’écrivais bien et vite. Ma journée d’école arrivait à sa fin, j’avais passé un bon moment. J’ai bien aimé d’avoir pu jouer avec d’autres enfants. J’étais un peu nerveux au début mais Reece m’a bien facilité les choses. En fait tout le monde était très sympa dans cette école.