Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Full-On Fernando

I finally sat down and went through all my Fernando posts (there are 23), and tagged them all, so you can scroll to the beginning and then read UP (you know, if you're bored at work, or bored at home, or bored at the pool with your laptop):

http://travelgretta.blogspot.com/search/label/FERNANDO

What Goes Around...

The morning after my birthday, I think Fernando felt slightly guilty about his behavior, and so he wanted to make himself useful.

He slipped on his new Croatian flip flops, and stepped outside to get the morning paper, for my parents.


Now, I'm sure we all expected this sooner or later...


There was no note, just the baby piglet in the basket. Fernando went running for the cigarettes.


My mom was left to attend to the piglet.
McGone, I am sending Fernando back to you this week, as he is now a new father and will have to put his traveling on hold - at least until he can find someone on whom to unload the baby. We haven't named the piglet - you may want to help Fernando do a little research and try to locate the mother...

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Birthday

So, in between Greece and now, we celebrated my birthday. HOORAY! I love my birthday. It was July 12, if any of you would like to mark your calendars for next year. I am registered at Christian Louboutin in Paris.

Like many travel companions, Fernando and I were starting to wear on each other's nerves by this point. We had been traveling together since June 17th, without a break, and Fernando, without a shower. Something about how he "doesn't trust the foreign water", and I refused to bathe him in Evian despite his incessant requesting.

It was a welcome respite to stop at my parents' home in Portland, Oregon to unpack, relax, do some laundry, and have birthday cake. And also to have other people to keep Fernando occupied.

I shouldn't have worried - he managed to occupy himself just fine.


Poor Herb was completely caught off guard, and kept looking at me as if to say "Was it because I was scantily clad? I wasn't wearing my collar..."

And then there was the situation with the cake.


Fernando hadn't realized there was a camera nearby, and was swearing up and down that he had no idea why the frosting was mussed.

He then proceeded to bump into silverware and several plates, as his vision was slightly blurred by something...

He miraculously rebounded when my mom brought out the port.

When I went to bed, he was still staggering around the living room, singing some blues song about "She done me wroooooong...". Egads, 'Nando, get it together.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Rest of the Greece - Wrap up.

Apologies in advance for this rushed post - but we feel like Greece was SOOOOO long ago...and so much has happened since... (cliffhanger).

In a nutshell:

Fernando drank too much


He ate too much


He almost got shot out of a cannon on the Wine & Appetizer & Hot Springs Cruise (which, in another nutshell was more like a 3 Hour Tour...a 3 Hour Tour...only a half hour of which included the wine & appetizers. Buh!)


And then, rolled around in our dolma plate at the winery. The dolmas were made with the grape leaves of the winery - fabulous!

We leave you with one last look at a gorgeous Greek sunset.


And then will explain the reason for the rush, in the next post. Cliffhanger! After the photo of the cliff! I can't make this stuff up!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Even Greecier

Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most astonishingly beautiful places on Earth. We arrived by plane (stunning - get a window seat), and were then taxied up to the town of Fira, where our hotel, the Villa Renos, was located.

We checked in, then checked out the digs. Fernando was the first one out on the patio to take in the view:


This was taken standing in front of the French doors of our room (neener neener neener). We had a private patio sitting area, with table, chairs, and two lounge chairs; and a shared patio area with table, chairs and a plunge pool. Since Fernando did not have his own lounge chair, he spent most of the time in the pool.


Or, it may have had nothing to do with the absence of an extra lounge chair. He may have preferred the plunge pool because, when we arrived, there was a topless girl sunning herself in said plunge pool. Sarah and I both agreed that if you are sharing a plunge pool with two other rooms, you may want to keep your top on. I know you're in Greece and everything, but you, yourself, are Canadian.

We just ended up using the pool when Topless and her weird boyfriend weren't there. Don't even get me started on having to sit next to them at breakfast - with him making loud smooching noises all over her, while we're trying to eat. At least she had her top on for breakfast.

Next up, after enjoying the patio? Shopping! Sarah was on a quest for jewelry. Not crazy-fancy-precious-gems-jewelry, just fun, semi-precious rings the size of dinner plates.


I got one Fernando can use as a fancy headdress:


Fernando was a little bored during the jewelry store extravaganza, and I caught him trying to join this group:


He claimed they were in some sort of very important parade, and that he was the guest of honor, or something. I think he may have snuck into the mini-bar of our room before we went out shopping.
Later, we went out for our first official dinner in Santorini at a lovely place called Archipelagos. The sunset viewing is outstanding, and the wine wasn't bad either.


At the recommendation of one of our hotel's proprietors, we had booked an "All Inclusive Wine & Appetizers & Hot Springs Cruise". Fernando pretended to walk the plank, in anticipation.


This may have been his best idea yet.

Like A Greeced Pig

The flight from Dubrovnik to Athens (via Vienna) was uneventful, and Fernando slept off much of his hangover in my carry-on bag.

We met up with my friend, Sarah, who had flown in from San Francisco and was very excited to meet the little piggy she had heard so much about.


It would have been a beautiful relationship, except Fernando kept calling her "Sandra" and slobbering on her cheek.

This will surprise no one, but at the restaurant (Vlassis - fantastic) Fernando attempted to run off with two mini-pitchers of wine.


I just don't even know what to do with him when he gets like this. Well, yes I do. I tuck him in my purse - in the small zippered compartment - and then ignore the muffled oinking.

We set out the next day to experience Athens! It was a million degrees, but beautifully sunny, and Sarah and I bought the multi-ticket set to visit whatever ruins were around. I am not a history buff, nor am I in the least bit scholarly, so if you came here looking for a cohesive travelogue and lesson in early Greco-Roman architecture, I am sorry. You will most likely learn nothing from this. I am very big on captioning the photos with such helpful phrases as "Look, columns."


Look, Fernando, columns.

We spent about 2 hours wandering around the Acropolis (which my sister tells me means "high city" - Acro: high; Polis: city - she is a little more scholarly), then spent 2 minutes begging for cold water at a small shop where the men were yelling "FROZEN LEMONAAAAAAADE". Frozen lemonade sounded PERFECT, but upon closer inspection it was more like the Greek version of a Slurpee. Possibly a Slurpeeokakisopolis. We just settled for warm bottled water.

We continued on to lunch at a restaurant in the Plaka, and tested out a genuine Greek salad. Fernando took one look and said "Vegetables? Are you kidding?" then dove headfirst into the feta.


The food was delicious and it refreshed us enough to continue wandering the streets of Athens for another few hours.

We did a little shoe shopping:



Laughed at the souvenir shop:



And caught the Changing of the Guard at the Parliament building



Fernando mixed wine and Mythos beer with Ouzo shots at lunch, and subsequently missed the better part of the afternoon, remaining passed out in my purse. He was still sleeping when Sarah and I were up at the hotel's rooftop bar, toasting our first night in Greece.

Tomorrow, Santorini!

Friday, July 10, 2009

We Lovnik Dubrovnik

Sorry, Fernando keeps coming up with these awful puns. He's fairly easy to travel with, but when he starts drinking (and let's face it, when does he stop?) he likes to test out all of his puns, knock-knock jokes, and will occasionally stoop to the "Pull my hoof! Pull my hoof!" thing.

The humor abounds, but the tolerance does not. Fernando and I share the loathe of autobus travel, and this was, unfortunately, the only mode of transport available to us between Split and Dubrovnik. Fernando was not pleased, and expressed his disgust by rolling over and playing dead on the bus.
`
He managed to perk right up after we arrived, and saw that the weather was clear, and the town looked fabulous. We took a beautiful half-hour walk into Old Town Dubrovnik. The concierge at our hotel had tried to discourage the walk, instead recommending the bus. You can imagine the eye-rolling from Fernando.
`
The concierge said "Oh, you go this way..." (pointing along a road on the map) "...but it is not a nice walk", so I was imagining a grungy, industrial stretch of road, perhaps past ugly shipping yards, with drunk vagrants swigging mystery liquor out of paper-bag-covered bottles. It was, instead, a lovely wander through a residential neighborhood which opened up onto a cliffside walk that led right into the Old Town. I can only deduce that our concierge has unreasonably high standards for her walks.

Here we are:


We enjoyed a sunny, tasty (finally!) lunch, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. I had Diet Coke, but Fernando demanded white wine. He was having fish, and complained about the absurdity of a Diet Coke being paired with anything other than a corn dog. He's kind of a snob.


I will be the first person to say "Don't drink and shop", but Fernando headed straight for the Blue store, and decided he needed some shoes. I have the sneaking suspicion he is a bit jealous of my shoe collection, and was feeling slightly competitive.


He thought the white ones made him look fat, so we bought blue ones instead. We then spent the remainder of the trip taking scenic photos and complaining about the ice cream. Fernando suggested, for our last meal, that we "live like the locals". So we picked up a feast of sorts at the local convenience store.

I'm sure this is a typical Croatian meal for someone, somewhere in Croatia. Onwards to Greece!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hvar You Today?

We arrived on Hvar to some beautiful, sunny weather, which then, in a matter of hours, turned to a wild and windy thunderstorm with semi-torrential rains. Semi-torrential rains continued to plague our lovely little island for several days. Fernando found this door hanger to be a bit ironic.


"Sunsational" was an adjective we had yet to experience on Hvar. Fernando decided to pass the time by reading the British Marie Claire, featuring the ribald fashionista, Bruno. Bruno is fast becoming Fernando's idol, as 'Nando has frequently wondered, himself, vy do zey not half ze Nobel Prize for ze fashion?


The rains would come and go, and when they "went" we were able to grab a few hours of intermittent sunshine, during which I made Fernando go on walks with me. He has been eating a lot of gelato. This was a pretty path that we'd take...

...which led down to a small beach:


Fernando was less impressed with the beach, and more impressed with the offerings of the adjacent beach bar.

I had to remind him of what happened the last time he overindulged in Cuba Libres and Sex on the Beach, and I'm not sure it was entirely coincidental when this appeared outside our hotel...


He begrudgingly agreed to scale back and enjoy a slightly more refined drink, with cheese plate.


After all, we are not animals...oh wait.

Fernando also gamely accompanied me, one night, to a sushi restaurant, called Pirate.


Fernando agrees with me that you do not necessarily need to partake in the local cuisine the entire time you are on vacation; particularly if the local cuisine tends to be very meh. Despite the fact that Fernando insisted on ending every sentence with "Aarrrggghh, matey", the dinner at Pirate was enjoyable, and the sushi was fantastic.
`
The skies finally cleared, and our final day on Hvar was absolutely beautiful. We took advantage of our hotel's "share" policy, and spent the day at the sister hotel's private pool.
`

As you can see, Fernando was a bit shiny from his sunburn. We will pick up some aloe vera in Dubrovnik tomorrow.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pig On The Split (er... or in Split)

Croatia, Fernando has arrived!


The throngs of worshipers must have dissipated for a brief snack. No matter! We gazed out at the beautiful harbor, taking in the sturdy palm trees and the sparkling waters of the Adriatic, when Fernando mused "I wonder if I could find a good party mask here..."

Honestly, it is always "Shopping!" with him. I reminded Fernando that the IHOB corporate card was no longer valid, and that we also did not have any secret "Eyes Wide Shut"-type party to attend that night, so we just continued wandering around the ancient alleyways of Diocletian's retirement palace, periodically pausing to pose our piggy:


Split, it was too short of a romance with you! We must return! Tomorrow continues the Croatiastravaganza (I'm reaching here, I realize) when we Ferry over to the island of Hvar. I will be dragging all the luggage, as Fernando refuses to help, claiming back problems, or hangovers or something.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We've Got Laptop!

Erm, but Sarah's laptop does not have the photo editing capabilities that we need to resize the photos down to Blogger-friendly size. ERGO, we must be patient for another 9 days, at which time we will resume the Fernando travel tome.

Until then, we are all drinking loads of Greek wine and having a fabulous time. And we miss you and wish you were all here with us!