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Posted by on in Japan: Kyoto

This trip has just flown by and as it is with all ends to great adventures I am a combination of sad to go and excited to see the ones I left behind. I guess I did end up missing my whole family. Enough sad tunes! So what have I done since my last blog? Well I'm glad you asked. My group went to Inari shrine which is on the top of a huge mountain. Yes you have to climb the mountain and no there is no escalator. Only part of our group went up. But it was totally worth it, you get a since of serenity the whole ascent as you went under a continuous awning of torii gates, despite the intense number of steps. Below is a picture of Mia and I under some of the gates.

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On our free days Zach and I went into Tokyo and later was joined by Will. On the second day we went up Tokyo Skytree and if you thought Mt. Inari was tall Skytree was utterly breathtaking and its also the tallest building in Japan. The picture is one from the upper upper deck of Skytree.

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Posted by on in Greece: Paros Island

     It's been 3 days since I arrived back in Boston. The layover in Munich wasn't that bad because it was exciting since I was in Germany for the first time. The Munich airport is very nice, and there are self serve machines located all over the airport that provide you with hot drinks such as cappuccinos, hot water to make tea with the various tea bags provided, and sugar is also there. The best part is that it's free for Lufthansa passengers. I had about 3 cups of hot drinks. I also got tiramisu and a sandwich with cheese and cucumbers from a cafe. The bread for the sandwich tasted like a salty pretzel. It tasted very German, but it was good. I really liked the tiramisu as well. The bathrooms were also clean and abundant.  In the stalls, there was a type of sanitizer to wipe down the toilets, and it had such a clean scent. It was quite different from the Greek toilets. The plumbing isn't that advanced in Greece, and toilet paper can't go in the toilets. In Germany, the napkins to wipe your hands were different because they were actually cloth instead of paper. You would put your hands under the machine so it could sense them, and it would roll out a cloth and then the cloth would go back into the machine when your hands were gone. It is more environmentally cautious.  I want to go back to that airport. 

    The only thing that bothered me was going through security twice. Since I had such a long layover (which was actually supposed to be 8 hours, but my flight got delayed), well I entered my gate very early and to get in, you pass through security. About 20 minutes after I entered, they made everyone empty the gates because there weren't any upcoming flights. The first time I went through security in Germany, I felt a little violated. The Greek security was also uncomfortable. I know they are supposed to check you, but I hate it. Both the Greek and German security women were lifting up my shirt a little. The second time I went through German security, it wasn't as bad because I didn't feel as if I was being violated, but a different woman had a special wipe that detects explosives or gunpowder, and she took a whole swab of my clothes and my shoes, hands, legs, and arms. Two other guys also took a swab of my bags. They ran tests, and it came back negative. I had no idea about the Munich shooting then, so security must have been more on guard. 

     I bought a few souvenirs in Germany before I entered security. After I entered, there weren't many food options. There were only 3  vending machines. One of them had cold refreshment drinks, other one had hot drinks such as hot cocoa and coffee and soup, and the last vending machine had candy and snacks. My gate was H47. I also spilled hot coffee on me and burned my legs while I was sitting down. I had an extra pair of clothes in my carry on, so I changed my pants in the bathroom. I was going to buy another cup of the coffee that I spilled, but I figured that I would get more food and stuff on the plane.

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Tagged in: airline Europe Munich
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Posted by on in Greece: Paros Island

       I'm up early, and my ferry is at 7:15 PM today so 12 hours from now. The three weeks in Paros went by quickly, but I experienced a lot, and I even picked up on the Greek language. I'm a little anxious  because I have to pack everything, and I get obsessive about ensuring that my travels go smoothly.

     My sister visited for a few days. On her way here, she missed one of her connecting flights. Then on the ferry, she missed her stop at Paros because she fell asleep , so she had to get off at Naxos.While she was there,  she bought another ticket for Paros. She was supposed to leave Paros on the 21st, but she missed her ferry. I walked her to the port that time, and we actually saw the blue star ferry leaving as we were almost at the port. She ended up having to schedule a new flight, and because of all these missed ferries and flights, she lost over $600, so a little stress is good because if you are too relaxed, things can go awry. Fortunately, she was able to book a ferry yesterday on the same day that it leaves. It worked out the second time, but  her flight leaves athens in 4 and a half hours, so hopefully she won't miss that. I've heard that sleeping in the Athens airport is not allowed, so in her case that's good. 

     She did take a short trip, and many people have been commenting on that, but the length of the trip isn't necessarily so important. Even if you are in a foreign country for a couple of days, you can still get something out of it. It's more about how willing you are to take it all in. Short trips can still be very enriching. She was able to walk the Byzantine trail, and even missing the ferries and planes were interesting experiences. It's quality over quantity.

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Posted by on in Greece: Paros Island

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Posted by on in Japan: Kyoto

   The time here is flying by. I can’t believe it’s already halfway over. We have visited so many amazing places and gotten lost on a lot of adventures. On one of the first nights we visited a barbeque restaurant. However it is no ordinary restaurant. We ordered all you can eat meat, and you could order any type of meat you wanted for a specified period of time. They had a million and one possibilities such as beef tongue, heart, squid and of course more familiar option like thick bacon and silk steak. And as an added bonus the grill was in the middle of the table and you got to cook your own meat! I am proud to say I got to be the head chief of my table. Below is a picture of some of our delicious food.

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On another day a small group of us went up a large mountain to visit the Japanese macaque or how they’re more commonly known as the snow monkey. It was quite a hike but completely worth it. It was so strange to have the monkeys just milling about not even five feet from you. For the most part though they were pretty calm but I did see one mischievous monkey attempt to steal an umbrella. This is Ciera making friends with the local animals.

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