I can't believe it's our last night in Greece already. Tomorrow we take nearly every mode of transport known to woman (ferry, bus, subway, plane and taxi) to eventually arrive in Belgrade, Serbia. Why Serbia you ask? The simple answer is that my friend and travel guide, Rebecca, lived there for awhile on assignment from her DC based NGO. This will be the second country on the trip where I not only don't speak the native tongue but also have no idea what the city or culture are like.
It's one thing to travel in a place where you don't speak the language but another thing to do so where you can't even read the words. Super savvy traveler that I am, it somehow slipped my mind that Greek uses a different alphabet than we do. Of course I've seen decorations at Greek restaurants in the US that use these letters but I always figured these symbols were relics from an ancient time. Little did I know I'd soon be reading signs and saying, "Uh, I'm looking for a taxi to Zigzag line - tabletop thing - um, crossed out O? - tiny p......please." If you have any plans to visit a remote area of Greece, I'd recommend at least learning the alphabet so you can say the words aloud. And some standard greetings, "thank you" and "cheers" will get you pretty far. Before you leave for a trip, download some of the great free iPhone apps that will equip you with the basics of nearly every language. (I assume everyone has an iPhone these days. No?)
As I say farewell to Greece I'll leave you with my artistic rendering entitled "Skiathos at Dinnertime." (click through to actual blog if you're reading on facebook and there's no photos) They have a serious stray cat problem. But no mice!
Observation of the day: Visiting this island has afforded me an interesting, outside perspective on how much vacation destinations cater to tourists. I say outside because they're not catering to American taste, but rather that of Brits and mainland Greeks. So while I'm used to seeing generic American foods like hamburgers and pizza at say Caribbean and Mexican resorts, here they offer fish and chips, waffles and crepes. EVERYWHERE. And while I think, "why would I ever eat a waffle on the beach in Greece?" others are soothing their irritated bellies with the comforts of home. And of course feeding picky children.