Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Greece to Bulgaria

This morning we packed up after breakfast and headed to Bulgaria. We stopped to pick up some Greek cream pies on our way out of town. They are seriously SO good. 

 

We were in a hurry to leave Greece due to the farmers going on strike against some government tax hikes. They have been blocking roads so people cannot travel and in the past they have blocked the border to Bulgaria. We wanted to be certain to get back to Bulgaria so we can make our flight back home. And after seeing many tractors out on the roads, we were so thankful to cross the border into Bulgaria this evening. 

But before we crossed over, we wanted to get one more gyro - since they were so delicious. We tried to get off on a couple of exits, but were thwarted in our efforts. We finally got off the exit by Thessaloniki. We drove around looking for gyros. I silently prayed that we would find some gyros, so we could get back on the road and get ahead of the tractors. 

Tyler and I drove around a couple of streets and then we both felt good about driving ahead to a different street. Wouldn't you know it, we found this gyro shop. And to make things even more amazing - this is the gyro shop that delivered our first gyros when we stayed at the Prestige Hotel! Of all the gyros we have tried, theirs was the absolute BEST! I am thankful for a Father in Heaven who not only helped us find lunch (and dinner!) but to guide us to our favorite shop when we had no idea where it was. #answeredprayers

 

 

 

 
Blue fanta? Can anyone tell me the flavor? #lostintranslation

 

We are now safe and sound in Sofia and should head home in a day or two to the states. 

 
A real shower!

 

 

 
First item of business: ordering a мляко е какао!

I am excited to relax and rest up before our flight home. I am missing my babies in the US and my babies in Bulgaria. 

Observations of Greece

1. Double parking. It seems that many people in Thessaloniki like to double park. I have no idea how people can get out when they are wedged in like that. 

 

2. Pick a lane. Many streets do not have dotted lines to outline the lane. It creates confusion (to us, at least) and people move from side-to-side without blinkers. This morning we saw a driver on a road with dotted lines and he was halfway in one lane and halfway in the lane next to him for a few kilometers. So strange! This afternoon, we were on a street with actual lanes, but we had a yellow stripe going down the middle. What is up with that? Here's a photo:

 

 
This fellow is using his blinker (which we rarely saw) but check out the cars on the right. I am guessing they don't want to pick a lane. 

3. Small houses. We aren't sure what these little houses represent, but we see them often on the sides of the road. Some are fancy and others are not. Many have things inside of them. 

 

4. Gas attendants. Similar to Bulgaria, there are attendants at the gas stations in Greece. They pump your gasoline for you. One man even cleaned our car windows! 

5. Closedowns. Many restaurants and businesses are closed due to the economy in Greece. 🇬🇷🙁

6. Bakeries. It seems that every town has 10+ bakeries. We never have trouble finding baklava, but something savory is harder to find. Greek cream pies were our favorite treat. 

7. Agriculture. We have seen many fields plowed ready to be planted and many fields of trees, which may be olive trees? We aren't sure, but there are many of them. 

8. Trees. So many trees in Athens are hacked down to nubs. We have also seen many orange trees full of oranges. 

9. Gyros are so delicious. We ate five over four days in Greece. We may be obsessed with them. 

 

Parthenon

 Breakfast this morning! 

 
So the elevators in Greece seem to have a door that you open before you get onto the elevator. I also saw one like this in Burgas, Bulgaria. 

 

 
Medusa light?

 
This is posted outside the Parthenon.  

 
Parthenon!

 

 

 

 

 
This was next to the Parthenon. 

 
Another structure next to the Parthenon. 

 
Amphitheater by the Parthenon. 

 

 
We are unsure if we were supposed to be on this road or not. #lostinAthens

 
Yummy street food in Athens. 

 
So many trees here - we *think* this one is an olive tree. 

 
So many beautiful views here in Greece. 

 

 
We found this quaint little fish restaurant right on the Aegean Sea near the Temple of Poseidon. The atmosphere and scenery were amazing, but the food was not. :-/

 
The tiny restroom outside the fish restaurant. 

 
The view of the temple of Poseidon from the restaurant. 

 

 
Temple of Poseidon overlooking the Aegean Sea. 

 
Temple of Poseidon selfie. 

 
More views of the Aegean Sea. 

 
The Aegean Sea was so lovely. It was hard to leave it!

 
We see Greek bakeries so often! We went into one today and were amazed at how many things they have for sale. 

 

 

 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hello from Athens, Greece!

We were able to attend church at the tiny branch in Thessaloniki, Greece, this morning. They had about 25 people attending and 10 of them were missionaries. I haven't ever attended a Sacrament meeting where they only had ONE person passing the bread and water. 

Everyone was very nice and kind. We sang the hymns in English. We were given some headphones for translation from an elder from England. After Sacrament meeting, many people came up to learn more about us. Some people commented on my singing voice, and before I knew it, they had all assembled into a room and asked me to sing a hymn for them. I sang Now Let Us Rejoice - because it was a song that they all knew - and they joined me on the third verse. It was a memorable experience for me and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to share my musical talent with them. 

 

Afterwards, we took off for Athens! There were some problems with some of the main roads being closed - due to tractors from the farmers striking - so it took us a little longer to get here, but we made it!

 
I love seeing the water. 

 
We didn't end up staying here, but this was one of the lodging options in Thessaloniki. Neat, eh?

 
Hotel restroom - and it has a bathtub!

 
Not sure why we need two beds, but okay. 

 
Nice room!

 
How many toll booths does it take to enter Athens?