The Sauna In The Woods

I’ve learned through my travels that I am good at talking people into doing things that I want them to do. I’m not evil. I know that the things I want them to do will be fun for them, but will badger them into it or die trying. That is how my friend Sandy and I convinced ten people in our hostel in Vilnius to travel two hours outside the city to stay in a cabin with a sauna in the middle of nowhere. Literally the directions once you get off the train are, “There is only one dirt path to your left, follow it until you reach the cabin.”

There is nothing around here.

There is nothing around here.

The night before our excursion everything fell into place. No one wanted to go with us until other people committed to go with us. So every time someone would check in into the hostel we would pounce on them. It finally worked on a group of Australian boys. They immediately signed up, and then everyone else immediately agreed to come.

The next morning we caught a train while carrying some of our supplies. The rest of the group was coming by car, and would be bringing the rest. On the train Lithuania once again proved to be the land of scary spiders when a giant one climbed up the back of Masha’s chair and terrifying all of us. We stood the rest of the ride.

Once there we realized there were still people in the cabin. Now picture Masha. She is a gorgeous blonde Australian girl. She walks up to the man who is preparing the sauna, so we figure he runs the place, and she begins speaking fluent Russian to him. We were all floored. We soon learned that Masha’s parents were Latvian, so she grew up speaking Russian. We learned the people in the cabin would be leaving soon, but we were welcome to the sauna.

The sauna.

The sauna.

It was an old sauna next to a river with steps leading down to the river so you could jump in the water after a nice time in the heat. I immediately stripped down to my bikini bottoms. The tagline for this place had been, “Sauna like a local….naked.” I wasn’t about to be a prude. We soon learned the great thing about drinking in saunas. Your warm beer instantly feels cold in a hot sauna. We spent the next couple hours sitting in the sauna and jumping in the FREEZING river water. But we were running low on alcohol, and the group bringing the supplies hadn’t shown up yet. After a few more hours we really began to worry. The only ones who had any booze were the Australian boys and they weren’t sharing. Finally one of the other guys offered to trade them some ritalin if they would share their alcohol. That did the trick.

Come in the waters....FREEZING!

Come in the waters….FREEZING!

It wasn’t going to be enough though, and we were giving up on our friends showing up. Masha found the old man again and asked him if he could drive us to where we could buy booze. He couldn’t but he had a friend who was a “taxi driver” who could go get us alcohol and bring it to us. We were about to do this when finally our friends showed up in their car.

Our cabin.

Our cabin.

Now we were happy. We all began to sauna and drink again, and soon everyone was getting naked. We sat by the campfire and enjoyed ourselves. We found though the Australian boys were stealing everyone else’s alcohol. They had finished off Sandy’s bottle entirely, and then thrown the bottle in the fire causing all of us to worry about walking barefoot anymore. Whenever I would hula hoop they would scream “hoop naked!” Then when we were all down at the sauna Masha wanted to see what it would feel like to be whipped by the towel. They whipped her a couple times and then it hurt to much and she was telling them to stop. They didn’t so I tried telling them to leave her alone. All of a sudden they whipped me too. It hurt like hell. They’re laughing as I’m in a ton of pain. Later we found I had a giant welt on my ass, and even the guys who didn’t initially realize why I was mad began to get it.

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The night rolled on with campfire sits and sauna visits. Around ten we all began planning to head down to the sauna again when Sandy ran up and told us not to for a while. There were some old naked people in our sauna hitting each other with birch leaves. When Sandy had opened the door he had been stunned. The old woman came to the window and told him to come back in ten minutes. We have no clue where these people even came from.

By halfway through the night we were out of alcohol and we had learned a valuable lesson. When going camping or anywhere where booze is not easily available bring more of it then you believe you could ever possibly consume, because somehow you will.

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Return to the Homeland

Sometimes making friends while backpacking is a very forced task, and sometimes it’s a magical instant connection. When I met Sandy it was an instant friendship. We looked at each other, and it was, “Shit I guess we have to be besties now.” He was sharing the same room as me, which is always a great sign. You don’t have to go searching for them when you’re ready to go out in the morning. You can just sit up, and tell them to get ready.

That day after our magical moment we went to a restaurant to get traditional food. I was excited to be in Lithuania because this is where my family and my last name come from. Everywhere else I traveled hostel workers were always asking me where my last name came from because it is so strange. Finally I’m home. My first taste of Lithuanian food was exciting, but not in the good way. I ordered pig’s ear. It was a giant pig’s ear, and it felt like you were biting through thick wet skin. That is not an appetizing texture. I honestly preferred the gooey inner ear, which in most circumstances would be considered disgusting as well. I’ve heard if done right pig’s ear can be delicious and crispy, but after my experience I don’t know if I believe that.

Yum!

Yum!

That night we played drinking Jenga at the hostel. Jenga’s the one where you have to pull out the bricks without knocking over the tower. Drinking Jenga is much more fun. Each brick has a command written on it like “person to your left gets naked”. Throughout this game and the many nights we played it while I was there I saw Sandy kiss another boy, A LOT of penis, Sandy’s penis out while singing the Canadian anthem, and I kissed a girl who kissed me back way more and very sloppily. I also learned what cock puppetry was, and I never need to see a guy wrap his penis around his wrist again (that’s called the wristwatch).

The next day I went on a walking tour. I learned that Vilnius is one of the quirkiest cities. Here’s a tidbit of Lithuanian history. The Mayor of Vilnius (who is known for wearing bow ties) was sick of everyone parking cars in bike lanes. One day he finds a fancy car parked in the bike lane and he gets a tank and runs over it. Yes, it was probably a publicity stunt, and to this day you can see it on youtube. Now there are stickers everywhere with a picture of a car in a bike lane getting crushed by a tank. Let that be a lesson to you.

My other favorite thing about the quirky history of Vilnius is the district called Uzupis. It is a little artist district that tried to break away from Lithuania and form its own country. Obviously it was unsuccessful, but they still have their national day every April 1st. On this day you need a passport to enter and you will get a passport stamp, and the main fountain used to flow with beer (it’s now broken). Everywhere you turn in Uzupis there is interesting artwork. It is the most interesting place I have ever been. Sadly everywhere near the riverbank is covered with gigantic spiders, which also makes it the most terrifying place.

Rules of Uzupis: Smile, don't speed, artwork, and don't drive badly. I think.

Rules of Uzupis: Smile, don’t speed, artwork, and don’t drive badly. I think.

The Constitution of Uzupis!

The Constitution of Uzupis!

Artwork! All dedicated to Lithuanian writers!

Artwork! All dedicated to Lithuanian writers!

That night I went on a pub crawl that ended at a club. I was hanging out with a big bearded man named George, and a gorgeous Australian blonde girl named Masha. We all danced. I danced on a pole. The bartenders juggled and breathed fire. We were having a great time. Masha and I are discussing leaving, and about to pose it to George when all of a sudden he storms out. We are like, “What the fuck?” We searched the bathroom and the rest of the club in case he was getting sick, but finally we decide to head home. We would have appreciated having a guy to walk with us through the empty streets.

The next day I headed to the town of Trakai with a man named Adam who I met on the walking tour. We met an old man on the bus ride there and we invited him to join us for lunch. We ate delicious food next to the beautiful lake. I had chicken stuffed with cheese and pineapple covered in spinach sauce. It shouldn’t work, but it does! My only complaint was again the presence of so many spiders (what’s with it Lithuania?). Next we headed to Trakai castle where we got the chance to pose in funny cages, and whatnot.

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After the castle we said goodbye to the old man and set out to find a paddle boat. None of the paddle boats for rent seemed to have anyone renting them though. We finally found one just as we were about to give up. We began paddling around this picturesque lake, and very quickly remembered that paddle boating is really exhausting. It is never as fun as it looks. We soon returned the boat, and I paid to get in one of those giant inflatable balls that floats upon the water. Again not as fun as it looks. You just fall a bunch and get wet and scratched up.

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We headed back to Vilnius where I got a fancy dinner with Sandy, and we worked on our plan to get people to go on exciting adventure with us….

In What City Can You Find A Genitalia Themed Bar?

I began my first full day in Warsaw with a walking tour. Free walking tours are not only a great way to see the city and get oriented, but also an awesome way to meet other backpackers. On this walking tour I met yet another nice Asian girl named Sarah to hang with and a German guy. Surprisingly on my trip I made friends with an overwhelming number of female Asian travelers when they make up a low percentage of backpackers. After the tour we got perogies, which are my new favorite food.

I saw something fun and I had to climb it.

I saw something fun and I had to climb it.

In many places in Eastern Europe you have to be prepared to wait a while for any service and to wave and make eye contact as much as you can. Dining can take a while. Which is why when we sat down at a shisha bar we didn’t think twice that no one came to check on us. We had asked the guy inside if it was fine if we smoked outside and he said yes. Then he never came out. We went inside and he was behind the hookah bar. We asked him about flavors, and then picked one. We told him what we wanted and he stared at us like we were crazy. He finally told us we had to go to the other bar to order. We did and they gave us the head of the hookah in tupperware to bring to the first man we had seen. It was the most confusing process I have ever seen in a shisha bar. We finally sat down to smoke. The place was worn down and sketchy in the way that I love. It felt like a real middle eastern shisha bar. After the shisha bar we headed out to get Vietnamese soup. This was at the Sarah’s demands. Luckily she helped us order because everything was in Polish or Vietnamese. I guess they didn’t expect a lot of Western tourists eating Vietnamese in Poland.

The place was sketchy, but they made a great hookah.

The place was sketchy, but they made a great hookah.

Sarah made me scared to ever do couch surfing though. She didn’t want to go home because her host was a young man who was getting a bit too handsy and who kept asking her to smoke weed with him. She told me most of her male hosts always say something to the affect of, “Here’s the couch, but you’re welcome to sleep in my bed.” I don’t want someone putting me up that’s just trying to get in my pants. So we brought her back to our hostel as we prepared for the night. There we met Lisa and her boyfriend Joshua and we all headed out for a night of fun. The night included a stop at the Pulp Fiction Shot Bar (not as awesome as it sounds), seeing a giant rainbow art piece (that apparently many people have tried to destroy because it is an LGBT art piece), a fancy cocktail bar, and finally a wine bar. By the end of the night I was ready for bed and we grabbed a cab back to our hostel. One reason I love Lisa is because she shares my let’s share a cab notion. I’m lazy, and with a bunch of people it’s cheap.

The next day German guy, Lisa, Joshua, and I all went to the Warsaw Uprising Museum. It’s about the uprising during World War Two against the Germans. The museum has a bad layout though so you never know which way to go. LIsa and I zipped through it. Afterwards we all had lost German guy. We tried finding him in this maze of a place, but had no luck. To leave the museum you have to go back all the way through to the beginning. Worst museum planning ever. We went outside and looked at the tanks in the backyard, and realized the museum had this very cool tower we didn’t get to go up. We saw a back door that seemed right under the tower and tried it. Voila! It opened and we found an elevator next to it that led us to the top of the tower. This museum should get better security since we basically broke in. If you are short on cash and want to see the museum all you need to do is go to the unlocked back door and enter.

I'm on top of a tower! Not as cool as we thought it would be.

I’m on top of a tower! Not as cool as we thought it would be.

We finally gave up hope of ever finding German guy. We grabbed a cab to head toward this beach by the river that the hostel worker told us had fun bars and stuff. A few seconds into the cab ride we see German guy walking by. We open the door and start screaming and waving at him. He jumps in right before traffic starts to move. When we get to this beach we realize that there is almost nothing there. There is one bar type thing, and something setting up. We later realize the thing setting up is a fashion show. We grab drink and go to the top outdoor area of this bar and take up a bunch of empty couches. It turned out to be a nice time, but hunger was setting in. We decided to cross the bridge and find a Milk Bar.

LIsa and I share a love of comfy seating!

LIsa and I share a love of comfy seating!

A Milk Bar is a cheap Polish canteen. Upon entering one we realize this is going to be really difficult for us. The menu is on the wall and it is entirely in Polish. And it is a lot of old people. Old people don’t tend to speak english. Lisa and Joshua are also vegetarians which makes what they order that much more crucial. We almost leave, but then I go to a young woman eating something that looks good and say, “Can you tell me what you’re eating?” She ends up helping us. Once she finishes her meal she describes the different food and writes down all our orders for us so all we have to do is hand it to the cashier. The food was great. I had borsch and some sort of schnitzel for a very cheap price.

That night Lisa and Joshua were out having a romantic evening. I decided to round up some troops to go to some cool bars I had heard of. I started hassling guys into coming out. I rounded up a decent crew and started what I like to call Milo’s Pub Crawl. I took them to a bar called Klaps that is genitalia themed. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. There are fake boobs on the wall, penis artwork, and vaginas painted on a myriad of places. It made for some great photos. From there we went to the Polish shot bar. Shot bars are my downfall, and soon I was drunker than I intended to be. A German man in our group, not the same as my earlier Warsaw stories started bugging me. He was getting close and asking why I wouldn’t kiss him. Me telling him I had a boyfriend did not seem a good enough excuse for him. Luckily a nice guy in our group who I had barely spoken a word to offered to walk me all the way home, even though he planned to come right back. It was a twenty minute walk and I thanked him the whole way. There are a lot of jerks out there while you travel, but there are also some gentleman. I thank the gentleman out there who always make sure ladies get home safe.

What could be weirder than a genitalia themed bar?

What could be weirder than a genitalia themed bar?

P.S. I also got to meet the street performer Sad Panda. It is a Panda in the main square that just cries with some sort of microphone in his suit. He is possibly the creepiest thing I have ever met. Give him money. It is worth it.

You know you want to meet Sad Panda.

You know you want to meet Sad Panda.

Do’s and Don’ts of Foreign Clubbing

The next night they took us to the shot bar yet again. Upon walking in a guy in the bar heard me talking and pulled me aside. He was American and surprised to hear another American. I immediately looked at him and said, “You’re from California.” He was shocked, and replied, “How did you know? I’ve been living in Poland for five years.” I don’t know how I knew, but I’ve since learned I have a magic power of always being able to tell which guys are from California. Not a very useful super power though. At the shot bar I ended up doing a Lamborghini. If you don’t know what this ridiculous drink is, you should. They put a drink in a martini glass and then stack a wine glass and whatever else on there and then pour flaming alcohol down the whole thing and have you suck the drink out of the martini by a straw. You need to do one at least once in your life so you can feel completely ridiculous.

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That’s how you do it!

Later we headed to a club. I knew upon entering it was going to suck. The club was all one long room, and it was fucking packed. I had gotten a beer and people kept shoving me so that it was spilling all over me. There is nothing I like less then a packed club. Some people talked about leaving, but they disappeared before I had a chance to join them and the only people left were the ones determined on staying. I went against my never walk home alone rule and headed out of the club…. in the completely wrong direction. I’m drunk and started to get a bit scared because I don’t know which way to go. I decide to head back towards the club. I don’t want to pull my map out because it’ll make me a target. Finally I spot a beacon of hope. McDonalds! I am near the main square. And inside I see two of the sweet young boys from my group. I run inside and ask if they’ll wait to walk home with me after I grab some food. They agree, and I get in line. The line takes FOREVER, and just as I am reaching the sanctuary of next in line these two bitches shove in front of me joining their friend who just ordered. Do they add on to her order, which is the one acceptable thing they could do? No! They each order separately. I realize this is going to take forever. I start giving them nasty looks. Their friend they were “meeting” is already gone with her food. They turn and look at me (And this is not my finest moment, but remember I am drunk, and upset from being lost, and have people waiting on me) and I say to them, “You two are incredibly rude bitches.” I go on to tell them how it is unacceptable to cut in line. They make some excuse about being Norwegian, and that they don’t know what is proper behavior in Poland because this is how they do it in Norway. Then they say something about how they are the doctors of the future. At the time I really wanted to, but did not because I am not a complete bitch, say “Oh girls should you be getting McDonalds? You’re looking a little chubby.” I did not say that though. This is all a huge over reaction I know, but I really hate line cutters. England is where it’s at. Those people know how to queue.

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Let’s just say this drink involved doing the shot, huffing the fumes, and snorting absinthe.

The next day I go to the Salt Mines. In the van ride there I met Melissa and Helena. They are two fabulous scientists who have the dirtiest minds as well. Melissa is from Australia, and Helena Spain, but they both now work and live in Stockholm. When we arrive at the salt mine we meet our tour guide who basically looks like an old creepy butler. For this reason he will henceforth be referred to as Jeeves. Jeeves led us down basically what felt like an hours worth of wooden stairs, and the walking in circles made Melissa really nauseous. We finally reached the bottom. To sum up the salt mines it’s not what you would expect. It doesn’t really feel like a mine anymore. Now it’s more of a museum of sculptures made out of salt rock. There is also a huge cathedral down there, a restaurant, and a gift shop. The highlight of my trip was when Jeeves invited us to lick the salt wall, and I was the only one who took him up on this. I actually licked it a few times. It was tasty. I should have gotten a picture, but Jeeves was moving on.

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This is an entire Cathedral WAY under ground!

After the salt mine I went with Melissa and Helena to a place their friend recommended. It was a grandmother style restaurant. That is the best way I can describe it. I ordered the love of my life (perogies) as well as cow’s tongue. You order at a counter and they yell out in Polish when your food is on the counter. You can imagine why this would be confusing for us. Finally my perogies come, but no cow’s tonuge. The woman says they’re coming. Soon we’ve finished all our food and still no cow’s tongue. I go up and show my receipt to another woman who does not appear to speak english. She looks at it and goes in the back. We wait a while. Nothing happens. I find the woman I ordered it from and show her. She looks at it and goes in the back. Luckily this time she arrives with cow’s tongue. Sadly to say it wasn’t worth waiting for. It was very soft and not that yummy. No where near as good as the cow tripe I had in Bulgaria.

We then head to a placer we’ve been told has the world’s best hot chocolate. It’s the super thick real melted chocolate. I actually like the milky stuff better. But the thickness leads to a half hours worth of jokes about how we like it “thick” or “dark and thick” or “black and thick”. We’re school children. We later walked by a fountain that looked like a penis that was cumming, and we spent a good time giggling over how “it never stops cumming”. Okay we’re done, I promise. Actually no. We also sat at a cafe and watched an entire parade of weiner dogs. I don’t know what this festival was because everything was in Polish, but it seemed to center on weiner dogs. Hundreds of them. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

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I know I’m a child.

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So much cuteness in one parade!

That night as we’re all playing spoons in the common room. I need a little rant here. Spoons is not a drinking game. When you try to play it with drinks on the table someone’s drink is always knocked over. Plus the game does not force you to really drink so it does not fulfill the basic purpose of a drinking game. Fuck spoons. Okay, back to where I was. This huge group of Brazilian boys joined our hostel about then and sat down to drink with us. This was not a group of sexy Brazilian men. This was a group of awkward ugly seventeen year old Brazilian boys who looked like date rapists. Later in the club they just became worse. They did what a friend later coined as “vulturing”. They didn’t dance. They didn’t have fun. They just stood near us and edged their way in slowly. The first one grabbed my shoulders and I threw him off. Later one was vulturing me and I kept edging away from him obviously giving the leave me alone signs. He grabbed my arm, I snapped it away hard, and then said to him, “Don’t you ever fucking touch me again.” Harsh, I know, but I honestly think these boys only respond to a good telling off. He fucked the fuck off right away.

The best thing about that club was their music. One room played the same indescript techno that everyone plays, but the other room was really jamming. One minute you’d be listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, then an oldies song you’d forgotten you loved, then the YMCA. We did the Macarena that night. They also played “You’re the One that I Want” from Grease. It was a good time. That night I was sick of men. The guys from our hostel were treating my girlfriends like crap. They would talk to them while looking all around for other girls. One guy had almost hooked up with my friend the night before, and he could’ve gotten laid that night if he hadn’t wandered off with some young blond thing that wasn’t going to give it up. All the men that night seemed to be trolling rather than just having a good time so I was done with hanging with them. Then I saw a group of guys having the best time dancing. They weren’t paying attention to ladies. One guy was dancing up on his friends as a joke. I joined their group and danced with them. Men learn this. Ladies don’t want to dance with the creepy guy in the corner who is skulking for girls, they want to dance with the guys who are already having fun. I was sad to see the girls leave the next day, and soon I was off as well. Warsaw here I come.

Lucifer Shots A Shopping Cart Dances

What can I say about Krakow? I can say it is fucking awesome. I can say that my liver will probably never fully recover. I can say that Mosquito Hostel gave me one of the best times of my life. I can definitely say the city is gorgeous. I can say a lot of things about Krakow.

My first afternoon wasn’t actually too exciting. I met some people and went to the Schindler’s Factory Museum. The museum really has nothing to do with Schindler. It’s a world war two museum, and only one room deals with him. I’m sorry to say but the people I was with were boring. They were the people you hang out with when backpacking out of necessity rather than actually really liking each other. And one of the guys read really slowly. I was reading every plaque, but was still ten minutes ahead. It’s not his fault, he was not a native English speaker, but it didn’t really make it less tiresome.

Luckily that night my friend luck turned around. I met the Dutch boys. They were fun, sweet, and a bit crazy. Mainly I spent my time mocking Dennis because his name was Dennis and he looked exactly like Dennis the Menace. We played Presidents and Assholes (a card game), and I was feeling tired and planned to spend the night in. The Dutch boys would not let that happen. Instead they pulled me into the free pub crawl. So I put on my slutty clubbing dress. If there is one thing that can give you energy it is feeling sexy. By the end of the night we were clubbing with the awesome pub crawl guides Patricia and Krzesimir. One Dutch guy and I would do the shopping cart dance together. We pick out things from the shelf, check our lists, argue on the phone, and slap the baby. Then I would go back to sexy dancing. It really confuses men in the club when you go between the two and I love to confuse. Dennis and I went to another club with Patricia and Krzesimir, but somehow the others were lost. We never could get to the bottom of what happened there.

My Dutch Boys!

The next day we went all together to Auschwitz. It was not what I expected. The first half is the first Auschwitz camp. It was not what the concentration camps look like in the movies, and it’s very small. You see the piles of hair, glasses, suitcases, and children’s shoes stacked up behind glass windows. The first half feels like a museum. They quickly bring you into the gas chamber that the Nazis first used when they were testing the gas chamber idea. Then you are bused over to Birkenau camp. That resembles what you imagine a concentration camp to look like. I found that half more moving because it felt less like a museum set up to show us, and more of just showing us the camps. We saw what was left of the destroyed gas chambers. The Nazis blew them up so they would not be evidence of their war crimes. We went into bunkers where they housed everyone, and we saw the washrooms and bathrooms that were added when too much disease was plaguing the camp. By the end of the day you were ready to go home. It is all an experience, but one you really only need to do once.

When we got back went out for a nice dinner at a classic Polish place down the road. The waiter was overly humorous and impatient with the indecisive boys. I got perogies filled with deer meat. They were amazing. I began complaining that the hostel didn’t have Cards Against Humanity in the large assortment of games it had. One of the Dutch boys then told me they did. I totally thought he was lying, so we made a deal. I would get to punch him in the balls if he wasn’t telling the truth. He agreed, but then the guys decided that he should get something if he was right. It was finally decided I would flash him if they did have the game. Honestly I was hoping to lose because I really love Cards Against Humanity. Let’s just say I lost. He got two seconds of flashing while he held the door closed so his friends couldn’t see.

That night was again filled with partying. We started the pub crawl at a shot bar. I started with a flaming B52 shot that you suck down with a straw. Then I asked the bartender to give me a blow job. It’s a shot that you do with no hands. Then I moved on to a Lucifer shot which the bartender warned me twice was very hot. It’s liquor, a ton of hot sauce, and a whole chili pepper you eat afterwards. I took it like a champ. Later I was looking for the bathroom and went upstairs where I figured it was. A few guys stood around and I asked them if they were waiting for the bathroom. No one replied so I went for the door handle. Then one guy gave me an evil look, pointed towards the stairs, and said, “DOWNSTAIRS!” He was an asshole. I go find the pub crawl guide Patricia and ask her were the bathroom is, and she tells me upstairs. I relate the incident to her and she goes and bitches this guy out. But in the end I get to use the bathroom and he gives me dagger eyes each time he sees me.

Maybe the Lucifer shot was not needed.

Next we went to karaoke where I belted my heart out. I also heard people singing Polish songs, and I learned that Polish girls drink beer with straws. Personally I think beer through a straw is weird, but hey whatever rocks your boat. Finally we were dragged away from the karaoke bar to go to the club and we spent another night dancing away. The next day the Dutch boys left, and I set out to make new friends.

Karaoke!

Volcanoes And Boat Jumping In Santorini

Richard and I went to sleep in Santorini with plans of renting an ATV again the next day and further exploring the island. Oh how wrong we were. At some point in the night I woke up to Richard entering the room and informing me that he thought he had gotten my stomach bug. I kept hoping in my mind that by morning he would somehow be magically better so we could continue our plans, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. He got up in the morning to join me for our private breakfast on our balcony, but he was only able to nibble on toast. We had changed roles. Now I was the one eating a full breakfast while he watched. He kept insisting that we not cancel our ATV rentals, and that he might feel better in an hour or two. Finally I had to sit him down and tell him, “Hun, I love you, but you are in no way okay to drive an ATV today.”

He went back to sleep and I lounged by the pool. It was a slightly chilly day, and I realized even if we had gone beach hopping on an ATV it wouldn’t have been good beach weather. Every once and a while Richard would come down and hang out by the pool with me. I went down the hill a bit by myself and had a lovely lunch. It was the first seafood that I was able to successfully eat in Santorini. I had grilled squid and grilled octopus. I hurried back to check on my man who was asleep in bed. He was lucky though. His stomach bug was not nearly as bad as mine, and by dinnertime he insisted we keep our dinner reservation to my protests that we could stay in.

We took a cab to Oia, which is an picturesque town on Santorini. We sat outside watching the sunset as the resort next to the restaurant played the oddest compilation of music I might ever hear. You could be listening to Bob Dylan followed by Eye of the Tiger. At one point they played the famous song that he crosses the race finish line from Chariots of Fire. I never wanted to leave just because I had to know what they were going to play next. As the wind picked up after the sunset many couples went inside to sit. They brought us out blankets, and we decided to stay outside. I love restaurants that give you fleece blankets. I like to base my opinion of restaurants off ridiculous things like blankets and comfy seating. If you’re a street cafe with couches and blankets then in my opinion you’re a five star place.

You know a place is good if they give you a blanket.

The next day Richard was fully recovered and we went on excursion. Richard finally got to do the thing he was most excited about, which was riding the cable ca down the hill to meet our boat. There we waited what seemed forever for our boat to come. The tour guide spoke an impressive amount of languages, and was able to speak to everyone. The boat first whisked us away to the nearby volcano. There we hiked to the top, and got to laugh to ourselves at all the people who wore sandles on the pebbly and rocky terrain (we’re assholes). At the top the guide gave a long lecture about something to do with volcanoes. Honestly I couldn’t follow any of it. I wanted to because he was so passionate, but he was speaking ridiculous gibberish, and I was glad afterward to learn that everyone else felt the same way. We took photos and marveled at the view after.

I’m on a volcano!

Next we sailed over to the hot springs. The favorite part of my day then happened. To get to the hot springs you have to jump off of the boat into the water and swim to them. One man jumped off the boat at the wrong spot and before you supposed to and thee crew began yelling at him because he was swimming near the engines. They made him climb back in the boat. Anyone who has read about my love of Dubrovnik will remember I love jumping into deep water. I jumped off with a vigor and swam to the hot springs with Richard. The hot springs aren’t too impressive. They begin getting warmer than the rest of the water. The water there is rust colored and will stain your bikini if it is a light color. I was smart and wore a black bikini. All too soon we hand to get back on the boat though.

Sometimes you want to jump in water.

Then we went to a small island for lunch. Richard and I rushed off the boat to get to the restaurants first. We walked like New Yorkers. Afterwards we rested by the water, and I spent the whole time wondering if I could sunbath topless, but decided against it because I didn’t want to be the only one.

I’m on a donkey, Bitch!

The boat finally dropped us off in Oia.There we did the infamous donkey rides. The donkey men are kind of nasty. They yell at you and yank you up on the donkeys. It’s all pretty terrifying. Then the donkeys scurry up the hill while you pray you don’t fall off. Mine kept trying to fight his way to the front which put me right by the two foot wall looking at the fifty foot drop down the hill. I actually loved it though and would do it again in a heartbeat. Richard, not so much. We had dinner again in Oia, and took a cab back to Fira after. We sat together at the end of the night. We were both sad that our time together was coming to an end so quickly. Richard left really early in the morning. The next day I left my room but hung out around the pool until it was time to head to the airport.

Yeah, that’s a view!

I can honestly say the Santorini airport is the worst airport I’ve ever been to. I got there and the line to check in was out the door of the airport and there was no real system. After an hour of standing in line I checked in. Security I had no line though, and passport control was non existent. I got some terrible food. I ended up sitting on the stairs for a while because there were no seats. The bathrooms didn’t even have soap. I ended up sitting on the floor by the gates listening as hard as I could because they weren’t really giving us any information on flights. Finally I boarded my plane which was rather nice. Thank you Air Berlin. I flew to Austria, and had a short layover there. Then I flew to Berlin and had an even shorter layover. They boarded us on a bus to get to our plane. The bus kept driving. Everytime I thought we were arriving at our plane the bus would turn and we would go to an even more remote part of the airport. I finally felt like they were going to exit the airport and drive us to Krakow. We did finally reach a plane. A tiny little plane that sat past even the warehouses where it looked like they stored or worked on planes. I got on fell asleep and next thing I knew I was in Krakow.

How To Make An Ass Of Yourself In Santorini

Finally the point of my trip I had been quivering with antici…pation for had arrived. I began my flight to Santorini Greece to meet my boyfriend, Richard, for the five star hotel experience. Luckily I was able to make it there despite my quick layovers, and the fact that the Athens airport is idiotic. You go through passport control to get to your terminal, but it leads you to the exit, so you have to go out and enter through security again to get to your new terminal. Dumbass architect. I had already set up an airport pick up with my hotel, so upon arrival I found a friendly woman holding a sign with my name on it.

The view from our first of two private balconies. Did I mention they serve a champagne breakfast on them each morning at whatever time you want?

Soon I was at the hotel. Richard would be there in a couple of hours. I began to receive the best treatment of my life. They brought me cold water, gave me a tour of our suite, brought up my luggage, and brought me a fruit plate and complimentary bottle of wine. All was perfect, or so I thought. After the obligatory photo taking of how amazing the room was, and it was the most amazing sweet with the most fabulous views of the caldera, I began to feel like crap. My stomach began to start feeling terrible and I huddled on the bed texting Richard that all was not well. By the time Richard arrived I was on the toilet with a not so wonderful problem. And within the next hour it was coming out both ends. I felt like dying. That night I was in the bathroom every ten minutes, and the rest of the time passed out from dehydration on the bed. This was not the way I wanted to start my vacation. I was in the best hotel in Santorini, and I crapped the bed twice. Yeah, that sucked.

Not an all bad day.

By morning I was feeling slightly better, but not enough to enjoy more than dry toast of our champagne breakfast. We tried to walk the streets of Fira, but five minutes in I was like NOPE, not happening. We spent the rest of the day lying by the pool, and honestly that was kind of nice. By dinnertime I was feeling a lot better, so we decided to head to a nice restaurant. I even felt good enough to try a glass of wine. We started with delicious mussels that I gobbled up. Everything seemed to be going great. Then my rabbit dish came. I took a bite. The flavor was overpowering. My stomach started to protest. Okay, no rabbit. I decided to try a bite of the mushroom. Oh shit that flavor again. My stomach was not happy. I knew the bathroom was downstairs and very far away. I thought, “Just sit still and breath….Oh no! Oh shit!” And then I grabbed the bread basket and began hurling up everything into it. And then I hurled some more. And then some more. By the end not all of it had made it into the basket. Luckily the few other patrons nearby hadn’t noticed. Richard asked if I wanted to wrap the rabbit up and take it with us. I told him I’d rather die then ever look at it again. Richard waved down the waiters so we could pay and get the hell out of there. I left before he was done, but supposedly the waiters were terrified that the mussels or the food had done this to me. He had to reassure them that I hadn’t been well from the start. The sad part is that once you throw up you feel great. I didn’t want to go home because I felt fine again. We walked around Fira, and I mentally kicked myself for the massive ass I made of myself in the restaurant.

Dinner was so nice before the uncontrolled vomiting.

The next day I was well enough to adventure. We rented an ATV or four wheeler, and decided to explore the island that way. We rode along. Richard drove and I clung to him only momentarily terrified. Soon it became fun, and I was able to enjoy the views of the island once we were out of the town. We passed pebble beaches, and tiny restaurants. Finally we made it to Amoudi Bay. I had heard there was cliff diving there. I wanted to jump off rocks into the water like I had done in Dubrovnik. Alas there was no cliff diving to be found. I was super pissed off. Another day on a boat we saw people doing it. It was somehow around from the bay in a hidden spot that we had no idea how to get to. Instead we had baklava in a cute little restaurant looking out over the bay. Then we walked up the tortuous hill back to our ATV. We went to Oia in search of an ATM, and I swear there are only two in town and they are right next to each other hidden in the bus lot. So many shops and it’s almost impossible to find money to use in them. We got back on our sexy red ATV and headed for a pebble beach we had passed on the way. There we payed a nice lady ten euros for beach chairs for the day. I learned that she wanted to go to NYC and be a theater director. We began talking about my playwriting and NYC and she gave us a bottle of water for free. We rested on our chairs, but it was a bit chilly. Richard tried to swim, but with having to walk on the rocks he mainly ended up looking like a drunk man falling all over the place. I love you Richard. After we had had enough sun we decided to return the ATV and get back to our hotel.

Lounging it up at the beach.

Once back we made dinner reservations for a late dinner. My stomach was feeling funny, but I didn’t want to spend the night in. I just kept praying I wouldn’t puke on another table. When we entered the restaurant I had already told Richard that maybe we could just get an appetizer. Inside the smell was overpowering and I was already regretting going out. Luckily we got a seat on the edge where the breeze took away the seafood smell. We ordered bread and an octopus appetizer. By the time the food came I didn’t feel great. I nibbled on the bread and Richard ate the octopus. The waitress was not happy when we decided to just get the bill. Back at the hotel I ate another meal of toast and banana. Basically the first half of the trip I had them send me up toast and banana at all hours. They always did right away, and in the end they never even charged us for any of it. This is how nice the hotel was. I have never had customer service to that extent in my life. There are only four suites, so they know your schedule, and plan when to clean the room around you 9and they clean it twice a day). You come back at night and a good night sign is on the bed, and all the lights are turned on for you. If you sit by the pool ice water is run out to you instantly by the ever sweet and happy bellboy. If you call down they greet you by name on the phone and know exactly the plans and reservations that were made for you that day. Richard and I joked that if we asked them to kill someone for us that they would probably do it. That night we went to sleep with plans of ATVing the day away the next day. Oh were we in for a surprise. Check back for my next blog to see what happened.