Home » Articles posted by rommel

Author Archives: rommel

Thessaloniki, Greece

12651028_10153995468193578_9197838340644766504_n

Thessaloniki. The name alone allures me. The name is so weird and awkward that it sounds so mesmerizing. The name alone is shrouded with mystery. I heard its name alone, and it felt like it’s calling me. I’m so glad I got to see it. Otherwise, it would had killed my curiosity.

12573943_10153995468843578_4232116743965580442_n

944036_10153995468198578_3405592532198768135_n

The city was named after the sister of Alexander The Great.

Alexander The Great– Statue of Alexander The Great –

A lot of its most prominent tourist spots are …. let’s just say … appealing.

White Tower– White Tower –

Church of Saint Demetrios– Church of Demetrios –

…. Especially to those who seek historical sights.

Arch of Galerius– Arch of Galerius –

IMG_6716

I do love that it dovetails as an open air Byzantine museum. Thessaloniki has its own construction and style that is distinct from the Greece signature of the usual all-white and blue.

12565413_10153995467488578_4370387158815365074_n

12651289_10153995473238578_8997082909418685010_n

12654673_10153995469578578_3469293399961389623_n

12592770_10153995472748578_1212820347480669599_n

Rotunda of Galerius– Rotunda of Galerius –

Roman Forum Thessaloniki– Ancient Agora (Roman Forum) of Thessaloniki –

My most favorite is the umbrella exhibit.

umbrellas in Thessaloniki

12646794_10153995475933578_8349255987483823998_o

Funny it was actually raining when we were there.

12644874_10153995476138578_5120423585554732074_n

Thessaloniki. A runner-up to Athens as the largest city in Greece. Not as popular as Santorini. I say only close to being more charming than Corfu. Thessaloniki is not grand nor mediocre. Thessaloniki is not as chaotic as Athens, but not as tranquil than many Greece islands or villages. It doesn’t stand out. It is purely simple. Thessaloniki is not the best. It is not the worst. It doesn’t take the center stage. It doesn’t care about the spotlight. Thessaloniki is just cool like that. Just like the umbrellas, Thessaloniki feels like it always floats only in the middle… and I have a special spot for it.

Last Calls…

12631329_10153995468898578_2454745935429873073_n

12651361_10153995474963578_7018539732205145300_n

I’m going to let you in on a secret… because you and I are cool. ;) There is a similar umbrellas display in Athens. It is in Syntagma Station.

IMG_6697

Delos Island in Greece

image

Mykonos sure is an interesting place, but I’m not very fond of it. One reason why is that I found it lacking with historical sights. However, there is an even more interesting island nearby that can patch that hole.

Enter Delos.

image

Delos is an uninhabited island. The only dwelling residents there are remains of the past. Mind you, it gets more visitors than my crib. :D

image

It’s all a bunch of rocks, an archaeological site. That’s all it is, but not “just” it. People cannot live here. That’s how sacred and historically important and valued this place is.

image

According to Greek mythology, it is the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister, Artemi.

image

It’s a small island, but it’s so vast with so many archaeological findings. It’s a dwelling to many temples and statues, housing of many Greek gods and goddesses. It was a magnificent experience to see and visit.

image

image

image

There is an ancient theater. I always love seeing one. It always make me envision the gatherings of god and goddesses being entertained.

image

Delos made our trip to Mykonos worthwhile.

image

Before I forget. Beside the fact that no one can make Delos a home, no one is also allowed to either give birth or die on it. So be extra careful with every movement you make if you visit this island. ;)

Last Call…

image

 

Amalfi Coast in Italy

Back in September, I was lucky to attend a two-week training class in Italy. I Didn’t let that chance to re-explore Italy to just slip away. I decided to go to a most personal favorite city, Rome, and what was a new travel destination to me, the Amalfi Coast.

I bring you …

image

image

image

image

…Amalfi Coast.

The coastal drive to get there is a sightseeing experience on its own. South Italy Coast is just gorgeous!

image

There is a remarkable church behind the port.

image

image

By the time I was done roaming around, it was already getting dark. The moon made a dramatic appearance.

image

image

image

It made the views of Amalfi Coast even more picturesque.

image

Amalfi Coast, to me, is one for the bucket list, but not exactly one for the books. The coastal drive really makes up to my high expectation of it. A gratifying, dream-come-true travel destination nonetheless.

image

Last Calls…

image

image

Opa!

My time here in Crete, Greece summarizes a lot about growth and openness.

TOP 5: Secret Beach in Souda Bay

11403335_10153459232308578_2445667598710050336_n

I found myself tapping back to being very open to people, and really build different kinds of relationships. With my line of work, where I go from one place to another, cultivating relationships is definitely a hard thing to do. Even though I know the relationships I built here won’t last, I still maintained that openness and rapport to people I’ve encountered here.

1907479_10153459235013578_7708060315809539921_n

TOP 4: Omalos

Personally and, more so, professionally, I did a lot of growing here in Greece. :) I became more of a persistent self-starter and a determined goal-oriented person.  Even though I wasn’t successful to some of my goals, I still felt good with my progress. I took care of myself, and I  really became much more focused and responsible than ever before.

TOP 3: Carnivale in Rethymno

It’s most certainly been so much fun. I loved the place, and at the same time, I loved coming to work here and the people I worked with. That is not always the case.  With Crete being a very small island and that we are all away from our families and we lack the things we are used back in the U.S., it’s easier for us to bond together.

TOP 2: Santorini, Greece

Greek culture to me has been phenomenal. Residing here for a year allowed me to delve deeper not just with the Greek culture but also the comparisons between European countries I’ve been to. My carefree and easygoing personality fit perfectly me here. :) Other people would dwell on the chaos and sloppy nature here, but me, I love it. Greeks are good people. They have their pride. They’re a little disorganized and very laidback with the way they do things. But really, they are amiable. You are very safe with the Greeks.

TOP 1: Gramvousa and Balos in Kissamos

Greece is drop dead gorgeous! Especially with everything that goes with the water. So many pristine, crystal clear beaches to admire and dive into. Greece really turned me into a water person. It is so beautiful. It is so beautiful.

11667424_739665029489360_7543909144598881420_n

11667395_739665416155988_4947072773920128329_n

10407123_739666766155853_7344029860301278387_n

11350748_739665276156002_4140134235382624038_n

My time here in Greece is coming to an end. It’s been a great year. I gained a lot more experienced and travel opportunities. More importantly, I’ve grown so much here.

P.S. I loved my apartment. :)

12196120_10153811197163578_5938057761068427339_n

Last Calls…

More of Greece favorites…

A chapter soon to close, another one opens. Me and my girl will explore more of Greece. We’ll stay in Athens, Thessaloniki and Corfu. Very soon, I will be in Japan and reside there for 2 years.

Very Last Call ….

11156372_10153316407688578_3217398866184449416_n

Happy New Year Everybody!

Top 10 Posts of 2015:

10. Unique California 2.0
09. The FIFTH Element
08. California 1 and the Pacific Coast Highway
07. Yosemite National Park
06. What’s white and blue and churches all over?
05. My Big Fat Greek Apartment
04. Omalos in Crete, Greece
03. Secret Beach in Souda Bay, Greece
02. IOS
01. The Best of Crete: Balos and Gramvousa

MYKONOS

Me and my girl went to Mykonos right before the Summer ended.

11027948_10153676780643578_2059411664879177656_n

I don’t know what to make out of Mykonos. I was looking hard as to why it is deemed as one of the top destinations in Greece.

11150846_10153676780628578_5800189460148065040_n

I was looking hard for its character. I saw it as being generic. At first, I thought it was so mundane.

11990655_10153676780713578_8200564511401137817_n

I was looking around and I couldn’t spot any hot, beautiful women around. :D ;) That actually de-energized me. I even told my girl that. :) How awful of me, I know.

11953000_10153676781183578_5982240564305546274_n

Instead, I see lots of burly strapping herculean men walking around.

11960145_10153676781313578_8275500481211966090_n

The main landmarks are only windmills.

11215808_10153676781168578_4319532177336088123_n

You can walk and shop around Little Venice.

c

Even that I question because it looks nothing like Venice. They do have great Italian restaurants.

11947548_10153676780828578_7141524040479496796_n

As the sun was setting, people crowded the area by the windmills. My apology for the pictures. We only used an iPad for a camera.

11923238_10153661776368578_7459031038025501467_n

As we continue on just strolling around esp. when the night fell and people where heading out to party, we saw even more men. What I didn’t know and is interesting to know is that Mykonos is a place where gays go to for a vacation.

11952999_10153676781253578_8405614561004377238_n

And that’s what I like about Mykonos. It gives it a different vibe, a different charm.

11951282_10153676780988578_4293530702962387087_n

I maybe still skeptical how Mykonos is a well-known Greek island, but I think that makes Mykonos an interesting place to really wander around. I guess the mystery enveloping this island is part of the personality.

11896148_10153676780623578_474132472067819654_n

I think people come here with a let-it-loose, chips-fall-where-they-may attitude. And so, people who are here for sightseeing reason should come here without preconceived notion, an open mind. I was trying hard to find the character of Mykonos because I was only looking to find it on the sightseeing views. I had my blinders on. The character of Mykonos is on what it has become, the kind of people who come here  and each of their own characters. Mykonos, to me, is a free-spirited place with a hidden flair.

Last Call…

11781641_10153676781223578_6269348266226924613_n

You might get interested with these three more islands that are also part of the Cyclades ….

Naxos
Ios
Santorini 

 

Catania in Sicily, Italy

I only had a weekend to explore Catania in Sicily, Italy. During my short visit there, I saw it as a cross between Naples and Rome.

12019952_10153732474183578_567468977877126262_n

I was actually walking around with a very awesome travel buddy. We were in the same training class together. We talked about travel experiences over Sicilian cuisine, arancini (very popular there), and glasses of wine and limoncello. I was lucky to find a travel buddy who has itchy feet like I am and would not complain about places like Catania, places that are not exactly aesthetically pleasing to most people.

12019908_10153732363573578_7410893920208579986_n

It’s quite … uhm … dumpy over there. The buildings look aged and uncared for. But if you can be open minded and really look pass the … uhm … “greasy” layer of the buildings. you can still notice how magnificent the architectural designs of the buildings are no matter how battered the appearance is.

 

12032176_10153732446388578_348630944066642127_n12009777_10153732362518578_6187531818434105183_n

The city looks so unorganized. Dysfunctional. It’s noisy. It’s clammy. It’s mucky. It’s busy as heck! And to me, it looks so alive … so liberating.

10418850_10153732444418578_5149110253156023054_n

And despite it’s chaotic nature, the historical side of the city is so evident everywhere.

12027508_10153732474298578_7191473872515574719_n

12043110_10153732461038578_6694824874848609054_n

12011248_10153732361318578_7107142270955430539_n

They have an elephant statue, an elephant!, standing as an emblem of the city. Something that is so uncharacteristic of Italian culture.

12027511_10153732472713578_1278378508588958225_n (1)

You can still drive a little further and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

12065619_10153732460078578_5024116314071203709_n

12063746_10153732478478578_7279641610980922502_n

Catania may never be a contender for the cleanest, most organised city, but to me … I was soaking in the chaos surrounding me as if I was lying down a peaceful meadow. I was loving the moment of being in a city full of everyday people living real everyday lives.

Last Call…

12063460_10153732363488578_4738810245769138519_n

All images are taken with an old Nokia phone.

South Italy Coast

South Italian Coast is gorgeous! …and that’s putting it lightly.

12088144_10153743187658578_2845499537302477627_n

We were ooh-ing and aah-ing inside the bus. It certainly took my breath away.

12038196_10153743186978578_2088320474938151129_n

Last September, I was blessed to revisit Italy once again after five years of ever dreaming of coming back. I had two weekends in Napoli. I decided to travel to a familiar place, Rome, and a place that I didn’t get to see before, Amalfi Coast.

12063475_10153743187218578_5221302821243329978_n

12042959_10153743187008578_1228560298170793320_n

It’s cheap transportation too! The fare from Napoli to Sorrento is only about 3 Euros. Then the tour bus costs 16 Euros to and from Amalfi. So that’s about 22 Euros of transportation expenses in total. I say not too shabby for such incredible views and travel experiences.

11052882_10153743187993578_2853924517282190524_n

And, you can visit Sorrento and Positano all in one.

12074958_10153743187433578_5878731483179609648_n

12034359_10153743186448578_8597087036995346439_o

The road is narrow, winding and steep! I recommend just taking one of the tour buses or having an experienced driver to take you there.

12065631_10153743187298578_4062237166386188021_n

If you’re ever in Southern part of Italy, a trip to Amalfi won’t be a disappointment.

12074570_10153743187513578_3569751194947202580_n

The drive there is an unforgettable sightseeing on its own.

12079582_10153775267023578_7082913865566737359_n

I’ll show you Amalfi Coast on a later post. Here’s for now…

12096581_10153775228103578_8465038826099811198_n

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,718 other followers

%d bloggers like this: