Monday, February 27, 2017

A Month in Greece: Athens

A windy day at the Parthenon in Athens

The last place I visited during my month-long trip around mainland Greece was Athens, after stays in Meteora, Thessaloniki, Kalamata and the Peloponnese. I stopped there overnight a couple of times early on in the trip, but didn't do any real sight-seeing or exploring until the last few days before I left. 

Like everywhere else I visited, Athens has a long history and it's visible as you walk through the streets of the main downtown areas. The Acropolis stands in the center on top of a large hill overlooking the rest of the city, so that in many areas you can turn a street corner and catch a great view of it. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Month in Greece: The Peloponnese

The harbor at sunset in Kardamyli, Greece

This winter I spent about a month traveling through mainland Greece, as I've talked about in the last few posts about Kalamata, Thessaloniki and Meteora. I spent a good part of that time staying in the southern city of Kalamata in the Peloponnese region, thanks to its sunny weather and great beaches. Even in the winter it was a great place to relax in the sunshine.

One of the best things about Kalamata is that it's a great place to stay if you want to go out on day trips and explore the little seaside towns of the Peloponnese. In the peak season, this whole region gets crowded and expensive, but if you go in the winter like we did, you can still have warm weather and enjoy all the sights without the crowds.

The first day trip we went on from Kalamata was to the little coastal town of Kardamyli. We took a local bus from the terminal in Kalamata, which I think cost around 4 euros, and took about an hour. The ride out there went through some of the most beautiful countryside that I saw in Greece.

A cobblestone street in Kardamyli

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Month in Greece: Kalamata

At the beach in Kalamata, Greece

This is post number 3 about my travels in Greece, following Meteora and Thessaloniki. As I mentioned before, Thessaloniki is located in the north of Greece, so getting from there to Kalamata, which is located in the southern Peloponnese region was quite the trek. We broke it up into two days by stopping for one night in Athens and continuing on the next day.

It was absolute worth the long journey to get to the beautiful beaches and sunshine that were waiting for us in Kalamata. Anna and I wanted to stop for awhile in one place where we could relax and do artsy things - I focused on my writing (thus the storm of blog posts that emerged in December) and Anna worked on her illustrations. Kalamata was absolutely the perfect place for this.

View from our balcony in Kalamata

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Month in Greece: Thessaloniki

The Arch of Galerius, in downtown Thessaloniki

In the last post I talked about the first stop on my travels in Greece, the beautiful world heritage site of Meteora, which you can read here. From Meteora, we took the train up to Thessaloniki, which is in the northern Macedonian region of Greece, not to be confused with the actual country of Macedonia nearby.

We arrived there in late November, so it was the coldest place that we visited, but still not that bad when you've just come from the U.K. Thessaloniki is known for its alternative culture, with a lot of art and trendy nightlife going on. It's a port city, with a nice waterfront area to walk around, which is where you can see one of the main landmarks, the White Tower.

The White Tower of Thessaloniki

Monday, February 13, 2017

A month in Greece: Meteora

Climbing to Greek monasteries in Meteora

In 2016, I spent about a month traveling through mainland Greece with Anna. We left the U.K. mid-November and returned just before Christmas. During our stay in Greece, we visited Meteora, Thessaloniki, Kalamata and the Peloponnese Region and Athens. I'll be posting a short series on those places over the next couple of weeks.

First of all, I have to say that Greece was amazing. Everywhere we went was beautiful and full of history and the food was incredible. Especially the bakeries. If you ever get the chance to try Greek food, do yourself a favor and have some baked goods. Of course, the salads and fresh produce are also great, as are the gyros - if you're not familiar, they're a kind of pita wrap with things like meat, tomatoes, cucumber, tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber sauce), and some places even stuffed a few fries in as well.

On the left is a Greek salad with Feta tomatoes, olives & cucumbers. Right is a kind of build your own gyros.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cornwall Part II: Tintagel & Padstow

The ruins of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall

In the first post about Cornwall, I said that I went to stay in a 13th century cottage near the town of Tintagel. I traveled with Anna and her mom, and we spent about a week living in the countryside, reading and writing, and going out for day trips around Cornwall.

One of the places Anna and I went was Tintagel, the nearest town. To get there, we followed the coastal path from Trebarwith Strand where the cottage was located, along the high cliffs over the ocean. The walk took about an hour and was absolutely stunning the entire way. We wandered through farmland with sheep and along the very edge of the cliffs, with views of wildflowers and the ocean and very few other people along the route. Granted, this was November - if you go during a warmer time of the year, I'm sure it can get crowded.

Walking along the coastal path in Cornwall

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cornwall Part I: Mousehole & St. Ives

On the coastal path in Cornwall, near Tintagel

Back in early November, Anna, her mom and I went to stay in Cornwall for about a week. Anna's mom is friends with someone that owns a 13th century cottage near the coastal town of Tintagel, which is where we stayed. The cottage was very rustic, but I really enjoyed the opportunity to stay somewhere so old. It was amazing to sit near the fire and think of all the people who lived there over the centuries and what their lives must have been like.

When I say it was rustic though, imagine a place that's perpetually a bit cold, damp and drafty, although once you got the fire going and put on a couple of extra layers it was surprisingly comfortable. It even had electricity! I spent a lot of time during that week sitting by a window that looked out over the fields to the ocean sipping coffee and doing some creative writing.

The 13th cent. cottage that we stayed in

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The job hunt begins again

This has been my life for the past month... (Image credit)

Just a quick post on what I'm up to these days and why the posts are slowing down, following the mad writing spree I went on in December/January. You can expect updates to be a little more infrequent now, hopefully at a rate of about once a week. I'm still planning to continue posting about my recent travels through the U.K. and Greece.

The holiday is officially over now, and for the last month I've been in full-time job hunting mode. It's a pretty time consuming task no matter what industry you work in, but when you work overseas, there's the added challenges of obtaining work visas and researching countries that you're considering working in. 

I really loved living in South Korea last year and my intent was to return around now (early February) to job hunt from within Korea for positions at universities. I already knew that the university market in Korea is difficult to break into, but after doing more research, it's beginning to look even more challenging than I had first thought. So I began to open up my job hunt to consider university EFL positions in other countries.