Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Athens, Kalimera


My dream has came true and I am now in Athens, Greece. A country with history and holy stories. Athens nowadays is such a modern city with a great public transportation system. There are so many options for tourists to choose from local bus to MRT.... Every single day I found a new thing in this city and I have learned alot.

Tu in Greece

One of the funniest things was that my first breakfast in Athens was vanilla ice cream. Do you believe that? I couldn't believe that I ate ice cream either.


It's a bit like our trip in general, actually. We didn't make any plans for it, we have just been going with the flow and everyday is a surprise. Athens...the ruins...the's all a surprise for someone from Vietnam.


Anyway, on our first night we stayed at Marble House, a small pension hotel close to the public transport system and a short walk to Athen's main attraction, the Acropolis. It was in a really quiet neighbourhood. The lady who welcomed us was a Greek American and she told us all the information about Athens and what we needed to do. After checking in, we walked up to the amazing Acropolis but the weather was a bit stormy and wet so we decided to come back the next day. We also arranged to meet Angeliki, my friend's friend from Athens.


I think I'm in love this city. There are so many things to check out and the food is so good but one thing that I need to be concerned about is things are expensive here and they use Euro, not Dong like in Vietnam:) I need to calm down to everything because I have 4 and a half weeks to go. I hope I can check out everything and show everyone about it

Tobe continued

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our Friend In AThens

Liz and Angeliki

I don't want to talk about Athens at the beginning my trip as I want to talk about Greek people. I think Greek people, in general, are not really over welcoming to tourists unless they know you well or you speak a little Greek. Plus, as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, they are quite complacent about tourists, which is understandable. But in this post, I want to talk about a women that I met in Athens who is my friend's friend. Her name's Angeliki and she's such an amazing woman. She is around 60 but really active, full of energy, friendly and really nice. She used to be a teacher for years and she's now as a social worker of Attila town which is just out of Athens. She's married with 2 kids and they all live away from home. She explained so much about the culture and life style of Greeks and life in and around Athens. However, for me, there was only one small problem - she drives a bit too fast but I never felt unsafe. She seems to know everywhere in Athens and I loved the sign on the back of her car - "Don't follow me, I'm lost too ".


She loves travelling and she has been to many places around the world. She is actually now in the Ukraine with her lovely daughter for a month. We were so lucky to meet her here. Without her, we couldn't have made it to the special hidden places like Marathon, her home town, Attila, and the top of the mountain where we could see the whole of Athens by night at 10pm. Then she took us to have ice cream by the Acropolis at 11pm. On the mountain near her house, we visited a monastery in a pretty impressive location. The priests we met were amazing people and really professional in the way they explained everything.


Thank you very much for all your great help, Angeliki. Meeting you was like a godsend that made our trip even more memorable and understanding about Greece and Greece's culture. I hope I can make another trip back here sometime in the future.

Saturday, September 06, 2008



Finally, I've arrived in Athens after a long flight. I really truly feel like I'm on holiday now but still don't really believe that I am in an amazingly beautiful country full of holy stories and history like Greece. I have tried to tell myself many times to take it easy and calm down but I am really excited.


My friends and I flew with Thai Airways and we stopped over at Bangkok airport for a couple of hours. This is the new airport and it's such a huge airport. We spent the time just wandering around the airport. The food on the first flight wasn't great but was actually better on the Bangkok-Athens sector. The wine was pretty awful though. Anyway, I am here now and have really started to enjoy my holiday. I will be writing all about it when I return to Hanoi.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Walk in the Park

A walk in the park in Hanoi is not always the simple pleasure one would expect. Peace and quiet, a breath of fresh air, a dog chasing a tennis ball, a reader catching a chapter in their lunch hour – all normal activities I’ve witnessed in parks when I’ve been overseas.

Not so in Hanoi! In fact, the atmosphere and character of parks in the capital changes throughout the day. There seems to be a kind of a cycle of activity.

The early morning dark gives way to park attendants sweeping up any litter, perhaps moving on a few street people who spent the night under the stars. As dawn approaches, elderly people who can’t sleep start their early morning wander and the pace starts to hot up. Before long, sports equipment is in evidence, badminton nets are being erected and the players begin limbering up. The sun rises and its rays paint the trees green and the shuttlecock is suddenly much easier to see. Young teenage boys kick footballs, too. But the most frenetic action comes from the women in the park. Dozens, sometimes more than a hundred aerobics enthusiasts kick and wave to non-stop Asian dance music. In another quarter of the park, older women participate in a low impact version, waving hand fans to tai chi moves. The mornings in Hanoi’s parks amount to one big sports club.

As the traffic starts to jam on the adjacent streets, a more sedate atmosphere takes over the parks. The fitness fanatics take off for a bowl of noodle soup before their work day begins. Tea and fruit vendors set up their simple plastic stools as the heat begins to become a factor in the day. Hand fans start to wave again and the shade of the trees is the only place to be. Less strenuous pastimes like chess, cards, reading the newspaper and discussing the lottery results take over in the lead up to lunchtime. The quietest part of the park day occurs after lunch when everyone present has heavy eyelids. A few travelling vendors will attempt to get some shut-eye before setting off on their afternoon route. The park warden may not notice because he’s sleepy, too.

In the late afternoon, the sports nuts start to take over again. The park’s evening rush hour lasts longer as the sport is followed by the invasion of the evening walkers who lap the park until their dinner is settled. Then the lovers take over, wedged on park benches or parked motorbikes whispering and kissing until the girl’s curfew brings it to a premature end.

The park goes dark and dormant, ready for the cycle to begin again tomorrow