lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Touch of Panic September 14, 2018

I spent October of last year through April of this year living on a tour bus. My whole life revolved around when I was supposed to get on the bus to drive to the next city, venue, or airport. And I made it. Every time.

I went straight from traveling with tour to adventuring in Europe. First week of international travel went totally well, and then it was time for Crete.

A tiny backstory: When I had planned the trip, I wanted to spend two days on Crete to give the husband and myself maximum possibility of fair weather to hike the Samaria Gorge. About a month before we flew to Greece, I got an email saying our flight from Crete to Venice had been canceled. What they really meant was there would be no more flights out of Crete to anywhere ever again. I don’t know if the airport was being condemned or there was a strike planned, but we had to fly out a day early on the last flight that would be leaving the island.

Back to how on time and responsible the husband and I are.

We managed to hike the Samaria Gorge and have a wonderful dinner and then went to sleep. The husband (I swear, I really do love him) set the alarm for like 4:45 in the morning.

We went to bed and woke up at 5:05. (more…)

 

The Super Human Liver September 11, 2018

Have you ever met someone and thought, You are a caricature of a human?

I met one such gentleman in Chania, Crete.

He was a restaurant owner with homemade Raki. And his homemade Raki was better than the store made kind. His version of the traditional liquor didn’t have the terrible burn of the types the husband and I had sampled before.

The restaurant owner was about in his fifties, the cheerful silver fox type, and liked to lure people into his restaurant by offering them free shots of his Raki. It worked. Between the yummy Raki and beautiful live music, the husband and I were hooked.

The thing is, he’d do a shot with you. And with the next people who came into the restaurant. And with the people who agreed to get up and dance. And with the couple who ordered dessert.

We tried to count, and he took like fourteen shots while we were eating dinner. And the man was still standing! I don’t even know how that’s possible!

There was another English-speaking couple sitting behind us, and they finally asked how many shots he usually took in a night.

His response: “It depends.” (more…)

 

Raki for My Friends August 10, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

There are times in life when you have to push through in order to find something amazing.

The husband and I had a push through moment the night after our amazing hike of the Samaria Gorge.

We were hot. We were tired. We were in pain. We were dirty as hell. And we were hungry.

We got back to Chania, the nice little city where we were staying about an hour from the gorge.

It was like nine at night by then. As we limped our way back toward the hotel, we searched for food. Some restaurants were too nice for us to go in as filthy as we were. Some didn’t have any food allergy-ridden me could actually eat. The grocery store had no pre-made food to be found. It was rough.

I wanted to go to the old town, but it was a long walk away and we were so dirty.

We finally found a mom and pop place that didn’t have any food left, but they had some advice: just head toward old town and you’ll find something to eat.

It was one of those moments in travel when you have to choose between a Cliff Bar and Sleep or good food and fatigue.

We headed toward old town. That part of Chania is surrounded by an old stone wall, so we had to cut back to go over to loop down. It was a whole thing. We made it to old town, and the first thing we saw was a restaurant in the middle of the street.

Restaurant in Old Town

The owner came up to us with a menu (completely ignoring the massive amount of trail dust we were covered in). He told us there would be live music and that we should have some of his homemade raki.

—If you’ve never had raki, it’s like a less burning version of vodka—

We said we loved raki, so we’d have a look around and come back.

He blinked at us like we were crazy and said, “You like raki? Two shots of raki for my friends!” (more…)

 

Danger: Move Quickly! August 1, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

I am a pretty adventurous person and have a very low self-preservation instinct when it comes to hanging out in nature. Cliff edges don’t bother me, rushing water is totally fun. There are very few things that naturally occur on this earth that make me go “Nope!”

So the husband and I hiked the Samaria gorge this spring. It’s one of the longest gorges in Europe, and over the course of planning this trip the idea of doing the 10-ish mile hike became something of a pilgrimage. I’ve hiked so many beautiful places in the United States. If my goal is to be a citizen of the world, then I need to be a hiker of the world. It made a lot of sense in my head.

So, we ferried to Crete from Santorini specifically to do this hike.

US

The trail is all downhill (which is not actually as great as it sounds) and takes you past some truly breathtaking vistas. (more…)

 

The Meteora March July 17, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I love climbing things. There’s something about using your own two legs to hike up something that makes you feel accomplished and insubstantial all at the same time.

When we were in Greece not so very long ago, we decided to visit the beautiful monasteries of Meteora—

IMG_0962

—positioned on spires of stone. Monks moved up onto the rocks for seclusion. Some even going so far as to build themselves homes in the sides of rocks.

Of course the world being what it is, seclusion has been replaced by tourism, but the monasteries are amazing and well worth the visit.

The trick is you have to climb to most of them. And not like a flight or two of stairs. Like a lot, a LOT, of stairs.

Theoretically, you’re supposed to be able to hike between all of the monasteries and visit them in one day…we didn’t do that. (more…)

 

Crazy Cat Lady: Grecian Edition July 3, 2018

I love cats.

One of the things I miss most in my crazy traveling actor life is having a cat of my own.

Top thing I didn’t know I was going to love about Greece?

The cats!

IMG_4889

So many wonderful cats!

Cats living in monastaries! (more…)