The month of May was a special one for us. Not only was it my birthday month (yay!) we were going to have our very first international visitors. So as always, let’s start with what entailed in London during the month of May, followed by the usual jet-setting.
It’s my first birthday in the city that has overwhelming amount of activities, simultaneously trying to lure you in its direction and making life of a person like me harder than it needs to be. So I leave it in the hands of my beautiful wife to ensure I don’t experience the Fear Of Missing Out, at least on my birthday.
The month started with us going for a very up-close performance of The Lion King The Musical (my birthday gift). For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of the spectacle, I would highly recommend keeping your ears to the ground for this beautiful production. Even if you are not a huge musicals fan but enjoyed the movie, this show will exceed your expectations.
May as a month also saw our social circle exploding exponentially. Up until May, Gee and I hung out with each other and mostly had workmates for friends. In early May, we had a friend visit from Australia who had cousins living in London and the cousins had their friends who kindly adopted us. If you know me personally, you will know that it was almost impossible for them to escape my
trap charm. So the night before my birthday, we were invited to this amazing homemade Italian feast with our new found friends followed by a relaxing picnic in the Hyde Park. The reason we decided to stay local for my birthday is because later in the month my cousin from Canada was visiting with her family and we had a fair few plans of a UK/European extravaganza.
First stop of hanging out with my cousin took us to Glasgow. We stayed with my cousin’s relatives and had a great time trying to put on our best Scottish accent. The only thought that stuck with me about Glasgow was a man walking [waddling] away from his wife in downtown around 5.00pm, completely legless. I have had my royal drunken moments but I am proud to say not at 5.00pm, he could hardly keep himself upright.
While in Glasgow we also took a trip to Edinburgh, which has a skyline straight out of the Harry Potter movie. It was a beautiful day, made better with beautiful company. At this point I’d also like to give a shout out to my cousin’s beautiful daughters. I don’t know what it’s like travelling with children, but if it’s as cruisy as it was with them, I say bring it on! I am sure the girls had never been to so many pubs in a day before, but they didn’t seem to mind it = Good Parenting.
After Glasgow, we came back to London for a week, before embarking on our Greek adventure with my cousin and her family. We started the trip in Santorini, followed by Athens and then back to London.
I’d like to take a deep breath before I write about Santorini. It is a place that Mrs FOMOist dreamt of going for her honeymoon (we went to Thailand and Vietnam instead). Santorini was stunning! I don’t even know if I have the words to describe the beautiful white building, edging over the calderas, circling around emerald blue water. If you’ve seen pictures, I would say they don’t do any justice to how stunning the place is in real-life. Some of the highlights from Santorini:
- Rather than staying in Oia or Fira, we stayed in Firostefani in serviced apartments called Agnadema Apartments. The location, the service and the sunset from our balcony were all perfect. If I ever make it back there again (really hope we do), I’ll definitely stay here. It’s close enough to the action of Fira and the views are much better than Oia.
- Rather than fiddling around with the public transport or hire cars, we hired ATVs. In between the 6 of us (4 adults and 2 children), we got 4 ATVs and that was the best decision ever! With the ATVs, we were able to go up and down the little island with ease plus explore and discover places at our own pace.
- Finally, none of the posts will be complete without mention of food! Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you… Gyros. How can I describe this little gem? It’s shaved meat, wrapped inside a pita bread with salad and hot chips. It’s sort of a kebab but much better. This was definitely the food of choice in Santorini, to a point where we made friends with the lady from the shop who gave us free beer, bless!
After 4 relaxing days in Santorini, we made our way to Athens, the city of Gods. The city was amazing, but I think we were still in the afterglow of Santorini and were daydreaming of being back there instead of scouring the streets of Athens in 30°C heat! We went there in the middle of the economic turmoil and it was evident by the desperate efforts people made to make a buck. I don’t blame them because in their situation I can completely see myself doing the same. Observations on Athens:
- Definitely the Acropolis Museum. I would recommend going to the museum before you go to the top of the hill to have a look at the Parthenon. The has most of the missing pieces from the former temple which helps you visualise what it may have looked like back in its hay day.
- Most of the archaeological and historic sites that you will walk pass are literally a bunch of pillars and ruins. One really has to use their imagination here which can become a bit cumbersome.
- If you’re in Athens, you have to go visit Brettos Bar in Plaka. Apart from making a great Instagram photo, this place one of the most extensive range of liquors I have seen and each flavour is better than the other.
- Forget about Ouzo (I do like a bit of Ouzo) and get your hands on a liquor called Mastiha. It is unique to Greece and best enjoyed chilled.
Overall, this birthday was everything I could wish for and then a whole lot more thanks to my beautiful wife, friends and family.