We arrived in Perugia after a real day of backpacking. The cobblestone roads and huddled walkways were a welcome site after the big city of Rome. The trip members eagerly put their packs in their rooms and set off to explore the quaint downtown areas of Perugia. End-to-end in twenty minutes, each group of trip members found the main stage of the Umbria Jazz festival. This find set up our evening plans for a night of rocking out to Alissia and the Funketeers, an American band that left us feeling groovy.
We woke up the next day energized and went for a solid morning run. Day 2 brought us to Rafaellas gorgeous home for an authentic Italian cooking class. After the trip members took turns preparing different parts of the meal we devoured our freshly cooked tagliatelle pomodoro, pizza margherita and a savory finishing touch of epic tiramisu. We digested nicely by the poolside as we vedged out to tunes, kicked the soccer ball and played pool games. At night we headed back to the jazz festival for round two of The Funketeers.
Our final day in Perugia was a tasty one as well as we toured and sampled the Perugina Nestle chocolate factory. They manufactured a Bacio that was 7m by 2m in 1000 hours of work. It took only four hours for the Perugian folk to consume that beast of a dessert. We took our sweet tooth to a water park where we donned our swim caps to tackle some water slides. After a few hours of soaking up the sun (with sunscreen of course), swimming and bananagrams, we returned for a last walk about Perugia and a lovely group dinner. The Funketeers were the biggest hit of our stay as we jammed to a third concert in as many days.
We woke up the next day excited to substitute pasta and pizza for chicken gyro and lamb chops. Greece here we come! We travelled over to the Ancona ferry terminal with time to spare as our backpacking skills were honed from previous experience. We made the most of our time to add in an additional stop to the itinerary and explored this small seaside town. It was a welcome addition! We introduced the game ‘Gotcha’ as we prepped to board the Minoan Cruise Line Ferry.
What a luxurious boat over the Adriatic and Ionian seas! The rooms were cozy and the facilities extensive. But most of all, pristine views and exceptional company would make our voyage to Greece a memorable one. We met on deck after settling into our cabins for a laugh inducing a dice game of ‘Left-right-center’. The trip members got a real kick out of it. With the wind blowing through our hair and the sun nothing more than a speck of yellow against a beautiful bright pink sky, we were ready for Greece.
We got off the ferry and wobbled over to the bus as we recovered our legs on solid ground. We zipped over to the hotel and could feel the buzz of excitement surrounding the bus as we took in the breathtaking mountainside views of Greece. After settling into Hotel Syvota we roamed the beautiful seaside village. The trip members had an authentic Greek lunch of tzatziki, feta cheese, and gyros. It was delicious! We walked back to the hotel to enjoy the gorgeous afternoon by the pool. Whether it was soccer, volleyball, tennis, or swimming, the trip members laughed and hung out well into the early evening. Day 1 in Greece was definitely a hit! Nighttime came and we loaded the bus to head over to the neat port city of Parga. We took some pictures against the sunset backdrop before breaking off into groups for dinner. Authentic Greek food was the common theme as plates of Massaka, Greek salad, grilled chicken and tzatziki. We devoured it as quickly as it had come and set off in our hip threads to Club Veranda. As tunes blasted late into the night, we burned a few more holes in our dancing shoes before calling it a night and refueling for our next day in Syvota.
The morning brought out our sneakers as some of us ran a few miles and hit some tennis balls to get our bodies warmed up for a big day of water sports. In the morning we set out to sea in kayaks and paddled over to the nearby islands. We stopped for some fresh watermelon and swimming before making our way back to shore. We ate a quick lunch at our favorite gyro place before jetting through the mountains to another beach for tubing and water sports. The trip members held on tight as they were pulled and thrilled across the Adriatic waters. Spirits were high and the trip members eagerly walked into town for a big group dinner. Once again, Authentic Greek food was flying out of the kitchen and onto our plates. Salad, feta cheese, lamb, sea bass, you name it. We ended our night with gelato, waffles, and fish spa pedicures—what an epic combination!
Onwards to explore the rest of the mainland of Greece, next stop: Monodendri!
The Westcoast Blogger
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