Friday, May 27, 2011

Greek Freak Out

Greetings from Santorini! Right now, we're in a beautiful hotel that overlooks the caldera. We spent the day on a boat touring the islands. It should've been paradise, but for me, there was a big issue ... the steps.

All of the towns in Santorini are up hundreds and hundreds of steep, uneven steps that have been built into the cliff. You can walk, ride a donkey, ride a motorbike, or if you're lucky, get a cab or bus. We've mainly been using public transport, but there are some areas that you can only get to on foot ... which means climbing up and down these steep stairs.

I've been pushing myself for the past week and it's catching up to me. This morning, we walked to the cable car which takes you down to port so we could catch our boat. Jon said that it was a "short walk" through town to get it to it. But that "short walk" was about a mile up and down over these steps. Adding to this was the fact that I hadn't slept well and hadn't yet had breakfast when we did the walk. Plus, it was hot out. I completely freaked out. I sat down on a stoop and just burst into tears. I feel really stupid about it now, but at the time, I was in pain and frustrated.

I did make it to the cable car and relaxed for the rest of the day. In the evening, we went to the town of Oia to watch the sun set. We spent several hours just hanging out at a cafe and made friends with some cats. Later, to get to the main square, we again had to walk over a bunch of steps. Only after having relaxed all day and eaten, it didn't seem as bad. I was able to enjoy the scenery and the town and not think about them so much.

Tomorrow is our last full vacation day before we begin the trip back home. I hope that when I get home, I'll be stronger and all of this physical stuff I've been doing will have paid off.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

All Greek To Me

We're still in Greece and are having a great time. Right now, we're on the island of Crete, which is the largest of the Greek isles. We spent the day exploring the ruins at Knossos and then went to a small museum.

My walking still isn't great, but this trip is giving me a lot of opportunities to be active. Many come up when I don't plan on them. For instance, yesterday we took the Athens subway to the port where we caught the boat to Crete. But what we weren't told was that the entrance to the port was about a mile and a half from the actual boat. So we walked and walked and walked ... and I was feeling pretty good. I stopped every few minutes and was glad I was able to do so much.

Then I looked at my watch and realized that the boat was about to leave in 15 minutes and we were still nowhere near it. At that point, I gave in and hailed a cab. Had I had more time, though, I would've been able to complete the distance.

The day before was spent in the mountain city of Delphi. The bus dropped us off in town and we were told that the ruins were .5 K away. But that was .5 K away from the edge of town -- and the bus station was all the way across town. Again, I ended up walking much more than I'd planned -- on mountain hills, no less. We must've covered a few miles, at least, and by the time we were through with the ruins and made it back to town, I was wiped. My legs hurt and I felt like I was about to pass out. Still, I took a nap on the bus and kind of hobbled to dinner later that evening.

Today, I was proud of myself for hiking all over the ruins, which were pretty vast. The good thing about ruins is that there are always a lot of rocks and walls and large pieces of old things to sit on. So I'd climb a staircase, then sit and enjoy the view. I got to see everything there, but I took my time and enjoyed myself.

I can't say that I've been eating very well. I thought that Mediterranean food was supposed to be healthy, but much of it is fried. The cheese pie, spinach pie, zucchini appetizers ... all fried. I don't like fried too much so I'm getting a little tired of it. Unfortunately, I don't eat fish, so I have to make due with meats and vegetarian stuff -- and it seems like a lot is baked or cooked in oil. Portions are also HUGE, like ridiculously so. I don't speak any Greek so it's difficult to negotiate on an order, so I'm just trying to not eat too much and then walk a lot. I can't tell where my weight is at, but I do feel like I'm getting stronger. I still need Jon's help sometimes when I encounter steep, uneven stairs, and I can feel the lack of strength in my left leg; but I was able to make it around much of the ruins today without help.

Tomorrow, we're heading off to Santorini. I've always wanted to go, so I'm excited. I was nervous about doing this trip, but am glad that I've been able to do much more than I thought.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Greetings From Greece!

Wow, it's been a long time since I've written, but a lot has happened in the past few weeks.

First, there was the craziness with my job situation. My magazine was bought out by a new company and there are a lot of changes. Many people lost jobs. However, I was lucky and received a promotion! FINALLY! It feels really good to get some respect at my job where I work my butt off. I'm sorry that some people lost theirs or received pay cuts, but I'm proud that I've moved up.

Meantime, my jewelry business is going well. My last fair was successful and a lot of fun, and I've been invited to a third fair in June. If things keep up, this could end up being a profitable side business.

As for my weight loss efforts, well, they haven't gone as well as I'd hoped, but they haven't gone badly, either. I haven't gone to the gym as much as I'd planned. However, I've been watching what I eat and have stopped eating when I'm full. I also made an appointment with an endicrinologist for August. I don't like to blame my weight on anything other than myself, but I do suspect that I have a hormonal or thyroid problem. If I do, I need to get it fixed.

Right now, as you've probably guessed from this post title, we are in Greece! We flew into Athens yesterday and will also be visiting Delphi, Crete and Santorini. I was nervous about walking around the city with my limited mobility, but I'm doing pretty well. I even managed to hike up to the top of the Acropolis this morning! It was a long way up, about a mile vertical, with steep hills, but I took my time and stopped every few feet. I enjoyed the view and before I knew it, we were at the top!

I'm glad I did this because yesterday, I was seriously feeling like a Freakish Fat Girl. The seat on the plane felt so tight and I just about made it into the plane's little bathroom. I couldn't put the seat tray down so I had to keep my food on Jon's tray. The nice, but annoying flight attendants were all concerned and were like, "Are you okay? We can bring the food later?" and making a big deal of it when I just wanted them to put their attention elsewhere. Then our hotel room in Athens has this weird, little bathroom with a huge sink that juts out. I was having nightmares back to our hotel in London where I couldn't squeeze into the bathroom to get to our shower, only in this case, I was afraid I wouldn't even be able to get to the toilet -- but I was able to squeeze past and get in. And then this morning, getting in and out was even easier. Hopefully, after all the walking I've done today -- about two miles -- that squeeze past the sink will be even less.

I know that regular-sized people don't encounter these types of problems ... but in-shape people do enjoy things like hiking up mountains and traveling and walking around cities, so it feels good to be doing that.

I think that Greece is going to kick my ass, but as Jon said, I've probably been underestimating myself since I had my surgery. If a country is going to whip me into shape, it might as well be a place that's as beautiful and interesting as Greece.