“Greece ~Another Fun Night With Our Friends for Life, Plus”

Greek hospitality at its best. We met new friends, enjoyed the laughs and more great Greek food! We will so miss our Friends when we have to go!

Valentini and Apostolos
New Friends
Fun times!
Tomato Balls.. so good!
Like Mousaka, but with Pasta instead of potatoes and eggplant
Cornbread with feta cheese inside
I brought the homemade peach cobbler

“Our Future Travels”

With everything going on in the world, lately, we especially like to say how glad we are that we have gotten to see as much of the world as we have; over the past 20 years. Over that long period of time, we have seen a few changes come our way in regards to travel i.e. Airport security being the biggest change, since 9/11. For whatever China has planned against other Asian countries; and/or the rest of the world, we are especially glad we got to visit Asia so EXTENSIVELY, when we first started traveling full-time: This includes, but is not limited to China 🇨🇳, (Tibet too), Hong Kong, and Japan 🇯🇵 (including Okinawa), and Taiwan, and we have had zero plans to return.

For now, we will try not to get too far from Europe, since we would like to try to make up for some of the country visits we had to miss, because of the lockdown months; while sheltering in Greece 🇬🇷. This will hopefully include our Rhine River cruise in Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱 Germany 🇩🇪, France 🇫🇷 and Switzerland 🇨🇭. Then, we hope to make our way to the Baltic region, as well as Iceland 🇮🇸 and Greenland 🇬🇱, as weather permits..

Currently, for June, July, and August, we hope to make it to Albania 🇦🇱, Serbia 🇷🇸, Macedonia 🇲🇰, and Hungary 🇭🇺, as well.

By the fall, we do not have a plan, since what we had planned, before the closed borders has changed up. When we are in Albanian in June (next stop) I will get back in “travel agent” mode and put an itinerary together for the rest of this year. We will also have time to put a tentative itinerary together for our 2021 travels. Travel planning was not easy when the world was “normal,” and just based on my struggles to plan an exit to leave Greece 🇬🇷/Europe, recently, I am a bit unsure how it will all go. BUT, go we will, to as many places still on our list as we can!

We do have a few places, yet, to travel, in different parts of Asia, and we will focus on finishing this region up, while we still can. This includes, but is not limited to: Azerbaijan 🇦🇿, Georgia 🇬🇪 and Armenia 🇦🇲. Also, we are excited about Pakistan🇵🇰. 

We want to visit Russia, but strangely enough, we are unable to get a Visa to go there, from being “out in the world” like we are. When we go back to the USA 🇺🇸 in a year, to visit family and friends, for about a month, we will be able to apply for our Russian Visa from our home country, as required. We would love to return to  Philippines 🇵🇭, and Indonesia 🇮🇩, because of all the different islands, but for now we must focus, more than ever, on where we have yet to visit, and avoid repeat country visits. In the Oceanic region, the priority will be, to get to Tazmania; Australia 🇦🇺 and New Zealand 🇳🇿. There are many places in this region we would like to visit, but time and expense will dictate what we do in the Oceania. Looking at a world map, it would appear the many islands are close together, but they aren’t and this makes it very expensive to travel in; as it’s mostly by plane, due to the great distance, between countries.

In Africa, and near this continent, we still want to go to Madagascar 🇲🇬, Botswana 🇧🇼 or Tanzania 🇹🇿, and Morocco 🇲🇦.

After the above visits, we will move on to South America, where, believe it or not, our goal of seeing the world, will finish up!

Currently, I have been to the following 78 Countries: (Daryl to around 50)

1.  Uganda 🇺🇬

2. Singapore 🇸🇬

3. Indonesia 🇮🇩

4. Sri Lanka 🇱🇰

5. United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

6. Mongolia 🇲🇳

7. Kazakhstan 🇰🇿

8. Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬

9. Uzbekistan 🇺🇿

10. Tajikistan 🇹🇯

11. Turkmenistan 🇹🇲

12. South Korea 🇰🇷/DMZ

13. Hong Kong 🇭🇰

14. Taiwan 🇹🇼

15. Papua New Guinea 🇵🇬

16. Brunei 🇧🇳

17.  Philippines 🇵🇭

18. Malaysia ~Peninsula and Borneo

19. Laos 🇱🇦

20. Philippines 🇵🇭

21. Cambodia 🇰🇭

22. Vietnam 🇻🇳

23. China 🇨🇳 ~Mainland and Tibet

24. India 🇮🇳

25. Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

26. Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

27.  Ireland 🇮🇪

28. Puerto Rico 🇵🇷

29. US Virgin Islands 🇻🇮: ~Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, Saint John, and Water Island

30. Cayman Islands 🇰🇾 

31.  Bahamas 🇧🇸

32. Turks and Caicos 🇹🇨

33. Jamaica 🇯🇲

34. Belize 🇧🇿

35. Barbados 🇧🇧

36. Haiti 🇭🇹

37. British Virgin Islands🇻🇬

38. Saint Lucia 🇱🇨

39. Grenada 🇬🇩

40. Antigua/Barbuda 🇦🇬

41. Brazil 🇧🇷

42. Mexico 🇲🇽

43. Japan 🇯🇵 ~Mainland and Okinawa 

44. Egypt 🇪🇬

45. Germany 🇩🇪

46. Belgium 🇧🇪

47. Thailand 🇹🇭

48. United Kingdom 🇬🇧

49. France 🇫🇷

50. Italy 🇮🇹

51.  Holy See🇻🇦

52. Tanzania 🇹🇿

53. South Africa 🇿🇦

54. Kenya 🇰🇪

55. Canada 🇨🇦

56. Peru 🇵🇪

57. Nepal🇳🇵

58. Australia 🇦🇺

59. Romania 🇷🇴

60. Ecuador 🇪🇨

61. Belgium 🇧🇪

62. Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

63. Jordan 🇯🇴

64. Honduras 🇭🇳

65. Israel

66. Denmark 🇩🇰

67.  State of Palestine 🇵🇸

68. Costa Rica 🇨🇷

69. Croatia 🇭🇷

70. Bosnia 🇧🇦

71.  Slovenia 🇸🇮

72. Montenegro 🇲🇪

73. Turkey 🇹🇷 

74.  Ethiopia 🇪🇹 

75.  Greece 🇬🇷 

76.  Mongolia 🇲🇳

77. Bermuda 🇧🇲

78. America 🇺🇸 

When life comes to an end on earth, some believe it’s not what you do in life that becomes the regret; it what we don’t do.

In our case, in regards to traveling to see see the world, and it being a huge priority for us; we know when our time comes to an end, it will not be with regret of what we did not do. We forged a plan, followed our dreams, lived our dreams, and we will always be glad we did. We will continue to carry on for as long as we are allowed to do so!

“Greece 🇬🇷 ~We Are Making an Exit Plan”

While we are still on Santorini in Greece, we are forming an exit plan!

Firstly, we were able to finally arrange our ferry off the island, for June 6th to Athens, Greece. This is a great first step, without hindrance from the Port Authority Police. BUT, we are still being instructed to contact the ferry office the morning of our departure day, to make “sure” the ferry will run! 🤔🙄 If we do get off the island, on schedule, to Athens, we have a hotel booked for two nights which we were forced to pre-pay. Not showing up won’t mean we get our money back. This is the new normal of travel with lodging, since the disclaimers now indicate, “you are traveling during a pandemic, so know your cancellation policies;” for which there are no cancellations for not being able to actually show up, because transportation fails to operate.

We HAVE to be out of Europe no later than the 9th of June, or pay steep fines and forfeit future EU travel, so if we can’t get a working ferry, we are to contact the Syros police, to ask for their help on our visa deadline. Even if they do help, by granting a few extra days on our visa, this will not help the cost of the hotel we won’t be able to arrive on time for. It will be at the discretion/kindness of the hotel, to change our dates without penalty.

Once we arrive in Athens, we will have a very small window to collect our luggage that has been stored at a hotel in Athens, where we left it, way back in March. Since our departure from that hotel, so long ago, (when we only planned eight days on two islands), the government lockdown demanded all hotels close. I’ve been emailing and calling the hotel in Athens for a month, now, but no response. We do know, from being in Greece, year-around hotels can open first; maybe in June. Seasonal hotels, can open later; maybe in July. 

What I have done is made a booking after our June 8th departure date (checking to ensure I have till Jun 5th to cancel without penalty of funds) just so I have another form of communication through booking dot com, with this hotel. (I call this creative desperation). We really would be sad if we can’t collect our belongings, from that closed hotel, before we have to leave by the 9th.  FYI, that closed hotel told me in the last conversation, even though closed, somebody would meet us at the hotel just to collect our bag, but now they are ghosting me; so, a complication, still.

Secondly, provided we can get off the island on the 6th, collect our belongings on the 7th, and get our pre-paid bus ticket changed from the date of March (the original date we were to leave Greece) to a new date of June 8th (do not know if buses are running yet, but will find out, soon, hopefully) we will ride an early bus from Athens to Ionnina in 5.5 hours. From Ionnina, Greece, we will find a taxi to take us the rest of the way to the borders of Albania. Or, if we can find a driver with dual citizenship in Ionnina, to take us to our destination on Albania that would be great! Since we are hearing Albania 🇦🇱 is opening borders June 1st, with no 14-day quarantine required, we are hopeful!

Thirdly, (if all goes well above), we have been super fortunate to meet an Albanian woman who is helping us find a hotel that is open for business in Saranda; along the beautiful Albania 🇦🇱 Riviera, where we can book for at least three weeks. From there, we will transfer to another Albania location called Vlora (also quite beautiful) for another three weeks. By the end of July, we hope travel can resume a bit easier for us, and we can take a bus to the border of Macedonia, where we will try to rent a car for a week, then hit the border of Serbia 🇷🇸 to rent a car to also tour, then the same in Serbia 🇷🇸.

Fourthly, because we could not leave Greece when we wanted to, our extra visa days we tried to save, so we can do our Rhine River Castle cruise that was canceled in May, and rebooked for August 23rd so we could go. Now, we can’t re-enter Europe (Schlegen zone countries) till around September 10th. It may be possible to rebook a new cruise date, in September, we are unable to re-enter the Eu countries on a temporary waiver. I will learn more from the cruise company on our options, if our August cruise does not get canceled.

Some facts on our European cruise:

This Rhine River Cruise is a bucket list trip for us. We planned in advance and paid for the cruise of May, when we booked, back in February. We paid $7000 for the two of us for eight days, traveling from Amsterdam, through Germany, into France, then ending in Switzerland. This is not chump change for us!

When we booked, we knew that if the cruise company, themselves, cancelled on us, their policy was to refund 100%. Unfortunately, they changed their own policy, just before they cancelled, and said 100% of monies can go towards a future cruise in 2020 or 2021. (how convenient for them). 😡….Given the businesses going bankrupt around the globe, this has us concerned. We rebooked for August 23rd, when we could only “hope” we would be granted an extension on our 90-day EU visa to remain in Europe; to which we now know we were not granted the courtesy (by the Syros Island Greek Police) to stay in the Schlegen zone.

The Good News: 

When we rebooked for our August cruise, we got a much better deal on the exact same cruise, and the cruise company, in writing, said we would be receiving a $2000 refund.

The Bad News:

We have yet to get our refund, after almost two months, and when I inquire, I get told “refunds are taking longer than usual.” 🙄😥

So, that is the update, as of today, anyway, in an ever changing world of travel. In the meantime, we will enjoy our down time, which has given us renewed energy, and prepare ourselves for our imminent departure from Santorini. We have loved it so, BUT, we are ready for new adventures!

Normally, for summer months, we would be far away from any place like Europe (high season and far more expensive) plus the hot weather and crowds (well, we anticipate less crowded this year) makes it tough to tour in. But, these are trying times to travel in, period, and because it’s our choice to remain free spirits in the world; with more unknowns, than knows, we will roll with whatever comes our way, and weather it, just as we always have.