Greetings from Florida!
I've been here for a day and a half now and it's hard to even remember what I was doing four, five days ago. But...I think I was in Kefalonia, having my last two classes, packing for the return to Athens, doing laundry, walking 30 minutes to get food in town...pretty much the same old thing we did every day in Kefalonia.
I did spend one very nice afternoon at the 5-star hotel-across-the-street's pool, and I had almost forgotten how nice pool water could be compared to the ocean.
We left Kefalonia on Saturday morning--loaded all our luggage onto a bus which took us to the port at Sami. We had about 2.5 hours on a ferry, which I passed by watching "P.S. I Love You", and then after that we took a bus for another 3 or so hours back to Glyfada and Hotel Palmyra. It was definitely very strange to be back where we started a month ago.
We had Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday to ourselves, and then our final exam (in class essay) scheduled for Monday morning, and Tuesday we were free to go! Saturday I was pretty exhausted, so I went back to the beach, took a nap, used some of my phone card to call my boyfriend, and went to bed early. On Sunday a large group of us went to the Plaka for last minute souvenir shopping; I definitely got my dad the evil eye he'd been asking for, as well as a cheap carry on suitcase to take my heavier items on the plane. Sadly, the suitcase has already broken in two places, but I guess you get what you pay for. It did the job and I suppose for that I can be grateful.
After doing what I think was a pretty good job on the final, I had Monday afternoon to do some last-minute shopping in Glyfada and to pamper myself with a nice bubblebath, nail-painting, and facial before coming back to the US on Tuesday. It was nice to feel clean and human again, as this month of traveling had me feeling sweaty and disgusting most of the time.
Tuesday morning was a little surreal for everyone...we didn't know whether to be happy or sad, and so most of us were pretty quiet! I left with 12 other students on one of two shuttles provided by Hotel Palmyra because the taxis were on strike. Once we got to the airport, we all broke off and went towards our respective check in counters--I was with four other people on the same flight out of Athens, so that was nice.
The flight itself, which was 11 hours, was pure torture. I doubt I'll be traveling to Europe again any time soon, solely for that reason. By the end of it, I was about to go crazy, puke, or kill somebody. I'll give them that they fed us well--we got lunch, an ice-cream snack, and dinner--but the turbulance was pretty bad for the last part of the flight. We eventually made it and I had two and a half hours to get through passport control, customs, rechecking my bag, security, and boarding my flight. It took about two hours--I arrived at my gate just in time to board my 3 hour flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Several of the other girls on my initial flight weren't so lucky, they missed their 1.5 hour connection to San Diego, and had to be rebooked on a later flight.
Arriving in Florida was like realizing an amazing dream. I slept for most of the flight, and once I landed I was so happy to be back in the United States and to see my boyfriend again. We went to Steak and Shake immediately after to "celebrate" with some greasy, amazing, all-American burgers, fries, and milkshakes :) Seems to me like the perfect ending to an amazing journey!
Keep checking the blog as I'll be posting a few more wrap-up posts in the next couple of days...the best and worst of Greece, comparisons of the hotels and sites we visited, and more.