Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 2

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This is post nine of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

On our way from the airport to our accommodations in Oia, Mr. Selfish and I asked for recommendations from our driver. We were wary of the many tourist traps in Oia and inquired about any less popular restaurants. Our driver informed us that we had to go down to Amoudi Bay, where the hoards from the cruise ships typically didn’t go and the seafood was outstanding. We were glad we listened to him.

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Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 1

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This is post eight of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

Since I’ve been frantically preparing for Baby Selfish, Mr. Selfish has taken on the responsibility of finishing up our 2014 trip reports, which was fine with me. But, then the other day, I heard someone refer to this blog as “Mr. Selfish’s blog.”  So, here I am, back to writing trip reports. There’s no way that this blog is Mr. Selfish’s blog!

The main reason that I wanted to visit Greece was to bask in the views of Santorini. I’ve never seen a bad photo of Santorini, and after having been there, I must admit that it is difficult to take a bad photo of it.

Santorini - Sites 2 005

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Room with a View: Staying in Santorini

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This is post seven of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

After an activity-packed stay in Athens, Mrs. Selfish and I left the Hilton Athens and headed to the airport. Our destination, Santorini: one of the most beautiful islands in the Aegean Sea.

The flight was brief, and before I knew it we were in a van bound for Oia, the beautiful cliff side village filled with jaw dropping views that have become synonymous with Santorini.

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Athen’s Other Sites

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This is post six of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

While the Acropolis is arguably Athen’s main draw, there are plenty of other sites to see if you’re a ruins lover, many of which can be accessed for free with your Acropolis ticket.

Ascending up Mt Lycabettus

Athens Sites-2 002

Rising 200 meters above the rest of the area, Mt. Lycabettus is a great way to get panoramic views of Athens. You can get to the top of the mountain one of two ways – walking, or paying 7 euros to take the funicular up to the top.

Since it was a boiling 88 degrees, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to conserve our energy and take the furnicular.

Athens Sites-2 003Athens Sites-2 004Athens Sites-2 005

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Taking it Indoors: Athen’s Museums

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This is post five of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

I have a mixed relationship with museums. I love walking through them, but scarcely read anything. This means that an average museum trip for Mrs. Selfish and I is usually less than 2 hours.

We’ve blazed through the Uffizi in Florence (where we almost missed the Birth of Venus), the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, and the Museum of Natural History in NYC, to name a few. Undoubtedly we missed much.

So when it came to Athens, I was debating whether or not we should even head indoors. With 3 full days in Athens, however, it became clear that we were running out of things to do, so we decided to head to the National Archaeological Museum and the Byzantine Museum. Good thing too, as both proved to be well worth the trip.

The National Archaeological Museum

Athens Museums 002

Considered (by Wikipedia) to be one of the greatest museums in the world, the National Archaeological Museum has one of the largest collections of ancient artifacts I’ve ever seen.

I love me some Greek statues, so this was well worth the trip. It was also nice to actually see the statues in Greece, as opposed to other European museums where they were “on loan” or had been looted from Greece hundreds of years ago. Entrance to the museum was 7 euros per person. Continue reading

Oompa! Eating Athens

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This is post four of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

  • Greece Lightning: Heading to Greece
  • Acropolis for Breakfast: Staying at the Hilton Athens
  • Starting at the Top: The Acropolis
  • Oompa! Eating Athens
  • Taking it Indoors: Athen’s Museums
  • Athen’s Other Sites
  • Room with a View: Staying in Santorini
  • Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 1
  • Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 2
  • Looking for Santorini’s Best Eats
  • It’s All Greek to Me: Heading to Naxos
  • There’s a Meat Town in Naxos!
  • Shots! Shots! ShotsShotsShots! Heading to Mykonos
  • A Delightful Day Trip to Delos
  • The Trashy Side of the Greek Islands
  • Bling Bling y’all! Upgraded at the Hyatt Regency Montreal

Having recently eaten our way through Taipei, Mrs. Selfish and I were finally getting tired of Asian food, a rare feat in the Selfish Household. Fortunately, we were now in Greece and I was hungering for some Greek food.

Pitas! Gyros! Lamb! Feta! Baklava! Actually, that’s about all the Greek food I knew going in.

Apparently our offerings of Greek food Stateside are very weak and consists almost entirely of gyros, which is like going to a sushi restaurant and declaring you know Japanese food. We just don’t get the breadth of Greek food in the good ol’ USA.

Fortunately, Athens has a wide variety of Greek food types, so we set out to expand our palettes.

Munching down at Manh Manh

Athens Eats 001

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Starting at the Top: The Acropolis

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This is post three of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

  • Greece Lightning: Heading to Greece
  • Acropolis for Breakfast: Staying at the Hilton Athens
  • Starting at the Top: The Acropolis
  • Oompa! Eating Athens
  • Taking it Indoors: Athen’s Museums
  • Athen’s Other Sites
  • Room with a View: Staying in Santorini
  • Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 1
  • Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 2
  • Looking for Santorini’s Best Eats
  • It’s All Greek to Me: Heading to Naxos
  • There’s a Meat Town in Naxos!
  • Shots! Shots! ShotsShotsShots! Heading to Mykonos
  • A Delightful Day Trip to Delos
  • The Trashy Side of the Greek Islands
  • Bling Bling y’all! Upgraded at the Hyatt Regency Montreal

For our first day in Athens Mrs. Selfish and I headed to the Acropolis. The largest tourist attraction in Athens (and possibly in Greece), the Acropolis is a collection of four ancient buildings that sit on top of a flat rock a few hundred feet above the rest of the city.

Constructed in the 5th century, BC, the Acropolis is most noted for the Parthenon, which dominates the skyline. Since Athens was conquered several times over the last 2000+ years, the Acropolis has been burned and reconstructed many, many times.

Since 1975, however, the Greeks have made a serious effort to restore the Acropolis, which was ravaged by pollution, war, and poor restoration. Most notably, the Venetians (the jerks of the Adriatic, as we would later learn in Dubrovnik) damaged it with artillery fire back in late 1600’s and it never fully recovered.

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Acropolis for Breakfast: Staying at the Hilton Athens

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This is post two of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

  • Greece Lightning: Heading to Greece
  • Acropolis for Breakfast: Staying at the Hilton Athens
  • Starting at the Top: The Acropolis
  • Oompa! Eating Athens
  • Taking it Indoors: Athen’s Museums
  • Athen’s Other Sites
  • Room with a View: Staying in Santorini
  • Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 1
  • Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 2
  • Looking for Santorini’s Best Eats
  • It’s All Greek to Me: Heading to Naxos
  • There’s a Meat Town in Naxos!
  • Shots! Shots! ShotsShotsShots! Heading to Mykonos
  • A Delightful Day Trip to Delos
  • The Trashy Side of the Greek Islands
  • Bling Bling y’all! Upgraded at the Hyatt Regency Montreal

After a busy night in Taipei, and a trip to the best shaved ice place ever, Ice Monster, Mrs. Selfish and I woke up at 4 in the morning and hopped in a cab to the Taipei airport.

A little groggy, we were awakened by our cab driver’s erratic style – namely using the gas and the brake pedals simultaneously. That takes talent.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Selfish’s was starting to experience morning sickness, so we were more than happy to exit the cab 30 minutes later to start the next leg of our journey: Taipei to Athens by way of Seoul and Frankfurt.

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Admittedly, I was pretty excited since we were going to get to try out Asiana first class from Seoul to Frankfurt, a 11+ hour flight.

While the seats were a little dated, the service and food was outstanding! I especially enjoyed eating bibimbap at 30,000 feet – though technically this was probably more like fried rice since the bowl was not a sizzling hotpot, so the rice couldn’t achieve the proper level of crispiness.

21+ hours of travel later, we arrived at our next stop: Athens.

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Greece Lightning: Heading to Greece

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This is post one of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:

  • Greece Lightning: Heading to Greece
  • Acropolis for Breakfast: Staying at the Hilton Athens
  • Starting at the Top: The Acropolis
  • Oompa! Eating Athens
  • Taking it Indoors: Athen’s Museums
  • Athen’s Other Sites
  • Room with a View: Staying in Santorini
  • Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 1
  • Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 2
  • Looking for Santorini’s Best Eats
  • It’s All Greek to Me: Heading to Naxos
  • There’s a Meat Town in Naxos!
  • Shots! Shots! ShotsShotsShots! Heading to Mykonos
  • A Delightful Day Trip to Delos
  • The Trashy Side of the Greek Islands
  • Bling Bling y’all! Upgraded at the Hyatt Regency Montreal

Man, what a year it’s been! I reported back on the first half of our trip to Taiwan and Greece back in September, and then skipped ahead to our trip to Korea.

Why? Chalk it up to preparing for Baby Selfish, too much traveling, or downright laziness, but the fact of the matter is that I broke up Taiwan and Greece because they felt like two separate trips. I mean, check out this map:triplethejetlagfor120000miles

Finally! A legit round-the-world trip.

So that brings me back to Greece. Mrs. Selfish and I visited Italy back in 2010, and Turkey earlier this year, but Greece had always been high up on our list.

Greece 001

You don’t really need a reason with sites like this. Continue reading

14 Hours in Hong Kong: Protests, Dim Sum & Giant Buddhas

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This is post twelve of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:

Mrs. Selfish and I left Busan on a flight bound for Hong Kong at 8 in the morning. While there is typically an afternoon flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco, it was completely booked, so we found ourselves with just a little over 14 hours in Hong Kong.

I love Hong Kong, but the city was on high alert over the ongoing battle between democratic protesters and the local government, who had tear-gassed and beaten demonstrators on several occasions. Not a good place to visit with a 6-month pregnant wife.

With that in mind, we decided to check out some of Hong Kong’s other sites, specifically the Tian Tan Buddha, which we had missed seeing on our last 3 trips to Hong Kong.

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Busan BBQ: A Mixed Bag

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This is post eleven of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:

When it comes to personal cuisine preferences, I’d rate Korean food somewhere behind Japanese food. Korean food is excellent, but I find it lacks the breadth of flavors as some other cultures, and I can’t eat it back-to-back-to-back-to-back like I can other foods.

That being said, there are a few types of Korean food I cannot get enough of, like Korean fried chicken (So crispy! So tender!), or bibimbap (So spicy! So tasty!), or Korean BBQ.

While we already had an amazing Korean BBQ meal in Seoul, I was looking forward to repeating the experience in Busan.

Grabbing some Galbi from Mapchanduel Wang Sogeumgui

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Tricked out Again: The Busan Trick Eye Museum

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This is post ten of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:

Back during our Selfish Year, Mrs. Selfish and I had a blast at Seoul’s Trick Eye Museum. If you’ve never heard of them, the Trick Eye Museums are a private, for-profit series of galleries found in South Korea, China, and Singapore.

They’re not really museums, so much as they are galleries brimming with opportunities for stupid pictures.

I’m normally pretty shy about ridiculous photos in public, but Trick Eye is a completely different beast altogether. This is a no-holds-bar-bring-your-A-game kind of event.

Especially if you want to keep up with Mrs. Selfish who excels at this kind of stuff.

I mean, who can compete with THIS?

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Temple Time in Busan

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This is post nine of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:

After a restful sleep at the Park Hyatt Busan, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to hit the road and visit some of Busan’s major attractions. Since we weren’t (yet) templed out, we decided to visit two of Busan’s major Buddhist temples: the Yonggungsa Temple, and the Beomeosa Temple

The Yonggungsa Temple

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4 Nights is Not Enough at the Park Hyatt Busan

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This is post eight of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:

Mrs. Selfish and I have stayed at a lot of Park Hyatt hotels since we discovered the world of miles and points. The Park Hyatts Zurich, Istanbul, Tokyo (twice), Sydney, and most recently Seoul, come to mind.

And while this is by no means an exhaustive list of Park Hyatt’s (there are currently 35, according to my count on Hyatt’s webpage), I can easily say that our stay at the Park Hyatt Busan was the best stay I’ve ever had at a Park Hyatt hotel.

Good view? Check. Good breakfast? Check. Good service? Check. Good room? Double-check! We basically had the perfect stay here, but it took a lot of coordination on the hotel’s side.

tl;dr: stay here if you’re in Busan. It’s #$(*&#$ awesome!

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Visiting the Silla Kingdom: 1 Day in Gyeongju

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This is post seven of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:

Gyeongju is one of the oldest cities in South Korea, dating back 57 BCE. It was also the capital of the Shilla Kingdom, the dominant group that ruled Korea for three centuries starting in the 7th century. Which meant one thing to me: ruins!

I love ruins, temples, and anything ancient. Mrs. Selfish and I spent an amazing 23 days in Kyoto during our Selfish Year, partially because I am obsessed with shrines and temples and that city has literally hundreds of them. So I was kind of expecting it to be something like that.

Unfortunately, while Geyongju has some truly beautiful sites, it’s also home to some of the most insidious tourist traps I’ve ever seen and is populated with crappy theme parks, golf courses, hot air balloon rides and super-kitsch attractions like the “Teddy Bear Museum.”

Teddy Bear Museum

Actually, I kind of regret not going here now. Look at all ‘dem bears!

Normally I’m all over that kind of stuff, but we were looking for bona fide, authentic slices of history here.

Gyeongju may be overrun by kitschy tourist attractions, giant coffee chains, and massive hotel complexes, but there is still something very beautiful about it – you just have to know where to look.

Not a bear in sight!

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