English? *hand gestures* ???

LOCATION Olympia, Greece
Weather is VERY humid. Very warm, unpleasantly so with no breeze. Annoying the internet service is only working for us in the lobby, where they have no air-con going!!
local Time 9.02 PM

We've reached the half way point of the tour, and not for the first time we've counted ourselves lucky that we speak English at least. Because we're with a tour guide, we don't have too many hiccups with language barriers, but I'm now on my sixth book, and I would hate to be trying to buy books in another language. Not that its easy finding English books mind you, but generally the larger bookstores have the native language, and a small English section also.

Now before anyone jumps down my throat, no I haven't been reading instead of enjoying our holiday. I mostly read on the bus, when we're travelling down the highways. There's not much to see after you've looked out the window for half an hour, trust me.

One of our first times trying to "go it alone" was Day 3 in Tours, France, for lunch. Having had lunch the previous day in Paris we had the most beautiful baguette with salad and ham which we just pointed at (rudely I know) so it was fairly easy. Tours, we were hopng for something similar but no matter how many streets we walked somehow we didn't quite manage to see anything similar. Running out of time, and not wanting to eat in a full-on restaurant, we stumbled upon a Subway.

Even then we struggled!! And felt stupid for it, M particularly when the menu said Meatball, but they couldn't understand what he wanted. So that was a disappointing meal, in that we were trying to stay away from things we could just eat at home, but were running out of options.

After leaving London feeling very Tube-savvy, when faced with the option of catching the Metro (subway/tube) back out of the middle of Barcelona and to our hotel, we felt confident we could do it. The tour is structured, in the cities we have two nights in, that the morning will be an included sightseeing tour with a local guide, and the afternoon an optional (extra$$) excursion. The drawback however is that if you take the optional excursion, generally you don't get to see any of the city yourself. By the time you get back from the second trip, you're exhausted and don't want to go out again that night, so if you want wandering time you have to forego the excursion and make your own way back to the hotel. We'd done it mostly ok in Paris, so thought we'd handle it again in Barcelona. It was all fine, and nothing got stolen, but when we went into the underground to go home, the ticket wouldn't work. We tried again before asking a guard, only to be told we'd bought the wrong ticket, and we had to buy another one, EACH, to go through the correct gate! We felt like morons, but it was lesson learned, and unlike at home, the tickets are only 1 euro each anyway, regardless how far you go (why does Sydney's public transport suck so much?!?!)
Oh well, we laughed, and just bought the right one.

A few nights ago we went out and about by ourselves in Rome however, with great success. We caught the Metro in and out of the city all by ourselves, and had dinner, a very pleasant meal.
We also managed a few more sights that our included tours hadn't fit in, which was good.

3 kindred spirits ~ This bugs them too!:

Reanan said...
September 16, 2008 8:47 AM

Merde.
LOL thats one of four European swear words I know :)

Language barriers are such a bummer :( Makes me feel some doofus when you cannot do the simplest thing.
You left a fraction to early, lol the SMH have released a European langugage learning CD. Last week was Italian, the week before French! Next stop Spanish!

Anonymous said...
September 16, 2008 4:33 PM

What was the meal in Rome like? Spare no detail!




-lou

Dataceptionist said...
September 18, 2008 2:11 AM

@ Reanan~
Bah! always the way!
In hindsight I would have liked to have come with at least one laguage. Probably Italian, as we've been a few places, including Greece, where you can "get by" with Italian.

@ Lou~
Hmm, well funny you should ask. I actually think, while we've had some lovely meals in Italy, we haven't tasted their best fare on tour. We've had some better Italian at home! In Italy they have these awesome truck stop places they call AutoGrills. While we normally think of a roadstop on a highway being fast food like McDonalds, the AutoGrills are fresh food they make in front of you with traditional methods. I had a fantastic pesto pasta, and the lasagne has been fab.
Still haven't had tiramisu though! Gah! Lots of Gelati :)

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