Thursday, April 18, 2019

Athens: Travel Guide

The ferry from Santorini to Athens was interesting. Our seats weren’t together, even though we bought them together, and our big packs had to be left on the lower levels with the cars. Like literally we were instructed to just leave them lying on the ground in a pile. I read some terrible reviews online stating that stolen luggage was common. We were anxious the entire way to Athens praying our bags would still be there. And they were! Yay for small travel mercies!

Our Airbnb in Athens set up a taxi to pick us up at the port. Something worth investing in when traveling is arranging rides/taxis/shuttles ahead of time. It might cost a little more (a lot of times it doesn’t), but it saves so much time and stress.

We met my brother, Connor, in Athens, and his flight arrived that night from Kyrgyzstan. We hadn’t seen him since our wedding and his travels lined up so that he was heading west as we headed east to Greece! It was great to see him and spend a couple of days together!

Unlike Santorini, we did EVERYTHING in Athens. I purchased the Rick Steve’s Athens Pocket Guide and I used it every day we were there, hitting all the main sites it outlined. Our Airbnb was affordable, updated, and a 5 minute walk from the Acropolis, which put us in prime location to tour the city!

Day 1:

The Acropolis

·         We hit the big one bright and early. We purchased tickets online, there is only one site to purchase these tickets from. But even if you purchase online, you would still have to wait in the same line as everyone else to pick up your tickets.
·         If you buy the 30 euro ticket (which allows you into other sites) at a different location, you can skip the line at the Acropolis and just swipe in with your ticket.
·         We purchased the 20 euro ticket that was just a ticket for the Acropolis and got there right when they opened. There was no line and we walked right into the site!
·         The Rick Steve’s pocket guide has a self-guided tour through the Acropolis, which is what I used to educate Cam & Con on all things Parthenon
·         I DIED, like literally died when we walked up through the entrance onto the top of the Acropolis. All my years of dreaming of Greece and visiting the Parthenon and I was finally there, walking through the crumbled marble and visualizing how it would’ve looked in its hay day.
·         It took us about an hour and a half total to tour the Acropolis, by the time we left the place was swarming and the entrance up to the top was packed with tourists.

Mars Hill

  • This spot is right next to the Acropolis and was a quick easy spot to hit once we came down off the top of the Acropolis.
  • It was so cool to visit this spot, see the huge Acropolis looming over you, and know that this is where Paul told the Greeks the true identity of their “unnamed god”. And he did it in the shadow of the Acropolis!! If this doesn’t get you fired up…
  • The Acropolis is basically a huge shrine of temples dedicated to the goddess Athena, the namesake of the city. There are other gods that get their respects as well, like Dionysus, the god of food and wine.
  • Paul told the theologians that God is the true god and that He rules over all, and he did it with the Acropolis as a backdrop. Talk about BOLD.
The New Acropolis Museum

  • This site is not included in the 30 euro ticket and we had to purchase separate entrance into the museum.
  • I am a fan of this museum. Greece built it as a nudge to get the Parthenon Marbles (aka the Elgin Marbles) back from the British Museum and I am here for it! The controversy over the majority of the British Museum’s collection is a complicated one, it’s called controversial for a reason! I am not even going to skim the surface in this post, so that soap box is ending here
  • I’ve seen the REAL marbles at the British Museum many a time, but after touring the Acropolis and seeing how few marbles the New Acropolis Museum has, it is very sad that so many call London home.
  • The architecture of this museum is perfection. While building, they found the ruins of a neighborhood on the site. You can view these ruins outside and through the floor of the museum during your visit.
  • The top floor of the museum has panoramic windows and looks right onto the Acropolis, with Parthenon in full view. The layout of the top floor is an exact size replica of the Parthenon, complete with interior space, and columns, so you get a great feel for how large the Parthenon was in its true glory.
  • We took the pocket guide self-guided tour through the museum as well, which highlights main pieces throughout the collection.
  • The New Acropolis Museum has great AC so it was nice to tour it AFTER being in the morning heat.
Hadrian’s Arch, Temple of Zeus, and the Olympic Stadium

  • We grabbed a quick bite for lunch and were off to see some more sites.
  • Hadrian’s Arch is not a far walk from the Acropolis. It is situated right next to the Temple of Zeus, as Hadrian, the Roman Emperor had a fascination with the Greeks (who wouldn’t?!) and attempted to rebuild this area of the city to create his own “New” Athens.
  • The Temple of Zeus is included on the 30 euro ticket, so if this excites you, buy the more expensive ticket and you can get in! We just walked around it and that was plenty for us.
  • Not far from the Arch and Temple is the Olympic Stadium, where the first modern Olympics was held. This site is also included on the 30 euro ticket and we again opted out of wanting to go in and tour it. You can see pretty much everything from outside.
The rest of the day was spent napping at the Airbnb and then we went out to find dinner.

Day 2

The Ancient Agora

  • We slept in (I do have a heart), and then headed for the Ancient Agora.
  • Once again, this is included in the pocket guide, and we took the self-guided tour through the site, the majority of the pictures of me in Athens, I have Rick Steve’s in tow!
  • This site is not part of the 30 euro ticket, and we paid a separate entry fee.
  • The Agora was the center of the city. It was the main central market place, political center, and hangout spot.
  • It is easy to imagine day to day happenings of Ancient Athens here, especially because there is one market place reconstructed, and the Temple of Hephaestus (a very well preserved temple) overlooks the grounds.
National Archaeological Museum

  • Surprise, surprise, this site has a self-guided tour in the pocket guide! Similar to the New Acropolis Museum, it highlights some of the best pieces of the collection.
  • Again, we had to buy separate entrance for this museum and it is not included if you buy the 30 euro ticket.
  • It is somewhat of a walk from the Agora, so we actually took the metro to the museum, which was a few blocks from the metro stop.
  • This is the largest museum in Greece, and after visiting the New Acropolis Museum, this one seems outdated and unkempt, even though it has an amazing collection of Greek art and artefacts. This made me think of another side of the controversial topic with the British Museum:  if the pieces are given back to their respective countries, they could be housed in bad conditions and be ruined and lost forever.
  • We ended up walking back from the museum to the Plaka area instead of riding the metro. It was a nice walk, not too far and doable after two full days on our feet.
The Plaka

  • The Plaka is a term you have probably heard a lot if you have looked into visiting Athens. It is the name of the neighborhood directly below the Acropolis.
  • The majority of places we ate were in the Plaka area and we did quite a bit of walking throughout the narrow streets.
  • The pocket guide has a city walking tour that we did not end up walking (can you believe it?!), although we hit most of the points on the tour just by walking to each site we visited! I wish we would have done the walking tour, but we slept in instead, which was very much needed!
  • All that to say, the Plaka is super cute, hard to miss it when you visit Athens. The streets are narrow and wind all around and are most similar to that of Ancient Athens streets.
Athens Tips

  • We were only in Athens for 2 full days, which was PLENTY of time to see what we saw and not feel rushed. I also don’t feel like we missed anything big or didn’t have time to see something I really wanted to.
  • I wish we had stayed longer just for the day trips. You can day trip from Athens to so many different places, like Delphi, Mycenae, Meteora, etc.
  • The city of Athens is huge and sprawling, but the city center and touristy area is all very small and close together.
  • Everyone spoke English in Athens as well, we had no problems communicating while we were there.
  • We ate at places recommended in the Rick Steve’s Pocket Guide, as well as Trip Advisor, or anything we passed on the street that had a Trip Advisor sign.
  • We heard in Santorini that the Athens heat was terrible. We found it quite nice. There were trees and shade and the sun was not as harsh as it was on the islands. Maybe they were there on hotter days than us, but we thought Santorini was significantly more hot and uncomfortable.
Athens was top of my bucket list and I still can’t believe we actually went! It was such a fun trip and a bonus that we got to hang with Connor too! I can’t wait for our next big adventure, we just need to decide when and where!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Santorini: Travel Guide

Greece was an item on my bucket list that needed some serious dusting. So, my husband and I decided to travel to Greece for a more extravagant "honeymoon" once all the wedding planning nerves were gone and I had finally shed the last layer of my bridezilla skin. Santorini is known as one of the most picturesque Greek islands making its Instagram fame widespread. When we bought flights to Athens, I suggested tacking on Santorini and we just went with it!
We have no regrets, Santorini was gorgeous, extremely hot, and perfectly relaxing.
At the beginning of our trip we flew straight into Santorini from Athens (after a 34hr travel day, WHEW!). We sadly flew in at night, but I’m sure the views from above over the Greek islands are incredible.

About Santorini:
  • We visited Santorini at the beginning of September. Just after their busiest tourism month (August), but before the tourist season really died down.
  • Santorini is situated on top of a volcano! The crescent moon shaped island is actually the rim of a volcano, allowing the seaside cities to overlook the caldera (crater of the volcano) to the west. I was actually freaked out about this initially, but it is not scary at all, you can’t tell what’s down there!
  • Due to the whole volcano thing, Santorini has hardly any trees, shrubbery, or vegetation, which made the sun very hot as there was little shade to offer reprieve.
  • Santorini is the name of the island, not the Instagram town. The city we stayed in is called Oia (pronounced ee-yuh or ia).
  • Oia has the cliché tourist area you see on social media, which is where we stayed. No cars are allowed in this part of the city and all traffic is foot traffic. We arrived to Oia via our hotel shuttle from the airport. The shuttle dropped us off at the post office, which is off the main street of tourist Oia.
Entrance to our hotel
Where we stayed: Oia Mare Villas
  • Half of our Greece budget was spent on this hotel (that’s what it felt like anyway) for 4 nights and it was worth every single penny.

View from our room out to the caldera
  • We had a private sun deck and private hot tub, both next to our room, and our view was straight out over the caldera, which is the direction the sun sets. Note: not all houses and hotels in Santorini face the caldera.

Laying out on the sundeck overlooking the caldera
  • Oia Mare Villas offered complimentary breakfast, and had a pool and larger sundeck where we spent most afternoons when the sun was too hot to hike the stairs that make up Oia’s streets.
  • Prime viewing of the sunset each evening was simple as we had perfect views from the hotel, meaning we did not have to plan ahead to fight crowds or find a sunset view restaurant.
  • The hotel also offered pickup shuttle from the airport and a shuttle to the ferry when we left (a huge plus considering we did not have to navigate island roads or try to book a cab).
Watching the sunset from out hotel. Look at all the crowds of tourists behind us!!!
What we did: Nothing

  • Absolutely nothing, it was glorious.
  • The beauty of paying for an expensive hotel with a water view was that we did not feel the need to go do anything and everything while in Oia.
Exploring Santorini
Our typical day in Oia:
  • Woke up early to see the sunrise and walk through the city before the suffocating heat and swarms of tourists – Great time to people watch guys taking hundreds of pics of their "I-wish-I-was-an-Instagram-famous-Influencer" significant others for that perfect Santorini shot.

  • Breakfast at the hotel – Our last day we ate breakfast at a yummy Crepe place up the hill from our hotel.
  • Window shopping/exploring Oia – We did this in the late morning and ended the exploring with finding a lunch spot.
  • Hiding in the hotel room from the sun and tourists – Cruise ships dock almost daily and the afternoon are JAMMED with cruise tourists, you can pick them out by the big sticker name tags they all wear. The area around our hotel was free of tourists and quiet and relaxing.
  • We spent most afternoons in the hotel room napping, or out on the sun deck reading/napping.

Sunset from the hotel
  • Watched the sunset.
    • Watching the sunset is equivalent to a sport in Santorini.
    • Every single day starting at around 3, you could see people starting to congregate at good viewing spots. They stayed there for hours so that when the sun finally set they would have the best view.
    • Right before sunset, all the boat tours would line up on the water so everyone could have a view.
    • After the sun finished setting, everyone would clap! That was one of my favorite parts. It was almost like everyone was clapping and exclaiming, “Yay, God! You’re sunsets are beautiful every day, thank you for letting me be a part of it!”
  • Nightly stroll on the high street and dinner - Right after sunset was prime dining time for tourists and most restaurants stayed open until midnight or later. We wouldn’t eat until around 9pm!
What we ate:
  • Fava beans
    • Similar to hummus, but better and local to Santorini.
    • Made with yellow split peas, but make sure you order with pita bread, otherwise they just serve you a plate of fava with nothing to eat it with.
    • We would put it on our gyro’s, meat, or anything else we were eating (even pizza!)
    • We ended up only eating at restaurants that served fava.
  • Breakfast
    • Every morning except our last we ate breakfast at the hotel.
    • Vitrin Café Creperie – yummy crepes and a cute rooftop seating area! Usually busy later in the day but for breakfast we were the only ones eating on the roof!

Lunch view from Skiza Pizza
  • Lunch
    • Skiza Pizza – the best pizza we had on the island. Tasted like typical Italian pizza goodness, and they let you take your leftovers to go!
    • Niko’s Place – best gyro we had on the island!
  • Dinner – one of my favorite things we did each evening was finding a dinner restaurant. We walked by so many restaurants on the high street and perused their menus until we found one that looked good. We ate at a different place each night. While some were better than others, they were all yummy.
    • Skala Restaurant - Tip: if there is no one eating at the restaurant it probably isn't very good, if most of the tables are full or the place is packed you know its going to be yummy!
We left Santorini via Ferry back to Athens. We actually found out upon arriving in Santorini that we had booked the wrong ferry time and had to rebook 3 days before were to take the ferry (CHAOS!). This is the site we used to book our ferry.
Tips for Santorini:
  • Everyone speaks English, most locals don’t even try speaking Greek first because everyone there is a tourist. There are plenty of American, British, Canadian, and Australian tourists in Oia.

Atlantis Books

  • There is a bookstore in Oia called Atlantis Books. It has an awesome back story on how it was founded and I bought the book Circe, by Madeline Miller, there to read (which happened to be the perfect book to read in Greece!) The shop is on the high street and they have a cute rooftop as well! I also found a great Greek cookbook there that we ended up gifting to my dad for Christmas!
  • We were about the only people we met only doing one island. Most people island hop, or at least visit two. While I loved the simplicity and stress free environment of staying on the island for 4 nights, I can see the value in visiting others as well!
  • Research your islands! Santorini is gorgeous and there is a photo op at every turn but I think other islands would prove less touristy with just as much beauty!
  • The ferry out was extremely stressful, if you are going to island hop, do it by plane for less stress, or don’t go to a ton in rapid succession. I would not have enjoyed dealing with the ferry on a frequent basis.
  • Spend the money on a nice hotel with a view! It is seriously, hands down, worth it. I usually book an Airbnb and always love them, but in Santorini we made an exception and were not disappointed.
  • There is SO MUCH to do on this island (boat tours, volcano tours, vineyard tours, different rock “beaches”, the capital city Fira, etc.), don’t let our uneventful, relaxing, and restful time there discourage you from visiting if you want to see the sights and take the tours!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

San Francisco: The City by the Bay

After an unforgivably long absence from the travel blogging realm, I’m back from a fun and MUCH needed long weekend away in San Francisco!

If you haven’t been keeping up with my life (I don’t blame you, its been extremely boring), my past eight months have consisted of 80+ job applications, 3 interviews, and 0 big girl job. Safe to say, a weekend away was JUST what I needed.

Thursday April 7

I flew in that morning and got to the Airbnb around 9:30am, yay for time change and an entire day to explore a dazzling new city!

After walking 15 miles we saw so much of the city!

What started as a hunt for brunch (and eventually lunch because we couldn’t decide on a place), we walked 3 miles to a pizza place, Hole in the Wall Pizza. If you’re in a pinch for time and in that area, its pretty good pizza, however, if you’re looking for an amazing pizza place in San Fran, this isn’t the one for you.

It worked out for us because it was in the direction of Presidio Park, where one of my favorite artists, Andy Goldsworthy (don’t worry, I don’t expect you to know of him), has multiple art installations!

Andy Goldsworthy, "Wood Line," 2011.
"I am not a performer but occasionally I deliberately work in a public context. Some sculptures need the movement of people around them to work." -Andy Goldsworthy
Eventually stumbling onto “Wood Line,” we walked throughout the logs. Between getting that perfect shot (gotta do it for the gram!) and me talking all sorts of artsy gobbly goop, the space was enjoyable to traverse.

Goldsworthy works ephemerally, some of his work doesn’t even last for more than a few minutes. This particular installation was created with large tree trunks laid end to end along a path between the trees in Presidio. The back and forth path of the logs and the shadows cast from the tall trees easily played on the imagination. Moving through the piece, each time we looked back from where we had come the installation gave us a new image, like it itself had moved. As we walked, “Tree Line” slithered along with us. I absolutely loved this piece and didn't mind the 4 mile walk to get there!

As we walked through Presidio to another Goldsworthy installation we realized there were trails running throughout the park, and one that led to the Golden Gate Bridge!! Since I had yet to see the bridge, we took off down the most direct path to the bridge after stopping by Goldsworthy’s “Spire”.

Interacting with art may be one of my most favorite things!

Andy Goldsworthy, "Spire," 2008
Presidio is not just a beautiful park, but the trails offer many different areas of interest. Lookouts are scattered throughout and, among other things, we stumbled onto the National Cemetery (One of my favorite spots from Presidio) and a WWII memorial for all who died at sea (it overlooked the bay along the cliffs at the west end of Presidio).

National Cemetery overlooking the bay!
Walking toward the Golden Gate Bridge along the cliffs was breathtaking. The fog rolled in as we took in all the sights and sounds of the bay. Eventually we walked a bit across the bridge before deciding to head back toward the Airbnb for dinner.

View from the cliffs!
Side Note: San Francisco’s public transportation is expensive! ($4 for a bus ticket! Yikes!) And the subway only runs on the east side of the city, so we opted for an Uber, which was our main form of transportation from that point onward). Taking the Uber back to Civic Center to catch the subway back to our Airbnb we hunted for dinner. I say hunted because I was hangry and irrationally indecisive (completely different from my normal indecisiveness). We settled for a sushi place we found in a cool, hipster grocery store called The Market. Inside it sold groceries, had a café, and the quaint sushi bar we ate at; it was perfect!

Friday April 8

First thing on the agenda: Brunch (obviously!) We ate at Plow and it DID NOT disappoint! We ended up walking there from the Civic Center subway station, which we immediately regretted. We walked up LOTS of STEEP streets, got lost, but eventually ran into a local taking a break from her morning workload. She was walking around the block and was so kind to help us with directions.

Plow was on the corner of Texas Street!!
We finally found Plow and got coffee at a nearby coffee shop while we waited! Seriously, Plow was SOOOO good and I’m so sad I forgot to take a picture of our yummy food before we devoured it!


Coffee Shop across the corner from plow (the baristas were super pretentious, just a heads up)
The only thing we had concretely planned for San Francisco before we arrived was a tour of Alcatraz (but more on that later!)

Because we knew we had to be at the dock for the tour that evening we started the day in the Marina District.

Columns at the Palace of Fine Arts
We started at the Palace of Fine Arts. Originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition to exhibit works of art, the entire place took me back to Rome.

I loved this! Not that you can tell or anything ;)
Apparently, during the Exposition the entire district was erect with buildings built in this style (be still my beating heart) and the Palace of Fine Arts is the only structure that still survives today.

Dainty details at Palace of Fine Arts!
From there we walked toward Fisherman’s Wharf, where we stumbled upon the Ghirardelli Factory and spent ample time perusing the shops and sneaking every free sample of chocolate we could!

View of Alcatraz from our walk to Fisherman's Wharf!
We ate lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf, which is the touristiest place we visited in all of San Fran (touristiest? Word suggested this and is now saying it is not a thing, I digress).

Lunch was what you expect from a place hustling and bustling with tourists, over priced and over rated, but it sustained us for the time being.

After lunch, with time to spare, we rented bikes and biked back toward the Golden Gate Bridge.  

You should be able to see the Golden Gate bridge in the background, but fog
The fog was SO thick that day you couldn’t see the bridge at all and when we got to the bridge, bikes weren’t allowed due to fog and foot traffic.

Thick thick fog at the GGB
Alcatraz. I really am at a loss for words. Honestly I knew NOTHING about Alcatraz before the tour, I didn’t even know Al Capone was there, that’s how little I knew.

View of Alcatraz from the Ferry
We took the night tour. It costs a little extra, but offers more for visitors. Aside from the audio tour that every ticket includes, visitors on the night tour enjoy a narrated ferry tour that goes around the entire island (other tours don’t have narration and they go straight from dock to dock, no scenic views), areas of Alcatraz not usually open to the other tour groups (that night the hospital was open, and oh my was it spooky!), and programs after the audio tour giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about certain aspects of the prisons (we sat through a presentation on a specific inmate and heard his crazy story of pre, during, and post Alcatraz life).

Alcatraz from the ferry with San Fran in the background
The audio tour was very well done; they have different voice over actors for different inmates and prison guards.

Touring the prison while the sun was setting added another component to the tour, making it even creepier.

As the sun went down the lighting in the main cell block changed with the natural light.
The audio tour covered attempted escapes, successful escapes, an inmate uprising, and other aspects of the prison. We were taken down the main cellblocks, including solitary confinement cells, the library, cafeteria, and warden offices.

Alcatraz lighthouse. Did you know it was the first lighthouse on the west coast?!
The hospital was by far the creepiest part of the tour. I got the heebie jeebies walking through the rooms and reading informational posters about psychotic inmates who stayed up there.

Operating room in the Alcatraz hospital (the lack of overhead lighting didn't help the creepy setting)
Walking back down to the dock in the dark black fog was eerie. We couldn’t even see the lights of the city at times when the thicker fog would roll through. Overall, I would recommend the night tour! It was definitely worth the extra bucks to experience so much more!

For dinner we got pizza from Pizzeria Delfina, this is where you want to go if you want some yummy Neapolitan pizza in the city.

Tip: A lot of restaurants there have a weird hostess system, instead of giving your name to someone who works there, you just write it down yourself on a list with the number in your party. It took us a while to figure this out.

Saturday April 9

As the brunch athletes that we are, we decided to hit up brunch a second morning in a row! This time at a super crunchy farm to table place called Outerlands.

It blew our collective minds! Would highly recommend!

Then we were off to the Muir Woods!

Getting to the Muir Woods was something we had planned. We talked about renting a car for the day, or figuring out a bus that went there. In the end we settled for an Uber. With three of us, it wasn’t too expensive once it was split. A 40-minute drive from brunch, which was in South San Francisco, took us to the Muir Woods. Entry fee is $10 for adults and parking is limited (another reason we chose an Uber).

The Muir woods were fantastical. A main boardwalk path runs through the National Park with other unpaved trails leading from it. After talking with someone in the gift shop we chose a 3.7 mile hike that boasted gorgeous views of the ocean. Again, it was a foggy, rainy day and no view of the ocean was to be seen.

The fog made the forest come alive. I felt as if we were on a quest in Middle Earth, or some other enchanted land. With the mist and the fog and the tall trees it took everything I had to not let my imagination run away completely. We trekked through mud and rain, over cliffs and rivers, and loved every second of it!

Leaving the Muir Woods was something we hadn’t planned on: No cellphone service! No cell phone service = no Uber. Thankfully, a shuttle runs from Muir Woods to Sausalito, the town across the bay from San Fran. $5 and 45 minutes later (actually I fell asleep so no guarantee on the time frame) we were in Sausalito. Visiting the tourist info building we asked the sweetest lady where to grab lunch. She recommended a Taco place and off we went. Kason had been pushing for Mexican food all weekend and the quaint Sausalito provided in full. I had probably the best tortilla soup EVER!

Next on the agenda (much to my begging) we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

This was one of those activities that is awesome to say you’ve done, but that day with high blustering winds and down pouring rain. We walked across anyway and lived to tell the tale!

On the other side of the bridge, thoroughly drenched and shivering from the cold (or was that just me?) we found ourselves at the Painted Ladies.

Alamo Square is a small park where the Painted Ladies partly line one edge. Actually, all of the houses immediately lining the park are gorgeous, I’d recommend taking them all in if you have the time and desire. You will know where the Painted Ladies are because all the tourists will be pointing their phones in that direction (again for the gram). If you’re lucky enough, you may even catch a whisper of the Full House theme song playing over someone’s phone speakers (thankfully we weren’t “those” people.) The Painted Ladies were fun to see and it was interesting to converse over which was our favorite (mine was the blue one!)

That evening we spent in the Airbnb. After weathering the elements all day/weekend and walking our tired feet off, we couldn’t be bothered to get out and find a fun, new place to eat, so we ordered pizza! Third time in one weekend, no complaints!

Sunday 10 April

We decided to hit up brunch one last time (we have a problem, and we aren’t going to apologize for it). But we stayed close to our Airbnb so there was less rush getting to the airport. We decided on a place called Big Joe’s! The owner’s daughter (maybe 7 or 8 years old) helped seat guests and the whole place had a local diner feel (probably because it is the local diner). Many people came in and were called by name and sat at what seemed like their usual place at the bar. It made us feel like locals on our last day in town!

We spent the rest of the morning finishing laundry and packing. If you have never stayed in an Airbnb, DO IT!!! Meeting locals, living like a local while you’re there, having access to a kitchen and washer/dryer (depending on the listing) are all pros to the Airbnb experience. We lucked out with an AMAZING Airbnb location (right off the subway) and had great hosts who left us a list of local restaurants to try, among other things.