Its my party…..

…and I can eat LOTS of Greek if I want to! You would eat Greek too if Greece happend to YOU… LA LA LA LA… LA! And what a place to spend your birithday, too….. ITS MY SPECIAL DAY!!

Alright my friends and family…. lets see if I can make this a weee’ bit shorter then last time, aye? So here it goes…..

Its August…. wow… um, 6th I think…. I just realized I left a message at good ol’ Continental TV Sales yesterday– all up in arms because no one was answering their phones. Well, I guess I now know why. It was BLOODY SUNDAY! Werps… sorry guys. Seems like I am a little off track with my days… :)
We are in Florence– under the "Tuscan Sky"… straight out of the movie. Even had ourselves a picnic lunch on the wine terraces just outside of Florence. The view was spectacular and it was everything you could imagine the Tuscany region in Italy to be. Glorius really….. Decided to stay one more night as tomorrow we are going to go horseback riding in Rufina– our first Day Trip tour. We can harldy wait…. Figured since we havent needed to gas up for 2 WHOLE days we can afford it! Yesterday we arrived and we’re staying at a converted 17th century villa. Classy… I know what you must be thinking. But we are actually staying in a tent on the grounds of this 17th century villa. HA! But a very beautiful area none the less…
Toured around Florence yesterday and saw some of the "must sees." …the Duomo…Palazzo Pitti…Piazzale Michelangelo… San Marco… Ponte Vecchio…. and our favorite… Joshua Tree. A litte pub in the middle of it all with a 5 hour happy hour. Hey, we gotta little thirsty after all that history and medival-tasticness!
Took it easy today… and it felt so good. But have to tell you, how very hard it is to slow down… almost impossible really. But we felt our bodies sreaming and we listened. Caught up on some laundry this morning– relaxing beautiful picnic at lunch– nap by the river in the afternoon– and possibly a nice stroll around Florence this evening. I need my "colorful Italian loud mouthed hand tossing" fix for the day. Wow– are they ever vibrant! They have definitely landed a pretty nice piece of space in my heart. Thats for certain. However their driving leaves something to be desired! Lets just say their personalities match their terrifically INSANE driving methods. Weaving in and out– hey, no need for lanes in Italy… just a waste of PAINT!

Alright… On to one of the most amazing experiences yet… Tuesdays horseback riding adventure on Mount Giovi and throught the Tuscany wine vineyards and rivers…. How EVER did we land such a perfect experience? Thank goodness for the poster board at the campsite that we just so happened to come across… Luckily glanced at and decided to give the place a ring… I can’t imagine ending our favorite country yet … anyother way.
"Natura a Cavailo" was run by an Autralian named Jessica and her Italian husband Paelo. Two such endearing and welcoming people you almost want to scoop em’ up and take them with you… that or find yourself plotting a way to be apart of their business… (which we outspokingly let them know that I would have no problem nannying and Ray could be their personal chef for the day trips.) They of course, politely smiled and humored us. Hey, its worth a try, right?
10 hours out in the beautiful Tuscan country side…surrounded by olive trees, terraces, chianti wine vineyards… We took a swim in the most spectacular little lake and had a wonderful picnic lunch — incredible company and close to a 40 KM trail ALL on a hourse for the bargain price of 70 Euros a person! This ain’t no Diamond-T horse back ride folks… this is the REAL DEAL. Right down to how crazy sore we are today… ZOINKS. Walking quite eratically, really… but it was all worth it. One of those experiences you just can’t quite believe you were so lucky to be apart of. And Ray just may have a hidden talent for "bull riding" as his horse almost bucked him off! We were treated as friends and even welcomed into their home for morning coffee… We hope to visit them again one day and see how their business has grown.

Right now we are sitting at the Rome airport– Its Wednesday the 8th of August… (Tony Maccaroni’s birthday) and we are off to Greece. We just said goodbye to our car- gave away some of our "prized possesions" this morning as it couldn’t all fit… (dang lawn chairs, just a wee bit too bulky) and now we are tride and true backpackers. With VERY heavy bags… How’d the heck did THAT happen? Never the less we are quite ready for the next leg of our Amazing Wyatt Race… with just a week left in Europe and then on to Africa…

Lets "awe" you real quick with our tallies Ray just added up:
Fuel through Europe= $1539.50
Grand Total=$1889.50
And our whopping miles driven…. DRUM ROLL PLEASE BROTHER…. 5,931 MILES– almost hit 6000 total!!

So we landed about midnight of Thursday morning the 9th and no sooner did we 1am strike and Ray was at the Olympus counter asking "whats your cheapest ticket– pick one, ANY ONE greek island! " They just stared at him in confusion, but 5 hours later at 555am we were on our way to Santorini. A small Greek Island southeast of Athens…. 25 minute flight..botta boom botta bing, and there we were. This history lesson goes that around 1450 BC the volcanic heart of the island exploded and sank, leaving an extraordinary landscape. So there are sheer cliffs and submerged culderas everywhere… its a pretty dramatic island just GORGEOUS… laid back… and every picture you take could be on a postcard… very overwhelming!
….Obviously no sleeping was had– so we patiently awaiated the hostal to open in Perissa– eyes very heavy– but we were in luck! A bunk bed had just opened up… only 12 Euros per person! We showered and we then we were off to the black sand beach… Sleep? We don’t need no stinkin’ sleep! The beach was very striking…. and VERY hot as the black sand almost sizzled under your feet. Behind us was a huge volcanic hill with nothing but a big huge blue sky overhead…. Greece is absolutely stunning. Eve the buildings hols such a peculiar effect about them… you just can’t help but be drawn in. After we sizzled on the beach we had our first chicken soulavaki (Gyros) DELICIOUS!!!! It was even with their Grandma’s Tzatziki sauce. The owner even brought out a photo album to show us how much his buisness has grown and to show us picts of his family. Quite endearing! Well– it then hit us… sleep that is… needed to zonk out if we were going to be any good to this world.
And now here we sit… its 8pm and we are ready to play after a wonderful nap… lets see what this island has to offer!
So after JUST about calling it a night after running around the town we looked over from our hostal and as it truned 11:30 CRAZY HOUR began across the street at the bar called Atlas. 1 beer.. 1 shot… 2 Euros. Which only means one word for the Wyatts… "GO!" We happened to meet some of the most hysterical Australians and a few Canadians that night…. such a riot. Got home at about 3am and we were up Friday morning bright and cheery to do our "Calera and Oi Sunset tour." Only 18 Euros each for a full day where we got to go to a Volcano, Hot Springs, Thirassia (where we had our most favorite Greek meal yet)… Um, can you tell I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE GREEK FOOOOD? …. and then the sailboat headed to a town called Oia. Probably the most surreal experience yet as I swear what we were seeing… the views, the town, the extraordinary greeck architecture– how could this be real? What a fabuous day… I will let the pictures do the explaining on this one… words just don’t describe. :

And here I sit… antsy to start my birthday…. With a Greek breakfast, of course.
We are thinking of you all and hope everything, as always… is wonderful.

****Beckey… I am calling you today to hear my birthday song…. I love you so much and have a LOT to talk to you about MISSSSSY! :)

Birthday Girl and Ray Ray)

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