Around Santorini

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise and then took a catamaran around Santorini. We saw colorful rocks and beaches, swam in the ocean and a Vulcan ich sulfur hot spring, and Meg made friends with some Swiss girls.

The last picture is Rob with the baby spinach package, where baby is in English and spinach is in Greek.

Naxos to Santorini by ferry

We said goodbye to the apartment we stayed at in Naxos and boarded a ferry to Santorini. It’s a trip for me to watch semi trucks driving on and off a boat. The boat ride took about 2 hours. Now we have a whole new island to explore.

Santorini seems pretty different from Naxos, although both are beautiful. Naxos is a Mountain of marble. Santorini is built on the rim of a volcano. The island is a crescent backwards C. Roads are steep. We went to Oia to see the sunset. It was mostly grey clouds while we were there, but the transition from light to dark was still stunning. The winding roads and shops were charming.


Today we took a prop plane out to the Greek island of Naxos. It was a little heartbreaking to pass rows and rows of grounded airbuses to get to a prop plane, but it’s best to have the right tool for the job.

We were welcomed to our apartment with delicious Greek pastries. We can see the temple of Apollo from our window and listen to the waves lapping inside our apartment.

Villa Artemis


We ended up altering our original plans for our trip to Greece a fair amount because of COVID-19. We had originally scheduled to take the train from Aachen to Frankfurt on Monday, spend the night there, and then fly out of Frankfurt Tuesday morning. After Frankfurt got classified as a risk area, we no longer had any desire to hang out in downtown Frankfurt, so instead we just got up at 4 a.m. on Tuesday and drove 2.5 hours to the airport. Clare was nice enough to drive.

Our itinerary in Greece also changed. We had booked a flight from Athens to Naxos on Tuesday afternoon, which was cancelled, which meant that we had to stay one night in Athens and take the flight on Wednesday morning. We decided not to stay directly in Athens, but closer to the airport, and ended up in a gigantic villa (for a ridiculously cheap price). The kids really loved it (even though there was no wifi). Luckily we had brought a little bit of food with us, because it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Clare tried to find a grocery store while the kids and I went swimming, but didn’t have any luck. So we had a dinner of plain noodles with oil, salt, pepper, and oregano. Spencer added peanut butter to his, and discovered that it was quite tasty, so we also followed suit.

Ein Prosit zum Oktoberfest!

Clare, Rob, and Meg dressed up for Oktoberfest

Last year we went to the local Oktoberfest celebration in Würselen. Oktoberfest is really a Munich festival, but breweries and festival workers have realized the potential to make money throughout Germany, and it gets celebrated now even in the Rhine region, though not like in Munich. Some people even dress up in traditional Bavarian clothing, even though it is also not traditional for the region here. Last year I got a jacket while I was at a conference in Graz. Clare ordered a Dirndl, but it was too small, and there was not enough time to return it.

Spencer and Meg setting the table

This summer we got her a new one. There are no large gatherings allowed right now, so instead we just invited our downstairs neighbors who lived in Bavaria for several years for a traditional Bavarian Frühschoppen, with weißwurst, pretzels, obatzda, daikon radish, and wheat beer, at 11 a.m. (yes, this is the tradition). I made the Obatzda from scratch, but the pretzels were just frozen, though we have decided that they are actually just as good as from the bakery (but not as good as at the Bergkirchweih in Erlangen). I also added an American twist with an apple pie for dessert. The kids were very helpful cleaning the apartment and decorating. Meg also did a great job entertaining their 4 year old daughter.

It has been quite rainy lately here, so this afternoon when the sun came out Clare and I took a little walk to get some milk in our fancy clothes. One couple we walked past commented on our clothes, and even asked if my mustache was real (it is).

Clare and Rob in Oktoberfest attire

After we all had a little break, we played a game of Risk and had some leftovers – Spencer ate two weißwurst at brunch, and an additional six while we were playing Risk! (Naturally the game ended in a combination of yelling, tears, and nearly fisticuffs. I guess that is what you get in a game of world domination.

We voted (in Germany)

Germany does a lot to enroll newcomers into their system, including letting us start to have a voice on local affairs. The only thing we could vote on was the Integration (for immigrants) council, but we wanted to do our civic duty and support the council. It was quick and easy. If we are here longer, we slowly gain electoral power, voting for mayor and such. It’s as well organized as you would expect a German system to be.