Greece is the Word – Day Thirteen

Today was out last full day in Greece. Though I’m sad about that, we have seen and done a lot of things in a short time here. I loved seeing all the historic sites and I loved shopping for trinkets. Today was mostly about that.

Something I’ve noticed here is that often we’ll hear loud shouting. We look around anxiously thinking people may be fighting or something may be going down but it’s usually just a couple of people being very passionate  in their conversation.

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We headed back into the centre of Athens. The traffic was just horrendous! I’d hate to drive here. In fact, I’m almost certain I wouldn’t

We were so looking forward to shopping but before we did that, we stopped to see the Greek Parliament which is housed in an imposing building situated at the east side of Syntagma Square.
At one point the guards started doing something. It may have been part of the “changing of the guards” ritual but I’m not sure. I didn’t ask but I did take some video and if you’re interested, you can see it here. I didn’t video the whole thing.

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I also took a few pics of that area… including of the people who actually allow these rats of the air to land and eat seed off of them!!!!!

Gross!!!

 

We stopped for a quick bite to eat. I can’t believe how cheap some of this food is here.

We got a couple of “wraps”.
That’s how they were described on the menu. I had chicken meat in mine.
They also come with fries in them. I realised too late that I didn’t take a photo of the one I was eating but it was pita bread, wrapped cone like, with the meat, chips IMG_7248(fries), tzatziki and some salad stuff in it.

It was only 2.8 Euro!

So cheap and so filling!

I did take a picture of the display in the shop window though.

You like?

We headed into the flea markets in Plaka after that.

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I must admit, I was a little nervous.

There are all sorts of people there trying to get money off of you one way or another.
Either they are just begging for it or trying to deceive you by offering “free” gifts.

There’s also sad cases.

We saw a couple of people afflicted by some condition and it just broke my heart to see them out on the street begging. It just doesn’t seem right.

All these people throwing away money at touristy junk while other people are fighting  for another 24 hours to live.


We had some lunch. We were told the pizza at this place we went to was amazingly different to anywhere else. It was traditional Greek pizza. I would have to agree it was different. I don’t know that I’d go out of my way for it but I did like it.
Hubby and I don’t eat seafood but I took a pic of the seafood platter that came out for those who are into that sort of thing (see above)
I ordered grilled vegetables and just absolutely loved them!!! Eggplant is fast becoming one of my favourite vegetables.

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Oh and I’ll just leave this here. Make of it what you will but these “items” are sold all over the place in tourist shops.

There must be some meaning, I’d imagine to do with fertility, but I haven’t looked into it.

Who are buying these things????

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We had had a leisurely lunch so it was quite late when we headed back.

Hubby and googled and found there was an outlet mall very close to where we’re staying.

We asked to be dropped off there but once our ride had left, we discovered it was NOT an outlet mall at all. It may have been once upon a time, but it was now very much deserted!!!

Lots of closed up shops. The only thing that was open was a Marks and Spencer Store.

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We walked home but not before heading into a supermarket for a few supplies to last us these next 12 hours.

You will not believe what I found…. If only I had seen this 12 days ago!!!!!!!!

Diet Lemonade I have missed you so much!

We headed into Glyfada for our last night. I’m going to miss this. Late Summer nights. The coast, the company, the atmosphere. Greece you have been good to us.

Tomorrow we are having a change of pace and it will be interesting to see how different it will be…. I’m not sure how reliable our internet is going to be but I hope to have the next post up within twenty four hours.

Where will we be this time tomorrow? Stay tuned!

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Greece is the Word – Day Twelve

Today is our second to last full day here in Greece.
I’ve not been able to find diet soft drinks (soda) here apart from Pepsi Max or Sugar Free Coke.
The same thing happened when we were in Japan although I did eventually find it in the odd store here and there.

Here in Greece, I’ve looked in many places and just can’t find it.

In Australia, and I imagine in Canada and America, there are huge selections of diet drinks. These countries also have the highest obesity rates.  Makes me wonder if there is any connection.

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Had to laugh at the name of this store (left).

Wasn’t sure if I was actually reading it correctly at first!

Speaking of walking, in Australia we drive on the left side of the road and consequently, when we walk down a footpath, we also keep left.
I keep wanting to keep left while walking here, but they’re used to keeping right. Everyone sub -consciously walks on the side they’re used to being on.

We drove to Kifisia. Such a pretty place and again, different to many of the other places we have been to in Greece. Kifisia is an upscale residential and shopping district with international designer boutiques, exclusive leather goods stores and art galleries. Imagine my surprise when I saw the store pictured above because that’s where that picture comes from.
There are pretty park lands in the area too.

Here are a few pictures I took as we walked along.


Not many pictures – I thought I took more.

We stopped for lunch and the place we went to didn’t have Greek Salad on the menu so we were forced to be adventurous which turned out to be a good thing because the salad I ate was so delicious with raisans and slices of orange in it. So good!!
We also got some pizza.

I can’t remember what the dish on the far right was called but it was mozzarella wrapped with eggplant and in that delicious tomato sauce. Again, soooo good!

9B790277-B321-465F-BA12-843803D2BCD3On the way back we passed by the Original Olympic stadium. The Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro is a multi-purpose stadium in Athens.

Hubby and I went to take a look and noticed so many people posing in front of it.

Some people were doing star jumps, others were doing John Travolta style dance poses.
It was fun to watch!

Of course, that meant I had to join in. Hubby and I tried to get some star jump pics in but I failed – I should really post the fail pictures because they were way funnier than these but I guess I still have some dignity left so I better work at keeping it.


And now for some other pics we took that don’t involve posing or star jump attempts.


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I lied, there was a bit of posing involved.

Oh and we noticed you could see the Acropolis from here too if you looked hard enough!

I like how the traffic sign here tells you how long you have to wait until you get a green walk signal.

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And a few more pics from the surrounding area…


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Had to laugh at this – I don’t think it was a typo, it probably means something but it was still funny to me.

Hubby asked if that’s the type of wine I like to drink…

Tonight for dinner we were back in that Plaka area – The same area that we caught the subway from where hubby’s wallet was pick-pocketed. I noticed there were quite a few people wearing their bags and back packs in front of them so I did the same even though I felt silly doing it.
By the way, Pláka is an old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, it incorporates labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture

Our company chose a fantastic restaurant where two guys were providing some great Greek entertainment.

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I did take a video later on in the evening when a couple of the diners… or one may have been a server, got up to do some Greek dancing! I took my phone out to video it and then looked around and there was at least one person from every table recording it!

Tomorrow is our last full day here and then a surprise awaits…. Stay tuned.

Greece is the Word – Day Eleven

I feel we are staying at the perfect location. Not in the centre of Naxos city but close enough and with enough restaurants and stores to keep us fed and occupied. The rest of our party is just loving the sea which is just metres from our rooms.

Hubby and I went for an early stroll along the water. It’s so peaceful and calm at that time.

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We stopped to get some coffee and pastries.

The ordering system sometimes confuses me a bit.
In any case we got a spinach pie and what we thought was a sausage and cheese pie. When we bit into it, we realised the “sausage” was a hot dog type sausage.
It was still ok, just not what we were expecting.

After checkout we headed into Naxos. We were wanting to see the older part of the city and of course, Apollo’s temple which are doorlike ruins of an ancient temple standing on a scenic point looking over the city and sea.
Here are a few pics I took on the way to and at the Temple ruins.

 

 

 

It was a very warm day and the walk up to the top of the older part/castle was challenging at times but it was really interesting to see the white buildings and the stairs going up and up and up, draped by colourful bougainvillea.

 


View from the top was breathtaking

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We started to wonder about the population here and if most of the homes are holiday homes or if there is a resident population. It would be interesting to see what it’s like in the off season.

We haven’t had pizza since we’ve been here and today was as good a day as any. I really enjoyed what we had. It was pretty cheesy!! But apparently it was not “Greek” style. We’ve got that to look forward to yet..

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Before we got back on the ferry for Athens, we stocked up on snacks like the smart people do. Next time we’ll try to remember to bring a deck of cards too!! It’s a long trip back. I was eating some of the spanokopita we’d bought, mostly out of boredom, and said to hubby “eat some too!” and he replied “why? because if I don’t eat it now there won’t be any left for me?”
He knows me well.

Oh, and both on this trip, and the trip over, I was surprised to find children begging on the boat. How do they even get on there? Do adults sneak them on to do the begging? Has someone bought them a ticket so they can beg? It’s sad to see and hard to resist. That’s probably why they do it. Who can say no to a kid saying “do you have any money so I can have something to eat?” or something similar.

The bathrooms on the ferry had an sea view by the way! I was going to take a photo but unfortunately, I fell asleep and by the time I went back there, it was already dark.

I was dreading this long trip back but actually it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sleeping through most of it probably helped.
Sadly, our time is almost to an end here in this gorgeous historical country but there may be a surprise coming up…. stay tuned!

Greece is the Word – Day Ten

It was so good to sleep-in this morning. Sleeping in for us is waking up at 7am.
It makes me feel so much better.

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Hubby and I have a room to ourselves so we got up and had a coffee and some breakfast on our balcony.

This room is advertised with a “sea view” so, here it is. (left)

Not what we expected either but our room is nice and the owners here are so accommodating. In any case, we’re only spending the one night here, tonight we will be in a different location on Naxos.

Most of our party wanted beach, swimming and relaxing today. Hubby and I aren’t really the relaxing by the beach type so we left them to enjoy the sun and headed into the town of Naxos. I don’t know if I could ever get used to these small streets and the way these people drive!

We stopped at a couple of stores to get some supplies and the workers are always so nice and wanting to chat if they’re able. There really is such a relaxed atmosphere on this island.

We went for a walk along the coast before driving into Naxos itself. It’s pretty warm here!

We then drove into Naxos and found this cute little place for lunch.

We wanted something authentic however were told that some things on the menu weren’t available. This included the spanokopita which is what we wanted to order.
The waiter then recommended the club sandwich. Not authentic at all but it was pretty huge, tasty and filling. Everything on there was seasoned so nice!
We also got a Greek Salad and this is the first time since we’ve been here that a Greek salad has come with the block of feta already broken up.

The salad also had a lot of seasoning. It was so delicious!

I love that often, when I ask a server a question like “Do you have bathrooms here” or, “May we have some water for the table” the answer isn’t just “yes” it’s “of course”. I’ve heard that so many times.

After lunch hubby and I walked down to the water and checked out some of the shops. There are so many tourists here!! And gorgeous views wherever you look. I think we walked through an older part of Naxos on the way there.

After a couple of hours we headed back. We were a bit excited because we’ve changed hotel rooms and our new location is in a fantastic area. Lots of restaurants and beaches full of people and umbrellas.

Hubby and I walked around and I snapped some photos. We stopped for a drink and watched the rest of the world go by. Very relaxing!

And I’m sure you’ll agree that the view from this room is way better than our last place!
“Sea View” or not!

Oh, and when we got into our new hotel room, we noticed there was only a sheet on the bed – no cover. So I went down to the desk and asked if we could have a cover. She looked at me as if I’d asked the most ridiculous question. “But it’s hot” she said.
We left with mo cover.
I’m going to trust her judgement.

The sun was just starting to set as we began thinking about dinner.

Our group went back into Naxos for dinner and we were just checking out different restaurants along the port area. As we were going past one, an older woman came out and said “just look at the menu, just look” It was such low pressure we had to look right?

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And as we were looking she was telling us the history of the restaurant and a bit about their menu. She then said she’d just made a fresh batch of moussaka and I know I said I was all moussaka’d out but I just HAD to have some after I heard her talking about it! She said it would be the best moussaka we’ve ever had and you now what, she was right!
It was so creamy and so full of flavour. Hubby said the only thing wrong with it was that there wasn’t enough of it in the plate! haha. It really was so good.

So interesting to walk along the coast watching people enjoying this place.
I’m going to be so sorry to leave tomorrow.

 

Greece is the Word – Day Nine

4.10am is way too early to get up if you’ve only gone to bed at 12.30am. We are certainly living every minute while away.

Last night, time just flew by as we caught up and laughed with new friends and relatives.

The early start was due to having to be at Pireaus by 5.45 am, to catch the 6.45am ferry to Naxos.
Luckily, we had picked up the tickets yesterday as it was just a mass of confusion when we got there. It wasn’t clear where we had to go. We were almost going onto one ferry when told no that was the wrong one. The guy pointed in the direction we had to go but there were so many ferries there and it’s just not marked. We had no idea! there didn’t seem to be any clear lines either.
This is Greece.

 

When we did finally get the car on, there was a guy there telling us how to back into the spot he wanted us to be in. “left, left, Pull left, LEFT!!! Go, Go, Right, Pull right, Left, left LEFT LEFT, STOPPP.
By this time it was only the driver in the car and it was just too funny to watch it happening from our vantage point. And by the way, the driver did NOT need instructions as to how to back into a spot!

The ferry is a lot bigger than I imagined. I took a photo of a few others that were around. Ours looked a  lot like these (below)

I also took a lot of pictures while we were waiting to leave and along the way. The journey was six hours with a stop in Paros but it was so peaceful and relaxing!

 


The next lot of photos were as we were pulling into Paros, and a few more on the way to Naxos.

 

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Soon we were in Naxos. Just breathtaking!! I can’t wait to explore this town!

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First stop was the supermarket to stock up on supplies. Ooo, look what I found!

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Unfortunately the label was turned away but both of those bottles are huge bottles of wine!

After the supermarket it was time to unwind at the hotel.

We found ourselves once again going the wrong way on a one way street but by now, it doesn’t even bother me.

Somehow it all works out. Most of the drivers are so helpful also, the way they roll their windows down and make sure you’re aware you’re going the wrong way but pointing in the opposite direction.
The only law is that there is no law.

It took a bit of driving on gravel roads to get to the place we’re staying at on Naxos. It’s about 20-25 minutes out of the main town.
It seemed a bit barren getting out there but the beach is pretty nice and the rooms themselves are pretty good!

 


We got changed and headed for the beach. Such a perfect beach with few people there as it’s a bit off the beaten track.

 

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We were told there was a track going down to the beach from our rooms but hubby and I tried to find it and had no luck.

The first road we went down ended up being part of someone’s property.

The second one (left) we went down became so overgrown that it would have been impossible to get through.

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In the end hubby and I decided to just get there via road. The rest of our party were already there so we just kept walking via the only route we knew.

We stopped and had a glass of rose’.

Oh I should mention that every time I’ve ordered wine here, they’ve brought it out in these type of glasses.

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It just doesn’t always feel like I’m drinking wine but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

Instead of going into Naxos we had dinner locally.

The sun was almost down and this was such a gorgeous setting.


The food was pretty good. A few things were different (for me)

We started with salads again. Seems to be a staple. I then chose the omelet with potato.
I’m not sure what you’re thinking when I write that but I’ll tell you what I got.
Here’s my dinner.

I expected omelet with bits of soft potato through it but what was through it were french fries. If you look closely at the picture on the right (near the top) you’ll see one coming through the egg.
Did I like it? I’m still thinking about it.

Hubby and I walked home. I was a little nervous as it was dark and there aren’t many lights. Not nervous for any potential crime, but for those cars that come racing around corners, not expecting to see a couple of tourists walking late at night.
We are not in a populated area.

Finally it was time to sleep. Maybe tomorrow morning will be the day we finally sleep in.

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