Oot and Aboot in Canada Eh! – Day Three

After a late night of drinking and chatting, it was especially hard to get up this morning.
The fact that we got up to listen to the Showdown at 4am probably didn’t help (Go Crows!!!) The game was over about 7am our time, so hubby and I went back to sleep and didn’t get back up until 9.30. So unusual for me.


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We took a little walk to wake our bodies up and I noticed these post boxes.

Apparently they can be up to three blocks away from your home! Very efficient for the postal company but not so convenient if you have to travel to get your mail.

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We saw a few geese by the lake and I tried to forget all the aggressive Canadian geese stories I’ve heard.

Not sure if the aggression is a seasonal thing but we were fine.

We spent a loooooong a bit of time going through the childhood haunts again this morning and then went shopping to get a few more things for the family get together tonight.

I’ll show you how we made the spanokopita later on in this entry. (I hope I’m going to remember it right!)

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I still get excited to see little squirrels even if they are considered rats here.

They just look so cute don’t they?

We went into a liquor mart and I found the Australian wine section. Not sure if you can see the prices but it’s fairly comparable to what we pay in Australia and I always thought our alcohol was more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

When we got back we started making the Spanokopita. Please don’t ask me for measurements. It’s just this much of this and that much of that. Ok?

So you saute baby spinach and cut up some spring onions. The spring onions get sauteed after the spinach.

In a separate bowl you crack some eggs, then add salt, pepper, garlic and I guess what ever other herb or spice you think would be ok to add. You also crumble in some feta and a bit of milk.

Beat the egg mixture together and once your spinach and onion is done, add the egg/cheese mixture to the egg combination and mix it all together.

Ok, now you get filo pastry and put down 2-3 sheets for your bottom layer. Put a bit of the mixture between two layers of filo and continue until you get to the height you want, or your filo runs out!


You can put a little bit more on the top layer, then a brushing of butter on top of that.

All that’s left is to set it in the oven and imagine how good it’s going to taste when it comes out!
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We had plenty of wine and home made margaritas and had so much fun.

The food was incredible and the company was fantastic.

So sad that we live so far away.

Look at some of the food we had to enjoy!!


And as it got towards the end of the day, I got a beautiful phone call from my family in Australia who are celebrating Mothers Day together. Hard to be away from them at this time of the year but how great is it that we can video chat and communicate in general so easily when we’re so far away.

Another full day here today. The weather has been beautiful!

Good night and Bonne nuit.

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 Seven

Every evening I tell myself “I’m going to sleep in tomorrow” yet every morning I’m up as soon as the sun starts to come up. I can’t help it. I can hear movement outside, I knew the day is fresh and new and I just want to be a part of it.

It is no different here in Nafpaktos. We’re so close to the water we can smell that salty air and it’s so enticing.

We walked straight to the waters edge and continued along the coast to the area where the restaurants face the water. Even though it was early there were still people in the water or enjoying a cup of coffee at the tables.

I took a photo of the pebbles we were walking on. It looks so pretty and is so different to anything we have in Australia.

IMG_6751As part of our walk, we discovered this cute little bakery that made the BEST spanokopita.

That spinach filling was just so full of flavour and cheesy creamy. It was just delicious. We tried to go back for me to take on our journey today but she’d sold out. I almost cried real tears.

We took our spanokopita back to the beach area and found a bench to sit on while we waited for the rest of our group. As we sat there, a couple of cats started to gather round. Normally, when you’re at the beach with food it’s seagulls that start to circle you! Here it’s cats.

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And if you’re wondering, yes we did share with them. When they meow so tragically you IMG_6759really have no choice!

After a Greek Coffee or two, we did a bit of last minute Nafpaktos Tourist shopping before heading up to the castle once again. This time it was open!

It’s such an interesting place.
There’s tons of information on the internet if you’re interested but for us it was just something to think about the people who had walked the same steps we had walked in history. Thinking about when this was a working castle and the jobs people were doing.
There are also amazing views of the coast from up there and yes, it does seem as high up as it looks!


We left Nafpaktos and headed for a village where there was more family waiting to see us. The drive was going to take us through windy hilly roads again. I’m not a fan.

It’s gorgeous scenery though and the hills and mountains are dotted with wind turbines.
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It’s also not uncommon to be stopped by cattle… This happened to us more than once on our journey today!


We didn’t get to the mountain village until well after 4pm. Hubby hadn’t met his relatives before and it was all very special and emotional. We don’t speak Greek and only one of their party spoke English so the translating took a little while but it didn’t matter. It was lovely to spend the time together.
I took some photos from their balcony as the views they have are just breath taking.


They wanted us to share a meal with them so we stayed and talked about old times while eating what they had prepared. Most of what we were having had been grown on their land/property. Even the goat (I’m almost sad to say? Just quietly, it was soooo tasty!)

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This is by no means everything but there was Greek salad with home produce (the tomatoes were just so sweet!) potatoes, zucchini and feta cheese made from the milk of their own goats.

Everything was just too delicious! I ate way more than I should have just because I needed to taste more!

You may also notice the wine on the table, that was made by them as well.

Time was really moving on now and we were conscious of the long drive back to Athens, but they asked us if we wanted to see their farm. They had to go there to feed the animals.
How could we say no?

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We drove down a treacherous dirt path to get to it. I don’t know how these people use these roads every day…

Everything we saw at the farm was interesting and new.
From the goats to the cows with their baby calf.

We watched the cows feeding. I tried to take some photos but they moved back as we got close.

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Unfortunately hubby is allergic so we had to go and wait in the car but the kids in our group were able to watch the goats being milked and had a go at doing it themselves too! Now that’s an experience they wouldn’t get at school.

Again, the views from the farm are just breathtaking. I seem to be saying that a lot!


Everything took much longer than anticipated and we didn’t get back to their house until well after 10.30pm. They begged for us to stay rather than drive back down that awful road with minimum light but we just wanted our own beds and clean clothes so we left.

We didn’t get back to Athens until after 2.30am.

For the record, I have had my life time share of treacherous road driving.

And now, it’s definitely time for bed.
Kalinychta until tomorrow when hopefully, I will be sleeping in…

Greece is the Word – Day Three

Our adventures continued on during the night where hubby and I broke the bed we were sleeping in.

Before your imaginations run wild, the bed broke as he shifted position in his sleep at 3am.
Thank you Ikea.

We managed to put it together in a way that allowed us to continue sleeping but I’m sure one of us is going to fall through it again at some point during this vacation.

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Hubby and I found a supermarket around the corner from where we’re staying and bought a few more things. It feels really comfortable shopping here, unlike Japan, where everything is a mystery! At least we pretty much know what we’re buying every time.
We enjoyed the beautiful streets along the way.
That building on the right is typical of dwellings you’ll see here.

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There are plenty of people begging for money here but they are usually prepared to do something for it.

For example, this guy was playing his instrument as we were on the subway, for coins.

Speaking of the subway, I took a photo of this ad we saw on there.
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Maybe not as funny as the ones we saw in Japan but even so, I think it’s some kind of Metro ad, but why are there mops on their heads???

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IMG_6183We gathered our party and headed to the Acropolis! That was first stop on the agenda today. It was pretty warm! But we were excited and as soon as we started to see it we got even more excited. So much history! To think of the people who had walked the very streets we were now walking!

Everybody we passed had an accent. Tourists everywhere!
It got quite congested up the top where the Parthenon is and the path becomes quite slippery in places. Such an amazing sight.
Not like in the movies though. In the movies when people go to the Parthenon, there’s no one around and they normally can go quite close to it. Today there were millions of people and we couldn’t get close. Well, not as close as I would have liked. There are ropes everywhere and even though we know Greeks can be a little cheeky when it comes to rules, no one dares to cross any of the ropes because if you do, alarms will sound like you wouldn’t believe.

We took lots of pictures on the way up, everyone better than the last one.
Here are a few from my collection.

I don’t know how much time we spent there but it was over two hours and the time really just flew by! There’s tons of information about the restoration project for those interested.

IMG_6240Something I’ve noticed is that there are stray cats everywhere here!!

A lot of them looking sickly.
It’s pretty sad.

You’ll see them going up and down the streets and even into some of the stores.
There’s also people who try to “gift” you things that they then expect you to pay for. Things like wrist bracelets and little gifts. We were told to refuse anything these people tried to give you as they actually do expect money, no matter how friendly they seem and they get angry if you eventually don’t give them any. We were approached by a couple of guys and no matter how much we said “no, I don’t want it” they actually came and put something on my wrist. They want you to feel obligated. He kept saying “don’t worry, it’s in friendship” as if he didn’t want me to give him anything but as more of our party came up to us and I said “thank you for your friendship but I really don’t have anything to give you”. He then huffed, refused eye contact and took that thing off my wrist without saying a further word to me. A complete 180 degree change in attitude!!!

It’s all part of the experience. We spent HOURS walking into the different stores here. The area I’m told is Plaka. A lot of the stores had similar items but they were of things I hadn’t seen before and a lot of it just looked so good!!! I know I’m going home with a suitcase full of junk but it’s Greek junk!!! Like you know, from Greece!!
Because we’re going with a group I know there will be tons more shopping opportunities. It’s not something hubby normally likes to do so when it’s just he and I shopping always feels rushed.

Oh, and almost as great as seeing the Acropolis today was finding an amazing Moussaka!! Yes, it was on the menu and YES I ordered it and it was just DIVINE!!!!


We also ordered a Greek salad which came almost identical as the one we had yesterday.
The nice restaurant also gave us some complimentary drinks at the end of our meal! How nice was that!


We are warned continually about pick pockets. Hubby and I are the most careful people when it comes to being aware of our belongings and yet…
After a few hours of shopping we were back on the subway going to our car. The subway was packed. Hubby had his wallet in his shorts pocket. The pocket was buttoned up. The pocket was on the side of his leg and at hand length.
When we got back to our apartment, we realised that his wallet was gone. We had JUST been talking about we can’t understand how people don’t feel it when pick pockets take things off of them and yet, it happened to one of the most careful people I know.

We cancelled his cards right away and it seems that whoever took them, hadn’t tried to use it but what a hassle!! Not to mention the feeling of knowing that someone did this to you.
Yes, it could have been worse, things could always be worse, but it’s still an awful thing to have happened.

Putting that behind us, we continued on with our plans and traveled up to Mount Lycabettus.
The drive up there I would rather soon forget.
It’s not that people are bad drivers here, it’s just that there are NO RULES! And driving up that narrow windy road with cars parked on both sides… oh my god. I wasn’t even driving yet I thought I was going to go into cardiac arrest.
And Google, you should be ashamed of yourself! I always thought it was more to do with the person, than Google Maps when people followed Google maps into lakes and off non existent bridges but tonight it happened to us!
We were driving down the steep road with sharp turns and cars parked either side of the road when Google drove us right to a dead end street where it was simply not possible to turn in any way, shape or form.
Luckily we had a “professional” driver on board who reversed us 300 meters to get to a “T” junction. I had to put that in quotes because I’m sure you’re imagining something that is a lot simpler than what really happened.
But no sooner had we reversed and gone the other way, we found we were in the same predicament. How do those people live!! So hubby had to reverse us 300 or so meters again and this time up around the “T” junction and… well the rest is a blur as I passed out mentally at that point.

In any case,  I’m so glad we went as the views were spectacular! I tried to get photos but my iphone wouldn’t do it justice so I stole one from Google Images.

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There’s amazing views of the city of Athens from the top and you can see the Parthenon lit up. It’s just so magical.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I really loved today and can’t wait to explore more tomorrow!

Greece is the Word – Day Two

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Arriving in Athens, we met up with our relatives who arrived from their respective countries within an hour of our flight.

We are so excited!

Despite all being deliriously tired we can’t wait to be out on the streets of Athens.

We got into our cars and while we were being driven I took in the sights. Gorgeous huge mountains on one side and years of history on the other.
It’s so amazing to be caught up in this world where people have walked for centuries and centuries on one side and a bit of graffiti ruins the landscape on the other.

Rules don’t seem to apply here but even so, there are “unspoken” rules and that makes it all work regardless. These unspoken rules apply particularly when driving. Needless to say, I won’t be driving over here.

Before reaching our apartment we went grocery shopping. You may remember how much of an experience this was for us in Japan. Here today, I didn’t find it so much different than what I’m used to at home except for the fact that the prices are in Euro’s so at first glance, it seems the items are pretty cheap until you do the monetary conversion.

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I did find these though (left)

Hubby can’t understand why anyone would eat something so dry but I just LOVE them!

And when you dunk them in coffee it’s the best!

Our apartment is Glyfada and about two kilometeres from the beach. I’ve spelt it Glyfada but as with many of the names here, it can be spelt several different ways.

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We were going to refresh and rest before heading out but we got a second wind and decided to head out right then.

What a gorgeous area! And so many different types of people down here. A lot of graffiti too. Surprising how much there is considering this is considered a “rich” area.

I’ve been dying to have a moussaka for a while now. Everytime I try to order it in my home town, something goes wrong. I figured my chances of having it in Greece would have to be pretty high right?
So we went into a restaurant and saw moussaka was on the menu! Great!
The others ordered their food and when it came to me and I said “I’ll have the moussaka please” with full excitement ad anticipation of a great meal.
Instead I received this response.
“Oh I’m sorry, that’s on the menu but we’re often out of it”

Inside I cried but I did have a pastisio (pictured below, right) that was just sooo nice and creamy!!


We also had a Greek salad which was presented with a block of feta cheese on top. (pictured above, left)

Definitely needed a walk along the coastline after that and saw the setting sun lighting up the sky in pinks and oranges.

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Deno touching the Mediterranean Sea!

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Now I really feel like I’m in Greece!