Greece is the Word – Day Five

When we first got to Athens, we were told that there was somebody doing some painting at the Air BnB we were staying at.
When we got there we saw an older guy painting a side fence white.
You can imagine our surprise when last night, we got back to our apartment and saw this.

 


Our first thought was that someone had vandalised it but the more we thought about it and saw what was up there, the more we thought this wall has been commissioned to look like this!
Feel free to let me know YOUR thoughts on it.
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We had an early start today as we were driving to Nafpaktos but driving through Delphi on the way.

Always time for morning selfie while on the balcony drinking coffee.

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I snapped a couple of pics along the way.

We passed such beautiful scenery but it’s hard to take photos while you’re a passenger in a moving car.

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We stopped for snacks and I picked up these sesame square things. Oh my god so tasty!!!

They’re sesame seeds and honey.

They taste like Sesame Snaps but thicker and just soooo good.

Just before we got to Delphi, we passed through Arachova and our whole party must have said in unison “Lets stop here!”

We ended up doing some shopping and having lunch at a restaurant that had views of the valleys. Here are a few pics of Arachova.

 


I need to show you the views from our restaurant too. It just doesn’t seem possible that such beautiful places exist!! Oh, and while I’m on the restaurant, I’ll show you a pic of the moussaka I ordered too. I think I’m almost over my moussaka compulsion. No more moussaka until I’m back in Australia and I attempt to make it myself.

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Once we were done, we made our way to Delphi which was literally the next town over.
We were looking for the Ruins of Delphi.

I didn’t know anything about this site and I recommend doing a google search and learning a little about it yourself.
Check out the photos. This place was amazing!! The entry ticket also includes entry into the Museum. We didn’t think we wanted to go into the museum but I’m so glad we didn’t miss it as it had tons of interesting things to look at and read about.

 


After  the ruins we were still up for more shopping and I let my credit card run wild. Thank you Delphi. My family and I will be enjoying your wares for a while!

 


And finally, about 9pm, we got to our Air BnB at Nafpaktos and our hosts were the most friendly people I have ever met!! They were waiting at the door of the apartment. They hugged us and were so eager to show us the rooms. It was like we were family returning home from a long time away.

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The wife led us into the kitchen where she presented a tray with a couple of liqueurs and another tray with a cake.
Not only had she provided this to us, but she made it all herself! The liqueurs AND the cake! And they were both sooo delicious!
I can tell you the liqueurs didn’t last long and I don’t think the cake will last much longer either.

After showing us everything they said goodbye and let us get on with the night.

I just feel so at home here!

Although the plan was to stay in as we got in late, we really wanted to have a quick explore so we walked down to the Port passing so many restaurants and interesting roads and avenues. We must have looked “different” as we were getting a lot of looks but people were so friendly.
Hubby and I went into a souvlaki/burger type take away and got three different skewers, a couple of pieces of pita and fries for just under five Euro!

They also really love it when you speak to them in Greek so I really try with the few words and expressions I know. The longer I say the more it will become familiar I hope.

Can’t wait to see more tomorrow.

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Greece is the Word – Day Four

This morning we woke up to cloudy skies and a wet ground but it was still fairly warm.
The plan was to drive along the coast to Sounio, and to see The Temple of Poseidon while we were there.

There are lots of beggars trying to get money from motorists by either selling something, offering to “wash” your windscreen, or simply by holding out a cup.
Here was one guy (above)  we encountered who was washing windscreens.
It’s a sad situation. There are so many that do it though so you’d have to think there are people that give them money? Otherwise why would they persist?

It was a beautiful drive down the coast.
There does seem to be a lot of graffiti about, no matter what part of the city we are in.

The weather cleared as we neared The Temple of Poseidon and it was even a little humid as we walked around there.
The Temple of Poseidon was rebuilt in 440BC. It’s just amazing to think this structure has been here for so many years!!

Here are a few photos we took of the Temple and views of the surrounding area.


That bird in the last picture is a “rock partridge”. At least, that’s what one of the guides told us! Noisy little things they are! The guide also said they’re considered the guardians of the Temple.

After an hour or so there we headed back towards an area just outside of Sounio where there were a whole lot of restaurants along the waterfront. The views were just gorgeous. This is Greece to me! Enjoying a beautiful meal, by the clear blue water with good company. It was such a lovely atmosphere.

As there were a few restaurants, we walked past quite a few but not before checking out their menu. We wanted to be sure we ate at the right place!
The owners would come out and try to entice us to come in. When we said we were just thinking about which one to go to, and they saw us leave, they actually got quite pushy and aggressive with one guy actually “suggesting” we move our cars (They were parked on the road almost in front of his restaurant.)

One person in our group has a severe seafood allergy so when we picked a place we thought we would eat at, we informed the server and explained that whatever was eaten could not even be cooked in the same oil that any seafood was cooked in.
He assured us that it was fine and that we had nothing to worry about. “You have nothing to fear” he stated.
Hubby, who was still looking over his shoulder at the owner from the last place we checked out whispered under his breath “the only thing we have to fear are the other owners if they see we’ve come in here”

Here are a few pics from inside the restaurant, and the water that we could see from our table. How clear and pristine is that!!


Oh and I should add that I tried to order moussaka again as I wanted to compare it to the other one I had here but guess what… although it was on the menu, it wasn’t available as they were still preparing it and it was going to take another 45 minutes!!! I swear this Moussaka curse is never going to be lifted!!

I ordered a bean dish instead and it was just so delicious!! Every dish I’ve had so far since we’ve been here has had so much oil! That has surprised me a bit. Maybe it just has to do with the food I’m ordering.

After lunch we stopped by a beach and enjoyed the sunshine. Such a picturesque little spot.

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We wanted to do a bit of shopping so we stopped at a mall  in the afternoon.

It was so like home that we almost forgot we were in Greece!!

So many familiar name brands wherever we looked…
Of course, that all changed when we went outside and tried to cross the road. Crazy drivers everywhere.

IMG_6397I had a double Greek coffee while I was there. I can say I’m a fan!

Our plan for dinner was to go back to Glifada seeing as we’re so close and it’s so beautiful there. I won’t post anymore pictures of it. It will only make you jealous!

I will share some pics of a 24 hour bakery we visited down there. I would have taken more but we were told “no pictures, it’s the policy” so I had to put my camera away

Hungry yet?

I’ll sleep tonight and dream of dodging traffic and going the wrong way on one way streets.

It’s all Greek to me!!

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.
(pictured below)

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!

Kaffana

Today on the Dining Diaries…

As meat platters appear on other people’s tables, dining envy grows,
Special moussaka was truly special  and
One of us is already setting the date for our next visit and he definitely will be  ordering a meat platter.

Diners today we were at Kaffana in that ever happening, “Hipster” paradise, Peel Street.

18767414_1429320747127999_1531879982924820872_n.jpgKaffana is a Serbian Meat restaurant and hubby had been seeing their ads on Facebook for sometime and has been getting quite enticed by them! I mean how can a meat lover go past those pictures of meat trays!

We were here at 6pm on a Friday night. It was heavily booked. Lots of people were waiting to enter the dining room.
Dim lighting, easy listening music in the background, exposed red brick walls and lots of wood all contributed to making us feel comfortable and welcome.


A server finally called our name and brought us to our table. I wasn’t sure who she was at first as she was a tiny thing in old sneakers and a black beanie with a few strands of platinum blonde hair coming through. But maybe that’s just the way things are in this sort of place.

The menu was pretty cute although it was a bit hard to see because of the dim lighting. They have old “little golden books” there and have pasted their menu to the pages of the story. I liked the idea, especially as I was always walking around with at least one “little golden book” in my hand when I was a kid.

Hubby and I had a look through the menu and he was so disappointed when I said I just couldn’t see myself having half a meat tray. I don’t mind meat, sometimes I even like it but in small quantities. I did feel a little bad for him though when other tables near us started having meat trays brought out to them…

We decided to start with the Moussaka to share as an entree. It was on their specials board and said it was served with sour cream. I didn’t know how that was going to work but was curious to try it. I normally really love moussaka and am still looking for the perfect one.

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It was very hard to take a decent photo because of the dim lighting but I hope you get an idea.

The moussaka was certainly special and not traditional.  I couldn’t see or taste any bechemel but then that probably wouldn’t have matched with the sour cream on top. I couldn’t find eggplant in there either but maybe it was. After all, what’s a moussaka without eggplant right?
It was absolutely delicious though. So much flavor! Makes me want to try to make it myself.
Hubby and I were fighting to make sure we got half each.

As per their menu, all meals come with “mammas” bread which was quite damper like. Very toasty warm and a little smokey tasting. I loved it!
The meals also come with potato salad and coleslaw? It was like a coleslaw sans mayonnaise.
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The potato salad looked nice and it had spring onions in it. 
Hubby didn’t want to eat it before our mains came and when I say he didn’t want to eat it, I mean he didn’t want US to eat it. That includes me. I was starving and it was so hard not to.

For main I chose Karakjordjeva. The menu described it as “Kaffana’s version of a Karadjordjeva schnitzel (no bread crumbs) , char grilled tenderised veal filled with ricotta, danish feta and cooked streaky bacon.”

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I’m not sure what I expected it to look like but probably not that.

That kind of looks like something the dog left behind.

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I have to say though that it tasted quite exceptional.

When you cut into it the ricotta oozed out.

I didn’t know there was supposed to be bacon in there and couldn’t really taste it but it was really so rich and full of flavour that I couldn’t have eaten more than that small roll.

Hubby ordered the Pork Skewers “Char-grilled, crisp and tender skewered park scotch pieces”
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Hubby said his was near heaven. I got to taste a little morsel too. They were just flavoured perfectly. Moist, tender with a gorgeous charcoal taste.
In his words, “Just f’n delicious “

Though the portions seemed small I felt like I’d eaten a lot by the end.

If you’re a meat eater, it would be definitely worth it to save up a few pennies and head on down to Peel Street and have a meal at Kaffana. Don’t be like us though, do yourself a favour and order the meat platter!!!

Have you been to Kaffana?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow….