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!

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Greece is the Word – Day Eight

The “sleeping in” plan didn’t work. How can you sleep in when you are in a country that’s just waiting for you!

Before I get into today, I just want to comment on the bathroom situation. Skip this paragraph if you’re afraid of TMI.

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That picture above is typical of what you’ll see in a lot of public restrooms, including air Bnb’s. I’m not sure exactly why, something to do with the sewer system, but they don’t want you throwing used toilet paper in the toilet bowl. Of course, if you dirty the paper, then yes, it needs to go in, but if you are just doing what affectionately known as number ones, then that goes into a trashcan/bin that will be beside the toilet.
Sorry for grossing you out, but yes, that is what happens here.

Today was a slower day after what we did yesterday. Hubby and I walked back down to Glyfada around lunch time.

We went into the Police Station to report his wallet being stolen the other day and not only did they not seem interested, they were encouraging him to go do it somewhere else. Finally he got to speak to someone who jotted down some details on a throw away piece of paper, made sure that the credit cards were cancelled and said he’d let us know if anything came up.
As we walked out of his office I said to hubby “he’s scrunching up that piece of paper right now”

Oh well. Like we said, it could have been worse. The cards weren’t used

We stopped to get some lunch at a bakery that was in Glyfada. Look at this!

 

They look amazing and they tasted even better! I just find the produce seems sweeter and more full of flavour here.
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We grabbed some water to bring to our table and I noticed the bottle had the names of cities around the world.

It didn’t take long to notice the error….

And the winner is …. Not Sydney.

IMG_6874When you’re with a group of ten it’s hard to synchronise it so you’re all ready to do the same thing at the same time. Up until now we’ve managed quite well considering, but I have to say that most of the afternoon was spent waiting around.
That’s why this entry is not really picture heavy. It was just a more relaxed kind of day. I felt like I spent a lot of it just sitting, waiting in the car.

We drove down to Piraeus to pick up our tickets for the ferry trip tomorrow. We’re going to Naxos and taking our cars.
It was a busy little hub down there. I would have taken photos but in all honesty, I was a bit anxious about taking out my phone.
I tried to get a picture of the ferry from the ferry ticket office.

 

 

We were rushing to get back from there because we were supposed to be meeting up with family at 6.30.
We didn’t get there until almost 8pm but had such a lovely time. Hubby and I met old and new relatives and the time just flew!
They provided us a wonderful dinner!!! It was really too dark for photos but I tried to snap a picture of one of the meat trays.

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We had such a late night last night and tonight was no different. Normally that would be fine but tomorrow we’re up early!! We need to be at the ferry at 5.45am.

Very excited about going to Naxos!! See you on the island!

 

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…

Ellenika

Today on the Dining Diaries,

The “specials” mustn’t have been special enough to mention,
One person’s “substantial” is another person’s entree size and
I’m still chasing the moussaka dream….

FullSizeRender (21).jpgDiners today we were at Ellenika Traditional Greek Taverna on the Marina Pier at Glenelg. This location has had a few changes in ownership over the last few years and I had been interested to come and visit since it became Ellenika.

It really was a gorgeous Spring day in Adelaide today and the Glenelg pier was streaming with people. We were quite early for lunch and the first thing I noticed as we walked into this establishment was the Greek music playing. I loved that! As I’ve always mentioned, if you’re going to pick a cuisine, you should also have that nation’s music playing.

The restaurant is decorated in the usual Greek “Blue and White” although I didn’t seem to capture that in the photos below. I thought the atmosphere was pretty good and I was eager to have a look through the menu.


Now I had searched for a website online but all that really came up was a Facebook page. That Facebook page however, did show a menu and on that menu was Moussaka!! I’ve been dying to have a good moussaka for quite some time. Every time I order it, it’s never what I expect its going to be.
When we were handed the menu’s today though, there was no moussaka on there! I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. I asked the waitress when she came to take our order if they had Moussaka. She checked with the kitchen and said they’d run out last night and were prepping some for tonight – so – no Moussaka for me right now. Ah well.

There were lots of yummy sounding things on the menu though and I even tried a Greek wine which ended up being quite pleasant.

After we’d ordered, I noticed the specials board and kind of wished I’d changed my selections.  I don’t know why the waitress didn’t mention them before we ordered.

As there was no Moussaka and I felt like eggplant, I chose the Imam Baildi – Whole Eggplant filled with caramelised onion and tomato oven baked and served with a side of tzatziki and continental bread.
Let me draw your attention to the fact that this says “Whole Eggplant”. This dish was only $14 though so it made me think it wasn’t going to be that big. I asked the waitress and she said “Oh no, it’s a main and it’s quite substantial!”
OK… I took her word for it but as I wasn’t quite sure, we ordered a trio of dips for entree and a serve of spanokopita.

Everything on the menu was very reasonably priced in my opinion – in fact, surprisingly so.

When the entree’s came out I thought they looked delicious! The dips (from left) were potato garlic, fish roe blended with lemon juice and olive oil and tzatziki.
All the dips were divine!!! Very creamy and full of substance and flavour. The pita was warmly toasted and it was all very lovely and filling.

The spanokopita was equally delicious. Flaky pastry surrounded a warm and flavour filled filling. It had a nice strong spinach taste and was sitting on a bed of sweet tomato sauce which I mopped up with some of that pita!
Both plates were very delicious and hubby and I wondered if we’d now ordered too much because we still had our mains to come!

For main, hubby chose Souvlaki Hirino – Two skewers of tender pork fillet, marinated and skewered cooked on the chargrill and dressed with lemon oil. Served with roasted lemon potatoes and Mediterranean vegetables.

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It looked pretty good! Hubby was pretty much happy with everything although he said if he had to be picky, the pork could have been marinated more and it was perhaps a little dry. However the flavours were amazing and he enjoyed eating it.

My substitute Moussaka dish was the Imam Baildi as previously mentioned

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Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look like a whole eggplant to me and remember this is a main. The waitress specifically said it was “substantial” which was her exact word. I know I can be a big eater but this is not a substantial meal. And it certainly isn’t a “whole” eggplant as the menu suggests. Where’s the rest of my eggplant?

Once I got over the size I really enjoyed this dish. It had a strong eggplant taste and the bread was perfectly toasted continental bread. I could have done without so much tzatziki however that would have left almost nothing on the plate.

In summary, the things I’ve “picked” on have been small. Let me say again, the prices here are really good and the staff are super friendly and really want you to enjoy their food.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this place if you want to have a Greek experience! Well done Ellenkia, we’ll be back!

Have you eaten at Ellenika?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow….