May 21, 2019

M/V Celestyal Crystal

We had to be out of the apartment by 11AM but boarding was not until 1:30PM so we simply waited at the cruise terminal.  Our ship is small with only 1200 passengers but it is full.  The day was mostly overcast but the sun came out as we were eating our buffet lunch on the Leda deck.  The food was amazing with so many vegetarian and seafood options.  We certainly won’t go hungry.  Plus our cruise includes an all inclusive alcohol package from Aegean or International cocktails to Greek wines & liquors to a variety of hard liquor to sherry, port and more.  The sun came out for a few hours late afternoon but then the clouds returned.  Hopefully the weather will improve for our week cruising the Greek islands.

The ship is larger than expected considering the small amount of passengers but is has all that one could need except for a large pool.  The pool it tiny and the hot tub even smaller.  Our room is great but then it is a JR Balcony Suite, one of 43.  Love the balcony.  Basically we boarded, ate lunch, toured the ship as I mentioned, had a welcome meeting and then our muster drill.  Somewhere in there we unpacked and relaxed for a bit.  We had time for a cocktail and chose to have a late dinner ( for a cruise but early by our normal standards ) and attend the last of the two identical entertainment shows put on each evening, which was rather spectacular.  The ship did not sail until 9PM as our first stop was only a distance of 98 nautical miles.  Apparently there are folks from all over with 30 different languages spoken on board.  We met folks from Bulgaria, Cuba, Minnesota, Venezuela ( sad story about her family still there ), Barcelona & Madrid and we only spoke to a few. Surprisingly we found ourselves speaking Spanish quite a bit and with the waiters at dinner.  We were even offered a Spanish menu ?  Our cabin steward, Shafick, is from a very small island just off of Madagascar. I have no internet in which to research the exact name.  We have enjoyed our first day to the utmost.  Oh and we even managed a few dances at the end of the show which was ‘Fiesta’, a musical voyage through Latina America.  What great way to end our first day onboard.
Colin on the right above.

Taken from the ship. A typical street view. Talk about living one on top of the other.

The tiny pool. Holds 10 -15.

One of the many lounges. No one area ever seems crowded.

The show lounge.

Our favorite white Greek wine.

Thanks to my research I came up with the ideas to use magnetic hooks on the ship wall to hang a few times. The shoe bag over the door idea is brilliant. We have plenty of closet and drawer space for clothing.

I was trying out one of the Aegean cocktails called Greek Mama. It is made with tequila, apricot brandy, coconut cream, fruit punch & grenadine. The few this few sips were good but I found the fruit punch overwhelmed the drink.

One of the Signature Martinis. Ouzotini, made with ouzo, vodka, peach schnapps, lime squash and mint. Yummy!

Everything we ate was excellent and Colin’s pan seared Alaskan salmon was well presented and proved to be moist and tasty. I should have had it as well but my Caesar salad with grilled shrimp was good but only came with three small sized grilled shrimp. Mexico has forever spoiled me with its excellent shrimp.

Once we started to cruise, Colin went for a wee walk and saw so many seagulls flying alongside.

Bésame Mucho sung with ballet.

 

 

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May 20, 2019

Our last full day & this and that

Sunday was our last full day here in Athens and the plan was to stay in, catch on up things, do laundry and pack for the next leg of our trip and rest.  That is pretty much what we did and having leftovers from the previous dinner made for an easy lunch.  All went well until the laundry part.  Colin was somewhere in this huge apartment making music and I was downloading and editing photos.  I got up to check on the laundry to see a flooded bathroom floor ( where the washing machine was ), creeping along the hall and onto living room hardwood floor  😯 Long story short, the last user had somehow dislodged the drain from the hole in the wall and we had a massive mess to clean up.  Done, laundry outside drying on the provided racks.The only other problem was that my shampoo and conditioner bottles had leaked but my trusty ziplock bag provided containment and no mess.   It was an overcast, coolish day so a good day to stay in and rest up the old body.

When we arrived we were informed of a pigeon sitting on an egg of the back balcony.

I have yet to see a McDonalds here in Athens so I just Googled it.  There are two, the rest closed as the locals prefer their own cuisine  😀  The other thing I noticed is that cars do not honk their horns.  Car alarms go off every now and again but the drivers simply wait patiently for whatever has stopped them.

Just the one egg laid in a plant pot.  Usually they lay two and it takes between 16 – 19 days to hatch.  Sadly we won’t be here that long.  Papa comes in for the night shift while Mamma flies off to do whatever she does.  Yesterday afternoon Papa came by with a tiny twig to add the the wee  but not traditional nest.  She would not get off the egg so he wedged it in under her.  We have taken to feeding them bread crumbs which they love and have provided water.

Did you know that Greek tomatoes and cucumbers are the best?  Every bite so consistently tasty.  I think I could live on Greek salads and a protein like fish or cheese, but then there is the tasty, but heavy breads and tsatsiki.  We have only been drinking the house wines which are very good and sell on average for 5 Euro per 500 ml. Actually that had become my cost meter.  If the wine is higher than that, I figure that the menu has been marked up too much.   We buy somewhat cheaper wine for here in house if we can find it.  So far we have found supermarket wine very expensive unlike Italy and France on last years vacation.

Somehow I don’t think that they have many break ins with the type of deadbolts the doors have. Both Canada and the US could take a few notes.

From one of our favorite restaurants and the only one we have been to twice, including last night.

The tall post has a number of positive sayings in many languages.

In French….I was pretty much on point with my interpretation but decided to check with my French expert Rae for accuracy for you my blog readers.  Tout vient à point” means all that should happen will happen” and “à qui sait attendre” means “to those who know how to wait.” I think that an equivalent English phrase would be something like “Good things come to those who wait,” even if it’s not exactly the same.

We walked two blocks down to find a new place for dinner. We love each restaurant that we have tried thus far in this area but it is always good to keep seeking. The tables here were also at slight angles.  We later found out that this used to be a quiet area and has been discovered in the past few years.  Many locals are coming here to dine in the many great restaurants hence making it very busy.  Sadly that means lots of smokers and we have had to shut our balcony doors a few times as it drifts up here to our third floor apartment.  This place is called Auyepiros and is where we decided to eat.  Turns out they don’t even put ashtrays on the table unless you ask.  How lucky was that for us.  It was a perfect final meal.

I was concerned that we would have problems with the language here, especially reading the street signs, but is hasn’t been an issue at all.  We somehow managed to find everything and to walk everywhere. We spent a total of 13 Euro on three taxis, no need for the metro ( we walked as far as three stations in a few directions ) nor the many buses and trams.  Athens is a very friendly city.  We have felt safe everywhere in our travels over the last few years but there is something special here.  Back in Nice last year folks were unhappier and abrupt and yet I spoke the language fluently.  Remember how Colin got buttermilk thrown on him walking down the street.  We encountered so many brushes with pickpockets in the big cities of Italy.  This really felt like home to us. Despite their economical hardships the Greeks are lovely people.

We started dinner with year another salad and this was the best one ever.  The tomatoes were perfectly ripe and so tasty as was the rest of it.  Good thing we split it. If we weren’t leaving I would be there everyday having that salad for lunch.

I had falafel with more tomatoes and lettuce and really good sauce for the falafel.  I forgot to find out what it was.  Colin had a falafel pita ( wrapped in white on the right ) that had everything I had on my plate in it but in smaller quantities.  He even had some fries in it as well.  The fries were not greasy, almost like they are lightly baked.  I wasn’t going to eat them but they were good.  Of course Colin had some of my food as well.

We ate everything. Dinner was a two thumbs up. Oh the wine was great as well and our best price for only 3 Euro per 500 ml.  We had two bottles 🙂

We both had been hearing the Song Never on a Sunday as we walked.  I was young when I first heard it and did not realize until now that it originated here in Greece. It was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song back in 1960.  Anyway Colin just suddenly started playing it when we got home, somehow he knew the music and somehow I knew the words.  We have to polish our act a bit but I think it is a keeper for us.

You can listen to it here.  Listen to it as you read about the end of our time here in Athens.

Our time here in Athens has come to an end. Time for a new adventure. In 90 minutes we are about to head to the Piraeus Port here in Athens to board the Celestyal Crystal. We are off on a seven day cruise of the islands.  As there is no onboard internet unless you sell your firstborn (which I don’t have) to pay the exorbitant daily fee, I have no idea when I will be posting again.  I plan on posting everyday by finding free internet in every port but we shall see what transpires. Please stay tuned for whatever surprise posts I can send your way.

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May 19, 2019

Day 3 and our fullest day in Athens

During our free tour yesterday Alex mentioned that today, Saturday the 18th was National Museum Day and all the museums would be free. However that meant being in line to see the Acropolis before 8AM.  We were there and here we are going up the multiple slippery marble steps.  I actually wore my runners for this one.  Not only did we visit the Acropolis but also the new acropolis Museum which you will see later in this post.  Between us we saved 60Euro/90.00CAD.  I have to add that I believe that all those who arrived in tour groups likely were charged the full price and the tour company might have made a good profit that day.

One of the many views from the top. Athens is a huge city of 5.6 million citizens.

We had just missed the raising of the flag.  On April 27th, 1941, the Nazi German army entered the Greek capital of Athens, signaling the end of Greek military resistance which began with a valiant struggle against Mussolini’s Italians in October 1940. They ordered one of the evzones, the elite soldiers of the Greek army who are the guardians of the flag which flies over the Acropolis, to remove it. The soldier obeys, then wraps himself in the blue and white flag and leaps from the walls of the ancient fortress to his death.  The soldier was protecting the flag of Greece.  To this day every night the flag is lowered and the Anthem is sung and every morning the flag is raised and a soldier steps to the edge and shouts out over the city “Good morning Athens, good morning to each of you”.  Never again will a soldier die because a flag was left unprotected, this is why the flag is raised & lowered each day in Athens over the Acropolis.  We had just missed the raising of the flag but were able to see the soldiers leaving.  My photo.

The white parts are from the ongoing restorations. At the moment there is a crane on site. An explosion caused by a bombardment in 1687 crumpled the Parthenon into ruins.  The monument was restored during 1900 to 1930 with the use of iron reinforced concrete and iron clamps which subsequently corroded and expanded producing serious damaged to the marble and led to serious structural problems.  In 1981 these restoration interventions began.  I fear that this will be a constant project.  My photo.

Standing in front of the Porch of the Maidens, part of The Erechtheion, an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. Taken by me of course.

The real statues of the Maidens are in the museum and we will see them later.

Poppies among pieces of the fallen Parthenon. Photo by me.

The views are breathtaking in every direction.  Hadrian’s Arch is almost dead center and to the right is what is left of his opulent temple.

This photo is special at it was taken by a lovely Indian woman. Her and three friends who had graduated as architects back in the day were having a reunion vacation. She lives in Canada, the others in Germany, France and India. What a perfect place for the architects to visit.

Pretty good selfie.

We left just after 9:30 and the crowds were huge and growing by the minute.

The Acropolis Museum covers a total of 25,000 square meters/269,097.8 square feet.  It was opened in 2009.  The base of the museum is supported by more than 100 concrete pillars so that it appears to be floating over the site’s archeological excavation.  You can see the excavation as you walk towards the museum and even inside the museum as many of the floors are clear glass so you can see the ancient construction. A new exhibit is currently being worked on so that visitors will be able to walk on the ancient roads and stroll along the remains of ancient homes, baths and workshops, etc. in order to feel the presence of those that lived here over 2000 years ago.  It is already amazing that we are already able to see so much.

The museum is four stories and thanks to a tip from one of our servers the night before, we started with the best at the top.  The Parthenon Gallery was built to the same dimensions and orientation as the Parthenon.  It was specifically designed to receive and display the entire temple frieze. As you can see the transparent glass walls allow us to see the breathtaking view of the Acropolis, the surrounding hills and the modern city of Athens, all that while being inside and looking at the artifacts.  Impossible to find the words other than stunning and so very special.

Once we toured the four sides we moved down to the other levels. Here are the original five maidens ( 2 on the right ).  The sixth maiden is in the British Museum and they are very reluctant to return it.  A space remains for her eventual return.

Once we left we walked to the Plaka to find a place for a very late breakfast at noon.  By now we had both changed shoes and my back was sore.  Time to sit, eat, relax a bit and plan our next move.  This and the next five shots were taken by me.

We eventually were ready to move on and check out more of the Plaka before moving to the Syntagma area and checked out some flea market type shopping areas.  Expensive pricing to our minds.

Somehow our meandering got us to the famous Monastiraki Square.  This area was even busier than anywhere we have been to date. Please take note of the tall building in the center.  On the second level down from the top you can see a bit of red which is an A, as in A is for Athens.  More on that later.  We eventually  staggered ( well I did, I was totally done ) out the area and headed towards home.

I needed some energy so we stopped to share a salad and some wine.  Somehow I made it home where Colin had a nap while I worked on that last post with more wine to propel me.

Shortly after 7:30 PM we took a taxi to that tall building, A is for Athens. We were here to see the sunset and the lights come on at the Acropolis.  Sadly they said we needed a reservation.  I countered with the story that a local ( our tour guide Alex ) said that they did not take reservations.  We already had decided to come here based on my research and I should have followed my gut and called.  Long story short I talked us into being allowed to come up to the roof top viewing area as long as we stood.  Fine by us.  We ordered a drink and had not taken more than two small sips ( expensive wine ) when we were offered a table to sit at.  Someone had left.  Perfect.  I did feel badly for the two other couples who left as they had no reservation.  I never take no for an answer.

Photo by Colin.

We made quick friends with those around us.  We even got free nuts, really good ones.  The wait staff whom we befriended later told us that they thought this was the best place in all of Athens to see what we were here to see.  I want to say that life doesn’t get any better but it turns out that it does. Photo by me.

Bit by bit the lights started to come on.

Photo by me.

We stayed and visited with our new friends for a bit and then it was time to move on and find some dinner. It just wasn’t coming together as we walked the nearby streets.  Not many restaurants in the area appealed to us as there were few patrons inside.  We looked for a cab to get back to our street with all the wonderful restaurants.  We walked and walked and no taxis.  Finally one came by and he chatted non stop about his visits to Canada, etc. Thanks for the ride, we got out and where the heck were we.  He dropped us off at least a dozen blocks away.  We did make it back and first thing I said to our girl who recognized us from a few nights ago, was wine ASAP.  Colin had pasta, I had the eggplant and treated myself to the 4.5 Euro dish of overpriced tsatsiki ,but I just had to taste it because it was actually made here in Greece.  So very rich and garlicky.  It was our latest meal ever and @ 11;45PM I could not eat much.  It all came home for lunch the next day. Photo by me.

Colin fell asleep on the sofa, insisting on staying up with me as I wrote my blog.  Eventually I made him go to bed and I finally joined him at 2AM.  I love writing my blog and sharing our photos and my thoughts.  Sometime I just wish it didn’t take so long but there is no way I am going to compromise what I want to share and say.  And as this is a six week trip I can’t save it for tomorrow.  Besides I am writing this for myself as well as for you.  I hope that you are enjoying the story and the photos.

 

 

 

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May 18, 2019

Day 2 and a free tour!

9:45AM Friday morning brought us to a special rendezvous.  We had decided to wait until we got rid of our jet lag before we took our free walking tour of Athens.  One of my blog readers who has become a friend and writes the blog, Living on the Cheap,  had traveled to Greece with her husband in 2017/2018 ?? and she recommended that I contact this particular company for our city tour.  Thank you so much T, you were spot on.  The best free tour we have ever done.  The 2.5 hour tour went to 4 hours 😀 and we learned so very much. In case I forget to add this later, the tour is free but the guide makes their living on our tips.  They are very well educated and often University students.

As we headed out we crossed paths with a demonstration, something that Greece is well known for. We later saw another. Turns out that today is the day to protest climate change. Some bystanders clapped as the students walked past. Bravo to them. They are the future. Photo by me.

We walked a new route to Hadrian’s Arch, our meeting point. Colin took most of the photos today, I only have to supply the words. The lower part of the Arch of Hadrian follows the tradition of Roman architecture, whereas the upper one the Greek.  Hadrian was greatly loved by the people as he provided water, sewer and a good deal of structure to the city. For those who might miss it, that is the Acropolis under the arch.  Great shot Colin.

Situated in the National Gardens, this is known as Byron’s statue. It was inaugurated in July 1895 in time for the Olympic Games of 1896. In the monument, Greece is depicted as a seated half-naked woman larger than life and larger than Lord Byron. She demonstrates her gratitude to Byron by placing a branch of a palm tree over his head, a symbol of immortality. Byron, in turn, is depicted as a young beardless round-faced youth, wearing fine European clothes and boots. The semi-reclining male figure on the back side symbolizes the Greek nation under seize.  Lord Byron was a ‘bad boy” in many ways from engraving his name in marble in many of the famous monuments something to the effect of ” Lord Byron was here ” which can still be seen to this day, to having affairs all over the place including a menage a trois with a married couple.  Not surprising that he died of syphilis.  Yet Greece loved him as much as he loved the country.  I now know more about Lord Byron than I want to.

The original Olympic Stadium ( 1896 ) situated here in Athens seats 85 thousand.  It is still used as the departure point for the flame for each new Olympic Game and as the finish line for the annual Athen Olympic Marathon.  The rest of the time is is used for concerts. Photo by me.

So much history with each of these shots and I really can’t remember all the details and have decided that I am not going to do much more research.  However I remember this one.  This runs true to most of such statues in Europe.  When someone is depicted on a horse it is always a general. Two hooves aloft mean that he died in battle.  The position of only one elevated hoof means he was wounded in battle and the height of the hood depicts how soon after the battle that he died.

An Evezone guard in front of the Presidential mansion in Athens.  FYI there is no longer a president but the guards continue.  Every male in Greece needs to complete military duty.  It used to be three years but now it is only nine months. There are many divisions to choose from but this one is most unique and the lowest paying.  These guards work 12 hour shifts with one hour on and one hour off for a full nine months with no days off.  For this they get paid a total of 70 Euros for what they consider to be an honor.

They are not allowed to move at all for that one hour not even if at 45C in the summer the sweat is pouring down their face.  The uniform is heavy and they have two layers of white wool stockings on.  A sergeant comes by every so many minutes to adjust the uniform to make sure it is perfect, including the drop of the fabric coat, the position of the silk tassel etc.  Much more detail to add to this but suffice for this post.  So many rules, you are allowed to stand in front of the white line for a photo but you must not have a hat nor sunglasses on nor stand on the pedestal next to the guard.  The guard stands with his eyes looking up ( so you see 3/4 of a white eyeball ) out of respect for other soldiers who have died in past battles.  Not sure if he can blink but then he must but for certain he can’t move a muscle.

Every hour he is allowed to move in a precise manner with a specific gait and routine to get the blood circulating.  They then get one hour off and to it all over again.  We were fortunate to see the change of the guard.

There are two guards, one at each end and they eventually walk towards each other and then turn and walk off as they are replaced.  Note the raised shoe, there is a horseshoe on the heel that makes a distinct  sound as it strikes the pavement because of the unique leg and foot movement.  You can also see the spikes in the shoe ( for gorilla combat ).  A knife is concealed on the top of each shoe in the pompom.  You might say a lot of pomp and circumstance.

A hotel built itself around this old unique church.

Yet another much older church ( Church of Theotokos Gorgoepikoos and Ayios Eleytherios )  that I am walking to see.  It is a Byzantine church from the end of the 12th century, the period when Michael Choniates was Bishop of Athens (1180-1204). According to legend, Empress Eirene of Athens founded the church in 787. There was room for perhaps 8 -10 chairs inside.  To the left you see another more modern church.

It is much larger and modern but has been destroyed three times while the small one has remained intact.  That yellow in the painting is pure gold.  A good deal of history to this church but not on this post.

Ancient agora of Athens.

I was pretty tired after four non stop hours of touring the area without a bathroom break nor rest stop. It was a wonderful tour but at this point I was done and both my feet and my brain were dead. Alex was a great tour guide and we all learned so much more about mythology in a logical way as that is one of his passions.

However a pizza and some wine restored me to near normal.

We had not quite finished our meal when the thunder & lightening Gods appeared and the sky opened up. there was a lot of rain falling and of course we had no umbrella.  We ended up taking a taxi home.  I used Uber for the first time.  Once back I went to work on yesterdays post.  Colin had a nap and I started editing photos for this post.  Eventually the rain stopped and the sun came out.

We ended up wandering over to the next street to find a place for dinner.  We got lucky with To Kouki.  This is the first place that brought us appetizers  at no charge.  Cucumber and olives, warm nuts and a variety of breads.  A small place but classy. Most of the photos today were taken by Colin but as you can see I took this one and the last three, poor focus.  The camera does not do so well at night.

I have been craving fried Greek cheese but instead settled for oven baked Saganaki over a bed of mushrooms & tomato.  It was just what I wanted and so very tasty.  Sorry for the blurry photo.

Colin had the smoked salmon with Philadelphia, much the same as what we have at home except I serve it on croissants rather than thick bread.  We both ended up eating all of our meal.

We were preparing to leave and to pay our bill when we were served two small shots of Mastich as a special thank you for coming in.  The table next to us at lunch earlier today had been offered the same and I saw one of them spit his sip out onto the table.  We were much braver and took several sips, eventually drinking it all.

It was not unpleasant nor very special but enjoyable enough.  We found out the name when Colin went to pay.  You need to Google Mastich.  I came up with Mastic and several definitions including:

A resinous exudate from Pistacia lentiscus (family Anacardiaceae), a small tree of the Mediterranean; used in chewinggum, as an enteric coating, and as a temporary filling material in dentistry.
Synonym(s): mastich, mastiche

Mastic resin is used in alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, in some cosmetic mixtures and perfumes, in dentistry as an ingredient in filling material, and in toothpaste. The resin has been used traditionally as a chewing gum and for protection against lip dryness.

Mastic (plant resin) Mastic asphalt, or asphalt, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid; Mastic cold porcelain; Mastic, high-grade construction adhesive commonly used to bond ceiling, wall, and floor tiles, plywood panels, concrete, asphalt, leather and fabric. Mastic, waterproof, putty-like paste used in building as a joint-sealer or filler.

 Mastic is an essential ingredient of chrism, the holy oil used for anointing by the Orthodox Churches. Other uses. Mastic is used in some varnishes. Mastic varnish was used to protect and preserve photographic negatives. Mastic is also used in perfumes, cosmetics, soap, body oils, and body lotion. In ancient Egypt, mastic was used in embalming.

That last one about using it for embalming was enough to put me off of it forever.  So ends a very long day here in Athens.  Seriously, it is 01:30AM and I am tired from an even busier day today ( that will be tomorrows post ) so please go easy with me on the non proofing errors in todays post.

 

 

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May 17, 2019

Our first full day in Athens

We didn’t get to bed until after midnight Athens time the day we arrived so we slept in Thursday morning.  Colin walked down the street and picked up a breakfast croissant for us.  We simply eased into the day and eventually decided it was time to get out for a walk to the grocery store.

The front balcony ( a door off the master bedroom and another off the kitchen ) of our apartment overlooks this tree lined pedestrian street.  The entrance is behind the second tree on the right.  Our back balcony overlooks a quiet courtyard and has a door off the living room and another off the second bedroom.

There are several bars, taverns, cafes and restaurants on both sides of the area.  This is the bakery Colin went to, just a half block away on the right.

It really is a lovely area.

We found the grocery store but it is what we would consider a small neighborhood corner store. Here it is called the supermarket. We were really searching for wine which they had but not at prices I was willing to pay.  So we just walked and walked.  Our first glimpse of the Acropolis.

We had wandered over to the Plaka, a main tourist area. Here the menus are in English as well as Greek.  Also the prices are higher than those on our wee street.

I have been to Greece once before, at least 35 years ago, now and a distant memory. This is Colin’s first visit and I am so enjoying the journey with him.  The fellow on the left is just sitting there waiting for someone to buy a circle of his Greek bread. Koulouri is a simple Greek bread that is formed into a ring and sprinkled with sesame seeds then baked.  It is an inexpensive breakfast for the locals along with a coffee.

A memorial with mention of Lord Byron who died in Greece. He always said that his heart belonged to Greece so they cut his heart out and buried it in another location here in the islands and sent the rest of the body back to England.

Hadrian’s Arch in the distance, which we will come to learn more about.

A wooden bike rental! At least the tires were rubber. She was having difficulty peddling up the slight incline.

Everywhere you turn there is somewhere inviting to stop for a meal or merely a drink.

We almost stopped here but just kept walking.  We walked for over three hour before we finally stopped.

Wow, a very visual scene with lots of color.

This explains why Brettos is a popular attraction in this area.

Ah, finally some wine. We still needed to find some to buy.  We did eventually find some to bring home.

Sadly our food got washed out  in the photo. We shared a large Greek salad which the  locals call a villager salad and never a Greek salad, so we were told by a local lifetime resident. Yet all the menus list a Greek salad!  We also shared a large spanakopita. Perfect first lunch.

So true….

These orange trees grow all over the city. Apparently they grow well, require very little water, the blossoms are fragrant as only orange tree blossoms can be, but the fruit itself is extremely bitter and is never eaten. Still lovely to see along the streets and in various parks.

Remember, theses prices are in Euros so about 1.5 times more than our high Canadian prices.  Unleaded @ 1.669 and diesel @ 1.469 per liter.  The car service driver told us that Greece has the highest fuel prices in Europe. If someone who is not as tired as I am cares to convert the liters to gallons and then Euros to Canadian dollars and then to USD that would be a great comment to this post.  My brain is still in jet lag and is unable to attempt this at this time.

We came back to the apartment where I worked on yesterdays post while Colin played his guitalele ( his 1/4 size guitar ) and had a nap. Once I finished the post I got a free 30 minutes to read.  This is a piece of art in the restaurant we dined at for dinner.

Firat we walked around out block, both sides checking out all the menus. A bit difficult in some as they were only in Greek.  The prices varied but the goal was to find a place with something we both wanted to eat and a reasonably priced wine.  We finally found it.  Each of the chairs had this carved into the or..

…a knife and fork.  Bevetia is the name of the restaurant, higher end than others but with great prices.

It soon became apparent that the theme was restaurant equipment.  This is a homemade wall sconce.  Simply brilliant!  They were all along the walls.

It took me a while to realize that the huge central chandelier was made of broken plates.  As I write this I am beginning to think that the earlier photo of the wonderfully colored crates might be related to how their produce is delivered.

Our meal was excellent, in fact the best to date here in Athens.  We were not very hungry due to the late lunch so chose accordingly ( it was after 9 – 9:30PM before we sat down to order ).  Our appetizer was aubergine  ( eggplant ) with tomato sauce  & parmesan cheese.  Melt in your mouth goodness.

Thank goodness we decided to split the main as it was such a large serving ( this is one half ). We had chosen Sioufihta, a handmade pasta with Cretan butter, cherry tomatoes, parsley and local hard cheese.  Every bite was an adventure.  I could taste the underlying flavor of butter and with the cheese, tomato and pasta, we could do nothing but sit in silence and enjoy each bite.  The house white was a mere 5 euro for 500ml.

As I said at the end of my last post, life is good, perhaps a bit better than good  😉

UPDATE PER MY VERY DEAR FRIEND ALAN:

Hello Contessa….Fuel prices.

1:46 EU. per litre equals $2:19 Can. per litre OR, for your American readers $6:17 USD. per USA gallon. ( U.S. gallon being smaller than Can.@ 3.79 litres.

1:66 EU. per litre equals $2:49 Can. per litre OR $7:01 USD. Per USA gallon

1:73EU. per litre equals $2:60 Can per litre OR $7:31 USD per USA gallon.
Hope this answers your question…..

 

 

 

 

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