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The best things we ate: Greece Edition

1. Gyros

Lots and lots of gyros.

OUR FAVORITE GYRO: Hole-in-the-wall gyro shop by the downtown bus station in Oia, Santorini and Bairaktaris in Athens (see below)


2. Moussaka

It was our first time ever trying moussaka and holy smokes I think we’re converted! It definitely tastes way more delicious than My Big Fat Greek Wedding makes it sound.
OUR FAVORITE MOUSSAKA: Bairaktaris in Athens
Spelled like so:

3. Saganaki

The fried cheese
OUR FAVORITE SAGANAKI: Plaka, Naxos

4. Ice Cream.

Everyday.

OUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM: Everywhere

5. Real Donuts

7. Delicious, dripping, honey-soaked pastries

Loukoumades, pistachio nest things, lots of things made with crunchy phyllo dough… basically heaven.
We ate these like it was our job.
OUR FAVORITE GREEK PASTRIES: Any and every pastry shop throughout downtown Athens

 

And last but not least,

8. BAKLAVA!

(Sadly, no pictures. We were simply too busy eating it to waste time photographing it)
OUR FAVORITE BAKLAVA: Melenio Cafe in Oia, Santorini

 

Category: Food, Travel  Tags: , ,  One Comment
C2’s Tips for Visiting Athens, Greece

We have a lot to say about Athens after this last trip. 4 days total in a city over a lifetime qualifies us to offer advice, right? ;)

I guess we can call it “lessons learned” from one beginner traveller to another. Hopefully there’s something here that another newbie out there will find useful!

1. Read up on Ancient Greek history and study a little bit of classical art history before you go. The whole Greece experience will be so much more significant and meaningful if you know a little bit about the monuments and artifacts you are seeing. Watch some movies about Greece too (you know… Disney’s Hercules, the Percy Jackson series, Troy, Clash of the Titans). They may not add to your historical knowledge, but will get you super excited about your trip :)

2. Do not, under any circumstaces, buy drinks from the stalls outside the Acropolis (unless you are literally dying…but only then!) You will spend a large portion of your euro (that could otherwise have been spent on baklava) on a simple watery lemonade (becuase they were out of bottled water) THAT THEY WON’T EVEN LET YOU TAKE THROUGH THE GATES! You will be forced to stand to the side and chug your icy lemonade until your brain freezes and the guards laugh at you. Learn from our mistakes and prepare ahead to buy water at the bottom of the hill for 50 cents. Or you could even save the 50 cents (for more baklava) and use the drinking fountains at the top of the hill. The water is warm and doesn’t taste the best (but hey… a baklava fund is a baklava fund.)

Chris trying to chug his $10 lemonade so the guards will let us in.

 

3. Also do not, under any circumstances, attempt to take photos with a sock puppet, Flat Stanely, or any other sentimental object in front of the Parthenon. It’s apparently disrespectful and the guards will blow their shrill whistles at you until you put it away. Feel free to dance around, do some crazy poses, and even make rude hand gestures though. That’s totally fine. But don’t take a photo with your daughter’s favorite toy to bring back to her as a souvenier. The whistle-blowers will take. you. down.

 

4. Your ticket to the Acropolis will get you into the Temple of Zeus for free! It’s not widely advertised, but just show them the receipt and they’ll let you right in!

 

5. The dream of cheap Greek food is a reality… you just have to know where to look. Get out of the touristy spots. Sometimes even one street over has significantly cheaper food. Also, try asking for a gyro pita when you go out to eat (depending on the restaurant). Most places will automatically give you the gyro plate, which is usually a lot more food and a lot more expensive, but the gyro pita is cheaper and much better on-the-go food. It took us a while to figure out the difference and learn to order accordingly.

6. Budget for a lot of bottled water. While Greek tap water is technically safe to drink, it tastes pretty nasty (and that is coming from a girl who grew up on Las Vegas water!) and if you are out exploring there are few clean places to refil your bottle. You’ll buy a lot more bottled water than you planned on so you should budget accordingly. Trust us on this one.

7. Bring bug spray/itch cream. It’s been a long time since we were bitten by so many bugs!

8. Learn to say “thank you” in Greek (efharistó). It’s a nice gesture :)

9. Always have cash on hand. Very few places take cards.

10. As of 2013, fanny packs are still totally a thing in Greece. I’m not sure if that’s advice or not… but I guess if you have always wanted to rock a fanny pack and look hot doing it then Greece is the place!

 

 

That’s all for now! If anyone has any other great tips to share about visiting Athens, please share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and advice!

 

The Acropolis 2.0

Not much beats getting to see the Parthenon for the first time, but I think our second time seeing it will always be my favorite.


Walking up the now-familiar slick, foot-worn hill, I was struck with a sense of awe about how truly blessed we were to be back at the Acropolis barely one year after our first visit. We thought at the time that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance but the Lord saw fit to bless us with the opportunity to experience it again together, along with more great friends.

It still looked pretty much the same, scaffolding and cranes and all:

but the feeling was different. Rather than feeling the rush of newness and the pressure to see every tiny detail, I felt a great sense of peace and immense gratitude.
I'm grateful I have this memory to remind me of the thankful feeling that day and to encourage me to be more mindful of all the daily blessings (both big and small) we receive from our Father in Heaven. We are truly, truly blessed in so many ways!
And speaking of blessings, check out these awesome friends of ours:
They sure produce cute babies!
And of course, the best blessing both in Greece and everywhere else in the universe:
This amazing fellow I call my husband :)
DiscoboChris and the Venus de Chelsea
Whoops….wrong historical monument ;)

 

Athens, Greece
Our Greek island-hopping adventure was short-lived (in the typical scheme of island-hopping adventures) but awesome. We finished our trip back in Athens with two days left to run around and sightsee in the city.

We were in Athens for a few hours on our cruise last year, but this time around we got a whole new perspective. We actually had time to wander and get lost in the ancient streets without having to worry about the cruise ship leaving without us.


Athens still isn’t our favorite city in the world, but it was still fun to get a second chance to explore it further! I guess it does have it’s own type of charm :)

Where we stayed:
SOHO Hotel – It was definitely not a bad hotel for what it was (barely a step up from a hostel) and it was way affordable. It was in a SUPER shady part of town though. You definitely got a sense that you reeeally didn’t want to be out alone after dark. And if you stay there, be prepared with a stash of snacks. There aren’t any convenient food shops nearby and when it’s 10pm and you’re ravenously hungry it’s a long and lonely walk to the nearest market! Did I mention it was a great price though?

 

Category: Adventures, Travel  Tags: , ,  2 Comments
Sunset in Fira
All the guidebooks say the sunset is best in Oia, but as far as we could tell the sunset was equally fantastic in Fira. And no crowds! We had the entire rooftop to ourselves (aside from one pooping cat) for a totally romantic Santorini sunset!
 
 
It was definitely the perfect way to end our time in the Greek Isles.