Glorious Greece 2013-a little late

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I was lucky enough to get to go to Greece with my bff, Jodi, to visit her friend Anna. The adventure started on our loooonng layover in Philly. We arrived in Philly in the morning so jumped on the subway to Washington Square to check out the Liberty Bell. We yelped a restaurant for breakfast and ended up at Talula’s Garden. OMG!! we had the best breakfast, a bit on the pricey side but well worth it!! Finally on our way to Athens that afternoon.

We arrived in Athens the next morning and made our way to Anna’s house where her mom cooked us breakfast…we thought we died and went to heaven. Nothin’ like a home cooked meal. Because Anna was in Crete until the next day we ventured off to see the Acropolis by ourselves. The Acropolis was amazing, so crazy to imagine what that time was like. I was saddened to see all the litter and cigarette butts all over the place. Such a lack of respect.

Greece in August is hot as hell, so we stopped for a refreshing cocktail and lunch after sweating our butts off walking around the Acropolis. We had a nice lunch at Oiwvos, nothin’ fancy except the most fabulous tzitziki. We were also introduced to ouzo and raki. I liked the ouzo but the raki was like drinking kerosene, no bueno.

Anna lives in Glyfada, a nice little town with lots of restaurants, bars and boutiques close to the beach. She sent us to dinner at place called Limon. It was very good, nice ombiance, delicious salads and gyros. The next morning Anna took us to The Project House. Basically a restaurant on the beach that looks like the inside of a house with couches and bookshelves throughout that looks out onto the beach. There we rented lounge chairs and an umbrella to hang out for the day. For dinner Anna took us to a place known for their fish dishes. She order several appetizers to try along with a greek salad and then our entrees that we all shared. The salads in Greece are amazing, everything is so fresh. I’ve never been on a vacation where I ate so many salads.

Jodi and I flew to Mykonos for 3 days after Athens. We wanted to stay on the beach versus in town and we totally lucked out on our hotel, Agios Ioannis Beach Resort. Small, family owned resort on the beach with a nice pool and restaurant/bar overlooking the water. Our room was spacious and clean but nothing fancy and for this time of the year reasonably priced.

Mykonos is a relatively small island but requires some sort of mode of transportation. Taxis are slim pickins so we rented a quad(scooters are also very popular) to get around. The scooter ride into town to get Bessy(our quad) was quite an adventure. I thought I was going to die several times. Think very narrow roads, large tourist buses and a maniac driving the scooter I was on the back of. When we finally got Bessy, off we went to explore the island. Mykonos beaches are beautiful, white sand and clear turquoise waters but windy. The land is actually quite barrin, fairly rocky and lots of brown shrubs.

Our first stop was Kavo Livadi beach to have lunch at Nice N Easy, a place owned by a friend of Anna’s. The food is all organic and local. We shared a delicious burger, watermelon salad and grilled octopus which was not so good. The passion fruit martini was awesome!!! This beach was particularly windy.

The next morning we headed out to Platis Gialos, another very popular beach with a few hotels around and several restaurants on the beach. We bellied up to one of the beach bars and made friends with the bartender. He took care of us:) All these beaches are covered with lounge chairs and umbrellas to rent from 9-12euros/day. This beach was very nice, not real windy with cool but comfortable, calm water. We hung out there for several hours then decided to head into town. Now there are no street signs in Mykonos just general directions so trying to find the road leading into town was interesting. Jodi was driving Bessy and I’m trying to read the map and make a best guess. We headed down a cobblestone road heading towards town only to come to stairs. Well Jodi opted to keep going…down the stairs. We finally made it to the bottom which did put us right into town only we needed to drive thru one of the restaurants outside seating area. Needless to say the manager/owner wasn’t very happy…oopsie!

The town is a maze of white stucco buildings and cobblestone walkways, very quaint. Tons of shopping and restaurants to be had. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant where the pasta was made fresh. I had a chicken gorganzola penne pasta dish the was very yummi.

Our last day in Mykonos we went to Super Paradise beach. It was quite a ride to get to but pretty cool. There we met  Nick, a guy from Chicago, he and his wife and kids come every year because he has family that lives there. He filled us in on places to go on Mykonos and Santorini. Some of these beaches, Super Paradise and Paradise beach are known for their partying after the sun goes down. Being the party poopers that we are we passed on that experience. We went to dinner at a place Nick recommended for fresh fish. It was pretty amazing. Of course I can’t remember the name of it.

The next morning we hopped on the ferry to go meet up with Anna in Santorini. Santorini is like nothing I have ever seen. It is breathtaking. Anna has a little place in Megalohori where we stayed for 5 glorious days. Anna took us to her favorite beach in Perivolos. Beautiful black sand and dark green clear water. There we had lunch at her friend’s restaurant, Sea Side by Notos, right on the beach. Again because we’re with Anna she knows what to order. The grilled octopus was delicious as was the shrimp with tomatoes and of course the greek salad. On our way home we stopped at Santos Winery that is situated on the Caldera overlooking the sea to watch the sun set. It was incredible!! We watched the sunset every night, truly like nothing you’ve every seen.

The next day Anna took us to see the ancient city of Akrotiri that was covered in lava in 1600B.C. It was quite an experience, amazing how much was preserved. From there we headed to see the red beach but the road to it was closed unfortunately. We headed to Anna’s second favorite beach in Vlyhada. Another black sand beach with a cool bar that is situated above the beach giving it a great view. The beach here was a bit rocky but beautiful none the less. She then took us to her family’s cave house. It’s literally built into the side of the mountain just feet from the water, pretty cool.

Our third day we spent at a beautiful hotel on the Caldera overlooking the sea. Anna’s friend was the manager at let us hang out at the pool and enjoy some cocktails. We went to dinner in Thira and again watched a beautiful sunset. That evening we did some shopping in Oia. This is where the beautiful white washed buildings with blue roofs on the mountain side overlooking the ocean are found though we didn’t really get to appreciate that beauty because it was night time. Small cobblestone streets twist around thru this very quaint village. Unfortunately the crowds kinda kill the quaintness but it’s still gorgeous.

The following day we went back to Anna’s family’s cave house to have homemade lunch prepared by some of her relatives. Fresh cucumber and cherry tomatoes to start then a delicious pasta dish with homemade sauce….OMG!!!! After lunch we went to Anna’s favorite beach and wallowed in the water like a few elephant seals.

We had dinner that night at Senor Zorba’s, that’s right Mexican food in Greece. Besides paying a fortunate for dinner it was actually better than I thought.

For our last day on Santorini Anna arrange for us to go horseback riding with one of her distant cousins. We did a nice little ride through the vineyards and then back to the beach where we started. That afternoon we wanted to go to Oia since we didn’t get to see it during the day. HOLY hotness!! I felt so sorry for the donkeys and the hotel workers in that heat. Oia is very steep in places, there are no elevators or escalators to get to some of these hotels on the hillside. Luggage has to be carried by hand. The donkeys are used to pack out all the bags of garbage. None the less the views were absolutely breathtaking!!

For our last dinner there, Anna took us to a Cretian restaurant called Metaxi Mas which means “between us”. We sat outside on the patio, the weather was beautiful. The food as usual was delicious!!

The next morning we started early to make our way back to the states. I was sad to leave, Greece is such a magnificent place to visit. So much to see and do and eat and drink!!!! I can’t wait to go back!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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