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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Back in Denver…Athens

on home route after traveling to Greenville, SC and Tampa, FL.
Jet lag is taking it’s toll. My body has no idea what time it is or when to be hungry!! so I’m tired and hungry all the time
 
Police
Back to my conversation about Athens. One question we received upon returning from everyone was about protests/riots. No, we didn’t see anything. We did see a LOT of policemen around the parlament building and the president’s residence (which we passed one day when trying to find a modern art museum I had read about). There was one very cute, young policeman in full riot gear – hard plastic lower leg covers, large plastic shield. He was just standing around chatting on his cell phone.
 
Many of the police we saw were on motorcyles and we were really shocked to see them riding double. Joe questioned how macho guys could do this, you’d never see this in the US. Maybe way to save on gas??
 
I have to mention the policewomen we saw. These amazons looked like they were all cut from the same mold. Incidentially, the same mold as the Harbor policewomen too. Tall, lanky, ponytail, very athletic. In fact, we saw one policewoman in action chasing down a suspicion guy, she was fast!
 
 
Cabs/Taxis
Back to cabs – just remembering how fascinating Joe was the first time we went to Germany and ALL of the taxis were Mercedes. In Athens, they were either Skodas or Mercedes. We quickly remember a great rule, always ask what the fare is going to be before getting in a cab. Our one driver quoted 5E, then once the luggage was in the trunk it was 7Euros!!
 
Museums/Shops
Greece is definitely in the south – meaning there are Siestas. Banks are only open from 8 – 2:30, and don’t reopen. Shops close anywhere from 1 – 5, reopening then until 9 pm. Even Museums are closed from 2 or 3 to 6 and stay open until 9 pm too. Many sites close at 3 pm and don’t reopen; most cultural sites and museums are closed on Tuesday.
 
Food
Delicious!! Wonderful presentation!! Tasty!! Wholesome….. I could go on forever. Yummy!! Greek salads are lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and very few olives; drizzled with olive oil and a HUGE ($7 worth) of feta on top. All ways served with optional oil and vinegar but never needed. Restaurants will place bread on your table on automatically charge you; mostly add some kind of little dip like garlic butter or olive tapenade. While we always ordered bottled water, in a few restaurants they told us to just get a pitcher of tap; it was safe. Knock on wood no evil tummy bugs on this whole trip.
 
Fish is served whole and waiters will offer to filet at the table. We always fished out the checks; a specialty I learned about growing up in Germany. One day on Mykonos we saw a gentleman cleaning fish at the harbor and asked about the many different kind – Sea Bream, Seabass, Red Snapper (had never heard of bream before this trip – that I remember, maybe that braincell died). Turns out these were for a specific restaurant which was having a barbque later that evening. Of course, we had to have dinner there and order the fish platter with Seabass, absolutely huge scampi, octopus, and squid. Both Joe and I left the table to use the facilities (will write more about these later). Returning to the table, there was a clear glass bottle with brown liquid. The bottle was shaped like a man with a huge phallic symbol jutting out from the bottle. The waiter promptly showed up and said it was on the house and we should taste it. Turns out to be some kind of cinnamon liqueur which was delicious. We immediately set out to find some and brought a 100ml bottle back (regular bottle, no men!!)
 
Almost every meal we had, after requesting the bill, the waiter would bring a small bottle of Rika (schnaps) or Ouzo (anis liqueur) and a large dessert. NO additional cost.
 
Off to catch next flight home, will have to continue to drag this out. Hope you’re enjoying my notes, really want to get pictures uploaded. Promise to do when I get home this time.
 
 
 
 
 
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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

On the Road Again!

At the Medford airport waiting for 6:05 flight to Denver, then on to Greenville SC. Hoping with this travel, I’ll have time to catch up on our impressions of Greece. We finally resorted to handwriting notes since we just didn’t want to take the time to find an Internet Cafe. Next trip we’re considering getting a NetBook!! Reason to play with some new technology.
We’ve not even been back a week and it feels like it’s been several since we were sitting on the balcony of the Athens Hilton that first night trying to decide which island to hop to first. Luck was with us, we were upgraded to the executive floor with incredible views of the Acropolis with lots of food and drinks!! Joe was responsible for major decisions on this trip, so using his impeccable logic decided to start on one of the furthest away islands Crete. But you know all this. I’m writing this to refresh my memory.
Sitting on the 11th floor balcony looking down at the traffic, we felt we could have been in New York City – there are seas of yellow cabs. The cabs outnumber the regular cars 2:1.
Darn, flight is being called. So, this will be documentation with interruptions!! More later.
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

We’re Back – More Notes Coming

We didn’t always have internet access so we kept copious notes which I’ll be adding in the next week (or so). Really want to share our impressions!!
 
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Posted by on June 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

More on Paros!

Wow, what a day! Rented quad ATV’s – one for each of us. In one day we were able to completely circle the island. These machines were so much fun. Loud, yes, but may have to buy one. No shifting gears (reason they like to rent them out to us motorcycle neophites).
We drove off around 9 am, returning about 6 pm – traveling counter-clockwise around the island. Saw incredible views of crystal clear, brilliant blue water; amazing homes on hillsides with infinity pools. Tried to go to Butterfly Valley but they weren’t open yet – darn! Saw so many little chapels, each with domed roofs; appears every farm has their own chapel. Plus, along the roads there are little monuments with pictures of people who perished at that particular place; in addition to pictures there were other momentos and flasks of olive oil, laterns, and other such items.
Hillsides are divides by miles and miles of stone walls. Some look ancient, others brand new. The main road took us through several little fishing villages where we stopped to admire the little harbour and beach at each. Plus, of course, we have to stop late morning to visit a local bakery; had feta filled pastry (philo dough).
(Yesterday we had spinach filled on the ferry for lunch).
Climbed up to another monastery which was once again closed.
Near Naousa we read there was an acropolis with over 35,000 stones; so up we climbed (this trip involves lots of walking and climbing – we love it!!) over huge granite slabs and through prickly bushes up several hundred feet. Great view of the bay of Naousa, lots of small fishing boats. Oh, yeah, in the city of Naousa they were drying huge octopi on stands by the wharf.
To finish the trip, we dropped of our ATV’s and walked over to the beach and took a nice swim in the sea.
Dinner was more Greek food – ha, ha!! Joe has been enjoying the amazing variety of meat dishes – souvlaki, kebabs, etc. I’ve been sticking to lots of vegis like eggplants, zucchini, fava beans, rocket, lentils, lots of salads. BUT we have to have dessert since they bring it with the bill (they didn’t do this on Santorini, too touristy) – it’s free so we can’t pass it up!!
Last night we had dinner at one of the best restaurants of anywhere we’ve eaten, it was sort of like Greek Fusion. Unusual pairings – rocket, pear, cucumber, capers and very thin slices of parmesan cheese. In fact, we went back this evening just for dessert and after dinner drinks. Ah, Joe had Grappa – now we’ve done the major drinks – Ouzo and Metaxa. Have to have some Retsina now still.
Tomorrow catching ferry to Mykonos. Still have to pick hotel. We’ve really lucked out just booking the day before we arrive somewhere. Not too crowded here yet – would hate to be here in July/August – hot and crowded.
Want to see Delos – more about this after we’ve been there!~!

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2010 in Uncategorized