Monday, August 31, 2015

Grecian Adventures

Finally getting around to writing our final travel blog from our honeymoon; our adventures in Greece! We had such an amazing time in Italy & Montenegro we knew that Greece would be the icing on the cake. We had always wanted to visit Greece & that was the incentive for our European trip. We absolutely loved it! So much beauty, romanticism, serenity. We can't wait to visit again! & this time around, we will know what we loved, so that we can do it all over again!

Where we went:

We started by taking in the scenery through Corfu, traveled to Athens & saw the historical sights, took a beach day to Mykonos, & ended in Argostoli at the local winery & sea caves!

What we did:

We had very little time in Corfu & we had been hustling & bustling for days on end, so Jordan & I decided to take an R&R day, spent some time by the pool, played some mini golf & shuffle board, & took in the beauty that was Corfu from the top of the ship. It really was a blast! & it felt nice to have some quality time to enjoy the landscape.

In Athens we decided to have a fully packed day. We got off to take a tour from a shuttle bus, where we would stop at the Acropolis, which holds the Parthenon (the temple of Athena), one of the worlds greatest monuments. The Propylaea serves as the gateway to the Acropolis & is a stunning entrance to the temples that the hillside holds. The Erechtheion temple also resides there, which is dedicated to both Athena & Poseidon. We loved seeing this specific temples detail because it holds the famous "Porch of Maidens" (six females that have the role of supporting columns on the side of the monument). Their detailing is exquisite & oh so beautiful! We took a guided tour which was very beneficial, but of course we went off on our own to explore a bit too!

We went on to visit Panathenaic Stadium, which is where they hosted the first Olympic games. We toured The Temple of Zeus, & walked through the town of Plaka which was filled with restaurants, small shops, & local theaters. We loved visiting the shops & picked up a few things along the way. We stopped at a local restaurant which was very popular by the tourist & locals! All the restaurants were jam packed during the day, & most had indoor/outdoor seating. It was around 90 degrees & sunny, so most people wanted to be inside, but we didn't mind a little heat.

When we went to Mykonos the weather was pretty windy/cloudy, which was a bummer because Mykonos is the "beach town" of Greece so of course, we booked a trip to the beach! We went to Elias beach, & we still had a great day together. We lounged, stopped at the local beach tavern, & explored the sandy seaside. Mykonos is brimmed with the traditional greek homes, white siding with blue rooftops. The flowers are exquisite & fill the hillsides. The town of Mykonos is quiet & quaint, lots of families, small shops, & beautiful hotels. The hotels looked like something I would definitely book again to stay at, beautiful pools & seaside views. They had a lot of restaurants right on the water that had multiple fresh fish entrees. It was a very pretty town. Mykonos is actually also well known for its "party atmosphere" as lots of the beaches hold nightclubs & stay open all hours, which attracts lots of tourists.

On our final stop we landed in Argostoli, which we really didn't know much about &/or what to expect. We went to a cooking class/wine tasting in the "country" of Argostoli, on a remote hillside, which we did enjoy but we would've liked to be outside more. We ended up spending much of the morning inside, which was beneficial because we learned how to cook their local cuisine. Following our cooking class/tasting we went to the sea caves which were really a surreal experience. The Melissani Sea Caves hold some of the most crystal clear blue water I have ever seen! You get aboard a row boat & travel through the caves, which is definitely something I can check off my bucket list. Although I thought the caves would be bigger, the view of the sea floor & the cave detailing was something that can never be replicated. The beaches in Argostoli are something out of a film, so for our next visit, I will definitely be visiting multiple beaches as their seclusion & serenity is unmatched!

What we ate:

Whilst in Athens; we stopped at the local restaurant & shared their gyros, & greek salad. Let me tell you, this was one of our trip highlights! That greek salad was actually to.die.for. We could not get enough of it! It was truly one of a kind. The gyros were good as well, you could tell they were extremely fresh, we just couldn't get enough of the salad!

When we went to Mykonos we again had greek salad, as we had to try it from multiple different restaurants now that we fell in love with it. We liked the Athens made greek salad more because it was made with more ingredients, but we gobbled both up! A traditional greek salad is made with: red onion, salt & pepper, vinegar, lemon, honey, oregano, olive oil, tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumbers, & feta cheese (in a block not crumbled). Although you can't replicate a locally made greek salad, I attached a recipe {here} from The Food Network so that you can try it at home!

On our final stop in Argostoli, we actually got to take a cooking course to try their most popular local cuisine, which included Bruschetta & Strapatsada (Scrambled egg dish with tomatoes). The Strapatsada held tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, eggs, feta cheese, & salt & pepper. Sounds like it would be fairly standard, but OMG. This stuff was dynamite. Funny thing is, I was convinced to be one of the "volunteers" to cook the dish with the chefs! I think Jordan got quite the kick out of me trying to figure out what they were saying, which steps to take, & how to complete the dish without ruining it in front of 50 people! It was too funny. Jordan is normally the cook in the {Here} is a Strapatsada recipe at The 6th Floor Blog via The NY Times. For the Bruschetta they used fresh cut tomatoes, olive oil, feta, basil leaves, garlic, & a locally harvested baguette. These paired beautifully with the wines we tasted, which were curated in the vineyard on site! Check out a Greek Bruschetta recipe from The Taste of Home {here}. Nostimos!

Honestly, everywhere we went, stepped foot, explored, visited was unreal amazing. You need to visit these beautiful towns, restaurants, monuments, attractions, & seaside landscapes. You will not regret it. & I definitely recommend to go with a loved one, as this made for the perfect bonding experience.

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