A whole lot of walking!
And on a most beautiful couple of days at that!
I found out about the Photo Tour through a comment on Instagram. Notes of Nomads saw a post I had made about the conference (TBEX) and told me about their photo tour, an idea to walk through the corner streets and alleyways of Athens. I immediately was looking forward to it. 2 days before the conference began we all met at the metro station. It was my first time meeting all of the people in the photo below. Can you tell where I am? (Where’s Waldo)
As soon as we set off on our trek winding through the streets, the first thing I noticed was all the graffiti. It brings an extraordinary dynamic to this city. I love it.
MEANWHILE a day later and a dollar short I was able to go on the Athens Food Tour booked through Athens Walking Tours, the food tour started early and in the crisp morning air with the sun warming us as it rose in the sky. We pleasantly set off on foot.
After a quick stop at a Greek Orthodox church we had a small chat and then headed off for donuts. And what does the Greek Orthodox Church have to do with food you ask?
Ahhhh… it was my same thought, but as it turns out, being religious in Greece is no easy job. Being religious means being a vegan over 150 days a year. Since the Greeks are 97% Greek Orthodox, 2% catholic, and 1% other, it seems they are all in a similar boat, having to trade the meats and eggs for sesame seeds and yogurt regularly.
Currently, Athens is enduring a huge economic crisis. 1 man owns 56% of all the wealth in Athens leaving not much else for the rest of the city. 75% of Athens thrives on the local businesses which is precisely where we were headed, into the heart of the local businesses.
One of our first stops was for Loukoumades. I admit to never being a big fan of donuts (I know! What is wrong with me you’re screaming…) but these, these are special and everyone should have one even if its just once in their life. Light and fluffy drizzled with honey and a mixture of spices topped with nuts, even I couldn’t resist such a thing.
Krinos is the famous shop well known for the treat. A dutch girl also commented that they have something very similar in Holland but only once a year and only on New Year’s Eve. They call them Olieboi (just 1) and Olie bollen (plural). It appears I should be in Holland for Christmas Eve because I want more of these treats!
MEANWHILE, over yonder at the photo tour
After a knock on the old door and a peer into a restaurant making preparations for dinner we ended up on side streets right below the hill of the Acropolis.
This small house with it’s bright shutters and beautiful blooms seems like the perfect way to watch the seasons pass.
MEANWHILE on the Athen’s food tour, the meat and fish markets were calling our name. These next few photos are probably not well to be seen by vegetarians.
As you weave in and out of the stands its easy to see that there is no shortage of meat, whichever cut you should fancy, you can get here. They even had a whole section of livers which smelled abominable. But think of what you can dream up to make such as oxtail stew, pork chops, ribs… all of it!
You walk through a small and narrow path in-between a meet stand and suddenly you are right in the middle of the fish market. Fish are literally everywhere. Probably not every type in the world but a very wide variety. There’s plenty of different options for many types of dishes, I’m sure you would be quite satisfied with the selection.
Walking through the market the locals were exuberant, yelling and screaming their wares. It was a bit of a show they put on for the tourists in the room. I enjoyed it throughly although I didn’t understand an ounce of what was being said.
Did you know that in order to prepare an octopus for cooking you must first remove the beak? That’s the only hard part of their body, they can fit through any hole that fits their beak, like the opening to a glass coke bottle.
MEANWHILE on the photo tour,
As we were deciding which turn to make, a kitten crept upon us.
Don’t worry I’ve never intentionally harmed one or anything like that but I’m not the biggest fan.
MEANWHILE down at the food tour
We entered the Lesvos grocery store and tried multiple treats. my favorite was without a doubt the honey, how I love honey, especially mixed with skippy all natural peanut butter. We tried wines and olives, jams and tomato sauces.
At the end, our tour guide let us try the infamous greek yogurt mixed with jam. I do like yogurt, but this one in particular was very fatty and heavy, and did not sit very well in my stomach. It was definitely worth the tasting though.
Finishing up the yogurt, we left the shop and walked down the way to try some more greek treats.
I just had to take a picture of the chandelier. I’m not sure of the name of this restaurant but it’s within walking of the others 😉
They served us multiple dishes like this. Very similar to baklava except that they are not sweet and made for desert but more as a main dish filled with meat and chicken. Aside from my mother’s home cooked baklava I haven’t had any authentic dishes like this before.
MEANWHILE, up on the hill in the photo tour
I couldn’t resist the cactus picture. hehe.
MEANWHILE, heading back on over to the food tour
I found out about the resin from Mastic trees which are the little pebbles in the scooper above. This is a main ingredient in chewing gum. Alone it just tastes like wax but you can chew it for a prolonged period of time if you so choose.
UMm Baklava, one of the more well known Greek deserts. Made of filo dough, honey, walnuts, and don’t forget the butter, you can rarely go wrong with a dish like this. Its almost too good to resist for just desert.
MEANWHILE, as we finish up at the photo tour
Afterwards we danced off into the sunset, or to an evening event filled with free food and drinks and all kinds of perks.
MEANWHILE, as we end the food tour
Once the tour ended at the end of the fruit stands we went our separate ways. On the way back to the metro I saw these lovely umbrellas filled with flowers and couldn’t help but include them because they are so vibrant and fun.
Also along the way I walked with Ruth and her son, 2 travelers from Australia and you can see him over in the corner there. He found it very fun to run through the field of pigeons, “he calls them rats with wings” his mother told me. We both laughed.
I ended the day saying hiiiii to this guy. How awesome would it be to sit and watch all the sights of the day from this one spot. Almost like a fly on the wall except with a much more beautiful sound. This is where I shall leave you, since this post is extraordinarily long already.
Tell me your thoughts friends!
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.