As you know, the hubs and I are planning on going to Greece for our honeymoon. I thought what better way to get to know more about it for myself and for my readers than to have my friend, Pablo, write up a post just for you.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Greece is a place that had been on my bucket list for quite some time, and after visiting, it remains high on my bucket list to return. It is a fascinating country full of history, beautiful places, monuments and great food. It has mild winters and superhot summers. When I finally had the opportunity to travel to Athens in March 2013, it was a dream come true.
A lot of people call Athens disappointing, but for me, the area close to the Acropolis (home of the Parthenon) is one of my favorite places I have visited. It was quite touristy, I admit. It also has a lot of things to see and do. For 12 Euro, you can get a week pass to visit. (If you’re a EU student, you can get in for free! Students from outside the EU receive a reduced price, and most Sundays in the winter offer free admission.)
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The Parthenon is like no other place. High above Athens, it was the place to go at the height of the Greek empire. The best view to look at and contemplate the Parthenon is on a hill nearby, which you can access for free. Walking through the Parthenon is worth it though. Here, you can find people from all over the world. I actually practiced my Catalán on top of the Acropolis.
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The Changing of the Guard is another must see. During my time in Greece, there were a lot of protests. It was cool to see the protesters split into two to allow the guards through for the changing. I prefer this Changing to the more famous one in London. I watched it a few time during my short stay.
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My favorite daily ritual was finding the best view for a sunset. The most famous sunset in Greece is probably Cape Sounion, 69 kilometers (43 miles) south of Athens. You can watch the sun set over Posiedon’s Temple and the Aegean Sea with some of the most amazing views and colors ever. There is a bus from Athens for those without a car. In Athens, for an incredible sunset over the city, make your way to Lycabettus Hill, not far from the Syntagma Square and the Parliament Buildings where the Changing of the Guard takes place.
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The food in Greece is some of the best in the world. The typical Greek salad, a bit marked up in tourist areas, is great, and moussaka (think lasagna made with eggplant, in the photo buried underneath the fries/chips) is now one of my favorite foods. Greek yogurt with honey is an excellent dessert. Greek coffee is also worth trying, or if it’s hot, the frappes are also quite good for the coffee addicts. And for the record, I did try ouzo, on a full stomach, and while I am a lightweight, it's true...after only one ouzo, I was drunk.
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One thing to remember when travelling for Greece is to pack patience and an open mind along with the sunscreen and camera. Things can be changed last-minute. I originally had planned to go to Meteora, a place with several monasteries on top of spectacular cliffs.
This plan was changed because my trip coincided with the Greek Independence Day on March 25th, and they had a nice transportation strike planned that day that I didn’t know about. Instead, I went to Corinth and Napfoli on the Peloponnese Peninsula. Corinth had no clear marked bus stops, and the bus I needed was a good 6 kilometer trek from where I was, as I had gotten off at the wrong stop. When I finally got to Napfoli, I was tired but excited as Napfoli is astonishingly beautiful. As I kept an open mind to last-minute changes and went with the flow, I found a suitable alternative. The Greek culture is not known for its organization.
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On the bus back from Napfoli to Athens, I had a moment of panic. I had stopped in Argos, a 7,000-year old village near Napfoli, in an effort to see more of Greece. I got the last ticket on the bus to Athens, and I ended up losing the ticket after taking my seat. The control borded the bus, and as I speak no Greek, I started to panic as I couldn't explain the situation. However, the cute guy next to me was bilingual and explained it for me. No extra charges, and a sigh of relief.
One of my regrets is only having six days there, which did not give me enough time to explore the islands. Santorini and Mykonos are on my must-see list. I also have to return to go trekking in Meteora and to see Delphi along the way.
Greece is an incredible country that I want to return to as soon as possible. There is something for everyone here.
Pablo writes over at setmeravelles. He is an American living in Spain. He enjoys traveling the world and of course exploring all the best of Spain. Be sure to check out his blog. Facebook| twitter
While we were on our road trip, the love of my life had a birthday. For his birthday, he basically wanted one thing and that was to have an Original Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel. Who am I to deny him this wish? So we traipsed from Lexington, Kentucky where it just rained too much for me to get the pictures I wanted of my favorite places to Louisville. We were on our way to St. Louis so it wasn't out of our way. One thing I learned on this road trip is that parking is reasonable almost everywhere in the US. Parking across from the hotel was $3 for the day. We took advantage and then walked over.
Can you do Louisville without having a mint julep? We'll never know. Look at the oozy gooeyness of this dish though, and you'll understand exactly why the hubs had to have it. It is the perfect turkey sandwich. I say that, because I'm not really a fan of turkey or the turkey sandwich. The Hot Brown is an open faced turkey sandwich that really packs the punch with flavor. It has gravy, bacon, tomato, and cheese. I may have snuck a bite or two.
I'd say that this birthday was a hit. He got to play with his new GoPro, and he got to have the Hot Brown of his dreams.
As stated yesterday, I wanted to break Asheville down into two posts. You can tell we loved the city just based on how many photos I took of it, but you won't blame me when you see them. It was a quaint and walkable downtown in the mountains. Basically, I'm saying if you haven't been then you should go quickly! I hear even the Obamas want to buy a house there when the Presidency is over.
Asheville is located in the mountains and on the French Broad River. It makes the temperatures wonderful this time of year. It's only 79 there right now ya'll, which let me tell you means something when you've been experiencing 90+degrees all summer long.
I was absolutely in love with this park. You can play chess or checkers. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon? I could imagine the hubs and I really taking it to each other in a very competitive game. Did I tell you how much I hate to lose?
Paying to park by phone is brilliant. This is a new trend that I noticed in a couple of cities on our trip after leaving Asheville. I haven't seen it here in Los Angeles yet, but I'll admit that I rarely pay for parking. I'd rather walk 5 miles than pay to park. I swear!
Is this not the cutest little yarn store you've ever seen? I walked in, and I was in heaven. I saw so many great yarns that were incredibly soft. I have a yarn stash that would've made me feel guilty about buying any, but I'll show you my purchases soon. Let's just say they're the cutest little yarny items you'll ever see.
They still have a Woolworth's counter. They've turned the old store into a place to sell works from local artists, but the counter still stands. You can get all your favorite ice cream treats. We didn't, but we did walk around the art walk and collect a few cards. There were some really great works there.
Things to do Before I Die is what this wall was about, and I can totally get behind it. Of course I'm a big fan of having reasonable goals for something like this. You have to really think about what you can achieve, but you have to push yourself a little past your own current limitations. Your goals should be constantly changing anyway, right?
We didn't eat at Black Bird, but I've heard it's one of the top restaurants in Asheville. It looked delicious. Chestnut was just better suited for us when we went to dinner in Asheville. I wish I could have tried a little taste of everything in the whole town actually.
I leave you with a few random pics of downtown Asheville. Gorgeous, right?
Where do you like to visit most?
I'm going to break Asheville into 2 posts, because I took about a million photos. We absolutely loved it while we were there. They had just about everything we love in a city, which includes good food, good beer, good wine, and an ultra cute yarn store. I was in heaven. Today, we're going to discuss food. You all know how much I love food so I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about the awesomeness of Chestnut in downtown Asheville, NC. It's the kind of spot that is perfect for date night with your hubs for a casual night.
The menu is broken down the way I like it. You have starters, medium plates, salads, and entrees. This allowed me to decide how hungry I was at the moment versus having an entree that I would have no place to store while we were on the road. The hubs and I both went with a medium plate. I added a starter.
My starter was the black bean soup, and I promise you that if I was on Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate this would be on my list for best thing I ever ate soup or even black bean. It wasn't one of those thick black bean soups like you're used to getting everywhere else. It was soupy. As a child, I used to have what we called soup beans with a slice of onion for dinner sometimes, and this black bean soup took me back there. The soup beans from my childhood were pintos so it was nice to also see another variation. It was still spicy, but the creme cut it perfectly. I couldn't have asked for a better bowl of soup. I am not even kidding you.
The hubs ended up with Risotto Cakes and Lobster Ragout. I love a good lobster dish so I knew I had to have a bite. The risotto cake was perfect. It was moist and the cheese in the middle just made it feel extra gooey. The lobster was cooked perfectly. The sauce added to the flavor without taking away anything at all. It was truly delicious.
I selected the Fried Pickled Green Tomatoes. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect when I ordered it. I had never thought of pickling my green tomatoes before frying them, but it was delicious. Between each layer was a smear of pimento cheese, which was clearly homemade. If you have a choice, you should always go with homemade pimento cheese versus the store bought variety. It definitely has a very different and amazingly full flavor. The star of this dish might have been the tomato jam at the bottom. It was just the perfect balance to the sweetness in the dish. I honestly wish I could share a bite with you right now.
Trends for fall of 2014 appear to be kind of crazy but comfortable looking at the same time if you ask me. I mean who would have thought of making a coat that fit like a robe? Well someone did, and it looks brilliant. I hope that I'll be able to try one for myself. I'll be sure to share a few other trends with you over the next few weeks.
My computer was honestly slower than Methuselah so I knew it was time for a new one. I was getting the pinwheel of death just opening my blog format and of course try editing pics that way. It was so annoying. I was home though for a few days last week, and my mom agreed to switch computers with me. It was wonderful. I am now the proud owner of a Macbook Pro from 2011 but with that said there are still some things that need to be set up when we get to California. This means that the rest of our road trip will be blogged when I get home. Tomorrow will look like a normal Thursday and Friday will look like a normal Friday. I'll be home on Friday and get the computer formatted to my needs. I thank you for your patience during this time.
The family reunion is actually a 2 day event so I didn't want to deprive you of the awesome photos from the day. Virginia is a gorgeous state, and it's certainly quaint in the small towns. We were in the small town of Lebanon, VA.
I don't know how many times those little boys captured the two big boys, but it must've been 100 or more. I'm thankful that they had such an awesome time and wore themselves out.
The Hubs certainly seemed to enjoy himself for the entire weekend, but it's hard not to when you're being served good food and spending time with awesome family.
I believe the dog might have been the highlight of the weekend. Riley got so much attention that I'm not even sure he could handle it sometimes, and you can tell he absolutely loves it.
The views are absolutely splendid! I might have gotten motion sickness both days on the way there, but I know that the payoff was worth it. So here's to next year folks!
We went to Virginia for my family reunion. It was pretty fabulous to see everyone. It was the hub's first one so it was also quite a bit of a meet and greet. This will be a mostly photo post.
These are some photos from the backyard of the house we were at for the cookout. There will be more photos of the reunion tomorrow since it was a two day event. The last photo I claimed was exactly why they call some place God's country. It was absolutely beautiful with the sun coming through the cloud formation.
Meet Riley! This is my cousin's little corgi buddy. He's pretty lovable. I think he was mostly happier than a corgi on stilts, but he might have begged to differ when the kids came around. It's a bit stressful on a little doggie.
The hubs is deep in conversation here. I couldn't resist. I think he must've liked everyone. My cousin Ben is with him, and he was enjoying the week before his own wedding. Congrats Ben!
Lunch was delicious as always. I even had cheese on my burger. This is a HUGE feat.