Blogs from Pláka, Athens, Attica, Greece, Europe

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Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka January 18th 2023

From Dianne de Guzman of SF Gate: I understand that there can be a weird stigma around eating alone, but that is mostly in one’s head. What dining alone affords you — as I’ve found out over years of being seated solo at tables and bars — is chance. And there’s a lot I mean by that word, “chance.” It could mean an opportunity to meet a person next to you. To linger longer with a bartender and ask questions about the big and small things in drinking (and life). It could also mean just taking a chance to listen, whether that be to your own thoughts or to just bask in the bustle of the city. From my days of business travel, dining alone never bothered me. But wearing a suit while dining versus wearing ... read more
A real solo diner
Relax and enjoy yourself!

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka January 7th 2023

More travelers are expected to go solo in 2023. url=https://www.ohio.edu/goglobal/3-benefits-solo-travel#:~:text=Solo%20traveling%20will%20help%20you%20reconnect%20with%20yourself%20and%20find%20your%20purpose.&text=It%20is%20more%20difficult%20to,other%20people's%20schedules%20and%20timing.According to Ohio University's Office of Global Opportunities, solo travel has unique benefits, such as not having to plan around anyone else's schedule, meeting new people, and growing outside of your comfort zone. According to an August 2022 report from WTM Global Hub, Google searches for solo travel have quadrupled since 2020. Solo travel was already on the rise in 2022, according to Travel Pulse, and... read more
My new Greek family
Me and  expert guide, Kostas in Santorini

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka December 25th 2022

While still hibernating due to Covid, I did manage to have a few memorable meals. The list is quite short. Sea bass at Liondi in Athens (where my Greek brothers work) Saimin at Hamura Saimin in Kauai Chawan-mushi at Edo-Ya in Fresno Moskva Schnitt at Hotel Moskva, Belgrade, Serbia Croatian creme cake in Hvar, Croatia Pork knuckle at Munchener Stubn in Munich 2008 Quinta do Noval Port in Porto, Portugal Chicago beef sandwich at Portillo's, Scottsdale Kauai Kookies at the outlet store in Hanapepe, Kauai Turkish Deelite at the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul Lamb chops at Nittaya's Secret Kitchen in Summerlin, NV Singapore rice noodles at New Gold Medal in Oakland Chinatown Chile relleno at Los Sombreros in Scottsdale, AZ Oysters and beignets in New Orleans Croatian barbecued meats on board the cycling cruise ship in Croatia ... read more
My Greek brothers at Liondi in Athens
Famous cake, Moskva Schnitt
Hamura Saimin, Kauai

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 14th 2022

Tourist time for its up for breakfast by 7 o’clock, out the door by 7:40 and up the Dionysius Gate (because the majority of tourists use the main or northern gate) by opening time. No queue at all and no discount for 65 plus year olds since Britain left the EU (I can pretend to be British I can’t pretend to be French, Portuguese or really any other EU nation) so the Greek Government has my €20. You can pay to skip the queues and in peak time or peak season it may be worth it but our walking guide mentioned that now it’s not worth it. The Acropolis is wonderful but the Parthenon and a couple of accompanying buildings (the Theatre of Dionysius, The Temple of Nike and the Caryatids on the Erecteion (oops I ... read more
Me and an old friend.
By the Gate of Dionysius, Acropolis.
Just a wall! Looking over the Athenian suburbs from the Acropolis.

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 13th 2022

Despite having yoghurt, muesli, fruit, juice, several pastries and coffee for breakfast I set off on my food tour. Leaving the eggs, bacon, breads etc was a good decision, well not really I’ve become so accustomed to not having that English style breakfast I no longer really even think about it. Perhaps I should have had less of everything though because a focus of the tour was on sampling. Met Trevor, an English trained chef who has lived in Athens for almost 20 years at Syntagma Square (doesn’t everyone met everyone there), and set off on the Athens Food Adventure. First stop probably 2 metres away! And that’s the tone for the tour. Little walking, lots of eating. Only 3 in the group and that’s why my take away bag was choc a block full. We ... read more
Athens Food Adventure.
Athens Food Adventure
Modern Greek cuisine?

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 12th 2022

By taxi, by train and by plane, all modes of transport have lead us to Athens. And despite just about having to sell my kidney to pay the taxi fare from the airport I love it. Having visited years ago I had an impression of Athens based on that visit and on what I’ve read and gleaned and often and frequently the impression and the reality do not match. Here first impressions (after the airport in the middle of the night) do. The skyline from the rooftop garden of our hotel is the equal of any city vista I’ve seen anywhere. It is so evocative of so many concepts and I love it. It is truly inspiring. I’m eagerly anticipating a couple of walking tours I have booked and can’t wait to get amongst what the ... read more
From our rooftop. Athens.
From our rooftop. Athens.
Breakfast, Athens style.

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 12th 2022

How good is Athens? Rhetorical question really. I love it. Everywhere are reminders of just how special this place is. Be it the history of the Olympics, the marathon, the Romans, the Byzantines, the great Greek thinkers (well the big 3), the Ottomans, even King Ludwig of Bavaria and particularly his son (first king of Greece) and I haven’t even mentioned the Acropolis or the Parthenon! It is so good to walk around. I’m certainly not the only one walking around, the streets are full of tourists and from all over the place. The walking tour I did had more Germans and Dutch than Aussies and they were not the only nationalities. Again the tour was pretty good. They have to be at least OK or they don’t make as much on tips. In Greece the ... read more
How good is that!
Just around the corner from our hotel.
Cold coffees? Surprisingly good.

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka August 28th 2022

Though I really enjoy visiting supermarkets in foreign countries, there are benefits to visiting domestic supermarkets as well. But the point is, do not overlook the supermarket for a worthwhile adventure while on the road. Over the years, we have discovered some really interesting gift items and experiences. One of my first visits in a foreign country was in London back in the 70s. I found the "Wagon Wheel" brand on boxes of produce. The Sorensen family were near and dear to our family since they managed my Grandmother's farm in Sanger when my family was sent to a WW2 Relocation Camp in Gila, Arizona. Sadly, I think the brand is gone, but the Sorensen's live on! Often times, I see our Kingsburg based Sun Maid brand of raisins in places all over the world, like ... read more
Wine gums
Stinky durian

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka August 28th 2022

We can’t quite believe that today’s the last full day of our nearly three month jaunt. Half of me wants to stay here in the heat of Europe. The other half wants to go home and see our loved ones, but only if someone’s remembered to turn up Melbourne’s thermostat. Issy wants to sit on a rug in a green park. We haven’t got a rug so we settle for a thin towel and head off for the National Garden which is a couple of kilometres north of the hotel, on the edge of the CBD. We think there may well be more stray cats here in Athens than people (ordinary people not stray people) and we come across yet another flock/herd/group next to a church at the south end of the Garden. We see a ... read more
Holy Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary
Zappeion Hall
It seems the Acropolis is visible from nearly everywhere in Athens

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka August 26th 2022

This morning we’ve booked a ”mythological” tour of Athens’ highlights. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but Issy’s sensing a lot of ancient temples so elects to stay in bed. I’m a bit surprised she’s let me venture out on my own. She said last night that I shouldn’t go out after dark by myself given that we seem to be staying in the middle of the red light district. I wasn’t quite sure whether that was because she thought I might get mugged or because she was afraid I might “accidentally” get lured into one of the strip clubs. Anyway most of them seem to be closed at 8am this morning, not of course that I was taking all that much notice…… Our guide introduces himself as Evan. He says that this is short ... read more
Holy Church of the Virgin Mary Gorgoepekoos and Saint Eleutherius
Porch of the Maidens, Temple of Athena Polias
Hadrians Arch




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