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Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 17th 2021

My second trip to Greece in less than six months may not seem very adventurous to you. But I plan to make up for what little I saw last May, when the weather was too hot to do anything. So, I am hoping for weather in the 70s, cooler evenings, and more outdoor activities. We had several downpours as well, mostly in the evening. But I plan on visiting the friends I made on my last visit, Stavros, George, and Vasili. And I also plan on getting more adventurous with my Greek meals, wine, and neighborhoods. I know how to use the Metro and can get most anywhere on the mainland. But as you know, walking the big city is one of my big thrills when I travel. I also met a young Belarus girl, who ... read more
Stavros and Vasili, my Greek brothers
Rhine wine tasting
View of harbor from the castle

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 10th 2021

Not really, unless you consider a bicycle a "beast" of sorts. When I was here in May, it was too darn hot to go on any bike tour, morning, afternoon or night. But I think October, now, is going to work out. Here is what I am going to do. First, take a bike tour and get the "lay of the land" for two wheels. With the plethora of cobbled streets, I plan to be extra careful, ride slowly, and try to stop as often as possible.Here is my general itinerary. You will see many famous places along the way.Like most tours, everything starts at the Acropolis Museum. In fact, I spent most of my time last May in the shadows of the Acropolis Museum, my hotel was less than ... read more
Cycling fun or ??

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 9th 2021

Let's try to step further out of the comfort zone, as I see more of Athens than on my last visit. The weather is conducive to walking, sitting at cafes, and enjoying this great!Metaxourgeio is not a weird drink or food, but a neighborhood located between Omonia Square and the Larissa train station. I am told it has been best street art in the city. And a deep counter culture, and lots of neighborhood cafes. They say the street art here rivals Berlin and Rome as the European street art capital. Even guides are available to tour the street art. The street artists who started out as teenagers tagging walls are now commissioned to paint big pieces. Paint can run between 500 to 1000 Euros. Metaxo is also home to a thriving Albanian ... read more
Produce at Varvakios
The Parthenon

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Glyfa October 8th 2021

From Culinary Backstreets website: Fall marks the start of the olive picking season throughout Greece. From Thrace to Crete, from Corfu to Lesvos, and even in the suburbs of Athens, landowners lucky enough to have olive trees will start harvesting their fruit. In fact, Greeks universally prefer the oil from their own region if not their own trees and tend to buy it “loose,” direct from the press rather than the supermarket.Much like back home in the states, late October is olive picking season. It is a well-known facts that Greeks prefer olive oil from their own region. And furthermore, as I learned on my last visit here in May, most Greeks can tell which region the olive oil comes from. And they don't seem to care about awards and quality control. Here, ... read more
Greek olive trees

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Vassilikos October 8th 2021

Most of us think about feta when it comes to Greek cheese. And it is Greece's most popular cheese. According to Greek myth, Aristaeus, the son of Apollo, learned how to make cheese from the nymphs, and later taught mere mortals the gift of cheese making. But we do know that Greek cheese has been around since the 8th century BC. Cheese remains an integral part of Greek diet and cuisine. Nearly every meal, from morning to night, and from appetizer to dessert may contain cheese, or at least some dairy. Greece is always near the top of per capita cheese consumption around the world. Feta has, as most of you already know, a tangy and salty taste, and is a protected designation of origin (POD) product. It is mostly ... read more
And the beloved feta

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 7th 2021

Since I was just in Greece in May, I will try not to repeat anything I sent, whether Athens or Santorini. But I am back, though perhaps in a different mode. I assume the pandemic still requires caution, but I hear the Greeks are almost 50% vaccinated, and they have emphasized taking care of their tourist related people first. Tourism accounts for a significant portion of the economy here. They were so glad to see tourists come back in May, and I assume the same will be true now.I had many options of where to go, but opted for the "safe" route in terms of vaccination rates, medical care availability, and overall safety. Plus, when I was here in May, it was very hot, limiting what I could do each day. The mornings ... read more
Love the Kydoni
And the streets of Plaka

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka October 6th 2021

October in Europe is generally a great place to visit, assuming the weather is still good, in spite of global warming. Most everywhere in southern Europe is still nice. But northern Europe, where I want to visit, is getting quite cold. Highs are in the 50s, lows in the 30s, and about half the days are rainy. Best of all, tourists are gone! But since I want nice weather, I am headed south again, to Athens. Why? I have friends there now, plus the weather and food are the best.When I was last in Athens in May, I experienced a big heat wave. It kept me from my normal activities, like walking the city, seeing the famous historical sites, cycling, and satisfying my curiosity about this great city. October will be better in ... read more
Or warm Europe beach
Back to Plaka

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka July 22nd 2021

Like Robert Frost's road less traveled, your travel costs can be reduced by three simple ways. I always try to book direct, use alternative travel, and use my reward points and miles whenever possible. Booking direct often yields a few nice surprises. One would be better availability of room choices, discounts, and upgrades. For instance, if you join Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott sends periodic upgrades to use with any reservation. So, why not get that larger, quieter corner room, rather than the small, noisy room near the ice machine or elevator? Most direct sites, like airlines, hotels, and excursions offer better cancellation or postponement options. When I booked a non-refundable stay in Munich for the Oktoberfest (it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021), I was able to salvage the reservation. I moved it forward another year, and ... read more
Lodging trends
Time list

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka June 18th 2021

This was to be our last full day in Greece. We couldn’t believe that this would be day 8. Where did the time go? We’d been told that we had to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There is a ceremony on Sunday’s at 11 am that has much pomp and circumstance with special uniforms. The square was only 2 blocks from us so we went there first. What a show. It is difficult to describe and I tried to attach a video but couldn't. But it is a show to see! We wanted to have one last breakfast at Athena Cook. Demetri was there and remembered exactly what we liked to eat and remembered that I could not eat wheat. Wow, we ate there a week ago, our ... read more
Friends
A last Athens gelato
Miss Greek Godess

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka June 14th 2021

Dale and I are Olympic fans. We attended a couple of events of the 1986 summer Olympics in LA and several events at the 1988 winter Olympics in Calgary. We went to Paso Robles and saw the torch being carried, and one of the torch bearers let us hold the torch briefly. So, it was only fitting that we wanted to go to Olympia, the place of the original Olympics. Before leaving for Greece, I tried to figure out how to get to Olympia on our own for as a day trip. This was impossible. I’d read in Rick Steeves that he recommended Nikki of Olympia Tour so I contacted her. Yes, the train and then bus would take probably 5 hours each way and yes, neither Dale or I could rent a car due to ... read more
Olympia
Zaya the winner
Here are the Olympians




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