Joined March 2017 Message
  • Day13

    Syntagma Square

    October 4, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Today was Athens Tours a la Tourist. The day started with a metro ride to Syntagma Square, the central square on the steps of parliament house. Parliament house was originally a palace. It was initially built as the residence of King Otto but has been used as the house of parliament since 1934. Historically and socially this square has significant importance to Greeks.

    The name comes from the uprising in 1843 when the military gathered in the square and demanded a constitution from King Otto. Unsurprisingly Syntagma means constitution.

    Within the square you can find the tomb of the unknown solider which is guarded by Evzones. These men are elaborated dressed complete with pompoms on their shoes. Every hour there is a changing of the guard, and they do some crazy marching complete with high kicks.

    We then strolled through the botanical gardens taking in the beautiful Zappieon (yellow building) which is used for meetings, ceremonies and private functions.
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  • Day12

    O Laundromat where 'art thou?

    October 3, 2017 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    We said 'antío' to Paros and set off for Athens. For our ferry ride back we had purchased economy tickets and found that so had every one else. There was no where to sit except black plastic chairs in front of the toilets. It didn't take us long to pay the 5€ for the upgrade to a designated seat. Definitely worth it, would of been a long 5 hours otherwise.

    Athens and Greek public transport is easy to use. We purchased a multi day pass which allowed us to bus and train all round Athens. As we were now the queens of the metro, we quickly navigated to Kerameikos station and walked the breezy 40 metres to our apartment.

    Our apartment is, or was at some stage a shag pad. It had a pallet bed side table, a racy red futon, a tyres stack with a pane of glass on top for a coffee table and an easel. The thing that really gives you the sense that this is a shag pad is that it is directly above a gay nightclub and seems to have matching colour schemes.

    After settling in we packed up a rather large amount of dirty clothes and went to find the nearest laundry. We trekked and trekked.... And found a dry cleaner with an old man that did not speak a word of English. As we speak no more than five words of Greek none of which relate to laundry, it was a very short conversation.

    Finally 2 hours after setting out we found a laundromat it was three metro stations from our apartment so a bit of a hike. We wanted our clothes and partially dried some (we ran out of coins). We packed up our clothes and caught the metro home.

    We needed to dry our clothes so utilised every possible drying surface in our apartment, cupboard doors, TV, coat hangers, chairs and an easel. It looked ridiculous.

    We finished the night off with dinner at Good Wolf, it had a great atmosphere, pleasant staff but the food was mostly forgettable.

    Sleeping was fun too, I found myself waking up singing to very loud club music more than once.
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  • Day11

    Scrumptious

    October 2, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    After catching the local bus back to Naousa (a much cheaper option than the morning's cab), we set off in search of a seafood restaurant in the town square. We never found it. Instead we found Yenleni, an amazing wine bar.

    The food was fabulous. We started with delicious bread and dips. Both were clearly made on site. The olive dip in particular was fabulous. Next was entré, we shared a slow cooked chickpea dish. The highlight of the night; the flavours and textures just perfect. Our waiter later told us the chickpeas are slow cooked overnight which is why they are so flavoursome. We had veal pasta for main and the meat was tender and juicy.

    As it was a wine bar it would be lapse of me not to talk about the wine. Their wine list by both the bottle and glass was extensive (and I don't think I saw the entire list). It mostly focused on Greek wines and had wines to suit most budgets. Nicole chose a light refreshing white. I settled on a red from the north which had a similar palate to a Cab Sav after trying a number of Merlots that weren't quite to my liking.

    The service in general was great, but the sommelier's attentiveness was a cut above the rest. He successfully combined our preferences and his knowledge to find us the best matched wine for our food.

    Feeling sated, we were just about to request the bill when our waiter brought us a small slice of chocolate cake. It was so moist. The flavours Delicious. All ready full we made room for it. The sommelier brought us a digestive, which I pretty confident was home brewed port, made by his mother in law. It was delicious and sweet and the perfect way to finish the night.

    If you ever visit Paros this place is a must.
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  • Day11

    Antiparos

    October 2, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Today started with a rather expensive cab ride to Pounta as we missed the morning bus and did not wish to wait two hours for the next. Our cab driver, George took advantage of the road (or maybe just ignored the speed limit). Regardless we were flying along at speeds of about 140km/h which paid off when we made the ferry with seconds to spare. My Greek is poor, but I have a suspicion that good old George called the ferry operator and told him we are on route. Either way making the ferry saved us an hour of waiting.

    We took the ferry across to nearby Antiparos. On arrival we attempted to hire a quad bike. No success, unfortunately they would not rent us a quad bike as we had no experience and it was very dangerous. I think this wouldn't of been an issue if we weren't female. A male hired one shortly after us and it was pretty obvious he did not know how to drive a quad. With no other bike hire shops open we were stuck with a bus to the Grotte.

    The Grotte or Cave of Antiparos is located on the south eastern side of the island, roughly 110 metres above sea level. This cave is believed to be one of the oldest caves in Greece. The entrance to cave is an arch, whch at a guess is about 10 metres high and 20 metres wide. The arch is framed by a small church aptly named St John of the Cave. Slightly inside the mouth for the arch you find a mammoth stalagmite, which is believed approximately 45 million years old and the oldest in Europe.

    We then descended into the cave, 411 steps to be exact. The cavern revealed was large and deep, in excess of 100 metres. The cavern had been vandalised with many stalactites being removed and names engraved in the limestone. Overall, despite the damage it was worth a visit just to see the sheer grandness of the cave.

    Next, we headed back into town and treated ourselves to some relax time. The local spa, Flora offered some great spa packages. Nicole went for chocolate and I algae/seaweed. We were lathered in our chosen product and them wrapped in a electronic blanket. Eventually, once we were good and sweaty it was rinse time. The package finished with a full body massage. We left smelling delicious (Nic more so than me), feeling refreshed and with soft supple skin.
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  • Day10

    Paros (we made it)

    October 1, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    With the winds still howling and choppy seas we made it to Paros at close to 11pm. After spending a huge portion of the day waiting around we were utterly exhausted. Thankfully we had prearranged transport to the hotel because this island is far more difficult to navigate than Mykonos or Santorini.

    A short 20 minute drive and we arrived at our hotel in the town of Naousa, check in was fast and we were in bed quickly. That's when we my stomach started to churn. It felt like I was back on the ferry as my stomach rolled again and again. I really want to sleep instead I am seasick on land. Bugger, not fair.

    Hopefully this passes soon.
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  • Day10

    Oopsie Daisy

    October 1, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    A slow start today had us getting to the port just after one. Our ferry was due to leave at 2.05pm. 2.05pm came and went. No ferry. It was running late. It finally arrived 40 minutes later. There are crowds hurrying like mad to get onto the gangway. The wind had died down and the sun was shining for the first time in days, we decide to wait for the crowds to thin. Mistake. Big mistake. The crowds are barely onto boat when the gangways begins to lift. We tried to get someone to stop them, but nope. Ropes are being untied and thrown back onto the boat. This boat is leaving and we aren't on it. There is no second chance.

    Thankfully we were able to get a ticket to Syros and then Paros but with the boat not arriving in Paros until 10.30pm it makes for a very long day of travel.

    To pass the time we found a nearby restaurant, Molaraki which serves the best zucchini fritters I have ever tasted. The sunset was also pretty spectacular, but I would of preferred to watch it in Paros.

    Fingers crossed we don't miss anymore ferries... I could use some sleep (preferably in my hotel bed).
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  • Day9

    Party Hard

    September 30, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    After lazy day trying to escape 45km/h winds. We headed to Joanna's Taverna. Set on the beach, we were hoping for great seafood but all we got was mediocre stuffed calamari.

    We headed back into town and found Montparnasse, a piano bar. It has a speak easy feel and is located on the waterfront. They have a large cocktail menu, I can highly recommend the Rhubarb Gimlet. Just before 10pm people appeared everywhere, it went from empty to packed in minutes. A pianist with a deep American drawl and a happy smile appeared. A silence fell. His fingers caressed the keys and music filled the bar. Requests came from the crowd, the first? Unsurprisingly Piano Man by Billy Joel.

    Phyllis, a Mediterranean lady in her sixties casually dressed in sneakers, black slacks, a shirt and a pink cardi. Her style clashed with the decor, but she took her place by the piano and serenaded us with her gravely voice. The night continued to improve when we discovered Phyllis had pizzazz, she had a dirty sense of humour and gave zero fucks. The set was fun, light and included favourites such as *****.

    Next we found a little bar called Alley. The service here was on pointe. The bar staff were attentive and we're soon making us all their favourite cocktails including a number that weren't listed on the menu. This place has the best cocktails I've tasted in Mykonos.

    At the recommendation of the bar staff at Alley we went back to Caprice. It was teeming with energy. The music was a mixture of Greek and 90s pop. My Salsa and newly learnt zorba moves featured on the dance floor.

    The night was carefree and fun and all to soon it was very very early. We were in bed before the sun, but only just.
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  • Day9

    Ornos

    September 30, 2017 in Greece ⋅ 🌬 20 °C

    We walked to nearby Ornos for a late breakfast (well really it was lunch) and found Bowl. Everything about it screamed Australian cafe, and turns out it basically is. It is run by two expats with a focus on organic all day breakfast. It was lovely food and I especially liked that they used glass bottles for water which they reused instead of the usual plastic bottles I have become accustomed to. It melted my greenie heart.Read more

  • Day8

    Late nights

    September 29, 2017 in Greece ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    What can I say... Cocktails and gyros. Yum!

    Being conditioned to years of early starts... Our night started at about 7pm, turns out the night life here doesn't kick off until after 11pm. Regardless we found some bars that made for a great night regardless of the time.

    Our first stop was Cosi. A cute little bar with good easy listening music and a wide range of cocktails. The bar had outdoor seating and it was lovely to watch the people flock though the streets of Little Venice.

    Stop number two was Caprice down by the water front. The blue decor was a little lairy for me but the service was great. The bar staff were friendly and helpful. I particularly enjoyed there spicy cocktail which I can no longer remember the name of. We left just before 11 and already it was starting to get busy.

    Feeling a little famished, we sought some good old fashioned Greek sustenance, Gyros. We found a place called Sakis and ordered. I went chicken and Nic chose pork. The were delicious and provide us with some extra fuel.

    Next we hit the Scandinavian bar and disco (although we never found the disco part). Probably my least favourite bar of the night but it was one of the few places I have seen that served cider.

    It was now after midnight and the moody of the town had changed. There was a smokey haze and sexual tension hanging in the air. We hit Argo. It was a tiny nook filled with people. The music was 90s RnB and the staff helpful. The vibe was electric, with the staff occasionally ringing the bell and the overhead lights flashing. Everyone somehow managed to find room to dance.

    Now hopefully we don't have too much of a handover tomorrow.
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