Grisis – the Moment of Truth

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A Greek women shows NO vote in referendum

The clock is ticking it’s hour as Greece arrives to the make or break point.  I am not much of a politics lover. Since the time I have moved to the Athens in January, I have seen elections, protests, crisis, you name it. The Greece Crisis is now been the hot topic through the world. When the new anti austere party ‘Syriza’ came to power in January this year, there has been some serious discussion going on at the European Commission at Brussels for the last six months to put an end to the crisis and negotiate deals in withdrawing the debt. and today Greece has reached its height of decision making as today is the day the Greece has to return 1.6 billion to the IMF otherwise it would become default. a Yes or a No to the European central bank for accepting the lender proposals has been drawn out. Many leaflets are printed across the city of Athens and distributed to the common man with the reasons why they should say a NO rather than an YES.

As a expat, for me it is not a big of a deal. ultimately its the Greek common man that suffers the most of out of this crisis. Tomorrow being their usual pay day, half of the workers do not believe they would receive their income for the month they have worked for. of course, that makes a lot of sense why? the banks are shut down for a week. not one transaction has been made since Monday morning. The Greek government is in such a bad shape and fear. but what can you expect from a government that has gone under a crisis four times since three decades. That explains a lot of the existing crisis.

Though the tourist areas seem to be unaffected by the situation going around Athens, the common man feels the Greece’s heat under his head. Mr. Tspiras, the Greek PM has failed in taking correct decisions to save this country from the problems it’s facing today. though a majority of Greeks are not loosing their hopes and holding on to the decisions made by the current PM. They still have hope that life in Greece will all remain the same and the downfall economy will raise in spite the decision to make on the Grexit (Greece’s Exit from the Euro). and a majority Greeks are aiming to provide a NO to the Creditors proposal.

Tourists, visiting Athens or any other part of Greece, I strongly suggest you carry enough cash to survive the holiday that you are going to make on the  land of crisis as there has been a implementation by the Banks, of Greece to protect the deflation and the bankruptcy hence capped to a 60per day withdrawals from the ATM’s. since then there has been long awaiting queues formed all around the cities ATM’s everyday. As it is, in the past few days more than 3 billion euros have been withdrawn out of the cash machines leaving a whooping 40% machines without cash. so, you better watch out where you would make your withdrawal. the gas stations have stopped accepting cards and there is a 20 euro limit for the petrol. I hope the petrol does not run out as there are no transactions made. I suggest you have a full tank of petrol and an extra can of petrol at your car trunk.

with such limits imposed on the daily life, it has made it really hard for the common man to survive these difficult times. However, as the Greeks still hope, we really wish and hope that a deal will strike between the creditors and the Greece to make a common decision for the benefit of the people and its country of Greece. They need it and the entire world waits in anticipation of what would happen tomorrow. We can only have our hopes high and fingers crossed.

Savoury food guide to Czech Republic

pizap.com14354026194421In my previous post, I mentioned must try foods, if you are visiting Czech Republic. In this post I would like to share the best savoury foods you can eat from the country. Like I already mentioned in my previous post, a lot of the them think Czech food isn’t vibrant but here are some of the delicious foods I would want you to take pleasure in tasting on your trip to the central part of the Europe.

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Chlebicky

‘Chlebicky’ – similar to a Bruschetta or an open faced sandwich, is usually served as a starter. It comes in wide range of variety, but the czech’s prefer the cold cut chlebicky’s.

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Trdelnik
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Ovocne Knedliky

Mostly popular in the Central European countries. this dish is also known as  ‘Kürtőskalács‘. It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, and then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut crunch.The name trdelník comes from trdlo, the wooden stake the cake is wrapped around for cooking which gives it its traditional hollow shape

Ovocne Knedliky is a fruit based dumpling, which is made of Potato dough having a filling of variety of fruits. one of the most delicious one is the berries and peaches. it’s a satisfying meal for sweet lovers as it is a sweet dish. Usually eaten for dinner, it can also be served as a desert. The dumpling is served as it is or with sprinkles of sugar powder and whipped cream.

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Kolac

Kolac is a mouth watering delicious pastry filled with types of fillings in the center or inside of the pastry. since the Czech Republic is number one producer of Poppy seeds, the popular kolac comes with the stuffing of poppy seeds and other different varieties, one with tvaroh ‘cream cheese’ , fruit stuffing. For a first timer it may taste different but trust me it is delicious and addictive!

Crepes filled with chocolate and berries
Palacinky

Often people mistake Pancakes as crepes. Pancakes are the American version of thick flat cake and crepes in Czech known as Palacinky are super thin paper like pancake although the recipe calls for the same ingredients. What distinguishes the Czech Palacinky’s is that they are filled with amazing goodness of fruits served with dollop of ice cream and whipped cream. My most favorite desert of all times. now the new trend has got spicer version of Palacinky with Bacon or spinach stuffings. I will always rate this No:1 must try out food.

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Medovnik

The most popular cake in Czech Republic, the Medovnik is scrumptiously delicious. It’s a 10 layered cake, Medovnik derives from Med meaning Honey, with its unique taste, its nothing like you have ever tasted before. Moist and flavorsome, some say it’s like eating golden sunshine.

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Babovka
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Vanocka

Babovka in transaltion means Grandma’s cake. It’s a typical traditional  bundt marble cake with a combination of vanilla and chocolate mixtures into a swirl mould which looks beautiful when presented. It’s a cake perfect for tea time, and that’s how the czech’s usually have it too, it is placed on the table with sprinkled white sugar as shown in the picture. It reminds of me of Christmas.

 Traditionally made during Christmas, this braided bread is simply yum and can be eaten for breakfast or tea. When making vánočka, it is said that one must think of everyone dear to you. Another custom is to avoid touching silver or metal to the vánočka. Finally, the person who is making the vánočka should jump up and down while the dough rises. 😉 The bread is named after the Vanoce meaning Christmas in Czech.

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Spa Town “Karlovy Vary” famous Oplatky

The super thin wafer from the spa town of Czech are one more authentic add to the food glossary. these delicious wafers are one of a kind with perfectly spread walnut sugar crunch in between the wafer makes it a melt in the mouth. there are also several other flavors such as cinnamon, cocoa, coconut, vanilla, strawberry. The best souvenir you could carry back to your loved ones.

This is it from my side, but do let me know if you would like to add more into the list and enjoy the food from Czech Republic like how I do.

Happy Blogging!

Must try foods from Czech Republic

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I have read a whole lot of awful stuff about how Czech Republic’s food is very bland and how awesome the beverage is. Of course, when we talk about gastronomy, beer takes the first place. Czech’s love their beer, that’s why they proudly boast to be the highest consumer of beer in the world. but today, my post is to introduce a whole new aspect of food that you can enjoy while staying at Czech Republic. I am going to add a new light to the gastronomical world of Czech food.  The tradition of cooking has been carefully sorted out and preserved for centuries together. Czech’s like to keep their food simple but full of bursting flavors the moment it hits your mouth. Therefore, let me introduce to you the most delicious foods from the country without further introductions:

knedlo vepro zelo

Knedlo-Vepro-Zelo

1. This is one of the most loved and enjoyed meal by the Czech’s. It combines, three entirely different flavours to make it one dish, it has pork braised and cooked separately with cumin seeds, and homemade most famous dumplings called ‘knedlo’, and saucy sauerkraut that you would have never tried else where. must try!

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Smazeny Syr

2. This dish is another classic meal, you must try without which I wouldn’t recommend you leave from the country! Usually served with french fries, this delicacy is scrumptious and a melt in the mouth. The ‘Gouda‘ cheese is cubed and bread-crumbed and fried for a delicious bite. ‘Smazeny’ means ‘Fried’ which is how it derives it name simply as ‘Fried Cheese’

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Hovezi gulas s knedlikom

3. A sight for the sore eyes. not only does this dish looks good but tastes excellent. the onions on the top makes it a winner. this dish is a classic beef ‘goulash‘ with homemade dumplings. don’t forget to try it out!

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Svickova na Smetane

4. This typical czech dish is called the ‘beef sirloin in cream sauce’ is one of the most popular dishes in the country. usually prepared with marinated beef sirloin and double cream sauce, served with cranberry sauce and whip cream.

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Smazeny Kvetak

5. As mentioned previously ‘Smazeny‘ means fried. This is also a fried based dish but this time it is with cauliflower. boiled and fried, its crunchy to the taste buds. Vegetarians don’t hesitate to look out for this one!

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Smazeny Rizek a Bramborovym Salat

6.  The Salad is a stunning recipe, with bursting flavors of boiled eggs, vinegar and potatoes. Rizek referred to as Steak is served with a typical czech potato salad. you are going to lick your plate clean! 😉

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Bramboracky

7. As you can already notice that the Czech food mainly consists of  Potatoes, this  recipe calls for grated potatoes, mixed with flavored spices with loads of cumin. favored more as a short eat by the Czechs.

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Klobasa a chlebem a horcici

8. Yet another short eat, you can find this on any corner of the country. mostly preferred by the beer lovers on a summer day! Klobasa is classic Czech sausage which is served with traditional Czech Bread and a dollop of Mustard sauce.

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Parek a Rohiliku

9. This is similar to a Hot Dog from America but the Czech version. served with a Czech sausage bun stuffed with a sausage of your choice with some mustard. also a short eat!

In my next post, I am going to take you through the fabulous Czech Savories that you can enjoy. Trust me you will not be disappointed.

Hope you enjoyed the read!

Working out

ok, I give up!scrolling down WordPress posts and automatically getting indicated to write a post note once but four times just urged me to write down! I don’t know how long my post is going to be but I know what inspired me! The last post I just read that was few seconds back, waking up before your do and practice a healthy workout session! Ok! Seriously ! I tried! I tried really hard to stick to the routine! Take my dog out and run around the one acre park next door. I am blessed to live downtown Athens , Greece with a beautiful green luscious park 100 metres from my door and I’m just putting my lazy ass up snoring and waiting for the sun to wake me up and to add to it, my daughter who is 18 months apparently does the same!

So this is how I imagine my dream daily day to be, wake up way before my daughter, like 7am and have a spoon of honey with lemon, put on some shorts, trainers (which are craving my feet in there) and some music in my ears and run! Run a mile or may be two! Stick to that routine ! Have a rigorous workout session of 30 minutes run with a 20 mins exercise! Wow, I can imagine how all that mommy fat I collected over a year and a half dissolve into the air like how sugar does in water!

But trust me, I really want to get out there and do what I just wrote, because I still feel like I am not in my own shoes like how I was before, athletic, thin and sexy! This is what I wish to be again! So what I am mommy? I can be one sure hell of a sexy mom if I want to be! 🙂

Top 5 reasons why a Toddler mom should not get Inked!

Tattoos can be so great to look at and you feel you dedicated a part of your skin for such a tremendous piece of art work. so, I got 2 small tattoos for significance to my relationship as a mother and a wife. I dedicated one to my little toddler with her heartbeat engrossed onto my side arm and the other dedicated to my husband on the nape of my neck. both look perfect, exactly the way i want it to be. but Alas, there is a negative side to not getting a tattoo with a toddler by your side. so here are my reasons and you are most welcome to share your reasons too :

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My Tattoos

Reason 1: Clinging Toddler

One can only imagine how scratchy and itchy a tattoo can get as it gets aged. though i cannot compare it with wine.Tattoo can be terribly itchy and you feel like you want to get those fingers off yours to work on your tattoos to release the itchiness. however imagine, a toddler who wants to sit on your lap all day long and does not want to move an inch from you. then , you might definitely want to reconsider your choice for that year. The little attention seeker!

Reason 2: Bath time

ok, you just apply a fresh coat of cream on the tattoo and then you remember its the bath time for your baby. how much ever you try not to wet the tattoo and tada! thanks to your toddler, she knows exactly what you think in your head and does quite the opposite. and you get twice the work you already got.

Reason 3: Chores chores and never ending chores

Chores are fun but not when you got a toddler. and definitely not when you want to finish off the dishes but your hand can not move much as your afraid the ink might move around as you have to strain the hand. Fresh tattoos need a lot of care and attention just like a new born. trust me you don’t want to move that tattoo skin too much around otherwise you might have to do a second sitting with that all pain!

Reason 4: Food can get messy

Feeding your toddler with the tattooed arm can be bit of a tricky session. they want to roatate their heads hands and legs as they please as they sing and dance to their rhymes while they eat. otherwise you can not get them to eat and you have twice the mess once the rhymes are turned off. ka boom! explosion time for a toddler. now you do not want a crying toddler at home with all that existing pain already! do you?

Reason 5: Sleep time.

Ever watched a Youtube video of how a toddler sleeps? you might want to go check that one out. with their super tactics of sleeping positions, all you have to think of is to how to protect your tattoo from not rubbing away.

So, with the top five reasons, I am really trying to not have a redo session of my tattoo. you got any? I would appreciate your share!

Hope you enjoyed the read!

Living in Athens – Part 2

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[Baby products in Greece you might as well consider]

This is for the moms out there, if you have babies and you do not cook at home, the supermarkets offer 3 varieties of baby food from the brand Nestlé which is highly expensive and comes at a whopping 2.60-2.80 euros per bottle. So I suggest all those lazy moms out there to start investing time and effort in your precious angel’s food intake by making home cooked meals unless you could afford the prices I just gasped about. There are also nappies that you might consider to look up on. I would say, consider throwing away those ‘Pampers’ and buy the ‘Babylino’. The brand that offers no spill and no hassle, the best diapers in town.  And for the baby range of toiletries there is huge amount of choices you get in the supermarkets. And nothing will disappoint you.

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[left to right: Ermou street,Traditional Greek sandals, Plaka]

The shops in the city have funny timings; they close in the afternoons on some days and open until 9 pm on the others. Shops like hairdressers don’t open on Mondays and Tuesdays and you might have to make appointments following those two days. Not to forget the shopping, Athens is a shopper’s paradise as the sales for some of the branded exclusive collections drop by more than 80% during the month of February every year. So if you want to shop till you drop, don’t forget to book your flights during this period for a promising load of clothes and range of shoes, bags and whatever you crave in fashion. The Ermou street is where all things fashion happens, the busiest street until the end of business hours and even on Sundays when there are no shops opened, is the street you never want to miss the chance to walk once. The street leads you to the squares of Monastiraki and Omonia where all the street shopping happens. And there is a flea market where you can buy awesome junk collections be it art, jewelry and antiques for really good bargains. And there is plaka, the tourists souvenir paradise. You can get all the souvenirs you want to take home. My personal choice ranges from anything to do with authentic Greek like the mastic oils, olive soaps, the greek spices, the Peloponnese wines, clothes, greek shoes with the funny wool like balls for decoration, the fridge magnets, awesome leather items, art pieces and so on. My list can go on and on.

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[Left to right: Traditional Greek tavern, Pita Gyros, Souvlaki, Moussaka, Shrimp Saganaki]

 

Alright, I would like to come back to the food just for you not get confused what to order when you get here. Like I mentioned in the previous post, Greek cuisine is one of the oldest in tradition. It has mostly Mediterranean produce. As a visitor or a person living here you would be tempted to eat (at least) a meal outside once a day. So what you would have to look for are Tavernas if you do not want to end up getting served western food. The Greeks like to eat their meals quite late and they eat huge breakfasts and tiny portions of afternoon meals and then a heavy mid evening meal and a heavy late dinner followed by wine, with lots of music. These dinners usually wind down only in the early morning hours, usually at 4 am. When you get here, do not forget to order Souvlaki which comes in two versions, one where you can have it wrapped with a pita bread and they call it Pita Gyros with everything in it, like a simple salad consisting of tomatoes and onions and then a sauce called Tzatziki which is a yoghurt based sauce with cucumbers and some fresh dill which makes a perfect dipping sauce. The pita can come as gyros which is basically meat off the roasting spit and then there is Souvlaki which is meat on kebab sticks and wrapped in pita and salad or can come with the sticks and served with pita separately. There is Moussaka, the Greek national dish made of layered beef mince and eggplant with tomato sauce, perfect for an afternoon lunch! Do not forget to try the feta salad with some pita bread and house wine. There is also, Saganaki, cooked seafood in tomato sauce and fresh feta. Trust me Greek food can never disappoint anyone. There are a lot of other varieties but I urge you to explore.

For me, the most fascinating time has been the weekends so far, once the summer hits Greece there is so much on the table to do. You can just soak in the sun on the beach, as you all know, the Greek sea is a 1000 shades of blue to the eyes with beautiful sand filled shore perfect for a sunny day. There is so much to do, I tried fishing, getting to hire a boat and go around the coast to see the beautiful landscape Greece has to offer. The roadways leading to the south of the Attica towards a place called Suonio is an amazing ride for bike lovers and equally perfect for a car if you love long drives with picturesque sceneries. Starting from the Athens coastline Glyfada to the Tip of Attica the midway has beautiful beaches to suit your preferences or you could also explore each beach as you go. For me it was a kind of addiction. The coast line was love at first sight for me. The drop down cliffs touching the sea are a beautiful sight for one’s eye. Once again, there is nothing in Greece that will disappoint, as everything is to fall in love with. I hope I was able to keep you my reader entertained, about visiting Athens.

In my next post I would talk about the places you must visit as a visitor in Greece and what you would find fascinating there. So, hold on to your horses and stay put for my yet another interesting and fun filled adventure in another part of this fascinating Historical Greece. Stay Tuned.

Living in Athens – Part 1

If you’re considering living in Athens, you might find this post interesting and helpful. I will share my experiences and my personal thoughts to make your stay worthwhile even if you’re just visiting, planning to work here, or living here as a stay at home mom like me. Athens, is the 5th most populous city in the EU zone, with two UNESCO world heritage sites; one being the mighty Acropolis and the other the Daphni Monastery. It is one of the biggest economic centers in the southeastern European continent with tremendous historical importance.

I moved to Athens with my family which includes my husband, my 18 month old daughter and my chocolate-brown Labrador in the beginning of this year. I knew very little about the place I would be calling my home for the next few years. My husband was offered a job here despite the financial crisis the city has been facing the past few years. But politics aside, let me talk about how wonderful and overwhelming this wide spread city is. So make yourself comfortable, get yourself a coffee and join me in my Greek Athens experience. And mind you, this is going to be one interesting (but slightly long) post. Grabbed that coffee yet?

The day I arrived, my husband took me to a restaurant whose name I could hardly pronounce until a few subsequent visits later. Now I have learnt that restaurants are called Local Greek Tavernas. If you go to any of these, you will never leave disappointed with the food that they serve. I’m sure many of you reading this already know how delicious Greek food is; mouthwatering and just yum! Our first week in Athens was spent exploring the neighborhood. I got lucky when I got here, I immediately made friends with a Greek woman who lives one floor below our apartment. When I say I got lucky, I mean it; it’s never a bad idea to make friends with people you are going to live with and see every day.

Our apartment is situated downtown of the city, 5 minutes from the heart of the city by car and 15 minutes by Metro. The Greek apartments stunned me, they are fabulous inside and out. The kitchen and the bathroom came decorated with colorful tiles and each room came ventilated with large double doors, with clear see through glass and a door with shade so you do not have to invest in curtains. And each room had its own balcony with large canopies to provide shade as the Greek sun can get tremendously hot during the summer. Overall, the apartments come spacious and the rents are pretty affordable due to the crisis they have currently. Once, we got settled in and made the house more of a home, it was time to explore where everything was and what to buy. We had to shop a bit at IKEA as newcomers we were aware of the ‘better safe than sorry’ saying. We also had some existing furniture in the house that we arranged to our will. And now, as in most of the European countries having their own language, Greece has Greek – and everything – whatever it may be, is written in Greek. But the other side to the drawback is that most Greeks speak English which makes it easier for you to find what you need.

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             [typical Greek farmer market called as Laiki]

Like I already mentioned, the Greek love their food, and I found out during my first week of stay that a few streets across where I live, there is a Farmers’ Market which takes place every Friday and another one every Tuesday a few blocks further. So the Farmers’ Market is called a Laiki (pronounced Lai-aa-kee). You get the freshest produce, everything from fresh vegetables, greens, fresh eggs in various sizes, and sometimes if you get lucky, you could get fresh fish and fresh seafood. The laiki happens in one long street with stalls on both the sides with vendors selling all the stuff you might want to enhance your cooking skills. Not to forget, the vendors sell some amazing local wine for 1 Euro (!) or sometimes 2. So, this Laiki is area specific; you might want to check with your neighbourhood friends on which days these markets take place. But don’t be disappointed if you cannot find one as there is an all week Farmers market which happens every day except Sunday at the Monastiraki – Omonia Streets in the Center, where there is a huge farmers market and super huge fresh seafood market with meat market. A small tip, you might want to think of waking up early to hit these markets as it can get utterly crowded after 11am. Here you can find the spices, the famous Greek Kalamata olives, fresh Greek Feta and the Greek yogurt, Greek olive oil, the Greek Mastic spirits and wines – some really robust colorful things. I would say you would never be tired of shopping here.

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[supermarkets of Greece – left to right: Sklavenitis, Carrefour, AB City]

For the supermarket purchases, a Greek local suggested I shop only at a supermarket called Sklavenitis, Greek owned with a wide range of items available for affordable prices compared to the other markets I did research on. Trust me when I say this as I learnt from my mother in law to start saving on household purchases so I do all my research perfectly. But that’s another story, and then, apart from the supermarket I mentioned there is AB city, again Greek owned, which I would pick after Sklavenitis. Also, there is the French owned supermarket Carrefour, highly expensive and not at all recommended as for weekend shopping I would spend 50 euros at the Sklavenitis and 40% more at Carrefour, thus not my personal favorite.