Athens with Friends -part 1. 

Last week in Athens has left me with so many mixed feelings. As I earlier mentioned in my last post that my friends are visiting me. And they have finally arrived here yesterday. We set our journey to receive them at the airport on the half empty highways at half past nine with excitement in our hearts.

The room I arranged for both my friends, one named Klara the young blonde energetic woman who is here to enjoy her summer and the other an English teacher in her mid fifties. She has been a dear friend and my only friend when I moved first to Czech Republic. Anyway, the room I found through airbnb had a fantastic authentic Greek feel to it and I loved it. 

The owner being a Greek was pleasant, sweet,and an highly educated woman in her late fourties! She in fact did an fabulous arrangement for her guests to have an comfortable and extravagant stay in the heart of the city of Athens. I must say I was very much pleased and contented. 

When I met my friends the day next day, they were really happy that I arranged such a wonderful stay for them. And like a holiday planned, we set out today to do some heavy sightseeing in almost thirty eight degrees Athens. We had a heart warming breakfast and set out our day by foot to Acropolis! The one monument you cannot miss whilst your stay at Athens.

So now they are out there doing all the study and enjoying the historical monument while I wait at the foothills of the Mighty Acropolis, having the oppurtunity to write a post and share my final week events with my dear friends in Athens. But unfortunately to my awe, I forgot to put in the micro card to my camera hence I promise to share you some pics along with my journey. 

So stay tuned, though the days are few, the journey is long! 🙂 

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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!

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.