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The top 5 hotel-room-views in Greece!

4 Feb

1. Rocabella, Santorini

Photo Source decorandme.blogspot.com

Photo Source decorandme.blogspot.com

Built on the edge of the Caldera in Imerovigli, Santorini, Rocabella offers one of the most incredible vistas you will enjoy in your whole life. With studios overseeing the Aegean Sea and the volcano, it is situated in a unique location and it gives you an amazing and private spot to experience the world famous sunset and watch the sun dive in the Aegean while enjoying your cocktail or swimming in one of the swimming pools. Continue reading

Guilty Pleasures: Christmas treats from Greece (part 2)

23 Dec

1. New Year Cake (Vassilopita)

Vasilopita, traditional Greek New Year Cake. Photo source: cookoo.gr

Vasilopita, traditional Greek New Year Cake. Photo source: cookoo.gr

The New Year Cake, or Vasilopita for the locals, is a round cake or tsoureki (something similar to the French brioche) that is served after the New Year festive meal. What makes it different from a normal cake is a coin hidden inside. The cake is cut in equal pieces, one for each convive, and whoever finds it is considered to have good luck for the new calendar year.

2. Melomakarono

 Melomakarono honey cookies. Photo source: k-mag.gr

Melomakarono honey cookies. Photo source: k-mag.gr

Melomakarono is a dark, egg-shaped cookie immersed in honey syrup and sprinkled with walnuts. This succulent cookie with delicate notes of cinnamon, clove and orange peel is totally worth the extra hour(s) at the gym after the end of the festive Christmas period! (We dare you to eat to just one.)

3. Kourabies

Kourabiedes sugar coated butter cookies. Photo source:  lifeanddecoration.blogspot.com

Kourabiedes sugar coated butter cookies. Photo source: lifeanddecoration.blogspot.com

Another quintessential Greek holiday cookie is kourabies. Kourabiedes (plural) are butter cookies with brandy and crispy roasted almonds hidden under a veil of powdered sugar. An ideal treat for every hour of the day, especially next to a hot cup of black coffee by the fire.

4. Diples

Typical Greek Diples sweets. Photo source: sidagi.gr

Typical Greek Diples sweets. Photo source: sidagi.gr

Diples are deep-fried thin sheets of dough usually given the shape of a roll or a bow. They are then drizzled with honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon, clove and ground walnuts. Diples are a typical dessert in the Peloponnese and Crete (usually called xerotigana) and apart from the Christmas holiday season are also served at traditional weddings or special occasions.

5. Sesame Baklava

Sesame Baklava from Thrace, Greece. Photo by Funky Cook

Sesame Baklava from Thrace, Greece. Photo by Funky Cook

Traditionally, Baklava is made with nuts and butter. In this special Christmas dessert from Thrace, nuts are replaced with sesame and butter with olive oil, making it appropriate for the Greek Orthodox fasting period. A delightful alternative you must absolutely try if you visit Thrace!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and, if you decide to spend holidays in Greece (which we highly recommend), strength and courage for your post-holiday diet & workouts 🙂

Stella Printezi

Guilty Pleasures: Christmas treats from Greece (part 1)

19 Dec

1. Pork

 Pork casserole with quince and prunes. Photo source: tokouzinakitispareas.gr

Pork casserole with quince and prunes. Photo source: tokouzinakitispareas.gr

Pork is the Greek turkey; in most parts of Greece, pork is traditionally served on the Christmas table in various forms (most commonly roasted). My personal favourite is the slow-cooked pork casserole with quince and prunes. With the sour taste of the quince deliciously complementing the sweetness of the prunes, this sauce gives a whole new dimension to pork. An absolute must!

2. Pomegranate

 Pomegranate, goat cheese, greens and walnut salad. Photo source: sidagi.gr

Pomegranate, goat cheese, greens and walnut salad. Photo source: sidagi.gr

In the Greek tradition, pomegranates symbolize wealth, good luck and fertility. This is why Greeks crack a pomegranate in their house entrance every New Year’s Eve, and use it in various Christmas dishes. Our suggestion would be pomegranate, goat cheese, greens and walnut salad.

3. Cabbage Dolma (Lachanodolmas)

 Traditional Greek Christmas lachanodolma Photo source: k-mag.gr

Traditional Greek Christmas lachanodolma Photo source: k-mag.gr

This traditional dish is cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat (beef & pork) and rice, covered with a deliciously rich egg & lemon sauce. It is said that lachonodolmas symbolizes baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, this is why it is traditionally served during Christmas.

4. Msoura

Msoura is a traditional Christmas meat trilogy from Thessaloniki; small pieces of pork, beef and chicken are slowly cooked in the oven and served with rice and vegetables.

5. Christopsomo

 Christopsomo traditional Greek Christmas bread loaf. Photo source

Christopsomo traditional Greek Christmas bread loaf. Photo source : mwsaiko.blogspot.com

Christopsomo in Greek means “Christ’s Bread” and it is an ornate bread loaf traditionally made by women at Christmas Eve and served along with other treats on the Christmas table. Although its ingredients are identical to those of your usual loaf of plain bread, its appearance is indeed very different: the dough is given a round or bagel shape and it is then decorated. Every decoration has its own symbolization; a capital B, cow or plough symbolize the traditional agricultural works, a house symbolizes a wish for good luck for the whole family, and vine leaves and olive leaves stand for the wish for a mild winter and warm summer.

6. Lalaggia

 Lalagia dough strips. Photo source: ethnos.gr

Lalagia dough strips. Photo source: ethnos.gr

Lalaggia are crispy fried dough strips usually served in Messinia. Depending on the region, they can either be sweet (seasoned with cinnamon and cloves) or savoury (plain or seasoned with star anise). Although they were initially a Christmas tradition, you can now find them all-year long in almost every Messinian bakery. Make sure you buy the large bag, because despite their looks, they are absolutely irresistible! Tip: Ask for the soft ones rather than the hard type.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and, if you decide to spend holidays in Greece (which I highly recommend), strength and courage for your post-holiday diet & workouts 🙂

Stella Printezi

The best 10 places to discover the ancient Greece

8 Dec

1.The Parthenon
I guess the Parthenon needs no introduction; or guidance to get to! One of the most -if not the most- famous landmarks of Greece, the centre of the ancient and the modern city of Athens and probably the most visited site in Greece, offers the chance to be part of a majestic masterpiece of the ancient times and a place of great inspiration.

parthenon

2. Temple of Poseidon
The temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in ancient times, is located in cape Sounion, the southernmost tip of Attica, close to Athens. The remains of the temple stand on a cliff, surrounded on 3 sides by the sea and offering a breathtaking vista of the Aegean sea! Also a popular short excursion from Athens. Don’t miss the sun diving into the endless blue of the Aegean!

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/137993176052772235/

3. Delphi
Once what was supposed to be the centre of earth, as the myth suggest, the site of Delphi is one of most important archaeological sites of Greece. Situated on the mount of Parnassos, offers an excellent opportunity for a trip not far from Athens which will also give you the chance to enjoy the breathtaking views from the site as well as explore the nearby area, full of pure nature as well as entertainment in the cosmopolitan village of Arachova, a few kilometres away!

delphi

4. Olympia

In Peloponnese you will find the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Among many individual sites of interest you will find the stadium where the games used to take place. This is also the place where the lightning of the Olympic flame takes place!

olympia

5. Epidavros
Epidavros, situated in Peloponnese, was a small city in the Saronic gulf. What Epidaurus is mostly famous for is the ancient theatre, built in 340 BC. It is probably the best preserved ancient theatre, with tremendous acoustics. It is still being used for live performances and plays; performing in Epidavros was and still is considered to be a great honour for actors and actresses!

Epidauros

6. Mycenae

Mycenae was a fortified city, situated in Peloponnese. Alongside with Tiryns, they were the 2 greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization. Don’t miss the chance to walk through the ruins and be part of this ancient city! You can also combine your visit there with an excursion to the nearby picturesque town of Nafplio!

mykeneu

7. Akrotiri
Akrotiri is an ancient settlement in the island of Santorini which  was buried in volcanic ash after the eruption of the volcano of Santorini, thousands of years ago. The volcanic ash helped the preservation of many artworks. The astonishing part of this ancient city is that many of the items discovered in the small houses were found in the exact position that they were the time of the eruption, something that helped the archaeologists collect important clues of the way the inhabitants used to live! There is also the belief that Plato’s story of the Atlantis was inspired by what happened to Akrotiri!

akrotiri

8. Knossos
Knossos is another major archaeological site of Greece, located in the island of Crete and it is considered to be the oldest city of Europe. Walking through the ancient ruins, which are still standing in excellent shape, you will be amazed by the lively colours that the walls are painted in. A unique experience that can be combined with some relaxing days in the amazing island of Crete!

knossos palace

knossos

9. Vergina

Vergina is a small town in the northern part of Greece which is home of a very important archaeological site: Aigai, the first capital of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia. There you will find the burial site of the kings of Macedonia and the tomb of Philip, the father of Alexander the Great!

vergina

10. Dodoni

In the northern part of Greece, close to the town of Ioannina, you will find Dodoni, an archaeological site that was the birthplace of many Greek speaking tribes. Among other things you will find a theatre and a stadium. From this site you will find an astonishing view of the mount Tomaros!

dodoni

Stavros Tsoukatos

11 things to know before visiting Athens!

29 Sep

Some things to keep in mind before your visit to Athens

Here are 11 facts about Athens that you may (or may not) know already but it’s good to keep them in mind if you plan a visit in the capital of Greece!!!

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The best of Athens in 24 hours

15 Sep

The best things to do in Athens

Let’s say that for whatever reason, you find yourself in the capital of Greece. And for the same peculiar reason, you only have 1 day to spend in Athens. And you get nervous because one day is not much time to spend in Athens (well, one day is not much time to spend anywhere!) and you are desperately trying to pick the most famous landmarks to go and see. Well, on that topic, let me, as a local, propose to you some things to do in Athens and make the most out of your day; let me help you make this one day in Athens unforgettable!

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Discovering secret Athens through the eyes of a local

25 Aug

It’s the people that make a place
– Ruth Wiemer, Guest blogger

Discover secret Athens in our new website!

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Photo 1: Athens by night, Source Spiros Lioris, 500px

A couple of weeks ago I went to see a Greek friend of mine I met in London in Athens. I had no real expectations of Athens, apart from the fact that I would probably be confronted with a lot of history and historical monuments. But, oh – how wrong I was! Athens, albeit not the prettiest city in the world, is one of a kind.
I had the incredible luck of being with my own local Athenians – Stella and her amazing gang of friends.  Through her and her friends I saw things past the already impressive ruins, saw different sides to Athens rather than ‘just’ its glorious, but meanwhile dusty Ancient Greek past. Although we did do the typical touristic routes across town, the things that stood out for me was the hidden side of Athens that only locals could have showed me.
I went to eat in small traditional tavernas that had the best olive oil that I had ever tasted. Ate feta cheese, and other delicious Greek dishes that still make my mouth water when I think of it. I learned how to cook a Greek vegetarian lasagne dish, and make authentic Greek Salad with some weird, big crouton-like things. I learned about the political tension in Greece, not through the news, but through people directly involved in it.

food

Photo 2: “Ntakos”, a Cretan meze

I sampled some of the nightlife by going into “secret” bars that I, as an oblivious tourist would have just walked past, if I hadn’t been with Stella and her friends. I tried dishes that I wouldn’t have known existed. I walked past artistic streets lighted with hundreds of different lampshades instead of lanterns. It often struck me in Athens that a very dodgy looking place from the outside, could be spectacular from the inside.

Athens Photos

Photo 3: A for Athens bar restaurant in Monastiraki Square

I also went to the beach not far from Athens, and sipped on amazing cocktails in perhaps the most romantic bar I have ever been to. I went and saw a new release film in an outdoor cinema (who knew those still existed, right?), and wandered aimlessly through beautiful neighbourhoods, watching local vendors praise their goods.

Island

Photo 4: Island bar restaurant

For me, it is odd to be in a country, where you can’t read the signs. I speak 5 languages, and yet little good that did me in Greece, where I couldn’t even pick up the basics of conversation. But I found that a little English could go a long way, and if that failed, gestures, like anywhere was the universal language. From my experience, I found Greek people extremely hospitable, warm and eager to understand you.

Prior to my visit I had done some research on Athens by searching on Tripadvisor about good, and not too touristic bars and places to go. There were some suggestions, but I think I was incredibly lucky to be with locals, since they knew where the real authentic and excellent places were.  If you go, don’t go expecting great, green parks, and phenomenal architecture. You won’t find it. Go because you want a good time, good food, and good company. It’s the people that make the place.

Ruth Wiemer

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