On to Greece. An expensive destination, yes, but the €2.5 gyros make you feel better about it.

 

Growing up on the east side of Melbourne and being surrounded by kids of Greek ancestry meant that I have for long known some of the ruder words in the Greek language and the basics of a Greek meal. I did not, however, grasp the importance of Greece in the evolution of human civilisations, until taking a few Classics classes. I learned about ancient Greek plays, philosophy, communication and history which inform so much of the world’s current knowledge as well as societal concepts and norms – an experience that cemented a spot for Greece in my top 3 ‘I need to go there’ destinations.

 

There’s also the standard ‘From where you’d rather be’ posts floating around on Facebook and Instagram of bright white buildings, deep blue seas and random donkeys – mostly posted by holidayers, honeymooners and inexplicably successful bloggers and photographers. I’m not sure whether this adds to, or detracts from, the appeal of Greece as a destination. I think it might be both, because on the one hand it evokes the feeling of ‘wanderlust’, where everyone with a slightly menial occupation is suddenly in desperate need of a holiday. On the other hand, it takes away some of the mystery of the destination that is, in reality far away, but somehow also in the palm of your hand.

 

What I realised upon arrival is that none of that matters, and my umming and aahing about going to Greece was a waste of time and energy. When a place becomes flooded with tourists, there’s a tendency to dismiss it as crowded or ‘mainstream’ and forget that these places are popular for a reason and what we see on social media doesn’t really do the experience justice anyway, as the experience itself is entirely subjective.

 

I landed in Athens and spent 3 nights. I didn’t get the best out of it because of the heat, but at least I know I’ll be back.

 

The Parthenon, with just a couple of other tourists.
View from the top!
From Athens I headed to Mykonos. Funny story – I got off the ferry at the wrong island and went looking for my hotel. After asking for directions, eventually showing someone the address I wanted and getting told ’this is not Mykonos’ I sprinted back to my ferry with a red face. Anyway, I decided to explore and eat. Then I beached myself.

 

 

The street where I was staying. Doesn’t really get more Mykonos than this.
Just a mysterious-looking blue door.
Those famous windmills!
Ahh yes.
I had a short stop at Ios where I beached myself once more. As you can see, all the islands look a little different!
This was on what I was told was a short walk to the beach.
Mylopotas beach – this would have to be the nicest beach I’ve been to in Europe. I’m not normally this type of person, but I spent my whole day there. The water is crystal clear, the views are rad and there’s real sand instead of pebbles.
Mykonos to Santorini.
NB: Must be seen to be believed.
NB: Sunset is no joke.
NB: Very lovey dovey.

 

 

 

 

 

The sunset is UNREAL.
Same view by day…
..and by night.
This is the main path on the island. I challenge you to find a nicer place to stroll.
Finally found one of these little guys. He didn’t return the excitement.
Santorini to Heraklion on the island of Crete. This is a special one, chosen because I was determined to visit Knossos. Knossos is Europe’s oldest city – oldest city!! – and the centre of a number of ancient Greek plays. Here is where the legend of the Minotaur, son of King Minos, began – a beast half man and half bull who dwelt at the centre of the city’s labyrinth, constructed on the orders of King Minos.

 

 

 

 

Knossos
The famous fresco of the minotaur of Knossos. It was restored in the 19th century, but has been there since the Bronze Age.
Once again – here is a separate section for all the things I ate.
Mushroom arancini appetiser, on the house. So crispy on the ouside, and gooey on the inside :)
Orzo – Greek short-cut pasta in a tomato sauce with olives and fresh feta.
Super light bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and cherry syrup. The cherries in Greece are amazing.
Probably one of the best seafood meals I’ve ever eaten, linguine with the freshest of prawns, mussels and clams.
Yoghurt panna cotta with cherry compote and red peppercorns. Boom.
One of many, many gyros consumed on the trip. There are many souvlaki/gyros joints in Melbourne, but so far nothing I’ve tried comes close to this 2.5 euro blanketed flavour party.
Spanakopita – a family favourite – flaky filo pastry filled with spinach and cheese.
This image doesn’t look that nice, but’s a crepe with nutella and vanilla custard inside. It was rad.
Just a trippy soft serve.
Dolmades – vine leaves wrapped around olive rice, preserved in lemon juice and olive oil. An absolute favourite.
Keftedes – Fried tomato balls – almost like tomato flavoured bread that’s been deep fried. I managed to grab the recipe from the owner and will be trying it out soon.
Freshly caught MASSIVE grilled prawns.
Saganaki. Dying immediately after this would have been fine.
Calamari – every Mediterranean destination seems to have calamari available on their menu. Enjoy it while you can, there’s nothing quite like in Australia.
Warm, rich, oozey, saucy moussaka!

 

Paper-thin crepe with local honey, walnnuts and ricotta
Yet another orzo, this time with saffron sauce and fresh seafood. Yum.
Créme brulée flavoured with mastic – a natural gum with a herby, slightly acidic flavour.
Stifado – Cretan meat stew.
Loukoumades – Greek donuts soaked in honey syrup.
Galaktoboureko – custard slice dessert

 

All this reminiscing is making me so hungry…

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