Posts Tagged With: Chania

Beach fun, good food and football…the American kind!

I’ll go ahead and admit to you now, this trip to Greece was not to explore ancient history or keep myself busy with guideed tours. I traveled here to see a new culture while visiting my dear friend Florian and of course try the food!

I’m hungry at the moment, so I’m going to begin with the edibles! My favorite thing about Cretan food? The abundance of organic, real and raw veggies. The restaurants are locally owned and operated and most ingredients are gathered right in their backyard!
Not so favorite fact… the lack of spice! “Hot” to them, means there is black pepper on the table.

Typically, you’ll get complimentary bread and butter before every meal and after, they bring you fruit aside a bit of Raki. Also known as Tsikoudia, this strong distilled spirit contains approximately 37 percent alcohol and is produced from the must-residue of the wine-press. I was told that Cretans are often disappointed when they travel abroad and these two customs are not delivered.

Our fancy meal of the trip was sword fish, stuffed mushrooms and greens. Followed of course, by the complimentary dessert and drink. Sorry, we devoured the delicious mushrooms before I took this photo.

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This italian restaurant claimed to have fresh pizza from a wood burning stove. Turns out they were advertising the truth! Here’s the afternoon delivery of fresh wood, followed by the pizza that the boys ordered.

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For this lunch stop, Hayden went for crougette balls (fried zucchini) and a typical cheese dish.
I thought I’d branch out and order the “special salad” (that was the actual name of it on the menu) and the only special thing to me was the 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in the middle. Why is this necessary and what we’re they thinking?!

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Hamburger and fries? Yes he did!

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A morning market treat for me was pomegranate and Greek yogurt. I added lime juice to make it into a dressing for my carrot, cucumber and mushroom salad. Top it with crushed almonds and viola, a scrumptious breakfast!

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Lets head to the beach! On this specific shore, you’ll find clear shallow water with fine sand to kiss your feet. I really don’t need to describe much else, as the photos say it all. Florian took time of his busy schedule to show us around the water. What a wonderful way to spend a day under the blue sky!

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Same sunshine, same beach… Different day. Time for a handstand!

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By night, you can be entertained by the usual bars, dance clubs and restaurants. Then there’s the not so well known options that we chose! First pick was heading to the sand with tiki torches, an adult punch bowl and Florian’s guitar.

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This was a Sunday night in which Hayden and I got spoiled with a local bar that was willing to play American football for us. Turns out there was another couple that had requested it as well. Before long, we had new friends, snacks, drinks and the Raiders game… What a night!

Dear Jennifer and Joel, it was a beautiful surprise to meet you two and I truly enjoyed our conversation! Cheers to what started with hand shakes and ended in hugs. I send you nothing but the good stuff!

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One of the last nights there, the city called for a power out during a rainstorm. This doesn’t slow them down at all! What was once loud bars filled with music and lamps is now candle lit rooms with the sound of waves crashing between conversations. Extremely peaceful and yet so thrilling with every unexpected strike of lightning and thunder.

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To my dear Florian, Daniel, Jule, Johanna and Irene. Our time in Crete has been marked “special” due to your enthusiasm and welcoming energy. To “the program”, we shall be in touch soon about future plans.

This is when my current partner in crime departs back west to the states as I journey east to Japan. I’m not sure I could possibly come close to properly describing my gratitude for our adventures together. Hayden, you and I both know that when I say “adventures”, I use that term in the least. Cheers to the next path crossing my friend!

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Categories: Art, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Crete, the hometown of Zeus

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and sits just north of Africa. The wonderful people here consider themselves “Cretan”, not Greek and do a fine job of representing their independent culture. One of my favorite fun facts, speaking in mythological terms, Crete is believed to be the place where Zeus grew up!

I’m here visiting a dear friend of mine that I met years ago while dressed in a dirndl (I was, he was in lederhosen) singing German songs on a table at Oktoberfest in Munich.

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Year after year we’ve stayed connected and this time, our reunion sweeps me to his summer job at a hotel in Chania. Before I take you to Crete, lets sneak a quick look at the journey to get there starting with a hanging tram in Dusseldorf to a layover in Athens. I got excited when I saw the writing on the back of the seat. Almost there!

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Landing in Athens brings you an open designed terminal with many options to keep you occupied. With several museums, gambling halls, and cafe’s you’ll find quite a selection of entertainment. There’s even a kids play room if you care for a sitter while doing a little souvenir shopping. Hayden was behaving that day, so I let him hang with me.

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The dreaded airport lunch? Not today! A salad buffet full of raw veggies, herbs, toppings and fresh dips like tzatziki and hummus. This definitely beats the usual option of an iceberg lettuce bowl with a few slivers of carrot and a bag of dressing for the same price!

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A friendly and helpful side note to all of my frozen yogurt fans out there, at the Athens airport there are two different options for this cold delight. No need to worry, I did the exhausting hassle for you and tried both to confirm there is most certainly a better choice! Your welcome. The winner is…

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Ok, finally landing makes my stomach fill with excitement as seeing sweet Florian is soon to be! If you know this guy, you can confirm that his kind smile matches his sincerity and his German quirky sense of humor leaves your cheeks aching from laughing!

We meet up for our first breakfast after a good nights sleep, meaning a few hours as the sun was coming up (thank you to the unofficial welcoming crew and the deck of cards). Check out this view!

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Right away I felt my shoulders drop a notch and my busy mind lower gears. Between the Cretans love for food and drink, the warm sun on my skin and the ocean as a back drop, it only seems silly to allow any stress to hinder positive thoughts. Let me take you for a quick walk from our doorstep to the main road that hugs the shore.

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Next, lets explore the work place of Florian. This type of hotel is new to me as its specifically designed for German travelers on vacation here. Not only does the staff speak German, but their news letters, guided tours and special events are all centered to help the guests feel connected and comfortable. Welcome to Hotel Dimitra!

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Johanna and Jule, both here working from Germany, greeted us with eager smiles and fun conversation. Maybe its because we just came from their home country, but their sweet and spicy personalities made me feel comfortable instantly!

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On this evening, the hotel was throwing a themed party they described as “bad taste”. Apparently you’re supposed to dress in an awkward fashion and sport a “unique” look. Of course we were invited and yes, I encouraged (made) Hayden dress up. I think we did just fine! The walk from our place to the hotel was the best part. All of the tourist on the street and people dining on the terraces staring at us as we giggle our way past them. Great memories!

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A flash back of Jr.High popped into my mind when we were peaking around the corner to make sure we weren’t the only ones in costume. Coast is clear!

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I am one lucky lady.

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What better way to mingle with a crowd of Germans while visiting Greece than a theme party!

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Such an energetic event to kick off our time here. Also, many thanks to Florian for not only the personal invite, but the exposure to bring me some haircut clients along the way!

I’ll end this post now with a neat photo I snagged from the bar decor. More Crete to come!

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Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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