Thursday, October 13, 2016

Delphi, the Center of the World

The Ancients selected the rugged side of a mountain with expansive views for one of their holiest of holies, Delphi.

It was considered the Center of the World by the Greeks, as represented by the Omphalos(navel as demonstrated here by Stelios.)
Leaders of the classical world flocked to Delphi, the seat of the Oracle, seeking advice on important matters. This resulted in great wealth for Delphi.
The splendid ruins of this ancient place are one of my favorite ancient sites to visit. There is so much that still remains intact.
Built on the side of the Parnassus Mountain, Delphi rewards the visitor with every new meter of height climbed.
The ancient amphitheater.

The top of the site is crowned by an enormous stadium where the games took place. There are seats set into the hill surrounding it for the spectators to rest.
I found the views of the mountains very profound and spiritual. I can see how the ancient Greeks chose this location for one of their most important sanctuaries.
The Temple of Apollo, the patron god of Delphi.

As I walk the ancient paths of this extraordinary place of worship, I can't help but feel awe for those Hellenes of so long ago.
There is a certain aura at Delphi that can not be explained in words but needs to be experienced. Next time you are thinking about where to visit next, put Delphi on your list. One of the best times to visit is during spring and fall. The summer is very hot and it becomes more of a challenge to explore the outdoor site under the sun. Go,you won't regret it!



Saturday, September 24, 2016

Galaxidi, Greece

Galaxidi is a small port city on the northern coast of the Corinthian Gulf. 
It has a very picturesque double harbor, one of the narrowest harbor I've seen. Across the way is a pine forest planted by the local schoolchildren at least fifty years ago.
 Beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters are inviting and serene.

The preserved traditional city center consists of small winding roads connecting the homes.
It's fun to get lost among the narrow streets and find yourself at picturesque view points. I have found the local people to be friendly and hospitable. We were treated to a round of drinks by a local gentleman, because he felt badly after he warned us we were driving the wrong way up a local road.
The city flourished as a maritime center in the 19th century. In recent years they are mostly involved in tourism, turning the traditional wealthy captains homes into small lodgings.
 The views of the gulf are expansive and breathtaking.
 Yachts and fishing boats docked on the quay.
Restaurants and cafes line the harbor and it's worth a stroll along the path. If you are in Greece, take a side trip off the beaten path and spend a day or two at Galaxidi.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Petra kai Fos and The magic of Oitilo, Greece

Oitilo is a tiny fishing village at the South end of the Peloponnese. In the Mani region, Oitilo is situated almost exactly where the ancient town of Oitilo used to be.

Only six kilometers form the village of Areopolis, Oitilo is blessed by the clearest sea waters and views that take the breath away. The bay also includes the village of Limeni with wonderful seaside restaurants and turquoise waters as well as the small village of Karavostasi.

The hills that ring the bay are quickly being filled with traditional stone hotels and guest houses for the bourgeoning tourism of the area.
People are attracted to the wild beauty of the area, the rugged coastline, the crystal warm waters. Also, to the unique hospitality of the local tourist industry. We ate at diverse restaurants and stayed at a magical hotel perched on the side of the cliff hundreds of feet above the water.
Petra kai Fos, the hotel we spent a few days in, was as close to perfection as possible.
The location is set high on the side of a cliff overlooking the bay. The quality of the building and the amazingly beautiful infinity pool are matched by the friendliest staff and the best quality food. Every request is met with smiles from the young staff members, the drinks at the pool are imaginative and delicious, the rooms are spacious with fabulous views, and the food i n the dining room is some of the most delicious I've had in a long time.

 The beds are large and comfortable.
 The wine list contains many local wines fairly priced
We had some light dishes for dinner, including a fragrant bulgur salad, a fresh bean salad, and...
 cheese pies with orange marmalade garnish.
Everything is cooked on site and baked goods served at the plentiful and locally sourced breakfast are made in the kitchen of the hotel. One of the chefs shared the recipe for an orange olive oil cake that I will be featuring soon on the blog. I couldn't help sampling every day the prickly pear marmalade, one of my favorite things on the menu.

My husband had the massive burger made from local grass fed beef(the bite I took was absolutely delicious)!

 Limeni is characterized by it's turquoise blue waters and its restaurants by the sea.
We ate lunch at Teloneion, that I would highly recommend for its different tastes using local ingredients.
 Zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and herbs and fried.
Eggplant spread with grilled local cheese garnished with cactus fruit and tomato chutneys. Yum!
The two kinds of fava, one with fish roe and pickled fish and the other with black squid ink and shrimp was delicious and a fun surprise.
It was hard to leave this small slice of paradise of immense natural beauty, great service and fantastic food. The friendly atmosphere added so much to the quality of our stay.

The storm that swept over the area on our last night added to the mystique of the location. I can't wait to visit again.



Things to do in the area:

Horseback riding in Areopoli
Kayking and swimming at Limeni
Sandy beach at Neo Oitilo
Diros Caves in Diros
Walking the footpaths in the area

Monday, July 18, 2016

Greek Watermelon Salad

During these dogs days of summer one of the most refreshing foods is a really sweet, ripe watermelon. What's even better is making that watermelon into practically a meal.

I like to cube my watermelon, add some crumbled feta cheese and a fresh mint chiffonade(fancy word for chopped). I finish it off with my delicious  dressing and I have to say that there's never any left in the bowl.

I know that you might be a little reluctant to pair sweet watermelon with a savory dressing. But trust me, it makes a beautiful, tasty addition to the summer table.

Oh, yeah, this is my sourdough bread for the day. It really pairs well with the watermelon salad.
Greek Watermelon Salad
Cut up half a watermelon into 1 to 2 inch cubes.
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese

3/4 cup of extra virgin Greek olive oil
1/4 cup  white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Mix watermelon, feta and mint in a large bowl.
Mix all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously(make sure the jar is on tight.)
Once the dressing is mixed well and the ingredients have emulsified pour it over the watermelon mixture.
Mix the salad gently and serve with that good crusty bread.