Category Archives: Things to do

Greek Holiday – Part 3

You can catch up on the first two parts of my Greek Holiday here.

Santorini

After Athens, we flew down to Santorini for three days. Santorini is one of the many Greek island in the Cyclades. It is known for the famous white buildings and blue roofs that can be found scattered around the entire island. It is also has some nice beaches, although the weather was not exactly warm enough to enjoy the beach while we were there.

There are three or four popular towns on the island: Fira, Oia and Kamari. We stayed at the quaint Hotel Anassa in Kamari, which is on the southeast side of the island, near the airport.

Kamari Beach

Kamari can best be described as a beach town. A long strip of restaurants, bars and shops line the beach and offer both indoor and outdoor seating. A number of the restaurants even had their own beach chairs and umbrellas for customers.

One of these restaurants is the Prince Bar & Restaurant. After getting settled at the hotel, we took a walk down the main road in Kamari and decided to have a late lunch at the Prince mainly because it was the busiest of all the restaurants. Patrons equal good food and service right?

Well, in this case, it did. The weather was perfect, so we sat outside and took in the weather, the view and the delicious food. For lunch, I chose to order the moussaka. It was delicious!

Of course, being on holiday and with the weather so nice, enjoying a beer with lunch was a natural choice 🙂 The service at Prince was great and the servers were extremely nice. We enjoyed it so much that we ate there again on our last day.

I absolutely love Mythos Beer!

That evening, still full from our late lunch, we decided to just take a walk through Kamari and perhaps stop in somewhere for coffee and dessert. I’m not sure if it were there early in the season, or if it evenings in Kamari are generally quiet, but there weren’t every many people out.

So again, we chose a restaurant that looked the busiest. We ordered baklava (when in Greece…) and Greek coffee. I’m pretty sure the baklava they brought us was the largest piece I have EVER seen! Here is half of it…

Greek coffee is most similar to Turkish coffee, so mom had the brilliant idea that we should turn them over when we finished and attempt to read our fortunes. This practice is known as Tasseography, and you can read more about it here.

So what was my fortune? Well, here’s a photo of my cup. Feel free to comment with you think you see.

What do you see in the coffee grinds?

On our first full day in Santorini, we decided to explore the town of Fira. Fira is the capitol of Santorini and it is the most central of all the towns. All of the local buses go through Fira and it is arguably the most popular with tourists.

*Side note – Local buses are not frequent, but they are on time. Check the schedule, and arrive 10 minutes or so before the time. The cost was around €2 per person, and tickets can be purchased on the bus.

Artifacts from the museum in Fira

Another artifact - made from pure gold

There was one historical museum in Fira, but otherwise it is a great place to walk, shop, eat and ride a donkey.

That’s right, a donkey! Okay, it was actually a mule, but advertized as a donkey. Let me explain…

The town of Fira is at the top of a steep mountain by the sea. This was also the location of the old port. Thanks to modern technology, a cable car has been built to transport people from the town to the old port and back. However the old path that zigzagged up the mountain is still there, as are the mules that would carry people and their things up and down the mountain. These days visitors have three choices when it comes to getting up or down the mountain: the cable car, walking the old path, or riding a mule.

The view from Fira down to the old port

My dad and I chose to take the cable car down and then ride the mule back up the mountain. I think this was the best decision considering how bumpy the mule ride was and how scary that would have been going down hill. Mom took the safe route back up on the cable car, but that meant she was able to get some photographs of us embarking on our journey.

My ride up the mountain

All smiles on the way up!

Even dad was having a good time!

Me and my new friend

When we safely made it back to the top of the mountain, it was time for lunch!

I did some research and found a fantastic place called Ellis Restaurant in Fira. Ellis is tucked away on the mountain, but very easily accessible and boasts a magnificent ocean view.

The highlight here was, without a doubt, the beer battered eggplant (aubergine) with pita and tzatziki sauce. It was delicious!

Beer battered eggplant at Ellis

Their Greek salad at Ellis was also one of the best (and prettiest) we had on the trip.

The Greek Salad

Again, the service here was fantastic, and I’m not just saying that because the waiter brought us free homemade dessert!

Yummy!

I would definitely say that Ellis gets the award for best meal in Greece. If you’re ever in Santorini, be sure to have a meal there!

Our excursion boat Jason

On our last full day in Santorini, we booked a boat excursion around the island. Now, had the weather been about ten degrees warmer (Fahrenheit), this would have been a fantastic way to spend the day. The boat made stops so you could go swim, and took us from the southern part of the island all the way to the northern town of Oia. Needless to say, we did not swim, but at least got a great view of the island from the water. I was also dying to visit Oia (pronounced E-ya), so it was still a great day.

Oia is most famous of the white buildings and blue roofs. That combination can be found throughout Santorini, but the ones in Oia are the most photographed and recognized.

Here are some photos from our amazing day on the boat and our visit to Oia.

I'm on a boat!

A man actually lives here

The town of Oia

And that concludes our trip to Santorini!

Stay tuned for the fourth and final part of my Greek holiday, as we head to the island of Crete.

Ciao,

Sheila

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Filed under Eating Out, Family, Things to do, Things to see, Travel

Cruising Lake Como

*I wrote this post on Aug. 14th, 4 days before my eye surgery.

And then forgot all about it.

Better late than never, right?

On one of my days off, I thought it would be fun to cruise around the lake, visiting some of the popular towns and attractions on my way.

I decided to start the day off in Bellagio and work my way down the left leg of the lake (also known as the “Como” branch, the other leg is referred to as the Lecco branch). Instead of riding on the lake all day, I took the bus from Como to Bellagio, which only cost me €2.50 and took about an hour and a half. It was a fun ride with great views of the lake.

Once I arrived, I took some time to take photos of the beautiful scenery and flowers.

From there I just walked around (mainly looking for a place to grab lunch). There were lots of little side streets and restaurants could be found all over. I wanted something light and inexpensive so I chose to grab a panini at Cafe Vecchio Borgo (which translates to Old Village). They were only €5 and delicious!

The Mediterraneo panini at Cafe Vecchio Borgo

Of course, after lunch I had to have dessert! Instead of the usual gelato, I decided to go with my new favorite: an Affogato! What is an affogato you ask? Well it’s the perfect combination of vanilla ice cream topped with un cafe (aka a shot of expresso). Affogato literally translates to “drowned”.

 

The Affogato! yummy!

As you can see, it looks amazing! We made this at the house, minus the whip cream and biscuit, regularly and it tastes good every time! If you decide to make it at home, try and find a “gelato” or creamier ice cream so that it doesn’t all melt the second you pour the coffee on it.

And finally, after my affogato, I walked up to the very tip of Bellagio, where you can see down all three branches of the lake.

After snapping some photos, I went back down to the dock where I hopped on the ferry to my next location: Leno.

There are many villas around Lake Como, but one of the most famous is Villa del Balbianello. The villa has been used as a filming location in Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, and after visiting it, I can believe more films haven’t use it.

The villa is only accessible by foot on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday. It is a 20-30 minute hike from the dock, most of the roads are unpaved too so it is crucial to wear proper shoes. The villa has it’s own dock and visitors can hire a water taxi from one of the towns near by to take them to the villa every day of the week (except Monday and Wednesday when the villa is closed). This makes the villa very secluded and helps with preservation.

Me at the Villa

I did not take a tour of the inside, just walked the gardens which cost around 8 euros.

After walking around for a bit, I walked back to the dock, and hopped on the next ferry to Como. On the way, we passed by the home of Lake Como’s most famous resident: George Clooney.

George Clooney's Villa on Lake Como

Yes, it was an amazing day on the lake and I was able to see just about everything I wanted to see.

I highly recommend doing this if you are ever near Lake Como. Another option is to just buy a ticket and ride the boat around the lake (not getting off at any stops).

Ciao,

Sheila

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Filed under Italiano, Movie Reference, Things to do, Things to see, Travel

Found myself in the city near Piccadilly

Who has been the worst blog updater ever? That would be Me!

I feel that emergency eye surgery is a good enough excuse though. Well, that and dealing with moving BACK to London.

The EYE

My eye is doing better. I’m stuck wearing glasses, which isn’t too bad except for when it rains (which it does just about every day). I’m really hoping that by November I can get back to contacts. On sunny days, I am still rocking the big sunglasses since they are so big, I can wear them over my glasses. They are pretty amazing and I’ll probably keep them for those sunny days when I’m too lazy, tired, or hung over to wear my contacts. People who wear contacts know the days I am talking about.

LONDON

I have officially moved back to London and started classes. I’m living in a two bedroom flat in a student housing building very close to central London. I definitely like it here and I’m close to 3 tube stations that can take me pretty much anywhere in London. For places that are close, I can take the bus or even walk if I have my umbrella with me.

SCHOOL

It’s definitely taking some time to adjust back to “school life”, especially since for the past 12 months I’ve been living the “do nothing life”. We had induction for 2 days last week and that definitely helped. There are about 30 people in our class who come from all over the world with totally different backgrounds. It has been fun getting to know everyone, where they come from, and why they’re doing this short but intense program.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little intimidated at the beginning. Again, after doing things on my own time table this past year, I know it is going to be an adjustment getting back into school mode. I just have to remind myself I’m 5 years older than the last time I was in school (I can’t believe it has been that long!) and I can definitely do this if I just manage my time and focus.

Oh, and we started a blog for our program where we’ll be talking music biz. You can check it out here.

Etc, Etc.

I started reading “Dirty, Sexy, Politics” by Meghan McCain a couple of days ago and I totally recommend it. Whether or not you’re into politics, whether you are republican or democrat, it doesn’t matter! It is a fun read. Also, for my friends in Nashville, there’s an entire chapter devoted to her night out in our amazing city after the Presidential debate at Belmont.

Finally, if you haven’t already, you should check out The XX. Amazon is selling the digital CD for $6.99 (iTunes has it for $9.99), and I’m not even sure if the physical album is available in the US yet.

Sorry for the boring photo-less post, but I promise to put up  a more exciting post soon.

Ciao,

Sheila

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Filed under Moving, Ridiculousness, School, Song Reference, Things to do, Travel