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2011 part 4 – a taste of greece

Another overseas post tonight…

Ben and I had a fab, massive Europe trip June/July 2011. Two weddings… neither in English… Fun! After the formalities were over we spent 10 amazing days in Greece. We went to Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. The latter was my favourite by a long shot, most likely because I am not 20 anymore… Slightly embarrassed to admit it but when in Mykonos, we didn’t even go to Paradise or Super Paradise… Instead, my best memories of Greece, involved renting a 4 wheeler and biking around Paros, finding deserted beaches and local tavernas…

Santorini was our entry point to Greece and we immediately ordered a greek salad and a club sandwich (for Ben). We stayed at the INCREDIBLE Petra Villas. This is a top 3 lifetime hotel! Highly recommended if in budget. These photo are slightly more about the location, than the meal…

The first greek salad of the trip... and the first view... at Petra Villas Santorini
View from the pool deck at Petra Villas

Next up was a visit to Amoudi Bay, for fabulous seafood. We ate at Sunset Taverna and we booked a waterfront table. You will need to book if you want the front row. You can see from these pics how close we were to the water…

Pan-fried red mullet - you eat from head to tail.. inclusive
the ice bucket... chilled over water
View from our table at Sunset Taverna

Final stop in Santorini was for Ben but it was an excursion I was very happy to accompany. We visited Domaine Sigalas for a little greek wine tasting… This place is absolutely worth a visit. Half way between Imerovigli and Oia. Just make sure you have a full tank of petrol as there are no petrol stations beyond Imerovigli… as we found out. Not really our fault though as our tank appeared to have been drained overnight… something else to watch out for maybe…. These are all the wines we tasted….

My favourite on the far left... sometime available at The Press Club

And this is the size of a greek tasting glass (one standard drink perhaps..?) Needless to say the hitchhike back was pretty fun!

one standard drink x8

After Santorini, we ferried over to Paros and hired another 4-wheeler. This one for 4 days. Your best bet here is to drive around the coast on your first day and pick a few deserted spots to come back to. The best “organised” beach was Santa Maria, the non-busy end but it was still pretty busy during the day.

Santa Maria - the quiet end

The evenings were sensational. We stayed in Naoussa, near the old town which meant an easy walk to cute shops and lots of delicious restaurants. Our hotel (Manis Inn) was not super plush but it had air-conditioning, a big pool and is right on the beach. It was also extremely reasonably priced as far as the islands go. Below is my favourite “unorganised” beach and my favourite meal in Greece.

fav paros beach - Ampelas
simple, fresh, greek food - Ampelas

Last stop on our tour of Greece was party-island Mykonos. The old town here was frikkin cool! But…. as Greece fell deeper into an economic hole there were some issues… like the entire town’s electricity supply was a little unpredictable. At about 11pm, we were strolling through the numerous (very touristy) restaurants and we had total blackout. As in TOTAL blackout! Everybody was quick to get their mobile phones out but there was no panic (except a little in my mind…). It seemed the restaurants were quite used to this and within 10 minutes there were generators humming and it was business as usual. We didn’t find anything too special in Mykonos old town in terms of eating. I don’t doubt there is good food to be had, I just don’t think we found any of the right places. On our second last day we visited the famous (the orginal) Nammos Beach Club on Psarou Beach. We were actually staying opposite this beach (Hotel Nissaki) which was a perfect location, between two beautiful beaches and far away from the super crowds… as long as you could handle listening to Euro-trash at top volume between 2pm and 9pm each day (just an FYI: the playlist is the same everyday). Anyway back to Nammos… We had tried to book the main restaurant but I’m not sure the bookings work the normal way… eg, you call and ask for a table for two… When we arrived we tried again to get a table at the main restaurant but we were told it was full…. until Ben suggested we would be buying a bottle of Dom Perignon (at a triple inflated price) to wash down our lunch… suddenly a table was available for us, which we politely declined and moved on to the smaller japanese restaurant next door.

tempura prawns
salmon tartare

It’s probably not good to reminise about how this day/night ended as we moved from the restaurant to a daybed (back row though as we were clearly not counted as BIG SPENDERS) and ordered another couple of bottles of excellent rose… I do remember dancing on the tables but I guarentee this is normal behaviour at Nammos… I also remember the horrendous hangover that we both had for our last day of our holiday before 40 hours of traveling home… highly UN-recommended!!

If you can get to Nammos super early you might get a front row daybed and you probably wouldn’t need to move all day except for quick cooling off dips in between drinks. A highlight of our Greece trip but maybe not so smart to do it on your last night…

Wow…. long post! Any questions?? ha!