For my daughters high school graduation she asked for one present, for the two of us to go to Greece. Claire’s first trip to Greece and my fifth. I thought that was a fabulous idea because I wanted her to know where her family came from. On her father’s side Claire has Italian, Scottish and Irish to name a few, but on my side of the family it’s all Greek.
We went for two weeks; I started us in Athens, then a few days in Crete, and the end of the trip on Corfu. It was an intentional route. Athens is a large bustling city with lots to see and do, Crete is a large island with major cities, beautiful beaches, stunning views, and plenty of antiquities to visit. Corfu is breathtaking with crystal clear water and small sleepy towns and beaches, a nice place to relax and end our trip.
I hadn’t been to Greece since 1992 and I was looking forward to seeing how things had changed since I was there last. I knew the Olympics had dramatically altered Athens and the surrounding area. The airport was new and the roads going to and from Athens to the airport reminded me of how the roads in California used to be when I was a kid.
You gotta love Athens! It’s big, sprawling, active, and loaded with things to see and do. I chose a hotel in the center of Athens, I wanted to be able to get around easily and accomplish a lot on foot. Our hotel was lovely and we had a view of the Acropolis from our room, and of course a better view from the roof bar at the hotel. Unfortunately the weather was unseasonably hot so we trudged around Athens and hiked up to the Acropolis during blinding hot days. Luckily there were breezes. In all my trips to Greece I have never been to Delphi, so we rented a van (there were seven of us on this trip) and a driver and had a lovely trip to Delphi. Fortunately there were lots of trees and a good breeze in the archeological site so I made my way slowly to the top stopping at every tree along the path. Our driver who was a lovely young man who assured me that no one could make moussaka like his mother suggested a café for lunch in a town outside of Delphi called Aracova. Don’t know the name of the restaurant but it was definitely one of my all time favorite meals while in Greece. Aracova is a ski resort in the winter and the tour busses to Delphi often only stop at the tourist shops so we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves. It looked family run and our driver headed downstairs to eat with the family. We had chicken souvlaki, moussaka, cheese pita drizzled with honey, Greek salad, and it was all outstanding. The chicken was moist and tender and nicely seasoned, the moussaka was unctuous and the cheese pita buttery, crispy, perfectly accented by the drizzle of honey. Once fed we packed back into the van and nodded off while our trusty driver took us back to Athens. I ended that day with a trip to the bar on the roof and sat captivated by the rugged, spectacular views of the Athens skyline.