It’s been just over 12 years since I last travelled to Greece and what a wonderful opportunity to come back and explore new foods, reconnect with old friends and of course catch up with our beautiful relatives!
We had planned to travel with my brother and his wife but due to unforseen circumstances, they were not able to join us. We were so disappointed as we were looking forward to hitting the unbeaten track with them.
The one thing I really wanted to discover while here was recipes that have been lost or even hardly ‘remembered’ in Australia. It’s week 2 of our 4-week holiday and have we eaten some scrumptious food!! While in Athens, we went on the search for a yeeros but each time we sat down to eat, we ate something completely different! It wasn’t until we had travelled half way around the Peloponnese coast stopping at a cute little village called Loutra Killinis we had our first yeeros in Greece. They were absolutely delicious and only cost a mere 2 euro!
Then there was our stay in Velika near Kalamata. This is where my mum was born and raised. My cousin, Theodoraki took us out for a late dinner (late to us – on time for them!) and we polished off a number of chicken souvlaki, homemade potato chips and a fresh village salad. And it continued…
The following day we were invited to his place for lunch. The menu consisted of marinated lamb chops, pork chops and loukanika (Greek sausages). There was freshly made tzatziki, blocks of feta and loaves of crusty bread…oh and homemade chips! Haha, we Greeks love our homemade chips cooked in olive oil…what’s not to love?
What I loved the most about this was the friendship around the table. Catching up with my cousin and each time he wanted an English word translated, would get out his phone and google the word and then let us all know! So much fun. And then there’s my nieces Kaki and Georgia – last time I saw them they were 14 and 18 – today they are wonderful mothers to their children and doing well. Kaki especially enjoyed discussing food and cooking bougatsa (a flaky pastry filled with a semolina custard and dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon).
And how can I forget our first Sunday in Athens. After taking the metro into the city and going on some sightseeing – we loved all the ancient sights and visiting the Athens Flea Market. But I must confess, I was a tad nervous due to the fact Greg had his wallet pick-pocketed in 2000 in this very place and $6,500 stolen from our key card within an hour and a half. Yep, it’s true! Nevertheless, we hopped back onto that horse and took a stroll through the markets and I am happy to report we came through with money and cards intact!
But the real fun was when we visited my maternal cousins in Sepolia, Athens and it felt like we were just picking up where we left off! It was pure joy to be reunited with them and share our stories, pictures of our loved ones and break bread together. The meal was magnificent – full of flavour and filled with goodness. The connections around the table were heavenly and I am so grateful for these people.
And then there were those we had never met in person and met for the first time face to face – wow, wow, wow – more of that in my next blog.
Have a fabulous day, evening or whatever time it is in your part of the world! My love to all of you!