Again, the same orange blossom fragrance greeted me this time and lead me through the marble streets of Athens. This sweet memory simply reminds me that my last visit was also around late March or early April.
The pace in Athens is laid back and relaxing, like in many other cities in the Mediterranean. Under the glaring spring sunshine, one wears big sun glasses, sipping coffee or enjoying a glass of wine…or like me, fresh orange juice. (BTW, I use orange blossom eau de toilette and put Moroccan orange blossom water in fruit salad.) Here I am, visiting a friend, without any plans, but roaming around, feeling the atmosphere, walking up a couple of hills to enjoy the 360 degree view of the city, or savoring Mediterranean food.
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Santorini Island is just spectacular! I was lucky with the weather, sunny and comfortable during the day, but cold once the sun went down. Many villas, hotels or restaurants were closed because the season starts in June. I have been told the best month to visit Santorini is May, when the weather is stable and not too hot yet, and hotel rate lower than peak season. As usual, I explored the island by public transportation (and on foot).
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Ann: How did you prepare the artichokes that you bought from the market?
Lin-shu: My friend cooked it. She cleaned it (cut off the spiky tip, the heart, and bottom, cut in halves) and boiled in salty water. After it cooled off, just ate it with olive oil. She calls it “à la grecque,” Greek style. BTW, I just sent you one photo from my iPhone- a dish of young raw zucchini salad with chopped dill, salt and olive oil. The other is a kind of artichoke ragout, with potatoes and carrots, of course, cooked with olive oil.
A: Can you describe your most memorable meal on the trip?
L: Actually, they were all delicious and healthy. None of the ordered dishes came with cream or heavy sauce; closer to original taste. Of course, Greek food is famous for using olive oil, and Greeks eat a lot of vegetables. Now, back in Vienna, I eat Greek yogurt, and cook zucchini à la Grecque.
A: Looks like you visited several places on Santorini- where?
L: The place I stayed was in Imerovigli [Merovigliosso Apartments], which is about 30 minutes walking distance to Fira (the capital of Santorini), and everyday I walked to Fira, passing by Firostefani. Fira is where I took the bus. Actually, I visited: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, Akrotiri and Perissa (black beach).
A: I didn’t see any boats docked along the coast- where are they? Do people have boats? Do they go sailing in the Aegean?
L: Santorini is actually a part of an erupted volcano crater (dead). Oia and Fira are on the western part, where the cliffs are, as the eastern part of Santorini is flatter. All the nicer hotels are in Oia and Fira, because they are on cliffs and have gorgeous views. All cruise ships stop at the bottom of Fira, where my photos of the steps down to the old seaport shows. I did not pay attention to boats.
A: Which place on Santorini did you like the best and why?
L: Fira and Oia are the best, may be Oia a little better. They are made of little villas/hotels built on cliffs, staggered one on top of the other, all very cute and cozy, as you can see from my photos. And one walks among them in tiny paths. One has to visit Oia and Fira on foot.
A: Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of Greece. I look forward to seeing more of your travels around the world!
Date Lin-shu visited Athens and Santorini: March 2014
About the photographer: Lin-shu loves traveling and has lived in many places around the world- NYC, Kenya, Switzerland, China, Taiwan, Thailand- just to name a few. Her photos are stunning and I always look forward to seeing where she traveled to and hearing about what she did there. In addition to traveling, she also enjoys snow shoeing, skiing, and staying active. She currently lives in Vienna, Austria.