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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Places, Food, but Ultimately People Enhance Our Travel Experiences

Aloha Everyone,

We met 3 sisters from Brooklyn, NY.  They went to London to drop off one of their daughter/niece who will be attending university. They came to Athens to visit a relative then took a trip to Paros.

For dinner, we tried a new restaurant near our hotel. Interesting name and the graphic of the menu as well as menu items prompted me to ask if there is a Japanese connection. The owner is half Japanese, half German and grew up in Paros. Would have loved to meet him in person. The unassuming restaurant was packed, catering to a clientele who’s looking for something different.

Our starter was a complimentary appetizer made of Greek yogurt, beet juice with olive oil.

For entrees J.J. asked for Thai curry with shrimp and white rice.

My salad was made of green lettuce leafs, Paros cheese, red mountain berries, walnuts pieces and candied fig marinated in Greek yogurt. The olive oil had an exotic flavor. The Japanese influence was very apparent while the ingredients were local source.

I could survive on Greek desserts. That is if they are all low glucose, high protein with vitamin B and C. 

Here are some of the mouth-watering fresh fruits and Greek desserts the two of us feasted on, including nougat sandwich with almond chips, crumbly orange cake encrusted in phyllo dough. It  was heavenly!

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Greek Language

Aloha Everyone,

We’ve all heard the expression, “I have no idea.  It sounds Greek to me.” Greek, an ancient language, is difficult. It is the same for the written version. We are familiar with the Roman alphabet. The Greek alphabet is hard to decipher.

While J.J. and I “sheltered-in-place” with our son’s family for exactly 365 days, among the activities I engaged were learning languages. Of the 13 languages I am interested in learning, Greek and Hawaiian were most challenging.

Following methods of several experts on language learning, I jump right into conversation skipping grammar. In addition to Duolingo, one of the most helpful app is Greek by Nemo. You can choose how many new words or short phrases you would like to learn. Yes, I tend to be an overachiever. The first goal I set was 12 phrases per day. I then drastically reduced to 7 then 3. For the last two days, I am getting by quite nicely with 5 a day.

J.J. and I have a couple of very close friends in Hawaii who are Greek. Would love to be able to carry a short conversation, maybe about our favorite Greek dishes or desserts with them.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Postcard from Paros and Restaurant Magic Paros

Aloha Everyone,

Postcards were popular, economical and an easy method for travelers to stay in touch with friends and families back home.  Internet and mobile phone communication changed all that. Now sending postcards could be more time consuming as you have to go through 3 steps: purchase postcards, write a quick message, then post them. In Paros, J.J. & I saw a post office near our hotel, so we decided to send a few.

As you can see, the postcard design we chose depicts a view that is common to Paros and picture perfect.

The two of us have been trying different restaurants located on the waterfront and those surrounding the main Palikia Town Square. Food prices, menu items do not differ much between restaurants. So we have gone back repeatedly to at least 4 establishments for the quality of their food, including presentation and personal service.

Magic Paros is one of them which we will remember by name. Julie the chef takes pride in her dishes and it shows. On both occasions, Julie made menu suggestions. Julie has 20 plus years of restaurant experience but only 4 months since she has been with Magic Paros. An extrovert and enthusiastic, Julie captured our heart and yes, our stomach with her complimentary homemade desserts.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, September 27, 2021

A Day Trip to Antiparos

Aloha Everyone,

The boat ride from Paros to Antiparos took 25 minutes. Following the crew’s recommendation, J.J. and I sat on the upper deck under a canvas canopy.

After a midday snack of ice cream, J.J. and I took a bus tour. Our driver was very punctual. He made a total of 5 stops including at the main attraction, a cave where one has to climb up a hill about 100 meter. What he didn’t mention is that the steps leading to the cave is 365 steps each way. I love caves, but J.J. simply disagrees. With no official guide, you are on your own, I passed my first Greek cave:-(

Dispotilikot was the last stop where we had a 30 minutes break. J.J. and I shared a grilled toast, a typical Greek snack item.

Chris and Ashley, a young couple from Philadelphia, took same boat and bus tour with us. They reminded us of 40 some years ago when we worked hard and saved money towards our travels.

Antiparos is laidback, less developed, less crowded, with rural charm. The total cost for the boat was €10 per person round trip. Our bus was €6 each. We were gone exactly 5 hours.

Channel between islands was rough and I had to hold onto my hat and railing as not to lose my hat or myself. Overall, this was an enjoyable and stimulating day.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Staying in Touch with Family

Aloha Everyone,

Our two sons are well versed in world geopolitical affairs from the historical point of view as well as current events.  

During our weekly video get together, we tap their knowledge and discuss defensive investment moves. We rely on passive income to sustain our lifestyle.

Fortunately, we live within a budget. One splurge is to fly Business Class, otherwise our needs are simple. We don’t have to stay in ultra luxury hotels but we don’t scrimp on food. J.J. and I have no need to shop for souvenirs to display inside Honu. Photos and blog entries plus my artwork give us plenty of memories to look back to.  

Greece has so many stray cats. They even sell postcards of strays. Whenever J.J. and I choose outdoor sitting at a restaurant to enjoy seafood, we are surrounded by 3 or more cats waiting for handouts. They stare right at you and some more aggressive ones put jump on adjacent empty seats to be closer to our food. According to Christina, cats that lounge around in the inner courtyard of our hotel are “neighborhood cats.”

Well, one of them jumped up onto our balcony and entered our room. At 3:00 am, I woke up to find a Calico cat scramble to hide under our bed. Brrrrr. Sorry furry animals and I don’t get along. Poor J.J. My small scream woke him up. Solution is that we will use a storm shutter locked from now on. This will hopefully keep cats out but still allow a nice breeze to circulate.

Aloha -- Cathi