Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 27, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 10



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 27, 2013 


Thomas Wolfe wrote a book titled ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’ but throughout the years there have been 
different variations of that familiar title. Ah but this man lived in an era that didn’t include airbuses now did 
he? It has been some 40 years that I departed Greek Soil. I recently returned to Greece and am excited to share 
my experience with you. If it is history that you seek, there is plenty of that to enjoy, if you are looking for 
relaxation then this your spot, how about superior cuisine? I will attest that the worst meal of the trip wasn’t 
really all that bad. Yes, Greece has something for everyone.

Getting There: It’s a long flight, with choices of airlines and layovers in Toronto, Washington and 
New York. We traveled on Air Canada and had a layover in Toronto. As a beer drinker, a few Molson’s 
at the airport restaurant helped make the time 
go by fast. One warning though, if you are using 
dollars they will give you back Canadian currency, 
so my suggestion is to use your credit card. Unless 
you want to have a couple of dollars as a keepsake. 
Once you make it to Athens, you’ll have the choice of a taxi, renting a car, or if you are on a tour like we 
were then someone will greet you at the terminal. My suggestion is that if this is your first trip a taxi 
or hotel shuttle would be prudent. However, if you are on the islands, renting a car is safe and easy.

Where to stay: In Athens there 
is a list of five star, four star and 
three star hotels. We stayed at 
the Metropolitan just outside of 
Athens, and while the hotel was 
clean and a great view of the port, 
I wouldn’t say it was five star. But 
I liked that it had a view and was 
away from downtown Athens that 
is congested and a bit dirty with 
graffiti and scooters everywhere. 
Once in Santorini and Mykonos, 
the accommodations are very 
nice, in fact while our hotel in 
Santorini El Greco, wasn’t on the 
beach it reminded me of staying in 
a storybook village: very upscale 
and with four different pools. In 
Mykonos there are many small/
boutique hotels very close to the 
beach, while our accommodations were close to being cramped, I will call it cozy. 

To tour or not: If you have traveled to Athens or any other surrounding Islands before, I don’t see any 
need to sign up for a tour. We did and I am glad we did, but it was the consensus of our group that if 
any of us were to return, that you could easily do it on your own. We agreed that once if you have seen 
the ruins and the stadium, that none of us would spend much time in Athens. 

Getting Around: Big difference in getting around in Athens and getting around in Greece. First of all 
it’s much hotter in Athens then it is in the islands, and as I mention in when to go July and August 
have is severe heat. My mother to this day reminds me of the 100+ day in July when I was born on a 
US Army base. The buses in Athens are usually filled with locals and would opt for taking a taxi or 
even the tram. On the Islands I do recommend the buses, many of them are new, air-conditioned and 
dependable, a bus ride is about $1.40 euro. On the islands you can rent a scooter by the day, it looks 
fun, but I was warned that many a kid has seen the hospital by crashing into the wall on a narrow road. 
Getting from island to island is done by Ferry, a boat that costs about $45 euro. There are airplanes 
that do fly from the Athens Airport to Santorini/Mykonos, and when I return I will take advantage of 
them, but for your first visit it adds to the fun of the trip. Bring a book or a crossword puzzle. If you 
aren’t on a guided tour tickets can easily be purchased at the port.

When to go: Athens is hot, I mean temperature hot, in fact many workers and vendors take off August 
to visit friends and families elsewhere. If you are there to relax and get a tan, then by all means July 
would be OK, however just visiting the Acropolis in June we were overheated and water was our best 
friend, I couldn’t imagine a July tour of Athens. My suggestion is early June or late September.

Dollar v. Euro: Those looking for bargains, we found that even though Greece is in a financial crisis, they 
haven’t put out the distress flag yet, when shopping you can always ask for the best price. I was warned 
that dinners can easily run $60 euro, while I did see that price tag, it was very few and in between. I 
did notice that the restaurants closest to the water were pricier. A tip is to go to supermarkets, not the 
markets and buy beer, water and fruit and have it in your hotel refrigerator. The fruit there is some of 
the best I’ve had. The beer and sodas at the hotel can be twice or three times as much as getting them 
at the market or a Kiosk.

Dining in Greece: Originally I was going to give a few reviews of the restaurants that I visited, and after 
collecting business cards of places that I dined, I came up with this conclusion, where ever you go, you 
really can’t go wrong. You want affordable dining? They have it. Want to dine on or near the beach? 
Yes, fish and chicken are the most popular items that we came across both in Athens and in Santorini 
and Mykonos. The items on the menus at each restaurant are very similar. You won’t find too many 
steaks or burgers, yes, they are available but there are no beef cattle being raised in Greece. We enjoyed 
the Greek Salad and the Rocket Salad pretty much with every meal. You’ll find that the Greek Salad 
has no lettuce, and is made up of cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and Feta Cheese. Something I found 
odd, the extra charges on the bill, first when they ask if you want bread, we always say yes, there is an 
additional charge of 2 to 3 euro. Plus sit down restaurants have a cover charge, no not the night club 
admission, this is a sitting charge, this charge gives you the privilege of sitting at your table for as long 
as you want, I think this was initiated more for the locals that like to sit for hours and conversing over 
cigarettes and espresso. Note.. everyone smokes, even while they are working. One spot that did stand 
out in Athens, near our hotel was Restaurant Kalypso. The food was above average and the waiter even 
assisted us with our Greek language lessons. We returned there while waiting for our flight home.

Tipping: This isn’t as big of a deal that it is in the states. Workers are working for what is called a “living 
wage”, don’t ask me to explain a living wage, I am restaurant reviewer not workers rights lawyer, 
however you won’t get the typical service that you’d expect from the waiters, it’s not bad, it’s “are you 
ready to order” your food is brought and you might not see your server again, at least until you flag 
them down/ and I did a lot of flagging down. My suggestion is 10 to 12 % tip. Taxi Cab drivers same 
thing, a couple of euro are sufficient. As with any trip leaving the chambermaid and if you are on a 
tour, a tip is suggested.

Sightseeing: The first day is full of sight seeing, visit the Acropolis, Zeus Statue, Temple of Poseidon, 
and the Stadium, an afternoon at the beach in Athens is also a pleasant way to end your day in Athens, 
a day in Athens? Yes, ! I found Athens to be hot, congested and plain dirty. If you want to see the 
ruins, I took a boat trip to the Island of Delos. There is a small admission charge once you get there, 
but you will get a sense of the history of Greece. One of the highlights of the trip was our seven-mile 
hike on The Santorini; we started at Fira and ended our walk in OIA, beautiful walk looking the cliffs 
and sights of the Volcano’s and the Aegean Sea. Two other musts while we are on Mykonos we took 
a small boat along the shore and you have your choice of five beaches, a beach for everyone, a party 
beach, a topless beach, we opted for Elia, plenty of sand and chairs to enjoy a relaxing day sun bathing. 
Santoroni has been voted top ten sunsets in the entire world. We took the Sunset Cruise that was quite 
relaxing and is a must; another bonus is the boat stop briefly at one of the volcanic hot springs, hot? 
No, but quite warm. 

Is Greece Safe? : Yes!! On our first day on our vacation we stayed just a few miles from downtown, it 
wasn’t till we went to downtown did we see any police presence, 

you are more likely to be hit by a scooter then witness any crime that goes for the Islands of Santorini 
and Mykonos as well.. In fact on the Islands we noticed no police at all, I mean none. I was surprised 
by the text messages and facebook postings asking me if I was OK? Just like Los Angeles, some areas 
are better then others, if you are looking for a demonstration I am sure if you wait long enough you 
can find one.

Opah!!! Pack your bags save your money and head to the Islands of Greece. The locals are waiting for 
you with open arms and a glass of Ouzo.

Headed to Oslo in a few weeks, stay tuned.

There is more!! Please listen to my radio show at it’s new time Sunday afternoons at 5 PM Talk Radio 
KABC 790 AM, or email me at


TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills


¦1 (26-oz. jar) prepared creamy Alfredo Sauce

¦½ lb. angel hair pasta (dry weight)

¦1 ripe, Fresh California Avocado, peeled, seeded and diced

¦2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

¦1 lb. salmon, cooked, skinned, boned and cut into bite-sized pieces

¦. cup black olives, sliced

¦4 oz. cauliflower florets, steamed

¦3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill

¦ Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


 Heat Alfredo sauce in a large saucepan; keep warm over low heat.

 Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until done; drain. Reserve.

 Gently toss diced avocado with lemon juice; reserve.

 Gently toss cooked pasta, cooked salmon, steamed cauliflower florets, olives and reserved avocado 
and lemon juice mixture.

 Heat until warmed through. Add additional lemon juice if you prefer a tangier sauce.

 Garnish with dill and freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.


 Serving Suggestions:

 Serve with a very lightly-dressed fresh salad.


The Sierra Madre Farmer’s Market hours have changed to 3:00pm through 7:00pm every Wednesday 
in fall and winter. Vendors include Dry Dock which has fresh and wild caught fish, Rustic Loaf 
with artisan breads, Cutie Pie with fresh pies and much more!

For those interested in being a vendor contact Melissa Farwell with Raw Inspirations at 818-591-
8161 ext. 806.