Planning our Thanksgiving trip for this year, I noticed Thanksgiving 2011 was still in draft! We’re playing catch up on some older trips now. I know I’m just awful at keeping up with this.
We decided to spend Thanksgiving 2011 in Athens and what a great choice! Athens is not a popular Thanksgiving destination so many of the ruin sites and museums were far less crowded than we’ve heard from our friends who have visited the ancient city in the summer. This gave us an opportunity to really enjoy the ruins and restaurants at our own pace.
Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted mostly of seafood, enjoyed outside on a patio with a view of the Acropolis (sort of). We also had to try the Greek salad. It was not exactly what we expected. We sampled the salad at several places and they all made it a bit different but the elements are the same for the most part and there was always an abundance of feta cheese.
The food in Athens was just amazing in general. It was easy to find naturally gluten-free food. The fresh seafood, salads and of course the yogurt. This trip was the first where I used my new gluten-free restaurant card app for iPhone. It worked perfectly and much better than in Germany! Maybe the Greek translation is better. One waitress even commented that is was such a great idea to have the gluten allergy explanation in Greek. and wished more people used it. Apparently, they have had customers before who have tried to explain but she didn’t really understand. I highly recommend this card if you are allergic or intolerant to gluten.
One of our favorite things was the Greek yogurt, which I realized after ordering a few times, is really just called yogurt in Greece. It is served a couple of traditional ways. I loved the honey. This is a picture of my absolute favorite. We wanted something warm so we stopped in a cafe for coffee & tea but when I saw this amazing dish being served, I had to have it! My mouth is watering now just thinking about it!
We saw all of the usual sites but one of our favorites was the new Acropolis Museum. We couldn’t take pictures in the museum but take a look at the website here. Through the huge windows of the the stark, modern museum, you can see the Acropolis. The museum has an archeological site directly beneath the glass floors. The artifacts in the museum really stand out against the simplicity of the museum’s interior. The pieces of the Parthenon frieze are meticulously arranged in the center of the top floor in a life-size recreation. Visitors can look at the frieze while looking out the wall-size windows at the Acropolis.
The Acropolis itself was amazing. It was nice to go when there were less tourists. No matter how many ruin sites we go to it never seems to get old. There is always this indescribable feeling when you think about what the place would have looked like its day.
Athens is a very special place though. The fact that so much of these ruins have stood thought the years of war and weather is just amazing.
The Ancient Agora of Athens was also an impressive site. Situated quietly (at least during our trip) in the shadow of the Acropolis, is the sprawl of ancient ruins of temples and statues. When the weather is nice, this is a really beautiful place to spend the afternoon.
After a quiet afternoon of ruins, there are tons of restaurants and just across the street from the Forum. We stopped for a little snack of what turned out to be homemade potato chips smothered in delicious feta cheese and spices. We also ordered Greek coffee, which is very much like Turkish coffee, which we learned in Turkey in um… not so good.
We really loved Athens. Every where you go, there are random ruins or churches or temples. There is so much to see in Athens, we hope to have time to post more along with some restaurant reviews very soon!