I'm here! As my grad present, my parents have taken me to a land I dreamt of during my childhood the way most little girls want to be a Disney Princess (not that I didn't want that too). I grew up on Greek mythology more than I did on fairy tales. Why? I have no idea, I just found books of myths at the public library when I was a kid and just ate them up. And now, here I am.
Day 1: We got into Athens at around 7pm (after a food-gasmic and swim-gasmic day in France yesterday), checked into our hotel and immediately went out to discover the city and quell of rumbling tummies. We headed straight for the Plaka via a quick walk to the Acropolis (... oh my God. Or wouldn't "Oh My Gods" be more appropriate in this case?). It was gorgeous. Beyond anything I imagined, really. The Plaka is where every tourist goes for some authentic (and sometimes tourist-trap) Greek food. The tavernas were aplenty as were tourist shops, boutiques, and ice cream shops.
Now I'm the first to say that I'm a die-hard raw food fan, but I'm also a die-hard culture fan, and since a culture is over 50% its food, I decided to go more lax on the raw food thing this week if need be and stick with just being a vegan. Luckily, if you know what to look for, Greek food is chock-full of vegan yummies. Now, my camera at night didn't capture the amazingness of the food, but flavorful and tasty it definitely was. Since none of us were super hungry, we opted for the meze option. Meze are the Greek version of tapas, in other words, a series of small dishes usually eaten as appetizers but that can easily make a meal.
We started with stuffed grape leaves, cured olives, the best eggplant "salad" (more like a mash) I've ever had. My mom and dad shared two traditional dishes: marinated octopus (which looked super tempting), and fried cheese and zucchini balls that were apparently delicious.
Then came the last of our plates (that we had to re-order because they forgot it), and I'm so glad we insisted. They were called "giant beans," and though they were "just beans," I don't know what they did to them (something involving tomato), but they were the best darned beans on the planet. If I were vegan in Greece who didn't know any better, I'd just eat these beans every day for my whole trip. They were THAT good, and I'm not even a big bean fan.
Though nearing full, we couldn't skip dessert so my dad and I shared a fantastic piece of baklava. I'm seriously considering having an all dessert dinner one night. It was melty nutty-honey goodness, just as it should be. If this is going to be the next 8 days of my life... I'm in for quite the culinary ride!
To digest, my dad and I went for a walk around the Acropolis again. By this time, it was lit up and gorgeous. I can't wait to get up close and personal with it tomorrow. But now, to sleep. This honestly feels like a childhood dream come true!