Christmas in Athens

This past Christmas (December 2016), I booked a last minute trip back to Greece. I was hoping to go back home and visit my family but the odds were definitely not in my favor because ticket prices were extremely expensive. There was definitely a point in time where I thought I was going to end up spending Christmas alone in my flat in Madrid. This is one downside of living abroad IF you don’t plan properly or in advanced and I’m really not a planner so you can see how I almost ended up alone on Christmas. But low and behold, being the social butterfly that I am, one of my good friends from college was living in Athens at the time. I frantically started texting my friend and pretty much told him that I was booking a ticket and coming to visit for a week.

At last, I had a plan for Christmas and would not be alone! I flew Turkish and it was my first time flying with Turkish Airlines and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my flight. I got dinner and my own personal tv and my seat was extremely comfortable and I had a pretty decent amount of leg room. There’s definitely much easier ways to get to Athens from Madrid but because I’m a last minute person more times than not (my mom still gets on me about this and well I’m working on it) so ended up flying from Madrid to

 

Istanbul then from Istanbul to Athens. If you’ve read a few of my earlier posts, you would be well aware of the fact that I tend to have interesting experiences when traveling and this time would be no different. I was on time for my flight from Madrid to Istanbul, boarded without any problems and landed in Istanbul safe and sound in once piece. After I got off the plane with my carry on and my purse, this is where we begin with the misadventures of Misha-Lee. I checked the flight board to see what gate my connecting flight would be leaving from, took a mental note found the gate so I wouldn’t have problems later and then ventured off to get some food and connect to wifi to facetime my mother and let her know I made it to Istanbul. Of course, I didn’t even realize I was in a different time zone and thought I had more time than I really did. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. I hung up with my mom then went to the gate to board my flight and there was no gate agent nor any passengers. Yup! You guessed it! I missed my flight. So instead of panicking because that never solves anything, I just took a moment took a deep breath and said quietly to myself, “Everything is going to workout and I’ll be on my way to Athens soon”. Then I made my way to figure out where to go in the airport to try and get put on another flight. So after standing in a ridiculously long line for a good twenty-five minutes, I spoke to a customer service rep and then was sent to another area in the airport to get put on another flight. Finally, I was in the proper area and talking the rep and told her that I missed my connecting flight and she said ok, asked for my boarding pass, then told me the next available flight and I said ok. I thought I would be charged a fee because it was my fault that I missed the flight but I didn’t have to pay a dime! This time I just went to the gate and waited because I didn’t want to risk missing my flight again. I finally arrived in Athens sometime around 1AM and my friend picked me up from the airport.

I have to admit the first time I went to Athens, I wasn’t very impressed other than seeing the sites and eating good food. This time I saw a completely different side of Athens, and I had a car to use to get around. This second trip to Athens was a much better time! I really fell in love with Athens and didn’t want to leave.

Glyfada, also known as the Beverly Hills of Greece, is a suburb of Athens and is where most of the celebrities and affluent people of Athens live. This area has many restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques, clubs and more. I went to Glyfada pretty much every day and when I wasn’t in Glyfada, I was at the beach. Who doesn’t love spending Christmas at a beach? I didn’t actually get into the ocean or layout in the sun because although the weather was nice and it warm, it wasn’t warm enough to me to lay out in the sun or take a dip in the Aegean Sea.

As you should know by now, I’m a food person. I love food with every ounce of my being! So of course, I indulged in food, after all I was on vacation and it was Christmas season.

Please note that I’m not paid to promote or advertise any restaurants or cafes so my food opinions and recommendations are genuinely unbiased.  

 

If you’re a fan of sushi I HIGHLY recommend visiting Sushija. The sushi was so incredibly delicious. Not only can you get sushi, you can also get entrees. I had teriyaki chicken as well as some fried rice. Excellent restaurant and the service was even better.

IMG_6076A rule I have when I travel is that I have to try the traditional food(s) of the country. One night I ventured out to have some traditional Greek food at Pasifai  . My dish consisted of lamb and a green vegetable that is typical of Greece. The meat was so tender and well seasoned and the greens were the perfect complement to the lamb. If you are looking for some traditional Greek food, I would recommend trying this restaurant.

 

Here we have chicken and mushroom risotto with freshly shaved parmesan and grilled salmon with garlic sautéed spinach and white rice. This is from Opus  and I don’t think that I can accurately describe how amazing this meal was. The risotto was the perfect consistency and creamy and the fresh parmesan on top made it that much better. The salmon was just as good as the risotto. The salmon was well seasoned and cooked to perfection.

IMG_5976I absolutely LOVE pasta. It’s easily one of my favorite foods so any chance I can have pasta with cheese. I take advantage. This time was no different. This pasta is from the restaurant/bar, Fifty Seven which is located in Glyfada. This restaurant was one of my favorites by far, while in Athens. It’s an upscale restaurant but it’s not necessary to come in a suit and tie and your best dress. The restaurant doubles as a bar and has a DJ playing music. I was a huge fan of the interior because it had Christmas lights hanging and it was a pretty fashionable place. Definitely suggest Fifty Seven if you’re looking for somewhere to get good food, hear good music and vibe.

Now on to some sites and places to visit!

There are so many places to go to in Athens to see great views! One of the places I went to was on a hill in Vouliagmèni. You can look at onto the water and see one of the many beaches in Athens.

 

Syntagma Square is also a great places to visit. There is a ferris wheel, vendors and there’s sure to be a crowd.

 

Attiki Beach is also great to take a walk along the water and to have a coffee or grab some food.

 

Peñarrubia Lounge was one of my favorite places to go for a coffee and some desserts while enjoying a nice view.

 

Then if you’re feeling adventurous, you can make a trip to the Temple of Poseidon. Since I had a car for the week that I was in Athens, I made the hour and half long journey to the Temple. It was definitely worth it because it was absolutely beautiful and the scenery along the way was beautiful as well. I’m not going to lie, this drive was a bit of a challenge because it was EXTREMELY windy and it was cold. The weather decided that it wanted to mirror winter and I wasn’t too ecstatic about that but I also wasn’t going to let it ruin my time. Once I finally made it to the Temple, I attempted to actually walk up to the temple but it was drizzling and literally felt like I was walking out into a hurricane. The wind was so extreme I’m pretty sure I almost took flight a few times. So I captured a few photos of temple then started to make my way way back towards Alimos where I was staying. On the way back to Alimos I stopped for a quick lunch and had an amazing view of the beach. I would recommend going to the Temple of Poseidon but I would also HIGHLY recommend checking the weather first.

 

Needless to say that I enjoyed Athens and am eager to return. So far I’ve been twice and I still believe there’s much more to see in Athens. I love going to the lowkey places that aren’t so touristic and not so well known. My experience has been that these are the places where you’ll make the best memories!

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