A little Greek

Missing the breakfasts I used to eat in Athens at the Plaka Hotel close to Monastiraki station, I was inspired to have a similar breakfast.

Greek olives, lemon juice, tomatoes, English cucumbers, a pinch of salt and pepper, and (this is key) Greek olive oil. Tossed together in a bowl.

Next to rustic bread, a slice of bacon and breakfast is served. Feta cheese could be added, but I wasn’t sure if there were any good ones here. The feta cheese that came with this in Athens did not have that gamey taste. Leaving it out was fine. It is healthier.

Sipping tea after breakfast was perfectly acceptable since a cappuccino machine wasn’t available.

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Garlic Shrimp with a Healthy Twist

Dinner tonight is a bit well… experimental. I acquired the recipe for Aloha Market Garlic Shrimp long time ago in Honolulu. It’s a simple recipe. Garlic in a little oil, butter, shrimp, sea salt and pepper. Toss all together and put over a bed of steaming white rice.

And it is delicious! But I need to eat a bit healthier. So garlic (lots!! Chopped in to tiny pieces… minced), olive oil, salt pepper, shrimp, baby bella mushrooms, some kale…. And yum!!! Over a bed of rice….

Join me?

Paris in Winter

We spent hours on a plane to get here… and we spent days walking and walking and walking and walking. Not only that, but my luggage was already filled to the brim and heavy… We took the metro… I warn you now… Do not take the metro with luggage that is too heavy to carry with one hand!!! Seriously! Those rollers will not help you get up and down 4-8 flights of steps where there are no elevators! Be smart and take a taxi. Yes it will be costly, but who cares? You’re in Paris!

One iconic shot, that’s all I wanted. And here it is…

The Eiffel Tower lit up for the night.

But Paris offers such places to take more…

If I was already there anyway, why not pay homage to this place, no?

Go to Paris… yes, you…and find this place… it is as it says… point zero of all the roads in France…

Notre Dame… and I didn’t get to see the gargoyles close up and personal… No hunchback either…

Climbed up the steps to see this place.. then they told me climb up another 300 steps to the dome… eh????

But the view was worth it.. even saw gargoyles…

Sunset from Sacre Coeur… Perhaps some things are meant to be seen in twilight….

The last day… it snowed… well… then… Paris… you are truly magnificent…

Sounion

When my SO said we were going to Athens, I started looking for places to go and see. Which of the golden gods did I want to visit? Well, of course, Athena since she was right there… but I wanted someone different… A different kind of ruin. Then the screen of my computer showed me a different thing… and that led us to take a coastal bus one and a half hours to Sounion. We went to visit Poseidon.
Alas, the ruins were just that. The marbles and bronzes are now housed in the Archeological Museum in Athens. And because we went the cheap way (7 Euros each way) instead of the tour (running 60 or so Euros), we had to learn about Sounion alone.

That wasn’t all I wanted, however. It wasn’t the history. I understood it was an important port. And I understood that Poseidon was Athena’s rival for Attica. Still… beyond the myth and the facts was this pile of stones that has stood the test of time… Very tall and grandoise…

I wanted pictures.

It was a challenge, believe me. The ruins were atop a bluff. Using the limitations of my camera phone, how do I incorporate the Aegean sea below into the picture?

And I came looking for the presence of the old gods. And yet… I wasn’t sure if I saw them. If I could feel them… If the feelings of Stonehenge would also be the same here… I have come from so far away, after all.

The stones loomed in the distance… I must acquire that shot!

Would you believe me if I told you that this shot that I had taken was in a magazine? It is! Same angle. But they captured it with a wider angle lens. I should have played with the panorama on the phone.

I took pictures of the ruins to show the back side of the sea.

The composition isn’t what I wanted. I cut the ruins down to show more of the sea…

It’s okay… it just wasn’t… something.

Something was still missing.

This is a beautiful ruin. On a beautiful coast. And I could not get that shot with the water in the background. How oh how to do it? And with the sky so cloudy… I needed the sun to come out…

The sun cooperated and I was able to capture this.

The sea isn’t very prominent. The columns are. And against that blue sky… you wouldn’t know that it was rainy just a few hours past.

Many shots of the place, to take home one nice shot!

Then amidst the ruins at the foot of the temple… I had another new experience.

My first sighting of jack-in-the-pulpits!

Then all of a sudden, the temple came alive!

Birds suddenly flew into the temple!

Perhaps the old gods are still alive. We just have to look for them in unexpected places now.

Two Beaches

A cruise stop in Sint Maarten led me to googling where to go. A 15 minute walk to Phillipsburg, a 30 minute $3 bus ride later, we were in Mullet Bay. The water was crystal blue, the sand soft and white. It had sprinkled a little in the morning, but it was soon gone.

We spent hours lounging in the sea while the baggage spent time lounging on our $15 loungers (2 of them) under the umbrella. (Note: someone paid $10 for the same set up, but that was because they were only staying 1 hour 45 minutes. )

The tours started coming in after 30 minutes of almost no one there. Catamaran, sailboat, water taxi, yacht… buses… but nonetheless, the water was clear, beautiful and warm. And the people we encountered (since I had to ask where we can take the bus to Mullet Bay) were quite nice on the Dutch side. We never made it to the French side.

However, 15 minutes away…(yes! We walked it!) is the famous Maho Beach. Here is what I saw under a grass shack lunch place…

There were bodies on every inch of sand. It was crowded and noisy. But if you like that, hey! This is your place.

We ate at Driftwood, that’s that grass hut shanty bar.

The wings were delicious. The iced tea was a cold Arizona tea. Couldn’t believe I drank it all! Needed the sugar, I suppose. The wings were bbq wings. They had just a tad bit of heat. It was enough for me. Thank God I didn’t order the spicy. Whew! We were sweating already from the heat. The wings made us sweat more.

We took a $4 per person ride back to the cruise ship terminal. Some didn’t want to pay the extra $2 so they got off at Front Street in Phillipsburg. They were in for a hot 20 to 30 minute walk. My darling SO was too tired. Yes!

Goal!

Last year, I was looking for battered and fried conch. SO wouldn’t let me get it last year. This year, stopped at Nassau and I went on my own to Sharkeez…

Also had some conch chowdah! Yum!

Of course, it came with the requisite frozen mango and rum treat! It ain’t the Bahamas if it ain’t got rum in it! Pretty pricey lunch for one… it’s a treat, okay?

Monoliths and Majesty

Travelling for hours after much bickering between my travel mate and I, through English fog and winter’s breathe… we were finally minutes away from the ultimate destination of our English sojourn. My heart pounded slightly faster as if it has longed for this moment. And as we stepped off the site shuttle and stepped on sacred ground, my heart fluttered more.

The first view of Stonehenge was imbued with a sense of reverential magic. In the stillness of the morning, the air vibrated with a sense of meaning.

There were many crows in the fields.

The sky was somewhat overcast. And yet, for a slight second, the sun shone, allowing me to capture this one picture.

It was all worth it. 3000 or so miles away from home, across oceans and countries… I came and saw and felt… a sense of coming home…