Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Dining out in Athens

On my recent trip to Athens I had the opportunity to eat at a variety of places. I enjoyed street food, visited many coffee shops and devoured amazing pastries. We also dined at three very different restaurants. I was really excited to try the different cuisines as I am a vegetarian and discovering new dishes to sample that were suitable for my dietary requirements is sometimes challenging when you are abroad but exciting too.

L'Audrion French Restaurant

On our first night in Athens we braved the metro and went to Plaka to sample the best French Cuisine in Athens at the award winning L’Audrion.  
Address: Plateia Filomousou 3 & Farmaki 1, Pláka Athens, Attiki, Greece Call +30 21 0324 1193

The restaurant is open Monday-Sunday from 5pm till 1am and they have live Jazz or French music on Wednesdays from 7:30-10pm. My first impression of the restaurant was the ambience, which was warm and very Mediterranean. On the menu there is large choice of French dishes that my friends voted as being super delicious. However, I did find the vegetarian options were limited but with a special request, the chef soon made me a couple of dishes to accommodate my dietary requirements. I had a salad followed by the risotto with truffle foam and eggs with asparagus. My friends also had a selection of wines that complimented the dishes to accompany each of the courses.

I think for me the best part of the meal was the wonderful array of desserts. They were simply delectable and mouth-watering. I had rice pudding with salted caramel sauce, whilst my friends enjoyed the Ile flottante (soft meringue on crème anglaise, caramel) and lemon fruit tart.

On request, L’Audrion, can organise a special event for you either in the main restaurant or in the cellar for your private event. For the party they will provide a dedicated menu prepared by their chef to pair with French/Greek wines.

 L’Audrion also offers special wine and cheese tasting events in their Cellar. We were given a tour of it and it certainly was impressive. Amongst the many wines from France and Greece there is a choice of Red, white, rose and sparkling wines. They have over 200 unique wines to choose from.

Kiouzin Greek Restaurant

During our stay we also visited Kiouzin, a Greek restaurant that serves Greek food with a twist! 
Address (Likavittou 16, Athens 106 73/Tel: +30 21 0364  7407)

The restaurant is open Monday – Saturday from 12:00 pm - 12.00 am and on Sunday from 13.00 pm - 19.00 pm when there is also live music, so it’s perfect for a family party. The restaurant is tastefully decorated in Greek style with some unusual artefacts such as hanging bicycles and wall hangings and pictures. The restaurant specialises in Greek cuisine with a twist.

I really enjoyed the palate refresher of warm vegetable soup that was served to us as we looked through the menu. There was  lots of dishes to choose from but finally we settled on Mediterranean spaghetti, zucchini balls with whipped yoghurt, triple fried Naxos potatoes with oregano and thyme, fava bean puree with warm Greek breads. My friends also tried the slow roasted lamb shank served on a bed of grains called Trachana a Greek Grain and voted it the best lamb dish they have eaten.

We finished the meal with Chocolate Ice cream, vanilla ice-cream with almonds, rice pudding mousse and an almond tart, all served with a dessert wine from the Island of Limnos.

Each and every dish was delicious and the flavours were all great. The service was excellent as was the ambience. This was a lovely dining experience.

Mironi Greek Restaurant

Another restaurant that we also visited was  Mironi- a traditional Greek restaurant offering local Greek food dining experience.

Address: Alexandrou 7, Athens 104 37/Tel: +30 21 0520 2339 

I absolutely loved the authentic look and décor of Mironi. It felt really Greek in atmosphere. Looking at the menu there was a good variety of Greek dishes to choose from. My friends and I decided to do a meze style dinner so that we could order a few different dishes and share. This way we were able to sample more dishes.

We enjoyed the Mironi salad with the house feta and fresh bread, fried zucchini, tzatziki, and tomatoes stuffed with rice. My friends also tried the goat dish. All the dishes were very authentic but my most favourite was the fried zucchini and I could have eaten the whole plate myself. We also had a house white wine from Alexandria to go with our meal.

We finished the gastronomical feast with a traditional little pastry drizzled with honey and sesame seeds called Galaktoboureko and a glass of Mastika, a pine flavoured liqueur very traditionally served in Greek Restaurants

My trip to Athens was amazing, the choice of vegetarian food was plentiful and I really enjoyed my dining experience at all the restaurants we visited.

You can follow my travels in Athens in a series of blog post that I am sharing. I have written a post about which hotels to stay at in Athens and things to do in Athens so do check them out if you are planning a trip to Athens. You can also read about my friend Heidi's post 48 hours in Athens.  

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Hotels to stay at in Athens.

Athens is the capital of Greece and an ancient city with lots of history and culture. In March I had the opportunity to visit Athens with my blogger friend Heidi Roberts who blogs at kitchentalksandtravels. We often travel together, last year we went to Create. You can read about my Create adventures here.

On this recent trip to Athens, we had the opportunity to stay at three different hotels in different locations. It allowed me to enjoy the central Athens and the Athenian Riviera.We spent three nights at the Kubic, two nights at the Athenian Riviera Hotel and 1 night at the Villa Orion

Kubic Athens Smart Hotel  (Agiou Konstantinou 26, Athens 104 37/Tel: +30 21 1402 1695) is the first smart hotel in Athens. The hotel is conveniently situated near the metro station Omonia making it easy to get into central Athens for sightseeing and dining out.

The Kubic is a very modern hotel, it’s bright and airy with a contemporary décor. The hotel has a reception area, lots of sitting and working area and a fully stocked bar too. Breakfast is served next door in the adjacent building and there is 24/7 room service available.

The bedrooms are standard sized and have a lovely open plan décor. They have ensuite shower only bathrooms, separate toilet and are modern in décor. All the rooms have a flat screen TV, free WI-FI and the smart-room technology. 

Each room has a tablet that controls the room ambience by adjusting the lightening, and you can turn on/off lights and change the colour to suit the mood, control the TV and close and open the blinds using the tablet. I loved this facility as everything was so easy to control at my fingertips. There is a safe in the room as well so that you can restassured all your valueables are safe.

In the room there is also an Alexa type control called “AskMike” which is super handy for finding out local information, weather, get tips and hints and also play music. Its something the hotel is trialing and I must say it was really fun playing with it.

In addition to these smart gadgets the Kubic also has in their bedrooms a smartphone that has WI FI and data. Guests are encouraged to take the phones out and use the free data and make both local and international calls. Having the smart phone was super handy especially when we were out and needed to call for taxis, use maps and navigation and get tourist information. This also meant that all my international calls home were absolutely free!! Now that is a great saving in its self.

The Kubic has lifts to all the floors and you can also reach the roof terrace via a staircase from the top floor. The views from the terrace are really gorgeous and there is a lovely open area to enjoy a drink or two.

Buffet style breakfast is plentiful with a large choice of continental and cooked foods as well as cold meats, fruits, cereals, breads and cakes. Our stay at the Kubic was really comfortable and I would highly recommend it as it’s the perfect location for visiting the sights in Central Athens

We also stayed at the Athenian Riviera Hotel (Danais 7, Vouliagmeni nr Athens 16672/Tel: +30 21 0890 0000) It is situated outside of central Athens near the town of Vouliagmeni and is closer to the beach. The hotel is set in a quiet residential area, only a short taxi ride from Eliniko station and in only a five minute walk away from the beach. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and a mini outdoor swimming pool area with sun loungers.

The rooms are well furnished with traditional style decor. There is free WI FI, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar, en suite shower and toilet. Room service, laundry service and a safe is also available. All the room have a terrace/ balcony so that you can sit out on them.
Breakfast is also plentiful with a large choice of continental and cooked foods as well as cold meats, fruits, cereals, breads and cakes. The hotel restaurant also offers lunch and dinner. We did eat in the hotel restaurant on both nights of our stay and the meal was very enjoyable.

Staying at the Athenian Riviera was very relaxing and we enjoyed the serenity and the calmness of the hotel and its surroundings. I would highly recommend it if you want a quiet hotel to say at near to the beach. Getting into Central Athens will take a 20 minute taxi ride or a few stops on the Metro.

Our last night we stayed at the Villa Orion (4 Ioanni Metaxa, Voula 16673/Tel: +30 21 0895 8000). This is a clean and comfortable hotel in a residential area in Voula. The rooms are standard sized with an ensuite shower and toilet. The décor is of traditional style, the beds were comfortable too. The rooms have a TV and free Wi-Fi. There is a small a bar and an outside garden with seating.

There is a complimentary Continental breakfast and Room service is available 24/7.

The tram and bus stops are just 50 yards away from Villa Orion Hotel, allowing guests to reach the International Airport and the Piraeus port within 25 minutes.
The staff are very helpful and pleasant, this made our stay was very comfortable. The room rates are very a reasonable making it an affordable hotel to stay at.

We had a complimentary stay at the Kubic and The Athenian Riveria Hotel, all views and opinions are of my experience of the stay.

You can read more about my Athens travels in the posts below:

Friday, 19 April 2019

Things to do in Athens

What to see in Athens?

Athens is the capital of Greece. This beautiful city is still dominated by 5th-century BC landmarks, such as the Acropolis, a hill top with the beautiful Parthenon sitting majestically on it.  
You can easily do all the sights in Athens in a day if you make an early start. You can also get a hop on hop off pass on a tour bus which allows you to get on and off at all the sights throughout the day. The passes are an inexpensive way to travel around to see all the key sights. There are options to get a 24 hour pass or 48 hours. 

I would highly recommend that you visit the Acropolis first as it’s the biggest historic sight and a must visit. The climb if done leisurely with lots of photo stops will take approx one and half hours. On route you will see some beautiful temples and amphitheatres.

The acropolis which was once the city of Pericles, was destroyed, by Persians on the eve of the Battle of Salamis (480 BC) It was later transformed into a city of temples, which has come to be regarded as the zenith of Classical Greece. It is known as the rock of the city and on top of it you will find The Parthenon, which is the largest Doric temple ever completed in Greece. It is built completely of white Pentelic marble and is the most iconic site to visit. 

The Parthenon

The walk up to the Parthenon is spectacular with beautiful views of Athens and the surroundings. It was exhilirating to finally reach the top and get a customary photo in front of it!

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

When you're visiting the Acropolis site, the path leads west from the top of the Stoa of Eumenes to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. This large amphitheatre was built in AD 161 by wealthy Roman Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife Regilla. It was excavated in 1857–58 and completely restored in the 1950s. 

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus  remains one of the Athens's main venues  for festivals. Many shows, concerts by well known singers and musical performaces are still held there in this day and age.

Walking further up the Acropolis to reach the Parthenon you will find various remains of the Greek temples and monuments such as the Pandroseion which was a sanctuary dedicated to Pandrosus, one of the daughters of Cecrops.

The Pandroseion

The Erechtheum is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

The Erechtheum

Other places to visit are:

The Acropolis museum
You will find this museum on the southern slope of the Acropolis. It has on show the collection from the Archaic period to the Roman one, but the emphasis is on the Acropolis of the 5th century BC.  . It showcases artefacts and finds found on and around the Acropolis site. The museum Is built over an ancient Athenian neighbourhood that was excavated and found and you can see the remains through a central opening and glass floors that exposes the ancient Athenian neighbourhood.

Temple of Olympian Zeus
It is the largest Temple situated in the centre of Athens. The temple at the start was made of 104 Corinthian columns which were 17m high with a base diameter of 1.7m. Sadly now only 15 of this magnificent columns remain.

Benaki Museum of Greek Culture
A museum spanning on three floors showing treasures from the Bronze Age. It is a must visit for ancient history lovers.

The Ancient Agora
Another great place to see in Athens is The Ancient Agora, here you will find The Temple of Hephaestus. There is also a museum exposing objects discovered on the site, some statues and a scale model of the Agora.

The Plaka is the area of winding streets around the Acropolis. It's renowned for its small shops, restaurants, and local architecture. It’s the perfect place to unwind, enjoy a coffee or some lunch and to pick up some souvenirs.

Monastiraki has ruins of Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora and the rebuilt Stoa of Attalos, with a museum exhibiting Athenian artifacts. There is also a flea market on Sundays where you can pick up some souveniers and feel the buzz of Greek Life.

There are many other museums and places to visit if you are staying longer. Getting around Athens is fairly easy.The metro is convenient and cheap as are the local buses. Alternatively you can hire a car from Global Rent a Car as its not too dificult to drive around the city although parking is not as easy in the city centre.

You may like:
Things to do in Athens

You may like Heidi's posts here about Athens:

Monday, 25 March 2019

Easter Craft Bundle Giveaway

With Easter coming up, its nice to make your own Easter crafts with the kids. Citrusspice is giving up a Easter crafting bundle to one lucky reader. 

How to Enter:

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·         Closing date – 10th April 2019 12.00 am

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  • This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 who live in the UK.
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  • Prize:   Easter Craft Bundle Giveaway (assorted)
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Thursday, 24 January 2019

Valentines Coasters ~BostikCrafts Challenge January

Over the last couple of years my neice Little M and I have been creating craft using the monthly Bostik Boxes. We had a short break but I am happy to say that we have again joined forces with Bostik and will be featuring the occasional kid craft on this blog.This month the theme for the Bostik box is valentines and in our box we had some red and pink coloured crafting things to use together with the Bostik Mico Dots which are brilliant to stick together intricut shapes as the sheets have micro sticky glue dots that can be cut to ft any shape.

As always Little M came to spend a Sunday afternoon with me, it was really cold and wet so a trip to the park or even the garden was not an option. Not to be put off by this we decided to make some biscuits. After a delicious snack of biscuits and hot chocolate we started our crafting session.

Looking through the box there was a set of hama beads packet that Little M liked but we have already crafted with these in a previous post so I told her she could take them home and do acraft with it another time. We wre still thinking what to make?Little M is really bright and she had seen me use a coaster to place her mug of hot chocolate on it. It was her idea to make heart shaped coasters. 

So this is how we made them:

Equipment needed:

1 Piece Red card
2 Foam heart shape cut outs
Bostik Microdot sheets
Stiff brown card (we used the flap from the card boad box the item came in.) #recycling

How to make the Valentine coasters:

1. Cut the flap from the cardboad box and draw two 10 cm x10 cm squares and cut them out.
2. Draw two 10 cm x10 cm squares on the red card and cut them out.
3. Using the micro dots sheets peel them and stick them to the back of the red square and cut to size.
4. Stick the red card to the stiff brown card. Repeat this for all two cards.

5. Using the micro dots sheets peel them and stick them to the back of the red foam heart.
6. Trim away the extra micro dot sheet so it is follows the heart shape.
7. Position the foam heart onto the square red card and press to stick firmly.

8. Using the micro dots stick the small silver heart on to the coaster to give it a sparkly finishing touch. 

9.The coasters are ready to use. Since these coasters are made from card they are not waterproof so be careful not to put a wet cup on them.


You may like other  Bostik craft posts:

This craft is suitable for young children although, adult supervision may be required for using scissors. If you like this project check the link below for more art and craft projects, that you can do with your children.

Kids Arts and Craft Videos
Kids Arts and Crafts Projects 

Being part of the Bostik 2018 bloggers with Tots100 and Merrily Crafts, I was sent some craft items in a box to create this project.