Adventures of Greek Opie

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Not actually Greek Opie, but rather one of his friends we met on our journey

We landed after a very short flight in Athens around 7:30pm, and took the metro about 40 minutes into town.  By this point, we’d already figured out the metro system anyways, which was pretty intuitive.  It was less intuitive when we got out at Monastiraki, as this was a very busy area with a ton of side streets, either labeled in Greek or not labeled at all.  We got pretty lost trying to find our hotel in Plaka, but eventually got our bearings straight.  At least it seemed safe walking around, and was really cool to see all the ruins juxtaposed against an urban setting.  We even passed by the Roman Agora, which was lit up in purple and provided a spectacular setting for a speaker and rally, which we assumed to be political in nature as we later saw some secret service-like personnel and limos from our dinner table.

Our hotel, Plaka Hotel, was nothing special as we decided to splurge on the island hotels, since we wouldn’t spend a ton of time in our Athens hotel.  But it did the trick, and we did have a really nice view of the Acropolis from our window, and were treated with a bottle of wine and some pieces of baklava to cap off our honeymoon.

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View of the Acropolis from our hotel room
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Roman Agora lit up at night with a speaker/rally of some sort

We made dinner reservations at a place called Strofi, upon the recommendation of our guide book.  Our directional luck (or lack thereof) did not end here as we got super lost on the way to the restaurant, which required walking through the dimly lit and completely vacant Acropolis park.  Nothing was really marked, so we went in circles and got super confused before we finally found our way out.  Set in an old townhouse, Strofi was known to have terrific food and a direct view of the ruins.  We scored an amazing seat on their outdoor terrace with a spectacular view of the Acropolis.  The menu looked so good, we had such a hard time deciding, but everything we ordered was delicious.

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View of Acropolis from our dinner table (essentially looking at it from the other side of the hotel)
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Grilled halloumi cheese with tomatoes, pine nuts, lemon, olive oil, and parsley
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Piperonati, local peppers stuffed with cheddar, yogurt sauce, and tomatoes
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Pork stuffed with sundried tomatoes and gruyere, served in a garlic tomato sauce alongside lemon potatoes and grilled vegetables

Athens was yet another city filled with stray dogs, but they all seemed docile and well kept, so maybe they were just outdoor dogs (that’s what we told ourselves, at least).  On our way back, we met a dog that we coined “Greek Opie” because he had the exact same personality as Opie and looked like a lab mix.  Doug first made eye contact, so he came over and demanded belly rubs and wouldn’t let Doug leave.  Finally, we started walking back and he accompanied us almost all the way back, and got scared of other dogs barking at him the same way Opie does.  We weren’t sure how to ditch him before the hotel (even though Doug wanted to take him with us) but somehow, he knew when he’d reached his limit and, just like that, disappeared.  Maybe it’s just the dog lovers in us, but we really do think he knew we were lost tourists, and took it upon himself to get us back safely to the main area.  Or maybe we were near the end of our trip and just missing our own pup 🙂

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Greek Opie loves belly rubs.  I made Doug wash his hands when we got back.

Since it wasn’t terribly late yet, we thought it would be fun to walk around the main pedestrian areas, so we explored Monastiraki, which was jamming at this point with a rap battle and markets still operating at full swing.  We stumbled across two critical findings tonight – Mitropoulous Street, otherwise known as Souvlaki Lane (more on this tomorrow), and a shop called Lukumades.  FINALLY…a Greek donut shop!  It served the traditional loukoumades I’d been searching for the entire trip, and here they were in their glory, along with a bunch of other creative combinations.  Each order had about 10 little fried balls of joy and we (mostly me) were devouring them until my spoon broke with a few still left.  That must’ve been a higher order telling me to stop eating so much on this trip, so I took that to be a sign and gave up the rest.

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Night 1 of loukoumades delight: 10 plain donuts sprinkled with honey, cinnamon, and caramelized almonds, topped with vanilla ice cream.  You would eat the whole thing too.

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