Tag Archives: Greece

Travel

Part Two: Our Honeymoon in Mykonos, Greece

Hey hey! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving last week! I was in Maine celebrating with my family, and it felt so nice to be able to drive to Thanksgiving this year, rather than fly. I love living on the same coast as my family!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Today’s post is all about our honeymoon in Mykonos, Greece. If you missed part one about the two days we spent in Athens, you can click here to read the post.

We traveled from Athens to Mykonos on a teeny tiny Olympic Air plane. I’m not typically scared of flying, but I’ll admit that small planes like we flew here make me nervous. Luckily, we were only in the air for about 30 minutes, so I wasn’t nervous for too long. The carriers who fly between the Greek islands are typically low cost, which means that if you don’t care to select your seat and only have carry-on luggage, then your ticket could potentially be very inexpensive. We wanted to sit next to each other and we each had one large suitcase to check, so we paid additional fees for those upgrades, but the cost was still relatively cheap (about $70 USD per person).

 

Where We Stayed:

When we arrived at the Mykonos airport we were picked up by our hotel’s complimentary shuttle. We stayed at the Mykonos Bay Hotel for six nights. We chose the Mykonos Bay Hotel because it was one of the very few hotels we found that had direct access to the beach, a swimming pool, and a close proximity to Mykonos Town.

When we first arrived we were put in a guest room next to the hotel’s laundry room, which was extremely noisy. We immediately knew that if we wanted to enjoy our time in Mykonos and get any quiet time, then we’d have to find a different room. After speaking with management, they were able to switch us to a beautiful guest suite with a private jacuzzi for our first night and then move us to a sea view room located far away from the laundry room for our remaining nights.

We were very grateful that they were able to accommodate the change, but if you do stay at the Mykonos Bay Hotel, make sure to request a room away from the laundry facilities. I also highly recommend upgrading to a sea view room. You’ll love opening your doors to this view every morning!

The guest rooms at the Mykonos Bay Hotel are pristine white (classic Greek style) and modern. Just like most European hotels, the rooms are small, but still very comfortable. I particularly loved the rain shower, fluffy robes, and slippers in our room. Also, each room is equipped with a Nespresso machine, which comes in handy if you are experiencing jet lag or just need a mid-day pick-me-up.

The hotel also offered an incredible complimentary Greek buffet breakfast daily.

The options were endless: dozens of artisan breads and crackers, a rotating selection of traditional Greek pastries (I may or may not have had baklava every morning…), pancakes, sausage, granola, Greek yogurt, eggs, nuts, cheese, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, and so much more. We made sure to fill up our plates each morning to start the day on the right foot.

Since we had just come from a crazy week of wedding celebrations, we decided to take a few afternoons to just relax, and laid on the beach chairs with our books. I went through two books in four days!

 

How We Got Around:

Because our hotel was so close to Mykonos Town, we were able to walk there daily to eat and shop. I highly recommend staying in a hotel that is walkable from Mykonos Town because you’ll be able to do so much more by foot. The streets in Mykonos are very narrow and there are no sidewalks, so walking can be especially dangerous at night. If you do walk on the streets at night, wear light colored clothing and constantly be on the lookout for oncoming traffic.

You can rent a car, ATV, or scooter; however, parking a car is sometimes difficult and maneuvering around other (crazy) drivers on an ATV or scooter isn’t the easiest. We chose to rent a car for one day just to explore other parts of the island, but in the end we decided it was too stressful to drive on the old and narrow streets. We likely wouldn’t do it again.

Taxis in Mykonos are very expensive because there are so few of them, yet there are many tourists looking for rides. A five minute taxi ride could easily cost you 20 Euros, so keep that in mind before taking one. Many hotels offer complimentary shuttles to and from Mykonos Town, which is another great thing to look for when selecting a hotel. Some shuttles operate on a schedule and others, like our hotel, are available whenever you call for them.

There is also a bus system in Mykonos that appeared to be very popular, but we didn’t use it. It has many routes and seemed relatively inexpensive, so that is certainly another option to get around the island.

 

What We Did:

Walk around Mykonos Town

image source

Exploring Mykonos Town is SO much fun! The cobblestone streets are filled with fantastic restaurants, clothing and accessory shops, and souvenirs. When they were constructed many, many years ago, the streets were intentionally designed like a maze to confuse pirates. I loved getting lost in the maze of streets because every turn we took we stumbled upon something new we hadn’t seen the previous day.

 

Watch the Sunset

The sunsets in Greece are undeniably gorgeous. We spent some evenings watching the sunset from our hotel porch and other nights watching it along the beach in Mykonos Town. Pro tip: you can buy a bottle of beer (or in my case bottle of prosecco) from a shop in Mykonos Town and carry it with you to watch the sunset. The shop we purchased from even opened the bottles for us!

 

Mykonos Sailing with Artemis

If you do one excursion in Mykonos, make sure it’s this sailing trip. We had SO. MUCH. FUN!

Artemis operates two daily sailing trips from his personal sail boat – one in the afternoon and one at sunset. We chose the 5 hour afternoon trip and were among a small group of three other couples, so eight passengers total. We really lucked out because the other couples on our trip were a blast to hang out with and we all hit it off right away. (We even keep in touch on social media now!)

The boat makes two swimming stops and the trip includes an all you can eat and drink (beer and wine) Greek meal. Artemis cooked an INCREDIBLE Greek feast by himself on the boat. We were amazed what he could whip up using a small portable grill and sailboat kitchen. He’s a pro sailer and cook!

I really can’t recommend this sailing trip enough!

 

Where We Ate:

Vergera

Vergera is a great little cafe right on the water at the edge of Mykonos Town. We loved the chicken kebabs and grilled vegetables.

 

Kastros

We loved Kastros so much that we went there twice throughout our six day stay. It’s located in Little Venice, overlooking the water and sunset. We made early dinner reservations both nights so we could watch the sunset while we ate. Everything on the menu is fantastic, so you really can’t go wrong!

 

M-eating

If you’re looking for an upscale meal that will impress you, go to M-eating.  The presentation and flavors were fantastic. We loved sitting on the porch that overlooks the hustle and bustle of Mykonos Town, so try to get a seat outside if you can.

 

Pepper Souvlaki

Pepper has THE BEST chicken souvlaki sandwiches. They even have whole grain pitas available, which was an extra win for us. Each giant sandwich was less than 4 euros, so it was by far our cheapest meal on the island. Travis loved these pita sandwiches so much that one night he had one after we had already eaten dinner. He just couldn’t leave Mykonos without having a Pepper souvlaki sandwich one last time!

 

Up next: Santorini, the final stop of our honeymoon. Thanks for reading along!

 

Travel

Part One: Our Honeymoon in Athens, Greece

Here we are one month after returning from our honeymoon in Greece and I am finally getting around to tell you guys about it! As you know, life has been a tad bit crazy for us with our cross-country move last month, but I was able to go through and edit all of our honeymoon photos this weekend so I feel much more caught up.

I brought my DSLR camera with us on our honeymoon, but I ended up leaving it in the room for the majority of our vacation for two reasons. #1: It was really hot in Greece in September, and lugging a heavy camera around just wasn’t very comfortable. And #2: I consciously tried to be fully present throughout our honeymoon, and sometimes spending time setting up the “perfect” shot prevents you from doing that you know? It was a lot easier to keep my iPhone in my small cross-body purse and pull it out quickly if I wanted to capture something. So that was my long way of explaining why the majority of the photos that I’m going to share from our honeymoon actually came from my phone (although I am wishing the iPhone X was out at that time…have you seen that picture quality!?).

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

You may want to know: how did we select Greece as our honeymoon destination? Travis and I both always wanted to go to Greece, so we considered it along with Southern Italy for our honeymoon. We wanted a honeymoon that included delicious food and wine (duh!), and a mix of sightseeing and beaches. In the end, we selected Greece because we found a ridiculous flight deal that we could not pass up. Normally, Travis and I spend a long time researching our future vacation destinations, but when we were alerted to the flight deal, we ended up booking our flights to Greece that same night! It was pretty spontaneous and out of the norm for us, but with roundtrip flights to and from Athens for less than $500 per person, we knew we’d have a good amount of flexibility in our budget for hotels, activities, and meals.

Per the suggestion of a few of our friends, we only spent two days at the beginning of our trip in Athens, and allocated our remaining time to the Greek islands. To keep things organized (and to prevent this from being 50,000 words), I’ve decided to break up my honeymoon recap into three posts: Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. So in today’s post I’ll share highlights from our brief time in Athens including where we stayed, what we did, and where we ate. If you’re planning a trip to Greece I hope you’ll find this helpful, and feel free to reach out to me with additional questions.

 

Where We Stayed:

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Image source

We stayed at the Amalia Hotel in Syntagma Square for three nights. We booked the hotel because it is located right in the heart of Athens, and it’s walkable from all of the main tourist sites and many fantastic restaurants. We were welcomed to our room with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and fruit platter, which was very appreciated after a long day of traveling. The hotel and guests rooms are modest in appearance, but very comfortable. We had no problem falling asleep in our queen-sized bed at night and greatly enjoyed the view of the National Garden from our balcony.

Like most hotels in Greece, the Amalia offers a complimentary breakfast buffet. Given that the breakfast was included in the room rate, our expectations of it were fairly low, but we ended up being pleasantly surprised by how delicious it was. There were so many different selections of bread, eggs, breakfast pastries, cereals, jams, and more. It was so helpful to be able to fill up with a hearty breakfast and plenty of coffee before sightseeing both days.

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you’re looking for a well-located and reasonably priced hotel in Athens, I highly recommend the Amalia Hotel. All of the activities and restaurants that I mention below were walkable from the hotel, and the only time we took a cab was to travel to and from the Athens airport.

 

What We Did:

Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Athens. It was built in 330 B.C. for the Panathenaic games, and it is the only stadium in the world made entirely out of marble! It was refurbished in the late 1800’s and hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896!

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

We loved climbing our way to the very top of the stadium because the view looking down was incredible. Make sure to take the free audio guide tour because there aren’t many signs within the stadium, so the audio guide explains everything you see along the way. If you’re feeling up for it, you can even run a lap or two around the track (seriously, you can!).

Pro tip: Wear shoes with good traction and be EXTRA careful if you’re visiting after a rainfall. The marble steps are extremely slippery, and I took a tumble down some steps even wearing sneakers.

 

Tour the Acropolis

The Acropolis is an ancient fortified area located on top of a rocky hill in Athens. It contains many historically significant buildings, the most famous of which is the Parthenon. Visiting the Acropolis was a must-do on our list, and it was amazing to finally see it in person. I tried to remember everything I could from my 7th grade ancient history lessons, but I honestly wished that I’d done a little refresher before visiting. There are many guided tours available, which we likely would have done if we had more time.

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Depending on what time of year you go, the Acropolis can get very hot, so make sure you wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Also, you’ll be walking up rocky, steep hills throughout your tour, so I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to wear sneakers or hiking shoes.

 

Walk Through the National Garden

Our hotel was located just a short three minute walk away from the National Garden, so we spent our second morning wandering through its beautiful maze-like twists and turns. You really can’t take a wrong turn in the National Garden because every corner has something new to explore, and there are so many amazing photo-ops. There is even a small zoo inside, which is great if you’re traveling with kids.

 

Visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The Temple of Olympian Zeus was an ancient Greek Temple dedicated to Zeus. Construction of the temple began in 470 BCE and what we are standing in front of in the photo above still exists today. You really have to visit in person to understand how incredible (and enormous!!) this temple is. Our Acropolis tickets included entrance to this site, but I’d say you don’t need more than 20 minutes here.

 

Where We Ate:

Ergon

Ergon was an adorable outdoor café located down the street from our hotel, and the meal we had there our first night really hit the spot after 14+ hours of traveling! We devoured every slice of bread in that bread basket with a variety of Greek dips, and we shared a small grilled whole fish for our entrée. The flavors were simple, yet totally authentic.

 

Mono

Mono was one of our favorite meals of our entire honeymoon. When we made our 7PM reservation, we felt lucky to get a good time slot considering how popular we’d heard the restaurant was. It turns out that NO ONE in Athens eats as “early” as 7PM, so we had the place to ourselves for our whole meal. Needless to say, we had fantastic service given that we were their only customers, ha!

For our meal we shared an amazing Peloponnesian white wine, a Greek salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, homemade croutons and balsamic, and moussaka for our entrée. We were very impressed by both dishes, and no bite was left untouched.

 

Avocado

Avocado is a vegetarian café located right outside of Syntagma Square. The menu has an emphasis on clean, healthy, plant-based dishes, and reminded me of something I would see in Los Angeles. Travis and I shared a fresh-pressed green juice, (a giant serving of) avocado hummus and pita, and a salad. The menu is pretty extensive, so if we were staying longer I would have liked to try more of it.

 

Athinaikon

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Image Source

We went to Athinaikon on our last night in Athens, after window shopping at the hundreds of stores in Syntagma Square. For our meal we shared a whole fish, grilled vegetables and the house white wine. One thing we noticed throughout our time in Greece is that the house wine at most restaurants is very good! It’s served in a carafe and usually offered in a 500ml portion, which is about 2/3 a full bottle of wine. It’s a great option if you don’t want a full bottle and don’t want to spend a lot of money. For the most part, we found that a 500ml carafe of house wine was only around 5 to 6 euros (about $7 USD)!

 

Up next: I’ll be sharing parts two and three about our time in Mykonos and Santorini next, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

Life Lately

Major Life Updates: We’re Married & We’re Moving!

Hey guys, it’s been awhile! And A LOT has happened in the last few weeks, so it’s about time that I get you up to speed.

Wedding!

Travis and I were married in Boston on Labor Day weekend! Our wedding day was everything I dreamed of and more. It felt so special to be married in the city I grew up in, and to celebrate with our closest friends and family. Once I receive the professional photos from the photographer, I will write a full wedding recap. In the meantime, here are a few photos I collected from our guests.

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Honeymoon!

Two full days after our wedding, Travis and I flew from Boston to Greece for our honeymoon! We visited Athens for two days, Mykonos for six and Santorini for another six. It was a perfectly long and relaxing vacation with my favorite person and travel buddy. Since we had plenty of time in each location, we never felt rushed and we were able to take our time exploring each area.

Mykonos Honeymoon ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I have so many photos and Greece travel tips I want to share with you all, but in effort to keep this blog post a reasonable length, I’ll save all that for another day.

Honeymoon in Santorini, Greece ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

And lastly…we’re moving!

And finally, our new BIG piece of news. We’re moving to NYC! Travis accepted a job in New York that we really could not pass up. The role combines two of his favorite things: sports and media, so I’m thrilled for him. Everything is just moving so fast! We just got back from our honeymoon and now we’re in the midst of packing up our apartment here in Los Angeles and trying to find an apartment in New York.

Santa Monica Boardwalk ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This move is certainly bittersweet. When I first moved to Los Angeles five years ago, I regularly told Travis how much I would love to move back east to be closer to our family and friends. But now, five years later, I finally feel settled in Los Angeles. We’ve both made incredible friendships and love the sunny, healthy and active lifestyle here. Los Angeles, specifically Santa Monica, is where Travis and I have spent the majority of our relationship and built our first “home” (ahem, one bedroom apartment) together. It’s where we fostered over twelve dogs and ultimately found Bessie, our favorite furry family member. It’s where I taught myself food photography and decided to turn my blog into a little business. We are really going to miss this city.

Bessie ll Chihuahua Terrier Mix Rescue Dog from Los Angeles, CA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There are, however, SO many things about New York that I am looking forward to. I can’t wait to be just blocks or a quick subway ride away from so many of our friends. I look forward to countless dinner parties, holidays, birthdays, and many other celebrations with people we love. We’ve had to miss out on many of these events over the years while we were on the west coast. I also look forward to being able to take public transportation just about anywhere and not sitting in traffic on a regular basis.

A few people have asked me if I am ready to go back to the cold winters. The short answer is not so much, but I do look forward to having seasons again. I think having seasons makes you appreciate the good weather days even more. In Los Angeles, I rarely check the temperature because it’s pretty much 75 degrees and sunny every.single.day. I will miss being able to jog to the gym at 7AM on a January morning in just leggings and a thin long-sleeved top.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This has been an absolutely crazy, fun, exciting year for us. From quitting my job, to traveling throughout Europe, to getting married, and now moving across the country, I can honestly say that 2017 was our best year yet.

Thank you for reading and following along. I appreciate it more than you know! I’m looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule with you guys. Stay tuned for some delicious recipes coming atcha this month!