Food, Greece, Travel

Best Places to Eat in Ios, Greece

May 22, 2018
Where to Eat in Ios, Greece

 

Despite having a kitchen while living in Ios, I did eat out many times. Discovering that Ios had quiet the food scene, I decided to try as many places as financially possible! I always forget to take pictures of my food so I don’t have pictures of it all, sorry. (This is list is in no particular order.)

 

The Octopus Tree

 

Where to Eat in Ios, Greece

 

This tiny restaurant sits on the edge of the Ios harbor. It is so small, I am not sure if there is inside seating. The only unfortunate thing is that I didn’t discover it until late in September and I wish I hadn’t waited!

 

The first time I ate there, I was with friends and we shared several plates. One of those items was an amazing salad that was huge. We also shared some small fried fish and french fries. The star of the evening was the fried zucchini balls. I really wish I had been brave enough to ask for the recipe. These things are what me back the second time and would have a third time if they hadn’t closed for the season!

 

 

Where to Eat in Ios, Greece

 

Grandma’s

 

Where to Eat in Ios, Greece

 

This was the second time I had eaten at Grandma’s as I had eaten here the year before on my sailing trip. Grandma’s is located in the Liostasi Hotel, of course inside is not accurate since all the seating is outdoors. This makes it possible to enjoy the amazing sunset with cocktails by the pool and then dinner under the stars.

 

 

Everything here is good.  The menu had changed slightly from the year before as they had a new chef. This was the sea bass, which is always one of my favorites. For dessert, we had the Caraibe chocolate bar and it was chocolate-y without being too much chocolate. I say this because I am not a huge chocolate fan. The nuts helped offset the richness as well as the vanilla ice cream. I only went here once on this trip because the prices are on the higher end at Grandma’s.

 

Where to Eat in Ios, Greece

 

Hotel Corali

 

The bartender recommended this place to me as they have their own outdoor wood burning pizza oven. Yes, even in Greece sometimes you want pizza. And this wasn’t just plain pizza. Each pizza can be ordered with different crust thickness and the sauce is the perfect balance of sweet and tart and they don’t skimp on the toppings. Not only that but they also have amazing salads. Amazing salads in Greece are definitely a thing I noticed last year on Kythnos.

 

 

Thai Me Up

 

Thai Me Up is where I spent most of my money on food, which is funny since I never took a single picture there. I love Thai food and discovered they have amazing Pad Thai. Plus it was one of the cheaper restaurants on the island. They were also one of the few places to get breakfast and no it isn’t Thai breakfast. They actually have a British woman who cooks breakfast and a Thai woman make the Thai food. Many nights I would go down there for Pad Thai and beer and watch the boats come in the harbor. Better than any TV show especially as many of the locals would come down and hang out at the port at night.

 

Salt

 

Where to Eat in Ios, Greece

 

Salt is located on Milopotas Beach. I had seen it several times when I had gone to the beach but was really there for the beach and not food. However, I had seen the food and knew I needed to try it. The service was terrible, but the food made up for it. It also could have been that it was late in the season and they might have had less staff. Above is an eggplant dish that was so big, it could have been my meal. I love eggplant and this did not disappoint. And yes, I think that is ketchup on top. My main was disappointing, but I think I ordered the wrong thing. As a thank you, they brought out this treat, which has to be a full dessert! I tried hard not to eat it all but I couldn’t resist. Salt also serves food and drinks on the beach in their loungers. You can see the sea from the sit-down restaurant as well. Go for the view and the dessert.

 

 

Lord Byron

 

On the sailing trip we were told about this place, but opt to eat at Grandma’s instead, so this year I was determined to go. It was one of the first places I went and for some reason only took pictures of my tzatziki! I ordered pasta with clams and it was perfect. It was light and the portion was a good size. Next time I would eat inside. There are many stray cats outside and it smelled a bit. During the high season, make a reservation.

 

Where to Eat in Ios, Greece

 

Harmony

 

Want a little Mexican food while on your Greek vacation? I was very hesitant to try this place being from Texas, but the call for tacos eventually made me go. I ordered a fish taco and a pork taco. The fish taco was way too hot even for this Texan, but the pork taco was great and I would have eaten it again. Do not, however, order the guacamole. In order to keep it fresh, they had put lemon juice in it and that was all I could taste. During the day, the views from here are stunning and there is live music most nights. It does appeal to the younger set overall though. They also offer yoga on some mornings.

 

 

Sousana

 

This is another port favorite that is next to Thai Me Up. This is the best place for moussaka on Ios in my opinion. What makes it different is that they bake each one in its own clay pot. It is then served piping hot. The whole thing just melts in your mouth. I was scraping the pot to try to get all of it out. Again, I had a photography fail, so this photo is of regular moussaka from somewhere else. But trust me this is the place!

 

Where to Eat in Ios, Greece

 

This list is by no means exhaustive as my budget really didn’t allow for me to eat out every day. If you have been to Ios, what is your favorite place to eat at there?

 

Medical, Personal

When Life Happens…

April 29, 2018

Most of the time we go about our lives not expecting the worst to happen. Bumps come along and we deal with them. My life hit a bump and then it hit a mountain. 

Last October, I was still traveling when I was struck by a bad case of vertigo. The first episode of it happened in Barcelona. It was so bad, I went to the emergency room while I was there. They gave me a shot and it helped for awhile. For the next week, I seemed to be fine as explored Porto. By the third day in Lisbon vertigo had returned. It was even worse than before. I couldn’t eat because I felt so sick to my stomach and I couldn’t write because looking at the computer made it worse. I got out a few times but spent most of the week in bed. Not the best way to see Lisbon. 

My trip was supposed to last about two more weeks but I wasn’t getting better and I really did not want to go to the emergency room in Portugal. (I am sure it would have been fine, but I wasn’t thinking clearly at that point.) I canceled the rest of my reservations and rebooked my ticket home for as soon as American Airlines could get me on the next plane. I was disappointed but was happy to already have a doctor’s appointment for when I returned.

Not all Bad

The bright side in all of this was I had met someone in Greece in September who happened to be from my hometown and still lived relatively close to my parent’s house where I would be returning at the end of my trip. 

While it wasn’t love at first sight, it was love by the second date. Unfortunately, he had to return to the US for work and I continued on my way to Malta. We talked every day, sometimes for hours. I wanted to come back early, but he wanted me to finish the trip. We had already made plans to travel when I returned home. I knew I had found the right man for me. He was caring, thoughtful and loved to travel. I never thought I would meet someone while traveling let alone someone from my hometown. I especially never thought that I would fall madly in love like in the movies.

The whirlwind romance continued when I returned home. He met my family and I met his son. I was going to go to school in January and he was extremely supportive of that. 

And then…

Four days after Thanksgiving, I woke to several missed phone calls and texts from his son and one of his friends. When I called his son back, he immediately asked me if his Dad was with me and I, regretfully, had to say no. 

He then explained that his Dad’s house was on fire and they couldn’t find him. I asked if his truck was at the house and his son said yes. My heart sank. If his truck was there, I knew he was in the house. I tried to stay calm for his son’s sake and offered to come over but the street was blocked off because of all the firetrucks. I fell apart after we got off the phone. Even though it wasn’t confirmed yet, I knew he was gone. 

It took several more hours for the fire to be put out enough for the fire department to look for his body. Later we found out he died of carbon monoxide poisoning and not from the fire, which was a blessing in my mind as he had no idea what happened to him. To this day, we don’t know what cause the fire and we may never know. This is so hard to deal with as I really want to know how the fire started and how just hours before we were both in the house and everything was fine. 

Why?

I am telling you all this for several reasons. One is to let you all know why I just disappeared with no explanation. I had planned on taking a break when I got home because my love for blogging had waned and then vertigo made it difficult. I do miss blogging and am hoping to get back to it soon.

I am writing also to tell you how important it is to have a carbon monoxide detector in your house. I don’t know if it would have saved my love’s life, but it could help save yours or your loved one’s life. We installed one in my parent’s house and I have encouraged all my friends to do the same. Please get one and check your smoke detector batteries at the same time. 

Most importantly to remind you that our time is short and we never know when we could go or when it might be the last time we talk to someone. I know, in theory, we all know this but we take it for granted that bad things could never happen to us. Fortunately, I had told him I loved him that day several times and we had been texting just an hour or so before this happened. I have no regrets just struggling with his absence on a daily basis and what to do with myself now that all our plans will no longer happen. 

Take the time to tell your loved one that you love them often and never take any day for granted. I hope to be back to blogging on a more regular basis soon. 

Europe, Greece, Hotel/Accommodation, Travel

Kritikakis Village Hotel Ios, Greece

October 23, 2017

Kritikakis Village HotelWhen deciding where I was going to “live” for a month on the Greek island of Ios, I knew I wanted to be able to cook while I was there. This meant I needed to find a place with a kitchen and I was hoping for a place that had a monthly rate as well. I did lots of research trying to find the right place including Airbnbs and looking at smaller hotels. The Airbnbs were further away from my preferred location and some only had a shared kitchen. Finally, I found the amazing Kritikakis Village Hotel. Not only did each room have a small kitchen, I was able to ask for a monthly rate and they had two pools!

Kritikakis Village Hotel

The Hotel

The hotel is set up like a small Greek Village and has all the lovely characteristics of that including whitewashed walls and blue doors. There are less than 50 rooms and it feels like even less. The reception area is located outside the village right on the road from the port. You can walk from the ferry to Kritikakis Village Hotel.

Kritikakis Village Hotel

The two pools are located on two different levels. One has the pool bar and the other has built-in sunbeds and is smaller. The smaller pool is also more shallow. The pool offers great views of Yialos beach. Breakfast is served a few levels up with a small cold breakfast and offers traditional Greek yogurt and delicious local honey.

Kritikakis Village Hotel

The Rooms

There are many room options to choose from at Kritikakis Village Hotel. You can choose from a studio with many single beds or a double. You can also choose an apartment style room that has a separate living area. The great thing about these rooms is that it allows for groups of friends to split the cost of a room and each have their own bed. The apartments are great for couples or people with small children.

Kritikakis Village Hotel

I chose an apartment since I really didn’t want to look at the kitchen for a month! When I contacted them about a monthly rate, they offered me a double bed apartment at a discounted rate. This was something you definitely had to contact them about and it may not be available during the high season. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I was very happy that I chose to do this instead of the studio.

Kritikakis Village Hotel

The benefits of staying in a hotel for a month was that I had daily maid service if I wanted. This meant no washing sheets and towels or mopping floors, which is definitely a plus while on vacation. It also meant I had help planning things or calling restaurants for reservations.

Kritikakis Village Hotel

Kritikakis Village Hotel

My apartment had a large terrace with a table and chairs and umbrella. Many mornings were spent here having my breakfast. The hotel also faces the west so you can catch a view of the amazing sunset on Ios. You are also close to the port and I could hear the ferries come and go, which I enjoyed. I preferred this location versus the village or the party beach of Myloplotas. I was close to the port, a grocery store, Yialos beach and many great restaurants. The bus stops right outside of reception and it takes you to the village or Mylopotas beach. You can also walk the path to the village if your legs are up for it. The path is also right next to the hotel.

Kritikakis Village Hotel

The Staff

By far the best thing about this hotel was the friendly hotel staff! They made my stay very memorable. Many times I would come back to my room to discover fruit or chocolates. One day I had a knock on the door only to be presented with a plate of fruit and loukoumades, Greek donuts!

Kritikakis Village Hotel

I chatted with the staff almost every day and made good friends with them. One night they even asked me to have dinner with them. It definitely made my time in Ios less lonely and I would have missed out on some great restaurants without their help. When I checked out they gave me a Kritikakis Village Hotel t-shirt! Which I have worn in Portugal a few times.

Kritikakis Village Hotel

So if you are planning a trip to Ios, Greece, I highly recommend staying at the Kritikakis Village Hotel, check rates here. You will feel at home right away and be close to all that Ios has to offer!

Europe, Greece, Travel

Tips for Taking the Greek Ferry

October 16, 2017

Tips for Taking the Greek Ferry

You dream of going to a Greek Island and soaking up the sun while sipping ouzo, but how did you get to those beautiful islands you dream of? Most of the islands are only accessible by ferry, although some of the larger more popular islands have airports. Booking ferry tickets are much easier than it used to be, but a first timer may need some help navigating the ins and outs of taking a Greek ferry.

Flights and the Ferry

My advice is to never ever book your ferry tickets the same day as your flight. This is especially true if you have hotel reservations paid for or work to return to after your vacation. Fly in and stay in Athens for the night or book a hotel near the ferry port. On my last trip, my ferry choices were to leave either at 7 AM or 4:30 PM which meant arriving in Ios after midnight. I opted for 7 AM, so I booked myself a hotel at Piraeus port for the night before. In this case, I could have never made a 7 AM ferry with any flight.

Which Ferry

There are many ferry lines, but not all the ferry lines go to every island. Which means you won’t have a lot of choices on which ferry line you take. You may be able to choose a fast or a slow ferry depending on which island you are going to.

The advantages of taking the fast ferry are less time on the ferry and more time on the Greek Islands. The other advantage is that the fast ferries are usually more modern than the slow ferries.

The disadvantages are if you get sea sick easily, the fast ferry might not be for you. Many of the fast ferries are hydrofoils, which are less stable in the sense that you feel the waves not that they are going to flip over. Another disadvantage is that you are usually not allowed on the deck, especially if the weather is bad. If the weather is really bad, the hydrofoils will be canceled. If you are going to a Greek island in winter, keep this in mind and allow for it in your schedule and bookings.

Which Port

Athens has three ports in which ferries leave from, Piraeus, Lavrio and Rafina. The issue with this is that not all islands are served by each port. For example, to get to Kea, you will have to leave from Lavrio. If you are booking your own ferry tickets, then I recommend using FerryHopper. (This is not an affiliate link.) It is straightforward and will give you indirect routes as well as direct routes.  If you are booking your tickets through an agent, make sure to check which port you are leaving from before you set out for your ferry as they are far apart and you will miss your ferry.

Tips for Taking the Greek Ferry

Getting On and Off

The first time I took a Greek ferry, it was from Ios to Santorini and back. Ios is small enough, and I had help, so it wasn’t very hard. But in Santorini, I was alone, and there were a lot more people and a lot more ferries. It also seemed a bit disorganized, although in hindsight it wasn’t.

Tips for Taking the Greek Ferry

If you are on an early morning ferry, go early as you may be able to get on without all the rushing that is associated with getting on later in the day.

At Piraeus there are many gates the ferries leave from and from the beginning to the end is far, so check it and arrive early to find the right gate. On the islands, there may only be one gate or very few. The best way to figure out where your ferry will depart from is the ask the Port police. They are in navy uniforms that look a little military in style. Your ferry ticket should have the name of the ferry on it, and most ferries are clearly marked.

You need to be there early but not more than 30 minutes. Rarely are ferries early in Greece and more often a few minutes or more late. But the disembarkation and embarkation process is fast, and they won’t wait for you.

Once you are on, you should store your larger luggage in the area you are directed to. Unless your bag is light, leave it here. It will be fine. There are too many stairs involved on the ferry, and you won’t want to bring it to your seat.

Proceed up the stairs, and someone will help you find your seat. Last year, I sat where I wanted, well except for business class but this year they really seemed keen on people sitting in their assigned seats.

Tips for Taking the Greek Ferry

They will announce each port as they get close and everyone will move downstairs to gather their luggage. It will seem chaotic, but don’t stress you will get your luggage and get off the ferry. It is a very efficient system even if it doesn’t look like it.

Do you have any tips for the Greek ferry? Share with us.

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