The beautiful mountainous terrain of Sparta
I am now coming to the end of my holiday writing about Greece. I wanted to leave you with a few snapshots from my portfolio. These were taken whilst I was visiting friends and family in Sparta. Sparta is a 3 hour drive, south of Athens at the base of the Peleponesse. It has a small population of about 20,000 people. Its surrounded by rugged mountainous terrain. There is a lot of history in this part of Greece as well. Namely due to king Leonidas and the battle with Persia. Legend has it that 300 soldiers took down an invading army of Persians and won. The city of Sparta has a statue dedicated to Leonidas and it sits proudly in the city.
KIng Leonidas of Sparta
The amount of churches I noticed in my travels all over Greece were phenomenal. Whether I was in the city or on a long, winding road leading to a far away village, lo and behold another church would appear. They were everywhere and they came in all shapes and sizes.
An opportunity arose whilst I was in Sparta to visit a seaside town nearby called "Gytheio". Don't worry too much about the pronunciation of this place. It's a port city and it too caters well to tourists. It's about 45 mins away by bus and its a very cute place. I remember coming here to swim in the summertime as a child.
The port city of Gytheio
Walking around you almost feel like you are on one of the Greek islands. Little holiday houses and bed and breakfasts dominate this seaside town. Fishermen bring in their daily catch from the sea. A giant light house overlooks the water, once used to guide ships in the night. It's almost cliched and very postcard like.
The lighthouse at "Gytheio"
Oh look! Another church
And of course after walking around all day lapping up the local culture I wanted to eat. So I headed to one of the many restaurants and began another feast, fit for a king.
Souvlaki and fried chips
Wilted wild greens with olive oil and lemon juice
Fried squid or "calamari"
Fried zucchini fritters with feta cheese
Lets dissect the menu. Being true to my blogs name I ordered the souvlaki. To my surprise, the majority of souvlaki served in Greece are made using pork meat. I always assumed it was lamb. Nevertheless, they were tender and had been grilled to utter perfection. The fried potatoes on the side were a nice bonus. Wild greens are served everywhere in Greece and they are very good for you. This mantra was repeated to me all the time as a child. It's only as an adult I realise how true this is. They are blanched and served with a liberal amount of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. They are very cleansing and can really help with detoxing the system. The pan fried calamari were a little too tough for me. The waiter exclaimed that they were fresh but had perhaps been over zealously cooked! The zucchini fritters were something else. Vegetarians rejoice! These are so simple but bang out a lot of flavour. Grated zucchini, mashed potato, feta cheese and dill make up the delicious morsels. I had seen them on a few menus but only now attempted to try them. The wait was worth it. These numbers would be great in a tapas menu. They are moreish and you really won't be able to stop at one.
This concludes my current series of posts about Greece. I could go on forever show you all my holiday snaps. But I wouldn't want to bore you. I have a lot of recipes I want to try and to photograph as well. Overall, it was a great time in Greece. It was good to reconnect with family and friends after nearly 30 years. I had left a child and returned a man. A man with a Nikon DSLR camera, that is! So, on with the show as Souvlaki For The Soul tackles the next chapter in its existence. I hope you stay on for the ride!