Tag Archives: international travel

Aristotle, Monks and the Alexandros Palace Hotel

 

Mt. Athos at dawn
Mt. Athos at dawn
mosaic floor at the excavations Monastery of Zygos
mosaic floor at the excavations Monastery of Zygos

The evidence of Greece’s long and turbulent civilization lay scattered throughout the country.  It was as easy to stumble across remnants of an ancient site in the middle of a farm field as it was to visit the impressive ruins of the 10th century Monastery of Zygos

Ancient Stagira
Ancient Stagira
Alexandros Palace Hotel
Alexandros Palace Hotel

Between Mt. Athos and  Stagira the 250-room Alexandros Palace Hotel resort complex, a veritable village on a 90-acre hillside just outside Ouranoupolis, is an ideal location to explore this fabled peninsula.

My article details it all…

The many layers of Greece on Athos

 

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Tweaking tradition on the Greek Islands

 

Theodora Tziamali & Chef George Katseas partners: Katogi Cafe
Theodora Tziamali & Chef George Katseas partners: Katogi Cafe

“We’re romantic,” says Chef George Katseas and that’s evident by both the decor and the manner in which George and partner Theodora Tziamali treat their customers like family.

Elia
Elia

“I want to marry the modern with tradition,” says Harris Boukas the young owner of Elia.

 

 

 

Nightlife on the Greek Island of Ios can certainly become lively during the summer season, but dining in the following seven tavernas and cafes put a smile on my face. Read more at…

Marrying trends with tradition in Ios dining 

Chora, Ios island
Chora, Ios island

 

Ionnis Trinas & his windmill, Sifnos island
Ionnis Trinas & his windmill, Sifnos island

Windmills tell stories of the drive for labor saving devices even in the pre-industrial age.

Harnessing the near steady breeze of both coast and hills was a technological breakthrough akin to present day electric wind generators.

Building a windmill was no easy task.

 

Windmill on the island of Alonissos
Windmill on the island of Alonissos

Mr. Ionnis Trinas has constructed what very well may be the first fully functioning windmill in the Greek islands for over a century. Read the rest at…

Savoring windmills in Greece

Ionnis Trinas Sifnos windmill
Ionnis Trinas Sifnos windmill

 

Mrs. Annezio Bouritis and her son Mixαlis Famelitis. Annezio Bakery
Mrs. Annezio Bouritis and her son Mixαlis Famelitis. Annezio Bakery

Mrs. Annezio Bouritis and her son Mixαlis Famelitis operate the traditional Annezio Bakery located in the port town of Merichas. Set in a typical white washed stone building with a view overlooking the harbor, the cars of customers are usually double parked on the narrow street.

cheese tarts
cheese tarts

Greeks positively revel in sharing their food, especially with visitors. Mrs. Bouritis and Mixalis were equally enthusiastic to share recipes for cheese tarts and pastel. Read more at…

      Kythnos recipes from Annezio Bakery in the Greek Cyclades

Kythnos island
Kythnos island

 

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Greek Windmills: Sails in the Air

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DSC06044These iconic circular stone structures dot the land – both islands and mainland – and their images adorn countless postcards. Their stark beauty as ruins of a bygone agricultural age and the bird-like sails of restored mills stiff in the wind, evoke the same timelessness as the Acropolis of Athens or sacred Mt. Athos.

Ios2

DSC06034Wind permitting, a mill could grind up to 150 pounds of grain per hour. The mill men needed to develop skills to read the weather and gauge the strength of winds.

Alonissos

On the island of Sifnos, in the Cyclades group, Mr. Ionnis Trinas has constructed what very well may be the first fully functioning mill in over a century.

See more photos and read about the windmill at..

Savoring windmills in Greece

 

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Driving Halkidiki

harbor, Neos Marmaras, Sithonia, Greece
harbor, Neos Marmaras, Sithonia, Greece

Sitting at a beach side café in Possidi on the Halkidiki peninsula of Kassandra, this North American was struck by an unfamiliar scene. People were reading.

Driving Kassandra unplugged and tuned into Greece

Nea Fokea:14th Century Byzantine tower and church
Nea Fokea:14th Century Byzantine tower and church

Fingers of land jutting into the Aegean, Kassandra, Sithonia and sacred Athos have, like all of Macedonia, been at the center of turbulent times since the 4th century B.C.E. In the 21st century the only turbulence seemed to be the long lines of cars every summer weekend that bring holiday seekers from Thessaloniki and Eastern Europe.

water sports in Sithonia
water sports in Sithonia

Family owned since it opened in 1989, the rooms surround an opulent pool that is the focal point of the Flegra Palace Hotel including the Soleil Bar with its dramatic glass floor jutting over the water.

Soleil Bar at the Flegra Palace Hotel
Soleil Bar at the Flegra Palace Hotel

Flegra Palace Hotel plans new venture in Pefkohori, Greece

Fortunately mere mortals can dine at Ambrosia, the open-air dining room at the Flegra Palace Hotel in the Halkidiki seaside resort town of Pefkohori, Greece.

Ambrosia, Flegra Palace Hotel
Ambrosia, Flegra Palace Hotel

Chef Aphrodite Balanou makes Ambrosia in Pefkohori, Greece

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Beach in Ouranoupolis, Athos, Greece
Beach in Ouranoupolis, Athos, Greece

Hotel Rafayel: new London on the Thames

Banyan on the Thames restaurant, Hotel Rafayel, London
Banyan on the Thames restaurant, Hotel Rafayel, London

The Hotel Rafayel is part of the remarkable 21st century transformation of the Docklands, the East End and South London from post industrial wasteland into the vibrant, upscale, multi-ethnic residential and commercial city London’s east side of the Thames  has become.

Lobby of the Rafayel on the Left Bank, Falcon Wharf, London, UK
Lobby of the Rafayel on the Left Bank, Falcon Wharf, London, UK

Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank has garnered praise for its attention to environmental details. From components for the actual building’s construction to its water catchment system, its eco-conscisousness only adds to its 21st century 5-Star charm.

The Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank: sustainable luxury on the Thames

Banyan on the Thames restaurant, Hotel Rafayel, London, UK
Banyan on the Thames restaurant, Hotel Rafayel, London, UK

Rapid urban change has remodeled the river scape along the Thames recreating the bustle of a modern port of international commerce. Except now the product is more than likely to be transported by computer or jet than freighter.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Olympic Park, London, UK (scheduled to open 04/2014 )
The ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Olympic Park, London, UK (scheduled to open 04/2014 )

With a city as cosmopolitan as London, there could only be more articles appearing shortly on Travel with Pen and Palate.

London from the observation deck of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, London, UK
London from the observation deck of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, London, UK

The Tate Modern Gallery is housed in a converted art deco power plant within walking distance along the Thames River walk  just up from the Globe Theater. The clean lines of the sprawling space gives justice to both the subjects and size of many great and imaginative works.  A voiceless short documentary from the Tate is an urban ballet.

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The Hotel Nikopolis and Da Vinci provides luxury on the Spice Route

The clear blue water in the immense Hotel Nikopolis pool mirrors the crystal sea of Thessaloniki’s vast harbor.

Hotel Nikopolis, Thessaloniki, Greece
Hotel Nikopolis, Thessaloniki, Greece

The strikingly modern Hotel Nikopolis, built in 1999, is reminiscent in its clean lines of the marble and limestone structures of Greek antiquity.

photo courtesy of the Hotel Nikopolis, Thessaloniki, Greece
photo courtesy of the Hotel Nikopolis, Thessaloniki, Greece

Chef Stefanos Stamidis commands the hotel’s handsome Da Vinci dining room. Its Italian name is no conceit.

Veal ribs were glazed in deep, rich balsamic vinegar on a bed of baby carrots
Veal ribs were glazed in deep, rich balsamic vinegar on a bed of baby carrots

Historically located at the crossroads of empires, the city has sat at the intersection of the fabled spice route connecting the ancient worlds of the Mediterranean, Near East and the Orient.

The Hotel Nikopolis and Da Vinci: luxury on the Spice Route

Thessaloniki: modern, Roman, Byzantine & Ottoman
Thessaloniki: modern, Roman, Byzantine & Ottoman

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In the heart of Alexander’s empire

Founded in 315 B.C.E. by King Cassander of Macedon, he wisely named the city after his wife, Thessalonike, sister to Alexander the Great. Thessaloniki, as a major port city with nearly 2,500 years of history has been at the crossroads of empires starting with Alexander the Great, followed by Rome, Byzantium and the Ottomans.

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For a city bulging with a young educated population – 15% are university students.

Thessaloniki is always pregnant with culture

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Located at the intersection of the fabled spice route between Asia and Europe has had a profound effect on both the culture and cuisine of Thessaloniki. And its young population has made it a city of cafes.

Oval café creates friendships in Thessaloniki

Fava with squid and raisins from Thessaloniki’s Oval café
Fava with squid and raisins from Thessaloniki’s Oval café

Fava beans with squid and raisins is a favorite among Oval cafe patrons and reflects a reality that the ingredients for Greek cuisine remain easily sourced from their home provinces. Follow my step-by-step recipe with photos and recreate this delicious dish.

Fava with squid and raisins

The Oval cafe
The Oval cafe

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A 15th century Ottoman public bath house
A 15th century Ottoman public bath house