I can’t believe that we’re finally on the last post of our vegan travel series to Greece! We’ve been to Santorini in parts 1 and 2, and to Mykonos in parts 1 and 2, and now, it’s time for the incredible city of Athens!
I started our vegan travel series as a way to share my experiences of traveling as a vegan, in an attempt to show you how a vegan diet goes hand in hand with exploring and enjoying new places. With a little planning and some recommendations, traveling as a vegan is a snap, and quite the delicious adventure.
It’s kind of strange, but what you’re seeing today was actually our first and last day in Greece, but I decided to group them together to make recommendations to one city easier to find. Athens is quite a unique place. You can see a lot of the deterioration brought on by the political and economical turmoil they’ve been going through recently, but then you turn a corner and you see a magnificent Greek ruin from one of the most important civilizations in history, then you turn another corner and you see the most beautiful little bustling street with cafés and restaurants.
As soon as we got out of the subway and walked towards our hotel, I looked up and saw the beautiful shot you see at the top, the Acropolis in all its glory. We were staying right next to the famous Monastiraki square, which I highly recommend, since the most beautiful neighborhood is just within walking distance, the incredible little streets of Plaka. Located right below the Acropolis, the streets of Plaka are filled with life, Greek music, restaurants, bars, shops and lots of street vendors. It’s incredible how cities are different from each other and have a signature feel to them. We have hundreds of these little streets in Madrid and our city and Athens are nothing like each other. I love it when a place surprises me like that. The street below is where we ended up having dinner in our first night in Athens, lots of little restaurants and their terrace tables filled these steps.
You have to forgive me since it was our first night traveling, but I completely forgot to take a picture of the food or take note of the name of the restaurant! I was much better at this during the rest of our trip, so I’m going to explain it with a case of post airplane hunger! I do remember exactly what we ate however, and it was quite a delicious start to our trip. We all shared little dishes including a big Greek salad without the feta cheese, some delicious bread, a tomato and kalamata olive salad, a zucchini dish and the best french fries we had during our trip. As I mentioned when we were exploring Santorini and Mykonos, Greek french fries when done in an authentic restaurant are nothing like the fries we’re used to. They’re perfectly golden, quite thick, and almost pureed on the inside and are sprinkled with oregano, pepper and other herbs. The ones we had at this restaurant were the best of our trip. We had also ordered a plate of their eggplant salad, where we learned (the hard way) that there are two versions of this exquisite Greek dish, one made with mayonnaise, and one with vinegar. You can guess which one they served us, but there was a non-vegan with us and it didn’t go to waste. In every restaurant since then we asked whether it was made with vinegar or mayo and they served us the vinegar version, one of my favorite dishes of the trip.
Here I am with my hubby, his mom and his dad (the photographer!) enjoying the ambience so much we couldn’t believe we were actually there! Of course we had some wine to celebrate.
This beautiful furry friend joined us for the entire meal and was happy to pose for me.
We then went for a walk through Plaka, and loved seeing the hundreds of restaurants, galleries, shops and the street vendors. Street vendors in Athens are the reason you will never be hungry as a vegan in this city, the streets are filled with carts and carts of nuts and seeds like the one below, and tons and tons of fruit! The ones filled with mountains of cherries were particularly attractive and delicious.
One very noticeable thing about Athens is the amount of stray animals. Dogs in particular are everywhere, and they are also enormous! They seem to get food from many of the restaurants and tourists so they didn’t seem emaciated, but it makes me so sad to see so many animals without a home.
Yup! Here’s the Acropolis at night! Can you believe it? It almost seems like it’s floating over the city.
Let’s fast forward to our last day in Athens, since right after I took the previous pic we went to bed and hopped on a plane to Santorini. When we returned to Athens on our last day, the first stop was of course the Acropolis.
We decided to get one of those tourist buses from which you can stop and get off at any moment, but it really wasn’t worth the money. Most of the sights are places you can get to by walking or taking the subway and are places you really want to stay and visit for a while, so the sightseeing from the bus wasn’t really that great.
The walk up to the Acropolis is quite remarkable in itself. Will you look at this white city with ruins scattered everywhere. Wow!
Surprisingly, my favorite part of the Acropolis was not the Parthenon itself, but this beautiful building right next to it with these pretty ladies holding down the fort (or is it up?!).
Finally, we reach the Parthenon. Reading about the history of this place and realizing you’re standing right there is incredible.
My travel companions. Can you feel the love? Here’s my husband and his mom and dad.
I’m all about the details when I go to places like these, the columns took all of my attention that day.
When we left the Acropolis and looked at the rest of the city on the bus, we got off and walked through the little streets of Athens and again stumbled upon Plaka, this time with its Sunday flea market in full bloom.
For lunch, we decided to walk to the opposite part of town and go to one of the vegetarian restaurants in Athens, the Rosebud. It’s a veg restaurant and has vegan options clearly marked on the menu, the restaurant is beautiful.
We had some fresh orange juice to cool us off and then we dove into vegan burgers and vegan hot dogs!
Hubby and I split the mushroom burger and the hot dog, and they both came with the most incredible fries and a perfectly dressed salad. The restaurant makes their own veggie patties and sausages and they were so filled with flavor and texture.
It was hard to determine a winner, so if you’re going with someone, do as we did and try them both!
For dessert we had a vegan lemon tart which was yummy, although not as rich and naughty as the vegan desserts we have here in Spain.
After our dessert, the waiter brought us this very weird vegan concoction as a gift, that is supposedly a typical Greek dessert. I’m sorry to say that I couldn’t take more than a bite from it. From what I could tell it was a very chewy dough entirely made out of sugar, similar to the coating on a wedding cake, and it came on a spoon inside a glass of water. Strange!
After lunch we went to the park and walked for a bit. We had to cut the trip a little short because I got very sick on our last day in Athens. This meant I skipped dinner while I tried to sleep it off, and sadly I don’t have a dinner post for you. What I can do, is leave you with a glimpse of the real Greece, a shot of this amazing Greek woman who caught me taking pictures of her and began to smile.
Before I go, and just for the love of Greek vegan food, as is tradition in our What’s for Dinner series, here’s our vegan Greek food recap! Not counting the delicious food I didn’t get a chance to photograph, I’d say we ate like kings! Totally vegan, totally easy, and without sacrificing one bit of enjoying our travels, diving into the traditional foods of Greece, or the local flavor. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a vegan diet is not about restriction, it’s about wonderful abundance and delicious foods. It’s about staying true to your very authentic and compassionate nature, and it’s about giving your body food that will nourish and respect it. Are you hungry yet?!
That’s it until next time everyone! I hope you enjoyed our little Greek adventure, and that you’ll join us again next time for wherever the road might take us.
Recommended restaurants and places to visit:
The Acropolis (including its many monuments, sights and museums)
Monastiraki Square (where you can see the many shops and restaurants and the Sunday flea market)
The streets of Plaka (a great place to have lunch or dinner with many vegan options in every restaurant, where we had the amazing french fries and salads for dinner!)
The Rosebud (where we had the veggie burger and hot dog)
UPDATE AND NEWS!
After several years blogging here at Little Green Kettle, we’ve made the blog bigger and better! Meet our new blog everyone!: www.brownble.com