LILLIAN CHARLES

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Honeymoon to Greece -II-

(Greece Honeymoon continued...)
Lovely date night in Athens (Friday)
So, after my 20 push-ups & one glass of free champagne at our Athens hostel, we headed to Alyssa's (and Alyssa's sister, Theana's) favorite restaurant in Athens: Mamacas!
(below) our Greek waiter: 
My favorite phrase of his, "I have ______"
After a wonderfully romantic evening with Alyssa & the waiter, we retreated to our hostel for the night! 
Saturday, we woke up and head out into the streets of Athens around noon to find Alyssa's aunt, Penny.  Penny and her two daughters, Sophia and Violetta, met us in a touristy square and we parted from there for lunch.  The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying one another and shopping for things that Penny and her kids could only find "in the city." 
The Athens metro has... 3 lines...
 Alyssa and I spotted the perfect "honeymoon" getaway car:
 The first of four rounds of ice cream for the weekend!:
 Changing of the guards at Syntagma Square in front of the Greek Parliament Building:
 (notice very lovely, very funny puffs on the tips of their shoes!)
A little tourist-tee action:
 Took this for my mom, who loves floral arrangements:
After another trip for ice cream, we met Penny's husband, Dimitri, and piled (seven of us!!) into their new (ahem, 5 seater!) VW suv to head south to Xylókastro, Greece. I have to apologize for a few claims I made two posts ago, previous to my leaving for Greece. Penny's husband is not American.  Penny & Dimitri did not meet in the United States. And they did not live in the US before moving to Greece to start their lives together. Woops! I misunderstood.  Penny Malahatis (Alyssa's aunt, Ms. Kalli's sister) grew up in Los Angeles with her Greek-born parents.  Many summers were spent in the village that Penny and Kalli's parents grew up in: Xylókastro.  It is there that Dimitri and Penny got to know each other over the years and eventually fell in love in their twenties.  When they decided to tie the knot, it was in Xylokastro and it was in Xylokastro that they decided to make their lives together.  Fifteen years later they live happily in this same little Greek village, now with two beautiful daughters.  Now! For some photos of mine and Alyssa's two days and two nights in Xylokastro:
First night: FOOD!!
(left to right: Alyssa, Penny, Dimitri, some guy I don't know):
Penny & Penny's sister-in-law, demonstrating the voting method in Greece
-Pencil in a "CROSS" next to the candidate you wish to vote for-
Sunday morning: Sophie makes Alyssa & Lillian ice frappés!
sweetest cousin picture ever:
FRUIT JAMMIES!!!
Sundays in Greece are much like Sundays in France. Not. Much. Goes. On.  Yep, most things are closed. Except for restaurants and cafés. Which is great because, who doesn't love to spend the whole day eating? I was so excited to get down into Penny's village and see the Greek coast... 
 
LUNCH:
 
 Penny & Dimitri explained to Alyssa and I that our Greek honeymoon would not be complete without tasting "ouzo" -- a Greek alcohol that has a bitter licorice taste to it.  Below, see Penny making our drinks (mixing ouz0 with water and ice) ... stir, and you, OMPA!, you've got yourself some ouzo.  The less water you put in, the weaker it is... we preferred a lot of water in ours, as we had wine with lunch as well!
 OUZO:
 Here we go!
 Potentially my favorite photos from the entire semester thus far:
Hungry? I am just writing about this. These dishes were UNbelievable. Fresh, fresh seafood, cheese atop it all, good wine, an incredible view and wonderful company... now that is the recipe for the perfect honeymoon, in my opinion :) After hours of taking lunch together and talking and laughing, we returned to Penny's home to get ready for that night's election affairs.
Elections for Greek mayors are an ENORMOUS ordeal in the small villages. Everyone gets involved and everyone has a strong opinion. We went to the town square on Sunday night and posted up diagonally from the mayer running against the Penny's family's candidate (don't ask me his name!) 
The election results were not announced until at least a week later as it came to a close tie while we were there, but we did find out that the mayor Penny's family wanted won. We had one last meal with Penny:
Headed home and started back to Athens by train the following day (Monday.)  I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity.  I am eternally grateful to Alyssa for her invitation and enormously thankful for Penny's hospitality.  I know that if I ever when I make my way back to Greece (hopefully on a real honeymoon!!) I will stop by Xylokastro to see Penny, Dimitri, Violetta and Sophie. 
One of the greatest reasons for mine and Alyssa's connection (which we discussed during our time in Greece) is due to our adoration for our families.  We bonded over the similarities of core values in our families and learned from the differences between them, too. Alyssa is someone that I know I will be in touch with for years and years to come. I am excited to see where else this friendship will take us, together. Maybe one day we'll go back to Greece with our kids. 
(p.s. we also got SWEET backpacks in Athens)

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