I am usually in a panic mode when we travel regardless whether I am going somewhere known or unknown. Being away from home for a week is a lot and over 6 weeks , well it’s an eternity! I love exploring and trying new things but when you have new and different for so long, it becomes hard, believe or not. After 6 weeks and 5 different countries, I was ready to come back home even though we had the loveliest time.
This whole trip was a great experience for me to see whether my body can adjust to different environments in relatively short period of time. Am I going to be okay without my regular exercise regime and foods that I am used to?
So how did I do? I did okay. Our bodies are powerful machines and as long as you tune in and listen to it, it will respond well and be well. While I didn’t gain any weight, I lost some strength and endurance that’s slowly but surely coming back.
While away, I tried to be active as much as a I could; couple TRX workouts a week, running, hiking, long walks with kids, swimming. Rest days? Of course. Food wise, I think I did well considering most meals were outside of the house. I tried to keep it as healthy as I could but of course I indulged at times. Doing this keeps you sane and on track!
Today I wanted to share part of my vacation with you focusing on the way I experienced food in Greece and Spain. I found the two places to be quite different in every respect!
This is one of our favorite places we have ever been to. We came to this same village, Lindos, 3 times already and it’s still just as beautiful. My favorite part is seeing our kids grow up on this beach.
This part of Rhodes is very hilly so it was a perfect place to run early in the morning. And when I say early, I mean before 7.30 otherwise it’s gets too hot too quick. 3 mile run feels like 5 miler because of all the hills that are really hard to conquer. My husband is the one who is a runner so if it wasn’t for him, truthfully, I would not get far. The scenery where we ran was just mesmerizing. The olive trees on one side and Mediterranean sea on the other!
It is really easy to eat well in Greece. Greek menu is rather simple: salads, grilled meats, vegetables and seafood. Besides the traditional calamari, nothing else is fried. Most restaurants grow their own spices (mainly basil, mint and oregano) and the fish is brought to the restaurants daily. They only use ingredients that are in season because imported vegetables and fruits are expensive. One would think chefs have to really get creative due to limited choices but that is not the case. All the meals are prepared in a very simple way although they may look fancy!
Here are few salads and dishes prepared in our favorite restaurant in Lindos called, Tambakio. It is located right in the St. Paul’s Bay at the end of the beach (see picture above).
One of the dishes we loved eating were the grilled baby shrimp. There are eaten with the shell on and have a naturally sweet taste.
Anywhere we went, risotto was present on the menu. My husband and I shared one almost every day with the salad. You can really taste the fresh seafood in this dish with underlying notes of cream, turmeric and saffron.
Somehow I didn’t take a picture of the most loved and popular street food in Greece, Gyros! Maybe because I ate them too quick? You can pick between pork, chicken or lamb and have it plain or Greek style (tomatoes, onions, tzatziki sauce and fries). Of course my pick was the latter! The warm pita bread is what puts it all together.
Last but not the least, pita bread and hummus! Oh so yummy and really hard to resist!
One day as we were driving down to center city of Rhodes, we came upon an olive oil factory. Knowing that Greek olive oil is one of the best, we had to stop by and explore. I loved seeing our 7 year old daughter dipping and tasting away! The garlic and rosemary infused olive oil was my favorite along with oregano and red pepper. Even just plain olive oil was superb and tasted very different then whatever I can find in US.
After spending 10 days in Greece, we went off to Spain. I was excited to go because we have never been and have heard wonderful things.
Barcelona & Costa Brava, Spain
Barcelona is a very hip city that is full of energy. And if you love tapas and good wine, it is a certainly place to be! The coast (Costa Brava) is just gorgeous, you would never want to leave.
The first morning we woke up, we decided to go for a run along the beach but ended up just walking over 8 miles that morning. It was just such a pretty place to be that we didn’t wanna miss a thing! We spent the next few days just exploring the city and the coast and walking for miles and miles each day. Our little ones stayed back in Belgrade with their grandparents, so we had no agenda or worries. We just walked and walked and walked.
When it comes to food, Spain is very different then Greece. Most restaurants serve TAPAS style meals and they are either raw seafood or fried. If you are a lover of ceviche and seafood, you are in luck! No matter what place we went to the seafood was fresh and perfectly prepared.
Bakeries are the place to be for breakfast and lunch. From fresh bread and pastries to sandwiches and salads. Most of the bakeries are sit down and they serve espresso as well.
As I was wandering around streets of Barcelona one morning I found a beautiful farmers market at Santa Maria Del Pi. There was a great selection of fresh cheese, honey, bread and other local goodies. The whole setting was picturesque!
Another interesting and quite unique place is La Boqueria, market, that was open every day and it was very popular among locals. As you will see from the pictures below, there was everything you can imagine under one roof. Fresh seafood, meats, fruits , vegetables, nuts; Wine stands,and beer stands; Most of these vendors had ready-made single serving lunches that you can either take with you or stay and eat right there on the spot.
One day while roaming around the city we came upon this cute little nut shop. I just thought it looked really fancy for a store that just sells nuts! We got some almonds to snack on and I was surprised how different almonds were there vs the ones we get in US. The taste was like a cross between almond and macadamia nut. Very distinct!
An interesting fact about dinners in Barcelona is that they usually happen late. How does 11pm dinner sound? On our last night in Barcelona, we decided to do it. We ate late lunch, snacked and napped so we could actually stay up and eat this late. We found a traditional Spanish restaurant that was famous for their paella. Between the wait to get the table and preparation of paella, our dinner was served around midnight. I think by this time my appetite was shut. Maybe it was the apps and wine we had before? Not sure. But, I think our bodies are used to certain rhythm, so they slow down naturally. So for me, it was way passed dinner time. But even so, I do remember the paella well and it was delicious.
This has been a wonderful summer all around and I will cherish and remember it well; All the fun times with family, the sight seeings, the good food, gorgeous scenery and warm and welcoming people.
But I am happy to be at home now, in my kitchen and at my gym, with my kids and my husband.
Until Next Time,