Friday, August 31:  After enjoying my wine on the terrace of the Acropolis View Hotel, I wander a few blocks down the street to a place recommended by the hotel: The Acropolis Restaurant.  I go inside on the first floor and find I am the only patron in the restaurant.   I have heard the Greeks usually eat quite late, but as an American, I’m used to eating at an early hour.  It’s about 8:00.  For me that’s late, and I’m tired from my busy day of travel and my luggage debacle.

The outside of the Acropolis Restaurant

inside the Acropolis Restaurant

I have no idea what to sample, but I have two weeks ahead and should have ample time to try a wide variety of Greek foods.  I order another glass of wine and then order something called mussels saganaki, which is listed under “starters.”  I have no idea what I will get, as I’ve never heard of saganaki before, but I look forward to eating whatever it is.

mussels saganaki, bread, olives and wine

I find later on Wikipedia that saganaki literally means “little frying pan,” and is named after the single-serving frying pan in which it is cooked.  In Greek cuisine, the cheese used in saganaki is usually sheep’s milk feta.  The cheese is melted in a small frying pan until it is bubbling and is generally served with lemon juice and pepper and eaten with bread.

mussels, peppers, tomatoes, onions and feta cheese ~ mussels saganaki

Other dishes that are traditionally cooked in the pan include shrimp saganaki and mussels saganaki , which are typically feta-based and include a spicy tomato sauce.  This particular version of mussels saganaki is steaming hot and delicious, and a much bigger portion than what I would normally call a starter!

Just after the dish is presented at my table, I see some people going up a steep staircase in a corner of the restaurant.  Curious, I sneak away from my table and follow them upstairs to find a lovely terrace.  I feel like I have gone through a secret passageway to a magical land.  Immediately I run back downstairs, grab my plate and wine and ask one of the waiters to bring my bread and olives upstairs.  Outdoors it is lovely, with a cool breeze and pinpoints of stars overhead.  Sure, there is the sound of cars going past on the road below and the chatter of Greeks and tourists walking past, but it is much more atmospheric than inside.

on the terrace of the Acropolis Restaurant

the terrace taverna ~ the ultimate Greek experience

As I savor my meal and drink my wine, two ladies sitting at a nearby table strike up a conversation.  They are a mother and daughter from the USA.  The daughter, Angela, is in Athens performing in a theater production called The Wanderings of Odysseus.  Her mother, Shirley, has accompanied her after recently having lost her husband.  Angela, 28, has been married for 5 years and is working on her Ph.D. in Performing Arts at Stanford University.   We talk for quite some time across an empty table and they eventually ask me to join them.  Shirley is surprised and impressed that I am traveling through Greece alone and says she admires my confidence.  I tell her if she comes to Santorini, which she desperately wants to do but probably won’t because Angela is busy with her play every day, she should give me a call and we can explore the island together.  I enjoy their companionship and our evening together as Americans in a foreign land.

Shirley and Angela from California

Though there is no view of the Acropolis from this restaurant, the atmosphere is so chill that I want to linger here all night.  I adore the cafe culture of Europe, the laid-back mindset, the importance that Europeans place on enjoying life to the fullest.  I think I must have a European heart.

Angela, me and Shirley

When I return to my room, I am again hit by the realization that I have no luggage.  It seems I had temporarily forgotten my little misfortune.  During the day, I had bought a toothbrush and toothpaste and a round hairbrush.  I take off the only clothes I have, wash the only underwear I have, and try to sleep, tossing and turning with visions of Plaka, the Acropolis, colorful mussels saganaki, and my capricious vagabond bag.

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About nomad, interrupted

As of July 15, 2015, I'm now taking a break from living abroad. I'm living in Oakton, Virginia and looking for my next opportunity. Last year, I lived in China and taught English at Sino-Canadian International College. I also taught at a university in Nizwa, Oman for two years, and in Korea's public schools for one year. I love to travel and have been to 24 countries.

14 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on a nomad in the land of nizwa and commented:

    My first Greek food in Athens… 🙂

  2. The food looks yummy and glad you found the terrace and new friends.

  3. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I’m glad you found the terrace in time! I’m getting anxious about your bag now, when is it going to turn up?

  4. adinparadise says:

    Yummy looking food indeed. I’m hoping your bag debacle has a happy ending, but as long as you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and water, you can stay well groomed for another day at least. 🙂 Your news friends are lovely; such beautiful smiles. 🙂

  5. Carol says:

    Sounds like a wonderful evening, with good company and great food – and wine. What more could one ask? Okay, other than clean clothes in the hotel room.

  6. Marco says:

    Are you stalking the other Americans again, lol. pls don’t steal their luggage, okay?

  7. Madhu says:

    I was considering not taking a carry-on to Japan, since it felt like overkill to take two bags for 10 days, but I have changed my mind now 🙂 The food looks awesome.

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