Sunday, September 6, 2015

Downtown Las Vegas Trip Report - Aug. 30 - Sept. 4, 2015

I wasn't planning to go to Vegas now as I'm going in November this year.  The travel plans I was hoping for with friends didn't turn out so I ended up booking solo and decided on downtown.  This week was just meant to be pure R&R away from work.  I decided staying at the Downtown Grand.  With air, hotel, taxes including 5 nights my total came to $550 CAD which I thought was pretty good.  Our dollar is really sucking right now in the U.S.A. One of my dollars at the time of this writing is worth about 70 cents US so saving pennies helps...

I am always happy to go to Vegas and I love that it is so close to home.  I think its one of the best places to be a solo traveler, especially if you gamble.  However, that being said, I was hoping not to lose too much cash gambling this time so I wasn't planning to make it like my normal solo trips where each day is full of slots, slots, slots and loss, loss, loss of money...I had plans to read and lay by the infinity pool I saw online for my hotel.  I was not sure how that would work out but it was my plan this trip...

Sunday, August 30th:

This is the first time I have ever not taken a direct flight to Vegas!  At least I had a direct flight home but going I had to make a quick stop in Phoenix, AZ.  Well, not a quick stop, three hours, but it was ok.  I enjoyed a leisurely, albeit expensive lunch.  We had a bit of a problem with our flight from there on US Air.  It was a full flight and apparently an auxiliary power supply was out.  Could explain why the power went off three times before take off?  When we finally got clearance to go (about a half hour late) they flew with no lights on.  This freaked me out and it was a really bumpy ride!  Anyway, they flew in half the time.  It was supposed to be an hour flight but we did it in thirty-five minutes.  I was happy to be there.

I got Showtime Shuttle return for $17.50.  I had to wait about fifteen minutes for the downtown shuttle.  I got to the hotel around 5pm.  I was checked into a non-smoking room on the 21st floor.  It was nice and I had no complaints with the room.  It was a balmy 100 degrees outside.

The Downtown Grand.  I was in the Grand Tower on the left.

My view

I had experienced a 9 hour power outage at home the night before.  When the power came back, I was up very late and then had to get up early trying to get ready for the trip.  Yes, I left everything until the last minute.  So, I was tired now.  Really tired and hungry.  I took a quick walk down Freemont to the ABC store for wine.

Keeping the ladies on Freemont happy?

Then I went to Pizza Rock for take out dinner.  It's really nice inside, huge.  I really wanted to try their "Detroit Red Top" so ordered that for $27.  They told me it would be 25 minutes so I went to the bar and had a really good glass of red Italian wine.  Then pizza was ready so I went back to the room to eat.

This was huge and cut into 4 pieces.  I managed to eat one slice.  It was quite good.  I like sauce & cheese pizzas and the crust on the edges was nice though a little burnt tasting unfortunately.

Square Style Pizza Cooked in Steel Pans from Detroit, Wisconsin Brick Cheese, Mozzarella, White Cheddar, Tomato Sauce, Pecorino Romano, Oregano, Garlic, Butter Toasted Corners

I planned to go get my Players Card and go to the casino to end the night but after that slice I went into a food coma and went to sleep.  I slept through until morning.

Monday, August 31st:

I awoke about 7:30 to beautiful sunshine.  Typed this report, ate a half slice of pizza (not as good cold so I tossed it out) and got ready to go to the pool.  Looking outside my window, atop of Binions, it told me it was 95F or 36C.  I got there at 9am.

It was great by the pool, beautiful setting and not crowded with comfy loungers!  Loved it and the pool was nice and cold!  I ended up having 5 sparkling wines (Mumms, Napa Valley) for $6 each so I thought that was great.  They comped me one too because they brought something else (much sweeter) one trip.

That fake grass gets super hot to walk on in bare feet!

Anyway, I needed a nap after I left about 2pm!  I had plans to meet a couple I chatted with at the pool at Triple George's for Happy Hour but I didn't wake up till 6 pm.  They messaged me and asked where I was but I told them I'd maybe see them later at the casino.  I showered and decided to get my Players Card at the casino.

I blew $120 pretty quickly and got enough points for $10 free play but didn't know how to add it.  The cage told me how and I decided I was absolutely starving and had to go eat.  I went to Triple George Grill next door and sat at the bar.  On Monday's they have half price bottles of wine with the purchase of an entree so I ordered a bottle of Cab Sav from Napa Valley for $24 with the discount.  The bartender said I could take it with me if I didn't finish it.  She recommended the rib-eye or the cioppino so I chose the latter.

SEAFOOD CIOPPINO* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $27.95
shrimp / scallops / mussels / fish / crab / herb tomato broth

It was delicious and it had clams too though I didn't notice any crab if it was there.  There were two really huge scallops in there that were my favorite part of the dish.  The broth was really flavorful.  I was happy with my choice.  I couldn't eat though.  Unfortunately my tummy was upset.  The bartender made me a soda with bitters and it helped but I ended up taking the dish and full bottle of wine to go.  I went back to the room and went to bed.

I woke up a couple of hours later starving and totally devoured and finished the meal.  Then I slept till morning.

Tuesday, September 1st:

I decided I didn't want to go pool side today.  I wanted to go to the Neon Boneyard but all tickets were sold out for my entire stay so I wished I had pre-booked them now.  I had no idea it was that popular.  I decided I would go for lunch to the Park on Freemont and then see where the day brought me by wandering around.  Can I just say when walking around in 96F, I was HOT!

Texas Tuxedo - Vodka, Cucumber, Basil, Grape Tomatoes, Fresh house-made Mary mix.

Fried Chicken & Waffle sandwich.

The Bloody Mary was interesting...I haven't had one like that before featuring cucumber.  The sandwich was pretty good.  I only ate one piece of waffle because I really just wanted the chicken.  The salad was good with blue cheese crumbles.  Staff were super nice, friendly and young.  Cute little place.  Lunch was under $30 with tip.  I departed to go check out Atomic Liquors.  


And there it was, the infamous Atomic Liquors - but it was closed.  :(  It didn't open until 4pm.  So, I made my way back and ducked into the El Cortez for A/C and a little gambling.  

After that, I just wound my way through each casino and played (lost) a little in each.  I stopped at Dupar's in the Golden Gate for a $3.99 Shrimp Cocktail.  It was good with a nice spicy sauce.  Service is very nice and friendly.

Outside the "Heart Attack Grill" and also my theme of the day...

I made it to Happy Hour at Triple George Grill.

Today's martini was an Orange Cosmopolitan.  I also ordered the Calamari and the Goat Cheese appies.

I finished my night on Freemont, gambling and losing and then called it a night.

My fave T.V. show slot ate my money as fast as people are murdered in Charming!

Wednesday, September 2nd:

Today was pool day again.  I was there by 9am again and went to the bar to order the Mumm's champagne again.  This time when it was rung up it was $11 a glass (price swing was due to a replacement bartender who didn't know the POS system the other day, it turns out).  The glass was only just under 3/4 full as opposed to full to the top like last time too.  I knew I got too good of deal the other day.  Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.  It was hot as usual.  And it wasn't long before I was in the water again.

A lady I had talked to earlier in the elevator came out with her husband so we hung out at the pool and drank the day away.  I left about 2pm with plans to meet them at 3 at Hogs & Heifers.  I was itchy and red on my back from all the sun.  The worst thing was being solo and I couldn't get aloe gel or cream rubbed on it so I had to resort to a towel, like I was drying my back,  to try and relieve the itching,  I even put gel on the towel to see if it would work, but it didn't unfortunately...

I met my new friends at Hogs and we started to do shots.  I didn't realize it was like Coyote Ugly inside.  I walked by lots of times, just never saw the bar dancing.

We went next door to Triple George's for happy hour again.  Then they needed to go take a siesta and freshen up for awhile so I agreed I'd meet them later so we could go zipline on Freemont.

I started talking to an odd-duck older gentleman at the bar.  I mean, he admitted as much saying he was uncomfortable with talking to women and other tidbits like that.  Anyway, I had reservations for Vic & Anthony's and thought I'd be nice and invite him along since he said he was uncomfortable dining out alone.  Plus I was pretty buzzed so didn't mind the company, odd duck or not.  He told me he didn't drink and the two he had was his limit pretty much.  So, I ordered a cocktail and decided not to have wine.

He then asked me if I wanted wine and was perusing the menu.  I told him I wouldn't say no if he was going to order it and we discussed types we liked but we had no discussion over price.  He selected and ordered it.  I assumed he was buying the wine and didn't think anything more of it.  At the end of the dinner when the bill came, he told me my half of the bill and twenty percent tip down to the penny!  We had the same prix fixe menu but he started saying, "you had Bearnaise sauce and that was $6" and then I snapped at him to just tell me my total.  He said we'd split the cheque evenly even though I had a couple of things he didn't have.  I didn't know what to say, I was so surprised!  So I didn't say anything but told him I would be on my way after we exited the restaurant.  Honestly, I wasn't expecting him to buy the meal but I did think he was buying the wine.  My bad, I guess.

I didn't get very good food pictures but the menu we had is here.  In fact, after a couple of bites I packed up my whole dinner (except dessert) and took it with me.  I just wasn't feeling the meal.

My 9oz filet cooked medium rare.

The Au Gratin Potatoes - VERY RICH

Creme Brulee

My Croissant Bread Pudding (which he ate)

I met my friends back at the hotel and we proceeded to Slotzilla to sign up for the Zipline.  It was $40 and we had to wait until 12:20am so we sat at Mickie Finnz and did more shots.  

The anticipation to the Zipline was exciting, more thrilling than the actual ride itself.  It was fun "flying over Freemont" though.  We bought the pictures at the end.  Those were $20 each.  I thought they would take it of us actually ziplining but they just took a picture of us at the end, so we were a little bummed out about that.  

We walked back to the hotel and were going to have a drink but the bars were all closed inside so we just hugged and said goodnight.  They were leaving for the Grand Canyon in the morning.  I went out like a light!

Thursday, September 3rd:

I slept in.  I felt "cloudy" and blah.  I stayed in bed until about 1pm before I got up and stood in the shower for about an hour.  My back was even more itchy and it was driving me crazy!  My only plan today was to go to Carson Kitchen and gamble.

I had a hard time finding Carson Kitchen.  It was hidden around the corner of the old John E. Carson motel.  I liked it inside.  I got seated at the bar watching the open kitchen.  Staff were all young, beautiful and really friendly.  I knew what I wanted...

Chicken Skins and Bacon Jam of course!  I ordered a cocktail and it was very good.

Get Shorty!  el jimador tequila, grapefruit, fresh lime, cayenne simple syrup $12

Both were tasty.  I could finish half of each, at the end I was dipping the chicken skin into the bacon jam.  They asked if I wanted to pack it up but I said no.  I had enough decadent food.  I kept seeing these green beans coming out of the kitchen so I decided I would have to come back tomorrow.

Then I went back to my hotel and gambled for the rest of the evening.  I did have a bit of luck by breaking even for the day.  I went to S&O restaurant in the hotel about 10pm for $9.99 Prime Rib.  Can't complain, it was very good and served with garlic mash, broccolini, carrots, horseradish sauce and Au Jus. 

Instead of quitting gambling, I went back on the floor, lost a couple of hundred and then called it a night.

Friday, September 3rd:

Check out today.  I slept until 9 and then got ready to depart.  I checked my luggage.  Then I walked back over to Carson Kitchen.  I still got lost again and had to remember to walk around the hotel to find it.

I got seated at the bar this time.  

Nikki Sixx?

The chef came out and came over to me.  He said, "Oh, you came back!  I was watching you yesterday and I thought you didn't like the food.  You didn't eat very much.  I thought you were a food critic or something because you kept taking pictures and were texting on your phone".  I laughed out loud.  I told him I'm a food nerd but that is all.  I told him I was showing off the chicken skins on facebook and we laughed.  He asked me where I was from and we talked a bit of hockey.  I also chatted with a server and she was was really funny.  I ordered the green beans and a sloppy joe with no tater tots.  I started with a Rose wine but switched and drank some Spanish cava that was better.

Wild Boar Sloppy Joe - crispy fennel, orange aioli $14.  YUM!  Good spicy kick to it.  I ate it with a fork and knife and left the top bun alone.

Tempura Green Beans - pepper jelly cream cheese $8.  Sooooo good!!!!

I started talking to some other people at the bar on my left and was having a really good time.  The server came over to me when I got my bill and told me she didn't want me to go because I was so nice.  I went back to the kitchen to say good bye to the chef.  I shook his hand and we talked about hockey a bit more.  This was definitely my favorite spot this visit.  I liked it even more than Triple George's where I spent a lot of time at.  Actually, they're all pretty great there too, now that I think about it.  I guess I liked these two places most this trip.

I went and gambled the afternoon at the D hotel.  I had really good cocktail service here.  Too good, methinks.

I finally hit a bonus that broke me even for the days losses and then went to Triple George's for the happy hour.  I stayed for a couple of wines and said good-bye to them.  I was pretty buzzed so thought I better go eat something.  I decided to eat a slice and take the pizza to go so I could eat it later at the airport.  I went back to Pizza Rock.

Mozzarella, White Rose Potatoes, Chorizo, Pork Cheek, Rosemary, 
Fromage Blanc, Calabrese Peppers, Lavender Sea Salt

And then it was time to go claim my luggage and head to the airport.  I had to wait for the shuttle but I'm not sure how long it was.  I was just happy to sit there and stare at the Gold Spike, which it seemed I did for a long time.  :)

The driver came and I was his only rider.  We had a good chat and he even walked me all the way to the doors.  I gave him a hug!  

So, here's a word of warning or an airport tip.  Don't tell them you're drunk when you're checking in.  I mentioned it light-heartedly when they asked how I was.  When it was almost time to board, I was called up over the loud speaker.  When I got there, he told me that I had told them at check-in that I was drunk and he wanted to see if I was OK to fly.  OMG, so embarrassing, but I was fine by this time.  Just tired.  I did win enough at the airport slots to bring home some duty free Grand Marnier that didn't have to go on my credit card so that was good.

I enjoyed the Downtown Grand.  Nice place.  Great pool, good location.  I always had good cocktail service.  I met some really nice people and am happy for that.  I brought $1000 US cash with me and spent every last dollar and another $500 US on my credit card.  That's not including my trip price.  So, I didn't go as cheap as I thought or was hoping I might, but that's Vegas and that's me.  Another trip in the books...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mykonos, Greece Trip Report - May 13 - 19, 2015

Mykonos was the second part of my trip to Greece.  Six days in Santorini and six in Mykonos.  My gait here was much slower and lazier than in Santorini.  I was in relax mode and just taking things at a leisurely pace rather than trying to see everything I possibly could.  It felt more sedate and laid back here too, but of course, I wasn't out partying late at night either so I can't comment to that.  Because I spent so much time writing the Santorini report, I really didn't feel like writing this one at all while I was there, so I finished most of it when I got home.

Wednesday, May 13th:

My taxi dropped me to the port about 11:15am.  Once I asked the "Port Police", he advised me to get in the line below for the departure gate.

And my ferry arrived.  It was $61 € for economy seating and I paid a $10 € fee from the travel agency I booked through.  The staff get you on, stow your luggage and direct you to where your seat is.  I had a specific seat assigned on my ticket.  This process goes surprisingly fast for being herded like sheep.  We departed on time at 11:40am.

2:40pm I arrived in Mykonos.  The ride was rough and I was just starting to feel nausea in the last 10 minutes so it was good we arrived.  It's a long walk out to where they greet you but I found my ride with the hotel sign.  His name was Spiros (hotel owner's son).  Another couple, from Richmond, B.C. of all places were also along for the ride - small world.  Spiros told us Mykonos is the "Island of Wind".

About 10 minutes later, we were at the hotel.  Checked in and Spiros took me to my room.  He explained what I needed to know in regards to the room and then left me.  The room was so cute!  I really liked it.  I had a patio too and it was lovely.  I was happy here.

I walked down to the "Main Square" which was also the bus depot.  It is also an entrance to the labyrinth which is known as Mykonos.  As my reception desk guy Vassilis said, "Less than 2 minutes" is how long it took me to get there.

I picked up some wine and water for the room.  The first mini mart has wine from Crete that was $4.50 €.  I found in Santorini too that the wines from Crete were much cheaper.  I went back to the room and finished unpacking.

Vassilis asked if I wanted a dinner recommendation and I said sure.  He recommended "Joanna's Nikos Place Tavern".  I actually had that on my list of possible places to dine.  He told me it was the opposite way I went to the Main square, less than a 3 minute walk.  Of course, there was no sidewalk again and I was really uncomfortable on this road when there were cars, especially when they were coming in both directions.

I saw it easily when walking down the road.  It is a really tight entrance in from the road and down the stairs onto Megali Ammos beach.

View from my table

Taramasalata (Fish Roe Dip) $4.50 € & Pita $.50 €

The dip & pita was really delicious!  It was my first time ever trying it.  I found it rich, filling and salty.  I managed to eat 3/4 of it though.  Next up I ordered "Stuffed Squid".  This dish looked fantastic and I thought the price of $13 € was really reasonable  Unfortunately, I didn't really like it.  The stuffing was cheese and clumps of dry bread with no taste.  The calamari was tough and rubbery though the grilled taste of it was really yummy.  I still ate it but it did not impress me at all.

I got my bill.  Service was really nice and pleasant.  Nothing to complain about there.  I walked across the street to that mini mart and bought a couple of more things for my room, then I walked up the scary road.  Once at the hotel I went to bed.  

Thursday, May 14th:

I awoke early and went down for breakfast (included with room price) at 8am.  Vassilis greeted me warmly and showed me how to get there.

Breakfast was a buffet set up, with hot food as well, including scrambled eggs, sausage and potatoes.  No ketchup though.  Then yogurt, cereal, pastries, breads, lunch meat, cheese & Greek cheese, dolmathes, etc.  They bring you your choice of coffee or tea.  And there is OJ, and water at one's disposal.

After breakfast I went to the main square to get my laundry done.  There is no self-serve laundry on the island.  This one charged $10 € for one load - washed, dried and folded.  I found that reasonable and they said it would be ready in 2 hours.  I proceeded to walk around tentatively, not wanting to get lost in the maze at this point.

But soon, I found the Windmills!  Vassilis had told me how to get there so I went and looked at those and then made my way to "Little Venice" which is waterfront and really a tourist trap, but it is a nice setting with beautiful views and a nice breeze.

As I was looking at which place I would sit at, I saw this man fishing (below).  I managed to gather from him that he fished everyday and cooked it.  And that he loved Mykonos, and Canada.  :)  He also showed me his catch of the day and wanted to see the picture I took of him.  He nodded his head in approval.

I moved a couple of chairs down to where the yellow benches were.  It was called Galleraki.  On their business card, they called themselves a "Dive Bar".  I ordered a Champagne.

I enjoyed the view and a while later I ordered something called "Toast" $4 €.  This reminded me of the "bikini" sandwich I had in Spain.  Ham & Cheese though this one had tomato too.  I saw them at other spots on the island for as low as $1 €.

Then it was time to pick up my laundry.  Everything was folded beautiful and all my clothes smelled like lavender.  I went back to the hotel and asked Vassilis if he knew of any "walking tours" that would teach me my way around the maze.  He said he knew of a private guide and called him but it was $90 € for two hours.  I told him I had found a four hour tour that was half bus and half walking for $35 €.  He reminded me it would be full of other people.  I told him I'd go look online and decide.  The next tour wasn't till Saturday which was too late for me.  I decided to scrap the idea.  I decided I'd just go get lost .  :)

Vassilis told me he had called the guy again and said he would give me a deal of $70 € for the two hours so I agreed.  I was to meet him at 2pm in the lobby.  I wandered around a bit.  I found this great bakery.

So, since Vassilis has been so nice and helpful since I've arrived I brought him a chocolate croissant and I tried the Margarita Pizza later which was very good.  I went back another time too.  They make sub sandwiches for $3 € and the leek pie was also very good.  I dropped mine off in the room and got ready for the tour.

The guide was right on time.  Vassilis talked to him in Greek and told him to show me where the restaurants I wanted to go to were.  He also told him to take me to some of the museums and give me his knowledge of Mykonos.  And with that, we left.

We started our way and he told me very little, mostly about the businesses we were passing by.  At times he had trouble with the English translation of words too.  He would start to tell me something and then tell me he didn't know the word(s).  He showed me his favourite flowering tree but couldn't tell me what it was called.  It was pretty and this was it below.  Other than that, I understood him well.

I highly recommend going into this place!

The art of people looked so real, I swore they were going to jump out at me

Comfy kitty at one of the shops

A lot of the streets were this narrow

Which way?  Left or Right?

Church of Panagia Paraportiani, so interesting!

Loved the old architecture

The port where you catch the boats to see Delos.  You can buy tickets too.

Tree did an "oopsie"

View from the other side of the port

We pretty much finished the tour at the Mykonos Archaeological Museum.  The guide told me it was $2 € and after I paid, he told me he'd wait for me outside.  I certainly wasn't expecting that.  I guess I was spoiled by my last guide on Santorini and I expected him to tell me all the relevance of what I would see.

I didn't spend much time because it was a lot of "vases" and such.  Lovely, but as I said, without a guide (especially one standing outside), it was not the most enjoyable experience.  I mentioned that at the end and the woman at the desk took me over and told me she would show me the most significant piece here which is below.

This burial container or "pithos"was discovered in Mykonos with partial baby remains in it .  The scenes on it proved that the "Trojan War and Fall of Troy" was not a myth and actually existed.  At least that was my understanding of what she told me.

After I got outside my guide explained that only "licensed guides" could show museums.  At this point, I was hot and tired from all the walking.  I asked him to show me my dining places in direct relation on how I would walk from my hotel. He made a recommendation that I liked for dinner so I let him go fifteen minutes early and found my way back to the hotel.  I understood "the maze" a little better now.  I wasn't sure I knew much, but I did know I could find where I wanted to go for dinner.  :)  Worth $70 €?  NO.  However, no big deal, I certainly wasn't going to dwell on it...

I wanted to be sure I could find my restaurant so I left early for dinner this evening.  I was there a half hour before so I chose to have a drink in a wine bar I saw on the same block as the dining establishment.

I ordered a really good Greek Sparkling wine (below) for $6 € and they serve nice nibbles with it too.  I really, really liked this wine and I loved the place too.

My dinner tonight was at M Eating and I made a reservation in advance.  I think it's advised to do so.  I was seated up on the balcony.  

I took this pic earlier with the guide when it wasn't open

My view faced this fast food Gyro/Souvlaki shop (below) that I wanted to try.  It was always busy every time I went by.  Unfortunately, I never ended up making it there.  It was called Sakis and gets great reviews.

I had a glass of Rosé

This is my appetizer dish from the front and back side.  It was "Cycladic octopus on green fava and black fish roe" for $16 €.  Very good.  I am/was so surprised at how rich and filling octopus is.

My second dish was Pancetta and Pork neck for $20.00 €.  It had Caramelised pancetta and pork neck (of Duroc variety) duet, accompanied with onion ragout and aubergine mousse.

This was soooooo good!  Especially the gravy.  I could hardly dent it though.  I asked to take it and I thought he understood but he never brought it back.  :(  By this time I started talking to another table.  They were a really nice couple from the Channel Islands and we had a great time chatting.  I asked them to join me for a drink after dinner and we went to back to the Wine Bar I was at earlier.

Complimentary dessert was a very decadent, though very sweet chocolate

We shared a LOT of laughs and really just had a good time getting to know each other.  I was so happy I got to meet them, they are great people.  Their last day was tomorrow.  We said good night about a 11:30pm and I think I may have staggered a little enroute to my hotel room on that scary road.  Every time a vehicle/bike came by, I would back myself up to the side and wait for them to pass.  It probably took me a long time to walk back!

Friday, May 15th:

I was planning to go to Delos today, but honestly, I just didn't feel like it.  I thought I'd just walk around town again and see where it took me.  I was slow getting started and didn't leave until close to lunch time.  I stopped at this place below and tried a half pork gyro plate for $5 €.  The Prosecco cost me $8 €.

It was fine.  A little salty.  Nothing special or different than I can get at home.  I wished I went to Sakis instead but there was certainly nothing wrong with it.

I made my way back to the port and saw my friends from last night.  I joined them and had a Greek Iced Coffee.  Strong, but good.  They were taking the ferry to the marina so I continued walking and came across a pelican.  I don't see that everyday.

After more walking, I decided to stop when I saw this place called "Fato a Mano".  I liked the name is why I stopped.  First off, after I was seated facing onto the street (where the server is setting the table below), the first thing I noticed that this was the FIRST time since I've been in Greece that I sat in a comfy chair!!!  That is very lacking here.  So, I actually sat a while and enjoyed it.  I ordered a tuna salad.

Service was nice.  I enjoyed sitting here watching people walk on by...Next I found this cute little "Mexican" themed bar.  It (she) was busy selling iced coffees to the locals but I stopped in for a drink instead.

I had a cucumber, ginger Martini for $12 €.  The lady I talked to was from Athens was very sweet and friendly and was here working for the "season" like most.  I was going to come back here, but I never found it again.

So, for dinner tonight, I took the recommendation of my guide to a place called "Maereio's".  I could not figure out the name from the picture I had of it but when I told my hotel front desk, they knew immediately.  The guide had told me this restaurant was family owned.  The mother cooked and the two sons did front of house.  He said it was true Greek home style cooking.  Only four tables inside and one out front.  I liked this, so I had to go.  My hotel told me to go before 8pm and I'd have no problem getting seated as they didn't take reservations.  That was true.  I got there at 7:30 and was seated no problem.

I ordered Mykonian Sausage ($7 €) as my first dish and was surprised at how much was there.  I only could eat a couple of pieces and asked her (my server) if I could take it but again she never came back with it.  I later realized, I needed to ask in a different way.  One brother was behind the bar mixing what looked like great drinks and the other was doing table service.  Both were easy on the eyes and that was a bonus.

One of the specials of the evening was "Shrimp Saganaki" and not on the menu.  I thought I'd try it.  All I can say is that this dish, blew my mind!  It was so good, I was just shocked.  My mouth just exploded with flavour.  What a treat!  There were no leftovers to take.  I never had this dish anywhere else so I can't compare it.  I do know that I will be trying to re-create it at home.


When leaving, there was a line up out the door to get in.  Afterwards, I stopped at what I thought was that "Mexican" bar from earlier but it wasn't.  It was a totally different place but about the same size.   I had a drink and chat with the bartender who was Chris from Athens.  He was very nice, intelligent, spoke with great English and it was a pleasure talking with him.  And then, I took my tired body back to the hotel and to bed.

Saturday, May 16th:

Every day since I've been in Mykonos, my front desk has told me to go to the beach.  To be honest, I was so turned off with the bus in Santorini, I didn't want to, but today was the day.  It was another hot day and I had to go.  They recommended I go to Ornos beach so that is what I did.  I went to the ticket booth in the Main Square and bought return tickets for Ornos for $1.60 € each way.  I got on the 10:15am bus.

It didn't take long, maybe 15 minutes and we were there.  It seemed overcast in the morning but there was a nice breeze and it felt good.

My afternoon desk girl named Kali recommended I go this restaurant and beach bar below, so I did.

I got a chair like this and they advised there was no charge.  Wine was reasonably priced at $4 € and I sat here for a couple of hours and enjoyed the breeze.  The water was cold but I wasn't swimming, just wanted to put my feet in the Aegean sea.

I finally had enough sun and went to have lunch.  I had a Seafood Salad for $16 € and it was really quite delicious.  I was quite happy with it.  Shrimp, Squid & Octopus.

Bread was complimentary here

I took my time and then decided to make my way down to Kuzina (also recommended by Kali) for a drink.  It was really hot now about 3 in the afternoon.

I got back to the hotel about 5pm.  The bus had no air conditioning!!!  It was like an oven.  The driver had nothing open but his driver window.  Everyone was sitting there fanning themselves with whatever they had and the drive back felt very long because of it.  Horrible.

When I got back to the hotel in the afternoon, I usually asked Kali to make me a Bodum drip coffee and then I'd go have a Bailey's coffee in my room with the cool A/C.  The only English station on t.v. was CNN so I caught up on news.

Dinner tonight was at Nautilus.  They don't have a website and apparently don't need to.  I also made a reservation in advance by email.  It is right beside "M Eating" so of course I went to the wine bar, Vino's first.

But before that, I stopped at "Lena's House" which is a folk museum showing a true Mykonian house of a woman "Lena", who made textiles in the 19th century.

On my way to the wine bar, I ran into this clown on stilts in the middle of the street.  He spread his legs and motioned for me to go through under them.  That seriously made me laugh out loud.  He let me pass, the normal way and told me it was my lucky day.

Nautilus is right next door to the wine bar.

When you sit, they present you with the fresh fish they have in house for the night.  These options were very expensive.  I believe it was over $100 € for Lobster with Pasta.  I started with a Negroni drink and an eggplant starter with a Greek cheese.  I didn't pay much attention to the menu details because I thought I could get it online after, but I couldn't because they're not there.  Anyway, both the drink and appy were very good.  I ate every drop off the plate.

My entree was Seabass.  This had some puréed potatoes and a citrus butter sauce.  I also cleaned my plate with this dish.  It was very good.  Service was great.  The co-owner and also my server reminded me of a "Greek Fabio".  He had long flowing hair and tight white pants on.  He was better looking though and had a great smile.  This was my most expensive meal in Greece so far.  With the one drink & water, it was $61 € before tip.  After dinner I returned to the hotel for the evening.

Sunday, May 17th:

After talking to Spiros at the hotel, he suggested I visit Paraga beach (said it was his favourite) today and Tasos Tavern for lunch.  I got the bus at 11:15am.  I settled on chairs at a place called Kalua Bar & Restaurant for $6 €.  I did because they had pillows.  It was $2 € for a towel.

It really was enjoyable here and another beautiful hot day.  Temps were about 28 degrees the whole time I was in Mykonos, which the locals told me was a bit higher than usual for this time.  They said it is normally around 22 degrees.  It is a dry heat with no humidity so I was fine, thankfully.  I doubt there's need to say but it is much nicer at the beach than in town when it's hot.  I wished I had spent every day at the beach and then the town in the evening.

About 2:30,  I made my way for lunch.

Saganaki Cheese, it was sooo good

Greek Meatballs and the Fries were delicious!

My server understood that I wanted my leftovers to go!  I told him I wanted to take it with me, home and he nodded and brought it back, no problem.  I went and caught the bus back to the hotel.  The bus was full as the last stop on this route is "Paradise Beach" and so it seemed everyone was going there and I had to squish in and stand.  It was fine after we got there though and I got a seat.  The different buses all run on one route, in a circle.

When I got back to the room, I realized I was a bit red and burned.  I put some aloe gel on and had a bit of a nap.  I had dinner reservations this evening at a place called "Bakalo" but I ended up sleeping through them.  I was not feeling very well.  About 10pm I ordered some salad & pasta from a place called D'Angelo which was close by and delivered.  I had a few bites and slept through until morning!

Monday, May 18th (a.k.a. Last Day):

I got up and ate leftovers for breakfast and got ready to go to Paradise Beach today.  I was feeling much better after all the rest.  The bus price for all three beaches I've visited was the same, $1.60 € each way.

And finally, the reward

I plopped myself at a sun bed at Tropicana.  The chair was $4 € and so was the umbrella.  No towels but there was a store you could buy one at.  It was hot again today, the water was cold but very refreshing.  I ordered a bottle of white wine on ice for $18 €.  I didn't finish it but I didn't have to worry about service either as it wasn't very good today, almost non-existent.

I had had enough sun by 2pm today so decided to head back to town.  A lady I shared my seat with on the way here was also waiting for the bus.  We started to talk and she was from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and was here by herself on this leg of her trip and just arrived yesterday.

It turns out our hotels were right across the street from each other so I offered to show her where the laundry was and then take her to the Windmills.  We met 10 minutes after we returned to our hotels and were on our way. As I was pointing out the laundry, I unfortunately caught my foot in a pot hole and twisted my ankle. I showed her how to walk to Little Venice and took her to Katerina's for a drink/snack.  The view is very nice here and she really liked it.

We shared some Grilled Feta

and Calamari

We finished with coffees. She had a Greek coffee, and I had a Greek iced coffee with milk.

We picked up her laundry and agreed to meet outside our hotels at 8pm for dinner.  I told her I would take her to Maereio's and she seemed interested.  We made our way and I showed her through the maze.  We joked that she got a tour guide for free.  The place was full but someone had just left outside so we managed to snag that coveted table.

I ordered a Mojito, which was very good and refreshing.  Brazil agreed with me.

We shared some Saganaki cheese because she had never tried it before and loves cheese.  We enjoyed it  Since Shrimp Saganaki was one of the specials again, we both had that too.  I know I already posted a picture of it, but it warrants another one!

They brought us a complimentary Semolina Dessert with chocolate.  I let her have mine after I had a taste since I don't do desserts often.  She enjoyed it.

After dinner, I took her to my favourite Wine Bar and showed her the restaurants I had dined at.  The "Greek Fabio" waved and smiled jubilantly at me as I passed by.  She remarked that I was like a celebrity in Mykonos.  That made me smile but I reminded her that I had been there 6 days now.  :)  

The wine bar greeted us kindly.  My ankle was killing me so the owner made me an ice pack which helped immensely.  We drank Debina Sparkling until just before midnight and walked the scary road back, in the dark.  We hugged good bye and told each other how much we had enjoyed the day together and went on our merry way to the room.  I was really happy I met her to spend my last day with.

Tuesday, May 19th:

Check out was noon and Vassilis came and got my luggage.  Just a note, I paid $100 € a night on Expedia but I found that other guests only paid $70 € using different websites (, so choose carefully.  We hugged good-bye and then the owner Mihali (Michael in English) drove me to the airport ($10 €).  More hugs good-bye and I prepared for my 17 hour travel day home.  I had a splendid time in Mykonos.  I went at a perfect time of year and I will remember this trip fondly for a long time to come.