Get your mind out of the gutter!
I’m not talking about THAT kind of Greek style.
Greece has long been on my wishlist of places to visit but unfortunately, that’s unlikely to ever happen. I imagine that seeing the Parthenon and Acropolis in person would be breathtaking but I’d also love to visit the smaller towns and immerse myself in the culture.
As I said, that’s just wishful thinking because the chances of me making the trip are pretty much zilch.
So, I started wondering what sort of Greece-related fun I could find here at home and once I started digging, I realized that it may make a decent article. That being said, if you’re like me and have always wanted to experience a little bit of Greece, check out what I found.
I live in the Austin, Texas area and it’s no secret that it’s home to music, weirdness (the slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”), great food, and numerous festivals. And if you live here, you’re probably of the opinion that it’s home to the largest population of a**hole drivers.
Austin traffic SUCKS!
Anyway, we have virtually every kind of festival. From Austin City Limits (ACL) Fest and South by Southwest to one dedicated to Bloody Marys and another for Nosferatu.
Toldja Austin is known for weirdness.
Anyway, back to Greece.
With Greek food, music, art, dance, and culture, the annual Austin Greek Festival is touted as three days of “Livin’ the Greek Life.” While there’s no news about this year’s event yet, it’s generally held on memorial day weekend.
Miami and Los Angeles are known for their big Greek fests and if you’d like to attend one, chances are there’s one at least fairly near you. I tried to find a list but there are so many that it’s best that you just Google “Greek festival near me.”
I like to play poker. A lot. In fact, my brother and I play every weekend on Poker Face. While I prefer Texas Hold ’Em, I also enjoy hitting actual casinos and taking a chance on the slots and roulette and as such, I’ve had my eye on a couple of casinos I’d love to play at.
Gambling is thought to have its roots in ancient Greece and though brick-and-mortar casinos are fairly new to Greece, one of them that made my list is the luxurious Casino Corfu and its 5-star Hotel Corfu Palace. Located in Corfu, Greece, it’s so popular that it’s the 16th Most Reviewed Tourist Attraction in Corfu. That’s pretty powerful considering that it put the casino in the company of tourist destinations like the Achilleion Palace and the Holy Church of Saint Spyridon.
While it can’t capture the feeling of playing at the Corfu, I did find that Correct Casinos has lists of games and gambling sites geared toward Greek culture. However, many are restricted to U.S. players (for some odd reason because as far as I know, it’s legal as long as the online casino isn’t based in the states) but there are always ways around that. *wink-wink-nudge-nudge*
A Taste of Greece
I’ll admit it, I’m a picky eater. It’s rare that I try something new and my idea of a well-balanced meal is a cheeseburger. Don’t judge! It has meat, dairy, grains, and vegetables! While I do love some Tex-Mex nachos and quesadillas, I’m not big on enchiladas or other traditional dishes.
So, it should come as no surprise that I’d never been in a Greek/Mediterranean restaurant but I have to say, I’ve found a couple of new “do-over” Greek delights that I fell in love with.
By “do-over” I mean something that I will definitely eat again.
I don’t recall ever having lamb before but I have to say, lamb pasta is absolutely delicious! I had no clue what I had been missing and as I’m a certified carnivore, I can’t believe I’d never tried it.
Another one I really enjoyed was Spanakotiropita. But don’t ask me to pronounce it. It’s a doughy mini “pie” filled with a creamy and delicious combination of sautéed spinach, leeks, dill, and feta cheese. Not exactly a recipe I’d think would mesh well but I have to say, they’re definitely onto something with this one.
The Next Best Thing
Okay, I saved this one for last because it is just TOO damn cool. Over at CYARK, you can see the temple of Apollo Portara, Ancient Corinth, the Church of Agios Mamas, the Parthenon, and more, all from the comfort of home. For many of them, there’s a virtual tour, videos, exhibitions, and even a cool 3D Explorer.
I spent a good bit of time on this site and while of course it can’t encompass the feeling of actually seeing it all in person, it does give you a much better experience than just seeing it on the screen.
I had to stop at this point. My obsessiveness started taking over and I suddenly found myself having spent waaaaaay too much time trying to visit Greece without buying a plane ticket. BUT… I’m glad I did.
I can’t wait to visit the local festival and try more of the food, mingle with the entertainers, and learn even more about the country and culture.
If you know of another dish I should try or an off-the-beaten-path town I should look into, leave a message below and let me know.