Millie's was invited to the Foodexpo at the Metropolitan Expo in Athens!
Held in conjunction with Oenotelia 2016, an International Trade Fair for Wines & Spirits, this event covered 4 halls with a wide display of food processing and packaging equipments, wines and spirits, olives and even cosmetic products. Almost 870 Greek and 100 international companies and 450 fully-hosted buyers were in the show.
We had travelled to many European countries - Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany and even Bulgaria. This was our first visit to Greece. We stayed at Sofitel, an airport hotel! This hotel is just a 2 min walk from the airport! Most interesting was the wide array of ouzos - some even distilled with different flavours (like sambucas) and even in RTD (ready-to-drink) formats! Lots of wines, olives, spices, herbs etc.
Grace at the Van Gogh Vodka booth (Right)
Exploring Athens on foot
Amid tons of bad news - bombing in Istanbul, crashing of jetdubai and the bombings in Brussels airport and metro station, we still decided to extend our stay for another 5 days in order to understand the people and the culture better. We checked in a cheap suburban hotel which is just a 10 min walk to the Omonia Metro Station (train station). A day after the Brussels bombing, the metros in Athens stopped operating for 24 hours as a sign of condolence.
This will let us see Athens in a different light! On the whole the people were warm and friendly and most guided us accurately to our destinations. We felt that there was a strong Turkish influence - most small eateries sold kebabs! Worst of all, the suburbs were so badly graffitied - yes, almost very corner! Most of the buildings were unoccupied and even some constructed halfway! After a few days walking, we managed to find the flea market, central market and a street that resembled our Orchard Road where luxury goods were sold!
There was a serious communications problem - not with spoken English but pronouncing a Greek destination. All names (and street names) have the Greek alphabets (θ ω ε ρ τ ψ υ ι ο π α σ δ φ etc) embedded and we could not even pronounce them. We literally use our fingers to point on the map and ask for directions!
After 3 days, we had a craving for rice and Chinese cuisines and we managed to locate 2 chinese restaurants nearby. To our surprise, their menus were all in Chinese and we really wonder how the Greeks order their dishes! Food served was sub-standard.
We tried to avoid guided tours - cruises, island tours, city tours, bus tours etc as these would cost a bomb - few hundred euros at least! On the last day, we decided to take the metro to the Acropolis Station to see 'The Acropolis of Athens' - the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing (Right).
On arrival to Singapore, we were given extra security check as we had our in transit in Istanbul!