I may not have managed to get on a plane to Singapore but my 5-day New Year’s minication to Athens with the fam proved to be the perfect getaway. It was literally a combo of family and friends, peppered with great food and nights at the theatre. Five days of living it up in the city (ok, a slight exaggeration considering I had my 3 children with me) was just what the doctor ordered.
Why Athens? Basically it’s quick and easy for us to get to, it successfully injects us with all the happenings of the big city and it is a culture that we are a part of, familiar with and proud of.
Five nights were ideal but I definitely wouldn’t have said no to more. Staying in the heart of Athens, the amazing family suite at the Athens Plaza hotel provided the perfect rest and what little time we spent there was time well spent. Room 514 was simply fabulous.
Arriving at midday, let’s say we acquainted ourselves with the hotel and its guests, the children skilfully managed to help out by shouting in the corridors, fighting over who was going to press the button to the elevator then in the elevator, running up and down, ringing the doorbell to our room, switching the lights on and off in the bathroom… need I continue? We left our mark immediately. After settling in hunger prevailed so we met our friends for an early dinner at Malconi’s, a trendy, high end Italian restaurant and gastropub in our much loved Kolonaki area.
We always eat well at Malconi’s, I ordered a burrata salad for starters and beef tagliata with baby rocket for main and enjoyed my meal thoroughly. My husband’s burger although looked out of the ordinary served in cuttlefish’s ink bread, was delicious. Saving the best for last and trying to find a spot for it in my tummy was the renowned chocolate mousse, there was no stopping me. This mouth-watering dessert is to die for if you are a chocoholic like myself. If in Athens, a place to be checked out.
Meeting up with our friends at classic Zonars for brunch was a good start to our second day (picture 1 and 2). I don’t know why but time always stands still at this place for me. Being next to Attica department store provided the perfect excuse to get some unnecessary shopping done before going to see Jules Verne’s ‘Around the world in eighty days’ (picture 3). Supposedly a children’s production, I found it far too monotonous for the average child, hence understandable why my ones couldn’t appreciate it. Ice skating followed in the freezing cold which made us all super hungry.
We have a thing for Italian dining in Greece because Pizzeria Trattoria Capanna found us going back for more this holiday round. Also based in Kolonaki, this cosy place seems to have the pizzas down to a tee. The children especially enjoy the Nutella, sugar coated pizza every time. I overdosed on their tiramisu, well worth it, let me tell you.
New Year’s Eve kicked off well. Enjoying a full on breakfast at Paul’s with my bestie, we then got our hair done for the evening. The rest of the day saw us gallivanting round the streets of Athens, sipping coffee, enjoying jam pancakes and downing traditional Greek dessert- bougatsa in Noel. Situated in the city centre, this restaurant, bar, café (Italian again) revels in a holiday theme all year round. You’d think it was too much to take in, on the contrary, it simply evoked a chic festive feeling. Seeing 2017 in Cookoovaya was a good choice as it is very much a family orientated restaurant. Self-described as ‘hospitality through a good meal’ I would say is spot on.
January 1 found us at the same place for lunch as last year. That says it all. ‘Psomi kai Alati’ in Chalandri was the perfect choice to spend New Year’s Day. A divine Greek culinary experience. Heads up to celebrity chef Yiannis Loukakos!
The day ended at ‘Mamma Mia’ the musical. What a fantastic show with an all-star cast! It had us up and dancing to the beat of the music by the end and it really brought back lots of beautiful memories for me.
The day before we left was spent enjoying Athens with our family friends. Starting the day off at an organic brunch place, again in Kolonaki, we then began our walking expedition both to digest and to sightsee. A brisk walk in the National park made us forget we were in a cosmopolitan city and allowed us to take in the exquisite colours of nature surrounding us. With a rude awakening we bumped into a funfair and playground. Our husbands at this point, decided to grab a coffee leaving us with our children- six in total! Not very fair when mother- child ratio is 2:6.
There was no stopping our kids at this point. Patience is seriously a virtue! I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown after being pulled here and there by the children to do this and that and this again. Bearing in mind that the weather was freezing cold, I was manipulated into allowing them to play in the in-door snow tent. I normally stand my ground when I say no but this time I didn’t, maybe because mummy on holiday mode isn’t as strict. By the end of it though, they were all soaking wet. Thank god there was a hairdryer to dry them off and of course, perfect timing- our hubbies showed up.
We continued sightseeing passing by the Temple of Olympian Zeus, walking round Acropolis, through Monastiraki, along Thiseo and eventually Plaka. Our last night was spent at the theatre again, where we saw the Greek adaptation to Francis Veber’s comedy, ‘Le Dîner de Cons’- ‘Dipno Ilithion’. A truly very funny one which kept my oldest son entertained throughout.
Brunch, coffee, lunch, coffee, dinner and coffee – a never ending food and drink fest that didn’t tire us out, instead I found it a great way to relax and unwind. We ditched the night life this time round and stuck to the theatre shows- definitely worth it. The Athens Plaza made it easy for us to come and go. After the rush of Christmas this short family holiday was what we all needed. Athens you are always a pleasure to visit.