A Spartan for Life

I’m not sure why Greece didn’t make my first list of potential counties to which to travel. My high school mascot was a Spartan, so Greece deserved to be more than an afterthought. Luckily, it came up in a discussion I had with a friend, and she thrust a book from Greece upon me to read. So I decided to make it my travel from home destination for November 2021.

There’s a great, local restaurant called Spartans not far from my house. My high school used to have fundraisers there all the time. However, I’d never eaten there (I don’t eat out much now and certainly didn’t when I was in high school). A fake travel trip to Greece was a great excuse to finally visit the restaurant. There was a bit of a wait to collect my pick-up order, as I ended up there at lunchtime, but that meant I could spend a few minutes enjoying the décor.

My Choices

Meal: I was so impressed by the omelette I had during last month’s trip to Peru, and I do love breakfast foods at any time of the day. So I ordered the Spartan’s Omelette, which came with feta cheese, tomatoes, and onions. It was definitely good, but nowhere near as delicious as last month’s omelette. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have had them back-to-back because of the comparison. Instead of fries, I opted for a Greek side salad, which came with some thick bread I ended up only nibbling.

Dessert: My sweet tooth struck again! I ordered the homemade baklava, because how could I not? It was warm and delicious, with a great mix of flavors and textures from the flaky top to the syrup-rich bottom. I have had baklava a few times before, and this was right up there with the best. But I also added a package of strawberry sandwich cookies to my order. They have a few goods imported from Greece for sale, including sweets, so I couldn’t resist. I’m glad that I did. The cookies were delicious with a rich, strawberry taste. Lots of sugar, but no regrets!

Music: The first results to pop up in my search for dance workouts from Greece naturally were workouts to the songs from the 1971 musical, Grease. Eventually, I found a few tutorials for learning traditional Greek folk dance. My arms hurt considerably after doing two of them back-to-back and holding my arms up for 20 minutes straight. But I had fun attempting to master the dance steps of the Hasapiko!

Book: The BookCrossing world convention took place in Athens a few years ago, and my friend brought a few books back from the event. One was Wildcat Under Glass by Alki Zei. The author is one of the most recognized and best-selling writers in Greece. She has written a number of types of books, including ones for children. I’m only a few chapters into Wildcat Under Glass, which was first published in 1963 and has been translated into 35 languages. So far I’m really enjoying the writing style, descriptions of daily life for the family, and the characters themselves.

Movie:  Having already seen a number of popular movies set in Greece, I resorted to “best of” lists to pick a movie to watch. Most of the movies at the top of the list weren’t readily available, even on Netflix’s DVD service. I was intrigued with the concept of a movie entitled Apples, about a pandemic that causes people to lose their memories. As I couldn’t find a way to watch that movie, I ended up with another sort of food-related movie called The Waiter. Oh boy. It was more artsy than movies I typically watch, but it was described as a good example of the Greek tradition. At first, I was enchanted by the main character, who is fastidious and exact, dedicated to his career as a waiter and his hobby collecting and drawing houseplants. But then he finds parts of the dead body of his neighbor in a dumpster and winds up in a weird “friendship” with the killer as well as the killer’s companion. And everything just spirals out of control for this guy who is all about control. It was dark and disturbing on many levels. And though it was not my usual type of movie, I’m glad I gave it a try.