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Blog 4 – (6/23-6/24) 

The Athens Central Market:

Today, we visited the local market right by our hotel, and it was an incredibly fun experience. Unlike the typical shopping venues in America, this market was filled with people and energy that gave us a unique glimpse into the local culture and daily life.

As we walked through the market, we saw an line of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seasonings. The market was overflowing with produce that looked extremely fresh, and the smell of various spices filled the air. One section of the market definitely stood out to me… the fish market. The smell was quite interesting to say the least, and it brought out a lot of laughter among my friends and me. We joked about how we could literally smell the fish from a street away, and it became a memorable part of our day.

Touring the markets also offered unexpected surprises, such as the opportunity to see some amazing birds up close. There were different types being shown, their colorful feathers were definitely so cool to see. I was taken aback by the way they were just outside and didn’t fly away. You could get up close and everything, they were just so well trained!

After exploring the food and bird sections, we ran into this antique shop that was filled with intriguing items. The shop had the largest amounts of cool jewelry and trinkets, each piece clearly had its own story and history. I found myself particularly drawn to a vintage ring, while my friends were interested in an bunch of intricate necklaces and old watches. Browsing through the shop felt like stepping back in time, and it was fascinating to think about the original and previous owners of the items we held in our hands. There was also a section of thousands of old pictures that were so beautiful and heartwarming to see.

One of the highlights of our market visit was the interaction with the antique shop sellers. Both of our tour guides were incredibly helpful, not only in navigating the crazy market but also in assisting us with bargaining. Bargaining for prices is a common practice in many parts of the world, but it’s something we don’t typically do in the United States. Our guides provided valuable tips and even stepped in to negotiate on our behalf, ensuring we got the very best deals on our purchases. This added an extra layer of fun to the experience and made our souvenirs feel even more special because our tour guides worked/argued for them.

In summary, our trip to the local market was a great adventure that provided us with a deeper appreciation for the local culture and customs. From the sensory overload of fresh produce and spices to the disgusting smelling fish market and the charming antique shop, every moment was filled with so much fun. It was a day well spent, and one that I will definitely remember for years to come.

Feta Cheese Producer:

My visit to a Feta cheese producer was one of my favorite excursions! It took place in a charming Greek village, on a beautiful dairy farm. The village has a population of about 5,000 people, if I remember correctly.

The dairy farm is family-run and has been passed down through generations. Despite the small size of the village, the farm has a big impact. With just 15 workers, they manage to run the entire business efficiently. This small team works hard to produce some of the best Feta cheese around (From what I tasted).

The process of making Feta cheese is fascinating. There is a lot of science behind it which was so cool to see. They fed us some of the cheese, greek salad, and much more. It was all absolutely delicious. They were so sweet and welcoming and ready to feed us, which we loved.

One of the most impressive things about this farm is its reach. Even though it’s a small operation, the farm exports its Feta cheese all over Europe and Africa. This shows just how good their product is and how well they run their business. It was amazing to see how a small village farm could have such a big impact globally.

The dedication of the farm’s workers is truly inspiring. Each worker has an important role. They take great pride in their work, and it shows in every step of the process. For them, this isn’t just a job it’s a way of life filled with tradition and a love for what they do.

This excursion wasn’t just about seeing how cheese is made, it was about experiencing the culture and traditions of Greek dairy farming. I left with a deep appreciation for the hard work and skill that goes into making Feta cheese. It was a privilege to see first hand the dedication and passion behind this wonderful product.

Winery:

Visiting the winery was such a cool experience! The drive there was stunning, with amazing views of large mountains and cute town. The scenery alone was worth the trip, but the winery itself was even better.

When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed and given a tour of the winery. We learned a lot about how wine is made, from picking the grapes to putting the wine in bottles. Our guide explained each step in a way that was easy to understand, even if you don’t know much about wine.

Next, we learned about fermentation. This is when the grape juice turns into wine. We saw big tanks where the juice ferments and learned how important it is to keep the right temperature.

After fermentation, the wine is aged in barrels. We visited the barrel room, which had rows and rows of barrels. The smell of aging wine was rich and inviting. Our guide explained how the type of barrel and how long the wine stays in it can change the flavor. It was fascinating to see how much thought goes into making each type of wine.

The last step is bottling. We got to see the area where the wine is carefully put into bottles, corked, and labeled. We didn’t get to see the bottling in action but Im sure it would be impressive. Each bottle is handled with care to keep the wine perfect until it’s opened and enjoyed.

After the tour, we had a wine tasting. We got to try several different wines, each with its own unique taste. The wines were served with amazing cheese that paired perfectly with them. It was a delightful way to end the visit and enjoy the winery’s hard work.

Overall, visiting the winery was not only educational but also a lot of fun. We left with a greater appreciation for how wine is made. The beautiful views, the informative tour, and the delicious wine and cheese made it a memorable experience.

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