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Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by Healthline.com and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Where in the World is Carol?

Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for her next cookbook and www.CarolFenster.com

Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

Join Carol at the National Western Complex, Expo Hall level 2 in Denver on April 21,10:30 am during the GFAF Expo Conference. See you there!

Viking Ocean Cruise – Athens to Venice 2018

Greece has been on my bucket list for years, so we booked a Viking Ocean cruise from Athens to Venice this spring. We spent 5 days in the Hilton Athens, then 10 days on a cruise ship from Athens to Venice.

First Dinner in Athens

By the time we landed in Athens in late afternoon (after nearly 24 hours of travel) we were so famished that we went straight to the hotel’s dining room—even before going to our hotel room. Imagine my delight when the waiter brought me gluten-free bread (baked in-house) and seemed extremely well-versed in the gluten-free items on the menu.

GF Bread at Hilton Athens

GF Bread at Hilton Athens

It helped that he brought us free champagne to celebrate our first-time visit to Athens! That dinner turned out to be one of the best meals of the trip. And, the scenic view from our hotel window was the Acropolis, off in the distance. What a terrific way to start the trip!

Greek Salad at Hilton Athens

Greek Salad at Hilton Athens

This meal featured a Greek Salad, which was different from our Americanized version. The biggest difference was the feta cheese. Notice how soft it is in the photo, less firm than our American versions. It is also less salty. The salad often includes green beans and this one also featured cooked quinoa. It was delicious!

Visiting Greek Ruins

Our sightseeing started off immediately the next morning—no time to sleep in.  After a fabulous breakfast buffet (featuring a gluten-free bread section), busses took us to the Mycenaean ruins north of Athens. That part of Greece is mountainous, volcanic, and arid so that’s why there are lots of olive trees—that’s all that can grow there.

Day Two in Athens was unplanned, so we did what we often do in new cities: we boarded a Hop On/Hop Off bus which circulated on a continuous route of scenic destinations. As the name implies, you can get off the bus at any stop you like and reboard when the next bus (usually in 20-30 minutes) appears. It is an inexpensive way to get an overview of a foreign city before deciding which points-of-interest you want to explore in depth. We have used this system all over the world (Rome, Barcelona, London, Bergen, Norway, etc.) and it works well for us.

Day Three was a day-long trip to Delphi, which was once regarded as the center of the world and the location of the Oracle of Apollo where all the wisdom was. All that’s left now are the ruins, which are really just columns of rock or marble.

Parthenon on Acropolis

Parthenon on Acropolis

Day Four proved to be the most physically-challenging of all. We climbed 80 steps to the top of the Acropolis, which is like a citadel or fortress built on a limestone hill that provides protection if invaded. The Acropolis, which is illuminated at night, is the hill itself while the Parthenon is one of the (most famous) structures built on it.

Thankfully, our hike was during broad daylight, but I realized one amazing thing: the shoes of millions of visitors have polished the steps to a smooth, yet dangerous sheen…..making them slippery and downright dangerous when wet. So, I was constantly watching where I stepped so I wouldn’t slip and fall. Notice the crane in the background: most of the Greek ruins are in need of constant repair because they are so old.

Acropolis from below

Acropolis from below

But once we were on top of the Acropolis the view was spectacular. I tried to imagine the Greeks who lived in Athens centuries ago and how they would retreat to this highest point if they were attacked. What a primitive way to live! How did they make sure they had enough food to weather a siege? What about sleeping arrangements? Disposing of waste? Clearly, I’m too urbanized!

 Serendipity in Athens

One day, we decided to abandon our guided tour and strike out on our own. We were hungry in downtown Athens, and found a small little cafe which turned out to be fantastic. We made a meal of olives, dolmades, and lots of prosciutto. The staff appeared to understand my gluten-free needs and we declared this meal a success. 

 

Olives

Olives

 

Prosciutto in Athens

Prosciutto in Athens

Dining Onboard the Viking Star

Later that day, we boarded our ship, the Viking Star. This was our 3rd time on the same ship, so it felt like returning home. The first thing I did upon entering the World Café was let the Head Waiter know my gluten-free needs. I was delighted to see GF signs on the buffet items.

GF Sign in World Cafe

GF Sign in World Cafe

One of my favorites is the Seafood Buffet.

Seafood Buffet

Seafood Buffet

Gluten-Free Bread on the Viking Star

I was served served several kinds of gluten-free bread on the Viking Star, depending on which restaurant I was in. Here are some photos:

GF Bread loaf on Viking Star

GF Bread loaf on Viking Star

 

GF Bread slice on Viking Star 2018

GF Bread slice on Viking Star 2018

 

GF Hamburger on Viking Star 2018

GF Hamburger on Viking Star 2018

 

Head Waiter Boban on Viking Star

Head Waiter Boban on Viking Star

My favorite head waiter, Boban, took care of my gluten-free needs and he was a delight to work with.

After 4 days of jam-packed sight-seeing in Athens, we slept in on Day 5 and took an afternoon tour to Cape Sounion, which lies at the southernmost point of the Attica peninsula. After the hectic pace of the city, it was nice to get out in the country. The Temple of Poseidon is located here.

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon

 

Larry and Carol at Cape Sounion

Larry and Carol at Cape Sounion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the trip, I was amazed to see how many of our “English” words actually have roots in the Greek language. The Greek alphabet was difficult for us to read, so road signs were confusing. It’s the same alphabet used for the names of Greek sororities and fraternities on college campuses, but try reading those alphabet letters on a street sign!!!

Olives Dominate Greece

One day we toured an Olive Museum, where we learned that olives were the backbone of Greece. In most areas, the soil is too poor to grow much else than olive trees. The Greeks used olives and their oil for cooking, skin treatment, religious ceremonies, and then they burned the leftover pits and pulp for heat. The photo shows an ancient, very crude olive oil press which is how they manually extracted the oil from the olive fruit.

Olive oil press

Olive oil press

Greece’s Economy

You might be wondering about the economy? Greece is certainly is having economic problems, but our visit was unmarred by any strife. We did notice a lot of unsightly graffiti on buildings in Athens and our guides told us that young people use graffiti to express their discontent with the Greece economics and its likely impact on their future. One guide said the young people are disgruntled that their old-age pensions might be affected.  But, in general, we found the Greeks to be very welcoming and kind.

Our cruise ended in Venice, visiting Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia along the way. In all, it was a fantastic trip and I was able to “cross Greece off my bucket list.”

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