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Top 2 restaurants in Zakynthos, Greece

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.

Gabriel García Márquez

I did not have very big expectations regarding the restaurants in Zakynthos. I was actually expecting to see some standard beach clubs – but oh so wrong I was! However, when in Zakynthos, you need to know exactly where you are heading in order to find those places you really need to visit.

We visited plenty of restaurants during our 2 week stay on the island, but two of them, I’ll always remember: Nobelos and Cotton Club.

Cotton Club

We enjoyed our Sunday lunch dressed up appreciating the sea and mountain view. Pretty perfect – especially when you have woken up at 05:00 am to hike, then took a 3 hour nap, and were woken up to go for a lunch. I could spend the rest of my life with days like this. Unfortunately this was our last day on the island. Otherwise, we would certainly visited several times.

Cotton Club is a new restaurant in Zakynthos. The doors opened only a couple of months ago, but it has a sister restaurant that has established itself as an icon in Ibiza.

As a started, we had some sushi – that I forgot to take any pictures, so hungry was I. For maincourse, I had yellow veggie curry. This was a very smooth and tasty main course. The portions are just perfect – not too big, not too small. The dish was served with some side rise and decorated with delicious cilantro.

As a desert, I enjoyed some banoffee. I have propably been living under a stone for a while, but I have never before tasted a banoffee. Super delicious, almost too sweet dessert. After this, you do not need a second desert 🙂

Nobelos

If you do not know exactly where you are going, you’ll miss this restaurant. Located in the north of the island, after even dangerous ups and downs and curves on the road. There is a mini sign next to the road to this place.

This place, we actually visited twice during our holiday. It is not only the delicious big portions, but also the ultimaten professionalism of the staff and the beautiful sea views that got us there twice. Not in every Greek restaurant there is staff that is so professional, sophisticated and caring as in this place.

The restaurant is located on the north of Askos town. Sitting in the restaurant, you can view the Ionian see. You’ll for sure hear some cicadas. To be honest, they were actually quite load and for me, they could be mentioned as the only downside of this restaurant. But sure for the most of the people (having not that sensitive ears as mine), the sound of them is actually relaxing and quite romantic.

The portions are huge. We made the mistake of ordering too much, as the price level is quite much lower compared to the Netherlands/the Nordics. The starters are not small appetizers but quite filling meals as their own already 😀 I ordered a fish dish as the main course and got a half a fish served!

Unfortunately, we did not have space left in the stomach for the desert on neither times we visited this place. But I could imagine the deserts would be at least as delicious as the rest of the courses. For us, simple espressos were enough.

Skopos – Hiking in Zakynthos, Greece

Greece is a very warm place in the summer time. No kidding. And so was the Greek island Zakynthos during our holiday at the turn of July and August. Already at 10:00 am, the weather was hot, that the only activity I would recommend, is to drink beer in the shadow, or to stay inside enjoying the benefits of an airco.

However, I always want to do some hikes whenever I’m traveling to a location, that offers some kind of formations that could even distantly be called mountains. Therefore, also on our beach vacation with a friend family and their kids, I wanted to give it a try.

I’m not traditionally a morning person, even through my work, I have actually started enjoying the early mornings. Nevertheless, during the hot Greek summer vacay, there were some days I wanted to explore. And that meant early bird mornings.

We did the first hike of the holiday to a small mountain called Skopos, located in the south east of the Zakynthos island. The path starts at the sea level, and there is plenty of parking space. We set our alarms at 05:00 am, reserving half an hour for morning preparations and an other half an hour for driving. Consequently, we started our hike at 06:00 am – which is a pretty perfect time to start in the summer of Zakynthos. The sun rise is this time of the year a bit before 07:00 am, but around 06:00 am it is not pitch black anymore.

Hike to Skopos begins with a walk along the beach. It is such a peaceful feeling, walking next to the sun beds waiting for the beach enjoyers to wake up. Sea is still, but you still hear a soft sound of small waves.

After walking along the beach, the first part of the actual trail is a wide forest road, which is easy to walk. However, there are some loose stones, so good shoes are a must. We had only our running shoes on, but I would have preferred my hiking boots. In the beginning, there is one slightly vegetated dune that you need to ascent and decent. Thereafter, it is just ascent.

The scenery is amazing. You see all the time the Ionian Sea at one or an other side – sometimes even at the both sides. It is like a meditation, walking up, waiting to see the sun which shows the first signs of rising by letting the visibility become brighter and brighter the minutes you walk.

A bit more than half way up, there is a small abandoned site (only one technical room). There is still some kind of turbine and instrumentation panel in the room. This is quite an interesting place to visit on the way to up. The place is fully abandoned, there is not even a door and the windows are broken. However, the remaining of the turbine and the instrumentation panel are still there. Be careful when being inside!

From this point, there is not much to walk anymore. The path becomes smaller, and there is one place where the water has damaged the path. The path curves slowly to the right and then you will see a cafeteria. It was not yet open the time we were there (07:15 am), but what I read elsewhere, it is at the daytime open. And if you wish to visit the church next to the top, the lady who operates the cafe can borrow the keys to visit.

Promise me not to climb the very last 10 meters up if you do not have the equipment with you – and the experience – to do some rock climbing. It is just a really big rock there. There is no path to the very top, and the big rock formation (approx. 10…15 m) forms the very top of this small mountain. We needed to visit the local hospital once and I can reassure you, you don’t want to get there.

Next to the rock, we ate some energy bars and enjoyed the beautiful morning before starting the decline. For this hike we spent just slightly over 3 hours and covered 12,8 km with total of 530 m elevation. We consumed 4,5 liters water and some energy bars at the top.

Summer in Greece

This summer, we decided to go with a friend family on a holiday to Greece with their two sweet children – in ages 1 and 2,5 years. We booked a summer house with a private pool, the most convenient option in our opinion when travelling with small children.

Our daily routines consist of having a late breakfast, napping after the breakfast for the youngest ones (and sometimes the bigger ones too), taking the car to eat late lunch and swim in the sea. In the evenings, we come back to our house, swim a bit more and prepare our own dinner. If I wake up early enough, before it gets super got, I go for a run in the surroundings.

I have planned to go at least on a couple of days to hike to the mountains. However, this requires an early wake up morning (5.00am) as the weather becomes extremely hot around 10:00 am. Unfortunately, I forgot my driving license home and therefore, cannot drive the car myself. To succeed with my early morning hike plan, I need to motivate someone with a driving license by to join me – or at least to wake up early and drive me half an hour to the mountains.

Today we went to Nobelos to eat late lunch. It is a beautiful restaurant in the north part of the Zakynthos island. Everything we ate was lovely. As starters, we decided to share some bruschetta and garlic bread. As the main course, I took a fish soup. The portions were big and very tasty.

What worries me, is the animal welfare in Greece. We have seen too many dogs that are connected to a chain or in a cage….in this hot weather, without entertainment or affection….not even speaking about freedom. Also many horses a kept in a leash. For me, this could be in the future a big enough reason not to travel to a country that treats the animals like this. I do not know yet what I will do, but I have decided that one thing in my life what I will do is in some way structurally improve the animal welfare in this world.

Welcome!

I used to write my fitness and food focused blog for years, but at the time I finished my studies and started to work full time, I stopped blogging. However, I have always loved to write.

I am not the most creative person in the world, but I feel the need to have a channel where I can fully express my creativity – in my own way. Sometimes it is drawing, sometimes it is running without a plan. Sometimes, it is scrolling through recipes and letting the imagination modify them based what I that moment have in the kitchen.

I actually started one blog in April in my mother tong – Finnish. However, I realised that many of my friends do not understand a word of Finnish, and the most important purpose of my blog is to share my daily things with friends far away – in a different way that an app or call would do.

The second purpose of my blog is to store my recipes in a way that I can find them later back. I want to have my recipes in a digital format, but saving them just on my laptop does just not feel right. I would like to inspire others also to try new recipes.

The third purpose of my blog is to share my adventures, especially sports. How weird it could sound, but sharing the sports motivates me. I guess there is a reason Strava is there…

And the name of my blog, it comes from the fact that I eat mainly vegan, but occasionally enjoy some dairy, fish or meat.

I am very happy that you are here. Welcome to my new blog.

Nokkos shakshuka

Mun vakkarilistalle on päätynyt vihreä shakshuka, jonka yleensä teen pinaatista. Nyt oli pinaatti loppu, joten otin aamukävelylle pussin ja hanskat mukaan ja poimin nokkoset metsästä shaksukaan. Nokkonen on paistettuna rakenteeltaan hieman karheampaa kuin pinaatti. Myös maku on hieman vahvempi kuin pinaatissa, hieman “yrttinen”. Kannattanee pahimpia koiran ulkoilureittejä ja autoteiden reunoja välttää näitä kerätessä. Ja hanskat on priima apu 🙂


Nokkos shakshuka

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: helppo
  • Print

Freesi ja täyttävä brunssiherkku kesäviikonlopulle.

Vihreä shakshuka on reilun täyttävä brunssiruoka viikonlopulle. Tämä alkukevään version on tehty nokkosesta. Muina vuodenaikoina nokkosen voi korvata pinaatilla. Nauti sinällään tai mehevän patongin kanssa!

Ingredients

– Noin litra nokkosen lehtiä
– 2 shalottisipulia
– 3 valkosipulin kynttä
– 6 kananmunaa
– oliiviöljyä
– kuminaa, suolaa, mustapippuria

Directions

1.Pilko sipulit ja valkosipuli ja kuullota oliiviöljyssä.
2.Huuhdo pinaatit kunnolla ja lisää sipulisilpun joukkoon. Anna hautua sen verran, että pinaatti pienenee noin puoleen alkuperäisestä koosta. Nokkonen ei yhtä paljon kutistu kuin pinaatti.
3.Lisää kaikki mausteet ja sekoita kunnolla.
4.Levitä seos laakeaksi pannulle ja tee jokaiselle munalle tyhjä aukko pannulle. Jätä kuitenkin vihannesseosta kolojen joka puolelle, jottei munat levähdä. Laita hieman oliiviöljyä joka koloon ja lisää kananmunat.
5.Anna hautua kannen alla miedolla lämmöllä.
6.Kun munat alkavat olla kypsät, murustele päälle mozzarella ja anna hautua kannen alla niin pitkään, että mozzarella on mukavasti sulanut.

Sunnuntaiaamun treeni

Hollannissa on kuntosalit ollut kiinni melkein vuoden alusta saakka. Viime viikolla vihdoin urheilupaikat saivat luvan aueta. Salille pitää varata aika etukäteen ja maskia on pidettävä aina kun ei juuri ole treenamassa päällä. Varasin sunnuntaiaamun aikaisimman ajan (08:30) ja salilla olikin mun lisäksi ainoastaan yksi ihminen. Tänne blogiin aion kirjoittaa lähinnä omaksi muistin jatkeekseni mun treenejä, mutta hauskaa, jos joku näitä lukee 🙂

Aloitin treenin 10 min kävelyä ja juoksua, jonka jälkeen lämmittelin vielä kymmenisen minuuttia ilman painoja. Treenin loppuun kävelin ylämäkeen 10 min maton maksiminousulla.

Ohjelma

– Maastaveto (40kg – 12 toistoa – 4 sarjaa)
– Lantionnosto (30kg – 12 toistoa – 4 sarjaa)
– Yhden jalan kyykky korokkeelta (2x5kg – 12 toistoa – 3 sarjaa)
– Suoraan taaksepotkuja ilman painoja (x50 per puoli)
– Koiran kusetus ilman painoja (x50 per puoli)

Kuka minä olen?

Moikka moi! Olen 32-vuotias espoolainen, joka alunperin töiden takia päätyi Hollantiin. Asumme 11 kk ja 6 kk ikäisten kissanpentujen ja avopuolisoni kanssa meille uudessa, mutta 100-vuotta vanhassa omakotitalossa.

Olen aina tykännyt kirjoittamisesta. Mulla on aiemmin ollut yksi blogi (fitnestä), jonka kirjoittaminen loppui kun työkuviot tiivistyivät mm. uusien tehtävien ja kielten opettelun takia. Nyt mulla on onneksi pitkästä aikaa tasapainoisempi hetki meneillään ja nyt tuntuu siltä, että on aika alkaa kirjoittaa oman elämän juttuja talteen. Ehkä joku haluaa niitä lukea, mutta blogin tärkeimpänä tavoitteena on pysyä mulle päiväkirjana, mitä omassa elämässä on meneillään. Blogin kirjoittaminen on kuitenkin paljon motivoivampaa mulle kuin yksityisen päiväkirjan. Kun tietää, että joku muukin saattaa mun juttuja lukea, tulee enemmän fiilistä tuottaa parempaa tekstiä ja valaista asioita eri tavalla kuin vain jos kirjoittasi ajatuksenjuoksua.

Olen koulutukseltani diplomi-insinööri ja teen töitä kemian teollisuudessa Europoortin alueella, Rotterdamin vieressä. Kirjoittaa saan kyllä omassa työssä. Hollanniksi tällä hetkellä, mikä alkaa tuntua luonnollisemmalta ja luonnollisemmalta päivä päivältä, mutta ehdottomasti haaste se on edelleen.

Liikuntapuolella olen pitkään harrastanut suunnistusta. Tällä hetkellä eniten pyöräilen maantiepyörällä, juoksen ja jumppaan Caroline Girvanin videoiden motivoimana. Vaellus ja vuoret ovat erittäin lähellä mun sydäntä. Kävin riparin vaellusriparina ja siellä mulle iski Lapin himo. Viimeisimpänä seikkailuna Kilpisjärven hiihtovaellus helmikuussa. Hollannissa vaellusmaastot on aika tylsät, mutta aina kuin mahdollista, niin kipaisen vuorille. Aloitin kiipeilyharratusten paikallisessa kiipeilyhallissa vuosi sitten viimeisen Sveitsin hurjan jyrkänteen kiipeilyn (ilman hyviä varusteita ja taitoja) pelästyttämänä. Kiipeily on nyt tauolla kunnes liikuntapaikat aukeaa. Ja kunhan kuntosalit aukeaisivat koronasulun vihdoin loputtua, kipaisisin takaisin kuntosalille, mutta siihen saakka (ja varmaan sen jälkeenkin) Carolina ja juoksupolut pitäävät mut vauhdissa.

Vuosi vuodelta alan tykkäämään yhä enemmän ruoanlaitosta (ja myös syömisestä). Kokeilen jatkuvasti uusia reseptejä. Jotkut jäävät permanenttilistalle, joita teen aina uudestaan. Tällä hetkellä olen hurahtanut uuniruokiin, jotka muhisevat matalassa lämmössä pitkään. Tuntuu, että ruoasta tulee niin paljon mehevämpää, kun se saa rauhassa, useita tunteja paistua.

Tavoitteena kissan kanssa on kouluttaa hänestä vaelluskissa. Hänen nimensä on Coos (hollantilainen nimi, joka vastaa Kallea) ja hän on byhä birman kissa. Itse olisin hakenut löytöeläintarhasta ihan minkä vain karvaisen otuksen, mutta avopuolisollani oli lapsuudestaan hyviä muistoja juuri birmoista, ja niin Mr. Coos muutti meille. Hän on erittäin ihmisrakas ja älykäs otus, jota kaipaa paljon huomiota. Hän on jo hyvin tottunut valjaisiin, huonon sään takkiin (joka on pieni, toim. huom. osta uusi isompi), autoihin ja polkupyöriin. Vielä on opettelemista koirien kanssa, sekä siinä, että käveltäisiin, eikä koko ajan jumahdettaisi niitä niin mielenkiintoisia naapureiden kukkalaatikoita ja viemäreitä tutkimaan. Meillä on suunnitelmana ottaa Coos kesäloma (hope hope) autoreissulle jonnekin lähimaastoihin Eurooppaan vaeltamaan meidän kanssa. Ainakin se ikkunallinen kissareppu on hommattava. Onko kenelläkään muita vinkkejä kissan kanssa reissaamiseen, ja etenkin vaeltamiseen? 🙂