Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Guide to Kalabaka, Greece

Previously: Pogradec

You come to Kalabaka, by the way, for the monasteries and view in Meteora.









By the way, to get in, if you're a woman, no pants. You have to wear a skirt. Thus:
Boo ya. A scarf tied around my waist got me in. Apparently they prefer women to look ridiculous rather than wear pants.


The monasteries are filled with mural after mural of this creepy shit.

You can also buy grape and anise distilled liqueur 50% ABV - 7 euros at Monastery Varlaam.
It is brutal.



Any in Kalabaka we stayed at a wonderful hostel called Koka Roka.





Dinner menu at Koka Roka


Their house wine - $3 euro for 500 ml - It was nice and sweet, very grape juicey, just like I like it.

They cooked our dinners in the fire place right behind us.

You guessed it - bread! But this bread had just been grilled in that fire!


The sausage - 5.50 euros - was great


Souvlaki - 5.50 euros - Fired cooked is the only way to go for these

Meatballs: good, tasted kind of like cevapi
As you can see, it all came with more cabbage and, of course, those same fries that are everywhere in the Balkans.

The wall in the common room

Breakfast menu at Koka Roka
The hot chocolate is just an instant packet, fyi.

Omelet with feta and bacon: 5 euros- An omelet/scramble I guess - It was fine, if too oily. It seems breakfast isn't their strong suit. I'd eat dinner here once and get breakfast elsewhere or wait for lunch.

Greek coffee - Much like Bosnian coffee except they sweeten it for you (drat) - 1 euro
It was too weak for me, so we went down the street in pursuit of another espresso.
Trying to find breakfast outside the hostel was tricky. There were some bakeries open before 11am, but they haven't figured out about serving coffee at those bakeries yet, so good luck getting to pair a delicious pastry with your espresso. Most cafes that serve coffee serve either no food at all or nothing until lunch, so you'll probably only be able to get food and coffee together at a fast food type place, where breakfast will be some kind of meat and/or cheese baked in a flaky cocoon.

This one was a lukewarm espresso for 2 euros and came with a bottle of water.

The second day we tried one of the fast-foodish options for breakfast.


None of this shit is very good. It's probably similar in nutritional value to an American fast food breakfast sandwich, but it's not as inappropriately tasty.

In both Kotor and Kalambaka I had this kolache/pig-in-a-blanket thing, both times pointing to something and getting it as a surprise. Again, you might want to buy a piece of fruit for breakfast since lunch and/or dinner at a restaurant will be huge.

Meteora Restaurant has gotten such good reviews on Google and Trip Advisor (if perhaps self-perpetuating) so we found it and tried it ourselves.
They have about a million beer and really nice restrooms.

Very cute inside as well as a wonderful patio, where we ate.


You go and choose your meat and two "vegetables" in the kitchen (rice, potatoes, and peas being the options, none of which are actually vegetables(starch, starch, legume)), and then you choose a meat dish (various kinds of lamb, chicken, veal and veal meatballs).

You're given bread of course, though it's not very good here. Oh well, you have plenty of food.


It comes with a Greek salad.

I got the chicken with tomato and peppers - so simple and good, tender as fuck
The potatoes were delicious and flavorful, tasting so perfectly potatoey it almost felt like Thanksgiving. The peas were also wonderful. Everything's cooked in oils and meat juices so thoroughly. That's a Sunday dinner right there.

Here are some desserts available if you wander around Kalabaka:




It's just as hard to find good chocolate cake in Greece as it is in the US.



Next up: Ioaninna