Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Tasting of Wine and Burgers

Hayley Kelly

                                    The Tasting of Wine and Burgers

            Today was the first day that I woke up feeling refreshed. After 14 hours of sleep my day began to the noises of buzzing cars and the girls chatting. I rolled over and remembered that we were going to a wine tasting in the National Gardens. I quickly jumped out of bed and began to get ready for the day.
            The sun beaming into my eyes accompanied the first step onto the sidewalk. We walked briskly to make the 1:45 meeting time. As we arrived at the Parliament our paces slowed and I began to search for a breakfast kiosk. I came across one with big sugar doughnuts lining the glass case. I purchased one for 0,70 Euro. It was warm and fluffy as it melted in my mouth. It was like eating soft bread coated in sugar.
            As I stood and ate my doughnut we watched the switching of the National Guards. The process was slow and repetitive. The guards moved slowly as they lifted their arms and legs. The whole process took about thirty minutes until the guards stood at their stands.
            We continued to walk towards the gardens. As we approached one of the many entryways street vendors selling different assortments of baked goods filled the air with a sweet smell. The numerous magazines in the kiosks distracted my eyes from the view of the garden as we walked along the green fence. I was not expecting the gardens to be so close. As we entered the garden the vendors quickly disappeared and the world became a different place for the brief second. The tall trees blocked the hot sun, the noise from the traffic streets was now behind me and the sweet smell was now coming from the flowers. I moved at my leisure, snapping pictures of the towering trees.  We had to ask for directions through the gardens to get to the wine tasting although we still wondered through the gardens unknowingly.
            Eventually we came out too a building where Ioanna stood waiting for us.  I looked around at the people. Most were olive toned with thick black hair. Many older ladies stood on the steps with their black dresses covering their stout bodies.  There were babies whining in their carriages while their parents chatted paying little attention to the child. As we moved into the congested room, Ioanna began to hand us wine guides with wine glasses.  Having the wine glass in my hand made me more aware of the people pushing their way by as I attempted to move out of the way of my classmates. Ioanna wasted no time to inform us on the proper techniques to taste the wine. The process of the perfect spin in the glass, to inhale of the smell, to swishing over the pallet then spit into the bucket. She wanted to get us to our first table so we quickly scurried through the crowd.  Ioanna quickly instructed me to step up to the plate and have my glass filled.  As I slopped the wine around in the glass because my technique of swishing was not yet mastered, Ioanna laughed at me under her breathe.  I put my nose quickly into the glass of wine and the smell of olives filled my senses.  I cringed at the strong stench of the wine. I tilted the glass to my lips and swished the wine over my pallet. I quickly swallowed due to the bitter taste.  Ioanna then suggested spitting into the bucket to help prevent getting intoxicated but it was too late I already put it down the hatch.  The spit bucket is used to help from impairing people as they venture around the tasting. This process happened throughout the rest of the tour as we moved through Ioanna’s suggested wineries.
            When it was time to break away from the group Chryssie, Ashley and I wondered around in search of the perfect white wine. I looked for the dark colored signs because I felt they looked more upscale or classy. Something about the deep color in the backdrop drew my eye toward that table.  After stopping at multiple tables, tasting many wines, we saw a colorful backdrop with modern looking personal soda bottles lining the table.  I attempted to read the Greek fruit names off of the bottles  as Chryssie spoke Greek to the representative of the Fizz Winery. My brain shuffled through the alphabet attempting to sort the letters before given the name. I was unable to do this quick enough. The lady was pouring wine into my glass telling me it was flavored Apple. As I brought the glass to my nose the bubbles sparked into my nose. It gave me the sensation I was going to sneeze. I tilted the glass farther back and poured the juice box flavored wine down my throat. The taste was as sweet as the smell. I quickly asked for another glass. I tried all of the four flavors within a few seconds. The lady laughed at my excitement over the wine. She poured me a full glass of the Apple flavor and I knew that my day at the tasting was ending on that last Apple Wine.
            As I slightly stumbled down the stairs leaving the wine tasting the smell of gyros filled my nose. This instantly made me have the craving for Cheeseburgers. As I sat on the steps with the smell circulating through my nostrils, my mouth watered to the thought of the food. The idea of TGIF was proposed by a few people in the group and stuck to my brain. As we started wondering for food we ironically ended up across the street from TGIF. I knew that being in Greece the choice of TGIF was looked at negatively, but my body and mind could not resist as I walked at a faster pace toward the glowing red sign.  I knew that this burger was about to be one of the best choices. As I chow down on the juicy burger my life seemed completely satisfied at that moment in time. As I sat waiting for the check I began to regret giving in to the American food temptation. Although I feel like because I got my fix out early on in the trip I will be more appreciative of the Greek foods to come. 

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