My mum’s visit – part 2

So onto week two of my mum’s visit. First thing to say is that we Stickland’s are creatures of habit. And as a result, we went to Vafis in Sivas for dinner again on the Tuesday night. The food was delicious before, so why not go again a week later? It was lip-smackingly good. We started with Dakos (see recipes) and the special of artichokes in lemon sauce – which I wasn’t actually that keen on, but my mum loved them. Then we both opted for beef stifado for our main meal which was also one of their specials for the evening. It was so gorgeous. The meat just melted in the mouth, and it had big slices of sweet, soft onion which were almost as flavoursome as the beef. And all washed down with ice cold white wine. Mmm mmm.

At the end of the meal we were given the normal shot of raki, which I again had. This time though, the father came over and tried to pour me another. I politely declined and said it was too strong for me, and he just laughed and said it wasn’t strong at all. He beckoned me to follow him, so we went with the shot of raki to the fireplace where there was a lovely calm fire glowing lazily. He said again, ‘not strong’ and threw the shot in the fire. It nearly took my eyebrows off!! So I repeat, it’s too strong for me. Love Vafis though, I’ll definitely be going again (again!).

Mum and I decided to go for a swim one morning as the sea looked calm and the air was hot. We headed off to the beach with our swimming costumes on and a towel in our hands. We headed into the sea together. The waves gently lapped at our feet. We waded in to our knees. Our thighs. Our waists. A big wave came and splashed me up to my neck. Too much, too cold, getting out! So that was eventful 🙂

Friday night came, and I was so excited. We had decided to go to Mike’s in Pitsidia – my favourite! He wasn’t open the first week, so I’d been waiting eagerly for this day to arrive. Before dinner, we decided to walk up the hill to George’s bar which overlooks the sea and offers a great view of the sunset in the evening. It was quite windy, but we braved the outside and sat and drank wine watching the sun go down. It was lovely.

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But now to the main event: dinner! We arrived to such a warm, sincere welcome from Mike and his wife, Sassa (apologies if that is spelt completely wrong) – big hugs all round. I think that is one of the best things about Mike’s, they make everyone feel special.

The food was as good as always – fried courgettes and cheese saganaki to start (it was mum’s last Friday, we were allowed to be naughty!), then I had chicken souvlaki which is always amazing there. The wine was flowing freely, and at the end of the meal Mike brought over raki and another carafe of white wine, and sat and chatted with us for ages. I told him all about my plans for the next six months and both he and Sassa said I must go out for drinks with them.

It was a fantastic evening, but unfortunately a very drunken one. I felt a bit rotten when I woke the next morning, and me and mum had already planned the day: a walk to Sivas for coffee in the morning, then market and lunch in Moires before home for a dinner of salt fish and potatoes.

I don’t know how mum finds these walks, but they are all lovely. This one takes you through the olive groves up to Sivas. Instead of the normal frappe, I opted for a Diet Coke which was definitely the right choice: hangover gone!

On our way back to the olive grove, we were passing a quintessential Greek house that mum had pointed out on our way up (‘everyone stops and takes pictures of this house’), and we heard ‘ella, ella’. We turned back to the house, and an elderly Greek lady was standing at the gate, gesturing for us to come over. She wanted to give us oranges from her orange tree – she picked them in front of us and handed them over the gate to mum. How nice is that?! (We made orange juice from them on the Sunday – rather tart! But it’s the thought that counts.)

We bought more plants from the market (I am now the proud cultivator of 15 tomato plants), as well as some gorgeously salty peanuts for mum to take back to the UK. The evening meal was unfortunately a bit of a disaster as the salt fish was utterly disgusting. I had the tiniest bit and it made me want to gag, mum (bless her for trying) had two mouthfuls, but we quickly decided it wasn’t nice. The fish went in the bin, which soon went downstairs to get rid of the smell, so we had a delicious dinner of lemon potatoes and Greek beans. Nice, but not what I would have ideally made for mum for her last night.

So now she is back in London, hopefully taking it easy. I must admit, I got a bit shaky driving away from the airport but I’m back in London for my sister’s 40th at the end of April so not too long to wait. Saying goodbye to everyone after that is going to be really difficult as it will be four months until I see them all again. But let’s not think about that just yet!

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