Tag Archives: Greek

Our Family Odyssey to Greece


Our family just arrived back from a two week odyssey in Greece. We visited ancient ruins in Athens, Delphi, and Meteora, and then enjoyed hikes on a couple of islands. In these posts we have shared some of our adventures and insights on what was a fantastic vacation.

While in Athens

The trek to Delphi, Kalambaka and the Holy Meteora

The isle of Naxos

The picturesque island of Santorini

Above you will see one of the amazing sights from our family trip: the Acropolis at dusk. Simply breathtaking.



Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com.

While in Athens

It was far past due that our family made an odyssey to Greece. Lisa and I were so pleased to have our boys with us. This is a view from Lykavittos Hill with the Acropolis in the background.

We stayed in a suburb of Athens – Varkiza – while in the City.

This strip of beach is known as the Athenian Riviera.

We all enjoyed the sand and the sea.

A highlight of our trip was our pilgrimage to the Acropolis. An interesting point from our family’s history is that my Papou and Yiayia immigrated to Canada from northern Greece in the early 1900’s and they never were on the Acropolis.

These majestic ruins leave you in awe. It is amazing to think these stones and Doric columns were placed some 2500 years ago.

The maidens on the Porch of the Caryatids of the Erechtheion temple next to the Parthenon.

The Odeon Theater of Herodes Atticus.

The Acropolis Museum with its sculptures is a must see…

… as is the National Archaeological Museum. You could easily spend days here taking in the treasures of ancient times. This sculpture is Aphrodite, Pan, and Eros flirting.

In the core of Athens, there are so many wonders, like the Panathenaic Stadium where in ancient times the Olympic Games marathon race ends – and today, every four years, the Olympic flame is lit.

From almost every vantage point in the City you see the Acropolis.

The Arch of Hadrian was built in the second century AD when Athens fell to the Roman Empire.

A statue of Alexander the Great in the middle of a busy intersection.

Roman ruins on the edge of the Plaka.

Changing of the Evzone Guards.

We had a number of meals in the Plaka.

The Greek salads were divine (as one would expect).

We loved the souvlaki and gyros many nights.

The city was vibrant, picturesque and enchanting (this view of Monastiraki Square). Four days were certainly not enough to see and enjoy its many wonders.

While on the mainland, we also took a trip to the southern tip of Attica to Sounion to visit the Temple of Poseidon.

One of most memorable nights – and another highlight – was our dinner in the Plaka with the Zygoumis and Rallis families. We owe a debt of gratitude to these wonderful people who showed us such an unforgettable time in Greece.

This view from our table that night is seared in my mind. Wholly enchanting. Mesmerizing.

Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com.

The trek to Delphi, Kalambaka, and the Holy Meteora

Our trip to the interior started with an amazing tour of the ruins in Delphi where we experienced the wonders of the ancient renowned Oracle of Delphi.
The row of Ionic columns are made from Parian marble — priceless material in ancient times, shipped and then hauled to the side of this mountain as a testament to the glory of the Athens polis.

The Delphi site lay at the side of Mount Parnassus, a landmark mountain mentioned in the earliest of Greek writings, including in Homer’s Iliad. The ancient site of Delphi was considered the navel of the Earth in ancient times.

The columns and most of the base of the Sanctuary of Apollo remain — constructed during the 7th century BC. Remarkably these ruins were first discovered in 1892 and excavated in the early 1900s.

The Treasury of the Athenians dates to 6th century BC. This is where offerings to the Oracle were stored and guarded.

The ancient theater of Delphi dates 4th century BC.

The ancient stadium was the site of the Pythian games and the Panhellenic Games, which were held every four years (beginning in the year 582 BC)…

… and the seats and stone walls are the original stadium built in the hill above the Temple of Apollo in the 5th century BC.

The museum at Delphi is a must see – and in it one views a massive statue of the Sphinx which would have stood guard in Delphi. In Greek mythology the Sphinx is a female monster with the body of a lion and eagles wings, and the head and breasts of a woman.

The village of Delphi (pop. 2,373) is very picturesque and boasts interesting retail and great tavernas with most memorable views.

Delphi had vast valley views around it. We thoroughly enjoyed our overnight stay here.

In Delphi David bought a chess set that features ancient Greek warriors. A prized keepsake from the trip!

The next stop in our interior trip was Kalambaka, where we stared up at ancient monasteries first built in the 13th century. For centuries the mountaintops and the hidden mountainside caves in this region hosted religious followers as well as anti-social hermits. At one time there were as many as 44 holy monasteries and hermitages in Meterora.

There are six remaining monasteries on the Holy rocks of Meteora. We were fortunate to visit three of them: St. Stephan (1350 AD), Holy Trinity (1362 AD) and St. Barbara (1527 AD).

It is truly awesome to see these beautiful structures built atop of mountain formations jutting thousands of feet out of the ground.

Look closely in this photo and you will see a wooden ladder. Until the 1920s when stairs were first carved into the mountainsides, the only way to access the monasteries was to be hauled up by rope and then climb in by ladder.

Each of the monasteries were magnificent…

Each had churches and chapels and living quarters.

Looking down from a monastery onto Kalambaka….

… and looking up to the same monastery from the streets of the village below. (You can see the rooftop of the monastery on the rock to the right.)

Our coach trip also made a stop at the Leonidas Monument, which commemorates a lengendary Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. In that Greek-Persian conflict a small band of 300 Spartan soldiers fiercely held off a huge Persian army of hundreds of thousands for three days, allowing Greek armies to assemble and successfully defend the polis of Athens from the Persian assault.

Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com.

The isle of Naxos

In the second week of our odyssey we spent it on two islands. First stop: the enchanting isle of Naxos.  Here Lisa cannot take a smile off her face as we experienced one of the absolute highlights of our trip (more on this in this post).

Naxos is the largest island of the Greece Cyclades group – and often overlooked by tourists for some of the more popular island destinations. It has many untouched villages, medieval architecture, goats (!) and some of the best white sand beaches of all the islands. This is a beach photo of Chora, the capital town of the island that serves as its main port.

The Portara – “The Great Door” – is the ancient stones that date back to 6th century BC are renowned. This marble doorway is all that remains of an unfinished temple to honour Apollo. Situated near the port, it greets all visitors to the island.

We found the streets of Chora very colourful…

Lisa fell in love with the trees and flora adorning the whitewashed stone of the buildings throughout the town.

This is an enchanting island we hope to come back to….

It is where I channeled my Zorba…

… and ate my first goat. DYK that on Naxos goats outnumber people 4 to 1?! This meal was delicious – a specialty of the house, goat in lemon sauce.

Our meals on Naxos were second to none. I can honestly say that I have not had as tasteful souvlaki ever on the Danforth.

Our hotel, the Alkyoni Beach Resort, was great. Located on Agious Georgios it was one kilometre via beach walk to town. It had a lovely pool and our room had a very comfortable patio.

One highlight of our vacation was a 8 km hike in the mountains we completed between the two villages of Chalki and Moni. (I’ve posted a dozen photos of this hike to give you an idea.)

The path took us past olive groves and vineyards…

… through villages…

…buildings that date hundreds of years…

… we saw many Byzantine churches, some dating as far back as the 13th century…

This is the mountain village of Moni that we were hiking to. Along the way we saw…

… the farm fields separated by rock-pile fences…

… and farm animals.

Sheep and goats. On our hike, we saw shepherds moving the goats from one rocky field to another.

Lemon trees.

Midway point in the hike we entered Moni – an ancient village with narrow stone streets.

This was an amazing hike. It is one of 13 that are featured in the hiking books for Naxos and, unfortunately, the only one we had time for while on the island.

When we returned to Chalki we stopped for a beer and crepe at a town taverna. Alexander, like his mom, couldn’t take the smile from his face.

In Chalki we also found the bakery and here we shared a delectable piece of baklava.

The boys took advantage of the beachside resort and braved the cooler weather and water to swim in the sea.

And that is the wondrous NAXOS!

Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com.


The picturesque island of Santorini

Santorini is as breathtaking, romantic and magical as they say it is. Even though it is very busy with the continuous stream of cruise ship tourists visiting, the island is a must see.

For us, the 12 km hike from the village of Fira to Oia was an amazing day. We loved the idyllic views, the experience of being pleasantly surprised around every bend – and the laughs along the way.

From Naxos, we came to the island via a High Speed Ferry. The 2 hour ride was a good experience that allowed us to see islands dotting the sea. It was fun in spite of the crew shouting out directions and urging us to hurry along.

Our hotel in Santorini was the El Greco, just outside of Fira. It was beautiful – this is the scene from the boys’ balcony.

And then from the balcony, you left your eyes to the left and you can see Fira in the distance.

As you will have heard, the sunsets on Santorini are spectacular. This photo from the streets of Firostefani doesn’t do the moment justice…. you really have to experience them for yourself to know the majesty found at the end-of-the-day.

Here, the food too was amazing. This is a lamb shank served at the Ouzeri in Fira, one of the top rated restaurants on the island. The lamb was tender, full of flavour.
An aside: With its volcanic soil, Santorini is known for its unique flavoured wines — and we were not disappointed with the various local wines we had with our meals.

I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Lucky in Fira. His restaurant (called Lucky’s) is notorious for serving the best gyros in Greece – and argumentatively in the whole of the Mediterranean.
(Many thanks to my friend Mikey Coleman – a personal friend of Lucky’s – to have pointed us his way.)

The walk from Fira to Oia along the caldera is promoted as “the thing” to do while in Santorini. So, we had to do it – and we were all glad to have had the experience!

The walk followed along the edge of a cliff high above the sea. The views of the Mediterranean (or to be more correct: Sea of Crete) were expansive and beautiful.

As we left Firastefani (or maybe it was entering Imerovigli) we saw in the distance our destination, the village of Oia on the northern tip of the island.

The walk took us through the main villages that hugged the cliffsides of the caldera. This is Imerovigli – a village that has the nickname “balcony to the Aegean.”

The whitewashed buildings framed the blues of the sea and sky – everywhere you looked it was just as it is displayed in the travel brochures.

This hike took us by dozens of striking churches…

Literally, at every bend in the path there was another amazing view (often with a church in it)

In beautiful Oia, at the end of our 12 km adventure, we dined at a spot that overlooked the village and the sea. It is a most memorable lunch hour.

The next day, three of us headed out to climb the Skaros Rock, another hike that took us to Imerovigli again.

Skaros – to get to the rock one has to traverse a steep winding staircase of 300 stairs – and then on the peninsula there are a few climbs and a winding dirt pay to another 200 stairs down to a church…

Through past centuries this rock served as a strategic watchtower post for the inhabitants of the island.  In this photo you will see through the ruins the village of Oia in the distance.

The church found on the bluffs of Skaros was beautiful.

While on this island our family celebrated Mother’s Day. It is a family tradition that on this special day Mom gets breakfast in bed – but that didn’t happen this year. Instead, the boys upped their game and kept Mom smiling throughout the day!

The beauty of Santorini is unmatched. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.

Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com.

Quotes from ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus

Heraclitus is an ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher from the 5th century BC.  Little is known of his life but he has been described as a misanthrope who was subject to melancholia – and he gained the title of the weeping philosopher. The central theme of Heraclitus’s philosophy is that the world as constantly in flux, changing as it remained the same.

  • No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
  • Character is destiny.
  • A man’s character is his fate.
  • Big results require big ambitions.
  • There is nothing permanent except change.
  • Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.
  • Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.
  • It is harder to fight against pleasure than against anger.
  • Eyes and ears are poor witnesses to people if they have uncultured souls.
  • Ten thousand do not turn the scale against a single man of worth.
  • The best people renounce all for one goal, the eternal fame of mortals; but most people stuff themselves like cattle.
  • Dogs, also, bark at what they do not know.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Quotes from Diogenes the Cynic  

Diogenes, also known as Diogenes the Cynic or Diogenes of Sinope, is a controversial Greek philosopher from 404-323 BC. He is one of the founders of cynic philosophy who questioned many of the cultural conventions of Athens.

Diogenes is best known for holding a lantern to the faces of the citizens of Athens claiming he was searching for an honest man. He rejected the concept of “manners” as a lie and advocated complete truthfulness at all times.

  • He has the most who is most content with the least.
  • It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.
  • We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.
  • I do not know whether there are gods, but there ought to be.
  • I know nothing, except the fact of my ignorance.
  • As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task.
  • Of what use is a philosopher who doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings?
  • Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards.
  • The mob is the mother of tyrants.
  • The sun, too, shines into cesspools and is not polluted.
  • The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.
  • It was a favorite expression of Theophrastus that time was the most valuable thing that a man could spend.
  • I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Greek Kourambiedes – “The” Christmas Cookie


Beat on medium speed until lightened in color and creamy:
3/4 pound unsalted butter, softened & 1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat until very fluffy and well blended:
2/3 cup powdered sugar & 1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons brandy & 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

And then gradually add and stir until well blended and smooth:
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 cup Ground Almonds (optional)


1. Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm enough to shape into balls, about 1 hour.

2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease cookie sheets.

3. Pull off pieces of the dough and roll between your palms into generous 1-inch balls. Space about 1 inch apart on the sheets.

4.  Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are faintly tinged with brown, 14-18 minutes; rotate the sheet halfway through baking for even browning. Remove the sheet to a rack and let stand until the cookies firm slightly. Gently transfer to racks to cool completely.

5.  Sift over the cookies until evenly coated: 1/3 cup powdered sugar.

6.  If desired, 1 cup ground almonds may be added to this recipe. If you do add the ground almonds, stir in after you have added the vanilla or almond extract, then continue with recipe.

Makes about 4 dozen (1 1/4 inch) cookies.


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


The bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence

March 25th marked the bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence.  We rejoice: Zhto H Ellas! 

By George posts on the War of Greek Independence 

Reflecting on the bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence

A Synopsis of the War of Greek Independence

10 Facts: Greek Independence Day 

Celebrating 200 Years of Freedom – in Photos

Dionysios Solomos and the Hymn to Liberty

Lord Byron and his Support for the Greek Cause

Eugene Delacroix and The Massacre at Chios

A Victor’s Meal: Bakaliaros Skordalia

More on the war and on Greek heritage… 

Wikipedia: Greek War of Independence

Greek Reporter: The History of the Greek War of Independence

How the 1821 Greek Revolution Changed the World

Order of AHEPA: Greek War of Independence and America’s Contribution to the Greek Cause 

Poetry in Honour of the Bicentennial of Greek Independence

Wikipedia: Greek Canadians

Freedom or Death! Zhto H Ellas! 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Reflecting on the bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence

This year Hellenes around the world are celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence.

March 25, 1821 is of historic importance as this day marks the beginning of a war that resulted in both the formation of the modern Greece nation and the revival of rich Hellenic culture. The war that ensued is a tale of an epic struggle of proud people whose cry for freedom was ultimately answered. It is a compelling war saga that shone a light on the heritage, religion, and core values of western civilization.

This war is often overlooked by historians and scholars. However, the unfolding events of the 1820’s raised western civilization to new heights. The struggle of the Hellenes was in fact an assertion for western European heritage, its foundational values, and Christian religion. The successful outcomes on the battlefields of Peloponnese and central Greece resulted in more than a new Nation. It also prompted a rebirth of western arts and culture, and the reaffirmation of Christianity for Europeans. In this way, this war was not just a Greco-Turkish conflict but a defining moment in the advancement of western civilization.

Hellenes, Greek diaspora, and philhellenes have good reason to rejoice the history of the War of Greek Independence. It’s a testament to the extraordinary Hellenic Spirit. The historical date of March 25, 1821 and the acts of courage that followed serve as an inspirational moment in time when an indomitable will that endured 400 years of darkness struck out against oppression. The Hellenes spirit emanated through the 1820’s to establish a homeland; it has carried forward to motivate tens of thousands of Greek immigrants in North America; and, it remains with Hellenes today, guiding and inspiring us wherever we may be.

Much can be learned by ruminating on the events and the significance of this war. It is why we must examine the details. This reflection feeds the Hellenic Spirit; it has the potential to reinvigorate our sense of being and Christian sense of belonging.

Such is the opportunity before us in recounting the war and its outcomes.

The War of Greek Independence is an historical event that has helped to define Hellenes as an enduring people who have known great suffering and have overcome hundreds of dark years of oppression. May we continue to learn from this pivotal period, from our ancestors’ feats and accomplishments, their character and their stirring vision. And as we reconnect with our history, these reflections are sure to inspire Hellenes for years to come.

Zhto H Ellas!

— Chris George, March 25, 2021

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


10 Facts: Greek Independence Day

1. Greek Independence Day is a national holiday celebrated annually in Greece on March 25, commemorating the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821.  The “Greek Revolution” was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries against the Ottoman Empire between 1821 and 1830.


2. In celebration of Greek Independence Day, towns and villages throughout Greece hold a school flag parade, during which schoolchildren march in traditional Greek costume and carry Greek flags. There is also an armed forces parade in Athens. Around the world, Greek emigrants and those of Greek descent also parade and conduct flag ceremonies in celebration of the 9-year victorious struggle to free their country.


3. Greece had been part of the Ottoman Empire since 1453 with the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks. Greeks remained under the Ottoman rule for nearly 400 years. Through these years, Orthodox Christians were granted some political rights, but they were considered inferior subjects. The majority of Greeks were called “Rayah” by the Turks, a name that referred to the large mass of non-Muslim subjects. However, through the centuries, Greek religion and their sense of Hellenism remained strong, as did the desire for some form of independence fostered, in large part, by the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as the survival of the Greek language.

4. The Greek revolt was precipitated on March 25, 1821, when Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the flag of revolution over the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese. Thus began the 9-year revolution for freedom.


5. Here is a summary of the war. The Greeks experienced early successes on the battlefield, including the capture of Athens in 1822, but infighting ensued. By 1827 Athens and most of the Greek isles had been recaptured by the Turks. Just as the revolution appeared to be on the verge of failure, Great Britain, France, and Russia intervened in the conflict. At the naval Battle of Navarino in 1827, the combined British, French, and Russian forces destroyed an Ottoman-Egyptian fleet. A Greco-Turkish settlement was determined by the European powers at a conference in London and Greece was declared an independent monarchical state under their protection in 1830.

6. The struggle for the liberation of all the lands inhabited by Greeks continued. By mid-1832 the northern frontier of the new state had been set along the line extending from south of Volos to south of Árta. In 1864, the Ionian islands were added to Greece; in 1881 parts of Epirus and Thessaly. Crete, the islands of the Eastern Aegean and Macedonia were added in 1913 and Western Thrace in 1919. After World War II the Dodecanese islands were also returned to Greece.

7. The Greek struggle had elicited strong sympathy in Europe, and many leading intellectuals had promoted the Greek cause, including and most notably the English poet Lord Byron. His prestige and his role as a representative of the philhellenic London Committee (which raised both moral and financial support) came in a critical time for the course of the Greek cause. Lord George Byron also fought in the rebellious areas of Greece from December 1823 until 7 April 1824, when he died at Missolonghi.  Dionysios Solomos wrote a poem Ode on the Death of Lord Byron (first verse) which honours the poet and the liberal revolutionary:

For a moment, Liberty,
Let the war, the bloodshed sleep;
Hither come and silently
Over Byron’s body weep.

8. The popular cry “Freedom or Death” became the motto of the revolution and was constantly heard throughout the liberation. This war-cry is also a significant part of the Greek flag: it is believed that the nine lines of the flag reflects the number of syllables in the Greek phrase “Eleftheria i Thanatos” = Freedom or Death. Not only the flag, but the the Greek National Anthem “Hymn to Liberty” was born of the revolution. Dionysios Solomos wrote the lyrics in 1824, Nikolaos Mantzaros put it to music in 1828. (This English translation of the revolutionary ballad is by Rudyard Kipling in 1918.)

We knew thee of old,
Oh, divinely restored,
By the lights of thine eyes,
And the light of thy Sword,
From the graves of our slain,
Shall thy valour prevail,
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!

9. Greeks celebrate the 25th of March as a double holiday: a historical and a religious one. Independence Day coincides with the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of the Annunciation to the Theotokos, when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would bear the son of God.

10. A custom across the country on this day is to eat crispy, fried cod fish with garlic sauce (Bakaliaros skordalia). This has to do with the Lent before Eastern, where no animals or animal products should be eaten. However the Orthodox Church allowed an exception for the celebration of the Annunciation and that it the Cod fish! Here is the recipe for Bakaliaros skordalia.

Sources (and further reading):

Encyclopaedia Britannica on Greek Independence Day and War of Greek Independence


Keep Talking Greece

Crete History

Lord Byron

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

A Victor’s Meal: Bakaliaros Skordalia

For the Greeks’ celebratory meal on the 25th, it is custom to eat crispy, fried cod fish with garlic sauce. Here are a few recipes…


  • 1-pound salt cod fillet or fresh/frozen codfish quick cured
  • Flour for dredging
  • Oil for frying

For the Batter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces of sparkling water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  • lemon wedges and parsley

For the Skordalia

  • 2-3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth plus more water to boil potatoes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • If you are using salted dried cod for this dish, then, soak the cod for at least 24 hours in cold water and keep it refrigerated. Change the water 3-4 times to extract the salt.
  • Quick Salt Cure Fish:Sprinkle lots of salt (about 6-7 teaspoons or more) over both sides of the codfish. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the fish and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Soak the fish in ice-cold water and pat dry. Place the fish on paper towels to absorb any moisture.
  • Make the Skordalia:
  • Place the potatoes in a pot and cover them with vegetable stock, water and season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.
  • Place the potatoes in a colander to drain and reserve 1-2 cups of the stock.
  • Pass the potatoes through a ricer or mash them in a large bowl.
  • Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and grated garlic in a small mixing bowl and whisk until incorporated. Pour the marinade over the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Pour 1-2 cups of the potato boiling liquid into the mashed potatoes to thin the dip to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Make the Cod Fritters:
  • Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan to 360 °F. 180 °C.
  • Combine the fish batter ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  • Make sure that the fish is very dry.
  • Place some flour into a shallow bowl or dish to dredge the fish.
  • Dredge the cod pieces in the flour then dip into the batter.
  • Carefully place the battered cod into the hot oil and fry until golden on all sides.
  • Place the cod fritters on a tray lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  • Garnish with parsley.
  • Serve immediately with the Skordalia and some lemon wedges.

This recipe is from Dimitra’s Dishes

Here is another (similar) recipe, but one that also provides some history and background on the dish. Enjoy the recipe from Kalofagas.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

A Synopsis of the War of Greek Independence

An Overview 

The War of Greek Independence raged for more than nine years. It was a bloody series of skirmishes and naval battles, and heartless massacres. The conflict lasted much longer than anyone expected, and it involved more hardship and death than the Hellenic patriots imagined when they first declared war. Throughout the 1820’s the war’s outcome was never certain. In every way this war was a struggle.

Yet, the Hellenic cause to slip free from 400 years of slavery was ultimately realized with the intervention of European powers. A Greek-Turkish settlement signed in London in 1830 declared a new nation to be carved out of the Ottoman Empire. Greece was placed on the map of Europe and Hellenes would have their freedom.

The Ottoman Rule and the Phlliki Etairia

Hellenes were enslaved by Ottoman masters for nearly four hundred years, since the year 1453 when the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks. The Ottomans’ reign over the Balkan territories proved especially hard for Hellenes — non-Muslim subjects of Orthodox Christian faith.

This is a truly dark age in our peoples’ history. Hellenes were subjected to the worst acts of systematic oppression. They were treated as inferior and suffered reduced liberties and senseless cruelties. The most egregious acts of slavery had the Turk overlords regularly gathering all young boys to enlist them in training for the Turkish military.

However, for generations the Hellenic Spirit endured — preserved and nurtured largely by the Greek Orthodox Church. Although restrictions were placed on the Church, subjected Hellenes maintained the Greek language and a sense of their heritage – and an independence – with the teachings of their priests.

Through the 1700s there were also learned scholars who helped to sow the seeds of independence. In evenings, often in secret gatherings, the scholars taught their pupils the Greek language and culture. One of the notorious teachers was Adamantios Koraes of Chios who is credited with laying the foundations of Modern Greek literature. Koraes was a humanist scholar who had witness the French Revolution and took his primary intellectual inspiration from the Enlightenment. He instilled in his pupils the hope for a new Hellenic classicism that would arise after the passing of the dark years of Ottoman suppression.

Another scholar of note that help advance a modern Greek Enlightenment was Rigas Feraios. He was a political thinker and writer who penned poems and books about Greek history. Although he died in 1798, Feraios is widely recognized as a pioneer of revolutionary thought, instilling hope and dreams of a better tomorrow. Today he is remembered as a national hero for his inspirational battle-hymn Thourios.

Though the Ottomans attempted to suppress all teachings of Greek culture, through the Church and the teachings of the scholars, the Hellenes heritage and language survived.

In 1814, a secret society of revolutionaries, the Phlliki Etairia (Friendly Brotherhood) was founded with an aim of liberating Hellenes from Turkish rule. In a short time the Phlliki Etairia had a presence in all regions of Greece. Today, the leaders of this society are regaled as heroes: great men who fanned the embers of revolutionary ideas and provided hope for a better tomorrow. Phlliki Etairia leaders included Theodore Kolokotronis, Petrompes Mavromichalis, Andreas Zaimis, Andreas Lentos, the Metropolites Palaion Patron Germanos, and Gregorios Papaflesas – all leaders dedicated to freedom from the Ottoman Empire.

The Philiki Etairia “revolution” had no geographical objectives but rather a spiritual basis that was centred in a cry for freedom from oppression. It was also a cry for Christianity and Hellene values. In 1820 plans for an insurrection were drafted, and by 1821 the Philiki Etairia were organized to strike.

 Spring 1821 in Peloponnese and Heralding Independence

In late March, Greek patriots successfully captured the towns of Kalavrita, Kalames and Mani. The legendary account of the start of the war reads that on March 25, 1821 Bishop Germanos of Patras blessed and raised a flag of revolution over the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese and the fight for freedom was declared.

Patras was successfully taken and Lala, Corinth, Monemvasia, Navarino, Argos, and Nauplion were soon besieged by the patriots. With this flurry of attacks, Greeks heralded their independence.

The Ottoman response to the declarations was swift and brutal. The Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Gregory V was taken from the cathedral on Easter Sunday, April 22nd and hung on the orders of the Sultan. In the following weeks there were executions of multiple clergies and bloody massacres throughout the Ottoman Empire. In Kydonia, Ionia, there was an estimated 25,000 Greeks killed, and in Thessaloniki the Turkish governor ordered every Greek be killed.

One of the most horrific massacres occurred on the island of Chios in April 1822. The Turkish military massacred 42,000 men, women and children, and nearly 50,000 were enslaved and 23,000 exiled. In the end, only 2,000 citizens remained on an island that once was prosperous with 117,000 inhabitants.

On the battlefields, the Turkish military answered the call in the Peloponnese by reclaiming some of the early lost territory. However, the Turks met the main Greek patriot force at Valtetsi and was soundly defeated. Greek morale soared even higher when patriots withstood a 4,000-strong Turkish force outside of Veivena. Meanwhile, at sea, Greek fleets achieved some successes against the Ottoman navy that prevented military reinforcements to arrive through the Aegean Sea. As a result, by 1822 the flag of the Greek patriots flew again over Navarino, Monemvasia, and Corinth and much of the Peloponnese.

It was less than two years into the conflict and already much blood had been spilt on both sides.

In the early years the Greeks experienced many successes. When the patriots declared independence in the Peloponnese, the Turks unsuccessfully attempted to take back the region three times between 1822 through 1824. The Greek forces surged to capture and hold Athens in 1822. Though successful on the battlefields, it was the Greeks’ own infighting and civil unrest that stole their lasting victory.

In 1825, fortunes began to turn against the Greeks with the arrival of Egyptian forces to bolster the beleaguered Turkish military. With the support of the Egyptian navy, in 1826 the Turks recaptured Missolonghi and Athens, and then in June 1827 they scaled the Athenian Acropolis to raise the Ottoman flag over the Parthenon.

The European Intervention and a New Independent State

Just as the war seemed lost, western European allies decided to come to the aid of the Greek cause. Stirred by the works and first-hand accounts of popular artists and thinkers, Europeans overwhelmingly sympathized with the Hellenes and their struggle. In turn, Great Britain, France, and Russia agreed to intervene in the war. In July 1827 the Treaty of London was signed; it called on Greek and Ottoman forces to cease all fighting. When the Turks declined the settlement, the European powers sent naval fleets and men to end the conflict.

On October 20, 1827 the infamous naval Battle of Navarino took place in the Ionian Sea in which the European powers crushed the Ottoman and Egyptian navies. This was a spectacular naval battle, the last one in history to be fought entirely with sailing ships.

French troops joined with the Greek patriots to defend the Peloponnese and retake central Greece. Together the French and patriot forces pushed the Turkish troops from central and southern Greece. Then, Russia in initiated the Russo-Turkish War (1828–29), a bloody Balkan conflict that diverted Ottoman troops away from Greece. The result of this combined pressure on land and at sea had the Turks agree in 1829 to a treaty that ceded the disputed territory to the Greeks.

Greece was officially recognized as an independent state on February 3, 1830 with the signing of the London Protocol. That settlement was determined and agreed to by the European Powers and the Ottomans, and adopted without a Greek signature. The new country of Greece was to be an independent monarchical state under the protection of Britain, France and Russia. Later in July 1832, the Treaty of Constantinople was signed in which the final borders of the new state were established and Prince Otto of Bavaria was crowned Head of State. 

At this time, Greece had no more than 800,000 people in the new state; there remained 2.5 million Hellenes residing throughout the Ottoman Empire. Finally, after hundreds of years of oppression and a decade of fighting, Hellenes had a place to call home.


For more information on Wikipedia:

The Greek War of Independence

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Dionysios Solomos and the Hymn to Liberty

Dionysios Solomos is commonly referred to as the “national poet” of Greece. He is best known for writing the inspirational Hymn to Liberty that recounts Hellenes dream of freedom.

In 1863 he wrote this poem of the bloody beginnings of the war, the patriots’ Christian character, and of the struggle.

The poem is a significant legacy of the War of Greek Independence. Nikolaos Mantzaros put the first two stanzas of the verse to music in 1828 and, decades later in 1865, this war-time ballad became the Greek national anthem.

Here is a rough translation of the leading stanzas of the verse.

I recognize you by the fearsome sharpness,
of the sword,
I recognize you by your face
that hastefully defines the land (the borders)

From the sacred bones,
of the Hellenes arisen,

and valiant again as you once were,
Hail, o hail, Liberty!

and valiant again as you once were,
Hail, o hail, Liberty!

Here is a rendition of the Greek National Anthem.

In 1918 poet Rudyard Kipling translated the ballad to become familiar to English speaking peoples around the world.

We knew thee of old,
Oh, divinely restored,
By the lights of thine eyes,
And the light of thy Sword,
From the graves of our slain,
Shall thy valour prevail,
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!

For more information from Wikipedia:

Dionysios Solomos

Hymn to Liberty

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Lord Byron and his Support for the Greek Cause

Lord Byron was one of the most renowned English poets of the Romantic Era and he is the most celebrated philhellene volunteer of the War of Greek Independence.

Lord Byron travelled to the theatre of war in 1822, providing funds and supplies. His enchanting verse and vocal advocacy for the Hellenes stirred many to the Greek cause.

In Messolonghi in 1824, while preparing to lead patriots into battle, fell fatally ill. Upon his untimely death Greek poet Dionysios Solomos wrote Ode on the Death of Lord Byron in which the first verse reads:

  For a moment, Liberty,
Let the war, the bloodshed sleep;
Hither come and silently
Over Byron’s body weep.

Lord Byron’s presence in Greece, and in particular his death, created an even stronger sympathy for the Greek cause across Europe. As a direct result of his passing, philhellenic committees sprang up in Europe and the United States to raise money for war efforts and further relief of the Greek people.

Lord Byron died a national hero and Hellenes to this day revere him. Here is a statue in his honour in Athens.

Byron often wrote of the beauty and majesty of Greece… and this is two stanzas from one of his poems evoking the glory of the Greeks’ past to deliver them a victory in the War of Greek Independence.

The Isles of Greece

The mountains look on Marathon —
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream’d that Greece might yet be free
For, standing on the Persians’ grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.

Must we but weep o’er days more blest?
Must we but blush? – Our fathers bled.
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylae.

For more information from Wikipedia and British Literature Wiki:

Lord Byron

The Isles of Greece

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Eugene Delacroix and The Massacre at Chios

The great French Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix had a profound impact stirring European’s empathy for Greek civilians’ suffering at the hands of the Turkish military.

Delacroix’s masterpiece The Massacre of Chios provoked international outrage and led to increased support for the Greek cause worldwide. It caused an outcry in the French public and placed much pressure on the French Government to intervene in the war and take up arms to defend the Hellenes.

Delacroix’s focus of work was one of the most horrific massacres of the War of Greek Independence. The horror occurred on the island of Chios in April 1822. The Turkish military killed 42,000 men, women and children, enslaved nearly 50,000 and exiled another 23,000. In the end, only 2,000 citizens remained on a decimated island that once was prosperous with 117,000 inhabitants.

Studying the faces one sees the despair of the dying civilians at the mercy of a slaughter by Turkish horsemen. In the foreground is a baby laying on his dying mother –- as disturbing today as it was for the audiences who were moved by the painting in the 1820’s.

More information on Wikipedia:

Eugene Delacroix

The Massacre at Chios Massacre

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Celebrating Oxi Day

On this day Hellenes cry out “Oxi!” 

Here is background on the genesis of this historic day in Greece and what it means for Hellenes in Canada and around the world.

First, here’s a little local Canadian history…. in 2016, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson received a delegation from the AHEPA Ottawa Chapter to celebrate “Oxi Day”.  Read more about the honour the Mayor bestowed upon Greek-Canadians in Ottawa and across the country:


Oxi Day is October 28 on the calendar, a national holiday in Greece and recognized by Greeks around the world as a day to remember Hellenic values and the courageous words and deeds of those who fought for Greece and all of democracy in the early, dark days of WWII.

AHEPA Ottawa Chapter wishes to raise the attention of this day to Ottawa residents, those of Greek heritage and all of our community’s citizens. Oxi Day is a day to reflect on the strength of the human spirit when confronted with an impossible situation; and to appreciate the price that, at times, must be paid to stand up for one’s principles, values, rights and freedom. (More on the Order of AHEPA.)

On the Genesis of Oxi Day

Oxi Day commemorates the anniversary when former military general and Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas said, “No” to an ultimatum made by Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini to allow Italian forces to occupy strategic locations in Greece. In response to Metaxas’s refusal, Italian troops attacked the Greek border. On the morning of 28 October, the Greek population took to the streets, shouting “oxi” (pronounced O-hee).

The superior Italian army had initial success but the Greeks pushed the Italian army back into Albania.  This was the first land defeat of the Axis forces in WWII, and it provided a ray of hope for democracies worldwide.  Churchill wrote “Greeks do not fight like heroes; heroes fight like Greeks.” Mussolini was embarrassed and had to call Hitler for help. Greek and British forces continued to fight and decimate German troops, until Greece surrendered six months later.

This stand against the Axis Forces was truly remarkable and is recorded as the greatest resistance against Nazi blitzkrieg in WWII. Greek and later British forces withstood 219 days of invading forces. In total 13,696 Greek soldiers died before the Nazis raised the swastika flag over the Parthenon. (In comparison, France fell in 43 days; Poland in 30; Belgium in 18; the Netherlands 4; and Norway in 7.)

Hitler observed: “For the sake of historical truth I must verify that only the Greeks, of all the adversaries who confronted us, fought with bold courage and highest disregard of death.” The extent of casualties in Greece caused Hitler to delay an attack on Russia, thus subjecting his troops to harsh winter conditions and contributing to the defeat of Germany.

See more here: Quotes and Memes Honouring Oxi Day

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The Greek way

Some years ago a small rural town in Spain twinned with a similar town in Greece.

The mayor of the Greek town visited the Spanish town. When he saw the palatial mansion belonging to the Spanish mayor, he wondered aloud how on earth he could afford such a house.

The Spaniard replied, “You see that bridge over there? The EU gave us a grant to construct a two-lane bridge, but by building a single lane bridge with traffic lights at either end, I could build this place.”

The following year the Spaniard visited the Greek town. He was simply amazed at the Greek mayor’s house: gold taps, marble floors, diamond doorknobs, it was marvelous.

When he asked how he’d raised the money to build this incredible house, the Greek mayor said, “You see that bridge over there?”

The Spaniard replied, “No.”


(ed. – Thank you to my friend Dick Inwood who is very good at keeping us all laughing.)

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Greek Wisdom

On our Facebook page through this past week, By George has featured sage Greek sayings from some of the world’s greatest classic philosophers and leaders. Below you will find five of our FAVs.

“Like” By George Facebook to see the full selection of Greek Wisdom (to be featured through next week as well).







Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.