Be Greek for a Day

Ever since high school when I watched the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which takes place in Santorini, Greece, I have had a particular interest in traveling to Greece for my next new vacation spot. The simple-colored architecture with the white and blue paints and the clear blue skies and waters depicted in the movie make the country look beautiful. Some time ago, I found out that my mom has shared the same interest with me to visit Greece someday. So, a few weeks ago, I watched the movies, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequel, again with my mom, which made us all the more interested in visiting Greece and learning more about Greek culture.

My mom always tries to scout out some fun local activities for us to do on the weekends. A few years ago, she and my dad and brother checked out a Greek Festival in San Jose. Having enjoyed the festival the last time she was there, she decided to go again this year, bringing one of our family friends and me with her. The festival was hosted by St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on their church campus over the first weekend of June. There was live Greek music and dancing, authentic Greek food and pastries from local Greek restaurants, an agora (marketplace) selling imported Greek foods, clothing, music, jewelry, and more, and a tour of the Greek Orthodox church. While I was there, I bumped into two church friends, Anita and Scott, who were also there to learn more about Greek culture.

For lunch, I had a gyro sandwich (spicy and savory pressed meat served with tomatoes and cucumber sauce on Greek pita bread). My mom tried the Chicken Reganati (tender chicken baked with herbs and lemon sauce) with orzo. Our family friend tried the Greek version of lasagna called Moussaka (layers of eggplant, flavorful meat sauce and cheese, topped with a light bechamel sauce and baked). All of the food was so tasty and unique that I forgot to snap some photos until we were nearly done with our meal, oops!

There is an entrance fee of $5 for adults, but if you pay close attention to the San Jose Mercury News in the weeks leading up to the festival or look online, you can find tickets for free admission. I think that this annual festival is a must go to experience Greek culture, and I would want to return next year for some more authentic Greek food. Opa!

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