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Homemade Holiday Gifts-STAND BACK! NO SMOKING!


Bringing Home a Bit of Greece for the Holidays.

A while back, Herself and I took an extended vacation which included a cruise to Croatia and the Greek Islands. We hit Crete, Santorini, Corfu and Mykonos.

Most of the port visits were too short. In Mykonos we didn’t have enough time to visit the beaches the cruise director spoke endlessly about. By the time we cleared customs, got into town and found the bus stop to hop a ride to the beaches, it was time to go back to the ship. If we had made the bus run the beach, we’d have likely missed our departure.

But it wasn’t a total tour fail, however. We did at least get to enjoy the waterfront and have a late breakfast. Over coffee, we watched the fisherman, already back from the morning run, smoking pipes, discussing who knows what; probably lying about the day’s haul.

We also wandered the back streets above the waterfront and got some amazing pictures.

The town above the waterfront is riddled with these tiny walkways. talk about being close to your neighbors!  But it really is interesting to explore.


The port at Mykonos

Jeeps, Fun and Fruit

Corfu was altogether different. If you ever make the tiny island by ship, be sure to take the jeep tour. That’s the event which presages this holiday season for us. We recently had a nice experience that brought back memories of Corfu as we prepared for the holidays.

We left the ship with the first excursions and were shuttled to the start of our tour. I was a bit nervous about driving a four-wheel drive vehicle in a foreign country, but the route to the trails was easy and fun.

The Switchbacks

It was really cool navigating the switchbacks up the sides of mountains. At one point a large tour bus coming down had to get past us. We all stopped an

Some of the jeeps on our excursion. Busses actually pass you on this route!

d pulled over. It didn’t look good, but the driver got almost completely by and around a very tight turn. I pulled very tight against the wall of the mountain and gave the driver the few extra inches he needed and off he went.

We spent the early day touring spots to get sweeping vistas of the islands, did some four-wheeling on some back roads and finally stopped at a place that made wine and liqueur from kumquats. If you not familiar with them, kumquats are like little sour oranges.

We did some sampling and really enjoyed the liqueur. It makes for a really nice dessert drink.

To the right is Psarras Taverna where you can sample the wines and liqueurs.


Fast Forward a Few Years

This year we discovered our neighbor had a kumquat tree. That’s when I got great idea #722. If you are an avid fan here you’ll know how many great ideas my best girl has weathered over the years. Idea #385 almost cost me an index finger; stupid lawn mower. #471 resulted in the two of us lost in the Alps for about a day. Someday one of my ideas will work. You’ll see.

No wait. Hold the phone! I did take tour of the gardens at Thurnham Hall outside Lancaster, England with the man who designed them. I took good notes and was able to recreate an English garden for Herself, at home in Virginia. And it wasn’t a disaster! Sonofabitch! So great idea #501 worked. Somebody make a note of that.

But this year I wanted was to bring our Greek Island experience home for the holidays. I would make kumquat liqueur as holiday gifts!  Brilliant!   I know, right? 

I followed a recipe (sort of) I found on Christina’s Cucina. The site was very helpful and the recipe was simple and straightforward. I really enjoy her website and will go back from time to time when new great ideas emerge.

Having Googled my way to expertise on the subject of homemade liqueurs, will I succeed in creating my holiday masterpiece without burning down the house?  We’ll all find out in my next segment.

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