All posts tagged: life

5 Favorite Beaches in Crete

Greece’s largest island, Crete, provides hundreds of beautiful beaches that draws crowds in the summer months. Below are just five of my favorites, plus some extra suggestions for you to check out on your next visit to Crete. Do you have a favorite? Please comment and share 🙂 Falassarna Beach: I’ve taken some of my best photos on Falassarna, catching shots of the big waves and vibrant skies. My favorite beach in all of Crete, Falassarna stretches far along the coast and makes an especially nice spot for sunset lovers since the beach faces west. There’s no need for an Instagram filter or Photoshop, the natural beauty of Falassarna does all the work. Elafonisi: The early bird gets the worm, or better, a sunbed to lie on at the always-crowded Elafonisi beach. Don’t let the crowds deter you, though. Elafonisi is one of the most sought-out beaches in the world for good reason: the pretty pink sand contrasts brilliantly with the tranquil turquoise water. Talk about paradise! Do visit, but be diligent in picking up …

5 Things to do in Crete

Of the thousands of Greek islands, one holds a very special place in my heart—Crete. With sandy shores, rugged terrain, bustling nightlife, ancient treasures, and world-renowned gastronomy, Crete is a feast for the senses. Everyone agrees Greek hospitality rates a ten on a scale of ten. However, Cretan hospitality rates a 20. Cretans robustly share their traditions with friends and strangers over endless drinks and abundant food, providing an experience like nowhere else in the world. But that’s only half of it. My Greek roots span much of mainland Greece, but my Cretan roots are what I am most proud of. My yiayia and other Cretan women have taught me the most about cooking, and I’ve danced in Cretan groups my whole life. Whenever I step foot on Cretan soil, a feeling of pride and excitement rushes through me. Crete is the largest and most populated island in Greece, making it impossible to get the full feel of Crete in anything less than one week or just one trip. But let’s try. Let’s pack our …

Importance of Parea

“Back in Greece, your circle of friends grows larger and larger as you go through life. In America, the circle mostly shrinks or stays the same size.” “Why do you think that is?” “Time. Nobody has time here. It seems that every time you make a new friend, another friend has grown too busy or moved away.” This quote from the “Humans of New York” Facebook page struck me when I first read it a few years ago. Humans of New York (HONY for short) catalogues New Yorkers in candid photos and quotes, and has since branched out to capture the stories of humans across the globe. Theirs is a view of the world captured by different eyes. While I read HONY posts almost daily, this particular thought caught at my heart. And here I am years later telling you why. Friendships should not dwindle as we go through life. This is backwards, America. We need our friends. We need our parea. I think of parea as a posse of friends that enriches my quality …

The Greek Frappe

Water used to be the only fluid I needed to get me through the day. Then I went to Ionian Village and realized I needed something stronger than water. I needed a Greek FRAPPE. All day, every day. Ionian Village, a summer camp in Bartholomio, Greece, brings together over 40 staff members and hundreds of teen campers from across the United States, giving them an experience of a lifetime. Ionian Village strengthens faith, teaches Greek culture, creates epic memories, and even supplies coffee. I was a camper in 2008 and a staff member in back-to-back summers of 2013 and 2014. Serving as a staff member gave me the best experiences of all. It’s also when I drank the most frappes in my life. Staff members work two 20-day sessions from June to August. We cranked through lots of late nights and early mornings because it’s always on-the-go time. You can’t really call it work because eating Kyria Sophia’s delicious Greek food and supervising junkyard wars, music fests, and themed dance parties totally rocks. On travel …

My Big Fat Greek Exit

You’ve known me as “My Big Fat Greek Fanny” for over a year now, and I have appreciated all of the amazing support on my blog, Instagram, and Facebook (mostly from my Yiayia, the Facebook queen). I started “My Big Fat Greek Fanny” with the purpose of teaching people—especially Greeks—how to live a healthier and more balanced life in and out of the kitchen. I’ve shared many of my favorite Greek recipes, discussed the benefits of walking and other fitness tips, and I have even gotten personal about my life with an open letter about the importance of philautia (self-love). Now it’s time the “fanny” moved on. I promise it’s not you—it’s me. I’m Eleni Saltas. I’m a Greek girl with a flair for life, food, and fitness, and I want to fully embody that under my own name rather than a spin off of someone else’s effort. Follow along as I share even more Greek recipes, provide sustainable fitness tips and programs suitable for anyone, and begin a new writing series intended for women …

Mile 22

It started off great. Adrenaline rushing through my body, my music playlist blasting one motivational song after another, and it was early enough that the picturesque landscape of St. George, Utah began distracting me. The colorful sunrise greeted me as my feet hit the warming pavement. Before I knew it, I was at mile 13. Ah, halfway there. I exhaled. And then—my adrenaline wore off and the pain in my knees and hips took notice. The music in my ears couldn’t drown out the heavy beating in my chest. As the hot, blazing sun replaced the crisp morning chill, the miles became longer and longer and the finish line seemed unreachable. In 490 B.C., a Greek messenger ran from the site of the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians. Pheidippides ran the entire 40 kilometers (nearly 25 miles) without stopping and exclaimed, “Vενικήκαμεν” (Nenikikamen—We are victorious!) to the gathered Athenians, then fell dead. The first modern Olympic games in Athens, in 1896, introduced the marathon as a noble test …