Harira Soup

One of my fondest food discoveries from Morocco was the Harira soup. Savouring the different versions we had of it as we travelled around that great country was a total delight.
Some times, it had vermicelli in, some times not.
Some times, it was made on a meat stock base, some times not.
Some times, it was quite a thin soup, some times not.
Some times, it had quite a few lentil varieties in it, some times not.
Some times, it was quite red, sometimes it was more orange.
Every time it was pretty darn tasty, some times just a lot more tasty 🙂

It was one of the foods that every time we were presented with a buffet, I quickly scoped out the soup option, would this soup that I so dearly loved be present?
When a pot of soup would be brought to our table by our cooks or hosts whilst travelling, I eagerly awaited the opening of the pot, would it contain this soup that I so dearly loved?

Since I returned home, mastering this soup has been on my list of things to do. I’ve read countless, countless recipes online in English and French using my average French language skills that extend to well recipes 😀

Looking at pictures, to see if I could find a recipe that resembled most the versions of Harira that I liked the most.

As the days start to sometimes get a little cooler here in Brisbane, it seemed fitting to finally make Harira as the first soup of the season. The Islamic world has just started Ramadan and Harira is a very common fast breaking soup in Morocco so it seemed like a fitting soup to make to reflect on.

In the end, I turned to the Moroccan recipe book that has been a trusty companion for many, many years now; Arabesque by Claudia Roden. A book that actually is recipes from Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon but well, in the 14 years of owning this recipe book, I’ve not strayed much out of the Moroccan section 😀

In all the years of having this book, I’ve never made any of the soups out of the book, well that has now changed 🙂 Last night, after a long day at work, I made Harira.

Though in both true #isolife style and Helen’s make do in whilst cooking approach, my soup did not turn out anything like I imagine Claudia Roden’s did 😀

My soup was started on the stove and finished in the slow cooker overnight.
My soup, had red lentils instead of brown lentils.
My soup had carrots instead of celery.
My soup had lamb soup pieces on the bone instead of 1cm cubed pieces of meat.
My soup was made with 3 tins of tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes.
My soup didn’t have any tomato paste in it because I had run out and due to COVID-19 ISO life, I was not about to run down to the shops to just get tomato paste, celery and brown lentils 😀
My soup used powdered cinnamon because well cinnamon sticks?
My soup had paprika in the spice mix as well because it seemed common in the many, many recipes I had reviewed.
My soup used a small handful of spaghetti broken into short pieces to substitute the vermicelli.
My soup had shredded spinach and kale in it instead of coriander and parsley.
My soup only used about a third of the flour/water mixture as any more would have thickened the soup way too much.
My soup was good but there will be a few more tweaks before I am 100% happy with the recipe.
My future tweaks will involve making a version with no meat base, a version with celery in it, playing with the spice mix as I didn’t quite get the mix right with this first go.

Version 1 of Helen’s Harira – Eaten for Breakfast 29 April 2020
The first version of Harira that I had in Morocco. Breakfast, 9 September 2019, Casablanca.

Claudia Roden’s recipe and backstory from Arabesque 


Harira is the generic term for a soup full of pulses – chickpeas, lentils or beans – with little meat, few vegetables and plenty of herbs and spices. Every day during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset, the smell of this soup permeates the streets as every household prepares its own version to be eaten when the sound of the cannon signals the breaking of the fast.

While ingredients and spices vary, a particular feature is the way the soup is given what is described in Morocco as a ‘velvety’ touch by stirring in a sourdough batter or simply flour mixed with water. In the cities in Morocco, it serves as a one-dish evening meal, and in rural areas, it is also eaten as breakfast before peasants go out to work in the fields. During Ramadan, it is served with lemon quarters and accompanied by dates and honeyed pastries.

The soup can be made a long time in advance, but if you are adding the tiny birds tongue pasta -douida in Morocco (you find it in Middle Eastern stores), orzo in Italian stores (or you can use vermicelli) – these should be added only 10-15 minutes before you are ready to serve otherwise they will get bloated and mushy. I have given measurements for a large quantity because it is a rich, substantial soup that you might like to serve as a one-dish meal at a party. The best cuts of meat to use are shoulder or neck fillet.


2 marrow bones, washed (optional)
500g lamb or beef
2 large onions, chopped coarsely
200g chickpeas, soaked overnight
150g large brown lentils, rinsed
500g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoon saffron threads or powder or 1 teaspoon turmeric
5 tablespoons plain flour
150g bird’s-tongue pasta or vermicelli (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
100g coriander, chopped
large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

To serve with: 3 lemons, cut into quarters: dates (optional)

If using marrow bones, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes then throw out the water. Put the bones into a large pan with the meat, cut into 1cm pieces, the onions and drained chickpeas. Cover with about 3 litres water and bring to the boil.

Remove the scum and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the bones (if using), scoop out the soft marrow with a knife and drop it back into the soup.

Add the drained lentils, tomatoes and celery (include some leaves), the tomato paste, pepper, ginger, cinnamon and saffron or turmeric. Simmer for a further 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary as the level drops, and salt when the lentils begin to soften.

In the meantime, put the flour into a small pan and gradually add 500ml cold water, a little at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon to blend well and to avoid lumps. Put over a medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens, then simmer for 10 minutes. Pour this batter into the soup, stirring vigorously, and cook for a few minutes until the soup acquires a light creamy texture,

If you are using the tiny pasta or vermicelli (crush them with your hand into small pieces), add this to the soup 10 or so minutes from the end, adding the lemon juice, chopped coriander and parsley at the same time.

Serve with lemon wedges and if you like, also dates.

VARIATION Instead of meat, you can use 500g chicken fillets, preferably thighs, and crumble in 3 chicken stock cubes.

June 2019

June, that month which passes way too quickly at work and the weekends are spent nourishing the self to make it through the work week.

The mornings are cooler, the days are sunny, the nights either cool or warm. For that is subtropical Brisbane in Winter.

There have been many times over the past months where I’ve gone to put a post and it is a question where do you start? Do you try to catch up on life since the last post or do you just make a go of what you have? I’m just making a go of it and highlighting parts of the month that was.

June 2019

Canberra for Tracey’s 33th Birthday, the theme was ugly (or pretty) sweaters. I wore a lovely light Icelandic one. There was also a Pinata, I did well out of it.

A gallery wall of Canberra.
Inverary Pier, Loch Fyne: Morning by J M W Turner c.1845. WOW. I stood in front of this painting for countless minutes soaking it up. The light, the blending, the emotion.

Then there was also Monet Impression Sunrise at NGA, which as better put than I would in the review in The Saturday Paper was let down by some curatorial choices but still filled up the soul. Experiencing the following two paintings though was soul filling which made up for the lack of connective narrative throughout the show that chipped away at my soul. The exhibition used Impression, Soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise) 1872 by Claude Monet as the cornerstone work, with the opening room dedicated to other mainly British painters who were there for the birth of what was to be known as Impressionism.

Waterloo Bridge by Claude Monet 1899-1901.
Oh, I wished that I was Kerry Stokes when I viewed this (the painting is from his collection), I just adored it.

As we exited the exhibition through the Australian Gallery, there is this beauty that I have loved each time I’ve seen it. A piece that I would happily have in my home. This amazing fern work chest of drawers.

Check out that top!

Margaret Olley: A Generous Life at QAGoma. I’ve adored Margaret Olley for an age and seeing this collection in GOMA, in a space set out like a Queenslander was a total treat. My only wish was that there was more of her ink and watercolour landscapes/cityscapes that I do just adore.

I walked from the bus stop behind this lady, who was also going to the opening, I adored her outfit and those tights! That’s my shadow on the left 😀

What would a gallery trip be without a meander through the rest of the spaces? This were the ones that sung to me this trip.

the fact that it is Winter but there are always flowers around 🙂

Decision making from Julie Bishop at a Business Chicks breakfast.

Margaret Olley :), Philip Bacon Galleries held a QAGoma member’s viewing of their new showing of Margaret Olley works. Oh, to have extra 0s in the bank account!

The Zygo are just finished flowering for the season but oh I do love looking at them with rain drops on them.

I finally finished reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, it has taken me a while. I enjoyed parts of it but other parts I found very slow going.
I’m making my way through the American Impressionism & Realism catalogue that I picked up from the QAGoma shop for a lovely $10. I remembered looking at this catalogue when I went to this exhibition back in 2009 but I didn’t end up buying it. I purchased this print of Peach Blossoms – Villiers-le-Bel by Childer Hassam instead. I’m a very happy Helen, 10 years later that I now have the catalogue!

and marvelled in the blue of a winter sunny day.

The windows are open to let in the cooler winter air, the bells chime gently in the breeze. The bed is freshly made with sheets dried in the winter sun.

9 mths or since the last post. Let’s see how long it takes to post again 🙂

The eve of 33

I’m sitting here on the eve of my 33rd birthday waiting for orange syrup to reduce down before I crawl up in bed to read another chapter of Optimism by Bob Brown. A book that so far at the start of chapter 34 has had me laughing, crying, smiling, sobbing and pondering.

I have pondered many times over the past years, the updates required to this little blog on my little corner of the interwebs. When you no longer update the blog regularly (hello Instagram) should you do big catch up posts on the miscellany that is my life or should I just post random snippets of this life? It then of course all becomes too hard and the number of unpublished drafts increases in numbers and the pages in my various notebooks that contain my thoughts increase.

This evening though, as I look  into tomorrow that brings 33, I have an urge to write, to press that post button and not to overly stress about the editing of said post.

I thought it might be interesting to look back on this post from 10 years ago - Birthday Eve, oh how life has changed, but also how life has not.

I look at the content of that post and I realise.

  • I still love wondering round the galleries, quite possibly more now than I did then as I recognise the ability of the gallery to calm my mind.
  • I still love a good gallery gift shop.
  • I miss the days of flex time.
  • I still love Lush, maybe not as much as I did back then but Rose Jam will always have my heart.
  • It is comforting to see that 10 years later, Keen has not changed the overall page hierarchy of their website and a link from 10 years ago, takes you exactly where it was intended 10 years ago!
  • Blue Cat Chocolates has closed now but I still love a good craft chocolate shop.
  • The Northside Flower Market is still my local flower shop (though, it has been the family flower shop for gosh at least since the early 2000s.
  • I’m pretty certain I gave that tablecloth in the pictures to the opshop say 5 years ago. Looking at those photos now, I wish I still had it. Maybe I do have it though and it is just shoved in the back of a cupboard somewhere… or maybe I gave it to Mum. Who knows but time will tell.
  • Pabbi, as any former regular reader of this blog will know, died back in 2010 so no more skonsur cooking by him. I am now hankering for skonsur writing this….
  • Mum still gives me hankies every so often as a present.
  • I’m thinking I need to re-watch The Hollowmen as I am struggling to remember the show!

Tomorrow, actually scratch that. Some stage this week I hope to write a new birthday goals list, like those posts I’ve done before, a list of 33 things that I plan on doing/seeing/achieving/sorting out before I turn 34. Let’s see how I go at making two posts in one week!!

Also check that out, no photos!

Going Down Into Egypt

It has been a while but since it is stay inside tonight for #exTCDebbie, I thought I might put up another one of Effie’s articles. Reading this really makes me want to go and visit Egypt!


Going Down Into Egypt
By Euphemia Tory
Published in Volume 50 (1928-1929) of the Girl’s Own Annual, pages 223-225

THE first question of the would-be visitor, how to reach Egypt, admits so many answers that I can only suggest asking one of the well-known agents for a complete list of sailings and prices. Mail steamers from London, Marseilles or Naples; Italian lines from Genoa, Naples and the Adriatic ports (some of these provide slow, inexpensive boats with much interest at different ports of call) ; M.M. boats from Marseilles —there are ships of every nationality and varying degrees of luxury, but I do not think that any providing reasonable comfort and cleanliness cost less than about £25 each way from London, and of course more luxury can be had at higher fares.

The height of the tourist season is from January 15th to April 1st, but before and after this period the weather is glorious without being overpoweringly hot, and those who wish to economise will find prices lower and accommodation easier to obtain out of the regular season.

From October 1st to January 15th, and again from April 1st to May 31st, the Egyptian State Railways quote favourable combined hotel and railway rates for visits to steamship lines serving Egypt also give reduced out-of- season fares.


Study your Subject Beforehand.
A good guide-book with maps is worth buying. Some books begin with a short history of Egypt, and tables of approximate dates of Egyptian dynasties. Except to Egyptologists, the method of reckoning by dynasties is so confusing that these intended for the tables, uninitiated, are of the utmost assistance in arriving at some intelligent understanding of the marvellous temples and tombs. This preliminary purchase is especially necessary for those intending to visit Upper Egypt.

Port Said or Alexandria will be your port of arrival. Part of Port Said is now quite fashionable for bathing (she who does not indulge in Mediterranean bathing when she has the chance is foolish) ; and Alexandria, the city of Cleopatra, also a bathing resort, has considerable historic interest worthy of some days’ stay.

Second-class travel in Egypt, especially in a ladies’ carriage, is usually comfortable, and supplement to first-class can be paid if the train is crowded. The supplement should be paid at the station before departure. Registered baggage is an expensive item.


Make Cairo your Centre.
Cairo, the capital, and the best centre, is only a few hours’ journey from the ports. A large town with every modern convenience, trams, motors, electricity, and all kinds of accommodation etc., from Hotels de Luxe—anything from £1 to £3 per day—to the modest Y. W.C.A. for women travellers at 8s. or 10s. per day. The National Hotel advertises full board at 15s., and the Bristol at 10s. There are also boarding-houses of good class.

The interest of Cairo may be divided into four parts: Society life, which will depend entirely on your personal introductions; Ancient Egypt, visits to the Pyramids, to Sakkara and the Museum; Native life, bazaars and mosques and old Christianity, the Coptic Churches and Old Cairo.


Learning More about The Real Egypt.
The first two are obvious, but I should like to say a word about the others. It is an unfortunate fact that, chiefly owing to the language difficulty, most travellers leave Egypt knowing no more about people and its problems than they did If they happen to know upon arrival some residents they may widen their knowledge. To those not so fortunate I venture to suggest a visit to the C.M.S. Hospital in Old Cairo, locally called Harmuls. There, in addition to the usual hospital wards, you will see folk from all parts of the Delta taking the cure for Egyptian anæmia by hundreds at a time in the open-air shelters. The staff, or some of the English people connected with the hospital, will tell you something of the life and work of the Egyptian countryman, which will make your further explorations in the country very interesting. How few people think of Egypt as connected with our Lord’s childhood. But the ancient Church of Egypt does not forget that he lived here. Among several interesting Coptic Churches in Old Cairo one is erected on the supposed site of the house occupied during their exile by Joseph and Mary at Matariyeh, near Heliopolis, there exists “The Virgin’s Tree” under which Mary (called by the Egyptians Sitti Miriam) rested.


The Question of Guides.
All new-comers are pestered in Cairo by would-be guides, each complete with a Government certificate. I have nothing of good character against the character of these men except their persistence. Travellers, able to read a map, can very well get about anywhere in Cairo by tram or on foot without a guide. They can also visit the Pyramids (by tram), Ileliopolis (by electric railway) and Sakkara (by camel or car). Those who are able to make the Nile trip will find the latter excursion included. Tickets to enter mosques must be obtained beforehand through the hotel-keepers. Visitors to Upper Egypt must buy a Government permit to view antiquities, called a monument ticket, price nearly £2.


A Star Turn in the World of Travel.
The three weeks’ trip up the Nile from Cairo by tourist steamer, stopping every day to see some wonderful temple or tomb and spending nearly a week at Luxor and some days at Assuan, is one of the ” star turns ” of world travel. It costs from £70 to £50, according to the distance covered. It is certainly a wonderful experience, and seems to me to justify all that is said of it in the advertisements.

But even if you cannot manage this particular trip, there is no reason why you should not see the beauties of Upper Egypt. The combined railway and hotel tickets already mentioned are excellent, or one may travel second class and stay in small hotels. In the autumn one need not miss the river trip altogether, but may secure a berth at a reasonable rate for the quick journey (two or three days) down-stream. In spring, when Society is moving north, this cannot always be arranged.


When a Dragoman is Superfluous.
At Luxor a crowd of guides will fall upon the traveller. For the first visits to the far side of the river, one is necessary. But do not allow your-self to be led into a whole week’s arrangements. When you have done the two long excursions (each costing about 15s. per head) to the Tombs of the Kings, of the Queens and Deir el Bahari, you will know the ropes, and may then get yourself ferried over the Nile without a dragoman, and either walk as far as the Ramasseum and the Colossi of Xlemnon, or the Temple of Xledinet Habu— or pick up some of the donkey-boys always hanging about on the far side, and ride for the sum of about 2s. The magnificent group of temples at Karnak (one mile) and the Temple of Luxor are within walking distance of the hotels. A dragoman is quite superfluous when visiting them.


At Assuan.
Assuan is four hours or so from Luxor by train, and at each of the three intermediate places there is an interesting temple. One of these places might be visited en route to Assuan; and the other two from Luxor and Assuan respectively. Some days may happily be spent sight-seeing in and near Assuan, the chief excursion being to the great dam (train to Shellal station) and Temple of Philæ, which may or may not be inundated, according to the time of year. Return to Assuan it possible by boat.

The fortunate who wish to prolong their journey can proceed from Assuan to Khartoum either by boat or train, but I do not advise inexperienced travellers to go farther south except in midwinter. Most people will return north after Assuan either by boat or train. Those who has. extra time to spend in Egypt, but wish to study economy , will do to stay on in either Luxor or Assuan. In a large town like Cairo, money melts. Also, in winter, Cairo is none too warm, and chilly evenings in hotels are depressing.


The Question of Outfit.
Gertrude Bell says in one of her famous letters : ” The first rule when going to a hot country is to take all vour winter clothes,” and she certainly knew what she was talking about. I might be inclined to omit the word all, but I should certainly take some, including a really warm coat that you will need every evening on the Nile. Take also plenty of light-coloured fadeless dresses. Laundry is very expensive and Nile water so soft that it is very easy to rinse out light things oneself. Another essential is a suitable out-fit for donkey-riding astride ; side- saddles can be had, but are most uncomfortable. Transport in Egypt being either train, steamer, tram, or else ” one tourist one donkey,” the number of a party makes little difference to the expense per individual. I think that a woman could go alone to Egypt and have quite a good time.

The whole expense is difficult to estimate, but the minimum might be : £50 return fare ; 15s. per day average board and lodging ; 5s. per day small excursions ; £5 for five long excursions spread over the visit ; to £8 railway fares in the country ; £2 ” monuments ticket ” £5 tips and oddments. Tipping is on a high scale, and beggars most importunate; but I found that walking with a stick in country districts kept beggars at a respectful distance. It was not necessary to use it!




Going Down to Egypt. By Euphemia Torry
Going Down to Egypt. By Euphemia Torry
Going Down to Egypt. By Euphemia Torry
Going Down to Egypt. By Euphemia Torry

Why Not Visit Greece? By Euphemia Torry

Whilst I was in London on my way home from Iceland in January this year, I dedicated some time to family history. Not the family history I plan on committing some time to in the next couple of years, by spending a good month or two in England researching the Lawrence Stephenson line of our family. It is the one arm of our family which I can’t trace back past my great-great-great grandfather Lawrence Stephenson DD with any reliability. That is a story for another time.

The person I spent time researching in London was Cousin Effie. Cousin Effie will be the subject of a series of blog posts as I chronicle her adventures and tales.  She is one person in our family, that I would have dearly loved to have met, however since she was born on the 9th of July 1889 and died on the 12th of September 1976 that was never going to happen was it?

Lillian Florence Euphemia “Effie” Torry is my first cousin three times removed or in other words, she was the first cousin of my great grandfather Lawrence Goldie Stephenson. Cousin Effie and her older brother Arthur James Dashwood Torry were an end of the line for their family. Cousin Effie had no children, nor did she marry. Her brother, Arthur born sometime between April and June 1887, died in aerial combat on 9 October 1917. He was a Lieutenant from the Royal Garrison Artillery that was attached to the Royal Flying Corps 9Sqn and was a recipient of the military cross.

Cousin Effie was the daughter of a Reverend (it was a common profession in our family – you were either military or “of the cloth”), In addition to the death of brother in WW1, they lost both their parents with a few months of each other in 1905 and 1906. Effie was just 16 at this time.

There will be more tales of Effie’s life later but now we are focusing on what I was seeking in London. A few years ago, I did some Googling at some point in time and came across this website - http://maths.dur.ac.uk/~tpcc68/GOP/nft.htm which lists a series of articles that Effie wrote for The Girl’s Own Paper. This was probably after Mum mentioning that Cousin Effie was a journalist or similar.  Well, when I was in London, I spent some time photographing each of these articles at The British Library -> a bit of a different library to what I am used to!!!! I will be publishing these articles for the family and interested parties to read over the coming weeks.

I must say, after reading these articles, I would love at some point in time to retrace her adventures and do a comparison to each of the articles some 100 years on!

So without any further chatter, here is the first article of a series of Effie’s travel adventures!


Why Not Visit Greece?
By Euphemia Torry

Published in Volume 50 (1928-1929) of the Girl’s Own Annual, pages 46-49
Here you can combine the best in Art, History, Scenery and Climate – and the Expense need not be huge

GREECE would be Italy’s strongest rival as a holiday resort, were it not for the difficulty of reaching the country, for she possesses the twin charms of Italy in a major degree: History and Art combined with wonderful scenery and climate. The minor disadvantages of poor accommodation would melt like snow in the sun of tourist traffic.
In fact, they are already doing so, and the traveller who has the courage to go to Greece will be much more comfortable than she has been led to expect.
Since, out-side Athens, accommodation is still limited, the best party is two interesting countries in the world at women (or two men) only, prepared to share a room. Such a couple, travelling with light suit-cases, can be very mobile in country districts and see much of one of the most interesting countries in the world at very small cost

In planning a holiday the two main considerations are time and money. In the following sketch of a journey round Greece suitable for two women alone. I shall imagine that my travellers have sufficient time, but are careful as to ways and means. The most economical methods will be suggested. When the tourists reach Greece they will find ready to point out more extravagant ways!

The Best Way to Get There!
The most usual way to reach Greece is by sea, either from Marseilles, or from Venice, Trieste or Brindisi. A little known line is the Puglia, which can be taken from Venice, Trieste or Bari. Some of the Puglia boats call at all the Dalmatian ports (ten days’ delightful cruise) and reach only the northern Greek ports, where one must tranship to a Greek coasting steamer to get to Patras. It is well to avoid spending the night on the coasting steamer, but the day’s cruise among the islands is delightful.

Patras, to Begin With.
In any case, I strongly advise disembarkation at Patras, which boasts an up-to-date hotel.
It would be quite possible to visit Delphi from Patras, taking steamer up the Gulf of Corinth to Itea and motor-bus thence to Delphi, where at least two days should be spent, and then return to Patras.
It is the fashion in Greece to tell tourists that the trains are impossible and that they must motor everywhere. My experience is exactly the contrary, as I dislike bumping on bad roads. Trains are few and far between. They are slow, but they are comfortable and cheap (second class is quite good enough). Nearly all station-masters speak French and are most obliging.

And Then, On to Olympia.
Take train therefore from Patras to Olympia and stay the night there. Sparta can only be reached by car, and this excursion can be made from Olympia or Tripolitsa. From Olympia one can go on by train to Nauplia, an altogether charming sea- side resort whence one can visit Epidaurus (possessing the best – preserved Greek theatre), Tiryns and Argos, the last two by train. Any length of time could be dawdled away in this delightful part of the world with constant excursions to all parts of the Peloponnesus.

Mycenæ should Not be Missed.
Nauplia to Nlycenæ by early train and on to Athens in the evening is a quite possible arrangement. Better to stay at the inn in Mycenæ, which, though tiny, is clean and accustomed to English ways, as the innkeeper has been trained by some members of the British school in Athens, who made their home there awhile. Both the inn and the excavations are some way from the station (no transport available), so only light things should be taken and heavy bags left at the station.
Leaving Mycenæ by the same early train, one could ” stop off ” to see Corinth and proceed to Athens by the evening train. I suggest this rather than sleeping in Corinth, since one hears that all New Corinth, with the hotels, was destroyed in the last earthquake.

Athens —of Course.
In Athens, where even the most hurried traveller will not wish to spend less than a week, it is best to stay near the centre of the town (Place de la Constitution) rather than in one of the group of hotels near the railway station, which, though clean and moderate in price, are most tiresome to reach at midday when sight-seeing.
Trams and motor-buses will take you everywhere in Athens. To the Acropolis, the Theseum, the Temple of Jupiter, the museums, to name only the outstanding sights. One may also make some charming excursions: to Phaleron by tram; to the Bay of Salamis by electric train to the Piræus and then proceeding on foot or by bus; by motor – bus to Eleusis (now called Levsina) ala the Sacred Way. Excursions from Athens for which a car is needed are to Marathon and Cape Sounion. The tourist agencies make up parties so as to reduce expenses.
Leaving Athens at 10 in the morning, one may reach Kitinion (Bralo) at 2.30 and motor thence to Delphi (having arranged with the inn at Delphi to send a car), arriving in time for tea. I dare not begin to write of the beauty of this drive round the lower slopes of Parnassus, nor of the charm of Delphi, for I should not know when to leave off. I can only say: ” Do not miss it if you can possibly afford it.” Two nights at Delphi are the very least that should be allowed. Hence you may return to Patras, via Itea and home again by’ sea.
If a return by train is preferred you can leave Delphi again by the 2.30 train, which soon goes through the Pass of Thermopylæ, of which one has a wonderful view. Those who wish to see the Vale of Tempe by daylight must leave the train at Larissa at about 7 p.m. and spend the night there. (I have no first-hand knowledge of the hotel there, opinions were divided concerning it.) A slow train can be taken to Salonica next day, passing through the famous Vale. If you elect to remain in the Orient Express you will reach Salonica at midnight.

Under Mount Olympus.
There is no particular reason for staying in Salonica (unless, as in our case, you wish to visit the British cemetery), but an afternoon spent rowing about the lovely bay under Mount Olympus, with her snow-clad peaks glistening in the sun, is one of my happiest memories.
At this, the last halt in this circuit of Greece, the question will arise whether to take the Orient Express and get home quickly, or to travel by slow stages, sleeping at different places en route. And here, let the traveller who minds her purse, beware. Tourist agencies sell through tickets which admit travel on express trains. But in Jugo-Slavia much cheaper tickets may be obtained for travel by slow trains. Continuing therefore my itinerary of saving money rather than time, I suggest leaving Salonica at midday and either de-training at Nisch at midnight or spending the night in the train and reaching Belgrade at 6 a.m. The next stage might be to Posthumia, on the Italian frontier, where there are some interesting stalactite caves, and from there, one more hop to Venice again.

Traps for the Unwary.
A hint as to traps for the unwary may not be amiss. Express trains, notably the Orient Express, do not run every day of the week; and one often has to spend a day less or more in a place in order to fit in with trains.
A second class ticket admits the traveller to the Orient Express in Greece and Jugo-Slavia and she may also have a sleeper thereon, still second class. As soon as the Italian frontier is reached, supplement to first class must be paid.
Beware of leaving the decision as to sleepers until you are on the train, for you then pay 10 per cent. extra, nominally for service.
It is a real advantage to master Greek characters, so as to be able to read the place names. French is a useful language to speak, as post office officials are obliged to know it, so, when in doubt, rush to the post office. In practice, so many people have a smattering of English that even French may be dispensed with. On our journey down the coast Italian was most used and, on the return overland, we found German a common tongue.

In the Hotels.
Hotels in the larger places often provide only rooms and prefer that you should go out to meals, though they will arrange to have morning coffee sent in. Accommodation, with food, will work out at from 10s. to 15s. per day according to the place. Except in Athens and Salonica, there is little choice of hotels; one must take the first that comes. Entrance fees to museums are very moderate and most excavations entirely free.
The real expense of a trip to Greece is the initial one of getting there. Though I have now been three times to Greece, and always by different Greece? routes. I have found no route that will cost less than £11 each direction.

What is the Best Time of Year?
Spring is ideal in Greece, as elsewhere, but, being the is inclined to reduce the already limited accommodation. Autumn (say October) has a charm in all grape- growing countries, and in none more than in the land of Bacchus. Neither mid-summer nor mid-winter is, in my opinion, suitable for a first visit.

What Clothes to Take?
Most essential is a warm coat which may be used as an extra bed-covering.
A light wrap easily carried during the day, to put on after sunset, is most useful. Evening dress is not required at all, and, except that colours should be fadeless, there seems no special advice to give about the light day dresses needed. I never found any difficulty in getting laundry done.
Only let your shoes be strong, for not only are the roads bad, but ruins and excavations are cruel to footwear.



Why Not Visit Greece? By Euphemia Torry
Why Not Visit Greece? By Euphemia Torry
Why Not Visit Greece? By Euphemia Torry
Why Not Visit Greece? By Euphemia Torry
Why Not Visit Greece? By Euphemia Torry

Hawaii Day 2

Day 2 was all about the Flamingo 🙂

Lots of them and some other animal encounters at the Honolulu Zoo 🙂

Komodo Dragon
Komodo Dragon

Black Rhinoceros
Black Rhinoceros
Look a Fujifilm disposable camera!
Look a Fujifilm disposable camera!
Oh sweet gum
Oh sweet gum
Peach Faced Lovebirds
Peach Faced Lovebirds
Peach Faced Lovebirds
Peach Faced Lovebirds
Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus)
Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus)
Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)
Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)
Mosaic Flamingos
Mosaic Flamingos
Slender-tailed Meerkat
Slender-tailed Meerkat
Some form of antelope, isn’t that striping on the flank gorgeous?
Some form of antelope
Oh Zeeeeebra!
Oh Zeeeeebra!
Hello Giraffe
Hello Girafe
Lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)
lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor) lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)

Beach Umbrella … also works an umbrella when an impromptu tropical rain shower appears
Beach Umbrella ...
Indian Elephant and Diamond Head
Indian Elephant and Diamond Head
American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)

American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
How far to other zoos?
How far to other zoos?
American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)

American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Me and another great mosaic at the zoo
Me and another great mosaic at the zoo

After getting a bit rained out of the Zoo, I headed back to my classy looking hotel for a nap before heading off to Ward Village to have a browse through the shops and area.


After Ward Village, I headed through Ala Moana where I stumbled across this most wonderful reproduction dress on display in Bloomingdales. This dress is part of the Alii Gown Reproduction Project which is been run by the Friends of Iolani Palace. This dress is a reproduction of Queen Kapiolani’s lei hulu (feather lei) gown which she wore to Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1887. I have lightened the darks a bit in the below photo to try to show the exquisite detail in the bodice. The dress is the most beautiful black velvet with yellow feather embellishments. I would love a dress like this, the detail, the fabric, the cut, the train, the drape, everything! I spent a good time walking round the dress soaking it all up. Refer to this article for more detail.


On the walk back to my hotel, I went past this the Tradewinds Hotel and was totally in love with their breezeblock entry way 😀
The Tradewinds Hotel
And well you can’t have a visit to the USA with out some blueberry pancakes from IHOP 😀

And with a very full stomach, it was back to the hotel and that was Day 2 of Hawaii 😀