ESCAPE MONTHLY BONUS BOX
Escape Monthly is a travel-themed subscription box. Around Black Friday, Escape Monthly offered a special where you could get the subscription for a ten dollar discount each month PLUS a free bonus box. The bonus box was Greece, a country renowned for its history, its beauty, and its food. I couldn't resist and reenlisted in the subscription. A few days after I received the first box, this bonus box appeared on my doorstep.
The enclosed itinerary brochure described the wonders and attractions of Greece as thought the passage was lifted straight from a poorly-edited almanac:
GREECE AT A GLANCE
Greece consists of a peninsular mainland (extending from the southern region of Central Greece to the northern region of Thrace) The Peloponnesian peninsula that is separated from the mainland by the Corinth Canal.
An archipelagos of approximately 6,000 islands and islets, scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea, of which 227 are inhabited. Most of them are located in the Aegean Sea and divided into seven clusters: Northern Aegean islands, Sporades, Evia, Argosaronic islands, Cyclades, Dodecanese and Crete. The Heptanese cluster is located in the Ionian Sea.
131,957 km2 – the total area of Grece 13,676 km – length of Greece's coastline, according to the CIA World Factbook, 7,500 km of which surround the thousands of islands in the Greek archipelago.
80% of the country consists of mountains or hills, making Greece one of the most mountainous countries in Europe.
The writer must really love his or her numbers because they seemed desperate to measure and quantify everything.
RICK STEVES' Pocket Athens Guide Book: Every Escape Monthly box includes a travel guide, which is one of my favorite things about the box. I often dislike Steves' style of guidebook, because he maps out paths for his readers instead of encouraging them to explore organically, but I did enjoy the rich descriptions and details of Athens' famous statues and museum collections. $12.99
Evil Eye Charm: This little glass glob, roughly the size of a half dollar, will supposedly ward off negativity and demonic influence. I can't help but doubt its efficacy, but this silly little trinket is exactly the sort of thing I love to buy for friends when I'm on vacation. $5.00?
Mastiha Chewing Gum: It looks like a Chicklet, and tastes like pine sap. Very earthy with a hint of sweetness. It's probably not a taste you love unless you grew up with it. But it does leave my mouth feeling clean and refreshed. This isn't a product I will seek out in the future, but again, it's exactly the sort of thing I would buy on impulse while roaming in a foreign country. $2.00?
Mastic Care Body Lotion: Apparently, what's good for the teeth is also great for the skin. The same resin that appears in the gum is also used here. The lotion has a much more Western smell, a light powdery floral. It has avocado and calendula oil to help nourish dry skin. €4.70
Illiada Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil Flavor: Subscribers received one of several flavors of olive oil: truffle, chocolate, vanilla, chili or basil. I got really lucky with basil, because Sean and I regularly use pesto sauce on pizza, pasta, and other foods. I am curious about vanilla or truffle oil, but unlike some of the more exotic flavors I know we'll use this one. Also, how cute is the little aluminum oil can? $13.95
Misko Greek Orzo Pasta: I've never made orzo before, but I bet it tastes great with basil olive oil. I'm sure my husband and I will enjoy this soon. $3.85?
IVI Peach Juice: This drink is super sweet and syrupy. It's like drinking the liquid left in a can of peaches after you've drained the fruit. I have fond memories of doing just that when I was a child, and that nostalgia makes me love this stuff, too. $8.00?
Olivia Natural Bar Soap with Olive and Lavender Oil: Olive oil soap. Can't get more Greek than that! I love olive oil soap so this simply delights me. $4.30
Bingo Serenata Milk Chocolate Wafer x 2: And the best of all – Greek chocolate! Nothing makes me more excited than eating chocolate from a foreign country. I love seeing how each culture takes a basic staple – the chocolate bar – and puts their own touches on the candy to make it unique. $0.99 each
I love boxes with lots of food to try, as long as they balance it with a couple other cultural knick-knacks. Olive oil soap, an evil eye charm, and candy contrast nicely with the olive oil and orzo. Once again, I'm extremely pleased with Escape Monthly's new direction.