September 22, 2009 – Santorini

October 8, 2009

After a light breakfast, we headed to Oia via the footpath that runs between Fira and Oia.  It’s about six miles total, so I’d guess it’s about four miles from Imerovigli to Oia.   The walk took us two hours at a leisurely pace and afforded us many spectacular views.

Monastery we passed on hike from Imerovigli to Oia.

Monastery we passed on hike from Imerovigli to Oia.

Oia is beautiful, with scenery to make postcards seem a dull comparison.   We found a cafe with a balcony overlooking water. Our snack coincided with the arrival of the cruise ship day trippers.  We talked to one couple about our morning walk – we could point to our starting place.  They seemed rather amazed that we would actually walk that far.

N and I at the cafe in Oia.

N and I at the cafe in Oia.

N ordered an appetizer that was a block of feta wrapped in phylo dough, fried, then drizzled with honey and sesame seeds.  Amazing!

After eating, we walked around, popping into shops and buying a couple of books at Atlantis Books.  After we grew tired of breathtaking beauty, we hopped on the bus back to Imerovigli.  We rested for a few hours, sitting on the terrace.

Around 5:30, we dressed in our fanciest clothes (not that fancy) and walked to Fira in search of a restaurant called Selene, which our guide book highly recommended.  We found it, but after looking at the menu we realized it was not what we really wanted.  They specialized in haute cuisine, with items such as “lemon foam.”  We wanted simple, fresh, good food – probably what is considered “peasant food.”

We tried a few more places but nobody’s menu matched what we craved.  We wound up grabbing some gyros and catching the bus back to our room – in time to watch a spectacular sunset.  Post-sunset, we read for a bit and went to bed early.

View of the sunset from our terrace.

View of the sunset from our terrace.

This morning we awoke around 7 after a fitful night’s sleep.  Actually, N got up earlier and watched the sun rise.  We ate a light breakfast, then enjoyed a second cup of coffee on the terrace.  We left the room with the intent of seeing the island via bus but wound up renting a car instead.  The woman who filled out the paperwork gave us a map and highlighted the most popular sites.  She also suggested places for lunch and dinner.  The lunch place, Giordorno’s, she described as “fresh fish – they are fishermen.”  “Bingo!” we thought, “just the food we want.”

First, we drove to Ancient Thira.  We thought cars were not allowed all the way up so we parked at the base of the hill and started walking.  After about ten minutes, a car passed and we realized our mistake but by that time we felt committed.  It was a long walk but we enjoyed it because we had begun feeling the lack of exercise.

Ancient Thira excited my imagination.  It was a place people actually lived and you could see the remains of their sewage system and living spaces.  I found this much more interesting than the Acropolis which was mainly a place of worship. After an hour, we started the long hike down.  Oddly enough, it felt much shorter headed downhill. 

We set out to find the restaurant suggested by the car rental agent.  We knew it was on the southern-most tip of the island but we only had a very basic map.  We took a few wrong turns but finally made it – the discovery made sweeter by the delay.  We ordered grilled squid, fresh small shrimp, greek salad, olives and fried zucchini.  The shrimp arrived fried, which surprised us.  It was also whole, complete with eyes and legs.  We felt uncertain about which parts to eat and which to discard.  When the waitress arrived to pick up the dish of shrimp heads, tails and legs, N asked if we were supposed to eat the heads.  We’d imagined the kitchen staff shaking their heads and saying, “Crazy Americans, wasting perfectly good food.”  The waitress looked at N like he was crazy and shook her head.


2 Responses to “September 22, 2009 – Santorini”

  1. Poppa Says:

    Did she shake her head “yes”, or “no”

  2. birdtribird Says:

    I think shaking the head is a “no” by definition – wouldn’t a head movement indicating “yes” be a nod?

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