Thanks for all of your warm wishes. In honor of not just making this a “then we did this, then we did that” note about Santorini, I’m going to just highlight the cool stuff in the order it comes to my head.
Still no lamb—I’ve searched the net a bit and can’t find an answer. We’ll be headed to Athens at some point, so you can bet I’ll be eating some then.
Fira is a city is in the middle of the island and is the most visited part of the island (either people that are staying overnight or from a cruise ship). The entire island is 100% tourism; everything revolves around that (ok, maybe 99%, as I’m sure they export a little bit of wine). When a cruise ship comes to town, each ship literally dumps 3,000 people into the streets. Needless to say, the narrow cobblestone walkways don’t cater well to this influx of people, but the local shops don’t mind. The store owners stand outside, smoking cigarettes, shuffling people into their stores with promises of deals and beautiful “chotchkeys (i.e., junk).” Inside one of the stores I overheard this conversation: “But this says ‘made in Mexico’—I want something from Santorini!”…“I can assure you ma’am, everything else in this store is from Santorini”… “Show me, I haven’t seen anything yet!”….
A few people have asked me about language. Almost everyone speaks English, with the exceptions of the people cleaning our room (errr… cave) and the people we see cleaning the town.
As I said earlier, our first voyage to water was not great, EXTREMELY rocky and not lots of fun. Our next voyage to the red beach was awesome; much more what we were looking for. The last destination was simply amazing – Kamari Beach. Hundreds of symmetrical umbrellas and beach chairs line the beach front from end to end. Adjacent to the beach is a very long beach boardwalk with restaurants, shops and markets. All of the restaurants were boasting English-speaking “cumentary /comentury /camantary” (I think they meant “commentary”) of the Barcelona/Manchester U champions league game that night. On the northern end of the island there is an ENROMOUS rock (mountain) that ends the beach as it extends far into the ocean.
The ultimate dream was almost complete at Kamari beach as we scouted out our beach chairs in the sun and searched for drinks. I asked a bartender if we could buy a drink from him (at the boardwalk) and bring it down to the beach—he said “OF COURSE” and his expression said “What a stupid question!” In the interest of saving money we ended up buying our own supplies to make drinks, which worked out perfectly. No problem bringing glass on the beach in Santorini (if anyone knows Mayor Sanders in San Diego, please let him know it seems to be working ok for the Greeks).
Later in the day I took a break while sunbathing at Kamari beach, walked a couple hundred feet, grabbed a gyros from a restaurant on the boardwalk (2.50 Euros) and brought it back to my beach chair. The gyros was fantastic and I can’t believe how cool it was just to quickly grab one and come back (BTW the over-under on me eating gyros in Santorini is 5—I’m already at 3).
A few friends of mine told me before I left that we planned to spend too much time in Santorini. We respected their opinion and told ourselves that we could go to many other islands to pass the time. After visiting Kamari, we won’t be going anywhere else. Not only would we be perfectly content going there every day, but there is so much more on the island that we haven’t yet seen: ancient ruins, wineries, museums, more beaches, etc…
There were a few restaurants that came recommended via the Internet. One of them was Ambrosia de Nectar (BTW – there is another restaurant called Ambrosia, people get mixed up very often). At Ambrosia de Nectar they had a dish that was featured by Food Networks’ Giada – called warm feta. It was AMAZING, but it’s too bad the rest of the menu wasn’t all that great.
My Greek friends also told me to get ready to drink great wine. Local Santorini wine was supposed to be fantastic and it is! Why? Volcanic soil and great weather make it one of the best places to grow wine in the world (at least from what I’ve read).
I was also told by many that I need a car or a scooter to get around. But the buses have treated us very well, mixed in with a few taxi rides and our legs; we’re doing fine sans our own engine.
Tomatoes on the island are fantastic as well. An amazing vibrant red like I’ve never seen before. A little research told me that Santorini is known for its tomatoes and they even have a cherry tomato conference every June (who got the job of planning that?). The tomato plants don’t even need to be watered—the moisture in the air and the sun are all they need. Now that’s my type of plant!
When you look at the pictures I want everyone to remember, there are no elevators in Santorini; only old cobblestone stairs. At first I thought we would get used to them, turns out we haven’t. Thanks god for the picturesque views, I’m not sure I could keep this up in Lodi.
Listen Recovery Crew