Today was just the kind of day I needed. Restful and relaxing! I started by sleeping until 10:45. It was glorious. Especially because noise threatened to wake me at 9:08. But I fought it off and went back to sleep! I think that is the latest I have slept on this trip and I think I can count on one hand how many times I have gotten 10 hours of sleep (which is my weekend norm back home). I spent another hour just catching up on the internet before dragging myself out of bed to get ready for the day.
I wanted to get a gyro for lunch before catching the local bus, but I didn’t know where to go to find a gyro stand (that was open), so I ended up just getting the bus. My first destination was the Red Beach. It looks super cool in pictures, so I wanted to see it! Unfortunately, I don’t think I saw the main beach. When I got off of the bus, I walked down to where it seemed to end and there were definitely red rocks/boulders. But there was also a footpath that I started walking on, until I saw a sign that said not to use due to falling rock. BUT it wasn’t blocking the path, as it could have been. It was off to the side. So I started going again, but really didn’t want to get in trouble or plunked by a falling boulder, so I turned around, convinced I had seen the red beach. (Because what I initially thought was around the bend was the white beach…which I also wanted to see.) Later, I saw the picture again and realized I did not see the main part of the red beach. Wah wah.
On my way back to the bus stop, I was starving, and found a taverna that was open! Yay! There was one other diner for a little bit, otherwise I was the only one there. I ordered the tomatokeftedes, aka fried tomato balls. I had read about them being a specialty in Santorini. A girl who was having dinner at the same place we were last night had them and Chebi’s friend asked her about them and tried one. She offered me one, but I declined, knowing I would order them on my own at some point. Anyway, they are chopped tomatoes, onions (I took the big pieces out), and mint mixed with flour and fried until golden brown. It was pretty good, but not as tomato-y as I had hoped. I will probably try them tomorrow night, too. The taverna did not have gyros, so I did a pork souvlaki. This one did not come with a pita, but also had tomatoes, tzatziki sauce, and French fries. It was all very good and very fresh! The lady apologized for taking so long to bring me the food, she said she just returned from Athens where her daughter just had a baby girl! I congratulated her and assured her I was in no hurry. As I finished eating, she brought me a dessert that I did not order. She set it down, saying it was “just something she makes.” She then went to speak to someone who had driven up to talk to her (I was sitting out on a terrace facing the Aegean Sea!). I tried it and did not really like it. It was a scoop of something white with what appeared to be dates or figs and a brown sauce. I ate as much of it as I could, as she was treating me. When she came back I asked her what it was and she said it was “yogurt with grapes marmalade.” A-HA! That’s why I didn’t like it. I can’t stand yogurt, let alone Greek yogurt. She was an incredibly sweet lady and I’m so glad I had lunch there!
I then went to the bus stop, not knowing when the next bus was coming. I thought I remembered that it was every hour, so I thought the most I would wait is an hour. So I went to the “beach”, which was all rocks, and stood in the water. So now I can say I’ve been in the Aegean Sea. I then went to the stop and sat, watched the stray cats, and waited. And waited. And waited. Cars and motorbikes drove back and forth, but no bus. One guy on a motorbike who had driven by was coming back and stopped to ask if I needed a ride. He asked if I was going to Fira (the main town where I am staying) and I said no. He said Perissa? I said yes. And he said he would drive me. I’m sure he had no nefarious intentions and was not, Anna, a rapist or murderer, but I do have to be vigilant about my safety and driving off on the back of a strange guy’s motorbike is probably not wise. Thankfully the bus came a short time later. I waited close to an hour and a half.
But the bus took me to Perissa, one of the black sand beaches on the island. They have very colorful beaches here! It was weird to see black sand. The views were gorgeous. I walked the beach and took photos of a giant rock cropping. I sat on some rocks on the sea for a long time. I am at my most peaceful state on the water. A dog tried to make me his best friend, but I was having nothing to do with that! I then decided to see what the bars and restaurants had going as I waited for the bus (this time I knew what time it was arriving!). I found a bar with Strongbow, so I sat on the beach drinking a cider as sunset approached. The bus ride back into Fira was stunning with the sunset. I can’t wait to see it in Oia tomorrow!
When I got back, my intention was to go back to room for a bit and then go to the grocery store to get something for dinner. I have to say, after 12 days in Italy, the Mediterranean diet feels great! But I still wanted something lighter and to relax in my room. But first I saw that souvenir shops were still open so I got my shot glass and some postcards. Then went to my room. As I set out for the grocery store, I realized it would’ve made more sense to have gone there straight from the bus, but oh well. I decided to take a different street up to the street that the store is on and found TONS of restaurants and take-aways. Bingo! I saw some with gyros, but I kept insisting to myself that I should go to the store. Until I saw a pure take-away stand called “Nick the Grill.” How could I pass that up?? So I got a pork gyro. Contrary to popular belief, Greeks don’t eat lamb. At least not in their gyros. That is an American thing. So I went with the Greek style. He asked if I wanted everything on it and I just said no onions. Then I went to the fridge and grabbed a liter of water. The whole meal? 3.30 euro. Or $4.12. The water was only 1 euro. So far Greece, at least Santorini, has not been expensive. Hoping the rest of my stay is similar!
I got back to my room and pulled out my gyro (who knew they could wrap it up and put it in a bag without spilling everything?!?!). I was surprised to find French fries in my gyro. Yes, French fries. I guess that’s just how they roll here. And lettuce, which the guys at the state fair refuse to put on my gyro saying it isn’t appropriate. Suck it, state fair guys. And a cole slaw of some type. In addition to the normal tomato and tzatziki sauce. It was very good! I will try one at another place for lunch tomorrow. Pretty sure I am going to eat my weight in gyros while in Greece. But I kinda knew that ahead of time!