torrie's travels


On the Back of Donkey November 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 2:32 pm

That’s where I found myself early this afternoon! I slept late again and lounged around before getting ready. I got a quick pastry for breakfast and began to walk around Fira Town. I wanted to check out the town and eventually make my way down to the Old Port. I came upon the sign for the way down sooner than I had expected, but I took it anyway. First, I saw gorgeous views of the sea, the neighboring islands, and the caldera. I then began the descent. 587 steps down. You’d think that by going down, it would be no biggie. Um, no. The steps were all slanted downward (and were uneven cobblestone). So it was sometimes tricky navigating them. With all the walking, hiking, and stair climbing I’ve done this week, my legs were wobbly when I got down to the bottom!

I found a DC and sat by the sea. After I finished my DC, I moved down the pier and sat some more. I could sit in the sun by the sea forever. I just love water. And I was getting warm, so I kind of wanted to go swimming! After poking around a bit (and getting an awesome ornament for my Misfit Christmas Tree), I decided it was time to go back up. Walk up, you ask? You must be joking. I took a donkey!

If you don’t want to walk, and really, who does?, then there are two methods for going back up: cable car or donkey. Donkeys are big here and it used to be the only way people got up from the port. So I went with the traditional way! There were three Chinese girls getting their donkeys before me. We all kind of went up together. They all got brown donkeys, but I was stuck with a white one. But that’s ok, I learned to love him. The Chinese girls were practically freaking the H out. I was getting super annoyed by them, but I suppose horseback riding isn’t a big pastime in China. So I cut them some slack. It was funny how my donkey saw the three of them all jumbled in a cluster with the humans screeching and just motored past all of them. He ain’t got no time for that!

I felt bad for Whitey. I felt like I was too heavy for him and he shouldn’t be subjected to this. Even though I read a sign that this is what they are made for. They’re pack animals and are used to carrying up to 1/5 of their weight. So I went with it. Apparently the reason that the Greek men at the bottom were yelling at the Chinese girls “no photos!” was because they have their own photographer. I wondered what the guy was doing just sitting there when I was walking down. I was glad because I wanted a photo of me on Whitey. The ride ended before I thought it would. As I went up a few steps, a guy was standing there holding my donkey photo. Um, just no. The photo was hideous. The angle was ridiculous. I had to pass. I’m sad that I don’t have a photo, but life goes on.

I then made my way to the post office to get stamps. It was a delight. After dealing with the Italian postal system for 12 days, I was happy to just walk in and buy stamps. Then I stopped by the bus station to confirm what time I was taking the bus to Oia later. And finally stopped at another gyro place for lunch. Again, I said no onions and again “everything” included French fries. But no coleslaw, even though I saw it there. Last night, I picked the French fries out and ate them separately. I did that a little today, but also tried to eat it with them in. I won’t do that again. It ruins it. Sorry, Greek gyros.

Then I returned to my hotel to do a bit of resting and catch up on post cards, email, and bills. Fun times! After that, I went to the bus station and waited for the bus. For a long time. In general, the Santorinis (I don’t know what they are called) have been nothing but hospitable and welcoming. That’s if you don’t count the bus drivers. In the words of a fellow passenger today, they are “rude and mean.” This was followed by: “I don’t speak Chinese, I speak English.” Poor guy. But he’s right. The bus driver people are downright rude. Apparently they’re unfamiliar with the phrase, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

The bus came late, which was annoying because I wanted to get to Oia for the sunset. The bus was supposed to leave at 4:30 and didn’t arrive until 4:35. It’s a 20 minute trip and sunset was at 5:07. This made me anxious. I was told that this is the best place to watch the sunset and they weren’t wrong. After running through the streets, ok I only ran when no one was looking, I reached the other side of the city with an unobstructed view of the sunset. It was gorgeous. I wish I had found the castle ruins, which is supposedly where you are supposed to watch it, but oh well. I kind of liked seeing it on my own. It went down fast. I never realized how quickly the sun sets. As I sat there watching it I thought about how people used to think the world was flat. Can you blame them? It totally looks flat. It looks like ends and warning explorers that they were going to fall off the edge wasn’t unreasonable. They didn’t know any better. And watching that sun dip below the horizon, it definitely made the Earth look flat!

I then made my way back to the bus stop to see what time it was coming. I had about an hour to kill, but thankfully this time I brought my tablet so I could read. But it was windy and cold. It was still 60-some degrees, but everything seems much colder when you are so close to the sea and the sun has gone down. When I got back to Fira, I didn’t feel very good. The bus ride was a bumpy, swervy one, so instead of going to dinner straightaway, I came back to my room. Plus. I needed to arrange my airport transportation for tomorrow.

When I got back, there weren’t any workers there, but a little kid. Maybe 10 years old. Playing on the computer. He asked if he could help me and I tried to say I wanted to schedule an airport drop-off, when two other guests said the guy was dropping someone off at the port. The kid said, “he’ll be back, maybe one hour.” What a cutie. So after sitting in my room a bit, I started feeling better and set out for dinner. I was didn’t know what I wanted to eat, but definitely wanted to try Naoussa, a restaurant that was recommended to me by my hotel and my triposo app!

I got there and realized I had left most of my money back in the room and only had a 20 on me. Usually that would be fine, but this place was a little fancier. So I decided on two options: one if they took credit cards and one if they didn’t. They did. Thankfully! So I ordered the tomatokeftedes (I wanted to try them somewhere else) and a chicken breast with mashed potatoes. I would almost never order that at a restaurant at home, but it sounded so good! Almost like normal, home food but good for you! Previously, my home food has been McDonald’s!

The tomatokeftedes came out first. These had a lot more mint than the ones yesterday. I could only eat two before my meal was brought out, but that was good. I didn’t really like them. Hey, I tried them twice! The chicken and mashed potatoes looked great and tasted just as good! As I was partway through my meal, the waiter brought me a complimentary glass of local wine. Seriously, I should come here in the off-season more often! Free things left and right! Ok, not everywhere, but 2/3 of my sit down meals have come with something free and unexpected! When I asked for the check he also brought me their limoncello. I forgot about that. I had read in a review that they give everyone a glass at the end of the meal. It was delicious! It was like a limoncello slushy. So much better than in Italy (shhh…). He asked me to come back the next day, but I told him I was leaving tomorrow and he asked where I was going. I told him and then said that people told me not to come this time of year, but that it’s been lovely. He said only the Chinese come at this time of year! He also said he likes it better now than with so many tourists in the summer! He was sweetheart. Like I said, all the non-bus driving local have been the best! Oh and I forgot, the chef came out as my meal arrived to ask me if the appetizer and meal came too close together. What a great place!

Getting ready for two more flights tomorrow. First to Athens and then a 4 hour layover before heading to Mykonos. Super annoying at the layover, but no ferries are running now.


One Response to “On the Back of Donkey”

  1. Emilie Olson Says:

    Think of Paul and me in Mykonos. We went their on our Concordia trip :).

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