Sunday, May 20, 2012

Santorini Honeymoon – Day 3

When we woke up, the wind had died down to a stiff breeze, but it was perfect outside. Amazingly clear air and not an ominous cloud in the sky.

After breakfast, we knew we were going to see more of the island, so Mike – one of the most amazing hotel staff on the planet – rented us a car to use for the day. He told us it would be a SmartCar, but then apologized for only having something much larger for us – a Nissan Micra. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I drove an SUV back home, so this was NOT a “larger” car. Hahaha.

We wanted to find a wine museum that Avi and Ben (our new friends from Lucky’s Souvlaki) told us about. Apparently, there are horrific and hilarious animatronic people acting out the wine-making process and you have to see it to really experience it. We headed off to find it. We drove past a red-roofed church – the same one our shuttle driver from the airport told us was a landmark for a great restaurant just behind it. We thought we’d check out the restaurant. And we are SOOOO glad we did. It was the best meal we had in Santorini.
It’s a small local sort of place outside the city – the restaurant is pronounced Metaxi Mas. The boss was eating with friends out on the patio when we arrived. D.Rough and I had an incredible meal and everything was covered in cheese. LOTS of cheese. We loved it. They also brought this clear liquid to every table with shot glasses. We decided this was moonshine and polished off the entire bottle of it. Delicious and firey! I'll explain what the moonshine is in a later post.

We got the wine museum only to find it was closed up for the day. So we had some free time. We headed to the Akritori beach and D.Rough, wearing her jacket, got her feet in the volcanic sand and the Aegean Sea. It really was beautiful there. There are small shops and restaurants on (I mean ON) the beach that were closed, likely due to the waves from the storm flooding their businesses.

After the beach, we headed to the lighthouse – the southernmost tip of the island. The lighthouse still functions every night and doesn’t appear to see much tourist traffic. But, it offers great views from the cliffs and rocks directly below the lighthouse itself.

We headed back toward the center of the island and passed a small Greek bakery. We had to pick up some snacks, certainly. A six-pack of bottled water and some baklava for the road.

Mike from the hotel told us the highest point on the island is Imerovigli and that’s where we should see the sunset from if we really want to be amazed. So we raced to Imerovigli to beat the sun. We parked the car and ran through the village to find the cliff face. A small shop was just closing, but when the owner saw us coming, he opened back up and got us some drinks. Then he turned on the music for us. As my tequila sunrise was coming to my table (to watch the sunset), Yanni’s “Santorini” started on the shop speaker system. Hilarious and apropos. We were noticing hilarious soundtracks popping up wherever we were. We didn’t pick it, but people would turn on music whenever they would see us coming. Very odd, but we started paying more attention. It got more weird, now that we were paying attention.

We watched another glorious sunset over the caldera (the volcano and bay), We didn’t have much on the agenda, so we headed to Oia (pronounced EE-ah) and walked around a bit. Oia is the northern point of the island and is also the touristy and expensive area with shops and restaurants and expensive hotels. We just wanted to see how long it took to get there, since we were realizing how small the island was. We drove from the southern tip of the island, saw a sunset and had some drinks, and then made it to the northern tip of the island in about two hours. Yup, Santorini is a small and quaint island. We walked around Oia for a while and headed back to Fira when the shops started closing.

We found a well-rated (on restaurant called Naoussa, so we grabbed a bite. D.Rough wasn’t feeling the best, since she’s lactose intolerant and we had gorged ourselves on the most cheese we’ve ever eaten in our lives (whoops). Then drove a tiny car around super swervy narrow roads at high speeds (like you do in Greece). So, her stomach wasn’t her friend at this point.

We kept dinner relatively small and still had an awesome meal. It seems every restaurant in Santorini comes with a character (either owner or staff). They love their jobs and love meeting new people. We had a fantastic dinner with dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), fava, beet dip, and this amazing meatball and rice dish. Naoussa really is as good as its reviewers say it is.

Wow, we really stay up late when we’re here. It was almost 2am when we got home and cashed out in a food coma.

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