06 July 2007

Same Island, Different City

Oia, Santorini Island, Greece July 2, 2007

After I watched my dear Jesse ride off on a donkey, I sat and looked at the sea. I also caught my breath because that Greek hillside is steep. While sitting, I saw a familiar face. His name is Adrian and he's one of the agents on the cruise with Jesse. He and I chatted and decided to catch a bus to the north end of the island, Oia.

Jesse, Ryan, and I had already walked by the bus station, so I knew where it was located. It was pretty easy to get on a bus and head up the cliffs. We were told Oia is famous for its wine and sunsets. We would not be there for the sunset, so we were determined to taste the wine.

Once Adrian and I arrived, we bought postcards at a little grocery store. There, I learned Lays makes chips that taste like chicken, among other things.

I also learned ketchup is cuter when it's shaped like a person. I know. I get tickled by the simplest things.

Once we got the shopping done, we went on to find that winery. The town is tiny and a woman at an information kiosk assured us there was a winery on the road between the bakery and the supermarket. So we went to the bakery, as it was on the way anyway.

There, I spotted these little guys. They're little heart-shaped creamsicles. Of course you can't judge their size, so you'll have to trust me. I bought some organic jelly for my dad and we were once again on our way.

It was all downhill from there, literally. We walked for at least 45 minutes and along the way, we saw olive trees, cacti, and what Adrian told me were pomegranate trees. I did not see any actual pomegranates though, so I'm not convinced. Finally, we saw grapes and we turned at what appeared to finally be a winery. I took a picture of it. But the road stopped... almost as if it were a driveway.

"The road does not go any further," said a woman hanging laundry to the Americans heading into her backyard. We asked her if we were close to the winery and she said no. It's actually at the bottom of the road, near the sea. While the walk there would have been easy enough, the walk back might have killed us, and certainly would have made us late for the ship. We thanked her, apologized for trespassing, and began our ascent.

I can't explain that walk. It was difficult, but seemed to go a lot faster than the walk down, even though we took a break. Once we got to the top, we decided the easiest way to taste the local wine would be to eat at a local restaurant. A few blocks later, we found Pizzeria Edwin. It had a nice look about it, and while I had never thought the Greeks famous for their pizza, we decided to eat there.

I ordered water, wine, and a spinach crepe. Now it had always been my belief that crepes were a breakfast food. And perhaps spinach is a breakfast food in Greece. Either way, I ate this crepe for lunch and it was scrumptious. Along with the spinach, there was cheese and some sort of milk sauce. Adrian ordered an "anything from lamb" and he was not disappointed.

I went to Europe with phrase books in both Greek and Italian. This lunch presented an opportunity to attempt to use my newly purchased knowledge. We did not get any silverware with our meals. The only confirmed English speaker there was our waitress and she had left to make a delivery. So I ventured inside and tried to ask the chef. I took out my book, followed my pronouncer, and asked. He said "Maybe English?" Obviously my Greek could use some work. Eventually we understood each other and I was able to go town on the crepe.

After lunch, we decided to go back down to Fira. We did not want to be on the last tender, just for the sake of not getting stressed out. Before getting on the bus, we stopped back into that grocery store, where I happened upon this cute little Trident gum dispenser. I thought he was totally worth 3,30 euros. Here it is pictured with other cute things in our cabin. As we were leaving the store, we saw a bus loading up for Fira, and we loaded ourselves right on it.

As the bus pulled away, we noticed it was a lot nicer than the bus we had taken up to Oia. It was newer and had stronger air conditioning. We also noticed everyone on the bus was American, and that no one was coming around asking for money. It seemed Adrian and I had crashed someone's tour bus. Based on the sign in front, we knew it was going where we wanted, but we felt a bit guilty. Fortunately for us, things are not always as they appear. We really did just happen to be on a nice bus full of other American tourists... and the fare collector was just taking his time.

Once we were back in Fira, we realized our timing was great. We joined a very long line of people waiting to take the cable cars. Some were talking about taking the stairs, but I advised against it, noting both the donkey droppings and their open toe shoes. Later on, I met people who did take the walk and who wished they had not. A leisurely stroll down the Greek countryside is one thing but a waltzing tip-toe through a poop trail is entirely different.