Brush up on your Greek dancing. We are off to the postcard paradise of Santorini.
This gem of the Greek Cyclades was once completely circular. In the late 18th century BC, some mother-of-all-earthquakes hit the island, destroying the entire port city of Akrotiri. Not 200 years later a volcano blew the entire island to pieces. This must be the Webster’s dictionary definition of bad luck.
Looking out from Finike, a small, quiet village outside of the picturesque town of Oia, there remains the caldera, a cauldron like volcanic feature from where the great volcano burst those millennia ago. The major land mass of Santorini looks like a backwards C with the caldera as a dot in the middle.
Tiny islands remain in the wake of the great explosion. The last major earthquake to shake this paradise was in 1956. If history has any repeating rhythm of natural disasters all should be well for the folks of Santorini for another couple of thousand years give or take a century.
Upon our arrival at Oia Suites we were greeted at this six room, family run hotel as if we were the long lost relatives once thought perished in a natural disaster. There were many smiles and shaking of hands from all three generations, all wanting to make sure we were comfortable and happy.
Let’s see …you will do my laundry for free? (Did I happen to mention I was on a two week cycling trip?) The mini fridge is included? (“We want to make you feel welcome”) and a rental car thrown in. Oh and the panoramic view of this seaside paradise, well that is just part of the package.
Across the road sat a little local ‘taverna’ and restaurant. We were greeted at the gate no less enthusiastically. It was a night of amazing food ( you must try the local specialty of fried tomato balls if you come to Santorini) add some Mythos beer or some of the local wine which has a history of being produced on this island for 3500 years.
There is great pride taken in the fresh seafood available to the local restaurants in Santorini. At dinner at Sunset Taverna, one is encouraged to look at the daily catches from the local fishermen to assist in deciding what to order.
For those of you who know me well, you can appreciate that looking at the suction cup like attachments on the legs of a whole octopus, the gaping mouths of assorted fish caught in last gasps and crawling lobsters waving their tentacles usually inspires me to order salad.
You will also know that in balance with that I am one to seize the moment so the four of us ordered the highly prized biggest catch of the day to share….the 2 kg Red Snapper. There was much congratulating of our wise choice, likely because we were paying the equivalent of the gross national product of a small nation to eat it.
The fish arrived beautifully filleted on a platter the size of a dishpan. I will add it was absolutely scrumptious. I was not so sure about the look on the face of our seafood dinner companion…what a set of teeth!
This fish had a serious overbite and obviously was a bit of a terror in the water. Once dinner was complete and all that remained was the head and tail, I thought my acting as though the fish head were my friend for photo opportunities was hilarious.
Hubby did his best impression of ‘ I don’t really know her, I am just a good Samaritan taking her out of the facility on a day pass.’ At another table restaurant patrons ordered the calamari which in Calgary comes as something breaded and fried having a close resemblance to onion rings.
Here the entire squid with tentacles waving (okay the waving is an exaggeration) arrives on one’s plate. I suggested to Hubby that I could ask to borrow our fellow diner’s meal as a hand puppet. At that point I was cut off from further local red wine consumption.
What do you think of Santorini? What is your best island experience?
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