05.30.2011 - 05.30.2011 73 °F
While out and about on our first day, we decided we needed to get a vehicle in order to really see the rest of the island. Santorini has a bus system that goes to the major towns but they run every 30-45 minutes and overall, it is a very poor system that easily would add up to more than it was worth. We decided a moped would be just right for us (and it was relatively cheap) so we headed to the rental place by our apartment. Apparently in Europe though, in order to have a motor bike of any size, you must have a special license which Nate did not have. So instead, our next option was a 4-wheeler. We picked out our helmets and were on our way cruising along in our ATV. Although this sounds a little bizarre, you have to know that most of the tourists end up with these, so we were not the only ones on the road.
We headed to the northern most town of Oia, which again was filled with shops and we got several more beautiful photos. It isn’t worth buying the expensive photo prints on the island, as pretty much anyone can take a breathtaking photo as long as you hold the camera still and zoom past a few power lines. From there we set out in search of a beach, as I was in need of a little sun. Santorini is known for its different beaches as the sand varies because of the volcanic surface – you can find white beaches, black beaches and red beaches. The first one we came across was a bit rocky, so after a short distance we found a sandier black beach. We swam a little and when we were good and sunburned, we headed back as we had decided on doing dinner out.
One of Nate’s food goals (beyond gyros, of course) was to try grilled octopus. Even though we had had our amateur version the night before, Nate wanted to compare it with the “professionals” and to taste it on the grill. I ordered grilled swordfish (thank you Uncle Kevin for introducing me to swordfish, as it is one of my favorites) and we also tried saganaki for an appetizer. Saganaki is basically a square of a romano type cheese that is dipped in flour and then fried in olive oil. It is then served with a lemon wedge to drizzle over it. The Greek version of a giant cheese curd, I suppose. While the first bite was good, the cheese used was a little salty for me, so by the end I decided I didn’t need to try that one again. Finally, out came the octopus. Nate was disappointed at first, as all you get is one small tentacle and the night before he had had four tentacles to himself. It was however, unbelievable. The octopus picks up the charcoal flavor from the grill to really season the meat nicely. Although it was smaller than he would have liked, it was quite amazing. I can bet that if octopus is available in Portland at all, that might be one of Nate’s specialties once we have a house and a grill.
At the end of the meal, we were served small glasses of ouzo with orange juice, which is customary at many Greek restaurants. After our first taste test of the liquor in Athens, I had more than enough, so Nate was left to finish off both of our glasses. Even he isn’t a fan of the black licorice flavor, and orange juice mixed with it doesn’t help, he was still a good sport so as not to offend the restaurant. From there we headed back for a dessert of baklava on the patio and watch the last of the cruise ships exit.