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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Greek Hospitality and Ouzo

Since coming to Greece the hospitality has been amazing. While staying at Casa Antica in Rhodes, the family that runs the inn had a birthday party for their dad. We were drinking a bottle of wine on the patio, and next thing you know the mom of the family gave us some birthday cake! These people were amazing, super nice, warm, and friendly. 

We also had a local market in rhodes that I went to every day, and the couple who owned the place where the sweetest people. While I was browsing the lady followed me around talking about her family and their travels to the US. As I  picked up items (cheese, yogurt, bread, olive oil, olives, ouzo) she would take the item from me, nod approvingly to ensure I wanted to buy the item, then walk it to the checkout desk so I did not have to carry the items in my basket.

Or the local pie guy who takes the time to nicely warm up his exquisite spinach pie you in his home.

Stuffing our faces with spinach pie
Then, after a hike around three harbors in Rhodes with our bags in the middle of the afternoon, a nine hour ferry ride, and arriving in Santorini at 2 AM in the morning, the guy who runs the inn we were staying at picked up us from the dock and drove us to the inn!

I feel like everywhere we went we were welcomed as friends and family, such a nice thing to see coming from the US where we are just not as warm.

Moving on regarding our progress, after Lindos we went back to Rhodes, where I started to run low on cash in pocket due to the strange lack of functioning ATMs, but after some searching I managed to find one next to the strip club around the corner from the Norwegian street/neighborhood of town, sort of funny. Rhodes we absolutely beautiful, some ancient, some cosmo, gardens everywhere, and the sea all around.

Our Inn
Fat tire bike outside our inn
More respect should be demanded, but we were friends
Ottoman cemetery 
Arcades at the archeology museum in rhodes

Also in Rhodes, we discovered ouzo, soooo good, such a great liqueur that definitely does a good job of making you silly. Typically we are not fans of these grape skin, anise seed, liquorish spirits, but ouzo is amazingly good, and comes in all kinds of odd bottles. We stashed away a bottle for later.

Funny ouzo bottles
Finally we left Rhodes and set sail to Santorini and stayed in Perisa, a little hippy black sand sea side town off the beaten path from the main tourist areas of Oia and Fira. I am not sure what we were expecting but we were a bit surprised by Perissa, but more on that later. Our time there was nice, we spent plenty of time on the beach soaking up vitamin D, eating dinners and drinking coffee overlooking the sea. One of those places were you just lounge out and forget to do anything else

We also spent a bit of time trail running/hiking up the mountain outside of Perissa looking for a way to get up to the ancient city of Thira. The first day we spent time finding the trail, and we did find a trail that wound its way up a steep valley through light gravel like volcanic basalt stones. As we slid our way up the mountain side we continually questioned our route and eventually turned back. The next day held the same story, but we had more time and we pushed onwards and up. About three quarters of the way up we found a nice narrow path that twisted up mountain side. We made it to the top, found a neat ancient burial side, some old steps, a Byzantine church, then a nice gate where you pay admission to the rest of the Machu Pichu like city at the top of the mountain. The only problem is that it was closed on Mondays, the day we were there. So back down we went on the trail, and found the trail head in town next to a blank metal framed side pointed nicely to the trail.

Trail head sign
The gate
The view


l. and J. said...

Fantastic view. Glad you made it to the top. Are people actually living on top of this mountain?
Local people intuitively feel that you are quality people. Everybody wants to be your friend!! Love you!

Jason Vander Meer said...

Yes indeed! It did feel good to make it to the top, but, had we been able to get into the city, the actual city is quite a bit higher up the mountain, but a much less steep climb.

It is also good to be friendly on our travels, it has always served us well!