I turned 31 today. 30 was a year full of wonderful, but starting off 31 in Greece AND with my new wife was pretty darn awesome.
I sleep with a mouthguard to prevent grinding, because I am a masochist and work in advertising. Jaime woke me with a big hug and proudly presented me with a cute card of a dog missing its dentures. “I wuv thist” I said through the plastic.
We started the day with an in-room breakfast. A feta and tomato omlette, fresh pastries and a whole pot of delicious coffee. We agreed to take the 11 am shuttle to the island of Fira.. then take the day organically.
We perused the shops specializing in glass work, figures of porcelain and tourist shit and wriggled through the narrow streets, snapping photos like paparazzi; the angles, shapes, views and colors could not be captured as we saw with our eyes, so we blinked hard and saved the memory.
We continued to wander through the labyrinth of stone streets until we hit the top of the donkey trails. The asses, though very cute, stunk like hell. We opted out of the ride and instead took pictures in their direct path. Jaime was nearly trampled. I have a photo to prove it.
After our donkey photo session, we ventured up to a taverna which clung to the edge of the cliff. We got a seat with one of the better views and ordered some lunch. I had the spanikopita and Jaime a fresh fish with a sweet grill. This time she deboned herself (sans the teeth)… even pretended to swallow a bone at which I played along and said I did see something protruding from her esophagus. Aren’t we cute.
After lunch we wandered back through the streets, raced past the creepy guy trying to sell us wine and cheese and slowed to a casual pace to catch the 2:15 (pronounced here as “two-fifty”) shuttle.
We returned to the room and rested for a bit. The heat and climbing hills take the juice out of you.
Refreshed, we headed over to see Demetria and do some grape stomping. What was it like? Awesome. The grapes tickled my feet. The family takes the process quite seriously – they even have a system where they stomp for so many minutes and then rotate the grapes. They were very kind and welcoming, though… even let us try the fresh stomped juice. I declined because I am not that cool. Jaime said it was delicious however. (This particular bottle of Vincento wine will be out in 2017. ‘It’s shake-n-bake and I helped’). Demetria comped us a couple of tastes for our labour and then we were on our way.
For dinner, we dressed nice and took a taxi to MetaxeMas in Exo Gonia (the place recommended to us by the man with the photo store). The taxi dropped us off in a parking lot next to a church. There was nothing else around for at least. .25 miles. Jaime noticed a wall painted to read “taverna” and shepherded me down the stone road to the taverna entrance.
We sat at the edge of the cliff – overlooking the village, the mountains, the distant ocean and the Caldera. The sun and moon were trading places in the periwinkle sky and Jaime and I were speechless.
The waiter brought us some Raki, bread, green olives and fresh greek gruyere cheese. Jaime and left the olives for the gods and enjoyed the rest.
For apps, we shared the sesame crusted fried gruyere and the baked eggplant with tomato sauce and feta. Amazing. For dinner I had pork tenderloin with feta creme sauce and rice pilaf while Jaime enjoyed the pork ribs and potatoes dripping with a honey-orange sauce.
When I asked for the bill, the waiter said “No. You have dessert, then you can go.” (Jaime had told him it was my birthday). He returned within minutes with two tiny portions of the fluffiest strawberry cheesecake and some cinnamon-honey homemade Raki. What a treat!
Our taxi on the drive back took us through the pitch dark back roads and talked on his cellphone. It was so fun! I had one hand on the door handle and another on my seatbelt the entire 8 min. We got to the hotel safely and in time for the church bell to ring 10 times. Jaime smiled.
In the room was the most beautiful vanilla cake with chocolate mousse and chocolate icing. She got me a cake! They gave us two serving spoons (awesome) and when I blew out my candle I wished I would never take for granted how lucky I am.