Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 16 Santorini

Santorini has only 500 Catholics as most of the population is Greek Orthodox.  After Mass at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Santorini, we walked around the cobble stone streets of Fira.  We decided to catch a bus to Perissa but had 50 minutes to fill in before the bus left so we went to the closest restaurant, called by the friendly name of “Mama’s”.  All we wanted was a coffee in this charming outdoor setting.  Mama spoke perfect English with a country Australian accent.  She must have been to the same charm school as the employees at the Meningee Bakery that the four of us encountered in South Australia.  Mama greeted us with how she hates the wind and how it is always windy on Santorini.  We ordered four iced coffees and Valerie ordered a baklava.  Mama was not happy with our order.  She told us that this was not a café but a restaurant.  Most of the tables were empty.  We said that we had already eaten and were just waiting for the bus to which she replied, “that’s not my problem but now that you are sitting down I will serve you”.  She came with hot coffee in a pot.  We said that we had ordered iced coffee.  Her response was “Well, you will just have to wait for that.”  She then brought the baklava with four forks with the comment, “I’ll give this to the women to divide because I don’t trust men.”  While we were drinking our coffee and contemplating whether we fell into the category of customers and hence had the right to use the toilets which had a large sign proclaiming that they were for the use of customers only with the only underlined, she returned to tell us that she only had one son and that a Perth girl had taken her son away from her to Perth.  She said she had told her daughter in law that she would kill her when she had finished producing the grand children.  Eventually, we made our escape thanking God that she was not our mother in law.  We took the bus to Perissa, which is a black sand beach on the other side of the island.  Many of the locals got off the bus here to swim, but it was very windy on this flat side of the island and the black stone beach was not appealing, so we returned to Fira.  Today was very windy.  Evidently, it is often windy on Santorini and so the vines are cut so that they grow close to the ground and are thus less affected by the wind.  Our hotel is actually a 20 minute walk uphill from Fira in a town called Firostefano, which is just beautiful.   The wind persisted throughout the day so we had drinks tonight in our living room.  Valerie thought she was the Madonna or maybe Saint Irene after whom Santorini was named.  She sat in one of Betty and Barney’s niches to be photographed.  After this we had a superb dinner at Vanilia Restaurant, which was originally an old bakery.  Vanilia is the Greek word for Bouganvillia and this flower grew all around the door of the restaurant. 

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