Most days in Santorini, MB and I were up quite early, although everyone else slept in. We’d make the short walk to Oia to beat the tourist crowds, enjoy the view of the caldera and take loads of photos.
Along the way, we’d have a cheeky freddo cappuccino, one of my new culinary discoveries I am going to try to recreate in London. (I’m also working on talking A. into opening a Greek restaurant here. Will keep you updated as I work my skills of persuasion!) Iced coffee topped with milk that is whipped almost to the point of becoming whipped cream. YUM!
Our explorations of Oia, pre-tourist onslaught time, were always enjoyable, not least because it usually accompanied breakfast at some delicious place alongside the caldera. We tried two notable places. Passagio is definitely the place to go if you’re needing some breakfast love. (I alternated between store bought Greek yogurt with figs plucked from the trees surrounding the villa and eating breakfast at the shops in Oia.) The view is amazing if you eat at the rooftop upstairs.
Plus, the breakfast is pretty good, if not a big stingy on the portions. I particularly enjoyed the Greek breakfast (although I had to pick off the sausage) and appreciated that it came with Greek yogurt so I didn’t miss my daily dose. And, of course, the cappuccino freddo and OJ.
I also liked Crazy Donkey, which doesn’t have the same view as Passagio, being on the road behind the tourist square. Still, the Greek crepe was generously filled with cheese, tomato, pepper and onion, and the cappuccino freddo was cold and delicious.
One morning when we got back from a rapidly filling Oia, A. suggested we go to Akrotiri, ancient ruins of a bygone settlement populated before the volcano. The ash and lava have preserved much of it, including the sewage systems that seemed as sophisticated as the ones we have today.
I was literally floored by how well preserved the ruins were, and how sophisticated the culture of the people who lived there was. The settlement itself is directly 30 miles (60 km) from the island of Crete- it is amazing the ancient people could build with such specificity! And the best thing is, with a valid student ID, I got in free, as I did with all the places we went in Athens.
After visiting the ruins, we went to another beach, A’s favourite. It is also a black sand beach, so the sand was extremely warm, and much rockier than the other two. Like the first beach, Koloumpos, that we went to, it’s a stretch of sand that hits high, craggy cliffs. These cliffs, however, are a different kind of beautiful. They aren’t puffy and round, but craggy and worn in a very interesting way by years of waves and erosion.
It was also much more tourist friendly than the first, with beach chairs, umbrellas, a snack bar and a few tavernas. The tomato museum is also just a few steps away; although I didn’t go, A. did, and said it was pretty interesting to see how tomatoes have shaped the destiny of modern day Santorini so much. Definitely a place I’ll go when I go back to Santorini. Lying under the umbrella with MB, we watched P, D and E frollick in the waves and brave the hot sand to walk up and down the beach. I just sunned myself. And took silly selfies.
On the way home, we stopped and watched the sunset from the cliffs on the open ocean side of the island. We had all gotten so used to the view of the caldera we forgot that the other side was just as beautiful.
Once we got back to Finikia, we were all ravenous. MB and I had planned to go to dinner in Oia, but decided to go back to Krinaki in Finikia for dinner; it was closer, less expensive and downright delicious. The boys joined us while D and E stayed home to watch shooting stars. Crowded around a small table in the back of the full roof terrace, we ordered our usual starters to split: fava, tziziki, Greek salad and grilled feta (MB’s favourite). We split a bottle of the house white. Branching out, I had shrimp saganaki as my main. This was probably my favourite dinner out on the island. Krinaki is really not to be missed if you’re in Oia. It’s a bit of a walk out of the center of town, but the food is superlative and the ambiance traditional. Plus, the opportunity to brave the mazes of Finikia is a story and a bragging right in and of itself. I don’t think I’d be able to get there and back even after having gone twice on my trip! (Sorry for the lack of pictures- my camera died so I just focused on the food, the wine, the good company and the conversation, as you really should on holiday!)