Monday 29 March
It didn’t take long for my daily life here to settle into a familiar routine. I cannot believe that I have been in this magical place for over 3 weeks now, and have just over 3 short days left. Already, I am hatching plans for my return, this time for even longer.
This is how my days have whiled away here in Oia (pronounced Ee-ya, by the way).
I usually wake up at around 7 or 8. The last couple of mornings, I’ve woken at 6, stumbling out into the cold morning to see the colours of the sunrise. I am now 8 hours behind Sydney, as Greece has entered daylight saving, which becomes 7 once Sydney moves out of daylight saving this weekend. I don’t know about you, but whenever we go into daylight saving, I feel I’m being ripped off an hour – like someone came along and pinched it. So, not only didn’t I get back the hour I lost in Sydney (which I breathlessly wait for each Autumn) but I lost ANOTHER hour since I’m here in Greece. Can someone please explain that to me??
When I wake, I usually check my emails on my iPhone and call mum and maybe a friend before fixing myself a breakfast. By the way, I LOVE waking up to find emails or a blog comment from you guys, and especially a phone call on Skype, so don’t hold back!
Breakfast is usually toast or thick, comforting Greek yoghurt with walnuts and honey and maybe some fruit. Once or twice a week I will knock up an omlette on the portable stove in the kitchen. Now, I need to tell you about Greek yoghurt and honey: it’s off the charts good. Last time I was here with Margaret, she became completely addicted to the yoghurt, honey, walnut combo. Although the yoghurt is beautiful (yes, even the low fat version), it’s the honey that sets it apart. Margaret pointed out to me that the honey in Greece isn’t sweet like Australian honey is. I don’t eat a lot of honey at home, so I’d never really noticed its extreme sweetness until I went back and tested it out – she was right! But I’m addicted to it here; most of it is collected from happy bees who feed on hillsides strewn with wild thyme and oregano. My favourite Greek honey is from the Peloponnese and in Athens I buy 900g jars of it to lug home with me (yes, the Border Security dudes DO let it through as long as it’s not home-made. Despite this, I might once have snuck through a jar bought from a lady by the side of the road in Crete).
After breakfast, it’s a shower and a little clothes washing. Now, I’m going to give you a product endorsement here: Wash Well Travel Laundry Detergent (left – please excuse the sideways photo). You can buy it in the luggage section of DJ’s and probably Myer. Only a tiny amount is needed, and this stuff lifts stains and dirt so far out of clothes, you’ll be embarrassed how dirty they got when you check out the water. I wash each day if I can, and go through a tube every 2 weeks, and just yesterday I used it to get an ink stain out of a linen top (no kidding). I have to confess that one thing I LOVE is hanging my clothes out on the washing line in front of House Paris – I like to think of my clothes being “kissed” by the Greek sun!
Soon after this, at around 10am or 11am, it’s up my 90 stairs to Skiza where I greet Giorgos and any of the locals who beat me there with a “Kalimera”. Giorgos smiles, and I take up my position on the corner of the balcony and he brings me a double Greek coffee, which comes automatically with a glass of water (to cleanse the palate). Giorgos leaves me much to myself after that, and socialises with the locals who drop by in a never-ending stream, as well as stray tourists and cruise ship snappers, who don’t stay long since their bus is usually waiting for them. Some mornings, if it’s windy, Skiza’s balcony doors are shut and I’ll stay at House Paris as it’s protected from the wind. One day, I headed to Skiza in the afternoon and they plied me with hot chocolate and Baileys, which I must confess made the view even better.
In Skiza, I sit, and stare, and sometimes read or play with my iPhone (Skiza has Wi-Fi). Usually, I hang out there for 2-4 hours, and maybe even order lunch (I recommend the Mediterranean salad, or the spag bol). About a week ago, I met the lady who makes the bougatsa and the galaktoboureko, and she’s made both for me! Such a difficult choice, and naturally I order a slice if it’s there.
At around 1 or 2 I meander back to House Paris, sometimes stopping by the bakery to stock up on some bread, and the supermarket to replenish supplies, or perhaps to have lunch (I eat out around once a day).
When I return to House Paris and set myself up on the balcony. Since Chelonia Bay is protected from most of the wind, even a 13 degree day feels warm in the Greek sun. By around 5pm the sun has disappeared behind buildings, and my balcony starts to fall victim to the coolness of the day, so I head inside to email, blog, read and stuff around on my iPhone (I am addicted to a little game called Flight Control).
In my first couple of weeks, at around 6pm I would head upstairs to the sunset, and then off in search of dinner, most often the Polski Lokal, but this week more and more places are open so I’ve started to branch out. My favourite place that’s open is Roka, where I took Erika and Rose the other night to say thanks. It’s styled as an ouzerie, but with the BEST BEST BEST dolmades. I don’t normally eat dolmades at home as I have only ever experienced the tinned ones and I find them too lemony/tart for my taste. These ones, though, are home made and truly magnificent and I’m inspired to try and make them at home.
The last couple of nights, my doggie friend has caught up with me on my way back from dinner, following me down to House Paris. I give him water and a snack, and he makes himself comfy on my rug, each night ending up closer and closer to my bed! I know, it’s a difficult day and I can’t work out for the life of me how I used to fit so much into the day before my holiday.
After the last throes of winter in my first week here, the days are turning more and more magnificent. It’s as if Spring has announced its arrival, and the sky and water co-operate by turning the most stunning blue you’ve ever seen. You have to wear sunglasses, as the light here in Greece is blindingly bright, and that’s even before it hits the white stone buildings. If you are wondering about the weather in Oia, then just take a look at www.chelidonia.com and click on the webcam. Today will be clear and 20 degrees – in my book, this is absolutely perfect, and I will spend it just where it deserves – on my balconies at Skiza and House Paris. Should you ever make your way to Santorini, please make sure you stay at Chelidonia, and tell Erika I sent you.