I’m in Greece and for the last couple weeks I’ve eaten bread and honey. Only bread and honey. Then more bread and honey.
When you’re 24 and traveling through southern Europe for a month and a half on next to nothing you live as cheaply as possible. You eat bread and honey. But, tonight is different.
I’m on the island of Santorini, which, if you’ve ever google image searched the “Greek islands” you’ve seen. It’s the very first image that pops up. On Santorini white sugar cube houses cling to the red cliffs, narrow winding cobblestone streets are framed by bright blue doors and fuchsia flowers overflowing from hanging cast iron baskets. The white washed buildings are starkly contrasted by the red and black volcanic sand beaches. The island is surrounded by the sureal turquoise of the Mediterranean sea. It’s a scene depicted on every Greek postcard, and tonight I am here.
I sit with a new friend, a Canadian guy named Kevin who I met a week earlier in Athens. We slowly watch the sun set on the vast, watery horizon. Kevin is cold and hungry, but I make him wait until the last drop of the orange sun has plunged beneath the sea. Then we hop on our four wheeler, our vehicle of choice to traverse the small island, and venture out in search of food.
We’re on a seemingly deserted road that hugs the undulating cliffs of the western shore. As we grow hungrier and more impatient a little cafe pops out from around the bend. We pull off and are ushered inside where we’re the only two diners in the entire place. The restaurant is basically a box on stilts, cantilevered off the side of the cliff, with windows on all sides looking out over the calm sea.
After weeks of frugal living we decide to go all out and order whatever we want; literally whatever we want. We start with baked feta. I have never tasted cheese so rich and smooth. It’s so good you don’t put it on anything, you just eat it straight with a fork. Then we move on to a Greek salad, cheese salad and fresh bread dipped in olive oil. And those are just the appetizers.
Next is a round of fried calamari and the most tender and delicious lamb I’ve ever tasted. We top all of that off with moussaka, a traditional Greek dish somewhat similar to lasagna. It is the most amazing meal I have ever eaten in my entire life! Good food, good company, and and an absolutely surreal setting.
Don’t ask me how much it cost; I’ve conveniently blocked that part out.
After diner we hop back on the quad and drive back to our hostel, groggy & delirious in our foreign food comas. The next day I returned to my somewhat stale bread and honey, but for a moment we ate like royalty.
This is a story from my 2004 trip to southern Europe. Unfortunately I do not have any photos from this epic meal (horrible I know) because my camera was dead the entire time I was on Santorini.