Describing the best day in Greece thus far deserves its own piece and given the title of the piece, I’m sure you can guess what it’s all about.
Sifnos has been the perfect introduction into the Greek islands. Deserted alleyways, barren bars and even harder to find – open restaurants. Researching the town and actually living in it have been totally polarising given their authors were written strictly for high season visitors. Not that a little peace and quiet ever hurt anyone. It was just what the doctor ordered; a little peace and a lot of unwinding.
The unwinding is only just beginning, unpacking a lot of city stank still on me from those last few months in Sydney. I shudder. People keep asking me what I hope to get out of the year. I’m only just realising now it’s to shake off that stank. The big smoke. Not for me.
I digress, the best day in Greece thus far.
I’ve no idea what time we woke, it doesn’t even matter (thankfully), but we’re alive, much more alive than I ever felt behind that desk. I shudder.
The drive from Kastro to Artemonas takes less than ten minutes and we arrive at Smaradgi, opposite the cute church with the cute steps. Sometimes, you gotta order big and we did.
To start; a Greek omelette with olives, tomatoes, feta (oh the feta!) and freshly baked bread. Served with Buondi coffee in a French press that lasts the perfect amount of time before the fruit salad of apples, strawberries, yoghurt (of the yoghurt!), walnuts and pot of honey are begging to be scoffed.
I’ve never enjoyed such simple fare – such is – when everything is as fresh as this. The ‘special gift’ of 2 thin pancakes dusted in cinnamon and drenched in even more honey appeared and were devoured in the blink of an eye. The waiter could have twirled a pirouette and it would have disappeared. Like magic. Our special trick.
Time to travel to the north, we drive to Cheronissos, 15km from Artemonas. The sleepy town reflects my own weariness. The cause: a full stomach. The weathered window sills and scuffed tables and chairs have seen much more than we will on this island in just four days.
We find a secluded area on the opposite side of the port, out of the wind. The sound of the shore lapping with the rugged coast, we perch, I take my shirt off to feel the sun on my bare skin. I lie on the rock and finish my book ‘Boy Swallows Universe’. I don’t realise it at the time, but I’m burning to a crisp finishing that damn book. Though thankful I hadn’t read it before bed, it was a gripping read. I peel myself up and dust off. What a great book, sorry you had to end.
We drive the length of the island from top to bottom all the way to Platis Gialos. So ghostly without the buzz of life (tourism), much like the rest of Sifnos in early May. We stumble across Omega 3. I heard Tom Hanks comes here. The fish and wine bar is almost full (where did these people come from?) while the other restaurateurs look over longingly.
To start; a marinated octopus lightly grilled with a black olive, caramel paste and dehydrated olives, then onto a smoked chickpea puree, with fried chickpeas, cumin oil, parsley oil, pollen and wild flowers with seeded bread (gluten free, I’m told).
The crayfish orzo to finish a triumphant last dish, I’m devastated it’s over. I read that all fish caught by Omega 3 are wild, non-endangered, caught by ethical and legal means in the Greek seas. We wash it down with a blushing rose for me and a frosty Nisos beer for moo (it’s organic).
All for the sum of 48 EU, or $76 AU.
Now: is the sun playing tricks on us or – can it be? – is it warm enough to swim?
We move a safe enough distance from a potential meet with Tom and take the chance. We strip down to our bathers and bask in the sun all while the mountains watch over us, stealing the sun minute by minute.
The wind can be cruel, the water is icy (not as bad as England, we both agree), but that sun, when she shines, she keeps us from leaving. That is until the cruel wind picks up and the sun is fading behind those mountains. Time to mosey.
Not quite ready for dinner, we drive around to Chrissopigi for a sundowner (what’s left of it) and a game of cards. A draw. Far too windy to stay. Far too quiet. Back to Apollonia, back to Kokkoi café. It’s 8pm now and somehow, we’re hungry.
To start; the salads, all of them. I thought we had it good in Australia, I really did. But those salads. They never cease to amaze me. Parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, pinenuts, pear slivers and oil. Guess which oil? The lamb is beyond flavourful, each bite wakes up my tastebuds. The homemade pita, the French fries.
But wait! There’s more!
Another ‘special gift’, a Turkish delight. A real one, not the kind with chocolate coating like the ones you dodge from a Cadbury favourites box. The kind that’s covered in snow flakes. At first the icing sugar dried my lips, then, chomp, there’s a peanut in here. The rest melts away.
The day of three great meals.