After a long relaxing day on the water yesterday, we did the opposite today - an exhausting day exploring the island on foot. Since we'd already seen Oia, we focused on the neighboring town of Fira. A 20 minute ride on the local bus dropped us in the heart of Fira and just a few steps from one of the most memorable feeding spots of our entire trip, Lucky's Souvlakis. The gyros here are just perfect: authentic, simple, cheap, and delicious! They're so good, we ended up eating here three times in four days, and we would've done so even more often if we didn't have to get there by bus.
Uncomfortably full, we started the long and scenic trek through town and along the coast. It was a really, really hot day and we didn't get very far before we had to stop for gelato.
And then we suffered one of the great tragedies of our trip when one member of our team expired. It may not be apparent to everyone reading our blog, but there are three parties along for this journey: Hirsh, Sarah, and our selfie stick. Yes, it's true that not very long ago we, too, made fun of selfie sticks and the people who used them. We bought one (well, two, so we could have a backup) for this trip and now we are true believers. We will never travel without one again. Anyhow, not only did the selfie stick die, but it suffered the fate Sarah dreads most - decapitation.
Once we resigned ourselves to the reality that there was no way to repair it, we tied the head to the body with its cord (you know, so they wouldn't be separated) and settled on a final resting place of a trash can with a view of the sea. Over the course of almost three months, we had developed an unhealthy emotional attachment to this stick and truly had a hard time just leaving it in a trash can. It had been everywhere with us: Norway, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Morocco, Croatia, and now Greece. It was one very well-traveled selfie stick. It was like our "Wilson" from the movie Cast Away. So we had a little memorial service and said a few nice words, then we left the stick propped up out of the trash can so it could enjoy the beautiful view.
We had to move on, and we had no shame turning back a few times to look at our beloved stick as we walked away, but at least we had these gorgeous views to distract us...
We walked and walked for about four hours. If you look at the picture below, we started at the edge of town waaaay over to the right. It helps that there's lots to look at along the way, but it was still a long walk and Hirsh did the majority of the work. When we found ourselves faced with a very steep hill or a long stretch of stairs, Sarah would just hop on Hirsh's back and off we went. Passersby love to offer unsolicited comments and we've heard everything from, "There's a real man," to, "He's a keeper," to, "That's cheating."
Our goal was to make it to a little chapel at the edge of town with the best panoramic views. We were almost there when we came upon a beautiful Greek wedding in progress at the Church of Anastasi! We waited patiently outside the church gate for the bride and groom to make their appearance. Notice, also, the Chinese couple having their engagement photo session on the terrace above. Santorini is a very popular destination for engagement photos and we saw so many couples doing just that while we were there.
We finally made it to a small church in the village of Imerovigli, at the edge of Fira, where we secured a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
We hurried back to town to make our 8:00 dinner reservation and took a few more snaps along the way.
Dinner was at a wonderful restaurant in Fira called Salt & Pepper. Owned and operated solely by a husband and wife team, where he does all the cooking and she handles reservations and serving. There was no sous chef, no hostess, no cleaning person. It's just the two of them and they do an outstanding job. We found the restaurant on TripAdvisor, of course, and were very glad we made a reservation in advance. At least ten groups of people wandered by looking for a table while we were there and they were all turned away. We didn't have a chance to chat with the husband, but the wife is a real trip. She's a no-nonsense kind of lady who's seen and heard everything and she definitely gives it to you straight. She didn't hesitate to tell us what we would and wouldn't like and even how much wine she thought we could handle. We surprised her.