A Sarcastic Appetite


A Sarcastic Appetite Travels: Greece
July 20, 2014, 8:47 pm
Filed under: A Sarcastic Appetite Travels, Gluttonous Weekends

        Koufonisia

I went to Greece for a week with 14 friends – some of whom I knew and some of whom I first met only on the trip. (It’s a long story how this trip came to be, but suffice it to say I now have 14 new best friends, because that’s how I operate.) Before I left, I was directed by a few Sarcastic Appetite fans to write a travel post. “Write about the restaurants!” they said. “Take pictures of all the food!”

And, well….I can’t. Because I was too busy eating and drinking to take pictures of what I was eating and drinking, and I took absolutely zero notes about where and what we ate. But here’s the thing I learned after spending a week in the Cyclades: it doesn’t matter. Walk into any restaurant outside of the immediate port area (too touristy), and you will be treated to a pretty fantastic meal for €15-20 a head (including everything you want to drink). Everything is fresh and local – they’ll tell you the vegetables are “organic,” but it’s not so much a conscious effort as just the way it’s always been done. Some of these islands are practically barren; water is the most precious resource, and yet it had been awhile since I had eaten so vibrantly.

We started in Santorini, staying away from the crowds in little Akrotiri. Just down the hill from our hotel was a fantastic little spot called Remezzo’s on the Beach – one of many times we’d walk down an empty road seemingly to nowhere…only to find a bustling taverna at the end of it. Akrotiri has some incredible ruins, a whole city that’s older than Pompeii. They’ve built a kind of hangar around the ruins that is sort of air-conditioned and a nice break from the sun. We checked out the larger towns, Fira and Oia (pronounced “EEH-ya”), but it was nice to stay on the quiet side of the island, as it were. Those sunsets, though, were no joke.

Remezzo's

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After Santorini, we ventured off the beaten path a bit and headed for Amorgos, which only had its main road paved in 1998. Mountainous, a little rugged, Amorgos revealed more good food and beautiful scenery. Seriously, the free breakfasts were often killer. Amazing Greek yogurt, local honey, little cakes and egg dishes…we were so spoiled. We spent an afternoon in Hora, the capital, which at first glance appeared to be a sort of miniature ghost town, but upon further exploration revealed gorgeous winding cobblestone paths, beautifully maintained whitewashed buildings, and one of the best lunches of the trip.

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Koufonissi next, a smaller island that’s just beginning to embrace tourism. While our hotel was six years old, the wi-fi was spotty at best and often non-existant. So were taxis, for that matter, and ATMs. We chartered a sailboat to swim in coves and caves, and the captain took us to a taverna on a neighboring island, Kato Koufonisia, for lunch. “It’s uninhabited,” he told us. “But there are 8 illegal houses.” In Greece, it seems, anything goes.

We walked along a dusty “road” towards the taverna, through a farm which apparently supplied the meat and vegetables. I watched a stalk of seemingly dead wheat listlessly moving in the breeze and wondered what, exactly, was able to grow here. Of course it turned out to be one of the best meals of the trip. (Are you noticing a theme here?)

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At night, Koufonisia came alive. Winding cobblestone streets in town spilled over with people, and there were plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. We tried to check out a bar built in an old schoolhouse (not enough room for 15 of us) before settling on a little spot right along the harbor, with a view of the rising moon. It was disgustingly scenic, and I loved every minute.

The trip ended with one last night (or two, for some) in Mykonos. We had been told to go to Nammos, which turned out to be the most expensive restaurant on the island, complete with dancing on tabletops til all hours. It was an over-the-top ending for an over-the-top trip. And it was fabulous…until I got my credit card bill. Opa!

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