Ostria Cafe — By the Mediterranean 

Art imitates life and life copies,  or assumes, art. When watching television became too much, the owner took a hatchet to it.  No improvisation. No thought. Just reaction. And it’s so glamorous that the hatchet will be a permanent wall fixture. 

I’m guessing the above sign is referring to Greek director Theo Angelopoulos’ great film  “The Beekeeper”. You need to look for it and make the connection,  but you know there’s something there that needs to be alluded to when the hatchet meets the sign. A double epiphany perhaps. Hope and fear, as the TV represents the film and the fear, while the hatchet kills life, whether bad or good. Then there is the renaissance, the post-nirvana existence of what is hopefully peace of mind, catharsis, and epiphany. In the least, let’s hope for empowerment. 

This is also the best place in Methoni to get a morning coffee. They’re all made well. And the wind just blows enough to make sure the coolness is retained.  

Sit down and wait for friends and acquaintances to show up. Talk in Greek,  French, or English, to the owner, Corenne.  Give your order to the lovely Greek-Romanian girls. 

Before you know it, it’ll be time for a swim, the beach being about about 100m.  away.

From the Hotel Bar 

The beach was, again, full. The afternoon started with a second coffee. This time it was a cold frappe treated by one of the many ex-schoolmates I had. He owns a hotel atop the mountain called La Sapienza.

It was an unforeseen random powwow. It was heaven under the shade and wind of the trees.  The 35 degree heat was down about 10 degrees. The umbrellas were full. Three young ladies walked up to order. They were in very skimpy bikinis. There came two older topless women. You can hear the locker room banter coming from all over the cantine.  

Next stop was was the Methoni Beach Hotel. I took a dip and the lovely girl serving me invited me to go to the bar where I’d have Wi-Fi.  And here I am. 

Yes, another uneventful day.

When the Sky Turns Orange 

There are many nooks and crannies to see a sunset from in Methoni. In late-August, the sun goes down a bit before 8.30 and can be seen in the western part of town, which is about a 5-minute walk up the hill from the main beach. 

All sorts of people gather there. It’s a popular spot for locals to walk their dogs. It’s very well-known by visitors. For Elena and Spiro, it’s one of the few opportunities they have for quality time together.  With Elena’s busy summer work schedule, it’s hard to speak out from her husband after a busy day. And what more legitimate an excuse than seeing the sunset and going to Kathy’s to unwind. 

With the summer tourist bustle, there aren’t many places to spend time together unseen. But they go to the empty rundown shack that serves as their summer 60-minute pleasure dome. 

A Brief Stint at Zanzibar Beach 

Sundays are usually the busiest days at the beach. No umbrellas in front of the hotel. No room anywhere to sit down comfortably.  I had to get out of town and drive 3 km to Zanzibar Beach in Lambes. 

There were no umbrellas as I parked my car in the mostly makeshift parking lot.  I looked around and saw a one-chaired umbrella.  There was a in the sun tanning. I asked if anyone was sitting at the umbrella in front of her and she told me her family had gone to their rooms to take a nap. She said I can sit but she’d be bad company till she finished tanning. 

It turned out she was from Minnesota. Not too many tourists come in these parts from the United States that are not of Greek ancestry. Katia was pure Midwestern stock. Most of her family either form Wisconsin or Minnesota.  They had that healthy Packers vs. Vikings rivalry. You know,  that and apple pie. 

Katia allowed me to take the pics of her I’ve published here. She didn’t allow face shots. 

The beach was too crowded with people making noise and I left after 30 minutes. Katia loved it and didn’t understand why I was leaving. She went back to tanning.

Zanzibar is a great place to go to in the morning and,  during high season, a nice place to have a drink at night. 

It also serves very good food and drinks. 

Sapienza Restaurant Methoni — Revisited 

This is my previous review of Sapienza Restaurant.
Now let’s get better acquainted with the food. 

Stifado is a veal and onion stew with a sweet cinnamony taste. Some refer to it as Greek ghoulash. This is intentionally heavy an filling. 

As you walk into the kitchen, this is what’s on top of the oven. Stuffed courgette flowers, orzo and beef, chicken biftecks, and stifado. 

This is the food in the oven. Thanassi can explain it in detail to you. 

This is the epitome of homemade Greek comfort food.  

Thanassi decided to expand the menu.

This is the bean salad. 

These are the courgette cakes. They are absolutely delicious and surprisingly light. Great as an appetizer or side dish. 

These are the traditional papoutsaki (stuffed or topped aubergine), stuffed peppers and tomatoes, and briam (a mix of assorted vegetables including courgette and potatoes, cooked in a very heavy tomato-oil sauce). These are as good as you can get. 

It’s rare to see improvement in what’s already an excellent reastaurant just meters away from the beach. The additions to the menu and the relaxing family atmosphere makes Sapienza Restaurant a must in your Methoni itinerary. 

See the reviews on tripadvisor

Visit their Facebook page 

An Atypical Morning

So I drove to the neighbouring town of Pylos to get tested for eyeglasses since they’re so much cheaper here than in Canada.  The ophthalmologist has his summer hours of 8 to noon. The office is small. A waiting room with 2 small couches and one bigger one.  7 people are waiting at about 8.30. 

“Where’s the Secretary?” I ask in general the 5 women and 2 men.  

“There’s no secretary, Sir. It’s here and the doctor’s office in there,” says the older man.

“How would I take an appointment?”

“I don’t think you can. You just need to wait your turn, “said the attractive 30-something woman.

“But that’s quite a queue.”

“Go get a coffee at the square and come back, ” said the oldest lady, half-condescendingly. 

I ran off to heed her advice.
The best coffee shop was full.  The rest were rather empty. I counted 7 in all.  I sat down at the one with the good-looking girl serving. I ordered my double espresso lungo with toast. Toast here means a grilled cheese sandwich with ham. I told her to hold the ham.  I had already had an adequate breakfast. I told the girl the Wi-Fi wasn’t working. She was nervous,  as if she’d never heard that from a customer before. 

“I’ll reset it,” hoping to have given a satisfactory answer. She served me the coffee and ran off.

“This must be related to yesterday’s blackout, ” one man said.

“Those bastards at the resort had full power last night. The owner has a grid all to himself. Motherfuckers,” said the man next to me.

The Wi-Fi started working as the girl bent over to place my toast in front of me. She had a tight skirt and loose open top. ” The owner just told me there’s a network problem,” she said.

“It works now, “I told her. She smiled shyly. 

There was no one in the waiting room. There was only the patient in the doctor’s office. It was quick. I hurried off to the optician. She was a well-spoken and well-travelled woman in her mid-fifties. I told her I wanted bifocals. She made me try on a few pairs and insisted on a mid-range one. She didn’t ask many questions. She sat across me and took a long time to measure my face. 

“Do I detect an accent?I haven’t seen you around town. ”

“I live in Methoni, ” I lied, afraid she may rip me off otherwise. “But I just moved here from Canada,” I said,  as she pierced into my eyes for honesty.

“That’s a great country. The government supports the workers. But I know that glasses are expensive there. Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you have a great pair. The manufacturers in Kalamata are closed for summer till Monday.  You’ll have them Friday next week. What’s your number?”

We exchanged phone numbers.

“Alright. Everything’s fine. I don’t need you anymore. You may leave.”

That felt weird. But not because it was rude. Rather, it felt weird because it was so matter-of-fact.

Great Seafood at Akrogiali in Methoni

Acrogiali fish tavern is sort of located on the water. With the receeding shore line, there are light waves hitting one side of the restaurant. From table 19, we only had a gate and a few feet of height separating us from the water. The restaurant was still not full at 9.30. 

There was no lobster on the menu, but there was crab. The suggested mix was spaghetti. Not being one to want to break into crusteceans to get a paltry piece of meat out of it, I opted for the grilled porgy.

I ordered a side of oven-baked potatoes. I’m sure they’d have been delicious if not over-lemoned. But maybe that was just my fear of getting acid stomach. The bland long thin beans were very good, but overcooked. 

We started off with the grilled octopus. Perfect. Delicious. Just salt and pepper to season. Adding lemon is a must. This was unadulterated octopus. Fat and all. Perhaps the best I’ve ever had. The big portion was reasonably priced, as was everything else on the menu. 

The porgy was one of the best I’ve had. The best thing here is the freshness of the day. For best results, order the type of fish you want the day before. The wait staff is exemplary and the atmosphere is exquisite.

Siesta with the Waves

I still have jetlag into my second full day on vacation. Instead of taking an elongated nap of 3 hours,  I thought I’d fare better mentally and physically by just renting an umbrella and a beach chair. It’s also fair to say that siestas are commonplace I’m the afternoon. If not a siesta, then a quiet event like drinking coffee or alcohol or playing backgammon. And always in a shaded, preferably windy, area. 
Okay. So back to today. It’s the third biggest holiday in the Greek Orthodox calendar.  Loosely translated,  it’s Virgin Mary day.  So the beach was taken almost strictly by tourists. The coffee shops were jampacked with locals treating each other to drinks. Some hung around till it was their turn and you can imagine how satiated things can become. I haven’t drunk alcohol in years, so I was into my third coffee when enough was enough. Yes, I’m boring company perhaps. 

The first few days are also days when you don’t drift too far and just start to unwind. 

Santorini from a single person’s perspective

As you come to the main Santorini port, you can no longer see the whitewashed houses. You see what looks like a big rock sliced in 2 in a very imperfect way. You look at the port and think back to how much your friends were exaggerating. Well, they weren’t.

The young lady’s name was Dimitra. She held up a sign saying Rooms to Let in English, German, and Greek. She was looking out for Greeks as I made myself more visible. They trust the Greek won’t ramshackle their cute little rooms. I approached her and got half the price she had quoted the German before me. And she also said it came with a ride.

I was well-rested from my 5-hour sleep on the boat. I felt secure in the car. I saw many tourists trying to properly climb a donkey and felt sorry for the creature as the angles to get up were almost like a straight line. 

Up on top there were more people with rooms. I guess Dimitra was privileged with a connection. I was in Chora, the main town. I was pretty unimpressed as it was full of noise and people. I went to my room to rest and take a shower.

This is one of the main beaches, Kamaria. All the beaches in Santorini have black sand and are not big. They are underpopulated compared to the people there. Needless to say, and rightfully so, Santorini is the only island I’d been to that didn’t boast their beach. And they are not right for me. They look too gothic for a Greek island. Structurally, they give me some kind of undefined phobia. 

It seems most of the swimming on the island takes place in the hotel swimming pools. Just look at the scenery.

On and on it goes. Just look at the beauty of this place. 

This is Oia, the second biggest and by far most beautiful town on the island. You need to travel these roads and bump into locals and tourists, artists, writers, see the rich and famous hiding themselves.

This was a delight. A trendy artsy acquaintance invited me up for a dip. Pure heaven. Best scenery you’ll ever be a part of.

This famous Greek celebrity didn’t want me to photograph her face.

How’s this for a dinner spot?

And the night never looked better.

Santorini is great, but must be seen either in a couple or with a group of friends. It is romantic but not sexy. It is classy yet not mundane. It is a postcard come to life.

And remember, find accommodations in Oia.