Oct 20 2007

Last day on Santorini: Red Beach, fish heads and Nutella

Published by at 7:11 am under Greece,Santorini

Although we’d heard that Santorini doesn’t have the best beaches in the Cyclades, that didn’t stop Ben and I from immediately seeking out any potential beach area upon arrival. Our obsession with the beach borders on unhealthy – something about not being expected to do anything but lay around or read all day. Our distinct skills and talents are appreciated in such an environment, so it’s only natural that we would gravitate towards it. Ben excels at sleeping, and I am really good at doing nothing. In fact, in the two months leading up to our trip, instead of exercising prudence and planning for our trip, we went to the beach four times.

Perhaps it’s just me being swept up in the novelty of black sands, sheer cliffsides and large volcanic rocks underneath clear, blue waters, but I’ve found Santorini beaches to be breathtakingly beautiful. (I also strongly urge everyone to visit the Greek islands in the off-season. Where our guidebook has warned of intolerable crowds, we’ve found to be pleasantly spacious.)

IMG_0998Our last day in Santorini was spent at Red Beach, a tiny cove of a beach that you have to climb up and over a rocky peninsula to access. While most of the rock and sand that covers Santorini is black, Red Beach gets its name because, well, it’s red. Apparently the particular isolation of this beach enabled many of the men-folk to feel comfortable walking around in the buff. While I’ve become accustomed to topless women of all shapes and sizes wandering around Greek beaches, it was quite a shock to my American eyes to see fully-grown nude men splashing about in the ocean. On many occasions, I had to stifle a giggle and the urge to elbow Ben and whisper “dude, that guy’s naked!”

We decided to stick around Red Beach through the evening, catch the magnificent Santorini sunset over the ocean, and eat at one of the fish tavernas along the shore. Dining in Greece is a different experience than dining the States. Most of the selection is determined by what’s in season and produced locally, and the menus change often. Particularly in the islands, seafood is a large part of the Greek diet and the menu selection at local fish tavernas is entirely dependent upon the catch that day. Many times, the tavernas will display the day’s catches in crates out front, from fish to squid to shrimp, so you can select what you want to eat before they cook it. Other restaurants will take you back into the kitchen to show you the evening’s selections. Since I’m used to seeing my food without eyes or heads and after being nicely filleted and cooked, this method of meal preparation took some getting used to. Especially when the chef is slicing and dicing a raw octopus on a table near where you’re eating. But you never doubt that the food is fresh!

Upon being seated at the taverna, the owner walked over with a bowl in his hands. I braced myself. “You have fresh fish special?” he asked, lowering the bowl so we could peer in at the small, silver, possibly squirming fish he was presenting us. Ben and I looked at each other, wondering how to ask the many questions we wanted to ask. He took our silence as “Yummy! Of course!”

“Okay, you have fresh fish I fry in olive oil. And Greek salad.” he said, retreating to the kitchen. While I was reassured that yes, our fish would be cooked, I was less certain that they would be served without heads.

And I was right. The owner had fried the entire fish in olive oil, bulging eyes, and all:
Dinner is served.
Bon appetit?

It actually turned out to be quite good. Yes, we ate every single one! And Ben was gentleman enough to decapitate the fish before putting them on my plate.

The highlight of the evening came later, when we decided as a celebration of our last night on Santorini, to splurge on dessert (again). In our wanderings of Fira, Ben and I chanced upon a shop called Loukomadopolis (for more on loukomades, see Ben’s previous entry) – which the sign translated to “Dumpling Town!” Upon striking up a conversation with the owner, we discovered they have Nutella-filled loukomades. Seriously. For the uninformed, Nutella is like chocolate-flavored peanut butter. They sell it in the States, but it’s very cheap in Europe, and I pretty much eat it out of the jar with a spoon for every meal.

Ben wanted to take a picture to document the awesome dessert. But when he saw me covered in Nutella from head to toe with my face inside the box, licking the chocolate remains from the bottom with a gusto I don’t care to describe, he changed his mind. “Not your finest moment,” he said, shaking his head.

We arrived in Naxos by ferry yesterday evening and are setting off today to start exploring the island.

NEXT: Naxos Town means dancing! »



2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Last day on Santorini: Red Beach, fish heads and Nutella”

  1. Lindsayon 20 Oct 2007 at 12:03 pm



    love/miss. xoxo

  2. Stellaon 23 Oct 2007 at 9:17 am

    Ben’s my hero!

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