I think tonight I died and went to heaven. I do try to have as many days like this as possible (not just travelling but in general) but I think tonight I truly hit the mark.
I’m on an island called Samos in the north-eastern Aegean Sea, quite close to Turkey. I spent three nights in a much quieter neighbouring island, and I’m just here overnight in transit for an early ferry tomorrow that takes me west. Anyway, this afternoon so I arrived back in Samos by ferry, bade farewell to a lovely Greek-Australian couple I met in transit, and made my way to the hotel. The hotel is nothing special at all, it’s a Lonely Planet ‘Our Pick’ – hah! – the key to the Greek Islands are domatias but that’s another story. It was just easy for a night and close to the port for tomorrow.
So I had a couple of hours this afternoon to spare and decided to go for a swim at a nearby beach. I settled in and watched the sun set, dozed off, then bobbed for a while like an olive in a strong martini (the water is much saltier here than in Australia, you’d never drown). The heaven bit hasn’t even started yet…
Showered up and ready for a nice meal, I thought I’d put on my detective hat and sniff out a good restaurant. This is a somewhat touristy place given it’s proximity to Turkey and the almighty Ephesus (many day trips run there from here). So I was really keen to find simple Greek fare, with a view if possible. My my, no problems there, and I didn’t even have to look far.
I literally went Next Door to my hotel. Sounds lazy but I almost missed the place if it wasn’t for its cute handwritten sign hanging up on the road. The sign said ‘Restaurant Tassos’ with an arrow pointing down a meandering flight of steps and down around a corner. I thought well, nothing ventured, nothing gained so off I toddled down the steps, round the bend and my nose caught the scent of some sort of divine flowering vine…good start…I walked further on and out into a lovely courtyard set up with chairs and tables but not a soul to be seen. I looked around to my left and was greeted but a lovely smiling Greek couple and as I went down to speak with them came down to the main action – with a superb outlook to the bay…and a couple of diners already there.
Oh my, now I think I died and went to heaven.
I sat down, ordered a glass of white, a tomato salad and something about lamb cooked in a pot. I didn’t really mind what I had as long as I could sit there, look 2 metres below me and be mesmerised by the crystal clear waters lapping gently over the rocks, watch the fading silvery light and the odd boat come and go. So then the wine came out. And then the fresh bread with a small white dish …of… melted butter and garlic. And then the tomato salad came complete with olives and spanish onion. And then the something about lamb cooked in a pot arrived. It turned out to be slow-cooked lamb on the bone with herbs, and baked potatoes. But really good potatoes, lovely – well I never really know how to describe a good potato – but they have them here in Europe, my French family ate them a lot and they’re soooo good. And I really had no more room for it, but opted for trying a Greek dessert I’d never heard of – kataifi (nuts, cinnamon and angel-hair pastry). Mwah.