Snow!

2 12 2010

The weather in central Europe has been a bit chilly. I’m seeing reports of snow blocking airports and cars driving off roads. Apparently Switzerland has about a meter metre of snow and Munich about a foot. Parts of England are shutting down. It’s December, so even though it’s early, a bit of cold weather isn’t terribly unusual. After all, I am here trying to avoid winter.

Just in case you might be worried about the weather in Santorini: today it is a little humid and we needed sunglasses for breakfast on the terrace. We expect a breeze later on, and hopefully it is a little overcast to take the edge off the sun. Jurg and Rahel went swimming yesterday, I chose to read. I might go today.

However, we are told this weather is unseasonably warm. Maybe it will get cooler at some point. But for now we have food in the supermarket (the ferries are running again), and while the sun is shining (and I still have no rear wheel), I don’t see much point going anywhere.





Strike!

30 11 2010

If you’ve been aware of the political situation in Europe for the last months, you would know that several countries have some fairly major economic problems. Greece is one of these. The government has been proposing some changes that would, ostensibly, make things better (exactly which things would be better might be open to debate). The port workers have decided that they don’t agree, and have effectively blocked the ports. Since Monday. The Greek Isles are primarily served by ferries. One of the strange things is the strike has been almost completely missed by the international news. I guess the Greek problems are old news now, and we’ve moved on.

The upshot of this is the supermarket has run out of fresh milk. And the veges are beginning to look limp (actually they’ve just about run out now). But that isn’t so bad, because we’ve developed a relationship with the guy who work in the fruit counter of the supermarket and he points us to the freshest available. But there may be a looming catastrophe – yesterday we bought the last of the yoghurt.

The sunsets don’t seem to notice the lack of ferries. (This one’s for you, Kev):

IMG_6846And of course we’re stuck here. Yep, unless you’re willing to stump up the airfare to get off the island (which, at the moment, I’m not) you can’t get to Athens, or into Turkey, or Italy. Or pretty much anywhere – only a few of the small local ferries are operating.

This has inconvenienced some travellers we’ve met (most noticeably Jim and Terhi, who came here for a few weeks and now have almost been here a month), but I don’t really want to go anywhere just yet.

Stuck on a Greek island. One must bear ones trials as best one can.

IMG_6764





Greek yoghurt

25 11 2010

I may have fallen in love. I don’t know how else I can explain where 1kg of (full fat) yoghurt goes every day.

For almost 2 weeks Jurg, Rahel, Marc, Christine and I ate breakfast (and all meals) together – and we got through 1kg of yoghurt. Marc and Christine, in an effort to postpone the inevitable coronary, have fled to Turkey and should soon be drinking chi in Istanbul. Jurg, Rahel and I are still eating breakfast together, but for some reason we still need to buy 1kg of yoghurt daily. I have to admit that we are no longer also polishing off a jar of Nutella and a jar of jam each morning.

The yoghurt is great. The funny thing is: I don’t like Greek Yoghurt. At least I didn’t until I got to Greece. The stuff they put in plastic pots elsewhere in the world somehow is completely different to what you find here. And there is no yoghurt with fruit in it in Greece. You just can’t find it – it’s BYO fruit here. But they do have a range of ‘flavours’, from 10%, 8%, 6%, 2% and the to-be-avoided 0%. Actually, the 2% tastes pretty good, but the 10% is our favourite – for now.

My first Greek yoghurt experience was in a small village in the North of Greece, in the vicinity of Ioannina. I was famished (as is appropriate in the mountains) and stopped for lunch. There wasn’t much choice (as is appropriate in a village store in the mountains) so I picked some yoghurt and some other basics. I sat down outside, tore off the lid, and cracked through the crust on the top. It smelt bad, but didn’t look rotten. I took a mouthful, and it tasted kind of strange. Not exactly good, but I could keep it down. The packaging was in Greek, so I had no idea what I’d eaten, but I’m pretty sure now it was goat or sheep yoghurt. I was put off and didn’t have any more until I got to Santorini. I was persuaded to try some more, and well, now it’s a bit of an obsession.

yoghurt bread

My tip:
Buy lots of it. Mix with one of: honey, jam, nutella, chocolate drink powder, or nothing. Eat with fresh bread. It’s also great with muesli. And Fruit salad. And Jurg whipped up a Waldorf salad which was great. And then potatoes with lots of garlic, parsley and yoghurt. We ate all of that and then complained for hours about being too full.

At some point we’ll have to start to worry where all the fat is going. But I’m not going to yet.

We’ve also found a type of feta (without salt) that I kind of like. I probably wont be eating chunks of it anytime soon, but now I can have a full Greek Salad with everyone else.

Since I’m not moving too far at the moment (wheel still in the post to Germany), you may have noticed that food has become the focal point for the day (after the library has closed). I’ll leave with a photo of a salad dinner we had last night – this is the lightest we’ve eaten in weeks. Seriously.

salad dinner sunset





Santorini

18 11 2010

I’ve been putting off updating the blog. Partly because there is plenty to write about and I don’t know where to start, but mostly because I have been flat out relaxing. And eating breakfast – a meal that doesn’t seem capable of ending before midday. This is followed by plenty of relaxing and maybe a little light reading. The day is generally rounded out by walking to get food for, then cooking, dinner. Oh, and maybe an ice cream and/or sunset in there as well. It seems it’s Sunday every day in Santorini.

If you heard about the terrible weather and are feeling sorry for me riding every day in rain and cold, then you can stop now. I have. I’m staying with Jurg, Rahel, Marc and Christine (all Swiss) in what is now Jurg and Rahel’s winter retreat. I’ve made it mine as well for the next… while (or until I can understand the nasty things they are saying about me in Swiss-German). In fact I’ve entrenched myself to the point that I’ve sent my rear wheel to Rohloff to have them fix the oil leak – so for a while I don’t have a bike I can ride.

Strangely the Greek isles seem to be a meeting point for cyclists who are procrastinating about entering Asia. We are a group of 5, and we have met “The Kiwis” (2), “The Americans” (another 2 – who we had to wave goodbye to the other day, the morning after having 9 of us in their honeymoon apartment for a party), Jim and Terhi (from UK/Finland), and a French Guy (Cedrik). This seems like a strange place for such a concentration of cyclists. But then again, the view this morning is this one:

IMG_6283

*Sigh* Yeah… I guess it could be worse.