monday, we felt much more confident in our bus abilities, and caught the bus down to fira again before switching buses and heading down to kamari, a small beach town. we walked along the coast for a long while, before deciding to get a light lunch at a cafe called oxygen. we saw outside by the water and shared a gyro and a side of baked feta.
the goal was to spend most of the day at the black-sand beach, which is exactly what we did. we explored an old church and climbed out to a man-made cave. we walked along the coast and sat on an outcropping of rocks, watching the glass-blue waves come crashing in. it was a relaxing, peaceful day.
for dinner, we were set on trying to find a highly recommended spot called metaxy mas – a no frills greek restaurant frequented by the locals… and a little tricky to get to. david had it a map on his ipod, so we followed that through vineyards and rural, sea-level countryside, up to a town called exo gonia, set high up the east side of the caldera. this meant climbing up steps upon steps in a narrow passageway. we got lost once, but a friendly local pointed us in the right direction.
at the top, we were panting and slightly dehydrated, but the views were impressive and we found the restaurant quickly in the small town. it was a quirky, cozy spot and we were certainly the only tourists in attendance. we were impressed quickly by all the freebies we were given – just for sitting down were got a platter of olives, cheese, and crouton-like bread bites, along with a small carafe of the local alcohol called raki. we ordered some mezes (fava bean dip and grilled mushrooms drizzled in balsamic vinegar = incredible) and also a pomegranate salad. after the meal, we were given a free dessert as well. we wanted to stay longer and enjoy the lively evening atmosphere (complete with little dogs wandering from table to table, begging for scraps), but we had to climb back down the hill in order to catch the bus, so we left, wishing we could eat there every night.
in the dark, we barely flagged down the last bus, then once in fira we took a cab home to oia.