This morning was probably the first day of our entire trip that we’ve been so far ahead of schedule. Kristen, Carolina, and I were all up early and down at breakfast with an hour to spare before departing the hotel.
Our bus took us back tot he port from which we departed for the sunset cruise, and after an hour of waiting, we boarded our ferry. It was a huge boat–one that had space underneath to store cars! I’d never been on a ferry boat like this, and was a little surprised to see chairs similar to those on airplanes, but with a little more leg roon. The ride was very smooth, and only 1.75 hours, which really wasn’t that bad.
When we docked, we only had a five minute drive to our hotel, the Panorama Hotel. This is hands down the most charming hotel we’ve stayed at throughout our trip. The buildings are made if the same white-washed material as was used in Santorini, and all if the shutters, doors, and patio terraces are accented in a lovely periwinkle. Everywhere we look there are blossoming pink flowers that only add to the quiet quaintness of the Panorama.
We only had enough time to drop off our luggage before we were bus-ed over to Santa Maria Beach, which Alexandra claims is one if the best beaches on the island. The bus ride to the beach took about 25 minutes, so by the time we made it to the beach, our group (Ashley, both Kristens, Carolina, and I) were all starving.
The manager of the beach, George, greeted us, promising that it was impossible to be unhappy on this beach. Well. After all that literature in high school, we should have recognized foreshadowing when it was right in front of us.
The weather was not fantastic today. Though it had stopped raining (as it was while we were on the ferry), it was much cooler than it has been. Not only was the sun hidden behind quite a few clouds, a strong breeze left us feeling cold and damp.
Because we were starving, and because we were hoping the sun would still come out, we decided to start with lunch. There was only one restaurant on the beach, so we grabbed a table. We ended up waiting 45 minutes for menus and drinks, which wasn’t fantastic on an empty stomach. Many of the dishes we wanted to order were already sold out, so I decided to try a beef patty and vegetable plate. The food was okay, but in all honesty, this is the only meal of the trip that I didn’t love.
We asked for the check several times, and after another 20 minutes of waiting on the check, we went up to the cash register and worked with the waitress to split our bill. I was the last one to pay, and it caused the most amount of frustration. My bill was 10.40, and I was giving the woman exact cash. I set down my 10 euro bill, tucking it under the credit card reader and told the woman I didn’t want it to blow away. While I was digging through my coins for 40 cents, she picked up the bill and was holding it in her hand by the time laid down the coins. At this point, she proceeded to demand the 10 euros to make exact change. I told her several times that she was holding it (while my friends confirmed this because they witnessed it), but she kept saying that it was from a different table. I was remaining calm, but she was getting a little louder as time went on, so we ended up drawing the attention of who I assume was her supervisor. Finally, she said, “we’ll see at the end of the night” as a dismissive close to our conversation. It was really frustrating to be accused of not paying my bill when our table went out of our way to make sure we did pay, seeing as we asked for the check several times and it never came. I know people who would have left instead of coming to the counter.
After that experience, we were ready to relax on the beach–hoping for an improvement to the day. We found a few open beach chairs, which Alexandra had said should be free for us since she reserved seats… but when we sat down, someone came over and demanded money for them, so we relocated our towels to an isolated spot further down the beach.
Kristen did end up getting in the water. She said it wasn’t too bad once she got in, and that there were warm patches of water in the Agean, but because it was so cold and windy outside, I didn’t want to have to go through the procses of getting out of the water. Instead, I read on my kindle, which was nice since I really haven’t had time for reading on this trip.
Our transport bus back to the hotel was supposed to be at 8, but thankfully, Alexandra was able to rearrange it so we could leave at 6. As the sun was starting to set, it was definitely getting colder, and I think everyone was happy to be in route back to the hotel.
We had a few hours to shower and relax before we all met in the lobby to walk down to Parikia’s town center for dinner. It was maybe a 10 minute walk down to the water, and from there, each friend group divided to go to different restaurants along the coast.
Our group decided on a restaurant called Aeoli. Carolina and I weren’t too hungry, so we both ordered an appetizer (fried feta and garlic bread) and decided to share. The food was fantastic, and the gentlemen who owned/worked there were very kind and attentative, which was perfect after our earlier food experience.
Many of our trip mates went out, but we went back to our room to get a good night’s sleep. As we approach our returning flight home, it’s nice to have a slightly more relaxed and paced schedule.