I live in DC, which is a great place to live and visit. I try to make the most of it. However, I also love to leave my home and see what the world has to offer. Come and join me!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sept. 5 (cont.) Galaxidi, Home of the Squabbling Elderly

The road from Meteora to Delphi/Galaxidi was nice and straight...for a while. Then it became mountainous with lots of ascents, descents, and switchbacks. However, the roads are very well-paved, and some have two lanes going up so that you can pass slow trucks more easily and safely. We got gas at Lamia. Again we couldn't figure out the gas cap. I guess it's full-serve there, because the attendant opened the cap and filled us up. I headed for the restroom and the attendant told me to wait (with gestures). He ran to the office and produced a roll of toilet paper for me, which was nice. It was a gas station bathroom, but better than nothing, right?

We switched seats and I was driving at that point. Many more mountains were driven through, around, and over. We arrived at Galaxidi, a seaside village about a 25 minute drive to Delphi that K's guidebook recommended as a nice base for exploring Delphi. It is a tourist town, but more for Athenians who come to escape the summer heat than international visitors. The approach to Galaxidi is lovely; you come around the mountain and you can see one of the largest olive groves in Greece (Amfissa; the Amfissa olives are prized) spreading out to the sea.

We found the Ganimede Hotel, recommended by both our guidebooks mostly for its jam, on the main street, which was good. Neither guidebook had any kind of useable map of Galaxidi. We asked to see a room but the owner regretfully told us he couldn't do that because he was full up! Seeing our bewilderment he jumped on his motorbike, little daughter on the back, and took off, telling us to follow him. K took over driving at this point and did her best to keep up.

It seemed far but was really only a couple of blocks before he pulled up in front of the Hotel Poseidon (in the pic), spoke to the owner, and left us on our own. The owner has a little parking lot, but reaching it required backing the car uphill, and after our experience earlier in the day K was just not up to this. We talked to the owner, a delightful little old man, who told us the rate would be 45E/night with breakfast and promises us use of his English language book on Delphi.. The rooms were cute so we said we'd take it. I backed up the car and pulled into the lot (a dirt field big enough for two cars) and we checked in.

To get to the hotel, enter the town by the main road (the only way to enter the town, as far as I can tell). At the first big road you get to, turn right. It looks like the road dead ends at a little yellow house, which is the Poseidon. The road actually goes around the hotel to the right, and to leave town you follow that road down to the sea, turn left, and take the one-way seaside road (photo at right) out of town. Quite easy to navigate.

Time was getting on and we were getting hungry, so we wandered around looking for food. We found the Albatross, which had been recommended by K's guidebook. It was empty other than the two elderly proprietors. By law in Greece all restaurants must have a non-smoking section. This narrow restaurant had three booths on each side, with an aisle down the middle. Above the booths of one side was a No Smoking sign. However, when we came in there was a full ashtray in our booth on the non-smoking side. Very amusing.

Here we have the only vegetarian tragedy of the trip. I order the gemista (stuffed tomatoes). They are on the menu under vegetables, not meat, so I don't even think to ask if they have meat in them. They come and, oh dear, there are bits of ground meat in the rice stuffing. I tell the grandma I am so sorry but I am a vegetarian (one of the few phrases I learned in Greek so I would always be clear on this point).

Then the grandma and grandpa have a huge screaming fight, in which the word "tourist" can be discerned. I don't know if he was telling her she should have somehow divined that I am a vegetarian and it was all her fault that they were going to die destitute in their old age because tourists will stop coming to their restaurant, but the upshot was he said she'd make me some gemiste without meat and she spent the rest of the night crying. I felt horrible.

The worst part is, I'm not even sure why I ordered gemiste in the first place. I hate rice. Well, I do know why. There was very little on the menu that was "on" and it was the most appealing of the available items. So she very quickly produced a stuffed tomato and a stuffed pepper. There are some oven potatoes with olive oil on the side that are delicious, and I eat the tomato and the pepper, but I cannot get through much of the rice stuffing. This is bad as I have already completely ruined this woman's night. I put some of the rice on K's plate, some on my bread plate, and spread the rest of it around to the edges of my plate so there's a big bare spot in the middle.

The rice having been acceptably disposed, we ask for the bill. Grandma brings us dessert at the home, some sort of molded plum pudding that is actually quite good. I can't figure out what it's made out of, maybe arrowroot or tapioca flour? Then we ask for the bill again and she brings it, saying she's left off the first tomato. We say no no no, of course we'll pay (and I wanted to say this at the beginning so she wouldn't cry all night over 5E but it seems so tacky to mention money, no?). In addition to the drama-filled tomatoes and peppers we had tiropita (cheese pie, like spanakopita without spinach), yogurt salad which seemed to be yogurt mixed with very briny feta, meatballs, water, and wine; total bill, with both sets of gemiste, was 28E, pretty steep for Greece.

To make everything that happened worse, we found out in the morning that the grandpa owner of Albatross is the brother of our hotel owner! So I'm sure the whole story made its way to him before he made us breakfast in the morning and people crossed themselves at the sight of the horribly picky and probably maliciously evil redheaded tourist for the rest of our stay.

You can see all my photos of Galaxidi and all the photos from this trip to Greece if you'd like.

2 comments:

Apopsis said...

Dear Gretchen,
too bad the Ganimedes owner didn't
give you the number of my B&B(which
he has).I'm a Minnesota girl just outside of Galaxidi.Look me up next
time you're here.
apopsis-rooms.eu(will be ready soon)or click on Galaxidi B&B or rooms

Apopsis said...

Dear Gretchen,
too bad the Ganimedes owner didn't
give you the number of my B&B(which
he has).I'm a Minnesota girl just outside of Galaxidi.Look me up next
time you're here.
apopsis-rooms.eu(will be ready soon)or click on Galaxidi B&B or rooms