It Isn’t Easy Being [s]Green[/s] Greek
05.09.2018 - 05.09.2018
It was our 3rd day in Greece and, while it had been LOVELY thus far, each day had been slightly fraught with disaster. I guess that’s what happens when you are a do-it-yourself traveler. We lacked the safety of a tour or a trip planner. There was no bus waiting for us each day to tell us where to go.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The previous days had left us a bit exhausted, so we spent an entire, lazy, decadent, luxurious morning at the villa. We started off with breakfast.
Then we hit the seaside loungers and listened to the waves and did a whole lot of nothing.
Batteries sufficiently recharged, we headed into Zakynthos Town to see if we could find something to repair the car with. We were hoping against hope that the gazillion scratches that covered the entirety of the Jeep were superficial and could be buffed out.
Zante Town is the capital of the island and definitely the commercial center. Much of the island was destroyed in a massive earthquake in 1953, and Zante Town was not spared. However, it had been rebuilt with lovely Venetian style houses, buildings, and shops. Visiting Zante Town hadn’t been on our “list,” but I’m glad the Great Driving Disaster on Goat Hill had happened, otherwise we’d have never seen it.
Narrow streets were lined with cafes where beautiful women sat sipping frappes as scooters whizzed and darted between the traffic. Fresh fruit stands sat in the dappled sunlight and bougainvillea spilled out from random entry ways.
Finding an auto parts store proved more difficult than we expected. There was no Auto Zone. We couldn’t even read most signs. We asked and didn’t get much help.
FINALLY, we were told where there was an auto parts store a short drive away. We drove. We entered. The sole individual in the small store was an elderly man propped on a stool that didn’t speak a word of English. Matt gestured. He drew pictures. He grunted. Nothing.
Finally, Matt brought him out to the Jeep and showed him the sides.
“Ah!” the little man laughed and went back inside the store. He produced some rubbing compounds, but didn’t have any buffing cloths or rags. He sent us to the cleaning store.
Because we couldn’t read the signs, we picked the store that had buckets in the window. We figured that was a good bet.
Then we saw a car wash and thought, “It can’t hurt, right?” We paid our $6 and “went in the tunnel” as we were instructed.
The Jeep already looked 50% better just from the wash. We were hopeful.
Since we had driven this far, we ventured to the “NO GO ZONE” known as the southeast end of the island, aka Party Central. It was indeed over commercialized, and the difference between it and the quiet north end of the island was striking. Clubs besieged the street offering cocktails, dreams and cheap, low-quality booze. Swarms of excitable young people stumbled, scuffled, and fumbled their way from one bar to another as girls in hot pink thong bikinis trekked down the sidewalk with floats shaped like unicorns bouncing in their arms.
Thankfully, I knew of a lovely, out of the way spot at Dafni Beach. Despite being wedged unceremoniously between the hundreds of sunbeds jammed on Banana Beach and the champagne spray parties on the quarter mile stretch of neon beach clubs in Laganas, Dafni is a part of the Zakynthos Marine Park and is nesting ground for loggerhead turtles. It maintains a quite simplicity, even in the midst of the MTV Spring Break vibe of southeast Zante.
The drive down to Dafni was stupid beautiful.
It is also home to Porto Mela, a super chill open-air beachfront restaurant that boasts the best bread on the island.
The restaurant was super laid back. Bohemian surfer types sat at mismatched tables underneath shady trees having deep conversations as they sipped a frosty Mythos and smoked. I could already smell the bread from the wood fired bread ovens.
The bread was to die for. It was all chewy dense and moist inside and crispy outside, served with a bowl of freshly crushed tomatoes and garlic.
We had a simple salad of greens with lemon, olive oil, and sea salt, grilled chicken souvlaki, moussaka, and feta with olive oil, tomatoes, and peppers.
After lunch, we decided to hit the posh beach club at Porto Azzuro. When in Rome and all that, right?
While beautiful, it was not our scene. There were far too many people. Although, their drinks were outstanding. We sipped caipirinhas and watched with amusement as about 20 bikini clad girls jockeyed for position on the beach by the rocks trying to get their perfect selfie.
We finished our afternoon buffing the Jeep, because that is what everyone wants to do on the third day of their Greek Island vacation.
Can you believe every scratch came out??? Woo Hoo!
It was celebration time.
We had dinner reservations near Zante Town and I had seen an odd little bar nearby that looked like it would either be awful or amazing. Of course I made Matt try it out.
It turned out to be amazing.
Portofino Bar sat on the water’s edge and was basically a mish mash of odd furniture, bottles, and strange nick knacks, but it somehow worked beautifully and created an eclectic, relaxing space with a super Bohemian vibe. When they brought me a handwritten menu on thick brown paper, I knew it was my kind of place.
After enjoying a couple of drinks in the fading light, we headed to Bassia for dinner. Touted as one of Zakynthos’ best, it lived up to the hype.
Set on the water, surrounded by beautiful trees and lights, it was lovely. It was also windy. And chilly.
Before I was barely seated, the waiter had brought me a lap blanket and a glass of wine.
We shared steamed mussels in garlic and white wine; the Bassia salad with local rye rusks covered with crushed tomatoes and large chunks of feta; the linguine with sundried tomatoes and feta; and grilled shrimp.
We didn’t get lost today, no one forced us onto a bouncing boat, and we fixed the Jeep.
We were settling in and starting to do Greece right.