Its all about the ouzo.
Early on, in Pireaus, someone insisted that we drink ouzo. We smiled politely and said, of course we will, and promptly dismissed the idea of high-octane sweetened fire water.
Then we had an adventure where one thing led to another that led to a deep understanding of the pleasures of ouzo.
One afternoon, after a big lunch in Vathi, then we decided to hike up and over the hill and down into Fikiada Bay, which is only accessible by boat or hiking.
Note to self: Hiking up a steep mountain, in the blazing hot sun, after lunch is never a good idea. Hiking down a trail that resembles a goat path and a rocky dried up steam bed in open toed shoes is also not a great idea.
Finally, we made it down to the very beautiful, secluded bay and jumped into the cooling water.
One of us, who is a boatsman, swam directly over to a sleek, black, inflatable straight-out-of-a-James-Bond-movie style boat that was full of beautiful people. Basically Lou begged for his life because there was no way he was walking back up that path. He offered to pay money, in any currency, for a boat ride back to civilization. The captain laughed and told us he would certainly give all 6 of us a lift, but no money would change hands.
Of course we started chatting, he’s Greek and an architect, married to a very gracious French woman who knows how to handle a boat, and the rest of the gang were friends from Norway. Somewhere there are photos of the American ‘refugees’ being rescued by our Greek James Bond. After we docked in Faros, someone suggested a drink to celebrate our rescue and that’s how we discovered the proper way to drink ouzo.
The proper way to drink ouzo.
In a tall glass, add 1 or 2 ice cubes. Add a few fingers of water. Stir and watch the liquid turn glamorously milky. Sip. Add more water if you feel like it. Cautiously repeat if wanted. According to James Bond, its the only thing to drink when eating grilled octopus. I will take his advice the next chance I get.
The local wine is just fine on a sun filled day.
Drink the local house white wine. It is usually light, fresh and perfect for a summer day. House reds are a much bigger gamble.