Thursday, September 6:  I make a stop at yet another lovely outdoor cafe called Mama Thira Taverna, about midway between Fira and Firostefani. I’m enticed by the cool display out front and by more promising views of the caldera and the sea.

the enticing display in front of Mama Thira’s

octopus on display… 🙂

I order sardines with caper leaves, and as I wait, I sit and enjoy the view.  The waiter, a Greek-Australian, is quite friendly.  I’m a little confused because he looks Greek, but perfect English comes out of his mouth.  He tells me he went to high school in Greece but was brought up in Australia, so he speaks both Greek and English fluently.  He also tells me he lives and works in Santorini for 6 months and then in Athens for 6 months.  His room here, a small room he shares with someone else, is “adequate,” but he is now quite homesick for his nice home with rooftop terrace in Athens.

Mama Thira Taverna

Mama Thira Taverna and the Greek-Australian waiter

I am so used to having lunch or dinner in utter silence, so it’s nice to have a little conversation with a local.  I am feeling on the outside of things in Santorini because it seems to be such a “couples-only” place.  I imagine I would also feel this way in Italy, which I imagine to be the epitome of romance.  I have avoided traveling to Italy in my single state because I’m afraid I would feel sad there, watching everyone else in love and me not having anyone.  I keep waiting until I have a romantic interest to go there; I hate to think I may never go!  I guess if I get to be 80 years old, and I still haven’t found anyone, I will go.  Maybe I won’t care I’m alone because I’ll be too old!

the view from my table

Anyway, I eat all my sardines, which I thoroughly enjoy.  It’s weird; I’ve only ever had sardines out of a can, and these are quite different.   After I’m done, the handsome waiter comes to pick up my plate.  He says, “You didn’t like the caper leaves?”  I say, “What?  These?  I’m supposed to eat these?”  (They just look like decorative leaves to me!) He says, “You should try them.”

sardines with caper leaves

I do.  They are cool, refreshing, like the slight breeze dancing over this brilliant village on the edge of the aquamarine sea.  Why is it that certain things stand out like an oasis in a parched desert?  These caper leaves have the flavor of capers themselves, but with an intriguing twist.  Every bite is enticing and delectable.  They are like cool mint in my mouth, so fresh!  How, I think, how can I be so excited about a leaf?  Is it just the setting, the breeze, the sun glimmering on the sea below?

a cafe with a view

There are certain tastes that will always be intertwined with experiences in my life.  Dill in Cappadocia, Turkey; gelato in Provence; green onions and Asian sauces in Vietnam… the list goes on.  These caper leaves are one of those things.  I’ve never had them before and my introduction to them here in Santorini will always be memorable.   I imagine anytime I have them again, I will be transported back to a lazy afternoon at Mama Thira Taverna.  Fira.  Santorini.  Greece.

Oh happy day!

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About catbird in japan

As of July 15, 2015, I'm now taking a break from living abroad. I'm living in Oakton, Virginia and looking for my next opportunity. Last year, I lived in China and taught English at Sino-Canadian International College. I also taught at a university in Nizwa, Oman for two years, and in Korea's public schools for one year. I love to travel and have been to 24 countries.

9 responses »

  1. Sunny and beautiful! Very refreshing, especially if you consider that now it’s raining here…

    • catbirdinoman says:

      Yes, you’re so right, Ioanna. And oh no! about the rain! You know I didn’t have one rainy or even cloudy day for the whole 2 weeks I was in Greece! Oh well, I guess it makes you appreciate the sunny days more. 🙂

      • ioanna aggelidaki says:

        It is actually not so bad, it is October after all! We could use some rain! 🙂

      • catbirdinoman says:

        Yes, all four seasons are great in my book. And though we all find rain an inconvenience, it is necessary! 😉

  2. Marco says:

    Couples-only? Bah! If all else fails invite your imaginary friend along or talk to your food as you eat it!

    • I manage to keep myself occupied in places like this, simply enjoying the food, the wine and the views. But sometimes I just have a pang of loneliness, wishing I had someone special in my life… 🙂

      • Marco says:

        Hmmmm, understandable. Pack a teddy for company? No wait, that might be a bit too much like Mister Bean – not sure if that’s the kind of attention you’d want on holiday.

      • No, I think I’ll wait for a human being, preferably a charming, lively, funny & adventurous man!

      • Marco says:

        That’s fair enough, too 🙂 As long as you stay far away from Barney the Dinosaur – never trust anyone THAT pink/purple.

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