the place we are staying in samothraki is nothing like we expected, and far more than we could imagine. naturally, it looked nothing like the photos on the website, but we wandered in, curious, asking if this was the right place. the scene is a retirement home, old folks playing cards, 2 ladies processing a giant mound of green beans, knitting. there is a receiving line like at a wedding, smiles and back patting. an old lady in bifocals and brown old lady stockings waved us over and started rattling off in greek. she takes my hand, still talking and talking, pats my boyfriend quickly on the back like he's a good dog, and brings us to our room in the back of her house. she points obvisouly to the 2 separate beds with a foreboding finger. it is much...different than the bungalow we had seen on the website. our balcony is in a grove of beautiful trees, overlooking a little creek, the sound of a small waterfall and goats with bells around their necks, clinging to the hillside. on the balcony next to us is an old man in his old man underwear, scratching. we sit, a little bewildered, wondering if we should stay or not, but then again, 20€ a night is hard to beat. a few seconds later, grandma barges back in with a little tray and 2 plates of candied fruit that look like orange turds. she is talking, showing me pictures of her daughter. the turds, they are impossible to eat, hard, sticky, and kindof gross. when no one is looking, i fling mine into the woods. though this is a task because it sticks to the spoon, to my fingers, i make a mess of myself. we read in the guidebook: "usually, a welcome gift of candied fruit is brought to new guests." sounds about right.
for the rest of our stay, we will be haunted by these candied fruits. there is a communal kitchen, in which all the grandmas cook in all day: tasty fresh goat, fragrant octopus, stewed vegetables. we will get none of this, only the candied fruit. whenever we have an idle moment, if we linger just a little too long on the patio cue the "psycho" music, here comes grandma with the candied fruit! the stray cats won't eat it, we don't know where to stash it, we must feign smiles, rub our bellies and say thank you, mmmm candied fruit!