Yesterday we drove about an hour south through the mountains to reach the beautiful beach at Elafonisi.
We passed through some really quaint little villages, and had to navigate numerous hairpin turns that had Merit shutting her eyes and edging towards the middle of the car when the drop-off with no guard rail was on the passenger side of the car. We also went through a pretty cool one-way tunnel that looked like it was built quite a while ago. Fortunately it was a very short tunnel.
In a few months this beach, and many others around the island, will be swamped by European tourists. There were already quite a few at Elafonisi, mostly German. Oh, and I don't ever want to hear another European make a snide comment about how fat Americans are. I've seen more excess flesh on this trip than on all my Ocean City trips combined, and the vast majority of have not spoken "American".
Warning: If you're Debbie, or anyone else who doesn't want to hear sad animal stories, skip this part
The day would have been perfect had Merit not come across a very young puppy in the shrubs in front of the taverna we stopped at on our way out. He would have been hard to miss, as he was yelping very loudly as we climbed the stairs. Her inability to ignore any pathetic creature led her to reach into the bushes and scoop him up, and the sight of him diving into her cleavage and begin to try to nurse would have been hilarious had it not been so incredibly sad. We asked the taverna owner if he knew where the mother was, but he did not (shocker). After several minutes of heated debate between us, curses from me and barely controlled tears on both our parts, she did what must have been one of the hardest things she's ever done. She put him back in the bushes. Before doing so, we gave him some water. This was really hard for both of us, and at one point I had even said that fine, we could try to find a vet...but what then? I can not take a dog, and it's not the same here as it is in the States. There are countless strays here, and the Greeks have a different attitude towards animals than most western countries. The chances of finding a "good home" for him here are slim, and the red tape that would be involved in trying to get him into the US would be prohibitive. He wouldn't even be old enough for the veterinary work required for at least another couple of months, so that ruled out Merit trying to take him home with her (which she was very ready to do until she reasoned it all out). Our fervent hope is that his mother had just left him to go forage for food and would return to him shortly. The frustrating part is that I'll probably encounter this same sort of situation countless more times during my stay here.
I was going to post a picture below of our final complimentary Rakki and desserts from the restaurant where we ate dinner last night, but after talking about the dog I really don't feel like celebrating free drinks and sweets.